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-   -   Will a Phosphate/Silicate filter hurt my plants ? (

candymancan 09-10-2013 09:30 PM

Will a Phosphate/Silicate filter hurt my plants ?
Hey guys... I have had a diatom problem in my 27g Hex and 30 long gallon tank for like 10 years now... Constantly have to wipe the glass.. take ornaments out and let the acid rain outside take care of them... lol and clean everything.. literally every like 2 weeks the glass gets brown..

I know they are diatoms because they wipe off easy and turn into like a powder in the water... I am finally fed up with it.. specially now that both my tanks are heavily planted.... The plants are getting brown algae or diatoms on their leaves and I cant stop it... The leaves on red nesaea and Limnophila hippuroides are too small to wipe off.. My nerite snails ignore them even the horned nerites.. My oto cats ignore them as well..

My plants are actually dying now because they are covered in the stuff.. The new growth is lush and green and orange/red/pink depending on which plant it is but the old grown is coverd in diatoms.. the leaves are small and dying... Its frustrating...

I found out my tap water has phosphates and silicates in it.. I bought a Phosphate test kit and I have 1-2PPM phosphates in the water and I couldn't find a silicate test kit anywhere but the knowledgable lady at petco who run salt water aquariums in her own house said the tap water has silicates in it as well.. I did some research and the lady as well showed me in the store a thing called seachem phosguard.. It removes phosphates and silicates in the tanks water.. She only had 1 pouch left though and it was only for a 30g tank.. I have a new 55G tank as well and it too is getting diatoms all over my pretty plants... So I got that bag she had, and went to petsmart and they sell API Phos Zorb which are pouches as well and remove phosphates and silicates.. I got one for a 55g and a a box with 2 smaller pouches for my other tanks..

It says to put them in high flowing water so I put them behind my HOB filters right before the water goes back into the tank. I was told by a guy on another forum though that plants need phosphates and I will kill my plants using these things and to buy a Reverse osmosis system... but frankly those are $150-250 and I am not spending that much money nore have that much money...

Will my plants be ok with these pouches ? Cant I just use them until my diatoms are gone (assuming that means my silicates are gone) and then take them out and dose some phosphate back in the back tank using seachem flourish or something ? I used to do weekly 50-70% water changes in my tanks before I had my plants because my nitrates always sky rocketed to like 40-80ppm after a week... but now my nitrates are actually dropping to around 10-20 because my plants so I don't need to do water changes like that anymore all I do is top off the water... I understand topping the water off with a few pint's of water will introduce new silicates but it cant be nearly as bad as doing those 50-70% water changes lol

Here is a pic of the diatoms im talking about

Boredomb 09-11-2013 09:41 AM

Do you dose any fertilizers in this tank at all now that you have plants? I have read a 10:1 ratio of nitrates to phosphate is fine. So it maybe just the extra silicates in the water. How long are you lights on for? I can't say yay or nay on the pouches and if they will cause problemes to the plants cause I don't have these water issues soo have never used them. Heres a link you can read about daitoms. It also tells you who makes a silicate tester. Brown Diatom Algae Control | Aquariums Life If your Tap water has that much silicates in it then I don't see where you have much of a choice but to try and use the pouches. Maybe some else will step in and help out that has experience with this matter

Keleborn 09-11-2013 12:03 PM

Great link, Boredom! I've never had this problem before either, but it was great reading an article that explains the issue and lists a bunch of ways to combat! candymancan, you can always use fert tabs on your plant roots to counter the effect of your pouches on them.

jaysee 09-11-2013 09:10 PM

How old are your light bulbs? As they age, frequencies drop out and that can favor algae growth.

candymancan 09-12-2013 02:18 AM

Bulbs are all new... its been going on for 10 years in 2 tanks... Its silicates in the water not the lights... Both tanks in fact have new lighting stronger lighting and it did it before with the old lamps and new...

Boredomb 09-12-2013 06:21 AM

Silicates in the water supply can cause this but there are other factors as well bulbs in a planted tank need to be changed once a year. Also brighter lights without the nutrients to back it for the plants/tank can be just as bad. This is what we are asking about the other factors.

candymancan 09-12-2013 06:53 AM


For like 10 years Both tanks had the stock lamps... the 30 gallon had 1 24 inch long t8 bulb... The tank is 36 inches long... The 27g hex had a 15 inch T8 bulb... The bulbs were only replaced when they went bad (this was wayyy before I got into real plants so I had no use for lights nore knew anything about lighting and plants) Then recently like 1-2 months ago I got a duel T5 NO setup from aqueon for the 30g.. and I have 3 T8 hoods over my Hexagon... I doubled or tripled the lighting in the tanks. and the crap is still growing..

Anyway.. Im noticing the 30g is now developing black beard algae... I dunno why.... uhg so frustrating.. Been researching that for like 3-4 hours now... I guess from what I read cutting back on the lights and doubling the dose of liquid CO2 will help kill the algae and increasing water flow.. Ima turn off my 24 inch bubble strip and dose double the CO2 and dose it at night when I turn the lights off and see if that helps.. Or maybe get a syringe and squirt it on the plant leaves affected by it..

I dunno my fish tanks are just giving me a headache lol

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