BGA/Cyano Nomenclature
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Old 03-21-2013, 02:57 PM   #1
Gold Finger
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BGA/Cyano Nomenclature


I am glad we don't tend to call diatomes "brown algae" and regret that we often call cyanobacteria "Blue Green Algae". It does not bother me because it is inaccurate, it bothers me because we are sometimes perpetuating a false idea to newcomers in the hobby. I think it is important that newcomers recognize that when they see Cyano in their tanks they are seeing a toxic and hostile organism. As much as we hate algae and it can antagonize our plants and our nerves it (all algae, as far as I know) is benign or beneficial to our non plant livestock (fish, crustations, snails, etc.) unlike Cyano which poisons and can even kill the fish. I was once fooled by the term BGA before understanding its true nature and allowed it to flourish in a tank to the detriment of my fish. All ended well enough for me, but I will never call Cyano BGA.

As an afterthought: The term "Livestock" meaning everything but the plants is clearly inaccurate as plants are clearly alive, but it does not bother me as it does no harm. Some inaccuracies matter and some don't.
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Old 03-21-2013, 03:32 PM   #2
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There are some species of BGA/Cyano that are toxic to livestock in large amounts, the Oscillitoria is not, that's the genus we have. It also does not form heterocyst, so does not fix Nitrogen gas, not that the NO3 is even low enough to force it to go that route in our aquariums(Plants rot and die and leach out N before that range is reached).

I've seen tanks covered, we likely all have over the years.
Fish seemed okay to me. Neglect and algae are two distinct things.
You can have algae, but not neglect the tank. But in most cases, an algae covered tank is more commonly associated with a neglected tank at/on some level. That, not the BGA, is the main issues I'd argue.
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