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Cyanobacteria in the freshwater planted aquarium

This is a discussion on Cyanobacteria in the freshwater planted aquarium within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> I'm still fairly new to the aquarium hobby, are there specific "nutrients" you are referring to, just nitrates? I've also gone back to feeding ...

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Cyanobacteria in the freshwater planted aquarium
Old 03-27-2013, 05:21 AM   #31
 
I'm still fairly new to the aquarium hobby, are there specific "nutrients" you are referring to, just nitrates?

I've also gone back to feeding every other day rather than every day. Should that combined with water changes help balance out "nutrients"?

RE: "reading the link you posted" ... i was talking about the Life history of cyano. Kinda neat how basically all live on land probably wouldn't exist without it and yet i want it gone...

Edit: Duh number 2, what i am doing now, is what you said to do. I reread, and i hate reading in the first place ;)

p.s. thanks for all your help Byron, you have been in on almost every post i have started here and you always have something useful to contribute. You are a good source of knowledge.

Last edited by xfatdannx; 03-27-2013 at 05:27 AM.. Reason: der moment.
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Old 03-27-2013, 08:43 AM   #32
 
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I'm still fairly new to the aquarium hobby, are there specific "nutrients" you are referring to, just nitrates?

...
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Not just nitrates. Plant life uses nitrogen, phosphates, potassium, several others, plus light and carbon. And produce plant tissure and oxygen.

But not every plant has to use ammonia/nitrates for nitrogen. Some plants be it soybeans in a farmer's field or cyano in our tanks can take nitrogen from nitrogen gas instead.

Plus plants consume ammonia/nitrates but also other things like low oxygen bacteria. The bacteria actually "reverse" got forward aerobic bacteria cycle and reduce nitrates to nitrItes and then to nitrogen gas. So at the surface of the substrate you can have a low oxygen, high co2 environment which is returning nitrogen gas.

So IMHO what can happen is you go for several months. Things are doing great. Tanks look great. Plants thriving. Then one day you notice a little slime (blue/green Fw, red marine) on the substrate/rocks. Then that initial slime gets bigger and bigger and in a very short while everything in the tank is covered.

What happened? Nitrates went to unmeasureable values because bacteria as well as plants consumed the nitrates. So the cyano started consuming the nitrogen gas and phosphates and rapidily bloomed.

Meanwhile the ammonia/nitrate plant life had less phosphates available so started being starved.

As a result the tank rapidily is becomming cyano dominated vrs plant dominated.

If you kill the lights and stop adding food, the cyano will die off faster then the plant life. Plus the less food reduces phosphates as well as generally reducing the bio load. So the cyano dies off and returns the nutrients (including the nitrogen gas-nitrogen) to the aerobic bacteria cycle and the plant life.

So you rebalance the tank in favor of the plant life at the expense of the cyano.

Then you adjust lighting and feeding so the plants remain in control and the cyano is held at bay.

At that point you still cyano just not huge noticable levels. What in fact may be happening is cyano is returning nitrogen to the plants just like farmers rotate crops to return nitrogen in fields.


my .02
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Old 03-27-2013, 04:25 PM   #33
 
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I'm still fairly new to the aquarium hobby, are there specific "nutrients" you are referring to, just nitrates?
I'm not sure where this comes from...I was mentioning organics previously as the cause of cyanobacteria. Organics refers to all plant and animal/fish matter that is dead and gets broken down by bacteria; dead plant leaves, dead fish, fish waste, uneaten fish food, etc are organics. As these are broken down, nutrients are released and the plants use them. Cyano occurs when the organics reach levels beyond what the system can handle, i.e., excess organics.

Nitrate is the third stage in nitrification, as ammonia is changed into nitrite which is then changed into nitrate. Obviously excess organics will likely result in an increase in nitrate, though not necessarily. But high nitrate is suggestive of high organics.

Quote:
I've also gone back to feeding every other day rather than every day. Should that combined with water changes help balance out "nutrients"?
This will help reduce organics, which will help get rid of cyanobacteria, which will help restore a healthy biological balance, yes.

Don't hesitate to ask questions, that is what the forum is for, sharing our knowledge and helping each other. Keep us posted on progress. But remember, it can take time to eliminate cyanobacteria if you do it the correct way, which is by cleaning up the organics. Water changes during which the substrate is vacuumed (get down into it, not just the surface) play a big role in this cleanup, along with reducing the incoming organics.

Byron.
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Old 03-28-2013, 12:21 AM   #34
 
Byron...The hard part for me is getting into the substrate to vacuum. I have small plants like Crypt Parva, that have cyano on them, and disturbing the substrate no only will disturb their growing but also uproot them. Any suggestions? When i did today's water change i kinda rubbed things with my fingers to get it all floating and then then vacuumed it out while it was floating.
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Old 03-28-2013, 05:24 AM   #35
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You've got gravel that is pretty deep, at least it looks it, that lets stuff settle deeper and you just won't be able to get it out without a lot of disturbing which is what is going to affect the plants. Not that you are going to change it but that is why sand is superior to gravel, not much can really settle in, it sits on top and you just suck if off the surface. Even thinner a gravel layer is helpful.

If a thorough cleaning will already uproot your crypts perhaps you can remove some of the gravel next time as well?

Jeff.
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Old 03-28-2013, 11:11 AM   #36
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xfatdannx View Post
Byron...The hard part for me is getting into the substrate to vacuum. I have small plants like Crypt Parva, that have cyano on them, and disturbing the substrate no only will disturb their growing but also uproot them. Any suggestions? When i did today's water change i kinda rubbed things with my fingers to get it all floating and then then vacuumed it out while it was floating.
That's fine. It is in the spaces where there are no rooted plants that you can dig down a bit.
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Old 03-29-2013, 04:33 PM   #37
 
so i have been doing minimum 20% water changes each day, cut back feeding to once every three days (feed, 2 days off, feed..) And it seems to be coming back more spread out but not as dense...is this progress?
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Old 03-29-2013, 05:03 PM   #38
 
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i woudl say any type of reduction is a good thing, persistance is usually key to sucess in aquariums in my experience.
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Old 03-29-2013, 05:59 PM   #39
 
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Yes. It took me a good 2 months, maybe longer, to get rid of it.
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Old 03-30-2013, 01:10 AM   #40
 
I have a sort of interesting case of cyano in my 10 gallon tank right now. btw, I thought that some of the eelements of mulm were good nutrients... Anyway, luckily for me, the cyano started small and has remained in a few specific locations. What I have been doing is 50% water changes and siphoning off the cyano, using whatever techniques I can. It's a clear plastic tube with smaller inner diameter, like 1/4" or 1/8" x 6 feet that I bought at the hardware store, and it is working very well for me. However, the cyano keeps taking over where it was before.

Steven
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