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Topic Review (Newest First)
01-23-2013 05:56 PM
senegal927 Update on the tank and BGA...
  • I cleaned the canister filter
  • Removed some dead leafs
  • Did a 45% water change
  • Turned on my UV
  • Used Hydrogen Peroxide target dosed on BGA areas
It's been about a week now and it's worked great! I do have small spots of BGA still but 90% of it has died! Since doing all this work my nitrates have come up from 5PPM to 10-15PPM, not sure if that helped at all.

I will update again in a couple days....

Thanks for all your advice...
01-18-2013 01:11 PM
danielt I cannot help myself from observing that we're trained by microorganisms on how to take care of our plants

I had a similar lesson taught by BBA in my tank.
01-18-2013 12:15 PM
auban
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob in Puyallup View Post
Uhhhh... In the end there's still some bga to get rid of of. ;-)

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S III using Tapatalk 2
lol

well, if no one thing works, i would suggest a combination of the easiest things first. ie, increase nitrates and raise CO2 and reduce photoperiod. when its gone, you can start slowly lowering CO2, increasing photoperiod, back off on nitrates, etc, until you find out what the threshold is for your tank.

the only thing i dont like about antibiotics is that it doesnt engender a change that is capable of preventing the problem from coming back. it may never come back, but if it does you will be back to square one...

i think we jump the gun a bit when we tell people a quick fix way of treating it without explaining why it might work.
01-18-2013 12:08 PM
Rob in Puyallup Uhhhh... In the end there's still some bga to get rid of of. ;-)

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S III using Tapatalk 2
01-18-2013 11:37 AM
auban
Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
We only have one pest genus: Oscillitoria. They really are not heterocyst forming BGA's, but they might still fix N2 gas nonetheless. Phormidium I found in a few samples also, semi rare though and the tank was nasty.

i have also found lyngbya. i think its commonly misdiagnosed.
generally it wont form a thick mat in a tank, but i have seen it growing entangled in plants before. it can make for quite a mess...



I do not think any said they cannot use NO3, we have stated that BGA is correlated with a reduced NO3 level(under 5ppm), to the point where it starts affecting plant growth(eg, limited N for plants). Limiting PO4 does not cause any algae bloom really(GSA mostly), so that was popular in the 1990's and not NO3 limiting.

i didnt mean to imply anyone here in this thread claimed that that BGA cant use NO3, but i have heard others make the argument that lack of NO3 is THE cause for BGA...
i wouldnt expect limiting PO4 to cause an algae bloom... in fact, its still a common practice to regulate algae and cyano in many lakes.


This(lower NO3 below 5ppm(?) appears to induce Oscillitoria in planted tanks. There is no way to limit nutrients for BGA's in planted tanks, their demand for nutrients are minute compared to plants.

oscillitoria practically forms its own ecosystem. the mucilage it produces harbors a LOT of life, which can recycle just about anything... so yes, i dont think it can be killed out right by promoting plant growth, but i do believe you can slow it from spreading or stop it from spreading. if its missing something, it just slowly dies or disseminates and dissimulates its presence(ie, under the gravel, along the tank glass).

Indirectly, plant growth appears to suppress algae.
Perhaps when BGA's detect lower O2 in the root zone, or the vegetative cone, they will bloom and grow. Plants are not growing, it's a good time to grow. Otherwise, they just sit there. Mostly between the glass and gravel below the soil a little bit.

Once the NO3 drops, then they bloom.

i set up a lot of tanks taylored to growing algae. i have come to learn that there isnt any one thing that causes a BGA bloom. i have had bare bottom tanks with high nitrates(over 80ppm) that grew more cyano than i knew what to do with, and some with no nitrates and plants present that just refused to grow cyano.


I do not think ANYONE has ever suggested that we are limiting BGA with nutrients.

i would have to disagree...

So you think that BGA are now micronutrient limited, whereas you argued above that they cannot be N limited? Leaching from plants provides ample supply, a few decayed leaves is all that is needed.

So what ppb of micro nutrients are limiting to Oscillitoria?
Any ideas? Estimations?

no clue! more than i currently have on one tank and less than in another


BGA does not get energy from N fixation, it's a energy expenditure(i think you meant to say this).
yes, i meant to say growth, which of course, requirse energy to be spent on nitrogen.
Not that Oscillitoria even needs to fix N2 gas in any planted tank, there's always non limiting N in a planted tank for most any algae or BGA.

If not, we should easily be able to water change algae into submission for a few days before the plant reserves are depleted. Generally that leads to worse problems(again, back to poor plant growth as the root cause, not nutrient limitation of algae/BGA).



I know of no submersed plant that has the same rate of growth at high KH as they do at high CO2. CO2 is greatly preferred in each and every case. It's an added allocation and energy expense to use HCO3 vs CO2.

I know of many aggressive weeds that use HCO3 as a carbon source indirectly, but it's still an energy expense in all cases.

i wouldnt call it an energy expense... less efficient and less preferred, ill give you that.

I add lots of PO4, roughly 15 ppm a week from KH2PO4, my KH is low, about 20 ppm. BGA issues? I do not have any. I tend to care for my tanks well, however clients often are not consistent.

So when they stop dosing, I'll get call about algae, BGA etc.
CO2 tank ran out: green algae mostly. Low CO2= BBA
NO3 doser stopped= bga.

BGA is present in all my tanks, but it's regulated to the gravel below the surface on the glass nearest to a light source. It'll stay there for years, so it's not a question of having it inoculated or present, rather, is it a management issue?

No, not in the least.

We can rule out things like PO4, low KH, etc as direct factors.
I think you might be on to something with O2 however.

When plants are limited, mild moderate or strongly, then they reduce growth and also reduce O2 evolution from leaves(veg cones/apical meristems etc) and also roots. They do not release much O2 at night. Indirect growth reduction might be a trigger for many species of algae.

Bacterial links to the O2 levels might be a player also. No one really knows.

that brings up something i forgot to mention; stratification doesnt occur in a tank with decent flow, but since the most common cyano we deal with in tanks forms fibrous mats covered in mucilage, the oxygen can quickly deplete underneath it. in testing cyano as a feed for microfauna, i used to turn all sources of flow off and then turn the lights off for a day. i would then turn it back on and a lot of the cyano would have lifted from its substrate(presumably because the underlying mucilage sheath deteriorated). from there i would blend it up and keep it in suspension. it only seemed to work well for feeding sessile philodina.

Well, that is a NEW one, lasers.
it isnt new actually, its one of the techniques i learned when i worked for the university of florida. the idea is to flood cyano with light, causing it to produce a lot of oxygen, something it does well. a petri dish would have cyano added to it and whatever was going to be observed would be placed in the center of the dish. a 265-nm diode was focused into the area where the specimen was to be observed. a small shield was used to shadow the subject from the uv, with the end result being a critter that was heavily drugged being able to be observed, alive and unmoving, for extended periods of time.

the cyano wont grow in the presence of UVC, so it kept a barrier up that prevented the filaments from moving into the field of view. i use also use UVC for mutagenesis from time to time, and have seen how fast it can kill anything really really small.
for cyano though, it would be a bandaid...
of all the fascinating aspects of an aquarium, none bring me such felicity as the deceptively complex simplicities of our microfauna.
01-18-2013 12:05 AM
jccaclimber
Quote:
Originally Posted by houseofcards View Post
So your saying that the KNO3 asks as an algaecide in itself, sorta like Excel.

Since BGA exists in tanks with high or no KNO3 it was always my believe that raising KNO3 increases uptake in some lacking systems and it's that additional uptake that knocks out the BGA, similar to the way increasing CO2 will reduce other algae, etc.
Not quite. I think that KNO3 (well, NO3- to be clear) being available provides a more hospitable environment to other things which outcompete the BGA. Most things can out compete it, but those same things cannot live without some nitrates. The absence of nitrates leaves a gap in which few things can thrive. One of the things that can thrive there, but isn't particularly adept at competing elsewhere, is BGA.
01-17-2013 08:31 PM
plantbrain
Quote:
Originally Posted by auban View Post
aphanizomen flos-aque (heterocystous cyano) and microcystis aeruginosa (nonheterocystous cyano) both grow fastest with ammonia, nitrate, and then nitrite and atmospheric N2, in that order. most cyanobacterias follow the same pattern.
We only have one pest genus: Oscillitoria. They really are not heterocyst forming BGA's, but they might still fix N2 gas nonetheless. Phormidium I found in a few samples also, semi rare though and the tank was nasty.

Quote:
the idea that cyano is caused by a lack of nitrates is like saying that humans are caused by a lack of sugar. not only can cyano use nitrates, the only better fertilizer for cyano is ammonia.
I do not think any said they cannot use NO3, we have stated that BGA is correlated with a reduced NO3 level(under 5ppm), to the point where it starts affecting plant growth(eg, limited N for plants). Limiting PO4 does not cause any algae bloom really(GSA mostly), so that was popular in the 1990's and not NO3 limiting.

This(lower NO3 below 5ppm(?) appears to induce Oscillitoria in planted tanks. There is no way to limit nutrients for BGA's in planted tanks, their demand for nutrients are minute compared to plants.

Indirectly, plant growth appears to suppress algae.
Perhaps when BGA's detect lower O2 in the root zone, or the vegetative cone, they will bloom and grow. Plants are not growing, it's a good time to grow. Otherwise, they just sit there. Mostly between the glass and gravel below the soil a little bit.

Once the NO3 drops, then they bloom.

Quote:
i hope i am making sense here. for the longest time i have wondered at how people can adamantly disagree while observing two halves of the SAME phenomenon.
I do not think ANYONE has ever suggested that we are limiting BGA with nutrients.

Quote:
because of cyanos unique properties, there are many valid methods of getting rid of it.
1: increase CO2 to boost plant growth. the goal is to strip the water of micro-nutrients that the cyano needs.
So you think that BGA are now micronutrient limited, whereas you argued above that they cannot be N limited? Leaching from plants provides ample supply, a few decayed leaves is all that is needed.

So what ppb of micro nutrients are limiting to Oscillitoria?
Any ideas? Estimations?


Quote:
3: blackout: doesnt always work, but reduces the energy cyano gets from nitrogen fixation by about 90%. can kill it out right if oxygen levels get too low, which often happens underneath the mucilage sheath surrounding the cyano during prolonged darkness.
BGA does not get energy from N fixation, it's a energy expenditure(i think you meant to say this). Not that Oscillitoria even needs to fix N2 gas in any planted tank, there's always non limiting N in a planted tank for most any algae or BGA.

If not, we should easily be able to water change algae into submission for a few days before the plant reserves are depleted. Generally that leads to worse problems(again, back to poor plant growth as the root cause, not nutrient limitation of algae/BGA).

Quote:
4 increase carbonates. this works by a couple ways. one, at higher ph phosphorus is more likely to coprecipitate out with carbonates, removing it from the water. two, many plants can use carbonates nearly as efficently as they can CO2. dispite injecting my tanks with a lot of CO2, i still see a big difference in shortly after water changes, or when i add more aragonite. plants grow, cyano starves.
I know of no submersed plant that has the same rate of growth at high KH as they do at high CO2. CO2 is greatly preferred in each and every case. It's an added allocation and energy expense to use HCO3 vs CO2.

I know of many aggressive weeds that use HCO3 as a carbon source indirectly, but it's still an energy expense in all cases.

I add lots of PO4, roughly 15 ppm a week from KH2PO4, my KH is low, about 20 ppm. BGA issues? I do not have any. I tend to care for my tanks well, however clients often are not consistent.

So when they stop dosing, I'll get call about algae, BGA etc.
CO2 tank ran out: green algae mostly. Low CO2= BBA
NO3 doser stopped= bga.

BGA is present in all my tanks, but it's regulated to the gravel below the surface on the glass nearest to a light source. It'll stay there for years, so it's not a question of having it inoculated or present, rather, is it a management issue?

No, not in the least.

We can rule out things like PO4, low KH, etc as direct factors.
I think you might be on to something with O2 however.

When plants are limited, mild moderate or strongly, then they reduce growth and also reduce O2 evolution from leaves(veg cones/apical meristems etc) and also roots. They do not release much O2 at night. Indirect growth reduction might be a trigger for many species of algae.

Bacterial links to the O2 levels might be a player also. No one really knows.

Quote:
6 i use a focusable UV-C laser for this. works like a charm. it doesnt take much of an exposure, so using a germicidal bulb the same way you would if you were sanitizing vegetables is usually enough to make quite a difference on the cyano.
Well, that is a NEW one, lasers.
01-17-2013 08:03 PM
plantbrain
Quote:
Originally Posted by happi View Post
how would you explain who have BGA even with high nitrates.
I've wondered this as well, there may be more than one way to induce algae/BGA.

We cannot rule out that there are NOT other potential reasons.
Dirty neglected tanks etc, plus there's adult algae there already, so if you kill that, then add more NO3, it does not come back. But if you just add more NO3, it'll persist.

Perhaps a lot of organic loading, lower O2 etc.
Not just low NO3 or bottoming out NO3 for extended periods.
01-17-2013 02:49 PM
micheljq If I can talk of my stange little encounter with cyano, I had cyano for months.

- Dosing nitrates did nothing at all.
- My cyano liked water changes and had a little boom after water changes.
- Started CO2, cyano did grow like mad, dosed nitrates again to no avail.
- Turned off CO2, began dosing nitrates and phosphates with EI low light method, cyano began disappearing on second week, after fourth week it completely disappeared, meanwhile I left my stem plants growing and growing without trimming.

My guess is that my mistake was to not dose phosphates, in my particular case.

Michel.
01-17-2013 12:38 PM
houseofcards
Quote:
Originally Posted by jccaclimber View Post
I have seen BGA in a tank which on average has high nitrates, but not in certain areas. Usually it's burried in a pocket of riccia, and in that case adding some kno3 on top of the riccia (floating in a corner) took it out in a couple days....
So your saying that the KNO3 asks as an algaecide in itself, sorta like Excel.

Since BGA exists in tanks with high or no KNO3 it was always my believe that raising KNO3 increases uptake in some lacking systems and it's that additional uptake that knocks out the BGA, similar to the way increasing CO2 will reduce other algae, etc.
01-17-2013 12:21 PM
jccaclimber
Quote:
Originally Posted by happi View Post
how would you explain who have BGA even with high nitrates.
I have seen BGA in a tank which on average has high nitrates, but not in certain areas. Usually it's burried in a pocket of riccia, and in that case adding some kno3 on top of the riccia (floating in a corner) took it out in a couple days.

Please note that I started with "While I'm sure it can persist in other conditions". I wouldn't be surprised if there is a strain that survives in higher nitrate conditions. I am however refuting your claim that BGA and nitrate levels are "unrelated". I can induce it with no change other than low nitrates, and I can then remove it with no change other than adding nitrates. I have done this several times. To me this implies a relation.
01-17-2013 06:48 AM
auban aphanizomen flos-aque (heterocystous cyano) and microcystis aeruginosa (nonheterocystous cyano) both grow fastest with ammonia, nitrate, and then nitrite and atmospheric N2, in that order. most cyanobacterias follow the same pattern.

the idea that cyano is caused by a lack of nitrates is like saying that humans are caused by a lack of sugar. not only can cyano use nitrates, the only better fertilizer for cyano is ammonia.

now, i know that plenty of you have experienced a direct correlation between your levels of nitrates and your amount of cyano, but i can assure you that it has nothing to do with the actual amount of nitrates, but rather what conditions the presence of nitrates produces. in a nutshell, with plenty of nitrates, plants produce more proteins, which cause them to pull more iron, phosphorus, and various micro-nutrients out of the water. nitrate is used to make proteins. micronutrients are needed for organelles...

get where i am going with this? if you are blasting your tank full of nitrate, but are not giving your plants light, they wont be growing. the original balance of nutrients that allowed cyano to take hold will not change. cyano is capable of surviving complete blackout by nitrogen fixation. it lives off of the nitrogen in the atmosphere. when the lights are off, the only thing it needs to keep from dying is plenty of oxygen. what it cant do, however, is grow if it doesn't have everything it needs. if the plants are taking up all the less obvious nutrients, the cyano doesn't grow and doesn't spread.

i hope i am making sense here. for the longest time i have wondered at how people can adamantly disagree while observing two halves of the SAME phenomenon.

because of cyanos unique properties, there are many valid methods of getting rid of it.
1: increase CO2 to boost plant growth. the goal is to strip the water of micro-nutrients that the cyano needs.

2: increase nitrates. similar goal to method one

3: blackout: doesnt always work, but reduces the energy cyano gets from nitrogen fixation by about 90%. can kill it out right if oxygen levels get too low, which often happens underneath the mucilage sheath surrounding the cyano during prolonged darkness.

4 increase carbonates. this works by a couple ways. one, at higher ph phosphorus is more likely to coprecipitate out with carbonates, removing it from the water. two, many plants can use carbonates nearly as efficently as they can CO2. dispite injecting my tanks with a lot of CO2, i still see a big difference in shortly after water changes, or when i add more aragonite. plants grow, cyano starves.

5 add antibiotics. it works the same way on cyano that it does on any other bacteria. it is pretty much 100% affective, but be prepared to do a couple water changes if you have a lot of cyano. when it dies, it dies fast.

6 this is an oddball method, but i have had success with it. if you have something that is too delicate for you to use chemicals, and you dont want to turn the lights off because you need the water to be as saturated with oxygen as possible, you can shine a UV germicidal bulb on it. i know there probably arent a lot of people who would ever end up in a situation where they cant afford to use any of the conventional methods, but i find myself in those situations whenever i am trying to observe different aspects of the general ecology in my tanks. microscopic en-vivo observations often depend on maintaining high oxygen levels, but at the same time preventing a small field of view from being obscured. i use a focusable UV-C laser for this. works like a charm. it doesnt take much of an exposure, so using a germicidal bulb the same way you would if you were sanitizing vegetables is usually enough to make quite a difference on the cyano.
01-17-2013 03:53 AM
happi
Quote:
Originally Posted by jccaclimber View Post
While I'm sure it can persist in other conditions, by BGA experience is always nitrate linked.
If I go out of town for too long and don't fertilize while I'm gone I get BGA every time my nitrates bottom out. It always goes away within a week once I start dosing nitrates, and I don't even do manual removal.
The first time I had it I tried fighting it for a couple months. It went away once I started fertilizing regularly.
Just for fun I've dosed everything except my nitrates normally, this usually makes BGA show up in around three weeks in my tank.
how would you explain who have BGA even with high nitrates.
01-17-2013 01:06 AM
jccaclimber While I'm sure it can persist in other conditions, by BGA experience is always nitrate linked.
If I go out of town for too long and don't fertilize while I'm gone I get BGA every time my nitrates bottom out. It always goes away within a week once I start dosing nitrates, and I don't even do manual removal.
The first time I had it I tried fighting it for a couple months. It went away once I started fertilizing regularly.
Just for fun I've dosed everything except my nitrates normally, this usually makes BGA show up in around three weeks in my tank.
01-17-2013 12:40 AM
happi
Quote:
Originally Posted by Capsaicin_MFK View Post
1. Make sure your nitrates are above 0 ppm.
2. Make sure your phosphates are low, like less than 1 ppm.
3. Make sure your filter is clean and the substrate is relatively clean.
4. If all that is in check and you still have BGA, it's time for Erythromycin.

it is not related to low nitrate, even though this is what we believe and hear from others. it can also be present in high nitrate.
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