Aquarium Decoration (Rocks, Plants and Substrates) • Diatoms on rocks

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Diatoms on rocks

Postby Idech » Fri Jan 08, 2021 11:04 pm

My filter has been running for 18 months but the rocks (Florida rocks) and substrate (aragonite) are 6 weeks old. I redid the tank when I switched to cichlids.

I know diatoms occur when cycling, but this is not my case. The tank has been cycled for 17 months. So why the diatoms on the rocks and substrate and how to get rid of it ? I’ve read online but the infos are often contradictory. Some say increase the light, others turn off the light and so on.

I tried increasing the light and it made it worse. I’ve turned it off for two days now. So far no change. I’ve also added carbon because a trusted source said it might help (and also because the tank smells bad, maybe due to Prime but that’s another story).

Any tips ?

Thank you !
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Re: Diatoms on rocks

Postby noddy » Sat Jan 09, 2021 3:08 pm

No idea but I'll be keeping an eye on this thread as I have had a problem with diatoms since I set the tank up four years ago despite hearing that it will go away after cycling.
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Re: Diatoms on rocks

Postby DJRansome » Sat Jan 09, 2021 4:01 pm

I would say the growth is not diatoms after the first year. There is also brown algae. Reduce light and nutrients. I don't think it is possible to have a 100% algae free tank if you light it at all and feed the fish generously. As long as the fish nibble enough to keep it trimmed that is a good balance to have in your tank.

Different story with heavily planted tanks, or those that can have shrimp or otos or siamese algae eaters.
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Re: Diatoms on rocks

Postby Idech » Sat Jan 09, 2021 7:11 pm

DJRansome wrote:I would say the growth is not diatoms after the first year. There is also brown algae. Reduce light and nutrients. I don't think it is possible to have a 100% algae free tank if you light it at all and feed the fish generously. As long as the fish nibble enough to keep it trimmed that is a good balance to have in your tank.

Different story with heavily planted tanks, or those that can have shrimp or otos or siamese algae eaters.


I used to have a heavily planted tank and I would get regular green algae. I did have a cleaning crew and they did a fantastic job ! I really think it’s diatoms because it dissolves if I rub it with a tooth brush. Also, the algae I have on the glass (very, very little) is green. My nitrates are about 5-8 ppm and the light has been off for a few days and it seems to have no effect. I have a Fluval 3.0 for a light and I use it at 20% capacity so not bright at all.

Oh well, I got my 75 gallons coming soon so I’ll have to move everything to the new tank. I’ll scrub it before putting it in.
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Re: Diatoms on rocks

Postby DJRansome » Sat Jan 09, 2021 7:22 pm

Leave the lights off for a month to see an impact. Make sure the sun is not on the tank.

My planted tanks have algae too, but it IS possible to get just the right balance and have an algae free tank. Search for pictures of sir_keith's tanks for an example.

For me I was only able to achieve algae free when I added CO2...even with low light plants.
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Re: Diatoms on rocks

Postby Idech » Sat Jan 09, 2021 10:29 pm

DJRansome wrote:Leave the lights off for a month to see an impact. Make sure the sun is not on the tank.

My planted tanks have algae too, but it IS possible to get just the right balance and have an algae free tank. Search for pictures of sir_keith's tanks for an example.

For me I was only able to achieve algae free when I added CO2...even with low light plants.


Yeah, I think I’ll try that. There is no sun at all on the tank. Even though I love my cichlids, I really do miss my plants. Maybe one day I’ll add floating plants, or potted plants.

I think algae is unavoidable, as it’s just part of aquatic life. I wouldn’t mind green algae, I think it looks pretty on the rocks. But brown algae or diatoms I’m not too fond of. :-)

I wonder how sir keith manages his tank to not have any algae. Is there a way to tag him so he can see my question for him in the thread ?
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Re: Diatoms on rocks

Postby DJRansome » Sun Jan 10, 2021 5:26 am

Send him a PM or reply to his thread once you have searched for it.
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Re: Diatoms on rocks

Postby Idech » Sun Jan 10, 2021 12:14 pm

Ok, thank you !
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Re: Diatoms on rocks

Postby SenorStrum » Fri Jan 15, 2021 4:55 pm

Idech, primarily to satisfy my own curiosity, what kind of filter are you running on this tank? How big is it, and how's it set up (what do you have in it for media)?
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Re: Diatoms on rocks

Postby Idech » Tue Jan 19, 2021 9:28 am

SenorStrum wrote:Idech, primarily to satisfy my own curiosity, what kind of filter are you running on this tank? How big is it, and how's it set up (what do you have in it for media)?


When I wrote this post I had a 36 inches 45 gallons with a Fluval 407 and an internal polishing filter. For media, I have 2 long, rectangle sponges, 2 very thick sponges and the rest is bio-media (bio-rings of some sort) + polishing material on the internal filter.

Since yesterday I upgraded to a 48 inches 75 gallons but kept the same filtration as it was oversized on my 45 gallons.
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