View Full Version : Cyano vs water temp

06/28/2010, 05:46 PM
I've been trying for months to get rid of red slime including chemical treatment (Red Slime remover) but no luck. Tank (125g) is only 6 months young, light bioload, not overfeeding, skimming + GFO & carbon reactors. My water temp is 82F and was told that contributes to the cyano bacteria. I won't add a chiller to the system so I hope this isn't a problem.

06/28/2010, 05:58 PM
82 F is fine, IME, and shouldn't encourage cyanobacteria. The cyanobacteria must be getting some food somewhere. Can you tell us what you're feeding, and how much goes into the tank per day? What animals are in the system?

06/28/2010, 05:58 PM
All bacteria, cyanobacteria and algae reproduce and grow faster at higher temperatures, especially when the temp. is increased above 80 degrees F. It would help if you lower your temperature, especially if you could get it down to around 76 degrees.

Adding more fans for increasing evaporation will help lower your temperature.

As Jonathan has stated fighting the dissolved organic levels will help the most when one is fighting cyano. This included good skimming, running filter bags and perhaps a diatom filter along with changing out GAC regularly, perhaps every two weeks.

06/28/2010, 06:01 PM
The cyanobacteria in the tank might or might not be able to grow better at a higher temperature, but I suspect that they're more nutrient limited. Plenty of people have had tanks at 82 F (including me) with no cyanobacterial issues.

06/28/2010, 06:30 PM
When the water temp. rises above the 82 degree mark, changes within the cyanobacteria allow them to derive more CO2 from the water and grow faster. They also produce more toxins at these higher temperatures which makes it harder for bacteria to compete with them. There have been many studies that have demonstrated this occurance with cyanobacteria throughout the worlds oceans as well as lakes. Notice that in this study the temperatures reached 28.5 degree C. (83 degrees F.) and resulted in severe cyano blooms.

This is one example that I pulled up:

Bloom of the marine diazotrophic cyanobacterium
Trichodesmium erythraeum in the Northwest
African Upwelling

From it:

Beginning in August, satellite-derived AVHRR/NOAA
sea surface temperature (SST) images recorded 28.5°C,
the warmest record within the last 15 yr in Canary
Island waters. SST imagery also detected convergent
warm (23°C) oceanic waters over the NW African shelf
where the upwelling originates (Fig. 1b). Chlorophyll a
images from the OrbView-2 SeaWIFS satellite showed
richly productive coastal upwelled waters (chl a > 3 mg
m–3) of an advective jet at an anomalously warmer SST
(24.5°C) compared to the normal SST for upwelled
waters (i.e. 18 to 22°C). The jet was observed from
satellite-derived geostrophic current field pictures of
the CLS-AVISO Altimeter Satellite Data Centre, and
advected westward with the offshore-directed surfacecurrent
drift fields to reach the position and
configuration seen in Fig. 1c.
An optical model of water leaving radiance images
from the OrbView-2 SeaWIFS satellite parameterized
for Trichodesmium (Hood et al. 2002) was tested
during the bloom event (Fig. 1d). The model detected
significant remote-sensed optical positives of Trichodesmium
in the NW African shelf. It also showed
optical positives in the advective jet drifting westward
off the south Canary Islands.
Subsurface water samples (2 l) were collected around
the seashore at different locations off the islands off
Gran Canaria and Tenerife during August 2004. Samples
were fixed in 1% Lugol’s Iodine immediately and
trichomes were counted after a 24 h settling period.
Cyanobacteria were identified according to Anagnostidis
& Komàrek (1998). Concentrations of heterocystous
and non-heterocystous cyanobacteria, together
with other phytoplankton counts, were carried out
with an inverted microscope using the Utermöhl technique.
Results showed the absence of heterocystous
diazotrophic cyanobacteria. Ninety-seven percent of
the cells consisted of the non-heterocystous diazotrophic
cyanobacterium Trichodesmium erythraeum
(1240 filaments ml–1). The remaining cells (10 cells
ml–1) consisted of dinoflagellates and diatoms (Gymnodinium,
Ostreopsis and Zygabikodinium). The high
water temperatures may have accounted for the dominance
of the bloom by T. erythraeum, rather than by
heterocystous diazotrophic cyanobacteria. Indeed, differences
in temperature-dependent O2 flux activity,
respiration and of O2-sensitive nitrogen fixation appear
to favour the diazotrophic growth of Trichodesmium at
elevated temperatures, rather than that of heterocystous
cyanobacteria (Staal et al. 2003).
In order to determine environmental and health
impacts of the Trichodesmium erythraeum blooms off
the Canary Islands the cyanotoxins were analysed:
microcystins by means of HPLC and immunoassay,
and anatoxin-a and cylindrospermopsin by HPLC
(Metcalf et al. 2000, Codd et al. 2001). Anatoxin-a and
cylindrospermopsin were not detectable, but microcystins
were found by HPLC, with photodiode array
detection, with confirmation by immunoassay at concentrations
from 0.1 to 1.0 μg microcystin-LR equivalents
(g–1 dry weight of bloom material).
Such Trichodesmium erythraeum blooms have apparently
not been recorded previously anywhere along
the coast bordering the NW African Upwelling. Reliable
satellite observations and verification on the
ground have confirmed that the early stages of this
anomalous event are associated with the exceptionally
warm weather and dust storms observed in this area in
August 2004. This phenomenon may be an increasingly
observed characteristic of higher temperatures
(global warming), with consequent increases in primary
production and N2 fixation, which may be accompanied
by bloom toxicity.

06/28/2010, 06:30 PM
I'm in Florida and the room temp ia around 79F so the heat from Lights (LED's and pumps aren't an issue, so I'm living with 81 to 82F. I have two small tangs yellow & Atlantic), 4 clowns, 1 royal gramma, & 1 blue reef chromis.
I also have 3 ricordea, 1 frogspawn, 2 polyps, 3 mushrooms & 1 tongue slipper. (BTW, the tongue slipper isn't doing good where the cyano is present).
I only use flake food (TetraMin) + about 2 Nori strips/wk. I feed twice a day & turn off the power heads during the feeding (the food is consumed in a minute or so).
The 125g display moves 800gph between the sump plus 3 Kororalia power heads so there is plenty of flow but directed above the sand bed.
The RO/DI reads '0' on the TDS meter. I syphon about 5%/week (to remove the red slime).
The water parameters were very good until mid May when the nitrate moved from o0 to 2.5 & now is at 5.0. The amonia has also started to move from 0 to 0.5. (API test).

Thanks for all the help. Jim

P.S. I'm only running the LED's 8 hours/day [trying not to agrivate the cyano growth]

06/28/2010, 06:42 PM
"The amonia has also started to move from 0 to 0.5."

Ammonia levels that high are toxic to your fish and will contribute to your cyano problems as well. I would buy an ammonia remover asap to prevent further damage to your fish.

YOur phosphate should be below 0.03 ppm as well to fight the cyano.

06/28/2010, 06:43 PM
How big are your koralias? I have a 125 and it was all about flow for me to drop my cyano. Once I increased my flow even more than I had, my cyano dropped off.

06/28/2010, 07:19 PM
Cliff, I'll get the amonia remover tomorrow; thanks.

Hypnoj, the koralia 4's are reated at 1250gph. The tank is 72' long with 2 koralia's on one side & 1 on the other. The return water (from the sump) is 800gph dropping thru 3 nozzels across the tank length. The problem I have is that the sand is ver fine and is easily shifted by the water movement. Also the coral frags don't like high flow rates.

I could drop the house temp a few degrees to see if that reduces the problem.

Is there any additives that can be introduced that would destroy (consume) the cyano bacteria? I am nervous adding another dose of 'red slime remover'.

Thanks again, Jim

06/28/2010, 07:32 PM
Those temperature ranges and conditions are fairly different from our tanks.

The red slime treatments appear to be antibiotics, although some might be oxidants. I wouldn't trust either, personally.

The ammonia reading, if correct, might indicate that something fairly large has died or there's some large amount of food or the like rotting somewhere. I'd test some RO/DI water and get a second opinion on the kit, too. I agree with dosing some ammonia neutralizer, since ammonia is toxic and can cause long-term damage.

The amount of time it takes for food to be consumed isn't very important, since most of what goes into a fish comes back out. :) I would stop feeding as long as I thought ammonia might be present in the water column at that high a level.

06/28/2010, 08:10 PM
I'll stop feeding and get the amonia reducer. As for something dying, I can account for all the fish, snails, and corals. The clams (came with the live rock) appear to be alive. The sand bed is very shallow thereby not hiding anything (& looks clean except for the cyano).
The fish are active and appear healthy. The corals lookgood except for the tongue (poor extension and bald spot where the cyano is poresent).

06/28/2010, 08:14 PM
Is anyone feeding the fish some extra treats on the sly? Small kids have been know to do that...

If the ammonia is real, it's a very bad sign.

06/28/2010, 08:38 PM
Fighting conch's may be able to help ya out. I've researched them when I grabbed a couple for my sandbed's and they are supposed to eat cyno. I haven't had cyno w/them but mainly because the tanks about 3 months old. I am on the low side for flow which is why I got em, for prevention.

06/28/2010, 09:38 PM
photoperiod? i lowered mine when i had it from 9-6 hours and within 2 weeks it was gone

06/29/2010, 05:52 AM
Antonais, I'll lower the time period to 6 hours and watch the corals. If they are already stressed by all the water treatment chemicals, reducing the light energy may be a setback, but I'll try. Thanks.

06/29/2010, 06:01 AM
I agree controlling your daylength can slow cyano growth.

When you are fighting a cyano issue there is no one method that can be used to control the problem. Instead, you are using all the factors that will reduce cyano growth at one time. Removing the cyano on a regular basis is important, since bacteria will not be able to colonize the areas they grow due to their toxins produced.

06/29/2010, 06:36 AM
Cliff, is there any treatment that can be added on a regular basis to prevent cyanobacteria? Brightwell has Microbacter & Biofuel products.
also, I'll drop the house temp a few degrees plus add a fan to bring down the tank temp. Jim

06/29/2010, 06:52 AM
Using antibiotics can be dangerous to your tank occupants.

I assume the different products you are talking about are mixtures of carbon sources and perhaps some bacteria added. The carbon sources will increase bacterial growth and help remove nitrate, phosphate and dissolved organics from your water column. I have seen varing results when hobbyists have used known carbon sources like vodka, vinegar and such when trying to rid cyanobacteria.

This is Boomer's battle plan for fighting cyanobacteria:

"Some added thoughts from over the years from many

The only known fish to eat Cyano is Amblygobius stethophthalmus and it needs to be the real one not its close relative that is often Mis-ID with it.

A 2- 3 month scheme

1. Water changes. 25% weekly.

2. Bare bottom refugium only for cheato nutrient export and not for critters.

3. Siphon, sump, refugium, etc. every week during water change and clean all filter you have.

4. Blow off all the Cyano and settled stuff you can so it can be siphoned off.

5. Clean out skimmer and cup every week.

6. Carbon, 1 cup per 50 gallons / 2 wks. Try to use ROX

7. GFO -HC , change every month.

8. Purigen, every month

9. Soak frozen food in RO/DI and discard water before use. This is especially true for brine shrimp. Matter of fact I use to pour off the water, and then fill it back up, to repeat it until there was only whole brine shrimp in the container.

10. Read what is in the food and look for things low in phosphates.

11. Keep the pH in the very low 8's or very high 7's, as Cyano will out compete other algae's in higher pH water.

12. The # 1 limiting nutrient for Cyano is N, not P based on studies in various microbiology texts.

13. During these water changes and blowing stuff off and siphoning it up run a Diatom filter with a second cake of PAC (Powdered activated carbon).

14. Increase water flow where Cyano are growing, as they do not like high currents.

15. Shutting of all lights, almost total darkness for 48 hr. every few days.

Last resort is Chemi-Clean by Boyd.

99.9 % of the time if nothing eats it and it looks like yours it is Cyano."

06/29/2010, 08:32 AM
Thanks Cliff, retested the parameters. The amonia is 0 but the nitrate is 10 (up from 5) and the phosphates are still 0.5. I e-mailed UltraLife askking how long before I can give the second treatment of Red SLime Remover.
I'll double or tripple the water changes (syphoning) from once/wk.
I reduced the light period from 9 hrs to 6 hrs (worried about the corals).
Shoud have the water temp down for 82 to 80 by tomorrow.
Great suport form everyone. Jim

06/29/2010, 10:01 AM
My 2 cents: I just had a cyno outbreak due to my temp getting up to 82-83, I put a fan in the room and I'm back down to 78.

07/03/2010, 09:47 AM
Well I did it. I got rid of the cyano but also dilled a massive number of white worms. I beleive the worms died on the last dose of Red Slime Remover because I didn't notice syphoning them out until yesterday. Now I inow why using chemicals is a no-no.
I think the cyano problem was agrivated by the water temo. I have a digital meter that said it was 82F but when I added another temp probe it read 83.3F. I have brought the temp down to around 80F. I say around because I'm still not sure what temperature readout to believe.
Thanks for all the help. Jim

07/06/2010, 02:29 AM
I used "Red Slime Remover" last year and it put my tank through a mini cycle. If the cyano remover kills desired bacteria, there's nothing to break down waste - is it possible that this would be the cause of the ammonia spike and subsequent nitrate spike?

07/06/2010, 04:10 AM
Yep. :)

Good point.

07/06/2010, 04:15 AM
Jim, I have a 28G Nano cube with 150w halide and 16 Cree LED's. I had a cyanno problem for abot 4 months. I tried using all manner of things to kill it off: No lights for 4 days, very large water changes, GFO, Vodka dosing etc. All of those did reduce it a little, but didnt get rid of it.

I then read a few threads on the nano reef forum of people using Chemi pure elite and ridding thier Cyanno. I bought 1 unit of the Chemi pure elite and placed it in the high flow area of my tanks rear compartments.

I also as before when I tried the other methods, siphoned off all traces of Cyanno that I could see. It took about 4 weeks and it slowly died off.

Its been a while now and it has not returned. I have taken out the Chemi Pure as well. I know Chemi is essentially GAC + GFO + some form of DI resin, but it works.

My tank runs 79-82'F daily, sometimes gets to 83'F on the really hot days.
But since the Cyanno died off it has not returned. I have started Zeovit 2 weeks ago and was afraid it may come back, but it hasnt.

07/06/2010, 08:09 AM
I still have faint traces of cyano & am syphoning it out whenever I notice an outbreak. I lowered the water temp from 83F to 81F by adding an 1 gal ice container to the sump daily. Long term I'm going to lower the room temp from 81F to 79F. The lighting period is shortened to 6 hours for a little while yet (watching the frags). Running the skimmer, GFO & carbon reactors.

Need to restore the white worms and hope a weekly dose of Brightwell's MicroBacter & Biofuel will help the process.

Thaks for all the inputs. Jim

07/06/2010, 09:07 AM
Thanks for the study Cliff.
A few points for discussion/ consideration:
They note an increase in a non nitrogen fixing variant of cyanaobacteria,Trichodesium which they term non heterocytous. Heterocysts are internal low oxygen zones(sacs) required by the enzyme nitrogenase to break the N2 bond thereby allowing N fixation. They also note the poximity of the test site to the N African upwelling, a likely source of nutrients including nitrogen it would seem.
Their observation that the non nitrogen fixing diazotrophs dominate the heterocystous forms at the higher temps at this site could indicate more readily available nitrogen making nitrogen fixation uneccessary. Perhaps increased nutrients , from increased upwelling as well as increased metabolic activity and waste products of other organisms favors the non nitrogen fixing types , geared up to higher metabolic activity themselves by the. higher temps. Measures of available nitrogen at lower and higher temps would have been useful, I think.
All in all,I don't think the study makes a very clear case for a cause( temp increase to 82 F) and effect(increased cyano) relationship in aquaria where the external variables will vary.
I do,however, suspect higher temps advantage bacteria of many types in reef tanks and seem to get the best results in my tanks in the 77 /78 degree range. FWIW.