In this study, we describe different combinations of physical separation and antibiotic treatment to remove associated bacteria from freshwater diatoms. Diatoms were purified either from natural epilithic biofilms or from unialgal cultures. We determined that for most strains, different purification procedures have to be combined individually. In a new approach, we show that for some diatom strains, the substitution of associated aquatic bacteria by an antibiotic-sensitive Escherichia coli strain and subsequent treatment with antibiotics may be a successful strategy to obtain axenic diatom cultures. Axenic diatom cultures are essential to study the physiology and biochemistry of individual strains as well as their responses to environmental changes without interference of accompanying bacteria.