17 Mar 2012
I have diatoms in a Nano that was set up several months back. It’s a 10L low tech with a 7W LED and small internal filter. Temperature is about 25c at the moment. Photo period is about 8-9 hours. Substrate is just Unipac aquarium sand and I’m using rainwater exclusively. I do about a 50% water change once a week. Flow in the tank is good and plants are growing well on TNC all in one. Any ideas why I’m still getting this? I’m not bothered having to clean hardware etc but it means taking Anubias etc out of the tank to clean them which isn’t good. I don’t have any inmates at the moment as it’s only 10L. Would a couple of shrimp help, if so what type? Anything else I can do that I’m not doing at the moment? TIA.


16 Apr 2015
Every tank develops a <Periphyton> population on the hardscape. It is what the aqaurium hobbyist commonly know as the term Aufwuchs. Its build up from a mixture of life forms of which green algae and diatoms are most dominant. It's actualy a very healthy sign and a very healthy food source for any fish and shrimps.. In many if not most cases it's a welcome easthetic addition to give the hardscape surface a more mature and aged look.

This is something every aqaurium should develop and have, its part of a natural cycle you can not get around.. The show cases you see around that do not have it, but are shown with spot on clean hardscape. In these scapes it is prevented to grow and regularly mechanicaly removed from the hardscape with a toothbrush or in some cases chemicaly killed with spot treatment.

Bottom line without constantly removing or killing it each aqaurium has a healthy green algae and diatom population it can sustain. In a well balanced aqaurium its regulated by its own devices and we only need to clean the glass panels now and then.

In cases of exessive diatom growth that commonly occurs in newly setup tanks, it can keep developing for several months. Is something you can do very little about, other than wait it out. Exessive ditaom growth means there is an exessive food source available for it to live off. This food source mainly silica that can leach from the sand, will deplete over time with water changes and by the algae itself once the biggest part is eaten all away. Than the diatom growth will halt and deminish back to normal healthy Aufwuchs development.

As said shrimps eat it and most fish do. A nano fish that realy loves it and is mainly vegitarian in its diet is Otocinclus. Keeping this fish it requires a healthy aufwuchs population to graze from in the tank. That doesn't make it a part of the solution as a remedi, but a part of the healthy cycle in an aqaurium.

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