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Old 05-20-2005, 09:56 AM   #1
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Diatoms in sand?

I have found a spot on my sand about 5 inches square that has some sort of algae like growth. When I went to try and clean it, it peeled off like a piece of carpet. It isn't hairy like hair algae. It is like someone painted the surface of the sand with a brownish green color. It seems to be right in the middle front of my 90 gallon aquarium which one might suspect has the least amount of flow since I have my power heads at both corners. Can someone tell me what causes this and what I need to do to prevent it?

Thanks in advance.

Willem
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Old 05-20-2005, 10:21 AM   #2
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Its Diatoms, and its a good sign if your tank is new.

Get a snail and a hermit to start (I have some in mine, and I am noticing small amounts of hair algea... very small)

So I am going to get a hermit or two and a snail as well.
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Old 05-20-2005, 10:54 AM   #3
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Actually, my tank is several years old. I moved it from a friends house about two years ago. I have been making some major changes, however, over the last couple of months. I have a refugium, aragonite sand substrate and I am using caulerpa in my refugium.

Could it be an indication that my Rowaphos is now spent?

Is it a sign of some other impurities?

Willem
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Old 05-20-2005, 11:19 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by awillemd1
Could it be an indication that my Rowaphos is now spent?
Could be, how long has it been in there?

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Is it a sign of some other impurities?
Diatoms are a golden/brown algae that will look like a dusting rather than sheets or film and are caused from silicates alone. Usually through the introduction of new rock, sand or the use of tap water. What you are decribing sounds a little like cyano. Is it more green or brown?

Cheers
Steve
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Old 05-20-2005, 12:25 PM   #5
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Steve-s:

It looks golden/brown and it looks like a dusting. Another feature of it is that it peels off like a piece of carpet, i.e. it is deeper than just a dusting.

The RowaPhos might be 2 to 3 months old. I have made a lot of changes to my system in the last 4 months. I have added a refugium and aragonite sand, a dsb in refugium and I have caulerpa in the refugium.

When I first put the Rowaphos in there within a few weeks it seemed that all my hair algae died off. Now the hair algae appears to be coming back, but just a little and I am getting these diatoms. Obviously, it is difficult to put together a cause and effect. Probably the easiest thing for me to do is put more Rowaphos in and see what happens. I haven't checked my phosphate levels, but they have been unmeasureable for several months, so I have't bothered. This should probably be on my list as well.

I use RO/DI water. The DI column is new and the RO column is about 1.5 years old. I had it checked about a month ago at our local water supply place and it was fine.

Also, the golden/brown spot is now spreading as I have two more that are about 1 inch square now starting to show up.

I haven't purchased anything to help sift through the sand, so this seems to me to be a potential problem as well.

Any advice at this point would be most appreciated.

Willem
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Old 05-20-2005, 05:38 PM   #6
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I would change your Rowa more often. Hair algae is driven by PO4/nutient and brown algae is driven by silicates. Both of which the Rowa will remove as long as it's not exhausted. Try changing it every 4-6 weeks to stay ahead of it. Once the fuge is running a while it should help immensely, just be sure to harvest the algaes regularly and toss them away.

You still need to determine where these fuel sources are coming from if your to be rid of it once and for all. Since the DI was newly added, it will take a bit of time for the "dilution" effect to be realized. Only thing left after that will be food sources and possibley additives.

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Old 05-20-2005, 11:38 PM   #7
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Steve-s:

Thank you for the reply. What did you mean by additives? How can they be a source of food. Also, I am a little worried that I don't have any critters stirring up my shallow sand bed. Should I be purchasing something to do this? I have read that aragonite can form into a brick over time.

Willem
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Old 05-21-2005, 01:49 PM   #8
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What did you mean by additives? How can they be a source of food.
Sugars, phosphates and vitamin "subsitutes" can often be added to the tank unaware of what secondary effects on a system might actually be. Most do nothing but what they where intended to. In a "suffering" system, an otherwise harmless additive or liquid food can become an algae fuel. I am not suggesting that you shouldn't use useful products, just be aware of what the contain, especially preservatives.

Quote:
Also, I am a little worried that I don't have any critters stirring up my shallow sand bed. Should I be purchasing something to do this?
Keeping the sandbed healthy is quite important. It is easily accomplished by adding a good amount of nassarius and/or a few strombus species. Quite often that is all you need if the tank contains LR.


Quote:
I have read that aragonite can form into a brick over time.
Sand clumping is actually more common in DSB's not SSB's but it's more commonly relative to heavy CaCO3 additions (calcium primarily, reactive with biofilm).

Properly balanced water chemistry along with an active and healthy sanbed will easily prevent this though.

Cheers
Steve
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Old 05-25-2005, 12:44 PM   #9
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Steve-s

Thanks once again.

Will Nassarius snails reproduce in captivity? You stated 'good amount' of Nassarius snails, can you be more specific. My lfs ordered 15 for me at 1.59 each. I plan to put a few in my fuge and the rest in my tank substrate, but I am concerned that this isn't nearly enough.

Also, I couldn't find 'Strombus' snails, do they have a common name and can I get by with just the Nassrius.

Thanks again in advance.

Willem
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Old 05-25-2005, 05:10 PM   #10
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Will Nassarius snails reproduce in captivity?
You'll see various egg masses but they will almost never result in actual snails. The chances of them surviving the planktonic stage is quite rare.

Quote:
You stated 'good amount' of Nassarius snails, can you be more specific. My lfs ordered 15 for me at 1.59 each. I plan to put a few in my fuge and the rest in my tank substrate, but I am concerned that this isn't nearly enough.
For a 90 gal 15 is an "okay" amount to start with, you may need more but it's better to build as needed. I would get extra if you wnat some for the refusium.

Quote:
Also, I couldn't find 'Strombus' snails, do they have a common name and can I get by with just the Nassrius.
Stombus = Conch. Nassarius snails are not big on algae, they moreso help keep the sandbed aerated and consume detritus/food leftovers before they can create nuisance algae problems and nitrate issues. Stombus snails love algae and will consume diatoms and cyano, the nassarius won't. You can get by without it but you'll do that much better with it.

http://www.atlantisaquatics.co.uk/ac...ef_Snails.html

Cheers
Steve
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