Are these diatoms? Help please!

EA James

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I have what I believe to be (from what I’ve read online) diatoms on a few of my plants and the glass on my tank.
It’s been up and running for 3.5 months now.
It’s a 4 foot 330 litre with an FX4 filter. Aquasky light on for 6 hours a day then very dim white/blue light for a few hours in the evening.
I dose Tropica premium ferts twice a week and the plants in substrate have tropica nutrition capsules under the roots.
Here’s some pics, I don’t really know much about it so any advice and information will be very welcome

upload_2019-9-30_16-53-43.jpeg


upload_2019-9-30_16-55-17.jpeg


upload_2019-9-30_16-56-41.jpeg


upload_2019-9-30_16-57-18.jpeg
 

Tim Harrison

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It's easy to rub off, and a credit card will remove it from between the glass and the sand. Just be careful not to trap sand grains between the card and the glass otherwise you'll scratch it. Also buy some otos, they will eat it.

It maybe a result of organic build up. Don't know what your maintenance routine is but try changing the water more frequently and keep your filter clean, that may help as well.
 

EA James

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I do 50% weekly water changes, I haven’t cleaned the filter yet as it’s a new set up I didn’t want to disturb the cycle, I have actually planned on cleaning it this weekend though so that’s pretty handy!
I have been using a cc to scrape it off the glass but haven’t attempted to clean the plants.
I have 10 Siamese algae eaters in the tank I thought they might have got rid of it but obviously not!
Anything else I can do to help prevent it?
Thanks for your reply
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
I haven’t cleaned the filter yet as it’s a new set up I didn’t want to disturb the cycle
No you can have a clean, just a quick swirl around is fine. If you don't have a pre-filter you need to remove any decaying bits of plant etc.

Personally I like a pre-filter on the intake to do all the mechanical filtration outside of the filter.

You don't ever develop (or need) the thick biofilm, that you get in non-planted tanks, in the filter of a planted tank.

If you are getting the thick slimy biofilm you need to remove a bit of the filter media, because it suggests that the water is becoming de-oxygenated in the filter.

cheers Darrel
 

Tim Harrison

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I haven’t cleaned the filter yet
That'll probably be a large contributory factor. You won't disturb the cycling process, it'll be mature by now. I clean my pre-filter regularly by running it under slightly tepid tap water, and the same for the media compartments. Neither will you harm the bacteria flora. Keeping the filter free of decaying organic matter is key if you want to avoid algae. And what Darrel said...
 

EA James

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Hi all, No you can have a clean, just a quick swirl around is fine. If you don't have a pre-filter you need to remove any decaying bits of plant etc.

Personally I like a pre-filter on the intake to do all the mechanical filtration outside of the filter.

You don't ever develop (or need) the thick biofilm, that you get in non-planted tanks, in the filter of a planted tank.

If you are getting the thick slimy biofilm you need to remove a bit of the filter media, because it suggests that the water is becoming de-oxygenated in the filter.

cheers Darrel
Thanks Darrel, I’ll check for that when I clean it at the weekend. I did try and cram in as much media as possible
I haven’t got a pre filter, to be honest I’ve never heard of one. Is it worth having?
 

EA James

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That'll probably be a large contributory factor. You won't disturb the cycling process, it'll be mature by now. I clean my pre-filter regularly by running it under slightly tepid tap water, and the same for the media compartments. Neither will you harm the bacteria flora. Keeping the filter free of decaying organic matter is key if you want to avoid algae. And what Darrel said...
Ok, thanks for your advice. How often would you recommend a filter clean?
 

Tim Harrison

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Ok, thanks for your advice. How often would you recommend a filter clean?
That all really depends on plant, and critter bioload and their feeding habits etc. I'd recommend a full filter clean at least once a month, and maybe the pre-filter clean every week along with the water change. But if you're still getting problems you may have to increase the frequency. Only you can judge really, it'll soon become apparent how often you need to clean your filter by the state it's in when you do get around to cleaning it.
 

EA James

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That all really depends on plant, and critter bioload and their feeding habits etc. I'd recommend a full filter clean at least once a month, and maybe the pre-filter clean every week along with the water change. But if you're still getting problems you may have to increase the frequency. Only you can judge really, it'll soon become apparent how often you need to clean your filter by the state it's in when you do get around to cleaning it.
Ok that’s great, thanks for explaining it.
I’m so pleased this has been mentioned as I’ve read loads of people only cleaning the filter once the flow slows down or every 6 months or so.
I’m quite looking forward to getting stuck into it now, thanks again I really appreciate it
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Definitely worth having! ....... but the eheim one looks the next best thing.
They work OK, they are just really ugly.
I’m so pleased this has been mentioned as I’ve read loads of people only cleaning the filter once the flow slows down or every 6 months or so.
It is back to what you want the filter to do.

In a lot of the discussion of the efficiency of Biohome etc (have a look for the "pondguru" on youtube) the vendors talk about pore space and simultaneous nitrification and denitrification within their media within the filter body. I'm pretty convinced that simultaneous nitrification and denitrification, with slow flow and thick biofilms, is a <"disaster waiting to happen">.

Personally I want the filter media to always remain aerobic and convert any <"ammonia to nitrate"> (either via nitrite or by the <"COMAMMOX process">).

I don't care how much nitrate (NO3-) I end up with in the tank, the <"plants are going to deplete that fairly rapidly and efficiently">.

cheers Darrel
 

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