My Cyano has returned...

Discussion in 'Reef Aquarium Discussion' started by Dom, Mar 13, 2019.

  1. Dom

    Dom Valuable Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Been battling Cyano on and off for the last 4 months. I vacuum the sand weekly and churn it every other day. But once I think I have defeated it and just do weekly vacuuming, it comes back... and it seems worse when it does.

    My CHEMICLEAN order arrived today, but I am reluctant to use it. I am concerned on how it will effect the rest of the tank as oxygen depletion in the water is a side effect of using the product.

    I would prefer to identify to source of the problem. What is it that is so attractive to the cyanobacteria that it keeps coming back?

    I've tried running the tank without Chaeto for about 6 weeks and during that time, I began doing water changes every other week to try and get nitrates up (currently at 4ppm using my Red Sea test kit). TDS out of my RODI is zero. Where else might I look? What does Cyano find so attractive in my tank environment that it keeps coming back with a vengeance on my substrate?

    If I use the ChemiClean, I had this idea that I would pull my fish and coral from that tank and put them in another using the water from the problem tank. Once treated, I could drip acclimate and put them back.

    Thoughts? Suggestions??

    Dom
     

  2. richiero

    richiero Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    I have been battling cyano also for a few months , I finally got fed up and used red cyano Rx and it disappeared in 5 days... PH did drop very little from 8.6 to 7.99 and the tank looks great no I’ll effects on inverts, corals or fish . Will do a 25%. Water change tomorrow.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
  3. Jmareef1022

    Jmareef1022 Active Member

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    Cyano is part of the game once everything is balanced you'll beat it just be patient and keep up on your maintenance and water changes.
     
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  4. richiero

    richiero Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    I also just balanced all my levels again after putting the alkatronic online by all has be spot on for the last month along with my other levels.
     
  5. sghera64

    sghera64 Well-Known Member

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    ChemiClean will work, but cyano will like return if conditions that support it now are not improved.

    Questions for you:

    How deep is sand bed?

    How old is sand bed?

    How much in-tank water movement do you have?

    Where is the cyano located? (Areas of low flow, low light, near certain corals, etc)

    What do you feed the tank?

    Have you used any bacteria additives (Vibrant, Dr. Tim’s, etc?

    I’m sure Brandon will reply once he sees you answers and will share with you a proven approach. He has a massive thread on it.

    I may reply depending on what you share back to provide another consideration.
     
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  6. Dom

    Dom Valuable Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    I am trying to avoid a chemical approach to eliminating the Cyano.

    I have read many different points of view on this problem. One common misconception is that because it is a bacteria, there is no photosynthesis. But Cyano is capable of photosynthesis and uses it as an energy source. So it stands to reason that a shorter light cycle would be helpful in eliminating the problem.
     
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  7. Dom

    Dom Valuable Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Yes, I agree. I posted some pictures of microscope slides. Cyano is the primary problem but there were also some diatoms viewable in the photos. I understand the idea of "new tank uglies", but this is hardly a new tank. And in my 10+ years in the hobby, this is the first time I ever had a Cyano issue.
     
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  8. Dom

    Dom Valuable Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    The sand bed is only about 2-3 inches and varies depending on the area of the tank. The entire tank is coming up on a year old (351 days), so the sand bed is obviously the same age.

    The Cyano is strictly on the sand bed, and there are no areas which have heavier outbreaks than others; its a pretty even distribution. Lighting is spread evenly throughout the tank.

    I think flow is ample. My return pump is rates at 800gph at its current head hight of 48 inches. My total water volume in this tank is 45-50 gallons. In addition, I have a pair of Aquaclear 70s HOB filters hanging off the back to provide additional flow.

    And good flow they provide. I had to change the layout of my rock scape as the flow from them was moving my substrate out of the way right down to the glass bottom. And the Cyano was still growing on the glass bottom.

    I feed frozen Mysis and Brine shrimp to my tanks (1 cube for 5 fish).

    I have not added any bottled bacteria. But once a tank cycles, you have enough bacteria to support the bio load, so I would think that adding more bacteria will on result in it dying off as there wouldn't be enough bio load to support the additional bacteria.

    Thank you for tanking the time to respond to my question.

    Dom
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
  9. lion king

    lion king Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    You ask what is attractive to cyano, Ive found the imbalance between nitrates and phosphates to be the common denominator. You said your nitrates are at 4ppm, at that level it will not take much phosphate to cause that imbalance. The only accurate hobby phosphate tester is the hanna ulr, other test kits can show zero, while you still have a level well above zero. At 4ppm nitrates it wouldn't take much, so any other phosphate test kit I would not trust, or count outbthat phosphate would be the problem.

    Addressing phosphate would be my 1st line of defense. Using something like brightwell phosphate-e has worked well for me, then I worked at maintaining the balance. Once in check macro algae is the way to go, it will remove nitrtate and phosphate in a balanced method. The phosphate-e has been safe for me to use, I have also usez chemiclean effectively a well, but it does not address the underlying issue. And you are right to be concerned about the O2 balance.
     
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  10. Dom

    Dom Valuable Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Disappointing to hear that the Red Sea tests for Phosphates is not accurate.

    I think my water may be too clean and have reduced water changes. I pulled my Chaeto for about 6 weeks in an effort to get my nitrates up. What do you think about feeding a small amount of flake food on a daily basis to get phosphates elevated?
     
  11. ReefGeezer

    ReefGeezer Active Member

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    If it's just a few spots that aren't threatening anything, I'd leave it mostly alone. It will disappear eventually. If it is bad enough to try to fix, I'd do the following:

    1. Do a water change and suck out as much Cyano as possible.
    2. Use one dose of Chemi-Clean as directed but error on the conservative side.
    3. After about 48 hours, do a large water change & do another one in a week or so. Suck out any remaining Cyano.
    4. After the first big water change, set skimmer wet and add a generous amount of GAC in a reactor
    5. Change the GAC weekly for at least three weeks.

    I used this method to rid my tank of a particularly bad Cyano I think was Calothrix. I also had some red slime. It was eliminated too.

    You might also have to change nutrient levels in the tank. It seems like Cyano and other bacterial pests thrive when inorganic nutrients are low and dissolved organic levels are high. Carbon dosing creates this situation, but it can also happen without it. GAC & skimming are a decent way to keep dissolved organic levels down. Allowing inorganic nutrients to rise a little even to the point some hair or turf algae starts to show up is also helpful. Clean-up crews can limit the impact of hair or turf algae. At this point it becomes a balancing act that get easier as the tank matures.
     
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  12. lion king

    lion king Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    Thats actually backwards, you want to bring your phosphates down. Flake and pellet food and additives like reef energy pump alot of phosphates into the water. I dont recall the best ratio, but at 10-20ppm nitrates, phosphates need to be at a minimum, Im talking like .1 or less in phosphates, your red sea will likely show zero at that level. Running a phosphate removing media would be something to use as well, gfo etc.
     
  13. sghera64

    sghera64 Well-Known Member

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    Well, I don’t think the sand bed is that old, but much can accumulate in a year.

    I would try and disrupt about 1/3 of the sand bed and see what stirs up. If water gets very cloudy, then that sand is full of cyano fuel. Wait a week and do another 1/3. Your skimmer and bacteria in the system will take care of what rises out of the sand each time. You can use filter socks for a few hours after stirring. But remove them before 24 hrs. Repeat until you’ve disrupted your entire bed (3 weeks). You can repeat this several times a year. Disrupting the sand is just moving a 2 foot long piece of 1/2” PVC through it, use your fingers or use a pasta ladle, or my favorite is a kitchen spider strainer. You can use a turkey baster to blast or stir the sand too.

    When I did this in my 135 gal with a deep sand bed and after many years of not disturbing the sand, there was a lot of “dust”. No harmful effects happened to anything in my mixed reef with SPS, LPS, goniopora, zoas, BTA, tangs and gobies. Now there is very little dust.

    Monitor your nitrates and phosphates after doing this. They may not change, or they may raise a little.


    From what you are feeding, you might consider more bacterial biodiversity. Over time in a closed system, bacterial diversity collapses down. You have to keep introducing new strains. You can add small doses of different brands (Vibrant, Kent, Dr Tim), or add a variety of fresh whole sea foods from a grocer (salmon, cod, shrimp, clams, scallops - anything with bacteria still on or in it from the ocean). Critter guts are the best if you can get them. An easy choice is frozen mixes like LRS. When I did this, my cyano dropped considerably. It is about diversity, competition and balance. I still have some cyano in my rock work where there is low flow and two corals are chemically battling. Sounds like flow is not a problem for you.

    I do have Vibrant, Dr Tim’s (Refresh and waste-away). I dose at 1/10th the label instructions. Not trying to correct anything, just keep up the diversity.

    Those are my two suggestions: clean the sand by disrupting it and add some bacteria biodiversity.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
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  14. Dom

    Dom Valuable Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Thank you for the detailed response.

    @Brew12 suggested churning the sand too. I took a piece of egg crate about 3 squares wide and dragged it through the sand like a rake, 25% each day. And the Cyano didn't come back for 8 days. Then, it started up again.

    I've been reading up on Cyanobacteria as I can't fix anything until I understand how it works.

    One thing that surprised me is that as a bacteria, it gets its energy through photosynthesis. So I have reduced my lighting schedule.

    It tends to thrive in warmer temperatures. Several months ago, I increased my controller temp from 76 degrees Fahrenheit to 78.8 Fahrenheit. I dropped the controller temp back down to 76 and will wait a week and reassess, possibly dropping it another degree.

    I have also removed all the Chaeto and darkened my fuge as I have tested zero nitrates using API and backed that up with Red Sea test kits. I also dumped some of my skimmer contents back into circulation, and am considering turning it off entirely to get the nitrates back up. It is an Octo 110 in a 50 gallon and I wonder if it is too big for the tank. Maybe placing it on a timer and only running it 12 hours a day is something to consider.

    You also mention fresh whole seafood from the grocer. Raw shrimp is how I cycle my tanks. Maybe drop a raw shrimp in the sump?

    Thanks again for the detailed response.

    Dom
     
  15. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Leader Partner Member 2019 North Alabama Reef Club Reef Tank 365 Article Contributor Build Thread Contributor

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    Sorry you are still having problems!

    What CuC members do you have that will stir up and/or clean your sandbed for you?

    I have a bit of a cyano issue right now myself, caused by my trying to kill a very difficult algae growing in my system. Once I get this algae finished off I plan on doing a few things to put the cyano back in its place.

    I know I have done some serious damage to my microfauna population so I will be rebuilding that. I'll be adding live phytoplankton, rotifers, and more pods to help get that process started. You can find all of it here.
    https://www.algagendirect.com/shop.html
    Or you can shop here which has everything but the rotifers (I think).
    https://www.algaebarn.com/

    Both are great companies.

    I have 2 Fighting Conch's that do a good job helping with the top layer of sand. I'm going to add a bunch more snails, especially nassarius and ceriths.

    I had never seen these before, but I may get a few. My larger conchs can't get to some areas these smaller guys should be able to help with.
    https://www.reefcleaners.org/aquarium-store/assorted-smaller-conchs
     
  16. Chris Villalobos

    Chris Villalobos Active Member

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    I would be interested in if you have done an N-DOC test because you may have elevated organic Nitrogen. I think this is becoming more of a problem since the community has eliminated the issue of NO3 and PO4 export we probably all tend to overfeed now.
     
  17. OceanJack

    OceanJack Member

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    Return pumps are just merely for the sump and shouldn't be equated into display turn over.

    I would suggest a pair of powerheads to get at least 50x turnover and it would help with the oxygen depletion if you use chemiclean.
     
  18. sde1500

    sde1500 Well-Known Member

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    I disagree, the return pump still creates movement returning water to the tank, its a small portion of turnover, but it is still a part.
     
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  19. OceanJack

    OceanJack Member

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    Right... it still creates movement and wherever OP has it pointed. Most likely towards the surfaceto break water tension as he should.

    But, he's still missing roughly 1700+gph in turnover in his tank, some power heads would probably help with his situation and cyano. it would probably help with dead spots in his tank as well.
     
  20. brandon429

    brandon429 why did you put a reef in that R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    The sand rinse thread has more cyano cures than any thread on the web. Why would you consider options that don't come from 98% documented cures with before and after pics for fifty months straight:)

    We deal in gallons as the projection on if our method will work, and your gallonage is right in the 100% accessible volume range, so your fix wouldn't be hard. Try to envision your tank being entered on page twenty one, and it not complying, considering the results from pages one to twenty
     
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