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Diatoms - My "FACTS"

ceg4048

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So are you telling me this peer- reviewed scientific data is faulty?
Sacha, their data isn't faulty, but your misapplication of their data is faulty. You've drawn conclusions that are not rational.
Firstly, there are over 100,000 species of diatomic algae.
Is the species in your tank the same as they have analyzed?
Is the environmental conditions in your tank the same as in the environment the paper is based on?

The response of specific species depend greatly on the environment. It's very dangerous to extrapolate information and make assumptions about their behavior under your particular conditions. When I pull data from a journal I'm always cognizant of that fact. I make sure that it's relevant to my conditions. GSA, BGA and the others will behave differently in natural environments than they do in out tanks. They'll behave differently in fresh water versus salt water, and so on and so forth.

Secondly, so what if silicon is a major limiting nutrient for diatom growth? The condition in our tanks is the blooming of diatoms. Just because silicon is in abundance it does not mean that automatically diatoms will bloom. Diatoms can appear in a bare tank with RO water. Nutrients don't cause algae just by virtue of their presence. Something in our tanks triggers a diatomic bloom. If a food source is available they will take advantage but the food source does not trigger the bloom. The trigger is a much more sophisticated set of conditions and you have to deal with those root causes, not become obsessed with silicon. You've completely missed this important point.

Thirdly, and most importantly, the metabolic path of diatoms has nothing to do with silicon. I mean, glass is made of silicon and sand, clay and many rocks are composed of silicon, but diatoms cannot use silicon in this form. It must be silicic acid, typically orthosilicic acid (H4SiO4) which they process into Silicon Dioxide (SiO2). In order for sand and other silicon containing rocks to be hydrated into orthosilicic acid, the water needs to be about 4000 meters deep to develop enough pressure. So that's how it's produced in the ocean because the ocean is easily that deep. Your tank cannot produce orthosilicic acid from your Silicon containing hardscape (unless you have a tank that is as deep as The Abyss of course).

Fourthly, diatoms are very small, so they don't need a lot of orthosilicic acid. In natural systems orthosilicic acid content of less than 0.1 ppm can sustain a dominant population of diatoms once triggered, so it's not likely that you can starve out diatoms even if you do have high orthosilicic acid content.

Fifthly, diatoms in our tanks follow a boom-bust cycle. They take advantage of the hobbyists incompetence and bloom for a few weeks, then they go away - unless the hobbyist continues to degrade the tank with any combination of too much light, poor circulation, poor CO2 and poor cleaning habits. That's what this hobbyist did=> http://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/diatom-dilemma.27208/

He didn't need a science degree, or try to solve the silicon content of the tank, or bemoan the fact that ceg4048 was a tyrant. He just followed the basic procedure and got on with his life and his problems went away. Now he knows that if and when diatoms appear, he has to stick with those procedures and he can be confident that the issue will be resolved.


So all of this hysteria about Silicon is completely misguided and what you should be looking at, within the context of our tanks is to reduce your lighting and to improve your flow/CO2 distribution.

The silicon lovers and high light lovers are the ones who continue to get diatoms. Instead of improving their technique and following the procedures, they make halfhearted attempts, fail, blame the procedure for their failure, and then try to find explanations for their failure in The Matrix.

Cheers,
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Thirdly, and most importantly, the metabolic path of diatoms has nothing to do with silicon. I mean, glass is made of silicon and sand, clay and many rocks are composed of silicon, but diatoms cannot use silicon in this form. It must be silicic acid, typically orthosilicic acid (H4SiO4) which they process into Silicon Dioxide (SiO2). In order for sand and other silicon containing rocks to be hydrated into orthosilicic acid, the water needs to be about 4000 meters deep to develop enough pressure. So that's how it's produced in the ocean because the ocean is easily that deep. Your tank cannot produce orthosilicic acid from your Silicon containing hardscape (unless you have a tank that is as deep as The Abyss of course).
It is is in another post <http://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/whats-this-algae.32517/page-2#post-345483>, but Clive is right the real issue with diatoms and silicon (Si) is that the silicon has to be in the form of orthosilicic acids (H4SiO4), and for the Diatom to use it to build its frustule these silicic acids are formed by the acidification of silicate salts (such as sodium silicate) in aqueous solution.

In the case of silicon it is inert when it is in the structural form of silicon oxides or "silica". Silicon dioxide (SiO2) is "quartz", one of the hardest naturally occurring minerals and a major constituent of rocks that are, in some cases, billions of years old. It isn't only the quartz in sand and rocks that builds up in large amounts because of the combination of hardness and insolubility, the diatom frustules themselves built up in huge layers to form the Moler clay that is used for "Tesco lightweight cat litter", and as a substrate in many of our tanks.

Having said all that Diatoms are actually incredibly good at extracting silica from water, and realistically it is almost impossible to get the level low enough to become a factor. There is an explanation here:
<http://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/combining-chemical-filtration-media.20015/>.

You can think of silicon as a bit like nitrogen, when nitrogen is as a gas molecule (N2) it is inert, but if you can add enough energy to split the extremely strong triple bond between atoms, the nitrogen atoms are then highly reactive and can form a whole range of compounds.

cheers Darrel
 

NC10

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@ceg4048 or anyone that's reading really, the thing annoying me, regardless of sand, glass or tap water giving off silicate or however it may enter the water column, is that the diatoms are only present in low light areas of my tank.

It's just a blanket response to say algae equals too much light, end of story. A long reply including big words doesn't mean something's correct. Less light, more Co2 and flow is not the answer to every problem. I've proved it myself by adding an extra light and now either Sacha or sciencefiction (can't remember which without checking) has added a scientific report saying they thrive in lower light, further backing up my theory. I know there are multiple factors involved, but in my case high light wasn't one of them. If I reduced my light from 2x39w in a 4 footer, I'd have to buy the fish white sticks and a guide dog.

I understand where Sacha is coming from and getting annoyed, because it's like talking to a brick wall really. I started this thread through my own personal experience, not just what should happen, would happen or people have told me will happen. The plan was that others would, so everyone could compare notes regardless of what should be expected. High light, excessive nutrients etc etc I should add my ammonia is zero, nitrites <0.25 and nitrates around 10/20, just in case it makes a difference.

Would be interesting to know the scientists take on the Si vs P ratio though, would that make a difference?
 
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ceg4048

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@ceg4048 or anyone that's reading really, the thing annoying me, regardless of sand, glass or tap water giving off silicate or however it may enter the water column, is that the diatoms are only present in low light areas of my tank.
And so what? In the areas of your tank which are affected there are other factors which you cannot see or measure that have an effect in that area. Is that the case in all tanks which suffer diatoms? Do the diatoms only ever develop in the lower light regions of the tanks? I think Ian has already pointed that out to you and you have ignored that important detail. The tank is responding as a unit, or system. Plants suffering a nitrate shortage will become victims of BGA, but the BGA can for either on the leaf itself or on the substrate far from where the leaf is, on hardscape or on substrate.

In the same way that Sacha has misinterpreted data from other sources you have misinterpreted your observations and have derived conclusions based on speculation and coincidence. Part of the problem in this hobby is that we only have primitive tools with which to measure things and we don't know all the facts, so we can only observe the tank as if looking through a keyhole.

We have no idea what your flow/distribution is like. We have no idea how effective your CO2 dissolution is. We do know that these two factors, in the presence of light contribute greatly to the stimulation of diatomic blooms, especially in new tanks, which are unstable chemically. I have already discussed, in the thread I linked to above, the path to follow, which includes a thorough assessment of your injection/distribution techniques, of your nutrient dosing and of your maintenance procedures. As far as I'm concerned you've only proven that in these areas of tank management, your methods are suspect. I'm pretty sure you're doing something incorrectly there, but without a detailed description of the setup I'm not able to be precise. I'm sorry if that annoys you, but imagine how annoyed are the people who have already solved their algae problems, having to listen to arguments from people who can't get rid of their diatoms.

If you care to provide such details and if you are prepared to follow the advice, then I'm confident we can resolve your issues. But I have no interest in debating with someone who has already drawn a conclusion that our advice is akin to a brick wall and who prefers to chase ghosts. I can already tell that you are a test kit lover and that immediately invalidates any conclusions drawn from the kits worthless readings. I also refuse to argue with ratio lovers. So, if that's the path you wish to take, well then good luck with that. Feel free to measure your silicate and phosphate levels and enjoy the fantasy numbers. For other readers who suffer diatomic blooms and are weary of all the dead end conclusions found throughout The Matrix, they can use the information in the linked thread above as a template for problem resolution.

A long reply including big words doesn't mean something's correct.
Would be interesting to know the scientists take...
Scientists will more than likely have a long reply using big words. Be careful because it may not be correct.

Cheers,
 

Sacha

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It is well known that diatoms thrive in low- light environments. Clive is the only person I have come across who denies this
 

ian_m

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It is well known that diatoms thrive in low- light environments
Mine appeared in quite high light when I first set my tank up and appear occasionally again after major plant re-arrangements in even higher light I have now. So nothing to do with light levels.
 

Sacha

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On right, so those scientists are wrong again. The Matrix must have them.

It looks like I travelled in too deep and now nothing can bring me back. There's no hope for me now
 
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Honestly, scientists can prove anything they like as far as I am concerned. Just pay them enough.

Personally, as Ian says above, I get diatoms when I have a bioload overload either because I stirred the substrate, because my plants are melting, or because I overfed, or because I added too many fish at once, or in a new setup, or all of these combined.

The problem with diatoms is that they are difficult to sustain in case one wants diatoms like I do at the moment.
 
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Mr. Teapot

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I get diatoms when I have a bioload overload
Agree with everything you say and is my experience as well.

Interesting that you can't sustain an intentional diatom bloom. Perhaps it's because the bio-available silicon has been used and removed from the system as discussed in Sasha's Paper. A great experiment would be to fertilise your diatoms with silicic acid?
 
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Agree with everything you say and is my experience as well.

Interesting that you can't sustain an intentional diatom bloom. Perhaps it's because the bio-available silicon has been used and removed from the system as discussed in Sasha's Paper. A great experiment would be to fertilise your diatoms with silicate?

Well, I don't mind trying but how do I fertilise with silicate?
The tanks always had silica sand ,but no diatoms prior to that. My guess is the filters/plants cope with the bioload eventually and for whatever reason outcompete the diatoms. Also, the test did measure very low ammonia levels once I increased the bioload so that goes hand in hand. Diatoms maybe using different sources of nutrients besides silica that aren't always available, or at least not available to the diatoms and used by something else. In some of the info from the papers Sacha posted, it said diatoms use silica ADDITIONALLY to other sources. So one may need silica AND......
As far as light goes, it doesn't matter. If you hinder the diatoms by increasing the light you'll end up with other nastier sorts of algae that thrive in similar environment but are better at photosynthesizing.
 

Iain Sutherland

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If you want to sustain for algae eaters it's very difficult, they relish it so much. Sustaining with no livestock is easy, just neglect the tank once it blooms and it will continue.

Think it's pretty clear from the number of threads on this forum that diatoms will bloom in any tank with any number of different situations. Silicates, no silicates, high light, low light whatever... The only fact we do have is how to get rid of them.

Loving the discussion though.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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If you want to sustain for algae eaters it's very difficult, they relish it so much. Sustaining with no livestock is easy, just neglect the tank once it blooms and it will continue.

I remember I had no problem sustaining diatoms in a fry tank with corys which were fed 4-5 times a day and grew fast overloading my filters to the point they couldn't manage despite the water changes.
Otherwise it takes a couple of weeks and diatoms stop growing. They don't magically disappear from the glass or plants though so unless one manually removes it or gets algae eaters they'll stay where they appeared.

But I have no problem sustaining other types of algae :
 

NC10

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This will be my last comment on this thread because I don't want it just turning into a slanging match, which it's starting to. I'll leave that to Sacha :lol:

@ceg4048 - My tank is fine, I'm very happy with it. I didn't start the thread for advice, I started it for people to compare their own experiences, that's it.

Feel free to carry on making assumptions about me though, going along believing they're right and twisting what I've said to try and belittle me. Just to answer a few of the assumptions though.....

I haven't ignored any important detail by Ian. In my tank they were only in the low light areas, simple as that. I can only go on my personal experience if I want to be 100% sure about something, which this clearly isn't in my case:
Diatomic algal blooms are strictly a result of excessive lighting.

Cheers

My tank managements suspect? Why? How? Lol You don't even know what I'm doing. My tank and tank management is fine. The advice given is like a brick wall? I said its like talking to a brick wall, how can advice be like a brick wall? A test kit lover? I tested the water at the weekend for the first time. Ratio lover? lol I've just mentioned something I came across to see what people thought of it. Anyway, I'm gone.
 
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dw1305

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Hi all,
I think the answer to "low light" or "high light" for diatoms is just "any light". You will always have diatoms in your tank, just sometimes they will be more apparent than other times.

Diatoms are pretty well universal in any habitat with liquid water (even if it is only sporadic), if you look at soil in the Arctic or the trunks of rain-forest trees, you will find diatoms.

cheers Darrel
 

EnderUK

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It is well known that diatoms thrive in low- light environments. Clive is the only person I have come across who denies this

My nano is as low tech as could be, Diatoms were only a problem with the initial plant melt but once I prunned the melting leaves the plants bonced back and never saw diatoms again, not even when I rescaped a few weeks ago with the same plants. No otos but I have nerite snails, MTS and shrimp so I suppose they're doing the trick. My main tank has never seen Diatoms (well not that I have noticed) and that's pretty low light and there was a point when there was no otos or shrimp in there for the first four months, there was a small number of MTS in there from the begining though.
 

James O

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No comments on anyone's view here but here's my thinking:

Some do struggle with diatoms. Some do not. It seems more advantageous for the 'do's' to follow advice from the 'do nots' because they clearly know something you don't. Only when your tank is clear (and you become a 'do not' ) does it make sense to investigate the deeper meaning of a diatom bloom........unless of course you like diatoms, are a scientist or maybe a masochist :D

:)Make clear water not war:)

Hugs all round:angelic:
 

Andy Thurston

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When i started my cube i didn't get any diatoms.
4weeks DSM, Ji3 compost, full ei ferts,16w t5 lights 7hours a day 2 x 50% weekly waterchange(so tank hygene not that good) 12x turnover and as much co2 as i could get to dissolve into the water ph7.5 down to ph5.2
One of the t5 ballasts failed and i replaced it with a tmc tile and controller
I started the leds at 50% power and had a massive diatoms bloom and plants melting. So i reduced the led to 20% cleaned the tank and drained the water then refilled with new dechlorinated water. 2weeks later i noticed more diatoms just very feintly appearing again so i cleaned reduced light to 10% and drained and filled again.
Lights are now at 15% drop checker is yellow/green and has been stable for a month and ready for fauna.
I used this method on 4 tanks now and diatoms has only occured in high light high flow areas 3 of the four tanks got shrimp/ottos added to get rid and those tanks matured and adapted while the cuc got fat. once those tanks matured the ottos became skinny and i/we had to start feeding more.

Clive's? method works, even for noobs, you don't really need to understand every process that goes on in the tank, just the ones you have control over and its a good starting point if you do want to understand more
Why make it harder than you have to
Lowish light and loads of co2, ferts and waterchanges.

Have a read through this journal
http://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/my-first-ever-aquarium-juwel-rio-180l.22176/

Ignorance is bliss:)
 
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Clive's way worked for up to a point....I think my plants weren't able to out compete so I turned up the light a bit and added a lot more plants, this did it for me at the end run....in my tank the diantoms were growing faster than the plants, that's way I thought to give my plants more light (and ferts)...I kept a close eye to my CO2 (pH vs KH)
In the end Clive helped me a whole lot, but as he is not here standing next to my tank he (nobody for that matter) couldn't see/ test or otherwise look close to what was happening in my tank, that last bit is still up to yourself.
 

Jaap

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And so what? In the areas of your tank which are affected there are other factors which you cannot see or measure that have an effect in that area. Is that the case in all tanks which suffer diatoms? Do the diatoms only ever develop in the lower light regions of the tanks? I think Ian has already pointed that out to you and you have ignored that important detail. The tank is responding as a unit, or system. Plants suffering a nitrate shortage will become victims of BGA, but the BGA can for either on the leaf itself or on the substrate far from where the leaf is, on hardscape or on substrate.

In the same way that Sacha has misinterpreted data from other sources you have misinterpreted your observations and have derived conclusions based on speculation and coincidence. Part of the problem in this hobby is that we only have primitive tools with which to measure things and we don't know all the facts, so we can only observe the tank as if looking through a keyhole.

We have no idea what your flow/distribution is like. We have no idea how effective your CO2 dissolution is. We do know that these two factors, in the presence of light contribute greatly to the stimulation of diatomic blooms, especially in new tanks, which are unstable chemically. I have already discussed, in the thread I linked to above, the path to follow, which includes a thorough assessment of your injection/distribution techniques, of your nutrient dosing and of your maintenance procedures. As far as I'm concerned you've only proven that in these areas of tank management, your methods are suspect. I'm pretty sure you're doing something incorrectly there, but without a detailed description of the setup I'm not able to be precise. I'm sorry if that annoys you, but imagine how annoyed are the people who have already solved their algae problems, having to listen to arguments from people who can't get rid of their diatoms.

If you care to provide such details and if you are prepared to follow the advice, then I'm confident we can resolve your issues. But I have no interest in debating with someone who has already drawn a conclusion that our advice is akin to a brick wall and who prefers to chase ghosts. I can already tell that you are a test kit lover and that immediately invalidates any conclusions drawn from the kits worthless readings. I also refuse to argue with ratio lovers. So, if that's the path you wish to take, well then good luck with that. Feel free to measure your silicate and phosphate levels and enjoy the fantasy numbers. For other readers who suffer diatomic blooms and are weary of all the dead end conclusions found throughout The Matrix, they can use the information in the linked thread above as a template for problem resolution.



Scientists will more than likely have a long reply using big words. Be careful because it may not be correct.

Cheers,
I now have diatoms :)

There are a few reasons that I suspect caused this.

1. The fact that I have lowered co2 a little
2. I have added 3 guppies and 3 otos...had no fish before
3. I have increased light intensity
4. I have not cleaned my filter for 3 months

I am suspecting number 4...is it possible that this happened due to a very dirty filter?
 
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