The effects of potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, and iron on cyanobacterial bloom potentials were investigated in Daechung Reservoir, Korea. Potassium showed the highest correlation with the cyanobacterial cell number (r=0.487, P<0.05) and phycocyanin concentration (r=0.499, P<0.05). However, it was not likely that the potassium had directly affected the bloom formation, because the variations of its concentration were not significantly large. In contrast, the Fe concentration fluctuated drastically and exhibited a negative correlation with the cyanobacterial cell number (r=-0.388, P<0.1) and phycocyanin concentration (r=0.446, P<0.05). Accordingly, the K:Fe atomic ratio would appear to reflect the extent of cyanobacterial bloom more precisely than K or Fe alone. The K:Fe ratio specifically correlated with cyanobacterial percentage, the cyanobacterial cell number and phycocyanin concentration (r=0.840, P<0.001; r=0.416, P<0.05; r=0.522, P<0.01, respectively). With the K:Fe atomic ratio of over 200, the chlorophyll-a concentration, cyanobacterial cell number, and phycocyanin concentration exceeded 10 mug 1(-1), 20,000 cells ml(-1), and 20 pM, respectively, the general criteria of eutrophic water.