The Cyanobacteria Thread

Discussion in 'Nuisance Algae' started by DragonReef, 4 May 2007.

  1. DragonReef

    DragonReef

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    What is Cyanobacteria ?


    Cyanobacteria are aquatic and photosynthetic, that is, they live in the water, and can manufacture their own food. Because they are bacteria, they are quite small and usually unicellular, though they often grow in colonies large enough to see. They have the distinction of being the oldest known fossils, more than 3.5 billion years old, in fact! It may surprise you then to know that the cyanobacteria are still around; they are one of the largest and most important groups of bacteria on earth.
    Many Proterozoic oil deposits are attributed to the activity of cyanobacteria. They are also important providers of nitrogen fertilizer in the cultivation of rice and beans. The cyanobacteria have also been tremendously important in shaping the course of evolution and ecological change throughout earth's history. The oxygen atmosphere that we depend on was generated by numerous cyanobacteria during the Archaean and Proterozoic Eras. Before that time, the atmosphere had a very different chemistry, unsuitable for life as we know it today.
    The other great contribution of the cyanobacteria is the origin of plants. The chloroplast with which plants make food for themselves is actually a cyanobacterium living within the plant's cells. Sometime in the late Proterozoic, or in the early Cambrian, cyanobacteria began to take up residence within certain eukaryote cells, making food for the eukaryote host in return for a home. This event is known as endosymbiosis, and is also the origin of the eukaryotic mitochondrion. Because they are photosynthetic and aquatic, cyanobacteria are often called "blue-green algae". This name is convenient for talking about organisms in the water that make their own food, but does not reflect any relationship between the cyanobacteria and other organisms called algae. Cyanobacteria are relatives of the bacteria, not eukaryotes, and it is only the chloroplast in eukaryotic algae to which the cyanobacteria are related.

    Lets be more specific to the cyanobacteria that plagues our systems:
     
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  3. DragonReef

    DragonReef Thread Starter

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    Part 2

    Cyano comes from a Greek word which basically translates as Blue, but this only applies to about half of the different species and Mostly the forms we find in our Marine Systems range in colour from Reddish Brown to almost Black with a few shades in-between :D

    So typically what does it look like ?
    Like this

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Naaasty !!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
    Last edited: 5 May 2007
  4. DragonReef

    DragonReef Thread Starter

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    Okay so now we know what it is and what it looks like, how do we go about getting rid of it and how did it get there in the first place !!!!

    It seems that a nutrient rich water problem is the prime culprit. Not that the Cyano is eating left over food particles, but left over food particles are breaking down into harmful excess nutrients. Add Light plus dissolved organic carbon/organic material - D.O.C's and you have a great recipe for the preferred Eco-System of CyanoBacteria.


    NOTE:


    It is good to know that Poor Water Husbandry is usually the culprit in most "problems" that develop in our systems.
    It is said that the cyanobacteria is caused from Phosphates and Silicates in the water column. But it is not that simple. Poor water flow and lighting also has an effect. Note though that lighting on it's own will not cause it, but rather contribute is the other factors come into play.

    Right, now to get rid of it.
    Skimming:
    Arguably the most important mechanical safeguard on your system not only for cyano but other nuisance algaes to. The effeciecent removal of free organic proteins from your system cannot be stressed enough. Skimming is a whole other lesson on it's own so we won't go into details here. Please visit the skimmer forum for some excellent tips and advice on getting the most out of your skimmer.

    Good water chemistry:

    Though it seems that pH and Alkalinity Alterations do not effect CyanoBacteria from the CURE perspective, the fact is, a PROPERLY maintained system with STABLE parameters which include pH, Alkalinity, Temperature and Salinity provides the right conditions for life to proceed in a Normal Cycle. Systems that experience Rapid Changes or Poorly Monitored Systems will cause Die Off of various Life Forms that add MORE D.O.C to the system. So often I see queries where questions are asked and people don't know the KH or Nitrate readings of their systems. It is vital for all life forms to make sure that these parameters are in check.
     
    Last edited: 5 May 2007
    Jenaid likes this.
  5. Galibore

    Galibore Retired Moderator

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    Awesome info!!

    I haven't read the whole article, but I was wondering, seeing that Cyano is a bacteria and not really an algae, shouldn't the clever people have developed a narrow spectrum anti biotic for it by now? Maybe they have?
     
  6. DragonReef

    DragonReef Thread Starter

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    Hi Galibore, I think there is an anti biotic that AM bought out called Anti Red or something like that, however the use of it in Full Blown Reefs is still debatable and I know of a few guy's that suffered coral loss in the process.

    I will be adding more to the getting rid of this pest a bit later today.
    Cool.
     
  7. Tridan

    Tridan

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    dude thanks least i now know i am not alone.
    mine is almost gone uped my skimming and changed my lighting periods, turned my lights of at intervals and on at intervals different lights at different times ( thank god for timers) also used a phosphate binder,
    thanks for the info
     
  8. ShaneW

    ShaneW

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    some time ago I was battling with cyano and I went to the LFS, looking for antiRed.
    They didn't stock it but gave me a little white pill, and ensured me it was 1000% reef safe and to use 2 pills on my size tank....I used 1 and 2 days later, all cyano gone.
    Only to find out afterwards that this pill contains Copper (Apparantly) ??!??
    Any comments?
     
  9. Rod

    Rod

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    What they gave you was probably Erythromycin. No copper involved. Its an antiboitic.
    My own view is you may have solved to immediate problem, but failed to sort out what caused it.
    Usually it it is a circulation problem, sort your circulation and you will sort the problem.
    Cyano can "fix" nitrogen from the water thus increasing your nitrate levels.
     
  10. DragonReef

    DragonReef Thread Starter

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    Wise words Rod.

    Also another variable that I see time and again with these problems are simple, basic water params.
    Yes nuisance algae is generally associated with an excess of nutrients / inadequate flow / insufficient skimming etc etc.
    But before delving into all of that start at the beginning - back to basics if you will and make sure that your water parameters are steady and are being maintained without any wild swings.

    Temp - 26-27
    CA - 380 - 400
    KH - 7-8
    PH - 8.6 High - 8.2 low

    These are the fundamentals and once you have a handle on these paramaters you can start delving deeper into nutrient issues. Don't guess your parameters. Test with a realiable test kit and keep it constant.

    Note the PH low of 8.2 - That's critical.
     
  11. herkie

    herkie R.I.P.

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    Hi DR, when reading post 9 it reminded of a tank about 5 ks from my place. When it was started just after I got going the owner told me he does not have a sump because the little power filter thats hung inside the tank is good enough. He also do not use a skimmer "because its a waste of money." He got this advice from his father who was one of the "pioneers" in reefkeeping. The tank seemed to start off better than mine and I was a bit jealous seeing that I spent a lot of bucks that he did not.
    Well I saw this tank 2 weeks ago and and was shocked by what I saw. The whole tank was just about covered in Cyano and the fish he had died. Surely this death must have been caused by the Cyano.(Please correct me if Im wrong.)
    In other words I saw the proof of your post.
     
  12. sihaya

    sihaya

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    Or maybe Tetracycline (also used to help clear up acne in teenagers -lol).

    Ditto... and not only that, but where does all this dead bacteria go? And what if you have a type of cyano that releases toxins upon death?

    In my opinion, it's never wise to kill en masse any organism in your tank. I mean, you wouldn't through a dead fish in there, why think much differently of a lot of bacteria or flat worms or anything else? Some of these micro-organisms are even more dangerous upon death than in life.
     
  13. IMarine

    IMarine

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    Hi freind got rid of mine in 2 weeks first i did a 25% water change and sifoned then used o.3mill of vodca every day and added bact so that it could multiply and chow all the cyano with in 2weeks all cyano gone now i use it only every 2 days it works but do not over use
     
  14. Alan

    Alan Admin MASA Contributor

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    Here is food for thought.
     
  15. Dohn

    Dohn MASA Contributor

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    Is this Cyano?

    [​IMG]

    Its growing on alot of my live rocks. None on the substrate.
    Looks almost like a velvet type texture.
     
  16. Alfie

    Alfie

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    An easy way to check is to take a new tooth brush and give it a light brush, i it comes off easy then yes it is.
     
  17. sihaya

    sihaya

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    Eh... not necessarily. I'd say the converse... if it doesn't come off easy, then it's not cyano. But there are lots of nuisance growths which will come off easy with a brush... diatoms come off easy, so do dinoflagellates, etc.

    Dohn, doesn't look like cyano to me, but I would still take Alfie's advice in any case and just brush it off (and siphon it out).
     
  18. seank

    seank

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    Addressed to Dragon and the real Gurus:

    As you know, I have had cyano since the beginning of time (both my tanks) and am getting really weed off with the stuff. Dragon, I have good water parameters and I am so tired of doing waterflow changes. I cannot believe that anyone have direct strong waterflow in every single inch/centimeter of their display- reason for me saying this is the following: I have a lot of waterflow (I even added an extra 03 pumps plus another huge return pump as well as an overflow box 3/4 of the lenght of the display for better surface skimming) in my display area and everytime I direct the pumps to a certain area, the cyano goes away, but then start at another place where strong DIRECT flow is not noticable. If I have to have direct flow to every inch of my tank, it means that I need to put a Powerhead next to another throughout the display, facing sideways, donwards, upwards etc.

    The lights I have now is all Less than 03 months old. I installed another 04 T5 lights 04 days ago.

    I only feed about once a day (more like every 02nd day).

    So please feel free to tell me where I am making this huge mistake as the Cyano does not get less.

    And yes, I do a weekly/fortnightly 30- 40% waterchange with very good, clean Natural saltwater (That I fetch fortnightly at the beach about 100km from here and then still get a weekly 200lt of seawater that is fetched at an average 500meter depth (about 20-30km from our coastline) in the ocean)

    The food I feed is the Eric Borneman recipe as well as Coral Frenzy.

    Man, I am so getting tired of this stuff. Where I need lower flow for some Corals, I have cyano, when I up the flow, the corals do not open but the Cyano goes away, if I move the Corals to another area with lower flow following, then the Cyano follows and I have to up the flow again, then Corals do not open, the whole chain reaction starts again)

    Phosphates was just tested- less than 0.1, Nitrates- 02-05, Nitrites- 0.0, Calcium- 450- 480, Amoniac-0.00, Ph-8.4-8.5, Salinity- 1026, Alkalinity- 9dkh

    Please help........:(
     
  19. viper357

    viper357 Admin MASA Contributor

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    Sean, try this if you can. Saturate your sump with air bubbles, put in about 10 airstones if you can, just get as much air as you can into your sump. Do that for a few days and see if it helps. I have heard of people having success in removing cyano this way.

    If that is not possible then think of another way to assist in gaseous exchange, maybe point 2 powerheads towards the water surface to really strongly agitate the water surface.

    How well ventilated is your fish room? Does it have constant access to fresh air or is the air stagnant in the room?
     
  20. seank

    seank

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    I also heard about it and also started with the air thing the last couple of days, but through the closed loops, still Cyano , fishroom have 02 Extractor fans running 24/7 as well as an Aircon that comes on at certain temps:

    Pics for you:

    Ceiling of engine room:

    [​IMG]

    Opening between tank and engine room for work and Ventilation:

    [​IMG]

    Tried the aerated story (Aptaisia just loves it...LoL):

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  21. viper357

    viper357 Admin MASA Contributor

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    ok, 2 things...

    1. You need to paint the walls in your fish room :p

    2. Fish and corals don't like air bubbles in the tank, try and restrict it to the sump so that no air bubbles enter the main tank.

    Try it for a week or two Sean (in the sump) give it time to work, if not, then I honestly don't know.
     
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