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  1. #11

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    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by mermaidwannabe
    This latest proliferation of it on my glass I now know was due largely to the feeding block I left in the tank while I was away. It has completely dissolved, and I'm sure some of its nutrients were still free-floating in the water afterward.

    My question, then, is why the small diatom patches appeared on the fake fern leaves in those areas of my tank where the light was consistently brighter, if, in fact, the opposite should be occurring -- increased light causes them to disappear? This seems a contradiction. Folks have pointed out in this thread that increased light makes diatoms go away. So, why did I have the opposite experience with the fake fern leaves in the brightly lit areas?
    Hey, Mermaid,

    Here's my take, from what I've learned in my Freshwater Ecology lecture...the diatoms are essentially limited by 3 types of nutrients: phosphorus (primarily), nitrogen, and silicon dioxide. Silicon dioxide is not essential for the growth of other forms of algae because other algae do not have a silica-based shell like the diatoms. We typically know silicon dioxide as sand or quartz rock. However, a glance over at the Wikipedia page for the article "Silicon dioxide" provides this interesting tidbit:

    Silica is a common additive in the production of foods, where it is used primarily as a flow agent in powdered foods, or to absorb water in hygroscopic applications. It is the primary component of diatomaceous earth which has many uses ranging from filtration to insect control. It is also the primary component of rice husk ash which is used, for example, in filtration and cement manufacturing.
    Given the fact that you added the feeder block recently, I'm hedging my bets on the silicon dioxide being in the block and/or food contained inside it. Add to that the fact that those feeder blocks create dissolved solutes in your water and you may be having some of your light being blocked out by the particulates. It may be just enough to let the diatoms gain a foothold.

    If it were my tank (which it nearly was this Christmas until this forum set me straight on feeder blocks), I would try doing my next few water changes with distillated water and see if that helps kill them off. I know it lacks the essential electrolytes and nutrients, so I'd only use distilled water temporarily and only for part of the tank's water. Just enough to get them to die off, but not enough to completely fill the tank with only the distilled, y'know?

    Just a thought. Best of luck.

  2. #12

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    0 Not allowed!
    I can see where particles from the dissolved food block could have blocked out the light, causing diatoms to grow more.

    What I was referring to with the fake ferns occurred several months ago, before I put in the food block. I had never used one in my tank until this month. The light shown very brightly down on those silk fern leaves, and I had small patches of diatoms on them. The only thing I can think of there is maybe something else was in the water back then that was too small to be visible, that might have been blocking that light out, but if that was the case, why did it show through so intensely?

    I'm just saying -- what I experienced then contradicts what folks have been saying about increased light making diatoms disappear, and the article I read, as far as I can recall, made no mention about that. It does state that light increases green algae, especially the blue end of the spectrum.

    Just a little confusing, is all.

    Anyway, I got rid of them on the glass, at least for the time being. I have well water, and am going to be doing a phosphate test on it. I know it has zero nitrates from the tap, but I would like to find out its phosphate content.

    Also, if diatoms have hard shells of silicate, then why are they referred to as "algae" in the article? Sounds like they aren't really a plant. Perhaps the words "first algae" are used because most people think of them as "brown algae" when they coat the glass?

    Again, a little confusing ...

    In any event, they're easy to clean up, so if they appear again, I'll just wipe them away like I did this time.

    -- mermaid
    20 gal. high: planted; 5 white cloud minnows, 4 golden White Clouds, several RCS, 2 blue shrimp, 5 Amano shrimp, several snails; Azoo air. 65 gal: planted; 6 rosy barbs, 6 yellow glofish, 3 red glofish, 3 zebra danios, 5 white cloud minnows, 3 dojo loaches, 6 crimson spot rainbow fish, 12 large Amano Shrimp, several snails; AC110.

  3. #13

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    0 Not allowed!
    Oops, my bad. It appears lack of sleep must have addled my brain. Diatoms are algae. For some reason that is beyond me I was thinking about cyanobacteria while I was writing that.
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  4. #14

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    0 Not allowed!
    Thanks for clearing that up, Aeonflame.

    -- mermaid
    20 gal. high: planted; 5 white cloud minnows, 4 golden White Clouds, several RCS, 2 blue shrimp, 5 Amano shrimp, several snails; Azoo air. 65 gal: planted; 6 rosy barbs, 6 yellow glofish, 3 red glofish, 3 zebra danios, 5 white cloud minnows, 3 dojo loaches, 6 crimson spot rainbow fish, 12 large Amano Shrimp, several snails; AC110.

  5. #15

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    0 Not allowed!
    I used to have an 8" tall plastic amazon sword plant in my 20 long. The 20 gallon long is only 12" deep. I have a single Aqueon 8000 k T-8 tube lighting the tank. The tips of the plastic amazon sword were only 4" away from the T-8 tube and were constantly coverd with diatoms. I still have issues with diatoms forming on the rocks in my tank. But it's not a problem for me to wipe or scrub the diatoms off.

    I believe a full spectrum T-5 HO fixture with full spectrum bulbs at the 6700 k
    rating would solve my diatom problem. Why? Because the 6700k rating and greater light intensity would cause green algae to form and grow and out compete the diatoms for nutrients. Yeah, sorry. I don't do live plants yet.

    I have a 29 gallon tank with a double T-8 strip light with 8000 k tubes that sets near a large living room window. It does not receive direct sunlight, but receives indirect daylight including sun and I have no problem with diatoms in the tank. I have nice green algae growing on the rock and driftwood in the tank as well on all tank walls due to the increased amount of daylight that it receives. My BN pleco loves the nice, soft, green algae as does the Angel.

    Increase the temperature rating and intensity of the lights on your tank and brown will soon turn to green. The rosy barbs will love you for it.

  6. #16

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    0 Not allowed!
    Thanks, Taurus. I know my Rosys would love having some green algae in the tank. They go utterly crazy whenever I drop algae pellets into the tank. The dojos love those, too. My one remaining snail couldn't care less, it seems.

    Do snails eat diatoms? What about Red Cherry Shrimp?

    Mine is a 20-gallon-high, and I'm not sure what upgrade of lighting will fit inside its light hood. Right now, I'm using the bulb that came with it. I don't want to have to get a whole different hood just to accommodate a different light bulb, if I can find a suitable one that will fit into this hood.

    The last time I checked at one of my LFS about upgrading my lighting, they weren't very helpful.

    I also have a glass lid on the tank that must stay there, or the dojos will jump out.

    -- mermaid
    20 gal. high: planted; 5 white cloud minnows, 4 golden White Clouds, several RCS, 2 blue shrimp, 5 Amano shrimp, several snails; Azoo air. 65 gal: planted; 6 rosy barbs, 6 yellow glofish, 3 red glofish, 3 zebra danios, 5 white cloud minnows, 3 dojo loaches, 6 crimson spot rainbow fish, 12 large Amano Shrimp, several snails; AC110.

  7. #17

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    0 Not allowed!
    Oh, something like this would probably work.

    http://www.petmountain.com/product/a...reshwater.html

    This T5HO fixture is about the same price as a double tube T-8 stip light but the wattage and intensity is much great because they're T5HO.

    I'd probably try to fine something like this that has an acrylic lens covering the lights so I could just rest it on the glass versatop.
    Last edited by Taurus; 03-30-2011 at 07:23 PM.

  8. #18

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    0 Not allowed!
    Or this.......

    http://www.thatpetplace.com/pet/prod.../1/product.web

    But I would watch for an offering on ebay for the fixture.

    Better ask Aeon what he did to upgrade his lighting to get rid of the diatoms.


  9. #19

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    0 Not allowed!
    Here is the information about my current bulb and reflector (hood). Not sure what it all means, but maybe you can enlighten me:

    The ballast and reflector, which I call the hood, hold only one fluorescent bulb. This bulb has some numbers on it that read:

    BB24
    1835
    Alongside these two numbers is a much larger number: 25, that takes up the vertical space of both these numbers combined, and is situated to their right.


    The reflector (hood) is put out by All-Glass Aquarium, Inc. of Franklin, Wisconsin.

    It is a 24" fluorescent aquarium reflector, and below that are the numbers:

    120 volt, 19 watt, 60 hz

    There are additional numbers that read thusly:

    9N23
    E163201

    Those are probably the make and/or model numbers, not sure.

    The reflector has instructions on the tag that say "Use only over glass or acrylic tops -- never open water."

    The bottom of the refector is open, with the bulb inside of it.

    The bulb and its ballast are NOT 24" long. I would say there's probably a good two inches of open space inside the hood between each end of the ballast in which the bulb is connected and each end of the hood, itself.

    My 20-gallon-high aquarium is a Marineland tank, and this was the hood and bulb I was given to go with it.

    If possible, I would like to keep this reflector and ballast, and just put in a new bulb that would fit.

    Any suggestions?

    -- mermaid
    Last edited by mermaidwannabe; 03-30-2011 at 08:18 PM.
    20 gal. high: planted; 5 white cloud minnows, 4 golden White Clouds, several RCS, 2 blue shrimp, 5 Amano shrimp, several snails; Azoo air. 65 gal: planted; 6 rosy barbs, 6 yellow glofish, 3 red glofish, 3 zebra danios, 5 white cloud minnows, 3 dojo loaches, 6 crimson spot rainbow fish, 12 large Amano Shrimp, several snails; AC110.

  10. #20

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    0 Not allowed!
    I'm guessing it's an 18" T-8 15w florescent tube in the 8000k temperature range. The hood it fits into is 24" long. So you're at less than 1 watt per gallon. If that is the case you would need to replace the current hood. First I would get a glass canopy and place the T5 HO strip light on top of the glass canopy.

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