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Old 01/17/2015, 03:00 PM   #662
Michael Hoaster
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 3,189
A TEST? WE DON'T NEED NO STINKIN' TEST! (as long as we're doing movie quotes)

Come on guys, it's cyanobacteria, not rocket science. It popped up shortly after I introduced the barnacle blennies, which I fed heavily at first to help them settle in. Hello! Phosphate anyone? Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner!

Look, I'll make a deal with you. If something happens I can't understand, I'll test, mmkay? Everyone happy?

To review, I have drastically reduced feeding, seriously shortened the photoperiod, slightly increased the current, temporarily suspended carbon dosing, and merrily added nassarius snails to clean up uneaten food. Also, I have done weekly manual removal/water changes, mmkay?

I know from doing research, that once it takes hold, it takes quite a while to "leave the building", even after diligent work to remove it. Kinda like that last guy at the party that won't leave, so you can go to bed! It can sustain itself even with pristine water conditions. The top layer dies, decomposes and fertilizes the layer beneath. Under the definition for tanacious, it says "see cyanobacteria".

I read another post on RC, stating that the blackout method can/should be repeated monthly, to fully eradicate it. So I'll probably add that to the strategy. Of course there are chemical methods, but I want to avoid them.

Another thing I am considering is removing my tuxedo urchin. Why? The little guy has nearly wiped out all of the algae. Sounds like a good thing right? The problem is, he doesn't touch the cyano, drastically reducing the diversity of my algae, tilting the system in favor of cyano-not good. I was just reading in "Dynamic Aquaria" (great book!) that "It is essential not to allow a model system under development (young tank like mine) to be overgrazed. This would remove the critical energy supply and an important part of the water quality control system at a very sensitive time." So I'll just move him down to the quarantine tank for now, and bring him back for the the occasional 'temp work'. I need the 'regular algae' for the herbivorous fish I have planned.

If I was a biologist, I would focus on breeding the perfect cyano-consumer. I'd have hefty bags of cash! I did a search on "what eats cyanobacteria?" There were lots of claims, but no consensus. Trochus, turbo, queen conch, fighting conch, mexican hermit, mexican trochus, even black mollies! I have seen mine eat a little, but not near enough to make a dent! So it's back to work…

Cyanobacteria outbreaks are an extremely common phase in new tanks. In the big picture it's a good thing. It forces you to really look hard at your husbandry habits and improves your skills as an aquarist. I know I'll do just about anything to avoid going through this again!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Macro Algae Lagoon
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