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Cyano, i'm finally rid of you

Posted 05/16/2012 at 03:41 PM by IridescentLily
Updated 07/05/2012 at 07:50 PM by IridescentLily

Cyano looks like red, slimy algae but it is actually a bacteria. Let me describe my cyano issue and how we managed to eradicate it.
I think the red slimy cyano began because of two things; Nutrients (excess food), and the changing of my hqi bulb.
I've always fed the corals 1-2 times a week. I've been feeding this way for about a year. I had no algae issues. No diatoms, no cyano, no hair algae no byropsis, no valonia. Though i have had a four aiptasia that a couple of peppermint shrimp took care of three months ago and i haven't had one since
Anyhow, When i feed i always blow the rocks off afterwards with a plastic turkey baster. It blows all the leftover, rotting food into the water all around, so it can all be removed by my Tunze skimmer. I couldn't believe the crap that blew all around when i did this the first time.
This worked well for 10 months because i had no issues. No nuisance algae, no nitrates, no phosphates.
I decided to change the bulb in my light fixture. The Oceanic biocube hqi came with a coralvue 14k bulb. Since it was 9 months old i decided to order a new bulb and i decided on a Phoenix 14k bulb. Same wattage, same color temp, and both are double ended bulbs. I had read numerous good things about the PAR that the Phoenix bulb is capable of. And after reading the high rating it got on Sanjay Joshi's site i knew that's the bulb i wanted.
So we installed the new bulb, and they were right, it was hella bright, and more of a blue color. The extra blue temp made the corals really pop.
....Then i noticed my trachyphyllia radiata (Brain coral) was getting lighter and paler in color, and it was looking smaller. I soon realized the new light was so much stronger that it was bleaching my brain coral (Area 51).
So...we bought some window screen and decided to cover the top of the tank with the screen, so it would help diffuse the light.
By the way we had no top on the tank the whole time we've had the tank.
So, after the first couple of days Area51 looked better. But i also noticed this dark red cyano forming on the very top of the higher rocks.
I had never dealt with it before but i had read about cyano and i knew it was going to be a pain to get rid of.
So everyday the cyano growth would get thicker. And it was spreading. But still only on the top rocks.
I tried blowing the rocks more often and manually removing the cyano with a small (new) artists paint brush. It was good for getting into crevices but it was gentle so it wouldn't scrape any corals.
I kept up with the cyano, but it would never go away. Everyday i would get up and it would be there for me to brush off.
Once i tried taking the screen off for an extra hour or two everyday. The cyano looked like it was getting better, but then my trachyphyllia started bleaching again.
Then we decided that the water flow in the tank needed to be increased. The flow that the tank came with (It's an aio) was not bad. It moved the water pretty darn good. But i thought maybe we needed the kind of flow that moved the whole water column, through the rocks. So we thought we'd get a tunze nano wave maker. Then we realized it wouldn't fit. So we decided on a vortech mp10 which i got for Mothers Day
It has a wave making algorithm setting.
Doug installed it and when he turned it on i couldn't believe the amount of detritus blowing around :-0
When we saw how much detritus it moved from the rocks into the water, we knew we made the right decision. We turned it down a bit because it was too strong for some of the lps corals. That's one of the reasons we got a vortech, because it is fully adjustable with a programmable controller.
That was three days ago. As a test, we decided not to brush off the cyano bubbles so we could tell if the added flow was helping with the cyano.
As of yesterday we (finally) have no more cyano. Within three days we have No red slime, no cyano gas bubbles. Nothing.
The tank, rocks and sand look so clean and all the corals look visibly better
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Total Comments 7


  1. New Comment
    llewoh05's Avatar
    You just needed more flow?
    Posted 05/17/2012 at 02:51 PM by llewoh05 llewoh05 is offline
  2. New Comment
    IridescentLily's Avatar
    Yes, apparently. I'm still surprised it worked so fast lol.
    Posted 05/17/2012 at 06:33 PM by IridescentLily IridescentLily is offline
  3. New Comment
    lemmy_k's Avatar
    Wow, lucky you! My cyano grows right on the nozzle of my powerheads.
    Posted 05/18/2012 at 08:04 AM by lemmy_k lemmy_k is offline
  4. New Comment
    IridescentLily's Avatar
    oh wow seriously? I guess you're right i should consider myself lucky.
    I think it's the particular type of wave the vortech is tuned to. My original powerhead was good, it moved stuff around, but the flow was just going one way, doing nothing to the cyano.
    Posted 05/18/2012 at 10:32 AM by IridescentLily IridescentLily is offline
  5. New Comment
    I'm currently battling cyano and though it has managed to stop growing on my rocks it is still showing up on my sand. I have 1 Vortech in my 40 gal. breeder and it's growing the most on the sand just below it. The rest of my sand has some what of a brownish color top of it. Any suggestions or tips?
    Posted 06/16/2012 at 04:26 PM by ASERT ASERT is offline
  6. New Comment
    IridescentLily's Avatar
    Originally Posted by ASERT View Comment
    I'm currently battling cyano and though it has managed to stop growing on my rocks it is still showing up on my sand. I have 1 Vortech in my 40 gal. breeder and it's growing the most on the sand just below it. Th top of it. Any suggestions or tips?
    Hi. sure. It sounds like more of a nutrient issue then lighting or not enough flow because it sounds like the vortech is picking up alot of detritus (because it's strong), and whatever is left settles close by it...right underneath it.
    1. Do you vacuum your sandbed when doing a water change?
    2. What mode is your vortech on? Have you tried the wave mode?
    3. Do you feed? If so, what do you feed them, and how often?
    4. what kind of wattage are your phoenix bulbs?
    Posted 06/22/2012 at 06:01 PM by IridescentLily IridescentLily is offline
  7. New Comment
    Posted 08/26/2015 at 02:24 AM by Harrhugh Harrhugh is offline

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