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Foamy Water & Cyanobacteria

This is a discussion on Foamy Water & Cyanobacteria within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Ok DKRST, i will take your advice and do just 7-8 hrs. I am NOT enjoying the tank as it is right now, it ...

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Foamy Water & Cyanobacteria
Old 03-02-2012, 12:09 PM   #11
 
Ok DKRST, i will take your advice and do just 7-8 hrs. I am NOT enjoying the tank as it is right now, it is giving me major anxiety. Do you think if I cut back on the feeding/light the cyano will go away by itself?
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Old 03-02-2012, 12:24 PM   #12
 
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Certainly won't hurt the algae issue. I'd cut back to 6 hours for a couple of weeks, then go longer if the algae stays gone. Some "algae" might be Euglena, which is a photosynthetic protist (single cell critter). They can exist with or without light, feeding on organic matter and/or photosynthesizing when they can. You may need to get the feeding under control also to get the best results.

Bottom feeders: My cory's love shrimp pellets. I just drop a couple in every 2-3 days and they pick up leftovers the rest of the time. Most of us overfeed, so there is probably more food than you think in the tank! Don't feed the snails specifically, they'll be fine.
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Old 03-02-2012, 12:38 PM   #13
 
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I'll try to offer some suggestions on the several issues, which will expand a bit on what's been posted by others.

First, the cyanobacteria. This is always and solely an organics issue. Reducing light including blackouts, treating with antibiotics--the cyano will, as you have stated, always come back unless the cause (organics) is fixed. For one example, I just had a bout of this in my 70g. I hadn't really noticed it at first, until one day while feeding I saw that about half the pygmy chain sword were darker green, and looking closer I saw they were covered with cyano. It flashed across my mind that the canister filter on this tank had not been cleaned for about 6 months [won't get into all that]. I disconnected it, cleaned it, new pads...removed the cyano by hand during the water changes over the next two weeks (once weekly, no more)--end of cyano. For 3 weeks now, crystal clear. Organics is the cause, nothing else.

In your case, you have been overfeeding and not performing sufficient water changes. This causes a buildup of organics. Waste in the substrate should be broken down by snails (Malaysian Livebearing will help here) and bacteria, but this has to be balanced with the needs of the system (plants use some of these, other types of bacteria use the nitrates). Weekly partial water changes of 40-50% of the tank volume should keep this balance, along with less feeding. Fish do not need more than one feeding per day (except fry), and can mis a day or two a week with no harm.

Second, algae. This is strictly due to the light, and obviously plenty of nutrients because of the infrequent water changes and overfeeding. I agree with others to reduce the light period, and use a timer so it is consistent.

Never use antibiotics to deal with cyano. Yes, they work--after all, cyanobacteria is just what it is named, a bacteria, and we all know that antibiotics kill bacteria. But they kill other bacteria than the cyano, which can be just as dangerous. They can affect fish. And organisms do build up immunity to antibiotics as we all know ourselves. And they can kill some plants. Never use any antibiotic in an aquarium except specifically to target a bacteria that is harming the fish.

On the fish eye issue, I stay out of health problems due to lack of knowledge and expertise. But I wold suggest that this may be due to one of the fish. Black Widow Tetra are known as nippers, and they should always be in a group of no less than 6 but more is better, which can reduce this natural tendancy to nip. One may have gone too far, and now the problem. Even if this is not the cause, the aggression will add stress to the fish, and this weakens the immune system which opens the door to health problems.

So, to your last post question, you need to cut back feeding, do more water changes including substrate vacuuming (to get it back in balance, then the substrate can be left alone). Rem Ive all cyano by hand, it will not "go away." If you manage to kill it, that can cause a worse problem, as the sudden rise in ammonia can poison the fish and invertebrates. Also, this take a lot of oxygen out of the water. You have a small fish load fortunately, so this wouldn't be as dangerous as it would in a more heavily-stocked tank.

Byron.

Last edited by Byron; 03-02-2012 at 12:41 PM..
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Old 03-02-2012, 01:00 PM   #14
 
Great, thanks for all that useful information Byron. I will follow everything you have said and hopefully I can get the tank back to normal. It sounds like I was definitely over feeding. You're right, you can just pick up the cyano as it is in rubber-like sheets. I did a bunch of that last night during my cleaning. Once I get my tank back to normal, I will consider getting some more black skirts, as it looks like I will have just 3 within a day or less. :( Now, do you think I should get a completely new filter? I don't know whether that is an issue in this at all, but I may as well fix everything while I'm at it.
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Old 03-02-2012, 01:40 PM   #15
 
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Originally Posted by SarahCalgary View Post
Great, thanks for all that useful information Byron. I will follow everything you have said and hopefully I can get the tank back to normal. It sounds like I was definitely over feeding. You're right, you can just pick up the cyano as it is in rubber-like sheets. I did a bunch of that last night during my cleaning. Once I get my tank back to normal, I will consider getting some more black skirts, as it looks like I will have just 3 within a day or less. :( Now, do you think I should get a completely new filter? I don't know whether that is an issue in this at all, but I may as well fix everything while I'm at it.
I would certainly thoroughly clean the filter. And this you can do under the tap. With plants I never fuss with tank water, that is just unnecessary. Besides, the chlorine will deal with any cyano in the filter. For the future, keep the filter rinsed as the water has to be able to flow through the media, and as it clogs this slows and the water may manage to divert the media.
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Old 03-02-2012, 01:43 PM   #16
 
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I'd say do some water changes... Your tank is having to cycle again.
(tetracycline kills off filter bacteria)
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Old 03-02-2012, 01:45 PM   #17
 
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I'd say do some water changes... Your tank is having to cycle again.
(tetracycline kills off filter bacteria)
I think I know where you're coming from, and normally I would agree, but here she has live plants and very few fish in a decent volume of water. But water changes are part of this cleanup anyway.
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Old 03-02-2012, 01:54 PM   #18
 
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I think I know where you're coming from, and normally I would agree, but here she has live plants and very few fish in a decent volume of water. But water changes are part of this cleanup anyway.
So because her tank has so many plants it is helping keep it stable and from cycling again. That makes sense. I'm getting more plants soon! Byron what would we do without you.
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Old 03-02-2012, 01:55 PM   #19
 
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So because her tank has so many plants it is helping keep it stable and from cycling again. That makes sense. I'm getting more plants soon! Byron what would we do without you.
Plants absorb ammonia (and when ammonia is not present, nitrates), so they do help with a cycle. Fast-growing stem plants and floating plants are best, but all plants that grow will help.

Well, it's also that (according to my own observations...) cloudy water is a big symptom of high ammonia

Cyano, (again, only my own observations) is a symptom of high levels of nitrogen (nitrates and ammonia)

my best guess, would be there was a lot of decaying food (from feeding the snails he mentioned).
The decaying food and ammonia can cause a bacterial bloom (cloudiness), and the excess bacteria (and excess food) leads to high levels of proteins like albumin in the water.. explains the foam.

Last edited by redchigh; 03-02-2012 at 02:00 PM..
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Old 03-02-2012, 02:00 PM   #20
 
I think overfeeding has a huge thing to do with it. But dumping that tetracycline in there as a knee-jerk reaction was probably not helpful. I will test the ammonia and nitrates asap and let you know what the results are. I dont' think I should do any more water changes right away though because I did about 40% last night and 20% this morning. :(
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