Diatoms...diatoms Everywhere...

Discussion in 'Algae' started by LizzyP, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. LizzyPValued MemberMember

    TL;DR: I have diatoms. I need help.

    I'm at my wits end. I can't even sleep because all I see when I close my eyes is brown algae. Well, not that bad. But it's awful.

    I have a 10 gallon divided betta tank. This is when I first set it up back in January but I did not add fish until February 14th. I've added some artificial plants and 2 male bettas. Unfortunately, I don't have a current photo because it's 2am and all the lights are off. I'll get one in the morning.

    I have a HOB filter which has Seachem Matrix, API Nitra Zorb and some sponge. I have high nitrates (40ppm) out of my tap, but between these 2 I usually see between 10-20ppm at each water change. I do a 30% or so WC every Thursday night and use Prime conditioner. I have a fluorescent bulb that's 16 watts (I think) and it's on for about 9 hours every day. Sometimes more, if I get up early that day. I have sand substrate from National Geographic that I bought at Petsmart. During my water changes I take a plastic fork and stir the substrate and try to suck out as much loose stuff as I can. The water even smells funny. Maybe more earthy rather than fishy, but still smells.

    I have another 10 gallon that does not have a fluorescent light (I have a glass hood and use my under cabinet LED lights) and there's one little tiny bit that I just noticed the other day on the sand but not nearly as bad as the other. I don't overfeed, I do my regular water changes with a good vacuum of the substrate and try and knock off as much of it I can and wipe down decorations and the glass. I'm so close to buying some Nerites and giving them the biggest buffet they've ever seen. Or rip this tank apart, dump the sand and put either bare bottom or gravel and pray that I don't go through a mini cycle.


  2. the guyValued MemberMember

  3. LizzyPValued MemberMember

    Shrimp kinda freak me out. And I think my fish would make them a snack.

  4. the guyValued MemberMember

    amano shrimp destroy all of my algae in my tank..... maybe some nerite snails? They don't reproduce in fresh water I believe?
  5. LizzyPValued MemberMember

    Yeah, in my last sentence I said I'm thinking about getting some and giving them the biggest buffet they've ever seen, lol. Which would be fine but shouldn't I find the source of the issue rather than putting a bandaid on it?
  6. the guyValued MemberMember

    Maybe your tank lighting is too intense?
    edit: or you have your tank light on for too long? Natural sunlight exposure?
  7. LizzyPValued MemberMember

    I don't know how to lower it :( I tried keeping the light off of it and using the LED under cabinet lights like my other 10 gallon but my super sensitive fish didn't like the change at all. He got pale and was hiding all the time. The algae didn't go away, but it didn't grow more during that time.
  8. the guyValued MemberMember

    It may be because your tank is relatively new. I'm not entirely sure but I've had friends who've had diatom problems in their tank for nearly a year and suddenly they'll disappear. Apparently it's something to do with silicone in the sealant of the tank?
  9. KarenSoCalWell Known MemberMember

    I've heard that algae like long continuous lights. Maybe try a 4 hour on, 2 hour off, 4 hour on routine?
  10. LizzyPValued MemberMember

    See, that's another thing. I've heard they don't like light and they do like light. So I don't know what to do! I'm scared my little special snowflake will die (seriously) from the stress of playing with the lights. I might have to move him temporarily until I get this figured out. Husband will die when he sees another tank set up........
  11. EternalDancerWell Known MemberMember

    Diatoms do for sure eventually go away on their own.

    I agree that you should find the source of the problem, but my understanding is that diatoms are a different beast, and basically will just, be, no matter the circumstance. Essentially: there's no source to find. They'll eventually go away on their own, in the mean time, all you can do is physically remove the current offenders.

    Clean them away. Get your nerites.
    Know that the end will one day come.
  12. LizzyPValued MemberMember

    You mean there's a light at the end of this ridiculously long, twisted tunnel?! Is the end in 6 weeks or 6 months, years? Do we have an answer for that?

    Could I add 4 extra snails to my tank and not be overstocked? I'll eventually move 2 of them to my other 10 gallon because I'm sure I'll have diatoms there, too.
  13. EternalDancerWell Known MemberMember

    Timeline... who knows. It could be a little while yet, I'm afraid.

    If they're really bothering you that much, pop the bettas in a bowl, give the tank a good wipe down, dump all the water, rinse out, and refill. Just make sure your new water is the same as the old, and put your fish back.

    Slightly less drastic - leave the fish in, use some paper towel round a wooden spoon or something (or better yet, just get your hand in there) to wipe it all away as much as possible, 50%water change.

    Either way, I'd get two nerites, (one either side) and put them in once you've cleaned.
    It'll be much easier for them to keep it down as it appears than to start with a tank-full.

    See how you go. If they still can't keep up with it, in a week or so, get another two to help.
  14. LizzyPValued MemberMember

    So I should wipe before I change the water? I was doing it backwards then and having all this stuff swirl around and look heinous. Should I QT the snails? I think my LFS has a snail and shrimp only tank but I don't know about their water systems and the last time I went I saw some wormy fish.
  15. EternalDancerWell Known MemberMember

    I say wipe before change, otherwise you're just stirring it up and leaving it to settle again. Better to stir it up an suck it out.

    As far as I'm aware, snails don't carry fish-problems, but then I don't qt my stuff anyways any more because my lfs does pre-sale. You may want to check up on that beforehand.
  16. LizzyPValued MemberMember

    You have been such an incredible help, thank you! Tomorrow is WC day and I'm actually excited to do it to hopefully stop this. Or at least make it look better. Friday I'll head up to the store to pick up some snails. Thanks again!
  17. EternalDancerWell Known MemberMember

    You're more than welcome.

    Keep us updated :)
  18. SiggygymValued MemberMember

    Thank your for posting this, I have exactly the same problem with my tank, my plants are dying and substrate is all horrible and brown. I also have 40ppm nitrates in tap water and I believe I'm slightly overstocked. I have just purchased a phos/nitrate reducer media which I've popped in the tank and I have moved the tank from where it was to a less lit area and I have to say the diatoms are developing slower since then. I usually had to clean the tank every 3 days and it's been nearly a week now and I'm just starting to see them creeping at the bottom of the tank so it's definitely helping. Something worth thinking about ;)
  19. LizzyPValued MemberMember

    It's horrible. Absolutely horrible.

    I run 2 nitrate reducing products. Nitra Zorb and Matrix, but neither of those are for phosphates, which I think I might have. There's hardly, if any at all, natural light on this tank. It's in my kitchen which is an interior room. I could try moving it but I don't think that's the culprit. I'm gonna try by wiping everything down tomorrow during WC and sucking what I can out. Then this weekend I'll get some snails to take care of whatever is left and whatever is gonna grow.
  20. SiggygymValued MemberMember

    I'd get something to break down your phosphates as well as nitrates as these are what diatoms feed from. There are also filter foams you can buy which are supposed to the same but never tried these. The bag I use I bought from my local pet store and it wasn't very expensive, only a few £. [​IMG]

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice