Diatom filter for treating external parasites?

Humblefish

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In another thread, it has been postulated that a diatom filter can be effectively used to filter out the free swimming stage of ich, velvet, etc. The poster provided the two links below as evidence to support his theory:

http://aquarticles.com/articles/management/Lawler_Diatomfilters.html

Excerpt:
In the early l980's I found that diatom filters easily filtered out free-swimming dinospores of Amyloodinium ocellatum, and in my outreach advisory program passed this knowledge on to various aquariums and aquaculture ventures around the country, enabling various facilities to exhibit dinoflagellate-free fish, and to raise redfish, cobia, red snapper, speckled trout, pompano, and other species without worry about deaths from A. ocellatum.

At the Scott Aquarium I used large diatom (swimming pool) filters to effectively control, or eliminate, some bacteria, dinoflagellates, monogenea, copepods, etc. Such filters remove many free-swimming infective stages of various parasites from the tank water before they can attach to their hosts, and when the attached adult parasites on the fish die, the fish are eventually left parasite-free; those parasites that have no free-swimming infective stage, i.e., those parasites that reproduce on, and stay on, the same host are not normally in the water column (off their host) and thus not removed by diatom filtration.

https://www.lsuagcenter.com/NR/rdon...F6-280F1BA996E2/393/LA_redfish_production.pdf

Excerpt:
aquaculturelo-png.259214

aquaculture-png.259215


I'm taking the opposing view. While a diatom filter may be useful for managing the presence of ich, akin to a UV sterilizer; I don't see how it can possibly remove all of the free swimming parasites from the water before at least one attaches to a fish and the parasite's life cycle begins anew. I also don't see how it can be used to control velvet, due to the sheer number of dinospores (free swimmers) active in the water when velvet is present.

But hey, maybe I'm wrong! ;) With this is mind, I'd like to test a diatom filter's effectiveness out on Marine Velvet Disease. I regularly acquire fish with velvet for experimentation purposes. However, I am lacking in knowledge on how to properly setup & use a diatom for disease control, what size diatom filter to get, how long to treat for, etc. etc. So I am reaching out to anyone who has experience using a diatom filter. I would like to know:

Is a diatom capable of completely eradicating parasites from an aquarium, especially velvet? Or is it just an indefinite maintenance tool (like a UV sterilizer)?

What size diatom filter would I need to treat a test subject with velvet in a 29 gal QT? How long would I need to treat for before the fish could be considered parasite free?

What other diseases is a diatom filter supposedly capable of managing or eradicating? Ich, velvet, brook, uronema, gill flukes, internal parasites, bacterial infections???

Please discuss below! :)
 
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reefwiser

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Paul B. [emoji3]
I have used a diatom filter and it can be used for ick. Haven't tried it on velvet. You can use a small size one. I am in the process of buying a new one as my old one gave up the ghost this year. Would never run a aquarium system without one around. Helps keep the tank clean and healthy.
 

Tahoe61

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In science one needs more than one example, one test subject. Conclusion based on one sample are not conclusive nor should they be. I could postulate thesis and theories based on my experience with one tank or even multiple systems and it's just speculation.
 
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Humblefish

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In science one needs more than one example, one test subject. Conclusion based on one sample are not conclusive nor should they be. I could postulate thesis and theories based on my experience with one tank or even multiple systems and it's just speculation.

I don't think anything would be proven one way or the other. My experiment(s) only provide evidence to support a theory. But FWIW; I usually do experiment on more than one test subject at a time and/or do multiple followup experiments to see if results are duplicated.
 

Tahoe61

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I don't think anything would be proven one way or the other. My experiment(s) only provide evidence to support a theory. But FWIW; I usually do experiment on more than one test subject at a time and/or do multiple followup experiments to see if results are duplicated.

Sorry, actually it was not your declaration I was referring to.

Having followed your post, threads....advice I always leave more informed.
 
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Humblefish

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However, I do feel if a diatom filter is capable of eradicating velvet then results on that should be pretty clear. IME; velvet is a devastating disease that most fish are incapable of managing via their natural immune system in a closed system. And symptoms of velvet do not hide themselves like ich can. If a fish has velvet, it's pretty obvious. I also would not base any "conclusions" on just one experiment, one fish. I would test multiple times to see if results are duplicated, one way or the other. And document everything with pics in this thread.
 

robert

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I posted links which Humblefish included in the first post. If you have not read them...do.

Diatomaceous earth filters are not new. I first became aware of their use in aquariums in the 70s. They are remarkable. No other form of filteration available to the reefer can match its capabilities.

How effective?
http://www.waterworld.com/articles/...ater-filtration-using-diatomaceous-earth.html

"in potable water production, DE filtration is a mechanical separation of solids and microorganisms from raw water. The first widespread use of DE for production of potable water was performed by the U.S. Army during World War II. Today there are over 200 plants in North America producing high quality drinking water at low cost using DE filtration technology. Extensive pilot testing at the University of NSW, Australia, demonstrated 6-log reduction of cryptosporidium oocysts, documented in the December 1997 and 2001 issues of the AWWA Journal."

http://www.oie.int/fileadmin/Home/eng/Health_standards/tahm/2.09.04_CRYPTO.pdf
Most cryptosporidia are 3-6 μm in size, although some reports have described larger cells.

So if DE filter can realize a "6-log reduction" of cryptospiridia at the 3-6 μm size I think it only obvious more that capable of removing Cryptocaryon irritans (ich) and Ayloodinium ocellatum (velvet).

The smaller of the two, velvet is large by comparison. (even at its smallest stage)
http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-07/sp/feature/index.htm
(velvet)
"The process of reproductive division then begins. One tomont divides repeatedly until there are up to 256 waiting offspring. It can complete this process rather quickly, in as little as three to five days at water temperatures of 72-77ºF. After these divisions stop, the cyst hatches and releases tiny swarming dinospores, which are as small as 12-15 µl in diameter. In contrast to Cryptocaryon irritans, whose free-swimming theronts are viable for only a day or two, these dinospores remain infective for at least six, and possibly as long as fifteen, days."

Ich is much much larger: 25x60 μm
http://aquarium-depot.com/cryptocaryon-irritans-ich/
ichsize.png


Is there any doubt that DE filters are more than capable of removing velvet or ich in their free swimming stage or when they drop to the sandbed? - Anyone -
 
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Is there any doubt that DE filters are more than capable of removing velvet or ich in their free swimming stage or when they drop to the sandbed? - Anyone -

Yes, but is a DE capable of eliminating all free swimmers before even one attaches to a fish and is thus protected? Is DE capable of complete parasite eradication... or just a very effective parasite management tool?
 

robert

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Yes, but is a DE capable of eliminating all free swimmers before even one attaches to a fish and is thus protected. Is DE capable of complete parasite eradication... or just a very effective parasite management tool?

Good question. It depends on sizing design and implementation.

First sizing.

The theoretical amount of water that gets filtered after a number of turnovers can be calculated.

Assuming continuous and instantaneous mixing. The formula is 1-EXP(-Turnovers).
So 1 turnover filters 63.2% of the water,
2 turnovers filters 86.5% of the water.
3 turnovers filters 95.0% of the water.
4 turnovers filters 98.2% of the water.
5 turnovers filters 99.3% of the water.
(Obviously, water not in circulation patterns will not get circulated as quickly while water in circulation patterns gets circulated more than indicated.)

Lets be real paranoid and assume 9 turnovers is required. (we are approaching 100% filteration here)

assume a 100 gallon tank - to turn over the volume once in an hour you need a 100gph filter.
To get everything, all the freeswimming trophants in 2 hours would require a filter flow of 450 gph
(but to make the math a little easier - assume you only run a 400gph pump.)

Now look at what that really means:
in the first 15 mintes you've sucked up 63.2% of the parisites.
By the time 30 minutes have past - 86.5% are eliminated.

An hour later - 98.2%

Now, let me ask you a question - what would the reproduction rate have to be to outpace this filter?
 

ca1ore

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Yes, but is a DE capable of eliminating all free swimmers before even one attaches to a fish and is thus protected? Is DE capable of complete parasite eradication... or just a very effective parasite management tool?

I think the likely (and obvious) answer is no, however, if we accept that ich is far less problematic in the ocean than in our tanks due to 'dilution' then the role of the DE filter (or UV) may be a mechanical analog for that dilution effect. I have long employed UV in that role, and have considered DE for years, but not done it. Robert, could you share what unit you are using and how you have it setup please.
 
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Now, let me ask you a question - what would the reproduction rate have to be to outpace this filter?

It's kind of irrelevant because it's not like the free swimmers are traveling directly into the DE's intake. Let's use velvet as an example. When a velvet tomont ruptures - there can be hundreds of velvet tomonts - it releases around 200 dinospores (free swimmers seeking to infect fish) per tomont. So even just 100 tomonts are capable of producing 20,000 dinospores. Being these are dinoflagellates, they are naturally attracted to light, so they swim upwards using two flagella to propel themselves. They don't just float around waiting to land on a fish.

Even if one was to outfit an overflow box to use with the DE, siphoning dinospores off the surface of the water, there is still a high probability that at least some will come into contact with fish swimming around before the dinospores reach the surface of the water. Now, I can see how a diatom is much more effective at managing diseases than say a UV; due to it's impressive flow rate. I'll even concede that it may be the only thing capable of managing velvet. But the health & well-being of all your fish will forever be dependent upon this one piece of equipment. If a fish housed in an aquarium which utilizes a DE is ever removed and placed in a "non DE system" the few parasites they are still carrying will quickly reproduce and spiral out of control. Or what happens during a prolonged power outage or if the DE breaks?

However, all that being said, I am starting to see how a DE may very well be the most effective disease management tool out there. There are many who will never QT, and are desperate to find a quick fix whenever ich or velvet breaks out in their DT. Maybe this is the answer they've been looking for - 40 years after the fact ;) - but we'll need more anecdotal evidence to form a consensus. Who is willing to take the plunge?

Also, do you know whether or not DE removes chemicals/medications such as copper?
 
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ca1ore

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This discussion has been enough to move me off the proverbial bubble - I plan to purchase and install a DE. I will be happy to then report my findings guys. Depending upon how one connects the filter, It might actually be the first time I can think of to justify high flow through the sump (but that's a tedious debate for another day :)).
 

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There is the question about if a DE filter gets every single parasite, or with something like ich, if it gets enough of the parasite for our purpose. There is plenty of literature out there (google scholar search, there is a lot) about fish and acquiring/developing immunity to ich (and I think velvet), the question more interesting to me is if a DE filter can contain the parasite levels so fish can develop immunity without showing visual symptoms. Once the fish possess immunity if you don't add any new source of parasite is the system parasite free in respect to the target of the DE filtration?
 

scardall

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Yes, but is a DE capable of eliminating all free swimmers before even one attaches to a fish and is thus protected? Is DE capable of complete parasite eradication... or just a very effective parasite management tool?

Using DE all time may or may not be effective as a preventative is essentially a Mood point. Because if you Don't have Ich or issues that support the possibility for an outbreak.than Why use DE regularly? As for a parasite management too this would be a viable tool in ones arsenal to use. Having the tools in hand BEFORE an outbreak is Key. (Assuming that you have those beautifully delicate fish or your Husbandry isn't always up to par) Sorry PS: I was one of those guys Allot of years Ago. :oops::cool:
 

robert

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Yes, but is a DE capable of eliminating all free swimmers before even one attaches to a fish and is thus protected? Is DE capable of complete parasite eradication... or just a very effective parasite management tool?

Home for lunch - time for a quick reply.

Your assumption is incorrect. DE doesn't have to eliminate all free swimmers. All I have to do is ensure that less than 0.5% find a fish and make it back to the sandbed before they are removed, killed or naturally die

If I do this, extinction follows. The tank and fish become free of the parasite.
 

ca1ore

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Using DE all time may or may not be effective as a preventative is essentially a Mood point. Because if you Don't have Ich or issues that support the possibility for an outbreak.than Why use DE regularly? As for a parasite management too this would be a viable tool in ones arsenal to use. Having the tools in hand BEFORE an outbreak is Key. (Assuming that you have those beautifully delicate fish or your Husbandry isn't always up to par) Sorry PS: I was one of those guys Allot of years Ago. :oops::cool:

I don't think there are many of us who haven't lapsed some in husbandry at one point or another

Trouble is, I think a lot of people who believe their tanks to be ich free are mistaken - their fish are simply asymptomatic and have either built up resistance or are inherently resistant. The only way to know for sure is to introduce a fish that Is highly susceptible and see what transpires. I know my tank has ich, therefore, it would be a candidate for a DE filter. If you know your tank to be ich free, then no need to run one.
 
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