cyano issues

Discussion in 'General Discussions and Advice' started by Falcon, 23 Dec 2009.

  1. Falcon

    Falcon

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    hey there hennie hows it going?

    i have an issue i thought you can help me out with.
    see my tank is having a cyano problem...but its not the usual suspects.


    What EXACTLY does cyno live on?


    reason i'm asking is my 680lt tank and nano both have cyno issues during the last month or two...nothing major has changed except in the nano there may be a build up of phosphates as the chemi-pure elite has worn out and i noticed some algae growth on the glass...but ive replaced that with GFO and the algae has receded but the cyno still persists.


    Now to throw a spanner into the works i dont believe that cyno is dependant on po4 as in my 680lt reef i know my po4 is zero because

    1.ive tested it.
    2.there is no pest algae at all gha etc
    3.i dose lanthanum chloride and the fact that its dropping my alk so much as compared to when there was po4 indicates that my tank indeed has no po4...

    so how important is the alk part?if i raise it enough(10 or how high exactly) should the cyno disappear or am i still missing the root cause of the cynao?namely what is it feeding on?

    oh yes the only change in the 680lt reef is that ive increased the lighting a fraction....1-2mm aragonite/crushed coral mix on the substrate for the last four years but recently ive removed most of it and replaced with playsand....infact that is when i first noticed the cyano the next day...that was two months ago and i though by now it would have settled.so maybe silicates?but shouldnt gfo also absorb silicates?

    what about if i start dosing bacteria...not seachem stability as it doesnt seem to be working but i mean stuff like prodibio or micro bakter 7 will this outcompete the cyano for food and how do i make conditions more favourable for these other bacteria instead of the cyano?
     
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  3. Sentari

    Sentari

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    Falcon just a quick one before hennie replies.

    I've noticed cyno has alot to do with flow and it also leaches phosphates. So the reason why you wouldnt see the phosphates reading is cause the cyno is using it all up.

    Will wait to see what hennie says thou. Funny enough i had cyno also. Bought myself a sand sifting goby and he cleaned all the sand up and it was gone. But there might have been something else involved. Good luck!
     
  4. Falcon

    Falcon Thread Starter

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    thanks sentari but i know its not flow as it grows in the most flow rich areas of my dt...in fact my sump has lower flow and less cyano;)

    secondly the false phosphate reading is something i have thought about but dosing of lanthanum chloride and permanent running of lanthanum chloride should rid any po4 in a system that does not receive alot of food.

    remember lanthanum chloride has an extreme affinity for phosphates and when it cant have po4 it takes your alk away so surely there are no phosphates if the lanthanum cant even find it between the rocks etc plus what about other nuisance algae?there is none at all when usually i use to get a bit here and there even with zero phos levels

    alot of things point to no phos sentari not just the test.

    I am thinking along those lines the get the substrate cleaned or constantly moved as the substrate change seems to be what brought it on after the tank was running cyano free for over four years...makes you think maybe the playsand is leeching silicates and is not as inert as we initially thought.:whistling: maybe i should have just left the coarse crushed coral/aroganite mix after all..

    that said my shop tank is using playsand and its completely cyano and algae free...hence my question as i'm stumped
     
  5. Sentari

    Sentari

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    Ya i hate cyno so i know what you feel like.

    i'm using sugar fine crushed coral and seem to have diatom blooms all the time.

    But ya would be nice to see what hennie says cause i tried everything and finally it went away.
     
  6. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    Between my hermits and sand gobie, they sort mine out.

    But in my frag tank setup, I got cyano problems. and hairy algae. Switch 4 of the 6 tubes of now as there are only some zoa's in there.

    And I got one local hermit that sorts the cayno out as far as he can reach. There is no substrate in this frag tank. But it is connected to the main display.

    This Hermit is a red brown hairy one. The hair under actinic is green and its feelers are blue. Very nice and tame. I got it just south of Scotsburg.
     
  7. Falcon

    Falcon Thread Starter

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    i know hermits eat gha but have never seen mine eating cyano...hmmm interesting.
     
  8. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac MASA Contributor

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    As soon as I find a cure for cyano, I will use it on my own tank :whistling: :whistling: :whistling:

    I always have some cyano and diatoms growing in my tank, but through the years I've come to regard them as just another life form in the tank, and as long as they do not get out of hand I'm happy to let them stay in the tank...

    I think the reason why we are getting these growths is that the level of dissolved nutrients in even a very nutrient-poor tank is orders of magnitude higher than what is normal in the ocean. Also, our testing resolution and accuracy does not come close to the levels where nutrients could start to cause problems. As an example, the natural level of phosphate in surface sea water is 0.005ppm (according to Dr. Randy Holmes-Farley), but our colorimetric test kits can only "resolve" 0.1ppm - 0.05ppm, if we're lucky (and of course "resolution" is not "accuracy" - I doubt if any of these hobby kits have an accuracy of better than 0.2ppm). So, even if the test kits are 100% accurate, a reading of "0" could still mean that your tank has ten times the concentration of phosphates that natural sea water has (or more likely 100x - 200x that concentration...)

    The other problem of course is the "speciation" of the various ions in sea water. Sticking with phosphate as an example - phosphate (PO4--) is only one of the ion "species" of phosphorus present in the water as inorganic orthophosphate. Depending on the pH of the water (amongst others...) the various forms of orthophosphate in sea water is as follow (according to Holmes-Farley):

    SPECIES RELATIVE CONCENTRATION

    H3PO4 <0.1
    H2PO4- 0.46
    H2PO4-Ca++ 0.04
    H2PO4-Mg++ 0.004
    HPO4-- 39.0
    HPO4--Ca++ 3.8
    HPO4--Mg++ 36.3
    PO4--- 0.04
    PO4---Ca++ 14.9
    PO4---Mg++ 5.4

    Then, of course, there are still other forms of inorganic phosphorus, as well as numerous forms of organic phosphorus. Our test kits don't pick up all of these forms of "phosphate" (and of course not all forms of "phosphate" are available to organisms such as algae or cyano)... Perhaps you can now see why one can test "zero" and still have lots of "phosphates" in the water, available for organisms such as cyano to utilize. The same holds true for other ions, such as nitrate (nitrogen), potassium and iron.

    There is a thing called a "limiting factor" (can't remember the correct scientific term...) - this boils down to the fact that, if, for example, your GHA needs (say) 10 nitrogen, 2 phosphorus and 1 iron to grow, it won't grow at all if there is less than the 1 iron available, even if there were 20 nitrogen and 10 phosphorus available - the "limiting factor" would (in this example) be the lack of iron. All living things don't all have the same nutrient requirements, and it is likely that the cyano (being bacterial, and not algal) has a lower "limiting factor" for whatever is restricting the algae growth. In fact, I would guess that the limiting factor could very well be nitrogen (nitrate), as cyano can manufacture their own nitrate from inorganic nitrogen gas dissolved in the water.

    I'm sorry if this does not give you any definitive answers. There are just so many variables in our tanks that the only way to determine a solution for "your" problem is to experiment until you either find the solution, or give up and live with it, as I have done :) Some "pointers", though:

    • Feeding your beneficial bacteria can work, but it is likely that the cyano will "eat" the same food (carbon) and wil also increase. Of course, once they have removed all the excess "food" which is currently fueling their growth they will diminish/disappear, so just removing the cyano diligently by siphoning will work (it's just a pain to do...).
    • Increasing water flow helps, by blowing some of the cyano into suspension, which ultimately leads to the skimmer "eating" them...
    • Increasing the alkalinity also helps - I suspect that it alters the phosphate ion ratios, resulting in more of the "food" ion species being converted into "non-food" species. Experience has shown that an alk of more than 9dKH helps.
    • Cyano needs light to grow, and I suspect that they grow better under more yellow light - once bulbs start to age one tends to get more cyano growth.
    Hennie
     
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  9. Sentari

    Sentari

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    Thanks for the info hennie. Exactly what i thought.
     
  10. Falcon

    Falcon Thread Starter

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    that was a nice and long well researched way of telling me i'm screwed lol:p

    ok so im going to try removing most of the substrate and raise alk and dose more lanthanum chloride.lets hope this works will keep you posted:)

    the situation is quite bad actually and its covering everything...i used to get it before but it would be just a little bit and then go away after a few days so i think in my case its probably that the balance was disturbed by removing the old substrate....i have switched of ALL lights for four complete days and yet it was still there the very next day!

    thanks for your help hennie,one more thing would the lanthanum chloride not bond to most of the po4 types you mentioned leaving chloride and whatever other element was part of the formula be free ?

    the statement on limiting factor makes alot of sense yes that is probably what is happening as i have a huge dsb and lots of live rock so theres nothing in nitrate/nitrite form floating about.
     
  11. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac MASA Contributor

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    I don't know for sure, but I doubt it...

    by the way, how are you adding the lanthanum chloride (LC)? My understanding is that it causes the phosphate to bind with calcium (or magnesium, not sure), and that the secret is to then remove the bound substance by aggressive skimming. If the LC is not dripped directly into the skimmer (or at least very close to it's intake...) the precipitate could end up remaining in the aquarium, and could/would change back into phosphate.

    Hennie
     
  12. Falcon

    Falcon Thread Starter

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    yep i set skimmer to very wet after dosing until the water clears up...the cloudiness is apparently as a result of this precipitate forming in the water.
     
  13. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac MASA Contributor

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    If your alkalinity is low, I would guess that it's more likely caused by magnesium carbonate and/or calcium carbonate precipitation caused by the localised pH going too high because of dosing too quickly. I would suggest that you reduce the dosing tempo to only one drop every few seconds, and see if this does not improve the alkalinity. Thinking about this, the dosing of the LC could perhaps even be the indirect cause of the cyano, by reducing the alkalinity...

    Hennie
     
  14. Falcon

    Falcon Thread Starter

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    hmmm theres a possibilty...i gave it ideal conditions to thrive and so it took over:whistling:
     
  15. radar

    radar

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    Cyno blooms normally caused be excessive nutrients such as nitrates and phosphates.Cyno should be controlled by having a good working skimmer,lighting (as your lights get older, the Nm output will change and cyno seem to like this), don’t overfeed, healthy water changes, don’t overstock, Where is your top up water coming from? Is it RO water. Also check poor water circulation and hot spots.:slayer::slayer::slayer::slayer::slayer::slayer::slayer:
     
  16. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

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    @Falcon i had major cyno issues a couple of months back after changing salt brands. We fixed some 40 odd systems by switching the lights off for 3-4 days and also changed the RO unit Cartridges. For me it worked.

    Here is a post by Stuart Bertram that you are most probably aware of, highlighting a few cyno observations.

    Welcome to Deltec!!! - Page 2 - D-D The Aquarium Solution
     
  17. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac MASA Contributor

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    Hi Radar,

    I see this is your first post - WELCOME to MASA

    Going by your post, you appear to be an experienced reefer - why don't you post a thread in the New Member section, and introduce yourself, and tell us about your tank/s and setup - oh yes, and POST PHOTOS...

    Hennie
     
  18. Falcon

    Falcon Thread Starter

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    thanks radar,you do indeed seem to be experienced like hennie says..unfortunately i have checked all those avenues all in order,hence why i said its not the usual suspects:( also not much has changed over the last four years so why now,oh and the globes were replaced during the cyano outbreak.

    bingo you may be onto something here!i dont really ever do water changes...but....a few months ago i done a 50 percent water change as i needed to get the tank drilled....my usual brand used to be tropic marine pro reef and this time the new water was red sea pro reef,completely forgot about this!:p

    unfortunately switching the lights of has not helped or was the normal indirect light the room receives still enough for the cyano?ok going on holiday today so next week going to try to lights out with a sheet or blanket over the tank and dose bacteria which will hopefully use this time outcompete the cyano for whatever its feeding on.
     
  19. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

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    Cyno and salt brand change is a hot subject at the moment!!! Many remedies/excuses/explanations/damage control explanations are flouted which leads one to believe many different things. However. I believe your temp idea might be in the wrong direction. I believe that perhaps a DO (dissolved Oxygen) and REDOX (reduction/oxidation) shift might have set triggers that caused the cyno. I presume you you know the difference between DO and ORP.

    IMO PO4 has very little to do with cyno. Nutrients are often blamed as are changes in system dynamics.

    Cyno is said to be part of reef keeping. According to many it will come and go. Hmm...but what i can tell you is that a salt brand change is most likely to result in a cyno outbreak. Manufactures would like us to believe it is the imbalance between the two. This is what salt manufactures would like one to believe.

    Now if the cyno bacteria was always present in the tank the change in balance could trigger a cyno outbreak or it is also possible that the cyno bacteria strain was introduced by the salt brand.

    IMO your change to a different salt is the cause. I am also willing to bet a :peroni: the cyno is a purple pink velvet type strain. This strain of cyno has not been known to me until the introduction of evaporated salt mixes in SA. It is therefore my belief that it was introduced by the salt mixes.

    Now here is a curve ball. I wonder if the authorities that consider biodiversity in this country will start to question whether evaporated salt mixes do not introduce diseases/bacteria? Exactly what is evaporated and what is not? and how are good and bad elements sorted.

    The answers to cyno my dear friend are a long way off........Hopefully someone will find a cure/remedy one day. :)
     
    Last edited: 3 Jan 2010
  20. maj

    maj

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    so what u saying is that we will forever have to deal with cyano and never rid it?
    and some reefers are just lucky not to ber affected by this
     
  21. Warr7207

    Warr7207

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    So would you say it is better to use salt that is not evaporate like Brightwell's product ?

    Also do reefers that use NSW ever get Cyano ?
     
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