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Author Topic: Diatoms  (Read 12088 times)
« on: April 22, 2006, 05:27:34 PM »

These unicellular algae generally placed in the family Bacillariophyceae thrives in low light conditions. Further, since the cell wall is predominantly silicate, these organisms also proliferate in water that has a silicate concentration high enough to support diatom growth.

The best bet for getting rid of diatom growth is to increase your light levels and find a happy medium between the green algae that may result and the low light levels which initiate the diatom growth.

Otocinclus affinis, a small plecostomus that eats diatoms is an alternative solution.

In the final analyses, many aquarists find that over time, the diatom growth will diminish naturally though it may never disappear entirely. In the interim, I'd not resort to extreme or expensive methods to get rid of it. It may be unsightly but is otherwise harmless. Just wipe it away with each water change.

Diatoms are either photoheterotrophic or photoautotrophic, neither process involves nitrate.

Photoautotrophy is most common in lakes, rivers and the home aquarium. As photoautotrophic organisms, diatoms utilize the sunlight as energy to convert carbon dioxide and water into organic compounds. The photosynthetic pigments, chlorophyll and carotenoid, absorb light energy. Carotenoids are the most abundant pigment in diatoms and mask the presence of chlorophyll, which is why diatoms are brown rather than green.

Diatoms use glucose and other sugars generated by photosynthesis in a variety of ways. They can be catabolized to drive cellular processes or used as building blocks to make polysaccharides or other monosaccharides.

The reason that diatoms seem to proliferate in beginner tanks is simply that in newer tanks, green algae hasn't had a chance to grow and compete for the chloroplastic energy utilized by diatoms. In older tanks, where algae has typically proliferated if not controlled, the nutrient base for diatom growth has been used up.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2006, 08:38:42 PM by JP » Logged
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