Algae Invasion (Brown Diatom, I think)

Waterboy1650

I finished cycling this 3 gallon planted tank a two weeks ago and it is now home to a happy Betta and a happy nerite snail (I know many people don't like this size tank for a Betta, but not really a debate for now). It also has some java fern, anubias, and S. Repens, none of which is thriving, but hasn't died yet (I assume the algae is inhibiting growth).

My current pH is 7.2 and ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate are all at zero (even though nitrate is currently zero I am confident the tank is cycled, I think the zero nitrate reading is the result of the plants, and probably mostly algae consuming everything, but two weeks ago readings showed zero ammonia, zero nitrite, and 10ppm nitrate). The KH is 107.4ppm and the GH is 250.6ppm. I have an LED light running 7 hours per day and use a dash of Seachem Flourish twice a week for the plants. I also just got some Seachem Excel (liquid carbon) today and gave a first dose of that to hopefully help start reducing the algae.

When the cycling completed there was a small amount of white-ish algae on the bottom of a plant, but I figured it would work itself out, and it did disappear pretty quickly. But now ever since then I have had the explosion of algae you see in this picture, which does not seem not bother the fish or snail ( seems to make the snail quite happy), but I would like to remove the algae as much as possible for sight and smell purposes, and so that it stops inhibiting plant growth. At this point it is just disgusting, and if I vacuum it out it is back within a day or two. I had hoped based on my reading that the diatoms would work themselves out eventually, but this has definitely not happened.

I am hesitant to keep vacuuming it out since that will just require nonstop water changes, and my understanding is that the nonstop water changes is not good for the actual plants I want to grow in the tank. Increased algae clean-up crews are not an option due to the size of the tank.

Other thoughts are:

-Swap out the current filter (Aqueon QuietFlow E) for a sponge filter (using both for a month to not lose bacterial colonies), in the hopes it will be easier to clean the algae out of and off of the filter media, and because it can help with airflow in the tank
-Blackout for a couple days (but worried this will kill off the plants too)
-Stop lighting and liquid fertilizer for a few days to a week (worried this will kill the plants too, but seems less risky than the blackout)
-Assume the plants are already essentially dead, so remove them and start over on plants after doing the blackout (worry here is that the plants don't really appear dead, just unhealthy due to algae, and that they are probably helping with ammonia/nitrite filtering so removing plants would hurt the fish and snail)
-Do a heavy clean of the tank to remove as much algae as possible probably something like: put snail and fish in separate bowls with aquarium water, do a nearly 100% water change, and after removing the water, rinse everything in the removed water before returning everything to the tank and refilling the tank
 

richiep

You could say its customary to have diatoms in a new tank, as you've no doubt researched, generally the do start to disappear or in my shrimp tanks id leave it and it turns green as food for shrimp
I've found using a paper towel folded in the palm of your hand and do one wipe up the glass and out get rid of a lot
You could also test for phosphate in your tap water this is what diatoms feed off so if that's high you can put phosguard in the filter
 
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StarGirl

Yep diatoms. It will go away on its own when everything settles down and evens out. Wipe it off, clean it off. Snails will eat it.

THIS is what should be called "new tank syndrome" lol
 
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Waterboy1650

Thanks, it is good to know it is just diatoms and nothing more serious.

What, if anything can I do to help it along, and get the tank looking better and plants growing better in the meantime?

should I do any of those things I listed or just keep going as things are? Maybe just half light and fertilizer?

realistically my primary goal other than keeping the fish and snail happy and healthy is getting the plants going, and then the next priority is getting the tank looking better sooner.
 
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Dechi

You can vacuum it, brush it off or anything you find helpful, just to help with aesthetics while it’s going on. They will always come back until their supply of whatever nutrient is gone. It took 5-6 months in my freshwater tank and 2 months in my saltwater tank.

Phosguard works well, but as soon as you stop using it, they come back.

Time will take care of it. :)
 
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StarGirl

Just clean it off. One of the "perks" of having a new cycled tank. Keep your light and ferts the same. Diatoms like low light so that wont help. Are you running a blue light at night?
 
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Waterboy1650

Just clean it off. One of the "perks" of having a new cycled tank. Keep your light and ferts the same. Diatoms like low light so that wont help. Are you running a blue light at night?

There is absolutely no light at night and the light during the day either cycles through its available colors or I stop it on white.

If diatoms like low light, should I increase my light to more than the current 7 hours?
 
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GatlingGun

I finished cycling this 3 gallon planted tank a two weeks ago and it is now home to a happy Betta and a happy nerite snail (I know many people don't like this size tank for a Betta, but not really a debate for now). It also has some java fern, anubias, and S. Repens, none of which is thriving, but hasn't died yet (I assume the algae is inhibiting growth).

My current pH is 7.2 and ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate are all at zero (even though nitrate is currently zero I am confident the tank is cycled, I think the zero nitrate reading is the result of the plants, and probably mostly algae consuming everything, but two weeks ago readings showed zero ammonia, zero nitrite, and 10ppm nitrate). The KH is 107.4ppm and the GH is 250.6ppm. I have an LED light running 7 hours per day and use a dash of Seachem Flourish twice a week for the plants. I also just got some Seachem Excel (liquid carbon) today and gave a first dose of that to hopefully help start reducing the algae.

When the cycling completed there was a small amount of white-ish algae on the bottom of a plant, but I figured it would work itself out, and it did disappear pretty quickly. But now ever since then I have had the explosion of algae you see in this picture, which does not seem not bother the fish or snail ( seems to make the snail quite happy), but I would like to remove the algae as much as possible for sight and smell purposes, and so that it stops inhibiting plant growth. At this point it is just disgusting, and if I vacuum it out it is back within a day or two. I had hoped based on my reading that the diatoms would work themselves out eventually, but this has definitely not happened.

I am hesitant to keep vacuuming it out since that will just require nonstop water changes, and my understanding is that the nonstop water changes is not good for the actual plants I want to grow in the tank. Increased algae clean-up crews are not an option due to the size of the tank.

Other thoughts are:

-Swap out the current filter (Aqueon QuietFlow E) for a sponge filter (using both for a month to not lose bacterial colonies), in the hopes it will be easier to clean the algae out of and off of the filter media, and because it can help with airflow in the tank
-Blackout for a couple days (but worried this will kill off the plants too)
-Stop lighting and liquid fertilizer for a few days to a week (worried this will kill the plants too, but seems less risky than the blackout)
-Assume the plants are already essentially dead, so remove them and start over on plants after doing the blackout (worry here is that the plants don't really appear dead, just unhealthy due to algae, and that they are probably helping with ammonia/nitrite filtering so removing plants would hurt the fish and snail)
-Do a heavy clean of the tank to remove as much algae as possible probably something like: put snail and fish in separate bowls with aquarium water, do a nearly 100% water change, and after removing the water, rinse everything in the removed water before returning everything to the tank and refilling the tank
I am going through a similar problem with my planted tank as well. Best of luck.
There is absolutely no light at night and the light during the day either cycles through its available colors or I stop it on white.

If diatoms like low light, should I increase my light to more than the current 7 hours?
I’ve been running my Finnex Stingray (medium PAR) at 10 hours roughly and it’s way too much diatoms so, at least for me, I am going down to 7 hours strictly and seeing if that helps but how long do you have your light on normally?
 
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Waterboy1650

I’ve been running my Finnex Stingray (medium PAR) at 10 hours roughly and it’s way too much diatoms so, at least for me, I am going down to 7 hours strictly and seeing if that helps but how long do you have your light on normally?

I don't have anything fancy for my light, it is just a TopFin 8" Color Changing LED Bar that my 3-year-old picked-up and wouldn't let go of when we were looking at the lights they had in the store. My light is currently on from 10am till 5pm via a smart switch timer.

It sounds like my plan is going to be to keep the same lighting and liquid fertilizer schedule, and then perhaps do some extra 50% water changes, maybe go from one to two per week to try and keep it a little clear.
 
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GatlingGun

I don't have anything fancy for my light, it is just a TopFin 8" Color Changing LED Bar that my 3-year-old picked-up and wouldn't let go of when we were looking at the lights they had in the store. My light is currently on from 10am till 5pm via a smart switch timer.

It sounds like my plan is going to be to keep the same lighting and liquid fertilizer schedule, and then perhaps do some extra 50% water changes, maybe go from one to two per week to try and keep it a little clear.
If you haven’t already done it, I would use Seachem Flourish Excel, which should help balance out the tank of: light; nutrients; and C 02. I haven’t used it yet because Jungle Val is one of the few plants that “don’t work” with it. Oddly enough that is the one plant in my tank that isn’t doing well.
So, I would keep the same light and fertilizer schedule, but add the recommended dosing of Excel and try that for 2 weeks and check for results.
 
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