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mikey5598 03-06-2013 09:04 PM

Cyanobacteria in the freshwater planted aquarium
Hello Byron and everyone else,
I was wondering if you could share a bit of wisdom. I have read on some of your posts that circulating pumps in a planted tank were not really beneficial and may actually do more harm than good by depleting co2. I have a planted 55 gal. Aquarium with sand substrate on top and Eco complete and other dirt underneath. In my previous tank which was all dirt I was having the same issue until I installed a circulating pump after which it cleared it right up. I'm changing 30 percent of my water once a week and when I do, I suck up the green stuff but by the next week when it's time to do a water change it comes back. My parameters are 76 deg, ph of 7.5 nitrate 10 ppm ammonia 0 nitrite 0. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. I'm using Rena xp2 filtration, 2 24 inch coralife light fixtures with 4 6700 k t5 bulbs 14 watts
each. I went ahead and placed a circulating pump in my tank but don't really like it. I don't over feed, so was just wondering if adding more plants would get rid of this problem. In other words, being a heavily planted tank I would assume that there are dead spots at the bottom of the tank. My tank is planted, but not that heavily at the moment. Sorry Byron about posting in the wrong place. Kind of a lengthy question, but any tips would be greatly appreciated.

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MoneyMitch 03-06-2013 09:16 PM

having a algae issue or just a cyano problem? x8 tubes if i understand right is wayyyyyyyyy to much light without any co2 injection and low plants. that just breeds problems and imbalance. with that much light add some more plants and co2 to see a cutback of the algae and cyano. or cut back atelast half of that light untill you get some co2.

Aurie 03-07-2013 06:36 AM

14 watts on a t5 is normal output.. a 55 gallon aquarium is 48" long, so he would have 2 of these side by side.. each has 2 bulbs for 4 bulbs total

Freshwater Aquarium Lighting » Aqueon® Freshwater T5 Light Fixture | PetSmart

mikey5598 03-07-2013 06:42 AM

Thanks Aurie, and Moneymitch and yes I am doing pressurized Co2.

JDM 03-07-2013 08:15 AM

How long is your light period now? Maybe they are just on too long.

More plants can never hurt.


AbbeysDad 03-07-2013 09:49 AM

I think the root cause of cyanobacteria is more excess 'nutrients' than light. Do you have high nitrates and/or phosphorus in the tank? Lowering these, in addition or in conjunction to increased volume/frequency of water changes, may resolve the problem.

JDM 03-07-2013 09:59 AM


Originally Posted by AbbeysDad (Post 1458318)
I think the root cause of cyanobacteria is more excess 'nutrients' than light. Do you have high nitrates and/or phosphorus in the tank? Lowering these, in addition or in conjunction to increased volume/frequency of water changes, may resolve the problem.

True, if CB is what it is.

With the really light coloured sand I might wonder if it's just a little mulm showing up. Increasing circulation would serve to not let this settle and it would get sucked up in the filter.

My tank has higher circulation than I intended so it doesn't even get any kind of buildup on the bottom, I try to vacuum the sand and my pail has practically nothing to show for it... even when I let it go for two weeks.


Byron 03-07-2013 11:18 AM

Cyanobacteria is caused by excess organics. Without organics, cyano is not going to appear, regardless of light, water flow, etc. I have 7 tanks running, four of which have very little water movement as they are filtered with a single sponge filter, and they range from 10g, 20g, 29g and a 3-foot 33g. If minimal or low water movement were responsible, these tanks would be covered in cyano.

I have had cyano in one tank, twice. This was my former 70g setup, which had a canister filter the same as it does now, and the same as my 90g and 115g. Again, water movement has nothing to do with cyano. Nor does light, though too much light, in the presence of organics, can trigger it. And too few water changes, overstocking, over-feeding...these can contribute too.

To make sure I understand things correctly, mikey: the light is 4 24-inch T5 NO tubes, you have CO2 diffusion, and a partial soil/Eco-complete substrate. How long is the light period daily? And I assume the CO2 is not left running during darkness (= tank lights off)?

Also, could you post a photo, just in case this is not cyano but is more normal as another member suggested. And a photo of the tank to see the plant level would help.


mikey5598 03-07-2013 03:28 PM

I do 30 percent water changes once a week. I usually run my lights for 9.5 hours. As far as feeding, I feed my fish once a day and they generally eat just about everything in 5 minutes. What little does happen to fall to the bottom I have two Amanos that take care of that. I've attached a picture of my tank, but just did a water change last night, so I just got rid of all the green slime that was accumulating.

my Tank. - 55 gallon Freshwater fish tank

mikey5598 03-07-2013 03:35 PM

Not sure about the phosphorus but my nitrates are only 10ppm. And I do turn off co2 at night.

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