Go Back   Aquarium Advice - Aquarium Forum Community > Saltwater and Reef > Saltwater Fish Only & FOWLR
Click Here to Login

Join Aquarium Advice Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com
 
Old 01-12-2010, 05:02 PM   #1
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
badamsios's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Oakdale, Ca.
Posts: 52
Silicates

How does one quickly remove silicates from a new aquarium? I'm getting my nitrates under control, my lighting is excellent, I just need to remove the silicates.

Thanks.
__________________

__________________
badamsios is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2010, 05:07 PM   #2
Aquarium Advice Freak
 
Lynae's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 204
Sorry, but what do you mean by 'silicates' ?
__________________

__________________
"Life is the art of drawing without an eraser."
Lynae is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2010, 05:21 PM   #3
Aquarium Advice Freak
 
Lynae's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 204
How does Silicate and Silicic Acid get into your Aquarium

Many water sources contain silicates or silicic acid, or compounds that contain these elements and these compounds eventually break down, adding silicates and silicic acid to your aquarium's water.

In aquariums where sandy or other forms of substrate are used, silicate can leach "out" of these compounds, and enter the tank's water very quickly. It usually only takes a few weeks for this to happen (at the maximum). Often it happens much sooner. The latter is especially the case if silica sand is used as the substrate in the aquarium (this is too often the case,unfortunately). Although less common now than a year or so ago, hobbyists were adding "play sand" to their tanks to build up a substrate. Play sand and so-called blasting sand are very high in silicate and should be avoided if you wish to keep silicates low.

I have made reference to removing silicates and silicic acid from the water. Please understand this to mean that you should attempt to keep their levels as low as you can. You will never really be able to remove "all" of these compounds. Recommended safe levels are below 0.5 ppm, or half of one part per million.

These silicate compounds then start building up in your tank's water since nothing is removing them, unless you actually take some measures to prevent them from doing so. When they build up to sufficient levels or concentrations, brown algae start to appear in patches first (often on the glass or acrylic panes of the tank). Mind you the patches can be hard, filamentous, slimy and can take on various other forms, depending on which particular diatom is growing in the tank.

The real dangerous types are the encrusting diatoms. They often populate the base of corals and grow upwards, pushing the polyp away from the skeleton. Receding of the coral then takes place. This is a real bad situation as, if this continues, the corals will recede more and more and will start to disintegrate, get infected, and you will loose the coral altogether.

Do not underestimate this danger. This can happen in a matter of a few days. I have personally seen an Elegance coral being overgrown by diatoms on its skeletal base and become totally wasted in a matter of 5 days.

Many hobbyists are under the impression that using reverse osmosis water or deionized water will solve the problem, and that doing so will remove the silicates and silicic acid from that water. This is, unfortunately, not the case. Such units, even if combined, will remove silicate and silicic acid for a very short period of time only and, then, the silicate and silicic acid will get through the membrane and the resins and will start to build up in the tank.

By a short period of time I mean in a matter of days, depending on how much silicate and silicic acid the water you are treating actually contains. Tests have shown that, when treating water with 14 ppm of silicate, the silicate and silicic acid came through the membrane and the resins used in combination with the R.O. unit, after less than 100 gallons of water had passed through the filtration set-up (lab. notes ref. 95/6/-012).

Monaco"This is really not much water when you consider that most hobbyists believe that using reverse osmosis, deionization or a combination of both, gives them water quality of very high purity levels. Obviously this is not so, and that belief is a totally false one". R.O. and D.I. remove silicates and silicic acid for "some" time" only, after which the membrane of the reverse osmosis filter and the resins in the deionizers let the compounds through.

The conclusion to draw from this is that, regardless of how you filter your water, silicates and silicic acid will find their way into your aquarium's water, and you are going to have to take steps to remove it. This is discussed in the Next section for both the water in the tank and the raw water. If you do not, diatoms willappear in your tank.


How do you remove these compounds?

First of all, we need to take into account that two sources of water need to be treated.

The water already IN the aquarium
The water used to perform water changes, prepare Kalkwasser and so on. I refer to this as the raw water.
Treating the water already in the tank:
This is very simply done by using a silicate removing compounds and ensuring that all the water in the tank flows through the compound on a continuous basis and that good contact between the water and the compounds exists so they can effectively and efficiently deplete the water passing through them of silicate and silicic acid.

To ensure that this happens, the silicate removing compounds needs to be positioned in such a manner in the general aquarium water flow that all that water will indeed flow through it and not just over and by it. To ensure this, you must carefully look at what the best place will be in your particular case and filtration set up. There may be several possibilities. Pick the one where you estimate that the water will come into maximum contact with the silicate removing compounds as this will ensure better and more efficient removal of the unwanted "nutrients" for diatoms.

If the water does not come into proper contact with the silicate removing compounds, the silicates and silicic acid will not be properly, or entirely, removed from the water. If the silicate and silicic acid are not removed, they will build up and, soon, diatoms will appear in the aquarium.

If this is the case, you have obviously not achieved your goal and you have under utilized the efficiency of the silicate removing compounds that you placed in the aquarium (usually in a bag or fine mesh pouch).

Remember too that these compounds do not last forever and that they need to be changed. At the slightest appearance of brown filaments on your tank's panes you should replace all the compounds. Once you get a feel for how long this takes, you can replace them a few days earlier and prevent the diatoms from appearing altogether.

If you need to clean the tank's panes do so in the following manner:

Use a sponge (natural or artificial).
Wipe from the bottom to the Top trying not to wipe any diatoms in the water.
Rinse your sponge real well after you have reached the Top of the pane.
Go to the Next area and again wipe from the bottom to the Top.
Rinse your sponge again well and preferably several times.
Continue as above until your tank is clean.
All the panes should be cleaned.
The above cleans the tank's upright areas but does not clean whatever diatoms grow on rocks and in other areas. Some of these can be siphoned out of the tank right away and others can be removed after you use the silicate removing compounds for a while. As you keep treating the tank itself with compounds, the concentration of silicate and silicic acid drops. This causes existing diatoms to die off and allows you to siphon them out.

Pre-Treating Water

The process is simplest when you use two buckets and a kitchen sieve. Place the silicate removing compound in the sieve (on Top of white filter floss if necessary) and place the sieve on Top of one bucket. The other bucket should be filled with the water to be treated. Now pour water through it until your bucket is full. Move the sieve to the empty bucket and pour the water through again. Do so a total of 5 times.

Your water is now silicate free and is ready to be used.

Change the silicate removing compound after you have poured a total of 50-75 gallons of water through it. The exact amount that can be poured through each batch of compound depends on how much silicate the water you are treating contains. In order to determine that the treated water is indeed low in silicates, you may wish to acquire one of the several tests that are now commercially available. Check magazines and commercial web sites for availability and pricing. A web site that contains a very large number of links is the TAT one. They are in the Links area. Note that the site was recently named: The Best Commercial Aquarium Site for 1996.

Make sure that you use a compound that is specific for silicate removal and that says so on the label. It should not be a multi-purpose product. The best results are obtained with compounds that state that all they remove is silicate and silicic acid and nothing else. That is how you will obtain the maximum silicate and silicic acid removal rate.

Compounds do not last forever. They have a maximum aborption capacity. Depending on how much silicate and silicic acid enters your water, you will have to replace them from time to time. Testing can tell you when this is needed. Alternatively, if you see small brown filaments appear on the tank panes, you know you have waited too long to replace the compound.

Follow the above guidelines for the water already in the tank and the raw water you use and problems with diatoms will either not occur or be very easy to control rapidly. Several commercial products to achieve silicate and silicic acid removal are available. Again, I refer you to magazines, cybermags and to commercial web sites on the Internet.

Keeping the aquarim diatom free is not complex or complicated but requires that you do pay attention to the factors that lead to their appearance outlined in this article. As you have surmized you can easily do so. The key is to do it. Do not wait till your aquarium is overgrown by all forms of diatoms. Intervene before it happens by removing silicates and silicic acid from the tank water and also from the raw water you use.

Note that to minimize the additon of these compounds to the tank you should also make sure that additives you use do not contain them. One source that is frequently overlooked is salt. Using a high quality salt will ensure you are not adding these compounds without being aware of it and suddenly being faced with outbreaks of brown algae. Remember that prevention is easier to implement than remedial actions. It is also far less expensive to prevent them from growing than to remove them once they appear in the tank, especially if they appear in large numbers and in different forms (patchy, filaments, branching filaments, encrusting, slimy and so on).
__________________
"Life is the art of drawing without an eraser."
Lynae is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2010, 05:21 PM   #4
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
badamsios's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Oakdale, Ca.
Posts: 52
The stuff diatoms are made of. Actually, one of the things they feed off of. That nasty brown algae needs light, nitrates and silicates to live. Mine is a new setup, about 5 weeks old. I don't mind doing a water change once a week, but my micron filters are getting clogged every few days, and of course the entire aquarium is covered with the crap.

The water in my original setup came from the tap. (Dumb, I know) My water changes of 30% are now coming from R/O and I'm not detecting any silicates or nitrates on my new salt mixes.

Even though I can't detect any Nitrates in my tests, my assumption is that I do have Notrates, just not a lot. But enough to feed the diatoms. I need to starve the Diatoms. I'm assuming there are some type of silicate absorption compounds, but I don't know what to use and how to implement it.
__________________
badamsios is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2010, 05:28 PM   #5
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
badamsios's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Oakdale, Ca.
Posts: 52
Yeah, I read that article too. But I'm not clear on how to quickly remove what's already there. Like i say, I know there are compounds I can use, but not sure what they should be and how to deploy them.
__________________
badamsios is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2010, 05:54 PM   #6
SW REEF 18+ YEARS
Community Admin
 
melosu58's Avatar



Tank of the Month Award
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Virginia
Posts: 38,249
Diatoms are not made of it but feed on it. I work for a water munipality and they add silicates in a compound form to your drinking water. If you add tap water than you`ll have it in your tank but if you use a RO/DI filter than you`ll get rid of 99% of them.
__________________

SITE ADMINISTRATOR

You can view many of my fish and corals in my photo albums in my profile.

View my tank


AA Community Rules|AA TOS

Forums 101 - posting, accounts, basics
melosu58 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2010, 06:53 PM   #7
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
badamsios's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Oakdale, Ca.
Posts: 52
As I indicated, my water changes are RO, but the initial setup was tap. I need to get rid of the silicates that already exist.
__________________
badamsios is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2010, 07:43 PM   #8
Aquarium Advice Freak
 
SHARPiE's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Posts: 492
Send a message via MSN to SHARPiE
Does anyone know of a silicate removing compound?
Brand? Cost? Where to buy? eBay? LFS?

I am struggling with diatoms - Started with tap water, and have been changing the water out with RODI.


****Edit****
Found a few - here in Australia:
These all remove phosphate and silicates

Aquaz CarbPhos Premium
RowaPhos
Phos Zorb (API)
(Julia Sprung's) PhosBan
Kent Marine - Max Power Phos

Anyone had any luck with these brands?
__________________
20 Gal - Planted CO2 Community Tank
4.5 Gal - Planted Shrimp Tank - in progress

Useful Acronyms
SHARPiE is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2010, 08:52 PM   #9
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: not here anymore
Posts: 5,338
Some of the phosphate removers also double as silicate removers. Not sure if that's the nature of the stuff, or if it's something extra. I've used the Rowa stuff in their sponge form and it does what it claims... at least for phosphates. Can't vouch for the silicate aspect since that's not what I was using it for.

Regarding the diatom bloom in a new tank - yeah, silicates are fueling it, but just about every new tank goes through that stage. Tap water makes it worse, but even using RO water you probably would've encountered a diatom bloom. And just as quickly as it appeared, it'll disappear some day on its own. It just doesn't disappear as quick as we want it to. As long as you're done cycling, a cleaner crew of astrea or trochus snails will help eat the diatoms up and start cleaning things up for you. But eventually, the diatoms will run out of food and burn themselves out.
__________________
Kurt_Nelson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2010, 01:46 PM   #10
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
badamsios's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Oakdale, Ca.
Posts: 52
How long (worse case) could this ugly stuff last? It's clogging my micron filters every few days. And it's everywhere, and I do mean everywhere.

I did find a product called Chemi-pure elite "now with ferric oxide to remove phosphates and silicates." My local pet store blames everything on magnesium.

What about a UV sterilizer? I know diatoms aren't really algae, but would it be a good idea for a fish only tank in the long run? Worth the money? $150.00.
__________________

__________________
badamsios is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Silicates too high, Diatoms return neilanh Saltwater Reef Aquaria 19 06-10-2009 07:18 PM
Sand, Silicates and Diatoms?????? greenmaji Freshwater & Brackish - General Discussion 11 08-11-2005 09:57 AM
Can someone explain what silicates are MaggiesGame Saltwater & Reef - Getting Started 2 11-02-2002 02:48 PM







» Photo Contest Winners








Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 09:25 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.