These links were a little confusing until I read the Practical Fishkeeping article you posted and it all makes sense. I can see how PH and KH play a key role and how to figure out how much CO2 I need for my tank parameters. With this new set of information, I will go home tonight and post some test results from my tank.
Now when testing for PH, do I test the water straight out of my tank with CO2 concentration in it, or do I get a cup and let it sit out for 24 hours before testing?
If you correct the initial cause(say poor CO2) for the BBA bloom(new BBA growth all over the place, often smothering things fairly quick(1-3 weeks), you still will have adult old BBA covering things. It will NOT die by correcting to good CO2.
BBA will also grow fine in very low light.
So you are still left with basic maintenance when you fall off the CO2 routine and get a bloom. Such labor is effective, but only if you stop the NEW growth. Cappish?
So then Excel/H2O2 spot treatments , finger nails, trimming the old leaves off, toothbrush scrubbing, cleaning any equipment that gets infested etc, works.
Otherwise it'll just get covered a week later.
SAE's(true) will eat it and keep semi moderate amounts at bay.
Amano shrimp in high no#s' will beat new BBA back quite well IME.
I took out a rock covered many years ago as did another member, with BBA, and let it dry out for a few months return it, and the BBA came back to life.
So what you want: no NEW BBA growth; algae free new plant growth.
It'll take some time to get rid of it.
Many mistake BBA in a tank as an active bloom, this is not true.
I have a little BBA on some wood here or there. But not on the plants.
I could work and get rid of any visible trace, but it's not an issue.
If it covers plants, gets on equipment, covers the wood, then yes, I have an issue.
Point is, it's easy to manage and my labor does not go without some good return. I also have plenty of algae eaters and take care of the tank in a timely manner.
So algae is not much of an issue.
Good plant growth is my concern, which if I am not mistaken, is also your goal when you started this hobby. Do not get side tracked with algae.
Good CO2 management, focus there.
Also, respiration of fish: is both O2 and CO2.
So more O2/good surface movement(but not breaking the surface) is key. It'll provide more wiggle room. Also, even at low light, the CO2 will help a great deal and provide much more wiggle room for new folks.
More light= harder to maintain that threshold between gassing livestock/stressing them, vs no algae and good plant growth. If you am fairly good and have 1-4 years in, then high light etc might be your can O worms.
But for most goals, low light with good CO2, cooler temps if the fish can handle it, good current etc, clean the filters often, do good sized water changes etc, that's where it is at.
I've read over this part a few times already and can see you stressing on how important it is to watching how the plants react to anything you do in the tank.
Circulation is also another thing, which I am hoping to have figured out, but only time will tell.
I also have a ton of surface movement without breaking the surface (powerhead and filter output are both pointed up towards the surface).
If there ever is any BBA on plants, it's always on the old leaves and not the new ones. Mostly on my Anubias, Amazon Sword, and Ludwigia Red (the older leaves)