How to eliminate diatoms in the marine aquarium: what to do to clean the aquarium glass and the bottom of brown spots (diatomaceous algae). Causes and prevention of the problem. What to do in case ofbrown patina on live rocks, aquarium walls, pump, filter and skimmer.
Before you seehow to get rid of diatoms, let's see what they are: it's about unicellular algae not flagellate, they are characterized by a brown color – Brown and they can be both benthic (therefore living on the bottom, on the glass or on the rocks of the aquarium). If you notice anystains on the aquarium glass, brown - brown, it will almost certainly bediatoms.
Diatoms in maturing marine aquarium
Here, everyone has been there. In the maturation phase of the aquarium, the appearance of diatoms on the "aquarium walls", on the substrate, on the live rocks but also on the filter and skimmer, is a must.
Even if they are very ugly, thediatomsthey are harmless. Thediatoms in marine aquariumthey can also appear later, in case of light variations or small imbalances that can alter the balance of the aquarium.
When it comes tocauses that lead to the increase of a particular organism (whether it is a pest or not) it is good to ask yourself a question: what does this organism feed on? Well, diatoms are autotrophic, these unicellular organisms possess chloroplasts with photosynthetic structures that can be considered the ancestors of the chloroplasts that characterize higher plants. So they form with light and to develop they mainly need silicates and other compounds that are found in your marine aquarium such as phosphates and nitrates.
How to eliminate diatoms in the marine aquarium
As stated, in the maturation of the marine aquarium that of diatoms it's a must see, so don't be alarmed. To mitigate the development of diatoms in general, it is advisable to administer the light gradually, i.e. not to start with a photoperiod of 8-9 hours a day but, instead, to start with a few hours of light and gradually increase its intensity (if the lamp would allow it) and the amount of light (so increase by a couple of hours a week).
In ripening phase, L'marine aquarium should contain only live rocks, therefore a gradual light exposure, with the addition of activating bacteria and trace elements useful for the development of barrier algae (to be clear, those algae that color the rocks purple-red-pink ...) can be a good start to avoid the algal boom and contain the diatom problem.Warning! I said contain and not eliminate! In the initial rump, when you have not yet established a certain balance, it is normal for diatoms to develop!
Diatoms: silicates, nitrates and phosphates
If the ripening phase has been completed for a while or thediatomsappear in an aquarium already well started, you need to check these three elements dissolved in water:
To eliminate diatoms, try to eliminate sources of sustenance (silicates, nitrates and phosphates).
Make sure you use silicate-free osmosis water. If you are using tap water for the production of salt water or to stop water leaks with evaporation, stop!
If you use safe osmotic water, know that silicates can be introduced into yoursmarine aquariumthrough some additives, salt mixtures or even sand not intended for use in the aquarium. So you are right to ask yourself about the causes, analyze everything you have recently introduced into the aquarium.
If there are no nitrates and phosphates in your aquarium, remember what I told you: diatoms are photosynthetic. They have a siliceous structure, so in the presence of silicates and light, they are also formed with zero nitrates, nitrites and phosphates!
Take a test to check the levels of silicates in your aquarium. If there are diatomaceous algae, the levels will certainly be considerable. Thediatomsin fact, they are self-supporting.
Damage caused by diatoms
It's true, I said that diatoms in the aquarium are harmless but this is true only in the ripening phase. If the colonies of diatomaceous algae thrive and the aquarium is already rich in corals and fish, these can be harmful. Like?
- They can deplete the oxygen present in the aquarium
- When they decompose, they release silicates into the aquarium
- They can create a brown patina that covers corals by choking them
- They can cover live rocks delaying their maturation or even death
- They can cover the glass causing an unsightly brown patina
- They are difficult to remove from rocks
How to clean glass from brown stains (diatoms)
You can use a magnet, yes, although there is often the risk of simply "moving" the diatoms. Alternatively you can use a long forceps (the one for reptiles) and a cotton ball for filter. With these two ingredients you will be able to clean the walls of the aquarium and also to clean the rocks in a superficial way. Where to find a long pliers and wadding for the filter? You can find the wadding in any aquarium shop, the pliers in a reptile shop ... or you can take advantage of the online purchase: "on this Amazon page" you will find a good 30 cm long pliers, offered at a price of 12.95 euros and expenses free shipping. Also on Amazon you can find the wool for the filter.
How to get rid of diatoms
As stated, you need to eliminate sources of silicates - use safe salt water. What product do you use to prepare salt water? Question everything! Test silicates and dogreat water changesusing safe seawater. If you have a plant for the production of osmotic water, use resins to eliminate silicates and, finally, get help from the cleaners: turbo snails they are excellent for cleaning windows and rocks covered with diatoms, they feed on diatoms and are real sweepers. Some hedgehogs and hermit crabs can also be useful foreliminate diatoms from the corals and the seabed.
Fish that feed on diatoms: Siganus Vulpinus, Naso lituratus and other surgeonfish (paracanthurus hepatus, zebrasoma flavescens…). They should be introduced only in well-ripened tanks, while in the start-up phase it is possible to introduce turbo snails, sea urchins and hermit crabs but only if the nitrate levels allow it.
In the photo above, the classic brown patina formed by diatoms on the sand (seabed), on the live rocks and on the aquarium glass.