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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm about at my wit's end with this so I'm hoping people here can help me out with this.

I'm struggling to keep cyano at bay in my high tech 40B. I have 2xT5HO (6500K) on it for lighting, currently on an 8hr light cycle. When the bacteria first appeared, I tried to starve them by stopping all fert dosing and shortening my light cycle to 4hrs. Obviously, my plants did not like this and after 2 weeks I caved so my plants will survive, but the bacteria was still going strong.

Now I'm reading and some places say it's caused by not enough nitrogen, some say it's caused by too much nitrogen.. I'm all over the place.

Has anyone actually beaten this stuff or will I be doing physical removal for the rest of my days?
 

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Can you post up a photo of it to see how intrusive it is through your tank ?
That should provide some insight into the treatment that may be effectively used to do the job.
While you're at it, please list the type & numbers of your livestock in the tank.
 

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Is this a new tank?
Your lights are pretty strong even with a shorted light cycle. You can lift it up a foot or two.
Yeah, I beat it with cleaning it out every time I do a water change. Your problem won't go away with band-aid cures like antibiotics.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah, I can post pictures tonight. I cleaned out about 95% of it over the weekend though so it's only left in some spots. It was very prominent on my substrate and hardscape, laying a thick blanket over everything. The plants were hit less hard (probably because they were all growing while it was). I ended up removing the rocks which were really problematic.

Stock list is 4 German Blue Rams, 12 rasboras, and 5 cories.

I'm sure there's some imbalance I'm not finding though, and I would much rather correct that than have to clean this crap off my baby tears and sword leaves every time i do a WC.
 

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Hello, cyanobacteria is able to fix nitrogen from sources plants cannot use. They can fix the nitrogen from the atmosphere, stopping ferts won't do anything to them, on the contrary it will give them an edge against plants.

Better continue with full fertilisation, water changes, keep the tank and filter clean. Remove by hand what you can.

Michel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I've seen in a few places that removing organics can help a lot, and I happen to have a bunch of extra purigen lying around. Would that make sense to help remove the food source? I'm still dosing enough nitrogen for the plants without any other sources.
 

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I've seen in a few places that removing organics can help a lot, and I happen to have a bunch of extra purigen lying around. Would that make sense to help remove the food source? I'm still dosing enough nitrogen for the plants without any other sources.
Do you have a phosphate test kit?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I don't, but I might be able to bother my roommate for one.

I do see high phosphates often listed as reasons for this, but I doubt that my levels are high at all since I don't dose it and I feed my fish a homemade mixture of beefheart/spinach/shrimp/spirulina/etc. Not many added phosphates since it's all quite natural.
 

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I have read quite a few things suggesting high phos. levels as a contributing factor. I would check it and I am curious what the levels are.
 

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From my experience this is almost always an organic thing. Too much light in combination with the level of organics. Reason I mentioned the Erythromycin is that you said your were "at wits end" and the Erythro is the most direct way to get rid of it. I never noticed a problem with the bio-filter after use. Important to change water to get rid of it after treatment. After that you need to keep the tank exceptionally clean via water change, good growing plants things like purigen will help and correcting light if too strong.
 

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Erythromycin is the fastest way, but won't be the long term solution. It will most likely come back. Try cleaning out manually as much as possible. Increase flow, oxygenation via air stone or surface turbulence, and lower the temp closer to 76 degrees. Do water changes every 3 days or so.

A combination of these have helped me keep it at a much more manageable level. The biggest help was the lower temperature though.
 

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How old are your light bulbs? How much of that beefheart are you feeding and whats your routine at feeding time? (in that do you do immediate water changes and clean out the uneaten stuff?) I dont see any need for such a "dirty" food like homemade beefheart with what you listed as being in that tank. A little bit of uneaten beefheart in a planted tank (or any tank for that matter) will make a mess of things quickly! I cant say for sure if that will lead to cyano but that jumps out as a potential problem going forward if not now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for all the help everyone! I will be doing a phosphate test ASAP to see if that helps. I'm also going to up my WC schedule to see if this helps.

The reason I'm still feeding the beef heart is mainly because I still have a bit of it left (I bought it for my discus which i sold) and wanted to run through it. I am pretty careful though to make sure it gets eaten... cleanly? I thaw it completely and break it up as i'm feeding them so it's all easily eaten in one bite. I also feed them slowly, over the course of 5-10 minutes so the rasboras have time to come through and clean up all the little particles.

The light and bulbs are almost brand new, less than 6 weeks old.

I'm also going to add the purigen to try and clean out some organics. I'll check the phosphate levels before I do that.
 

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If you've been removing it manually for a while, and you've managed to remove sufficient that you just have a modest amount left on the substrate &/or near the bottom, here's a quick easy way to eradicate it overnite. It worked well for me on 2 separate occasions in different tanks, and never returned.

Turn off your filtration & siphon out a sufficient amount of tank water so that you're easily able to reach the affected areas by hand.
Using a plastic syringe, or test kit pipette, dose plain household hydrogen peroxide (H202) at full strength, directly & at close range on to the affected areas. You'll quickly see a build-up of bubbles (oxygen) adhering to the cyano, and which will eventually begin to bubble up to the water surface as time goes on. Leave the filtration off for at least 1/2 hour so that there is no water flow in the tank to remove the dosed H202 from the cyano surface.

It's a near guarantee that if dosed well, the cyano will have completely disappeared by the following morning. The hydrogen peroxide dissipates very quickly into the water column and therefore will not harm your fish, nor will it adversely affect your nitrifying bacteria.

In order to ensure it doesn't return, you'll need to maintain a good tank cleansing routine with substrate vacuuming,
regular water changes, and most importantly, improve the water circulation in the tank, particularly at the bottom near the substrate & lower levels where there is very little oxygen (a factor initiating & facilitating the development of cyano). This can be done in a number of ways - by power bar/spray, pump with airstones, and even more effectively with a water circulation pump properly positioned near the tank bottom (A Hydor Koralia pump works very well for this).
Try it - takes but 15-30 minutes depending on how much dosing you need to do, and it works !
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well I tested my phosphates last night and they're at almost 0.

So I removed one bulb from my fixture, I'm going to start there. I'll be adding purigen tonight to try and remove some of the organics, as well as treating what is left in the tank with h2o2. Any other tips worth trying?
 

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When I had it I changed out the gravel (was going to do this anyway) and planted heavily. Not sure how heavily planted your tank is and how established but that's what got rid of mine.
 

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Beat mine (which, admittedly, wasn't as bad as yours sounds) with increasing flow and regular macro ferts (my nitrates were previously 0). My nitrates now stay around 10, the fish don't mind the extra flow, and the cyano was gone within a week, without manual removal.
 
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