Cyanobacteria What Is It?

Cyanobacteria What Is It?

What is Cyanobacteria?

You would assume that by the looks of it the blue-green algae is an algae right? it looks like algae it definitely feels like algae! so what else could it be then?

Cyanobacteria isn’t an algae at all, It’s actually a bacteria, strange as far as bacteria goes.

This bacteria is believed to be over 2.3 billion years old. That’s right 2.3 billion years, so it was around well before dinosaurs roamed our planet.

Many scientists believe that if it wasn’t for the formation of cyanobacteria, humans may not exist, has this blog already blown your mind?

Cyanobacteria needs to photosynthesize to grow, so kill the light you kill the cyanobacteria off, trust me when I say I have seen aquariums covered in it top to bottom.


Why is Cyanobacteria an issue?

The problem is that there are many different species of cyanobacteria. And each one is different. In fact, the saltwater variant of cyanobacteria doesn’t look blue/green at all, Instead, it’s a slimy, reddish-brown colour.

If you leave cyanobacteria it will grow all over plants and your plants will die off. If it grows over heaters and filters this will result in the filter being blocked and the heater not being able to release heat into your aquarium. Also breaking it down and trying to siphon it with a gravel cleaner will break and move the bacteria around and once it settles the problem will be even worse for you.


How do you identify Cyanobacteria?

When blue-green algae first appears in your tank, it is barely noticeable, especially if it sets up residence on your plants, wood rocks etc. Its colour allows it to easily blend in with the green plants in your aquarium.

You’ll likely first notice it on your substrate on the front or sides of your aquarium as there is plenty of light for it to grow. If its left untreated the blue-green algae will spread, creating thin or thick sheets of slime, it is astonishing how fast this stuff can grow in just 24 hours.

Cyanobacteria under a microscope and how it looks.


How do I remove it?

Cyanobacteria feeds of light so kill the light you kill the bacteria off. Simply conduct a normal water change and siphon of using a tube as much or the slime as possible. Once you have completed the water change simply cover the aquarium with blankets and towels for up to 72 hours. Ensure your aquarium light is off and no light is let in during this black out. On day 4 slowly remove the blankets and use Aquadip blue/green algae treatment. In 98% of customers who have this in there aquarium using this method removes it. If you have a really bad case of cyanobacteria we recommend 5 days complete black out. 

Final top tip you can inject Seachem Pristine into the substrate and this will break the cyanobacteria down.