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Algae ID - need some second opinions

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  • Algae ID - need some second opinions

    Alright nerds and nerdettes.. I have something that I thought was hair algae in my tank.. but on a closer look (800x closer) with my microscope.. I think I have colonial diatoms.

    What do you think?



    Here's about as good as I could get at 2000x with oil..

  • #2
    According to Google you are correct sir.

    So we can send you algae samples then for ID?
    The Planted Aquarium Blog

    Comment


    • #3
      I will put whatever algae you want to send me under the scope!

      This was interesting, because a friend of mine is having trouble with the same exact algae on a new tank. His problem is admittedly much much worse than mine, but he's tried everything to figure it out.
      We've increased light to try and burn out the diatoms, which only seemed to make them worse. We've done many many water changes, removed suspected rock, cranked the CO2 up to eleven quadruple dosed excel. Nothing seems to phase them.
      The fact that we are both seeing the same algae along the same timeframe and age of the tank has me suspicious of the controsoil, since that is the only thing our two tanks have in common. He lives in TX, uses RO water with GH booster added. I am in OR, running tap water, and I use O's trademark coco carbon filtered tap water changer.

      I wonder if controsoil has copious amounts of silicates, and that is why we are both seeing the same plague.

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      • #4
        Thats pretty interesting. I use coco carbon filtered water on most all tanks with the exception of a few using RO with GH booster. The fact that you guys are many miles apart has me wondering.

        Could it be a silicate issue with the soil? Could it be a reaction of water parameters and soil?
        The Planted Aquarium Blog

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        • #5
          This has been coming up a lot. I don't mean as a typical newbie question/problem. I mean it seems more frequent to me like it was less common in years past but gaining in frequency these past few years. I wonder if those little diatoms, like many bacteria, are becoming resistant to our prophylactic treatments. I also wonder if they are becoming more numerous, not only because of said resistance, but because of climate change.

          Silicic acid is normally only encountered naturally at the surface of the ocean where some of it is off gassed and the rest ends up in diatom shells and those diatoms later end up in the sands of our beaches or in the stomachs of planktivores. This hasn't been happening as efficiently as it should, lately.

          One thing the researchers noticed is that there has been a massive spike in nitrates in the conveyor system. They use a term we use in the same way. Silicic acid is now limiting but nitrate & phosphate are now unlimiting when before they were more in proportion to each other, and yet the diatoms explode in number. Except in one place, the Indian Ocean.

          Why? Because it is the part of the Pacific suffering the worst of ocean acidification. Scientists thought that ocean acidification would benefit the diatoms, but no, it slows their growth. You know who's responsible for all this eutrophication, acidification, climate change and disruption of the Atlantic conveyor system that links all these things together, right?

          So, what do those articles tell us about places where diatoms are the least bad but still have the nitrates and silicic acid? Places where there is less phosphorus and iron.

          So, which one of us wants to risk it all by addressing his diatom outbreak by bottoming out on nitrogen, phosphorous and iron? It would be for Science!

          Sorry about the long, semi-misanthropic ramble, but I saw connections and this is more or less how I reason my way through to new solutions. I'll put TL;DR tag on one of these next time .
          "You are much better off with no numbers than meaningless ones. The minute you believe numbers uncritically, that is, without understanding how they're calculated and how well they measure whatever they're supposed to measure, you will generate a breed of employee who will produce numbers and not results. Your data-processing system will then serve not to describe reality but to lie about it."

          -Micheal S. Montalbano

          Comment


          • #6
            I am guessing that if I bottomed out N, P, and FE, I'd run into something a little more fierce than diatoms.. so that frightens me a little.

            My friend's tank is really having problems, and I assume it's because he may be running a little higher light than I am - maybe a slightly different dosing schedule. But he has a biblical diatom plague going on. I have the same algae, but mine hasn't gotten quite so insane. It seems to have followed the same basic development timeline in both of our tanks. The only common aspect that both of our tanks share is we both used controsoil as a substrate.

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            • #7
              So what is the source of the soil? How rich is it out of the bag?

              One of the things I've considered in my own soil efforts, is that you have a nutritious layer of dirt, but a cap of something inert but highly adsorbant to trap those leaking nutrients, keeping as much as feasible out of the water column. Not to toot my own horn, but diatoms have never been a problem for me.

              So maybe, instead of resistance and great numbers, maybe it's insufficient adsorbancy of the cap or substrate itself?

              I've no experience with Controsoil and only some with ADA soils.
              "You are much better off with no numbers than meaningless ones. The minute you believe numbers uncritically, that is, without understanding how they're calculated and how well they measure whatever they're supposed to measure, you will generate a breed of employee who will produce numbers and not results. Your data-processing system will then serve not to describe reality but to lie about it."

              -Micheal S. Montalbano

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm glad I don't have this epic algae problem... Sucks for you guys.

                Comment


                • #9
                  This is the friend ---^

                  Controsoil is a lot like aquasoil, except that it doesn't have the ammonium or other nutrients added. It has incredibly hard granules, but they are less dense than most of the other aquatic soils I've used. The manufacturer says that it is from a volcanic source.

                  CONTROSOIL™ is a multi-purpose soil that is volcanic in origin. It lightly acidifies and softens aquarium water to create an environment conducive to fishes, invertebrates (including shrimp), and plants that must be maintained in these conditions (e.g. aquatic organisms originating in tropical rainforest habitats).

                  The shape and size of the substrate CONTROSOIL™ encourages the strong root development of aquatic plants; additionally, the substrate Controsoil is quickly colonized by beneficial microorganisms that improve overall water quality. CONTROSOIL™ will not disintegrate or cloud aquarium water; it helps to clarify water and also removes impurities. CONTROSOIL™ may be used as a bottom substrate in all freshwater aquaria, not just those housing plants.
                  The also claim on that it controls and/or lowers COD.

                  Neither of us are using a cap, as you generally wouldn't with this type of substrate - at least not like you would with MTS, or a straight dirt tank.

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                  • #10
                    What diatoms?


                    Last edited by zeldar; 05-22-2015, 11:43 AM.

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                    • #11
                      With the twinstar running in there, it makes the diatoms kinda look like an upside-down chandelier

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                      • #12
                        Lowers COD? Interesting. Diatoms thrive with an increase of CO2 and a lowering of oxygen. Increased availability of oxygen would imply more salicic acid oxidation, especially in water. Maybe the problem could be worse?

                        Hang on, I just had a thought. Aren't igneous rocks chiefly silicon? Silicon dioxide is soluble in water and with just the right amount of calcium as a catalyst, produces silanols.

                        In fact:
                        SiO2 + 2H2O → H4SiO4
                        "You are much better off with no numbers than meaningless ones. The minute you believe numbers uncritically, that is, without understanding how they're calculated and how well they measure whatever they're supposed to measure, you will generate a breed of employee who will produce numbers and not results. Your data-processing system will then serve not to describe reality but to lie about it."

                        -Micheal S. Montalbano

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          That was why I thought I'd mentioned that it was from volcanic origin. I was thinking that whatever the source material - it may have a huge amount of silicon in it, if it is indeed volcanic. I just wasn't so sure that it would be soluble. Indeed.. granite, feldspar.. if those two are present there be silicon!

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                          • #14
                            Aha! Carbonates will neutralize the silicic acid! This would prevent further generations of diatoms but you'd have to wait for the existing infestation to die out.

                            So more magnesium, sodium & potassium? Take a chance on calcium carbonate? Maybe a bigger dose of GH Booster?
                            "You are much better off with no numbers than meaningless ones. The minute you believe numbers uncritically, that is, without understanding how they're calculated and how well they measure whatever they're supposed to measure, you will generate a breed of employee who will produce numbers and not results. Your data-processing system will then serve not to describe reality but to lie about it."

                            -Micheal S. Montalbano

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Doh! I just had another lightening strike in my head!

                              I've never had diatoms, even in a new tank because:

                              1. The water here in TX is liquid concrete and you know my feelings on futzing with water chemistry: Work with it, not against it.

                              2. My substrates are phyllosilicates. Montmorillonite, zeolite and the like. These are insoluble rocks of silicon, ALUMINUM & CALCIUM which completely ground the silicon.
                              "You are much better off with no numbers than meaningless ones. The minute you believe numbers uncritically, that is, without understanding how they're calculated and how well they measure whatever they're supposed to measure, you will generate a breed of employee who will produce numbers and not results. Your data-processing system will then serve not to describe reality but to lie about it."

                              -Micheal S. Montalbano

                              Comment

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