Are diatoms true algae or not?

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sirdarksol

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EDIT by Isabella: This thread is a continuation of this one: https://www.fishlore.com/fishforum/aquarium-plants/14252-help-live-plant-brown-spots-what-does-mean.html - while answering the questions of the person, we went off topic and started talking about whether diatoms are true algae or not. This topic is meant to specifically discuss this issue.

Diatoms are technically algae. Other than that, Isabella's right. They usually go away on their own. They're pretty much a part of the cycle. There is one case where they won't. If your tank gets too much light, it will feed the diatoms, and they can continue to grow. (I know, I have a tank that apparently is getting enough reflected sunlight.
 
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capekate

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What is Brown, Diatom or Golden Algae?

Referred to as a microalgae, brown or golden algae is actually not an algae at all, but diatoms. What you are actually seeing in your tank are diatom skeletons, all linked together. It can appear as a simple dusting on the tank walls and substrate surfaces, or it can turn into a massive growth that covers just about everything in the tank. This type of algae outbreak typically occurs when a tank is just completing or has finished , new live rock is introduced, as the curing process can add nutrients when some organisms on the rock dies off, or tank maintenance has been neglected. It is a normal occurrence, as diatoms are one of the first to appear in the chain when the tank conditions are conducive for algae growth, and is usually a precursor to other forms of desirable and undesirable nuisance type green macroalgae.

copied from about.com

Hope this helps!

~ kate
 

Isabella

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I'll ask on Plant Geek to be sure, because I wouldn't want to misinform anybody.

Here: - let's see what the Plant Geeks will say.
 
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sirdarksol

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While I respect the Plant Geeks' practical experience, I strongly disagree with them in this case, and will turn to a more referable source.
I'm not sure if this link is going to work. It is a page from a collegiate online science encyclopedia, and I accessed it through my school's library.


The important part of the text, if the link doesn't work, is as follows:
A class of nonflagellate unicellular algae, commonly called diatoms, with boxlike silicified walls.
By Paul Silva and Richard Moe, written for McGraw-Hill's AccessScience.

The entire Superkingdom Eukaryotae, of which diatoms are a part, are considered by marine biologists to fall under the umbrella of "algae".

Edit: It occurs to me that this later portion of this thread should probably be cut off and "replanted" in another section of the forum. I do not, however, have the ability to do so.
 
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Chief_waterchanger

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The main part of it skeleton is silicone, rather than carbon-based, which most living things are carbon-based.

Scientists are really still out on whether to classify it as algae or not. Diatoms are currently labeled scientifically as algae, but there are quite a large percentage of scientists that disagree with that classification. But technically it is classified as an algae, currently.
 

Isabella

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And if you look at the link again: , Curtis has given some very interesting insight.

Truth be told, we simply don't yet know whether diatoms are true algae or even "animals"! But As Curtis has put it nicely, "I think a good example of blurring lines is Blue Green algae which can utilize light for energy, but it is classified as a bacteria. Not everything can be put into a single box of classification."

Just because one group of scientists says the diatoms are true algae, does not mean they are. There are both scientists who say diatoms are, and scientists who say diatoms are not true algae. You know, not all science is always 100% right. Anyway, the fact is that right now no one knows with absolute certainty what the diatoms should be classified as. Which is actually very interesting. I like this topic, lol

P.S. Just another example: There are hordes of scientists and medical doctors who assure you that drugs are good for your body. Meanwhile, there were and are many drugs being recalled from the market because they in fact killed thousands of people. So, while one group of people believes one thing, the opposite is actually happening. Even scientists and medical doctors make mistakes. No one is perfect.
 

capekate

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Below are definations of Diatoms that I found on the web and posted in an earlier thread months ago. Diatoms.. a form of algae. I stand corrected.

~ kate



Definations of Diatoms on the Web:

Single celled protists with silica shell.

Single-celled creatures with hard, silica-based shells. They look like a golden powder coating the tank to the naked eye.


A class of planktonic one-celled algae with skeletons of silica. Group of microscopic algae that have rigid silica-composed cell walls. They are an important part of the food chain.


one of most common groups of phytoplankton; single-celled organism that reproduces asexually.


Minute pelagic algae, which have a hard skeleton.


marine or freshwater one-celled algae


single-celled phytoplankton with an external skeleton made of silica


single-celled or colonial algae that have glass cell walls and are usually colored golden brown


small mobile plants (algae) 0.5-200 ?m long, with silicified (silica, sand, quartz) skeletons. They are the most abundant phytoplankton in the cold oceans.

Group of phytoplankton with silica present in the cell walls.


A major type of phytoplankton that have cell walls made of silica and shaped into two halves.


A large and diverse division of microscopic and unicellular algae found in both fresh and salt water. The cell wall is heavily impregnated with silica, and dead cells accumulate on the seabed and eventually form deposits of diatomaceous earth. Living diatoms are abundant among the plankton and are an essential part of food chains in the sea.


Any number of microscopic algae whose cell walls consist of two box-like parts or valves and contain silica.


Photosynthetic microalgae with siliceous cell walls


A kind of algae.


minute planktonic unicellular or colonial algae with skeletons containing silica.


microscopic unicellular marine or freshwater alga having cell walls of silica


One-celled algae with cell walls of silica. Diatoms make up the first links in the aquatic food chain.


A class of algae characterized by silicified skeletons.


Diatoms are a major group of eukaryotic algae, and are one of the most common types of phytoplankton. Most diatoms are unicellular, although some form chains or simple colonies. A characteristic feature of diatom cells is that they are encased within a unique cell wall made of silicate. These walls show a wide diversity in form, some quite beautiful and ornate.
 
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