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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
i know this is considered an eye-sore in aquariums (like most other algae to most people)

but on the health/safety side of things is cyanobacteria really toxic ?

almost nothing eats most every single strain of cyano there is

k

cyano can provide nitrogen fixation, ... which may be desirable if a tank wants/needs nitrogen due to deficiencies in plants

does anyone know if cyano can raise the nitrogen compounds to toxic levels or not ?

Edit:
(guessing)
N2 -> ammonium/ammonia
 

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Cyanobacterial toxins Hepatotoxins are produced by some strains of the cyanobacteria Microcystis, and Anabaena. Neurotoxins are produced by some strains of Aphanizomenon and Oscilatoria. Cyanobacteria from the species Cylindroapermopsis also produce toxic alkaloids, causing gastrointestinal symptoms or kidney disease. Not all cyanobacteria of these species form toxins and it is likely that there are as yet unrecognized toxins.

R
 

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Discussion Starter #3
what about the ammonia/ammonium produced ?, do you think it could reach toxic levels ?
 

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i know this is considered an eye-sore in aquariums (like most other algae to most people)

but on the health/safety side of things is cyanobacteria really toxic ?

almost nothing eats most every single strain of cyano there is

k

cyano can provide nitrogen fixation, ... which may be desirable if a tank wants/needs nitrogen due to deficiencies in plants

does anyone know if cyano can raise the nitrogen compounds to toxic levels or not ?

Edit:
(guessing)
N2 -> ammonium/ammonia
Whether directly toxic or not, the effect of a cyano boom is to rob nutrients from Fw plants and marine corals/algae. That is very detrimental regardless of whatever toxins are directly present.

Plus all you need to do to control cyano is just kill the lights and stop adding fish food. After the cyano dies off then resume with less lighting and feeding. so the tank is rebalanced in favor of the plants or corals and stays that way.


my .02
 

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cyanobacteria doing the GOOD WORK

Blue green algae is not something that is beautiful to look at and once it is established in our aquariums it is a fight to get rid of. Yet will this unwanted life-form provide beneficial elements to our carefully tended aquariums? Some folks have the notion that cyanobacteria consume important and necessary elements in the water column as oxygen and carbon dioxide and nitrogen.

We all have had thoughts about how oxygen and carbon dioxide enter the water column and what these two elements provide to the aquariums ecosystem. We all know about the nitrogen cycle where ammonia is converted to nitrite and then to nitrates as well as the carbon cycle and the associated process of photosynthesis.
So what has this to do with cyanobacteria? Nothing in general but in some ways cyanobacteria has everything to do with generating these essential elements. The story begins at the surface of the water column where these elements enter the water. One of the most amazing aspects of nature is that the relationship between elements in the atmosphere is almost identically reproduced in the water column of our aquariums. The most widely available element in the atmosphere is inert nitrogen and this nitrogen enters the water column using the same processes as oxygen and carbon dioxide maintaining the same relationship that exist in the atmosphere. Because the atmosphere is about 70% inert nitrogen it only makes sense that there exist a substantial amount of inert nitrogen in our tanks water.

In steps cyanobacteria to do the good work of fixing inert nitrogen. Nitrogen fixation is the process where inert nitrogen (N2) is converted into ammonia (NH3). Because molecular nitrogen (N2) is not easily associated with other elements to form new compounds this fixation process is necessary to free up inert nitrogen from its diatomic form (N2) to be used in other ways. Nitrogen fixation is a natural process, essential for all life-forms because nitrogen is necessary for the biosynthesizing basic building blocks of life, nucleotides for DNA & RNA and amino acids for proteins. cyanobacteria plays a key roles in the carbon, nitrogen cycles that naturally exist in our aquariums. Cyanobacteria also fixes carbon for the carbon cycle as well as producer of oxygen through photosynthesis and carbon dioxide through respiration.

All of these benefits we reap from the good work of nitrogen fixing cyanobacteria yet there is the knowledge that too much of a good thing isn’t good so there are limiting factors. As pointed out above reducing the amount of light and reduction of food will remove cyanobacteria’s bloom. There are also limiting factors in the process of aquatic nitrogen fixing. the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water exerts a fundamental control because the enzyme nitrogenase that does the actual N2 conversion into ammonia is damaged by dissolved oxygen reducing the amount converted. Other limiting factors are temperature, phosphorus and iron.
 

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I used to use the Erythromycin treatment but that can be harsh to the system as a whole being indiscriminate but now there is a product that I have had success with from the Boyd company that deals with the the blue green cyano slime.It is not cheap but it does the trick. Add a black out and a nutrient deprivation combined with manual removal prior to the treatment for best results.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
from the link i posted ... and as i look at my tank

either i have zero cynobacteria living in that tank
-either because it's not present, or because the tank is not capable of sustaining any
or what is present isn't significant enough to make itself visible to be observed as present (due to other tank parameters that make life harsh (but not impossible) for cyanobacteria.

i have no concerns on how to get rid of it as i have none to speak of.

trying to identify possible Nitrogen nutrient deficiencies, ... and ways to deal with it, ... well overfeeding, directly adding drops of ammonia, adding other stuff to decompose in the tank, ... none of these are good practices.

to find an organism that can introduce nitrogen in a form that the tank can use has a certain appeal, ... not a huge "gotta have it" appeal, but as i find i tend to explore possibilities before writing them off as more hassle than it's worth, and i love organic solutions over mechanical ones. so one of the many things i'm exploring, cyanobacteria.

granted once considered, like many things there is no going back, if intentionally added i'm stuck with it till it dies off.

i know it's unsightly, even by my standards, so maintain it in a separate area, add a UV sterilizer to inhibit it's transfer into the main tank, there's solutions, ... but even all those solutions are only valid if somewhere something says "ya, lets do this, the pro's outweigh the con's"

so far i've gotten lots of advice here (this thread) on how to to get rid of it, ... well rickey pointed out valid concerns about species to stay away from
 

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it is possible I think for cyano in low nitrate tanks to grow lights on and then die off under lights out. So it never gets established.

and in the process it may be converting nitrogen gas to ammonia/nitrates for the plants. With the plants consuming the other nutrients helping to further keep cyano in check.

but once things start favoring the cyano it spreds robbing plants (corals in marie systems) of nutrients. And the tank can become cyano dominated.


my .02
 

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I love cyanobacteria

Cyanobacteria performs a vital role in my tanks. In my cichlid tank it is impossible to keep live plants because the fish tear them up so fast. They eat/ destroy any floating plants as well. While i clean the front glass meticulously to keep up appearences, I have thick growth of cyanobacteria on the other three sides. I am conviced that the large colony helps my tank because I cleaned it once and nitrate spiked and remained unstable for a couple weeks. In planted tanks I would think that nuetrients would be stolen from plants, but for me, its a very good thing.
Thanks
 

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Cyanobacteria performs a vital role in my tanks. In my cichlid tank it is impossible to keep live plants because the fish tear them up so fast. They eat/ destroy any floating plants as well. While i clean the front glass meticulously to keep up appearences, I have thick growth of cyanobacteria on the other three sides. I am conviced that the large colony helps my tank because I cleaned it once and nitrate spiked and remained unstable for a couple weeks. In planted tanks I would think that nuetrients would be stolen from plants, but for me, its a very good thing.
Thanks
interesting and thanks.

your cleaning the fron glass and letting cyano grow on the other glass was recommended for marine tanks some time ago. Way way back, according to article Ii read in the '70's, people had trouble keeping any marine fish. One just finally quit with a tank in the front window. The algae (and probably some cyano also) flourished. And low and behold the fish survived.

You could also setup some kind of refugium to protect the plants from your fish. But I do think you have found what works for you.

Congrates.

my .02
 
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