What are the root causes of Cyano?

Discussion in 'Reef Chemistry by Randy Holmes-Farley' started by aeras1131, Nov 18, 2017.

  1. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Food for thought.

    We are discussing Cyanobacteria. This is a very broad classification of "blue green" bacteria. We try to group them into one large category, and there is some value in that. Not all of the cyano we encounter will play by the same rules. For instance, I referenced a study in the other thread that the "average" cyano N:p ratio is 5:1 or less. There are specific cyano strains with very high nitrates.

    Your experiences my contradict each other but that doesn't mean either is wrong. It could just be different strains of the same bacteria family.
     
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  2. chefjpaul

    chefjpaul Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    I've been following you all on the two "semi" related threads, and have actually been pondering this same thing today.

    My only concern would be that a species is a species is a species, all tigers eat proteins, all tigers don't eat where they drink, but they all do have different taste, until there is nothing else to hunt.
     
  3. Doclight

    Doclight Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Agree.. Low flow and too much food. I had it for a few weeks. Was not fun. But better power heads made all the difference.
     
  4. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    I'm not sure this is valid in terms of bacteria. As an example, there is the red mat forming bacteria that aquarium users worry about on one end of the spectrum and spirulina on the other end. Just by looking at them, you would never think of them both as cyano yet they are.
     
  5. chefjpaul

    chefjpaul Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    That is why I've been thinking this same thing.
    but in the context of consumption and uptake to survive, it seems it would be semi fluctuating, they would've each adapted to survive the environment, yet needing the same elements just different ratios adapting as needed per basis?
     
  6. saltyfilmfolks

    saltyfilmfolks Lights! Camera! Reef! R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader R2R Excellence Award Photo of the Month Award Build Thread Contributor

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    I did make bacteria plural. I have a couple different colors of those from to time :)
    So I kinda agree.

    And as we paruse "the help me cyano" threads, we should note many have characteristic growth differences. The matted stringy kind , the soft blankets , the odd salt and peppered tinted in the sand type types , the lime green types , the brown stuff and so on. (The red rum night mare of reeferfoxxs tank was like a thin gel coating everything )
    Like dino and diatoms there a lot of them and the each have a different strategy for survival and dominance. Like some types of calurpa will poison the water or how. Bryo feeds and has a similar effect on bubble algae and a couple others.

    I didn't bring that up cuz I think it would negate a lot of the balance and root causes of cyano claims as its a bit too broad.
    We I think need to know a lot more about each to say what's what and how's how's in causality I think, as I'd have to assume the each feed slightly differently as they are not all the same. Honestly I'd rather learn more about coral physiology and evolution and just have a good working knowledge of bacterias and how to control them.
    Dunno. But yea , I've though a lot about that.
     
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  7. Hans-Werner

    Hans-Werner Active Member

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    I think most problems are caused by a maroon Oscillatoria sp.. I had this one under the microscope and shape and movement say quite clearly it is a Oscillatoria.

    Sometimes blue-green (cyan) colored cyanobacteria also may form extensive mats. I haven´t had one of these out of a mat under my microscope yet. I have found what I think is Spirulina sp. but these hadn´t formed mats in our aquaria at the time I found them. I have also found globular maroon colored cyanobacteria but they seem not to form mats at all.
    Cyanobakterien.jpg
    This image I took with one of my microscopes shows two different cyanobacteria. The right one is the maroon mat forming Oscillatoria sp.. Maybe the left one is the mat forming blue-green species. This is not a Spirulina species. Spirulina are spiral shaped.
     
  8. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    It is not just that they need different ratios but they have also adapted different ways to intake the nutrients. Even the nutrients they take in can vary. As an example, some strains can utilize inorganic nitrates (NO3 or NH3) while others can use organic nitrates.
     
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  9. saltyfilmfolks

    saltyfilmfolks Lights! Camera! Reef! R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader R2R Excellence Award Photo of the Month Award Build Thread Contributor

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    A yup.

    And that's why for me ,I belive we really don't know and really almost can't know in what quantity what untestable nutrient or mineral food source is available for such a multide of various possible organisms that may exist or be introduced in the system.

    The live rock source and mineral and organic and inorganics that it may contain , dead alge from a frag cheap fish food, bacterial vomit , isopod poo , and the primordial stew from the cycling curing process etc. are all possible fuels for possibly "unwanted "animals and bacterias.

    But These aren't organisms aren't , IMO ,always an issue until another environmental element is introduced, like the odd effect of adding a single narrow Nm of the spectrum in an accidentally high dose that may spur growth because that organism had the mineral , nutrient and now photosynthetic elements it needs to thrive or at least bloom (see Danas dino thread) .
    Thus the myriad of "this light gave me cyano threads form the past few decades or so. ". When in fact it was already there with 3084758 other things were already there , and the 298umol of 456.66NM was basically the catalyst. You could also reverse that too. You have 465.66nm and accidentally added numer 3084657 and bam. Cyano.

    Now once that organisim has those elements in place and blooms , it then in some cases changes the environment to suit it's survival over others either locally or in come cases systemically.

    Really the math becomes impossible.

    Thus diversity. Chaos VS chaos. Many mouths deplete many resources so no one can dominate. silicates being the easiest to explain and observe. Diatoms and pineapple sponges. If those don't appear , it leaves an easily used resource up for garabs.
    And this also explains the odd blooms during the ugly phase.
    Anyone with colonistasa and pods should also be familiar with the this life /resource cycle.
    There a good article by Dr Bingman on this subject of microfaunal resouce use and depetion and the appearnce and disappearance phaes in aquaria somewhere. He's a trip.

    So the goofball Fiji mud , or NY harbor Mud , as one of our well know members likes , is actually a huge dose of everything "you don't want in your tank":eek:.
    But you do, cuz they are now forced to share.

    Like any trippy Hippy or theoretical Physicist will tell you , even In chaos there is order.
     
  10. chefjpaul

    chefjpaul Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Amazing reading, leading me on late night rabbit hole internet searches, leading to spiderweb of overload.

    Love it.
    Thanks for all the info guys.
     
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  11. saltyfilmfolks

    saltyfilmfolks Lights! Camera! Reef! R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader R2R Excellence Award Photo of the Month Award Build Thread Contributor

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    Feels good don't it?
     
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  12. Hans-Werner

    Hans-Werner Active Member

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    There is also heterotrophic nitrogen fixation (by heterotrophic bacteria) in reefs, especially in living corals. I think this is not investigated to the end yet. Nevertheless, if cyanobacteria are important nitrogen fixers in reefs there must be cyanobacteria.

    Regarding the corals: They do take up NH4 preferably and with higher efficiency compared to NO3. Together with the numbers showing that NH4 is the predominating nitrogen form in oceanic reefs it is easy to estimate what the corals take up more.

    If you look at the absolute concentrations a maximum about 10 µg/l (170 nanomoles) NO3 has been found (table 1). This means 0.01 mg/l. Similar concentrations have been found in Fiji Reefs recently. I think if we are talking about nitrate in reef aquaria we talk about totally different numbers. I think concentrations between 0.01 and 0.1 ppm NO3 as they are found in unpolluted reefs will hardly be found by reef aquarists.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2017
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  13. Sallstrom

    Sallstrom Active Member R2R Supporter Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    Haha :D I actually did the reverse at work not long ago. We have two research LEDs with a lot of channels hanging over a part of our frag tank. My colleague put every channel on 30% a while ago and we have had a lot of red cyano(and S. hystrix) just under these lights. I cleaned it a month ago and also put down 620 and 660nm to 10%. Haven't had any red cyano after that. A miracle! ;)

    A agree on the other things, on small change of lights, temp or something else and it might come cyano. So IMO the biggest reason for cyano in aquariums is the quick changes(and aquarist who can't keep themselves from try new things). :)

    / David
     
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  14. Lasse

    Lasse Valuable Member R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader R2R Excellence Award Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    Its funny how two persons can read the same figures in two opposite ways

    You argue – The NH4 concentration is higher than the NO3 concentration – hence NH4 is the most used N species in a coral reef ecosystem.

    I say - if you do not know anything about the production rate - of any of the N species – across the reef you neither do not know the consumption rate of any of the N species

    I could argue with the same value of evidence that the uptake of NO3 is higher than the uptake of NH4 because the concentration of NO3 is lower than the concentration of NH4.

    What I try to say is that the concentrations we see in the water of different substances is only a figure that shows what´s not have been consumed. When the living organisms has taken what they want – the rest will be the concentrations we read in the water sample – in aquaria – in the nature.

    To really know which species that will be consumed most in an ecosystem – we need to know the ingoing value – the production of the substance inside the system – and the outgoing value. We can´t only take a concentration and from what tell which is the most used species inside the system. NH4 is the most available species – but that’s is not the same as the most used – it could be the most available species because there is low consumption of it – you do not know only from the concentration figures. The one with low concentration can be the one with most uptake. You can´t with only the concentration values say which is the right and which is wrong. You can´t argue that the reef takes up all NH4 that´s are produced inside the system - because the concentration is the same in and out (in this study) - but as they conclude – there is a high nitrification rate, hence some of the internal produced NH4 must have been converted to N03 and has not been included in the biomass in the form of NH4. If you do not have the internal production rate of NH4 and the nitrification rate you can´t say which species will be preferred of the reef system.

    However – like you - I think – but of other reasons - that the NH4 is the most preferred species.

    However the figures from the article you gave a link to do not indicate this. The concentration offshore and the concentration when the water leaves the reef was nearly the same of NH4 but the concentration of NO3 was low offshore, higher in the reef edge and low in the lagoon.

    In my system – the consumption of NO3 vary a lot. In a week it can goes from 10 to 0.5 ppm NO3. There is many processes in my system consuming NO3, denitrification, macroalgae, microalgae, bacteria and zooxanthella. I want to be rather high – between 3-5 ppm – because I got a more stable system that way – and stability is for me more important than anything else. I´m aware of that the natural levels of NO3 is not so high but Nitrogen is the limited factor in natural marine environment but in aquaria we make the phosphorus be the limited factor for growth instead because we manipulate the system. For me – the NO3 molecule, in a closed system has other advantages than just only a nutrient.

    What I know - fixation of Nitrogen can only take place in anaerobic conditions - the fixation in the heterocyst of some cyanobacteria included. Have you other information - I should be glad to know. In this article they exclude the heterotrophic bacteria because the could see there the rise of DON was (DON is in a way the leakage of fixated N) - and there was no corals

    Sincerely Lasse
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2017
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  15. Lasse

    Lasse Valuable Member R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader R2R Excellence Award Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    For every interested person - i found this handbook. Have not have time to read so much but I think that it can give a ton of information about the things we discuss.

    Sincerely Lasse
     
  16. Hans-Werner

    Hans-Werner Active Member

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    No, I know a bit more about N-uptake of corals. I cite from the Sorokin book "Coral Reef Ecology", Springer, 1993:

    "The saturation curves of consumption of P04, N03 and
    NH4 by corals are similar to the Michaelis-Menten kinetic curve (D'Elia
    1978; Webb and Wiebe 1978; Muscatine and D'Elia 1978). This indicates
    that the consumption proceeds mainly via the enzymatic active transport
    mechanisms. The threshold concentrations at which the consumption starts
    are within 0.1-0.2Ilmoll-r, and that of Vrnax 1-2Ilmoll-l, which is the
    same range as in the oceanic phytoplankton. The rate of consumption of
    ammonia by corals was twice as much as that of nitrates in their ambient
    concentrations (D'Elia and Webb 1977)."

    I have to confess there are other results too but latest research says that natural nutrient sources (particular nutrients, plankton, ammonium) support coral growth while antropogenic nutrients, especially nitrate, are detrimental to corals.

    "I show that P
    consistently increases coral growth rates while N has variable, often negative, effects on coral
    growth. The majority of this variability was explained by the contrasting responses of corals to
    ammonium, which had negligible effects on coral growth, versus nitrate, which consistently had
    negative effects on corals."

    and

    "Using meta-analyses, I show that N and P impact corals through two different
    pathways. Nitrogen affects corals via direct effects on the endosymbionts within corals,
    Symbiodinium, but the responses further depend on the identity of N provided. Nitrate tends to
    impair coral growth and increase the chlorophyll content in Symbiodinium while NH4+ has
    negligible effects on coral growth but still benefits the Symbiodinium within corals. In contrast, Penrichment
    has no measurable impact on Symbiodinium populations but alters coral growth, most
    likely via direct effects on the calcification process."

    and

    "Nitrate caused a significant reduction in calcification (Mean = -0.476, 95% CI = -0.583/-0.369)
    while there was no effect of ammonium (mean = -0.037, 95% CI = -0.150/0.075) (Fig. 2.4a)."

    and

    "Our analyses show that nitrate tends to slow coral growth while ammonium has little effect
    (Fig. 2.4). Further, the combined ammonium and P delivered by fishes may benefit corals more
    than N-dominated anthropogenic sources as N-only enrichment drove decreases in coral
    calcification (Fig. 2.1). Fishes may also be a source of particulate organic matter which corals
    could ingest, further enhancing their growth rates (Meyer and Schultz 1985b)."
     
  17. Sallstrom

    Sallstrom Active Member R2R Supporter Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    Okey. I think we all have seen these paper which pop up from times to times. Still more and more aquarist tend to prefer running their tanks with 2-10 ppm nitrate. I don't think we can take all science papers and just presume that it works exactly the same way or that whats "best" for the coral(and corals are a big group, but I assume we talk about stony corals here) in our aquariums. I don't say we shouldn't look into the results from research, I say we need to also look at how our aquariums are doing. Every tank is a different ecosystem.

    And also when this type of papers come up in saltwater aquarium forums it tends to be a bit panic and people rush to lower their nitrates(or red light etc etc). So in this case I can say that we have used KNO3 in our SPS tanks for at least 5 years and my not scientific conclusion is that in most cases the corals grow better when they get some extra nitrate if the nitrate has been low before. I havn't tried dosing ammonium, maybe thats even better, I don't know :)


    / David
     
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  18. Hans-Werner

    Hans-Werner Active Member

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    As long as everyone tells, "you have to have nitrate otherwise your corals will die" we will not get it out. I have run tanks with "0" (below detection limit) nitrate for years and corals where well. This article is in 100 % accordance with my experiences. Only very few aquarists will do systematic trials like this dissertation does, much more aquarists will just listen to what they are told, no matter whether wrong or right. Of course problems must have another cause then because what everyone tells must be right.
     
  19. Sallstrom

    Sallstrom Active Member R2R Supporter Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    Yes, and if you are new in the hobby and you here that nitrate is bad for the coral growth you will probably try to lower the nitrates. And then you dose carbon source and get really low NO3. And then you get cyano. That is the most common thing I see in the Swedish forums at least.

    Sure, the corals can do very well in very low nitrate but does that work well for the whole tank long term for a hobbyist? It's hard I think. Therefor for aquarists I think it's better to discuss what will work for an aquarium(and corals) long term without being a scientist.

    / David
     
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  20. Hans-Werner

    Hans-Werner Active Member

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    What does "the whole tank" mean? Do you think fish need nitrate? Corals can make some nitrogen compounds themselves, this is one cause why reefs are exporting N. I use pellets in a pellet reactor and I have no cyanos in this system. In others I do no organic carbon dosing and I have lots of cyanos.
    Normal cyanos (like the Oscillatoria sp. shown above) are ugly but they are neither detrimental to corals nor are they a sign of adverse conditions for corals in contrast to hair algae. Hair algae grow well with high nitrate and low phosphate concentrations, in contrast to common believe. Just another reef myth.
     
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