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Old 05-08-2005, 12:42 AM   #1
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Tips for getting rid of diatom algea?

I have an algea problem since I started running my 50/50 actinic lights 10 hours a day. It grows on the light facing survace of my decor and on the walls of the fish tank and pretty much everything. Usually it only grows where it gets light though.
When I wipe it off it sends off tiny brown particles and wipes easily. I have heard this described as diatom algea but am not sure. I have three questions
WIll it go away on its own?
Is it harmful or helpful in any way?
Is there anything I can do to get rid of it?
PS. (I am switching lights soon so that instead of two 65 watts that are each half actinic, I will have two 65 watts no actinic.)
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Old 05-08-2005, 01:23 AM   #2
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Quote:
WIll it go away on its own?
Not really.
Quote:
Is it harmful or helpful in any way?
well, it isn't helpful except for food for certain algae eaters.
Quote:
Is there anything I can do to get rid of it?
Get otocinclus catfish (about 12)
The pleco you have is not a big algae eater in your tank.

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PS. (I am switching lights soon so that instead of two 65 watts that are each half actinic, I will have two 65 watts no actinic.)
Hate to break it to ya, but actinics do NOTHING for algae growth (except in marine tanks with a SG). I used to run actinics on my 50 gallon (until the ballast recently blew out). Your algae is coming from excess nutrients in your tank.
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Old 05-08-2005, 01:56 AM   #3
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I am thinking of getting 6 for my tank. Think I have the room Lunchbox?
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Old 05-08-2005, 07:57 AM   #4
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Although Otos are always recommended for diatom control, they also require a tank that is matured and stable. A common problem with Oto's is we buy them at an early stage in our tanks evolution to consume the diatoms. They do this job with aplomb but any spikes in NH3, NO2, NO3 or ph and they are doomed.

Once the diatoms are gone, proper feeding is essential.
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Old 05-08-2005, 11:15 AM   #5
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Although Otos are always recommended for diatom control, they also require a tank that is matured and stable. A common problem with Oto's is we buy them at an early stage in our tanks evolution to consume the diatoms. They do this job with aplomb but any spikes in NH3, NO2, NO3 or ph and they are doomed.
i completely agree.
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I am thinking of getting 6 for my tank. Think I have the room Lunchbox?
you could tony.
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Old 05-09-2005, 12:23 AM   #6
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Great, thank you for the quick answers. I find it suspicious however that it seems to only grow when I keep my lights on. Without a test kit for nutrients I guess I will just have to wait it out. JChillen you say that it goes away in a more mature tank? How? Why? I really would like to avoid adding any more fish as I am at max capacity.
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Old 05-09-2005, 06:57 AM   #7
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Once your tank has been established for a month or more...and your maintenance regimen is also established, you will not have a diatom problem (at least one that's visible).

Think of it this way. The algae is an opportunist, similar to your bacteria. Nice fresh water...decent amount of nutrients...nothing being done to deprive us diatoms because we need the same diet that the bacteria does.

Once a tank is estabished...you are automatically depriving the diatoms of nourishment via frequent water changes. They can't get a foothold and they are gone.

Diatoms are replaced in the food chain by the more hardier...more prolific green algae in established tanks.
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Old 05-09-2005, 07:17 AM   #8
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Good to know. A few of my fish have ich and I may be (hopefully not) making a trip to the lfs to replace. If I do get otos how many do you suggest? I do feed algea wafers about every other day, can they eat this too once the diatom algea is gone?
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Old 05-09-2005, 07:37 AM   #9
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Quote:
I really would like to avoid adding any more fish as I am at max capacity.
Good idea. JC gave a great description of diatoms. They are basically little protozoans (algae) covered in silica, and this is why you can easily brush them off. Some people with elevated levels of silica in their tap water usually have problems too, but getting rid of silica is next to impossible. I would wait the diatoms out. Don't get anymore fish, and wait for the bacteria to catch up and zap em away.
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