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Old 04-06-2005, 06:46 PM   #1
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how to get rid of cyanobacteria

I think cyanobacteria is "slime" alage. Am I correct. If so.....how do you get rid of it?
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Old 04-06-2005, 06:49 PM   #2
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Cyanobacteria are one of the oldest forms of organisms found on the earth today! They can be found in every type of water in nature and in containments. Freshwater, saltwater, brackish water and even the water in your pets bowls can and will usually contain traces of these bacterial algae. These mean that everyone is at risk of having this bloom in his or her aquariums!

Cyanobacteria can range in color from brown, green, blue, red and even almost black. The air bubbles that will appear on its surface can frequently identify cyanobacteria. Most commonly it appears in big patches on the surface of sub terrain, eventually moving to cover everything in the tank. It has the consistency of mucus and can even appear stringy. The visible algae is not algae or cyanobacteria, it is what is exuded through the process of photosynthesis by the cyanobacteria below.

A major bloom of cyanobacteria is generally the result of a series of events that will cause ample food supplies in the water. This could be the die off of a fish or two, over feeding, poor tank husbandry, not enough water flow, or even using tap water to perform water changes. Thus if you do not have a bloom of cyanobacteria in your tank, take preventative steps to avoid it. Unfortunately, if you are reading this article, you have already been the victim of a cyanobacteria bloom.

In order cure your tank of this annoying algae you will have to take many steps and it may take a great deal of time. The first step you will want to take is to test your water. Find the root of the problem. “You will find that the overall catalyst for cyanobacteria issues is driven from phosphates, primarily organic forms. Nitrate unto itself will not cause it but will definitely fuel it's continued growth. Cyanobacteria is the one "algae" (if you will) that can actually manufacture it's own food supply so simply limiting nutrient is not the key. The reduction or preferably elimination of phosphates in both forms common to aquaria is the ideal goal.” (Care of Steve-S of Aquarium Advice.com) Now that we are sure that is the problem, where are all the extra nutrients coming from that is causing these problems? Once you have that under your belt, fix it. Here are some ideas to work with:

·Over feeding – Cut back your feedings. Stop using additives like Marine Snow for the time being and wait for the tank to get back to normal before you start using it again.
·Not enough water movement – Increase the amount of power heads in the tank, make sure they are pointing in directions that allow every spot in the tank to have constant movement.
·Poor tank husbandry – Start harvesting algae regularly. Do 25% water changes at least once a month depending on your filtration system.
·Fish die off – There is really no way to fix this unless this is a re-occurring problem. Just do your regular water changes and keep the tank as clean as possible. In the future, take the dead fish out ASAP.
·Use of tap water – While the chemicals you can buy at the store will clean out some of the problems with tap water, it is not recommended to use tap water in a salt water system. Most hobbyists will make use of Reverse Osmosis water and even some will use distilled water. I personally recommend using RO water for a salt water system; I also like to drink mine, it really tastes better than tap or bottled water.

In the mean time, you are going to need to clean up the tank. Here are some ideas on ways to fight the cyanobacteria.

·Harvest the algae. These means get in there and scrap it off and pull it out. Do not let any of the algae you remove get into the filtration system if you can avoid it. Really clean the tank well the first time. You will need to do this regularly until the problem is gone, so the first time you will want to be a through as possible to make regular cleanings a bit easier.
·Nitrate sponge is always a good way to help to remove the nitrates from the water. Most local fish stores carry this. My favorite brand is Kent. You can get a mesh bag and fill it with the Nitrate sponge, then attach it to a power head that is not being used for water movement. This will make sure that you get every drop of water through the sponge. If this is not an option for you, I would suggest putting it in your refugium where the water flows from one area to another.
·Chemi-clean and other additives. Chemi-clean is great! It does not hurt inverts or your tank, but it is just a bandage to the problem. There are other additives like Vital Gold and Combisan; the problem with these is that it will hurt the good bacteria in your tank. Also some of these products require that you turn off UV filters, protein skimmers and other filtration devices. I do not recommend using anything that needs you to turn off the protein skimmer. Antibiotics really will not help this problem.
·Protein Skimmers… what can I say to you if you do not have a protein skimmer? GET ONE NOW! Protein skimmers are God’s gift to hobbyists. These things are great! It helps to reduce the extra nutrients from the water before it gets turned into bad things like nitrates. If you have any questions about the best one to buy, ask a friend or post on a website like www.aquariumadvice.com, other hobbyists always want to help out. That is why we are hobbyists this has become our obsession!
·Siphon out the algae on your sand, take a bit of the sand with it. Sand holds nutrients very easily. Like I mentioned before, the stuff you see is not actually the cyanobacteria, so you want to get the root of the problem. Don’t take all your sand out though, just try and get the surface sand.
·Clean up crews. Who doesn’t love a cute, cuddly little hermit crab or snail? There are only a few types of these little guys that will actually eat this stuff though. You are going to want to get some Bumble Bee Snails and Mexican Red Footed hermit crabs. I would also recommend getting a few other little guys just to make sure you get it all. Any little snails that air raid the sand, sand sifting starfish and turbo snails are great to have in the tank to keep algae levels down.

HTH
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Old 04-07-2005, 02:48 AM   #3
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man i guess my algea bloom is cyano bacteria too... what a bumber.
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Old 04-07-2005, 02:50 AM   #4
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do you need to scrub rocks off and stuff or just the your equipment?
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Old 04-07-2005, 02:52 AM   #5
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man thats a really !#%$@ BUMBER!!!! mine has just started and is a dark brown and is in my overflow and U tube and also on my maxijets and return valve, and over most rocks where there isnt coralline man this really isnt good. would the use of carbon and phosphate sponges make a difference? i have a penguin 330 that i use for added circulation i could throw some carbone and nitrate sponges and put a phosphate pad in my wet/dry. what about my substrate cause i noticed little bubble build-ups in their and alot of parts are turning brown, substrate = aragonite.

should i leave my lights off for now if its just fish only or does cyano not need light to thrive?
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Old 04-07-2005, 09:46 AM   #6
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Sorry I don't mean to hijack the thread. I don't have a cyano problem, but rather a nitrate problem. I have placed Kent's Nitrate Sponge in my canister filter for over two weeks now and not noticed any difference. Has anyone had good experience with Nitrate Sponge? Should I replace all of my filter media with Nitrate Sponge instead?
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Old 04-07-2005, 10:38 AM   #7
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I used Kents Nitrate Sponge. I love it! I also have charcoal and phosphate sponge, all by Kent. I think a large varity of chemical filters will help to reduce your problem kwan.

Jonathan, how old is your light? Cyano does use light to grow, but it doesnt need it. If you have older lighting, you will most likely need to replace the bulbs. I would give everything in my tank a good rub down, but not a real scrub. Make sure you catch all the slime you pull off the rocks and equipment. That way it doesnt get sucked into your filter and just make the problem worse.

Any other questions? I am like the local expert on this stuff. I have done tons of research on it.
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Old 04-07-2005, 10:56 AM   #8
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JPloman, correct me if I am wrong. My understanding of biological media in the filter hosts bacteria to convert nitrite to nitrate, which is the end product. Now Kent's Nitrate Sponge fosters anaerobic bacterial denitrification due to its physical porous structure. This denitrification slowly reduces nitrate as in LR. So would it be true to have the canister filter filled with Nitrate Sponge rather than the conventional biological media?
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Old 04-07-2005, 11:05 AM   #9
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Kwan-

It may be OK to use these medias to control these problems but they are only band aids to the problem. Find the cause of high nitrates and then controlling them is easier. Do you use a filter media, bio balls, CC substrate or bio wheels? Any place that detritus can build up will lead to high nitrates after the nitrification process ends. Do you have LR or a DSB for denitrifying bacteria to grow? This bacteria needs anaerobic conditions to flourish. For now the best way to reduce the nitrates is water changes.
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Old 04-07-2005, 11:16 AM   #10
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Should I maybe be running a smaller amount of carbon in my canister and replacing that weekly to avoid nitrate buildup? I have found that when I run carbon in my canister, my skimmer doesn't produce. what do you guys think is more important, skimmer or carbon. which reduces nitrates athe best?
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