Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Amherst, NS Canada
Someone will be along to tell me I'm wrong shortly but here's my thoughts...
1. Nature abhors vacuums. You've set up a container of water with light, and nutrients (if you have fish, you have nutrients) and very few plants. The tendency is that some sort of living thing will colonize this area. There is more than enough "slack" in the system for algae (in one form or another) to take up residence and fill this void.
2. Algae acts as a pioneer species. If you look through the posts, a huge proportion of the people looking for solutions to algae problems have tanks less than a year old. Most of the rest have had some change in their tank in the recent past. I believe that algae benefits from immature systems that have fluctuating parameters. Once people get past this stage they deem themselves expert and point to their management skills at providing low levels of nutrients (or light) or high levels of nutrients (CO2 included). Now personally, I like high nutrient levels so I know the plants can grow well. I also believe that filling a tank with healthy plants pushes the system towards a multicellular dominated system (plants vs. algae).
3. Specifically to your question about BBA. There does seem to be a tendency for certain types of algae to do well under specific conditions. In my experience, BBA seems to have among the widest tolerances for these conditions. BBA seems to do well in both high light and low light. In my tanks, BBA seems to like direct light, lots of floating plants seem to slow down and/or completely eliminate its growth. I'm not sure why, though a lot will point to CO2 demand. Can't say this isn't true, but in my experience even low light tanks that shouldn't be CO2 taxed benefit from "shade".
4. I think suffering plants "attract" algae. Everyone complains the algae is killing their plants, but at this point I really believe "suffering" plants cause algae. No insult intended but your plants do look like they're suffering.
5. Everyone has algae. Experts that spend an hour or two primping their tanks every week have minimal algae. Novices don't seem to consistently spend time cleaning their tanks have problems that get out of hand. That's not to say novices don't encounter more large scale infestations, but patience seems to be its own virtue. With consistent management, a lot of these problems seem to sort themselves out more or less on their own. Once people are confident in their methods, they don't think twice about using various methods (excel, H2O2, etc) to eliminate the problem. If conditions no longer favor algae, it will disappear on its own but this is very unlikely to happen in a time frame people will find acceptable especially if you start with a large amount of algae.
I have lots of experience with BBA. I have it surviving in all my tanks though most of the time you'd be hard pressed to find it. It does become noticeable when I slack off on management. This means I skip water changes, and don't dose. When I get back into my routine, clean the tank, resume water changes and restart dosing it more or less recedes on its own. I'm not sure what component has the greatest effect.
Hope this helps.
Wishing I had a pithy quote