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Cyanobacteria

Discussion in 'Algae' started by KatieK, Nov 5, 2013.

  1. KatieK

    KatieK Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I have a small, but growing, case of Cyanobacteria in my tank. I changed the position of my spray bar to get more flow to other end of the tank, which is where the out break is. That, alone didn't do much, but I do like my tank even more.

    I've did a little research and came across blacking out the tank for 3-4 days straight, turning off CO2, and not feeding the fish for those days. Is this a good way to clear it up? Is there anything else I should do?

    I also have a pretty big brown diatom breakout, but I read that it is common in new tanks and will clear it's self in about a month.

    A little about my tank. It's a fairly new setup. It's been up and running since the beginning of September.
    Is there anything else I need to include?

    On a side note, my 5lb tank of CO2 has already run out. Thant can't be right. I have been hearing a hissing sound for awhile coming from the connection from bubble counter to the CO2 tubing. How can that be?

    Katie
     

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  2. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    A blackout is usually the best way to combat BGA (cyanobacteria). First I would physically remove as much as you can including cutting away infected leaves and using a small hose to siphon it out of the substrate area. Take a little substrate with you if you have to. Then do a large water change and a 3 day blackout meaning you cover the tank and do not allow any light to peak in.

    The hissing sound is a good indication you had a leak. Most likely the hose wasn't securely attached. A drop checker is not the best way to determine if you have enough CO2. It can get you close, but plant growth will tell you if you have enough. Algae is a sign you do not.

    Aquavitro is a good line and has worked well for me, although I will be switching back to DIY EI solutions because it is so much cheaper.
     
  3. KatieK

    KatieK Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Hi Shadowmac,

    Lucky for me today is water changing day anyway. I changed the water, cleared out as much Cyanobacteria as possible, which looked like all, and fed the fish their last meal. I'm going to start the blackout tomorrow since the lights will be off in a few hours.

    That's so frustrating that I have a leak. I checked and reset up the CO2 system several times. Maybe there is a hole in the line.

    I chose the AquaVitro line because I'm new to all this and didn't want to get overwhelmed with trying to figure out everything.

    Katie
     
  4. greenfinger 2

    greenfinger 2 Active Aquascaper

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    Hi Katie, The best way to check for gas leaks:) Is washing up liquid in a little bit in water. Apply with a brush over piping and bits :whistle: If it bubbles there your leak :)
     
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  5. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Roy

    The old soapy water trick is very old but it works just ask any Gas Plumber.

    Keith:):)
     
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  6. KatieK

    KatieK Aspiring Aquascaper

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    But, the tank is already empty. At least I'm guessing its empty, because there are no more bubbles going through the counter.
     
  7. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Bubbles through the bubble counter will not tell you if the tank is empty. The tank pressure gauge on the regulator will tell you that. Katie, I suggest some further reading on CO2 systems. Familiarize yourself with the equipment.

    What is your CO2 system like? do you have a solenoid (the thing that plugs in and turns the gas on and off with a timer)? Are you using CO2 resistant tubing intended for CO2 gas? Most likely the leak is a connection point. Could be anywhere. If it is before the post body kit between the regulator and the tank you would quickly vent CO2. if not running a solenoid a leak anywhere will allow CO2 to continuously leak. A hissing sound is very bad, you should fix that immediately or close the tank valve.
     
  8. Garuf

    Garuf Moderator Staff Member

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    How frequently and how deeply do you clean the tank? Poor maintenance is typically the most common cause of BGA along with poor flow or pockets of "dead water" where mulm etc can a crew.
    You made no mention of the tanks volume and it's turnover?
    It's important to remember lengths don't mean much as sizes can vary in volume and aren't standard across the planet, the dimensions and volume are much more important to send our way.

    The other thing that stood out is dark green, unless you have a lower light set up is typically boarder line too little co2, typically a limeade like colour is a safer bet but even then, you can still have insufficient co2, it's best to watch the tank and the health of the plants as a guide, drop checkers are very rough visual guides.
     
  9. KatieK

    KatieK Aspiring Aquascaper

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  10. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    This is why at ASW we do not promote the drinking of tank water. ;)

    completely unrelated. I doubt you have reached a volume of BGA to pose any health risk.

    Is your tank stagnant, receiving long hours of sunlight, and a murky green color?:ROFLMAO:
     
  11. KatieK

    KatieK Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Hi Garuf,

    The water is changed every Tuesday. I use a syphon and clean it from the bottom. My tank is long but not deep. Its 48" x 12" x 13". It's a 33 gal tank; it's the same dimensions as 55 gal tank, but half the height. I have an Aquatop canister which turns over 370 gal/hr.

    I started with a little CO2 and have been increasing it steadily, though the color never changed. I know that the drop checker is a rough estimate and so is a bubble counter. However, my fish have naturally red gills, so I can't use them as a guide.

    I am pretty convinced that I created a dead spot in the tank and, truthfully, have been worried about it since the get go. I originally had the spray bar attached to the back of the tank and directly hitting the front of the tank. I have now angled it, so it sits in the back corner and creates circular flow throughout the tank.

    I hope I have provided you with more information.

    Katie
     
  12. KatieK

    KatieK Aspiring Aquascaper

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    You know ShadowMac, sometimes I see those crystal clear tanks, with no fish, and great looking plants and I wonder if it's possible...but, alas, it's still probably not advisable.

    The timing of the story is little more than coincidence, but it's a good lesson as to why tanks need to be kept clean with good circulation.

    I thought the comment about Cyanobacteria killing livestock and dogs was a lot more common than humans. Is that because animals are more likely to drink from contaminated sources than humans?

    Katie
     
  13. Garuf

    Garuf Moderator Staff Member

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    How much water do you change? Also what is your dosing? Kno3 increase is the next step if we can cross off dead spots.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyanotoxin is what you're looking at with poisoning.
     
  14. nick.scott

    nick.scott Aspiring Aquascaper

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    "In warm weather, blooms of blue-green algae are not uncommon in farm ponds in temperate regions, particularly ponds enriched with fertilizer"

    Perhaps you're overdosing your Aquavitro fertz? I bought all that sh*t too, but I hardly ever use it anymore.

    Guaranteed analysis of AV "activate": Available phosphate: 1.3%
    "synthesis": total nitrogen: 3.2% made up of Ammonium, Nitrates, Urea
    "premier": potassium thiosulfate which when reacting with chlorine, turns into more Ammonium.

    Unless your tank is very densely planted, I would not use the Aquavitro line. Your tapwater most likely has all these trace elements that your plants need. Dosing even more, and so often, is just going to overpollute your tank... and result in algae blooms (which can more easily export these "nutrients")

    http://jb.asm.org/content/183/2/411.full (Nitrogen Control in Cyanobacteria)
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3296057/ (Iron Utilization in Marine Cyanobacteria and Eukaryotic Algae; assuming you also dose "propel" iron)
    http://www.aquariacentral.com/forums/showthread.php?150338-Cyanobacteria-and-Phosphate-Levels (Cyanobacteria and Phosphates; this guy also regularly doses with Seachem products)

    So my point is... why put excess phosphates, nitrates, and ammonia to your tank? These are things we typically try to avoid...

    ------

    I retract this statement!
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2013
  15. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    fertilizers do not alone cause algae. Those ponds with the cyanobacteria blooms are no more than watering holes for domestic animals like cattle. Stagnant murky water...there is your algae cause. They also do not have plants.

    The guy in the aquariacentral.com thread does not have high PO4 at 2 ppm. I dose the aquavitro, and I dose the N and P at double the dose. I do not have BGA.

    The first article does not relate to controlling the growth of BGA by limiting Nitrogen sources. The term control is meant to refer to the biochemical pathways used by the organism to fix nitrogen and use it as a source of energy. It is of little importance in controlling BGA in an aquarium.

    The article on iron is also a reference to how the organism utilizes iron. To say don't dose iron to prevent BGA is the equivalent of saying don't drink water when you are sick because the organism causing you to be sick uses the water too.

    A planted tank requires the nutrients in order for the plants to grow. Nutrient levels should be aligned with plant growth rates, lighting levels, and CO2 supplementation. Nutrients alone do not cause algae. I could dose 4 times the amount I am now and not get algae, this fact falsifies the claim nutrients cause algae. If it were true we could induce algae simply by over dosing fertilizers. Take a look at Tom Barr's tanks, beautiful healthy growth without a speck of algae. His EI dosing levels provide non limiting nutrients meaning there are more than enough for the plants, yet no algae.

    Tap water does not contain all trace elements. It does not contain Iron or Boron, along with many other micronutrients. To say that it does is simply false.
     
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  16. nick.scott

    nick.scott Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I apologize for spreading misinformation... I was tired and shouldn't have posted that haha. I still have lots to learn.
     
  17. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    No need to apologize, Nick. Having the discussion is how we all learn, so glad you are participating in the topic. (y) I like the fact you tried to support your position with papers and journal articles, it was only they were misapplied not bad information. ;)I think it is important to remember that our tanks are not natural systems, no matter how much we want to believe it. :( So applying what occurs in nature, especially in a circumstance far different than our tanks is a leap we shouldn't make. We must also remember that correlation does not mean causation.
     
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  18. KatieK

    KatieK Aspiring Aquascaper

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    ShadowMac,

    To answer your earlier questions about my CO2 tank, I have a Milwaukee regulator and CO2 resistant tubing. I don't hear a leaking noise when the electricity is "off," because it's plugged into a timer. When I move the CO2 tubing around, I can reduce the leaking noise. Also, I don't see any bubbles in the tank like I used to.

    So the regulator is all the way on and the drop checker is blue. I feel really strongly that I have a leak and that my CO2 tank is empty.

    Garuf,

    I change a little more than 20% each time. Since I'm using the AquaVitro line (for now) I follow the instructions on the bottles. Fe is 3ml 3 times a week. N is 1ml twice a week. P is also 1ml twice a week. Also, the water in Salt Lake is really hard and provides a lot of the minerals. Randy (I don't know how to tag his name to grab his attention) has a much better understanding of the water here. He's lived here and been aquascaping a lot longer than me.

    I read the wiki article. In ponds a streams it appears the BGA is lime green and floats? Maybe it had reached a more advanced stage. I've seen that in ponds and streams here, but never knew it was BGA and that it is a deadly, deadly neurotoxin. The dogs have gone in those water systems, but nothing has ever happened to them. In my tank it was an emerald green. Kind of pretty if it weren't so deadly.

    ShadowMac, Garuf, and whomever else,

    Today is the first day I had the lights on. I put them on low, like a cloudy day. My plants are a little worse for wear, the fish are totally freaked out, but eager to eat, however, I think that blackout killed a bunch of the Malaysian trumpet snails, a pleasant side effect. Finally and most important, there is no more BGA; I hope it doesn't come back.

    Thanks for everyone's help and input.

    Katie
     
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  19. Garuf

    Garuf Moderator Staff Member

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    Mmmm okay, okay, 20% is a bit low, typically you want to be taking out 50% in a high light tank. How often are you cleaning out the filter? The other thing is if there are no leaks do you definitely have co2 proof tubing?

    The dosing seems low on instinct but I don't know the specifics of that range of the top of my head regardless of how hard the water is.

    BGA being a bacteria has thousands of species so though they're all related they are as different and as varied as every thing else, don't get too bogged down on what happens in the wild.

    The MTS bury themselves in the substrate, this is probably where they've gone, they're no major hassle, they're typically a sign the fish are being over fed.
     
  20. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    what do the pressure gauges read on your regulator. There is one that should have the larger numbers, this indicates the pressure inside the tank. The other is the working pressure, this is the pressure of Co2 in your line. If the tank pressure gauge is zero you have no CO2.
     

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