Cyanobacteria - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-09-2020, 11:52 PM Thread Starter
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Cyanobacteria

Hey Guys,

I'm starting get some Cyanobacteria. My Tank is medium planted. and I just installed Co2. The bacteria showed up about a week ago.

I had a few days where my I had to disconnect my UV Sterilizer was removed temporarily, and my co2 wasn't set up yet, and that's when it showed up.

My Setup:

30Gallon glass aquarium
2 x 1300 lumen Led Tub lights
Gravel Substrate
Eheim Ecco Canister Filter
Insta CO2 Reactor

Light is on from Noon to 9:10
Co2 is on from 11 to 8:10

As of today, both of those turn on an hour later.

My params are all normal
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-09-2020, 11:56 PM
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I would shorten your photoperiod to six hours and slowly build it up from there.

You could also consider adding a floating plant to eat some nutrients.

Style: Organic potting soil, gravel, sand, wood, plants, algae, biofilm, snails, shrimp, fish, dual siestas
Tech : Small tanks, Fluval Plant 3.0, Top Fin MF10, Eheim Classic 150, Neptune Systems Apex EL
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-10-2020, 12:27 AM Thread Starter
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I was thinking floating plants, but I’m worried it will block out light from my submerged plants.

Maybe some Pothos?
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-10-2020, 05:30 AM
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If cyano is growing, then likely beneficial microbes are not colonizing. Remove as much cyano and increase O2 concentrations with an airstone. UV sterilizers will inhibit beneficial microbes from colonizing surfaces.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-10-2020, 08:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rotala macrandra View Post
If cyano is growing, then likely beneficial microbes are not colonizing. Remove as much cyano and increase O2 concentrations with an airstone. UV sterilizers will inhibit beneficial microbes from colonizing surfaces.
Sorry but Iíd like to see a study that shows a water born UV sterilizer will inhibit the colonization of substrate bound microfauna/flora?

I agree on the lack of other competing microbes and lack of O2 saturation, especially into substrate layer being a big contributor in giving cyano the upper hand in aquarium.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-12-2020, 12:42 PM Thread Starter
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I don’t think my BB is having trouble. My parameters are fine.

I think it has to do with the fact that my light was on too long, and too strong.

Which makes sense because It was growing in areas with little shade.

It wasn’t a lot of it, so I lowered my lighting time, and removes the GBA. I also have my UV light set up. Which I think will stop it from spreading
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-12-2020, 02:15 PM
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I donít think my BB is having trouble. My parameters are fine.

I think it has to do with the fact that my light was on too long, and too strong.

Which makes sense because It was growing in areas with little shade.

It wasnít a lot of it, so I lowered my lighting time, and removes the GBA. I also have my UV light set up. Which I think will stop it from spreading
A UV sterilizer will only kill any free floating cyanobacteria it captures. It won't do anything for already established cyanobacteria, it will continue to mat and spread. It's good that you removed what you could see, but if the underlying issue isn't corrected, the cells that were left behind on substrate/hardscape/etc., will begin to replicate and spread across that surface again. There's several effective approaches - Erythromycin is my go to. When I see cyano, if I can't get it corrected within a couple weeks, I hit the tank with API E.M. Erythromycin. This has always worked very well for me and your beneficial bacteria is left pretty untouched. You could also try spot treating with H2O2 and/or Excel/Metricide, both will kill it. This method has been less effective for me, I've seen it come back in treated spots, hence the reason these days I just go with Erythromycin. You could also try ChemiClean. Many people swear by it, I've used it a couple times. I don't like not knowing what I'm putting in my tank, however, as they don't list ingredients. Gotta love "proprietary" blends...

Good luck with your battle against this stuff!
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-12-2020, 04:39 PM Thread Starter
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Erythromycin Isn’t available where I live. All antibiotics are banned, unless a doctor gives you a script.


Either way, the uv sterilizer is going to slow down the spread by killing some of its spores.

I did fix the core problem. According to what I’ve read, Cyanobacteria needs two things to survive. Excess light and ammonia

I’ve shortened my lighting period, and did a gravel vac where it was growing.

Also, some research shows that nitrates also slow down its growth. So, since I already add nitrates to my water, I’m just going to keep it up.

If it comes back, all get the Chemi-Clean. I just feel that Chemi-clean is treating a symptom, more so then handling the stuff I mentioned

I should also mention I’ve had it for about two weeks, and it hasn’t spread.
So I am assuming what ever it was feeding on, has slowed down
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-12-2020, 05:09 PM
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Just two thoughts that may or may not help going forward. #1 is that you can oftentimes detect BGA before it ever is visible by smell. Weird as this sounds, pull some out and give it a sniff. You'll never forget it and when a tank is about to have visible BGA you may catch it before it can establish. #2, I've found low/no NO3 in most every case of BGA I've had -at least that I've bothered to test. Upping that seems to help, but admittedly it's one of those things where it might have been clearing up anyway. And if you're in the US, you can buy antibiotics online pretty easily, search for "fish mycin" in this case. API and Mardel also offer them. Not sure how easy these would be to find on the international market. I've used Chemi Clean in marine tanks with good results, not sure I've ever tried it in freshwater though.

Nothing good happens fast in an ecosystem.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-12-2020, 05:48 PM
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Just two thoughts that may or may not help going forward. #1 is that you can oftentimes detect BGA before it ever is visible by smell. Weird as this sounds, pull some out and give it a sniff. You'll never forget it and when a tank is about to have visible BGA you may catch it before it can establish. #2, I've found low/no NO3 in most every case of BGA I've had -at least that I've bothered to test. Upping that seems to help, but admittedly it's one of those things where it might have been clearing up anyway. And if you're in the US, you can buy antibiotics online pretty easily, search for "fish mycin" in this case. API and Mardel also offer them. Not sure how easy these would be to find on the international market. I've used Chemi Clean in marine tanks with good results, not sure I've ever tried it in freshwater though.
Not to sound alarmist, but I would advise against taking a big whiff of cyanobacteria, lol. There's some evidence to suggest that β-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA), a neurotoxin found in cyanobacteria that becomes airborne, could be linked to neurodegenerative diseases. There's nothing definitive as of yet, but I wouldn't be going around intentionally sniffing BGA.

Also, for what it's worth, my 10 gallon puffer tank currently has just a touch of BGA, no perceivable smell difference. Is the smell bad that you've noticed? How would you describe it @Blue Ridge Reef?
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-12-2020, 06:02 PM
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It's a sharp musty smell, but smells are hard to explain. I had never heard that breathing it was hazardous! Going down a Google wormhole over that one for sure.
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Nothing good happens fast in an ecosystem.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-12-2020, 07:22 PM Thread Starter
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I didn’t notice a smell either. I’m a cook, so my scene of smell is kinda in tune. However, there really wasn’t a lot. And it wasn’t growing. For all I know, it could have already been dying off.

I honestly think the reason it showed up, was because I was switching to a co2 system, and ran into some bumps in the road. I believe that cause a slight imbalance.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-12-2020, 07:30 PM
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It's a sharp musty smell, but smells are hard to explain. I had never heard that breathing it was hazardous! Going down a Google wormhole over that one for sure.
Interesting, I'll pay closer attention to tank odor. Off topic, but the only time any of my tanks give off a noticeable odor is when I feed my shrimp tanks GlasGarten ShrimpDinner, and it's bad. Smells like real nasty farts, no joke, and it lingers for several hours. Makes the tank room and half of the basement stink. No clue why, but it's the only food that does it and I'm breaking wafers into smaller pieces and distributing 1 or 1.5 wafer amongst the three tanks, so not a lot going in to cause such a stench! I'll sometimes go home and feed tanks on my lunch break, and I frequently have a lapse where I'll briefly forget where the smell is coming from when I get home several hours later from work. My son is normally with me when I get home after work, and he's normally first in the door and I'm a minute or so behind. He's been blamed a few times for the stench before I go "Oh yeah, shrimp tanks, sorry!"

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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuluCocoPopoRoro View Post
I didnít notice a smell either. Iím a cook, so my scene of smell is kinda in tune. However, there really wasnít a lot. And it wasnít growing. For all I know, it could have already been dying off.

I honestly think the reason it showed up, was because I was switching to a co2 system, and ran into some bumps in the road. I believe that cause a slight imbalance.
It's very likely that the "bumps in the road" are what triggered it. Things get out of whack and the opportunists come charging in. One other thing to try is upping flow in the area where you see cyano, as I've heard this is very effective. That being said, the two places in my 10 gallon where cyano is, and spreading slowly, is in places with pretty good flow, so I'm not sure exactly how much flow you need. In my case, neither of the plants it's on are exactly healthy at the moment though, so I'm sure that's the primary factor in its success. One plant is doing some melting for some reason, the other just got moved from a spot where it was being shaded out and is trying to recover.

I just ran home for lunch and took a look at it, it's definitely not getting better, so I'll likely hit mine with some hydrogen peroxide this evening, give that a week to see if that's all that's needed, then hit it with Erythromycin if necessary.
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