View Full Version : How I beat blue-green algae (cyanobacteria)

03-16-2008, 11:22 PM
After I learned on this forum that my rapidly growing and smelly algae was really cyanobacteria I wanted to fix it more than ever. We're talking freshwater tank, don't know if something similar would work in saltwater. First, what didn't work. It didn't work to increase the lighting, the stuff only grew faster. It didn't work to increase water movement, unless the experts were talking hose velocity, the only water movement that hindered it was one that was strong enough to dislodge it. No way was I going to antibiotics, It wouldn't be permanent and continual fooling around with that would bring a risk of crashing the bacterial balance.
I read articles on the internet for half a day and finally read an article where guy said something new. His claim was that a mineral imbalance is what stimulates cyanobacteria. For years I've been using rainwater, and when that's in short supply I use demineralized water. My well water is so high in iron that the tank would turn yellow. I buffered the ph with crushed coral and since the fish were always healthy I thought all was well. So maybe there was a mineral imbalance..... I decided to try Equilibrium, which is supposed to "restore & maintain mineral balance & GH". It's a mixture of electrolytes made by Seachem for hobbiests that use RO or demineralized water in planted tanks. No phosphorus or sodium in it. (Got it in the Drs. Foster & Smith catalog.) Anyway, I started adding the recommended amounts every water change, still using mostly rainwater. Within 2 weeks the cyanobacteria started disappearing and in a month it was all gone. The other benefit was the other normal algae also nearly disappeared, leaving just tiny amounts in rock cracks. A piece of pink quartz that used to need scrubbing every 2 weeks has remained stunningly beautiful week after week. The tank has now remained crystal clear, rocks and gravel clean, and plants completely free of algae and the plants are growing well. Fish are wonderfully healthy. Only problem was the bristlenose Plecos didn't have enough to eat and 2 starved before it dawned on me I better start feeding algae wafers. I now do that every night when the light goes off and the remaining Plecos are doing great. People who have wittnessed the change in the tank are equally amazed. Finally an expert who knew what he was talking about!

03-16-2008, 11:29 PM
Thanks for this info, I'm sure it will help a lot of members:19:

Lady Hobbs
03-17-2008, 12:28 AM
A diatom filter will clean it up in a matter of hours.

03-17-2008, 12:43 PM
Diatom filter didn't do a thing (I actually have one!) Such a filter works only when the problem is suspended in the water, like green water. In my case the cyanobacteria grew as a mat that covered the gravel, rocks and plants. The water itself was clear. The niftiest part for me is that I was able to change the part of the environment that caused it, not just the symptom so the cure is permenent. The second niftiest part was the disappearance of the awful smell.

03-17-2008, 07:53 PM
THANK YOU!! Ive been havning problems with this pest. ANothe rthing that helps is lowering the temp.

03-17-2008, 08:01 PM
Man... I thought all you needed to do was put your tank in the window and be sure to give your fish pleanty of fresh air...

03-18-2008, 05:51 AM
Man... I thought all you needed to do was put your tank in the window and be sure to give your fish pleanty of fresh air...

But that won't keep the pleco's from eating the 20 neons...:18:

03-18-2008, 05:00 PM
Man... I thought all you needed to do was put your tank in the window and be sure to give your fish pleanty of fresh air...
LOL god that lady cracks me up at teh fish store hahaha.

Glad to hear about this, will be looking out for the problem.