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Dave21

Diatoms, How Many Snails?

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Dave21

Hi,

So I have a 29 gallon tank that recently completed the cycle and I have now developed what I believe are diatoms. 

 

I had only very slight brownish orange growth on a very small corner of the tank of Friday and went out of town over the weekend. When I returned Sunday I found the algae had spread over most of the rock, sand, and on some of the glass. 

 

I know I read diatom blooms are common on a new tank after cycling, but I'd like to add some snails (I currently have none) to help clean it up. I currently have 3 hermits crabs that appear to be eating it, but they aren't making a dent. 

 

I'm looking to add some cerith, trochus, and astrea snails as I read they will all eat diatoms, but would like to see how many I should get. 

 

Also on a second note my ph has maintained a consistent 8.0 ph since I set the tank up and first started testing; however, when I checked this morning my ph was down to 7.4. Is this due to the algae growth?

 

 

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Dave21

Also I forgot to add that the snails at my LFS are very small. The biggest are the trochus snails that are still only 1/2 around or less.

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Ratvan

I would try and get 1 or 2 of each type and wait a few weeks see how they do and repeat the process, you dont want to have to start feeding tour clean up crew ideally

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Dave21

So I added one more Hawaiian hermit, 3 astrea snails and 1 cerith (they only had one). Unfortunately they didnt have any trochus snails. All the snails and hermit were 1/2 inch or less so I guess I'll see how they do. 

 

However the algea growth seems to have noticeably growth just in being out today. Should I leave my lights off for a while while the snails and hermits attempt to manage the bloom? I only have a cheap Nicrew 30-36in LED light off Amazon and have been running the timer on 10 hrs at 39% intensity on both band. I'm not sure if changing intensity or run time might help with reducing the bloom. Attached is the light specs. Also should i just let the bloom run its course? Will letting the algae cover everything cause any health issues with the fish?

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rough eye

depriving the tank of light will inhibit the growth of anything that thrives on light. that will not encourage competition, which is what your new tank needs. i kept lights on from the start of cycling my tank and had lots of algae growth, but i never had problems with diatoms, dinos, etc. (true) algae  like GHA is the least problematic of all those options. 

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Dave21

Thanks, the snails do not seem to be making much of a dent so I'll definitely be placing an order with Reef Cleaners. The diatoms now seem to be developing bubbles under them and periodically it is released. Is this going to cause an issue with the fish in the tank or is this common? I'll post a follow up with pictures.

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Dave21

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Clown79

Bubbles are normal, it often is just attaching to algae.

 

You could stir the sand,especially new sand as bubbles trap in the sand

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Dave21

Sounds good. It seems to be trapped under the algae. So should I be cleaning the algae off the rock and sand, just stiring the sand with the algae on top, or would it hurt to just leave it untouched, keep slowing adding snails till they keep up, and keep doing weekly water changes until it passes? 

 

I dont like the look of it, but it seems impossible to keep it clean. It noticibly grows over the entire tank from when I leave for work and get home. If it doesnt hurt to just leave it, I'll just do weekly water changes and let it do its thing until it passes. 

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Clown79

Adding cuc always helps.

 

When you do waterchanges you certainly can vacuum the sand and should use a turkey baster to lightly blast the rocks, then you can siphon out what comes off the rocks

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rough eye

i wouldn't add more snails. has it been 2 days? if you get enough snails to clean that up in 2 days you will then have to provide that much food for them forever. i have 3 snails in my 13.5 gallon tank. there's not a lot of algae for them to eat at this point and i'm glad i didn't add more when i had a lot of algae.

 

if it is diatoms, then they're feeding on silicates in the tank. as you suck them out (with a turkey baster) you'll be removing the silicates, and gradually they will run out of fuel and start to diminish. if you add a bunch of snails, that same amount of silicates that's in the tank won't be removed when the snails eat the diatoms. it will be there as fuel in the future.

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rough eye

more thoughts:

 

if anything you might consider MORE light. hopefully one of those snails brought a little green algae on its shell which you need to get growing on your glass. You might want to gradually (maybe 5% a week) increase the lighting level.

 

Astraea snails HATE sand. they'll stay on the rocks or on the glass and they need some green to eat so they don't starve. nassarius and cerith snails i guess is what you would need for the sand. 

 

are you using a clean water source so as not to give the diatoms more fuel? if you're not using reliable RODI water then distilled water can be used. 

 

I would use a turkey baster to suck up a bunch each day, squirt it into your filter floss (assuming you're using floss), and then change that floss daily. Be patient! You got this. If you can add anything that already has some green and/or coralline algae growing on it, those will gradually take over the job of consuming what the diatoms are eating, along with the beneficial bacteria you want to encourage.

 

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Dave21

I used a spot feeder to blast it off most of the rock; however, the is a number of areas I was unable to get too because of the shape or the rock (such as the undersides etc. 

 

I am currently using treated whater as I do not have an RODI system yet. 

 

And I noticed that your right, the Astrea snails do not appear to be leaving the rockwork at all. The cerith snail is also only staying on the rockwork. 

 

I did increase the light and a few of the snail shells have some green on them. 

 

I think the diatoms have run their course because I havent seen it spread anymore since Thursday and is not returning where I cleaned. The snails seem to slowly be doing their job and the tank looks way better than it did when I came back from my trip. 

 

Thanks everyone for all the help and advice! 

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Dave21

So I thought I'd revive this thread because I've got some good algae growth now and I was thinking about adding a couple more snails and maybe a couple more hermits. I was wondering what type of snails you guys would recommend to help keep things in check. 

 

I still have the 3 Astrea snails, 1 Cerith snail, and also have 1 fighting conch who spends the nights munching around the sand. I also have 1 scarlet 2 Hawaiian and 1 blue leg hermit crab. 

 

As I was advised, the astreas typically do not leave the rock and the cerith also tends to stay on the rock. 

 

Here is a pick of where I'm at now with the algae stage.

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banasophia

Looks really nice. I always just go with Reef Cleaners recommendations on number of snails for my tanks, then I add the few extras they don’t usually carry (Mexican turbo, ninja stars, Tongan nassarius). I’m not really a fan of hermit crabs as cleanup crew members… I like to have one or two just because I enjoy watching them, but I feel like snails and emerald crabs seem to work better in my tanks to keep them clean.

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Dave21
21 hours ago, banasophia said:

Looks really nice. I always just go with Reef Cleaners recommendations on number of snails for my tanks, then I add the few extras they don’t usually carry (Mexican turbo, ninja stars, Tongan nassarius). I’m not really a fan of hermit crabs as cleanup crew members… I like to have one or two just because I enjoy watching them, but I feel like snails and emerald crabs seem to work better in my tanks to keep them clean.

I did look into there website, but it seemed there recommendations for my sized tank was a lot of snails. I havent emailed them yet about a custom package so I'll do that and see if it's any different. 

 

And I agree the scarlet hermit doesnt seem to do very much and doesnt wonder around too much. The two Hawaiian however do seem to roam the tank and pick at some of the algae. But they are funny to watch climb around. 

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