New stock at Idol and a cyano tutorial from Rob.

Discussion in 'Idol Marine' started by Bob the (reef)builder, 20 Sep 2013.

  1. Bob the (reef)builder

    Bob the (reef)builder

    7 May 2007
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    This week we got in two great shipments, one corals from Bali, the other is a fish shipment with a wide variety of fish.

    Fish-wise we have

    Tangs: Regal, Tomini, Naso, Sail-fin, powder brown, purple.[​IMG]
    [​IMG]Angels: Emperor, Bi colour, Rusty, Coral beauty, Blue faced.

    Anthias: Tri colour, Sunburst, Candy basslet.[​IMG]

    Gobies, Fire, Flame, Salarias.

    Others, Clown trigger(tiny), Fox face, Perculas', six-line wrasse,

    long nose butterfly[​IMG]

    and lots more.

    Some of the new corals.



    Still have Atlantic blue, yellow, purple , flamingi, naso, powderblue tangs.[​IMG]
    Royal grammas.
    Pepperment shrimps.
    Emerald crabs.


    So come through to Idol this weekend.
    We hope to see you here.

    Rob’s corner.
    A short tutorial on cyanobacteria in our aquaria.

    Cyano. Sorting out the main cause.

    We have all had cyano in our tanks at some point. That thick red purple or even green slimy blanket that covers our substrate and rocks and even sometimes smothers and kills corals.


    It drives most of us a little bonkers and it seems that the info on what causes it is misleading at times.

    Understanding Cyano.

    Cyano bacteria is a simple bacteria and is one of earths earliest known life forms. Without it earth would not have developed life as we now know it. So it’s not all bad.
    Not that this makes it cool to have in our tanks.

    So how does it work.

    Contrary to popular belief, Cyanobacteria is not a big user of Nitrates and Phosphates in their inorganic form (what we read on our test kits.) Algaes use these. NOT SO MUCH CYANO BACTERIA.
    An example of how things work is comparing manure (the real thing- good organic fertiliser that we may put on our gardens) to artificial granular fertiliser.

    Manure is organic, it has nitrates and phosphates and all sort of other carbon based molecules bound up in what is still food for many things, Amino acids, sugars, fats etc. Only once these have been further processed by various creatures including bacteria, will the inorganic Nitrates and Phosphates be released.

    Compare this to artificial fertiliser that we recognise as the small grey/white granules we sprinkle on our plants and lawn. It simply has to be dissolved in water to release the inorganic nitrates/phospates and sulphates. This is perfect for uptake by plants such as your lawn. Incidentally also by the algae that grows in our tanks. These inorganic nitrates and phosphates are what our test kits read. BUT it is not really what Cyanobacteria is after.

    Cyano is after FOOD not raw broken down chemicals. If Cyano used inorganic nutrients we would see it a lot more on our glass because these dissolved nutrients are spread evenly through the water, we don’t though. Cyano grows where it finds food. It finds food in fish waste and old food and partially broken down plant matter. It finds it on the floor of our aquaria and sometimes on the rocks. It finds it mostly in slow flow areas where this detritus settles and where redox levels are low.

    So getting rid of Cyano is not as simple as getting rid of the nitrates and phosphates (as read on our test kits), in fact this won’t really help much at all. You have to get rid of its food.

    • Better circulation helps to keep detritus in the water column, thus allowing it to get removed by a skimmer or particle filter. The other benefit of better circulation is in helping to improve redox levels on the substrate. Cyano prefers the low redox levels found in a thin layer on the substrate.
    • Decent skimming is critical. A skimmer is there to remove organics (manure), dissolved and undissolved. It competes for food with the Cyanobacteria. It cannot remove inorganic (artificial fertiliser) nitrates and phosphates and thus will not remove them once broken down to this form.
    • Remove any visible detritus from those slow flow areas. Don’t over-feed, if there is food on the substrate after feeding time you are feeding too much or dropping it in too fast so that your fish don’t get to eat it before it gets lost in the rocks and gravel. Make sure that you feed in little batches and watch that not too much goes astray. Vacuum regularly or ensure that there are enough bottom feeding clean-up crew to tend to any build-up.
    • If you have followed the above good husbandry advice and still need help then two products that work well for clearing Cyano are as follows.
    • Special blend, which is itself a bacterial blend. This competes with Cyano for food and beats it back in this way. It was used initially in sewerage treatment and is very effective in breaking down organics. Apparently it was used to clean the Yellow River in China. It is more than capable of cleaning our tanks too.
    • The second is Chemi-clean. This is a chemical organics scrounger. By oxidising the organics it again outcompetes the Cyano for food. It is highly effective and works in my experience (if used correctly) in three days. One of our show tanks when new and after we had polished off a lot of algae with snails and urchins got a diabolical out-break of cyano. This should make sense now when we consider how much waste these algae eaters must have produced. Perfect Cyano food. The cyano was so thick and jelly-like I could cut it into little cubes and it would look like little jellies. Chemiclean scrounged all the organics in three days leaving the tank pristine.
    So if you have followed above the picture should be getting clearer. Everything I have mentioned is about getting rid of the organic food (manure) that cyano loves.

    Never again confuse Organic nutrients (manure) –cyano food, with inorganic nutrients (granular fertiliser) – algae food.
    I hope that this has clarified things for some unclear reefers, and welcome anyone to come and chat some more or brush up on their knowledge at the shop.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Rob. Bob the (reef)Builder.
    Last edited: 20 Sep 2013
    KeeganP likes this.
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  3. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

    11 Aug 2008
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    nice article Rob.

    On the Chemi Clean. Use it as the instructions say. Be careful not to overdose in a running system. Best is to use it as last resort. All the other actions are long term options to combat the cayno outbreak. Chemi Clean is a short term option and without following the other advise given, you will get cayno again in the future.
  4. KeeganP


    23 Jan 2008
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    :thumbup: Thanks Rob for that.
  5. Istio


    5 Mar 2011
    Likes Received:
    Adelaide, SA
    I am intrigued by this hypothesis. Certainly, run-of-the-mill cyanobacteria use mostly inorganic in fact they commonly have the special ability to actually use nitrogen gas as a precursor to ammonia in amino-acid metabolism. They are conventionally considered photosynthetic autotrophs and reduce carbon dioxide to make carbohydrates. Would like to learn more about the varieties in marine aquariums if you have links/references.
    Last edited: 20 Sep 2013

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