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Cyanobacteria treatment

Roger wrote:

>The cyanobacteria are normally reduced to a less-than-visible population
>within less time than the treatment requires.  Perhaps not wiped out but
>certainly reduced to a point where it doesn't rebound in the short term.
>But the cyanobacteria in the tank aren't the only microbes that are being
>treated by the antibiotic.  Any initially erythromycin-sensitive microbe
>in the tank is effected by the antibiotic and could gain resistance from
>the repeated use of the antibiotic.

Ahh, but I don't think you should put yourself in a position where repeated
treatments for cyanobacteria are needed.  In most cases (certainly all the
cases I've experienced, or helpd someone else through) cyanobacteria is an
environmentally induced or at least perpetuated problem.  IMO it is
imperative to solve the imbalance that brought about the infestation, _and_
manually remove as much cyanobacteria as possible before treating the tank.
 When a 2 day treatment of erythromycin has been used under these
cirumstances, I've never seen a return of the cyanobacteria unless the
aquarist has let the tank slip back into a polluted situation.

I agree completely that if you treat a tank with antibiotics, it is your
responsibility to manage the tank in a way that discourages the return of
the cyanobacteria.  If you have to treat a tank for cyanobacteria more than
once, you're probably not meeting this responsibility.  In this case, the
use of antibiotics is simply a stop-gap.  It won't resolve the problem in
the tank, and it _can_ as youve pointed out, have other, worse ramifications.

>The actual chance of a resistent strain of anything developing in my tank
>or in your tank are very slim, but there are millions of aquarists all
>over the world and if they are carelessly dosing their tanks with
>antibiotics then resistent strains will develop somewhere.
>>From the standpoint of someone who occasionally gives tank-care advice (my
>standpoint) I think it's necessary to advise cautious and appropriate use
>of antibiotics.

I couldn't agree more.  

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Association