How I am beating Cyano without chemcials or GFO reactor

Ted_C

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I wanted to share my experiences with cyano (red slime bacteria) and how I am knocking it back naturally.

One of my main goals in this 2nd go around with keeping a SPS reef tanks - I wanted to base my decision making on observation rather than test kits and chasing numbers. I wanted to avoid the use of reactors (GFO / Carbon) and the use of chemicals (chemiclean, dosing vodka, etc).

My tank/Feeding characteristics:
310 gallon
Morning: 1/2 block of PE Mysis, 1/2 block of Bloodworms, around 1/2" square section of LRS Reef Frenzy
Afternoon: 12:00 and 2:30 PM Autofeeding of a mix of Dainichi Baby Sinking Pellets and Spectra Thera A
Evening: 1/2 block of Mysis, 1/2 block of Reef Cavier, 1/2" square section of LRS Feeding Frenzy
Every two days I feed a 1/4 sheet of Nori.

I occasionally feed reef nutrition Live Phyto, Rotifier, Oyster Eggs.

That's all shared with: 2 Ocellaris Clownfish, 1 Bangaii Cardinal, 1 Copperband Butterfly, 1 Hippo Tang, 1 Sailfin Tang, 1 Tomini Tang, 7 Lyretail Anthias (6 Female 1 Male), 1 Swallowtail Angelfish, 1 Helfrichi Dartfish, 1 Purple Dartfish, one skunk cleaner shrimp, one mccosker flasher wrasse and one Katherine's Fairy Wrasse

So I am really feeding alot and need to deal with the organics / detritus to maintain a healthy system.

I have two barebottom tanks that are currently showing severe signs of cyano. My 310 gallon (Total water volume = 360 gallon) which has been running for about 5 months now. I also have a 150 gallon (total water volume = 175 gallon) that has been running since 2014.

Anytime anyone ever posts about having cyano - the two most frequent suggestions on cause is Phosphates and Flow. I'm beginning to suspect this is a myth or not entirely true.

The 310 has the following flow characteristics: 2 MP 60 on each wall and two MP 40 running on the back wall running at 70% Tidal swell for the majority of the time and a once a day 90% run for 2.5 hrs. The turnover of the tank is estimated to be around 4000 GPH through two Waveline DC 12000's running at 65% through 4 returns in the tank. This tank has ~ 200 pounds of Pukani rock that was thoroughly pre-cleaned and cured.

The 150 has the following flow characteristics: 2 MP40's running on each wall at 65% and one MP10 on the back wall running at 90%. Turnover is ~ 1500 GPH with a vectra L1 running around 65%. this tank has minimal rock work and

So from above, I have massive flow and turnover occurring in these two tanks but still have cyano on the glass, rocks, frag racks, overflows.

When measuring phosphates, for the past three weeks I have been reading zero on a salifer test kit. there's no blue tint at all from these samples. This is similar to other reports from other people having similar issues.

I skim wet as well: Nyos Quantum 300 in the 310 and a Nyos Quantum 220 in the 150. Clean those out when I change filter socks.

So I can't answer the question as to what primarily drives cyano to grow like this based on these observations and the other posts of people having similar issues. We all have good flow and measure zero phosphates with test kits. What I think might be happening? If we insist on saying phosphates is the root cause: is it a form of phosphate that doesn't get detected in hobby grade test kits? Is it just an overall nutrient problem that's not detectable with hobby test kits? Is it purely organics and phosphates were a side effect? Possibly yes to all of the above.

As to how I am beating my Cyano?
This all started occuring (or has been occuring) with the following maintenance routine:
Filter socks changed once every three days
A water change every two weeks.

Over the July 4th weekend - over 4 days - I wanted to perform large water changes to try and stabilize the tanks and eliminate this issue. I performed 45 gallon water changes on each day (over 4 days) to the 310 gallon and 25 gallons on the 150 gallon. So in total over 4 days I changed out 180 gallons from the 310 and 100 gallons on the 150.

I noticed this had no effect on the cyano occurring in both tanks.

So I made changes to my maintenance routine. I am now changing out water once per week instead of every two weeks and I am changing the filter socks once every two days instead of once every three days. This has really improved the look of the tanks and I see the cyano is receding.

So through mechanical instead of chemical means - I am beating the cyano naturally. I have no before/after pictures to back this up. It's only the observation that I'm making in my own environment.
 

wilecyote007

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I too read 0 phos and have good flow. I feel like mine started when i used a sock. I believe i didnt clean mine as often as i could. I will try every 2 days now.
 

Pongo

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Following. I've had very similar experiences and I'm curious how you will do with this approach.

Please keep posting updates.
 

jd371

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I just got rid of Cyano with Chemiclean. In the past it would come back after a month or so, and I expect it to do the same. I too will go back to a weekly wc and instead of a 5-6 day sock change will scale it down to 3 days and see how that goes.
 
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Ted_C

Ted_C

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Just remember - Every tank is unique in it's own way. If I can knock it back with changing socks once every two days / once per week water changes maybe you'll need to think about changing every day or more than one water change a week. There's dependencies in what you feed and the amount of turnover through the socks that means your mileage may vary.
 
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FugeReefer

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Thank you for your post! I have struggled in much the same way with Cyano. Also in my experience the only thing that has worked to eliminate it from my tank is consistent sock changes of at least every two days and weekly water changes. All other methods have only been temporary solutions.
 

Scott.h

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With your tank going for 5 months, do you feel maturity has played a roll? Also I wonder if adding coral food plays a roll. I do not know for certain but in my experience I feel this plays a roll.
 
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Ted_C

Ted_C

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With your tank going for 5 months, do you feel maturity has played a roll? Also I wonder if adding coral food plays a roll. I do not know for certain but in my experience I feel this plays a roll.
There's lots of things that play a role. Pukani rock, feeding, fish load. The 150 has gone through all kinds of problems and it's been running since 2014. Dinos, Bubble Algae and now Cyano. The 300 - yes - it's probably part of the uglies being at 5 months old - but the massive feeding i need / pukani definitely has effects as well.
 

Scott.h

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There's lots of things that play a role. Pukani rock, feeding, fish load. The 150 has gone through all kinds of problems and it's been running since 2014. Dinos, Bubble Algae and now Cyano. The 300 - yes - it's probably part of the uglies being at 5 months old - but the massive feeding i need / pukani definitely has effects as well.
I know what you're saying. With my last build I tntought I knew enough to create the perfect system from day one. Alas I was wrong. If I did it again I'd cure the dry rock for as long as needed and not start another tank mostly dry.
 

Cory

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My hypothesis is cyano grows over dead algae. Its grown on the back glass over old hair algae. I think its consuming some organic.

So if gfo doesnt work at first, or makes it worse, its because the algae is dying and the cyano is using it. So if you continue with low enough po4 then eventually all its food will be gone.
 
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s2nhle

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Tagging along as I am currently battling with Dino for more than 6 months now.
 

Robthorn

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You are so right on every tank being different.
I have Pukani that was cleaned and cured and still took a year in tank for my tank to start doing well. Mike Palletta just published an article here on r2r about he a Sanjay's experiences.
Having said that I have no cyano at the moment but have had times off and on when it comes around but nothing major.
I have always had it in my mind from somewhere that silicates played a part in cyano. Maybe I read it or maybe I got it way back in the day trying Selcon. My memory is bad.
I change my socks when they are ready to overflow. I clean my skimmer when it stops producing. Both of these happen around 5 to 8 days. My internal water flow is decent with 4 to 5 dc power head type pumps by jebao. I only have a coralvue rodc5500 through my sump which is probably less than 1200gph through my sump. I have a BK Supermarin 250 but things were the same when I had a less powerful skimmer.
I just got my icp test back and my silicates and phosphorus are low. Iron was also low even though I add it. Corals look good though so these don't stress me out.
I only feed once or twice a day with a mix of foods for fish and coral. My guess is 2 to 6 cubes a day.
I do 20 gallon water changes on average twice a month. When I did 2 40 gallon changes in one week I got cyano. Lol

All tanks are different for sure.

Ted we need to check out each others systems sometime since we live so close. You are welcome over anytime.


Just remember - Every tank is unique in it's own way. If I can knock it back with changing socks once every two days / once per week water changes maybe you'll need to think about changing every day or more than one water change a week. There's dependencies in what you feed and the amount of turnover through the socks that means your mileage may vary.
 

s2nhle

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do you have the link to Mike Palletta article about his and Sanjay's experience. Thanks,
 

revhtree

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I have read that you might be showing zero phosphates because the Cyano is consuming it, causing it to grow, but keeps it undetected on a test kit. Maybe now you see it receding because of the positive effects of the water changes.

I appreciate the detailed post! Interesting!
 

Travis Stewart

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I agree to all the above. I do also agree that it may be consuming the PO4. I also had zero reading on the salifert kit. I use all salifert kits and have had great success except with the PO4 kit. As soon as I changed to a hanna, I found he PO4. I would try another test kit. Just my $0.02
 

DH-Reef

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I hear "water change every two weeks" and I'm thinking, that just isn't going to happen. I love this hobby, but my wife thinks that I spend too much time on my tanks now, add that kind of a maintenance schedule and it's over. I use GFO/Carbon and have a 20 gallon Chaeto chamber in my sump. I started with live Pukani rock (maybe that has helped) and...knock on wood...no Cyano.
 

hart24601

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I have read that you might be showing zero phosphates because the Cyano is consuming it, causing it to grow, but keeps it undetected on a test kit. Maybe now you see it receding because of the positive effects of the water changes.

I appreciate the detailed post! Interesting!
Exactly, I would say that 0 phosphates is really a conformation that the cyano is really growing well and is pulling it out of the water column before you can even detect it. It's quite common to have this happen. Especially with all that food and no dedicated phosphate export mechanism like GFO that phosphate is going somewhere aka into the cyano.

Here is a quote from Randy about the amount of phosphate we put into a tank every day - it's really quite a lot and takes some sort of export either with growth (coral or macro algae or bactia via carbon dosing) or media like gfo.

"As an example, one small cube of Prime Reef added to 100 gallons adds about 0.022 ppm of phosphate every day. Other foods have substantially more, and foods may typically account for about 0.02 to 0.3 ppm of phosphate boost to a tank every day. "
 
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revhtree

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