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Diatom and Silicate - Brown Algae CURE?!

Discussion in 'Algae' started by cbessler, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. cbessler

    cbessler New Member

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    Orlando Florida
    Hello everyone, I am asking a complicated question that I hope some people are able to answer. It will help the newbies (somewhat like me) figure a lot of things out! Alright so I recently established a 55 gallon tank about 2-3 months ago. I have t5 4 wpg lighting 216w (two actinics and two 10000k), a wet/dry filter with overflow and UV sterilizer. Just recently tested my tank and have 8.2 pH, 0 Ammonia/nitrates and nitrites. I use a water conditioner too btw. Currently my flow rate is around 350 to 400 bc of a danso standpipe I made on the overflow box. I dose twice weekly with Aqueon Plant Food (upgrading soon). Weekly water changes of about 20% and have a dozen or so fish and ghost shrimp, the fish vary from German Blue Rams to tetras. I have gravel and sand bottom, no fertilizer substrate.

    The last few days I have been getting this brown algae growth (along with the normal green) on the bottom of my tank and its started to cover my dwarf hair grass I want for a carpet. It seems like its suffocating it slowly. I understand when you cycle a tank you get brown algae. My hair grass has a lot of what looks like die off and melting, possibly it was grown out of water. The runners are turning brown after about a inch of them popping out. When cleaning off blades of grass some brown comes off but on the grass it doesn't much and turns to mush.

    My question is.. Is this brown algae that is causing this or is it my lighting setup at 10000k (read a few forums saying that this is ok still), my pH levels, or lack of nutrients? What about my flow rate being low? Increasing it might remove dead spots by a powerhead?

    My water in Florida here is very hard and I'm sure full of silicate..

    Do I need to get some silicate remover to starve the diatoms to allow for better growth after my cycle? Am I lacking co2 or is this a fertilizer issue?

    Thanks for the help in advance! Much appreciated!! (Pics are before a cleaning..)
     

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  2. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Diatoms go away with time. Looks like things aren't in balance. Light is too high, nutrients too low, CO2?, flow never hurts.

    You do not want zero nitrates, you have low nutrients I am assuming.

    pH shouldn't matter.

    Do you inject CO2?

    that is a lot of light! actinics are not necessary, i would switch them to 6500k. the 10,000k are fine.

    I don't think you need a silicate remover.
     
  3. cbessler

    cbessler New Member

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    Thanks for the reply. What Im thinking is that since my water more than likely carries silicates in it, the diatoms will never fully go away.. My roommate has a bloom and has had his tank for over a year now. I do not inject co2, will be upgrading soon tho. Would the plants out compete with the algae for the co2 and nutrients thus lowering my bloom along with time? Or suffocate my grass more? Buying a hydor koralia 3 this week.. would getting more fish and yamamoto green help my nutrient imbalance?
     
  4. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    your real issue is all the light. think of it like this, you have your foot pressing the accelerator all the way down, but no oil and barely any gas. Oil=CO2; gas= ferts.

    I'm guessing your roommate is doing a setup similar to yours and could be having the same issues.

    If you grow plants well, then algae isn't too much of an issue. Algae is great at dealing with fluctuations in nutrient levels, CO2, and light. It also isn't nutrient limited the same way as plants. It can grow in far less nutients. It can adapt quicker than plants. So when things aren't in balance algae can get a footing and plants struggle to adapt. If things remain stable, nutrients and CO2 are non limiting, then plants do well and algae does poorly.

    I don't think silicates are an issue. Of course I have never bothered to look at my silicate levels and haven't heard of anyone else having issues with high silicates, so I'm judging this by the lack of discussion on the topic.

    I would look into EI dosing. details can be found at www.barrreport.com or within the ASW magazine section. There is an article on EI dosing. Very cheap, very easy, and very good.

    Adding CO2 will be a big help. Pressurized hopefully? I still think you should back off your light. 4 WPG of T5's is a TON. Its like driving a stock car with a blindfold right now. My high tech tank has probably around 2 WPG and that is plenty. CO2 is more important than lots of light.

    Shrimp and ottos eat the diatoms, so that is another way to combat them. Once things are in good balance they will go away on their own. They generally show up in the beginning.

    Hope this is helpful. Keep at it.
     
  5. cbessler

    cbessler New Member

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    Thanks a lot for the input, its a big help. Im going to cut my lighting strength back and get my co2 hopefully soon while upping my ferts. Thanks!
     

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