Diatoms are microscopic cells composed of overlapping half shells of silica.

They spend their lives floating in the ocean or in the sediments.

Their silica shells, called frustules, are microscopic in size and makes them hard to see for an average aquarist.


In the ocean, they form a major part of the “plant-plankton” called phytoplankton, which provides important food for the “animal-plankton” called zooplankton.

These algae spread rapidly with high nitrate levels. They are actually the first algae to establish themselves. They form a brown slime on the gravel, rocks, decoration and aquarium glass.

As your saltwater aquarium matures, they should disappear. Scrape them away to keep a clear view of your saltwater aquarium fish when they become obvious.

API ALGAE SCRAPER For Glass Aquariums 1-Count Container
  • Contains one (1) API ALGAE SCRAPER For Glass Aquariums 1-Count Container
  • Extra long and extra strong scraper for glass aquariums.
  • Quickly removed unsightly algae.
  • Extra-long handle keeps your hand from getting wet and supports durable scrubbing pad.
  • For use in glass aquariums only. Not for use on acrylic, plexiglass, or any surface other than glass. Do not use on dry surfaces. Rinse pad with tap water before and after each use.

Like all algae, the best way to deal with this type is by targeting its prevention. To produce their frustule and live out their lifecycle, they need abundant silicates or silicic acid.

Silica sand is a common source, so it is highly recommended that you use a limestone sand or gravel instead.

Turbo Snail

Some commercial salts for mixing marine water will also increase the levels of silicates – be sure to read the labels and know what you are adding to your water.

Also, try to keep invertebrates such as snails. They will roam the saltwater aquarium, walls, rocks and even the hard to reach spots and feed on algae.

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