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Old 07-16-2013, 12:34 AM   #1
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What to do about diatoms

I have been told that the brown dusty covering on my rocks, sand, coral, and anything else horizontal is diatoms. "No problem," I'm told, "cut down on feeding' and "it may be your water." This tank has been set up for over 10 years. I had the problem once before (slightly, compared to this) - when I didn't have coral (fish, urchins, starfish only) and it did eventually go away. It's been@ 5 months now and I've been using a turkey baster to blow it off of everything every few days. Then in 2 days it's back. It looks awful, doesn't seem to bother most of the inhabitants but I'm worried about the star polyps. The stuff really sticks to them and I do seem to see that it's not as bushy as before. It rinses away when I squirt them with the baster but I'm afraid if I go out of town it will be dead when I return (I don't trust my fish feeder to do anything but feed). Any ideas? I can't use RO water (never have) because I have to drive 1.5 hrs (there & back) to get it. I also think that I would have seen it get bad before now if that (the water) was the problem. BUT..... I need some opinions... Thanks!
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Old 07-16-2013, 09:18 AM   #2
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So you use tap and always have? Have you thought about buying your own ro-di unit? I lot of people say tap water is fine and it can be for a long time, even 10 years, then all the nasties can appear. I would say this is what's going on here. Apart from the usual things, too much food, too much light etc switching to Ro-di water is your next bet...
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Old 07-16-2013, 04:52 PM   #3
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+1 agreed on the RO unit. Diatoms have silica shells, so they need silica (usually selenium) to reproduce. Purigen attaches selenium and it helped in my system greatly.
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Old 07-16-2013, 05:17 PM   #4
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So you use tap and always have? Have you thought about buying your own ro-di unit? I lot of people say tap water is fine and it can be for a long time, even 10 years, then all the nasties can appear. I would say this is what's going on here. Apart from the usual things, too much food, too much light etc switching to Ro-di water is your next bet...
Thanks for the advice. I have looked for a RO filter but gave up. I can't really afford the big units. Someone at my fish store suggested something RVs use. I never could find one and then just forgot about it. When I i was looking for one it was not for this problem.... just wanted one for better water quality. May need to start that search over. Any suggestions?
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Old 07-16-2013, 05:19 PM   #5
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+1 agreed on the RO unit. Diatoms have silica shells, so they need silica (usually selenium) to reproduce. Purigen attaches selenium and it helped in my system greatly.
Thanks. Do you have any suggestions for an inexpensive unit? I have a 50 gal & a 30 gal tank.
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Old 07-16-2013, 05:31 PM   #6
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Thanks. Do you have any suggestions for an inexpensive unit? I have a 50 gal & a 30 gal tank.
Bulk reef supply has an RODI kit for like $130 bucks, that is probably less than you spend a month in water conditioner if you use as much water as i do.
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Old 07-16-2013, 11:16 PM   #7
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Thanks I'll look it up right now!
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Old 07-17-2013, 04:50 PM   #8
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When I bought my RODI unit I was quite surprised at how little it cost in comparison to my other equipment. For example my powerheads were 3 times the price! Lights 8 times the price etc etc.

I truly believe a RODI unit will not only cure your problem it 'should' also save you money in the long run! Try getting a second hand one but make sure you see it. Running first if possible and if its really old make sure you check how much it will cost to replace the membranes and DI resin. You should also get yourself a TDS meter if you're getting your own unit, sounds like a lot but its not and once you've got it you wouldn't want to live without it!
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Old 07-17-2013, 05:22 PM   #9
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The cost of a RO/DI unit is in the filters and membrane. Like printers, the actual hardware is inexpensive, so if you buy a used one factor the cost of new filters into it.
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Old 07-17-2013, 05:25 PM   #10
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I agree with Greg which is potentially a good idea to go new as the unit should include everything you need.
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