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Unread 03/30/2013, 05:03 PM   #1
Sk8r
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Cyanobacteria: how to fix it.

Happens every spring. The sun moves in the sky through the year, and light hits a window it hasn't hit all winter long.
Cyano turns up. It lives on 3 things: carbon, water, and light. Any other thing---oh, it COULD use it, but take it away, and it'll use something else, so nitrate, phosphate, nutrients are all fairly irrelevant to treating this stuff. More flow won't solve it. I've had it turn up in tanks where the FISH had trouble swimming and the sand wouldn't stay put. Nope. It's an archaea, a real old thing from before the dinosaurs. It's part of every green plant on earth, so there's no dodging it. It's in your tank. Always. Just now and again it gets the spectrum of light it loves, and if you want to know where that beam is hitting your tank, try the spot where it first showed up.

What's it look like? A blush or red or brown (depending on your lights) on your sand. It gets thicker and starts producing bubbles. THose are oxygen, actually, and are harmless. It can get a quarter-inch thick and start blanketing everything in the tank. You're embarrassed to have visitors.

It is, however, not a crisis. Nothing under that blanket is really harmed. And it's easy to fix.

This is why I say everybody really should have a skimmer. If you don't, use a turkey baster as a suction device and remove as much as you can before you start this. Otherwise....

Turn out your lights. Wrap your tank in newspaper on the side facing any windows at all. Your fish will sleep through this. But they'll wake to be fed, so you can if you want, or otherwise they'll just doze, as they do through hurricanes and storms on the ocean.

Leave your lights out for 3 whole days. And have your skimmer running well. Empty it as needed. On the 4th, if you have strong coral-type lighting, use the blue actinics or twilight lighting only. Otherwise, back to normal. For coral-folk, on the 5th, bring everything back to normal.

It'll be improved. But it may not be the last you see of this pest this season. But if it recurs, bear with it for a while. Next month, same date, do the same thing. Typically, for a bad case, do this 3 months running and you should be rid of it for a while. Try not to let window-light reach your tank.

Do NOT use any red slime remover until you have a very mature tank or really know what you're doing, and even so---it may cost you your microlife, like pods, which can be hugely expensive to replace for a starving dragonet. This method works, costs nothing, and is far, far, far safer.


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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge, yellow tang, sailfin blenny,royal gramma, ocellaris clown pair, yellow watchman, 100 microceriths, 25 tiny hermits, a 4" conch, 1" nassarius, recovering from 2 year hiatus with daily water change of 10%.

Last edited by Sk8r; 03/30/2013 at 05:16 PM.
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Unread 04/01/2013, 06:56 PM   #2
Saltwater_Biker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sk8r View Post
Happens every spring. The sun moves in the sky through the year, and light hits a window it hasn't hit all winter long.
Cyano turns up. It lives on 3 things: carbon, water, and light. Any other thing---oh, it COULD use it, but take it away, and it'll use something else, so nitrate, phosphate, nutrients are all fairly irrelevant to treating this stuff. More flow won't solve it. I've had it turn up in tanks where the FISH had trouble swimming and the sand wouldn't stay put. Nope. It's an archaea, a real old thing from before the dinosaurs. It's part of every green plant on earth, so there's no dodging it. It's in your tank. Always. Just now and again it gets the spectrum of light it loves, and if you want to know where that beam is hitting your tank, try the spot where it first showed up.

What's it look like? A blush or red or brown (depending on your lights) on your sand. It gets thicker and starts producing bubbles. THose are oxygen, actually, and are harmless. It can get a quarter-inch thick and start blanketing everything in the tank. You're embarrassed to have visitors.

It is, however, not a crisis. Nothing under that blanket is really harmed. And it's easy to fix.

This is why I say everybody really should have a skimmer. If you don't, use a turkey baster as a suction device and remove as much as you can before you start this. Otherwise....

Turn out your lights. Wrap your tank in newspaper on the side facing any windows at all. Your fish will sleep through this. But they'll wake to be fed, so you can if you want, or otherwise they'll just doze, as they do through hurricanes and storms on the ocean.

Leave your lights out for 3 whole days. And have your skimmer running well. Empty it as needed. On the 4th, if you have strong coral-type lighting, use the blue actinics or twilight lighting only. Otherwise, back to normal. For coral-folk, on the 5th, bring everything back to normal.

It'll be improved. But it may not be the last you see of this pest this season. But if it recurs, bear with it for a while. Next month, same date, do the same thing. Typically, for a bad case, do this 3 months running and you should be rid of it for a while. Try not to let window-light reach your tank.

Do NOT use any red slime remover until you have a very mature tank or really know what you're doing, and even so---it may cost you your microlife, like pods, which can be hugely expensive to replace for a starving dragonet. This method works, costs nothing, and is far, far, far safer.
I have a cyano problem now and I cut down on feedings to once a day instead of 3 times. I have the BRS 5 stage filters for almost a year and it still reads 0 tds, but I test output water with having alittle phosphate with the API test.
At the moment I an going to do what you suggested and I am waiting for my GFO reactor. Any brand do you recommend for GFO that I can buy locally?


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Unread 04/01/2013, 09:33 PM   #3
Sk8r
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I use PHosban. THere's also Phosgard. Granulated ferrous oxide is pretty well granulated ferrous oxide, so whichever you can find.


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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge, yellow tang, sailfin blenny,royal gramma, ocellaris clown pair, yellow watchman, 100 microceriths, 25 tiny hermits, a 4" conch, 1" nassarius, recovering from 2 year hiatus with daily water change of 10%.
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Unread 04/03/2013, 06:28 AM   #4
mykol reef
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check the phosphate level.


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Unread 04/03/2013, 02:42 PM   #5
ryeguyy84
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I have it in my 4G pico tank and it's not going anywhere. I've had the lights out since monday.

From Sk8r: any light reaching the tank? And do you have a skimmer of any kind? It takes a skimmer to really make this work. You might try dipping out water, shaking it to make it froth, skimming the froth and putting the water back. But in very small tanks without much skimmer, this can be a problem. You might try a series of strong water changes while doing the darkness bit.



Last edited by Sk8r; 04/04/2013 at 03:02 PM.
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Unread 04/06/2013, 07:03 PM   #6
pjb9166
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Hi everyone....

If you don't mind I have a question about Cyano.
I purchased a Staghorn frag, well when I got it home and conditioned it and placed it on its new home. I noticed that on one of the tips there is polyps that have died off and in its place there is a touch of Cyano.
How do I take care of that?

29gal Hex
HOB marineland Penguin with Bio wheel only Chemi Pure in it.
SeaClone HOB 100 skimmer
120w LED fixture
RO water used


SK8R: the two problems are unrelated. Cyano was/is already in your tank, so don't worry about it. It's everywhere, and it' doesn't hurt corals except by depriving them of light. The way to deal with a bad spot on a coral is to nip off that bit including a complete bit of live, good tissue, the same way you amputate a limb by cutting it off above the problem. Then just treat it nicely and cross your fingers. It'll take a while to recover from the trauma. Mount it solidly and keep your water perfect.

Temp 78, 20 lbs sand bed, 16 lbs live rock.
Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate @ 0, Ph 8.2, KH 12, Phos 0, Cal 360

5 hermit crabs, one A. snail, Cleaner shrimp.

1 Frag Stag
1 Frag Green Hammer
1 Frag Zoanthid
1 small rock with 5 mushrooms on it

Thanks
Paul



Last edited by Sk8r; 04/07/2013 at 12:11 PM.
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Unread 04/09/2013, 03:07 PM   #7
greyreef
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no skimmer

Sk8er, what if you have a smaller tank that doesnt have a skimmer?
Any recipe you would follow?
Is a small algae scrubber a reasonable alternative?


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Unread 04/09/2013, 03:20 PM   #8
Sk8r
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The best thing to do would be see if you can make a temporary one: it consists of a pump sucking water from the tank and jetting it hard, through air, down into a reservoir of water and making it froth: you scoop off the froth, which is the skimmate. Alternatively, you could take jars of your water and shake them violently, then skim off the froth. This could get exhausting, but it would work. If you could devise a container that would do the water-jet thing, let the foam rise in an inner column, and not leak as it returns clean water to the tank, you'd have a skimmer.


A skimmer is basically the 'surf' of your tank, which removes amino acids from your water and makes your water nicer. Without the skimmer, I'm not sure the lights-out treatment is going to help much, because everything you kill off just dissolves into the water, endlessly.

If you're going to have this problem with a nano, you might take a look at the AquaC Remora, a HOB skimmer you can put on for a while, then remove, dry out and store against future need.

Failing all the above, you might try just the lights-out followed by 3 20% water changes a day apart and see if that helps.


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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge, yellow tang, sailfin blenny,royal gramma, ocellaris clown pair, yellow watchman, 100 microceriths, 25 tiny hermits, a 4" conch, 1" nassarius, recovering from 2 year hiatus with daily water change of 10%.
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Unread 04/13/2013, 10:59 AM   #9
tundra1000
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Sk8r,

I am running a small fuge with some chaeto. There is a small amount of cyano in the fuge. I just started lights out for the display but should I also do it for the fuge? Will this harm the chaeto?

-Matt


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Unread 04/14/2013, 12:39 PM   #10
Sk8r
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No. The light loss would hurt it more. Just skim. Eventually you'll get whatever it's uptaken to grow.


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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge, yellow tang, sailfin blenny,royal gramma, ocellaris clown pair, yellow watchman, 100 microceriths, 25 tiny hermits, a 4" conch, 1" nassarius, recovering from 2 year hiatus with daily water change of 10%.
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Unread 04/15/2013, 02:54 AM   #11
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when i had cyano i used a product call chemiclean ! it erradicated the ciano !

From Sk8r. You were really very, very lucky. It can also crash a tank that's on minimal equipment. It is a gram-positive antibiotic. Your sandbed is (mostly) gram-negative, which is how this product avoids killing off your sandbed and live rock. But it does damage the tank ecosystem, and your tank may take months to recover. That treatment and lights-out do exactly the same thing: they kill the cyano. The effectiveness of the antibiotic is absolute, and your tank's survival depends on a) how much biomass there was and b) how effective your skimmer is to get that instant die-off out fast. The effect of the lights-out treatment is less drastic, and kills off the cyano at a slower rate, which a weak skimmer or successive water changes can deal with safely. Your ecosystem also remains intact, and can better handle the increased bioload.

My advice to novices is don't use this until you're an expert: otherwise luck and the factors above are a real dice roll.



Last edited by Sk8r; 04/15/2013 at 09:10 AM.
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Unread 04/19/2013, 09:54 PM   #12
SantaMonica
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An interesting note: The "cyano does not like flow" comes from the situation where food particles settle on the sand and provide carbon to the cyano. Flow, of course, moves the particles away so they can be eaten instead.


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Unread 04/26/2013, 02:59 PM   #13
hogfanreefer
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I'm guessing this is cyano? In my QT.




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Unread 04/26/2013, 07:02 PM   #14
SantaMonica
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I think it's just regular periphyton.


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Unread 05/01/2013, 08:58 AM   #15
Palytoxin718
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I have a pretty bad cyano outbreak. I will try your suggestions. Could it also be flow related? Can kalkwasser dosing help??


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Unread 05/06/2013, 09:57 AM   #16
Pluedke1
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I had cyano bad in my frag tank for the first couple months. I added chemiclean a few times and the cyano would only stay away for a few days. I recently added a bigger return to the tank and there is no cyno. good luck


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Unread 05/09/2013, 08:30 AM   #17
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I have a mature tank and I get cyano from time to time. It shows up in patches and mostly in awkward places such as crevices where live rock meets the sand bed. When I notice it, I siphon it out the best I can during a water change or into a filter sock and I'm sure to vacuum the sand bed. It shows up more often during the end of my t5 lights life-span.

Just thought I'd share.


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Unread 05/10/2013, 07:43 AM   #18
Mikie_P
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I have just done 3 days lights out and although it killed off most cyano, there were still patches on the sand and rock so changed the direction of my wavemakers to increase flow over the sand (so much its exposed eggcrate and the bottom of my tank and my sand is now in 3 huge piles) and within 24hrs of returning to normal lights the cyano is starting to take over everything again.... is it too soon to do another lights out? I have mainly softies, polyps and a few lps, bought some green star polyps last week that still haven't opened so don't want to kill them off by another 3 days in the dark too soon...


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Unread 05/10/2013, 07:46 AM   #19
SaltWater226
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more flow and Dr G's phosphate and silicate remover took care of mine


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Unread 05/10/2013, 07:52 AM   #20
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my phos is pretty much undetectable so dont thinks its a water chem issue


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Unread 05/10/2013, 07:54 AM   #21
SaltWater226
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it wont detect how much you really have till u get rid of it.


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Unread 05/10/2013, 07:55 AM   #22
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trust me i had a big problem of it and took care of it how I told you.


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Unread 05/11/2013, 05:23 PM   #23
ricwilli
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I would like to try the "three days lights out" method to rid of the cyano that I have in my dt. My fish get feed pellets twice a day via a automatic feeder. I will be covering the whole tank with a huge black plastic bag (I have a 300g tank). Should I remove the automatic feeder while the tank is covered?


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Unread 05/14/2013, 07:32 AM   #24
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I had a bad cyano outbreak and everything I tried just didnt work. Even water changes wouldn't work I decided to test for everything I had a test kit for and found out my magnesium was very very low. I also had a terrible time keeping the PH up. It would dip down to 7.8 and I couldnt keep it raised above 8.0. No matter what I did , the PH would come back down to 7.8. I went and bought some liquid magnesium and followed the directions and slowly raised the magnesium levels to around 1300 , my PH came back up to 8.4, DKH also came back to 9 and most importantly , the cyano started receding ! Now it's all but gone. I have a little bit left but its receding also. I always had it in my sump but its all gone down there too. I hope this helps somebody conquer thier cyano problem. I was about to give up and break the tank down until I ran all the water tests. I had suspected that the mag was low but I thought it was not related to my cyano outbreak.


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Unread 05/18/2013, 07:26 PM   #25
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Pardon the poor picture is this cyano ? or red turf.ive been battling gha and am getting a grip on it then this shows up, trials and tribulations of a noob


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