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  Topic Review (Newest First)
08-19-2012 12:24 AM
Complexity Okay, just checking because the wood didn't look like it had been scrubbed. When I scrub it, all the BBA is gone except maybe just a tiny trace. You forgot to turn your filters off when doing the physical removal, as well. That keeps them from being clogged.

Dead algae is often easier to remove than living algae so you may want to do another physical removal this weekend since you left so much in the tank, especially the wood. Literally scrub the wood until it's all gone. Use a scrub brush and scrub every bit of the wood. That's how you'll get rid of the BBA when it's gotten so bad in the tank. Also, don't forget to turn your filter off first this time. You don't want the filters sucking up that muck.

If one water change still leaves a lot of dead algae floating in the water column, then do another water change before turning your filters back on. I find it's helpful to let the water settle a bit so the loose algae falls to the bottom, then you can vacuum it up when you do the water change. All you should end up with is cloudy water when you refill with fresh water, and then your filters should be able to clear that up quickly.

The goal is to remove 95%-99% of the algae from the wood and any hardscape that you can truly scrub. You can't scrub plants so they'll have to be chemically cleaned. That's why it's important to physically remove what you can. Otherwise, not only will you be left with too much dead algae in the tank for the bacteria to handle (creating a mini-cycle), but you can end up with too much living algae left in the tank to kill all at once with H2O2. Then what happens is you end up chasing your tail with killing it from one area while it grows back in another area. The only way to get it ALL is to reduce the total amount in the tank to begin with. Then you have a shot at hitting ALL that's left with the H2O2.

Not only watch out for a mini-cycle, but I'm concerned for your plants given the amount of H2O2 you used. Did you measure a total maximum ml amount of H2O2 to use when you sprayed it on the wood when the water was low (when you said it made the wood "smoke"). If not, then all that H2O2 ended up in the tank when you refilled it with water which could have caused an overdose of H2O2. You won't see the plants die right away. They'll die slowly. Check for stems that have turned to mush as a result of an overdose.

If you ever spray any part of the tank like that again, you have to either do it outside of the tank where you can wash off the H2O2 before putting it back in or you have to use a measured amount of H2O2 and no more. You can dose however much H2O2 you want on hardscape that's not in the tank, but you need to keep proper doses in mind any time the H2O2 will come in contact with the plants.

I hope all is going well. Please update with pics when you get a chance!
08-17-2012 10:35 PM
cradleoffilthfan eek. Well, I haven't noticed any ill effects, yet. I actually did both complexity. I physically removed as much as possible by hand, then scraped as many surfaces as possible without ruining my layout, then used the H2O2, then filled the tank. The filter was pretty clogged with BBA and gunk. The flow in the tank is much better now. I will watch for any mini cycle. I have been adding 1ml per gallon daily since, just hitting the spots I couldn't manage to clean very well by hand.....
08-16-2012 09:57 PM
Complexity Did you do the physical removal or just use H2O2?

Watch your cycle after using so much H2O2 to kill the algae and cleaning your filter at the same time The more algae you left in the tank to kill chemically, the more likely you'll have a mini-cycle if for no other reason than the dead algae will throw a ton of ammonia into the tank. Cleaning the filter at the same time may compound the problem. This is why I stressed doing a thorough physical cleaning before using H2O2 on a tank with so much algae.
08-16-2012 03:00 PM
cradleoffilthfan bump
08-15-2012 09:13 PM
cradleoffilthfan Oh, and it's a pressurized co2 system, 2 bps. Injected by inline diffuser from GLA. The drop checker is light green, slightly a little more towards yellow than the reference solution. The only thing I really worry about is the fact that I bought this really nice light fixture from Catalina and its a 3 bulb fixture. It has 2 switches for the bulbs. 1 switch controls the 2 outer bulbs, and 1 switch controls the middle bulb. I have been running the fixture with just 2 bulbs because I have been told using all 3 would be too much light, but I really want to use it because it looks like my rotala is staying green, even at the top of the tank, and my new grass I bought, even though it's growing, some of the tips are yellowing.....I am not sure they are getting enough light.....My photoperiod is 7 hours, should I just keep using the 2 bulbs and lengthen the photoperiod? I was thinking around 10 hours, is that too long? I always thought as long as your supplying the proper fertilizers and co2, the lights could be on as long as the plants could grow?
08-15-2012 05:08 AM
cradleoffilthfan Ok, so tonight, I did a lot of work on the tank. I turned off everything and siphoned out about 90 percent of the water. When the water level was down, I used 3ml per gallon of hydrogen peroxide by pipette on the wood. The wood actually smoked a little, it was weird. Anyway, after squirting every inch of the wood and letting it sit there for about 10 minutes, I filled the tank, added prime......then took out my Rena XP3 and cleaned it really good. After all was cleaned, I hooked all equipment back up, and took pictures. The water is pretty cloudy because I rearranged the Rotala to the left side of the tank and that stirred up the water, but it should clear up soon. Oh, and I also added my fertilizers which I do twice a week....this consists of 1/4tsp Pot. Nitrate, 1/8tsp of the CSM+B, 1/8tsp Pot. Phosphate, and 3/4tsp Pot. Sulfate. I only add the potassium sulfate once a week though.....that's what I was told to do. I think of this tank as medium light planted or so. I am hoping the rotala grows in thick. I took out the P. Erectus......I just didn't like it in the tank
08-15-2012 05:02 AM

08-14-2012 08:13 PM
Complexity Yeah, I can't take my wood out either for the same reasons. That's why I mentioned cleaning the wood while it's still in the tank. It's great you don't have any fish in the tank. That always worries me a bit when having to do a massive clean up while the fish are in the tank even though I've never had any problems with it harming the fish. It still bothers me.

If you do a good job of physically removing the BBA, you may not need to use higher amounts of H2O2. Keep in mind that the more H2O2 you use, the riskier it is—not just to fish, but also to plants. It is better to do more physical removal and less H2O2 than the other way around. The good news is that if you work very hard at the physical removal, it is possible to have a complete turn around in the tank with just the one cleaning (and a few followup light H2O2 treatments).

Also be aware that Vals, hornwort, and anacharis are all sensitive to H2O2 and should not be treated with it.

Be sure to take lots of before and after pics. If you do a good job with the physical removal of the BBA, I think you'll be very pleasantly surprised with the end result. It's worth capturing it in pictures.
08-14-2012 05:02 PM
cradleoffilthfan The full tank shot was from a couple months ago when the water was really cloudy. I think it was that way because of all the ammonia the substrate was putting out initially. ADA soil. Anyway, the water is clear now and the plants have started to grow a lot better. I have also cut out one light from the fixture. Now I only have 2 24" bulbs running (T5HO). I will manually try and get off as much BBA as I can tomorrow then treat with peroxide again at higher levels. I don't have any fish in there anyway. I will post another full tank shot when I get home tomorrow. Thanks Complexity. I would love to take out the wood and soak it, but lol it's not going to happen. My wood is so far under all the soil and all the plants are grown around it.....and it took me forever to get it stable the way I have it, I am sure I couldn't get it back the way I have it if I took it out. I will try and remove as much as I can with it in the tank, then peroxide the hell out of it. I will post pictures as I go to show progress.
08-11-2012 06:33 PM
Complexity Having gone over how to clean the BBA out of the tank, I think it's also very important to consider how the BBA got this bad in the first place. Ultimately, you have to figure out what caused the BBA in order to correct the problem so it won't keep coming back.

While BBA is generally attributed to low or fluctuating CO2, I don't think it's quite that simple. One thing I noticed in your pictures is your water is rather murky. That brings up two concerns:

How long has this tank been running?

What filter(s) are you using?

I see that you have a drop checker so I gather you're adding CO2. Are you doing DIY or a pressurized system? What color does your drop checker usually show? Blue? Green? Yellowish-green? Greenish-yellow?

What lighting do you have? What is the photoperiod?

Are you dosing any ferts? If so, which ferts, how often, and how much?

I'd also like a FTS (full tank shot) to get an idea of what the overall tank looks like. This is very helpful in seeing which plants you have and the density of the plant mass.
08-11-2012 06:17 PM
Complexity Oh, my, you do have a problem! But not all is lost. You can fix this. I once had wood develop algae almost as bad and was able to clear it up surprisingly quickly.

While H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) will kill BBA, I would not rely on it as your sole source of attack when the BBA has gotten this bad. The best way to approach this would be to first clean it up manually. It's a pain, but it's the best way to go.

Anything that has BBA on it that you can take out of the tank, remove from the tank and scrub off as much BBA as you can physically remove. Scrub every inch of it. Leave as little BBA as you possibly can.

Then soak anything non-porous (such as rocks, intake pipes, spray bars) in bleach water for a couple of hours. A 1:20 bleach:water ratio should work fine. I generally just fill up my sink with water and pour bleach in without measuring.

Anything porous (such as wood) spray with H2O2 and then soak in H2O2 water. Leave it there for 30 minutes.

After the items have soaked, scrub them again. Often, dead algae will scrub off easier than living algae so you should be able to remove the last remnants of algae that wouldn't come off before. Use any stiff bristle scrub brush you can find that's not full of soap. I've also used magic erasers to clean intakes and spray bars to perfection. Once everything is clean, soak anything that was bleached in water with a high concentration of dechlorinator to remove any trace of chlorine that may remain.

For stuff that you cannot remove from the tank you will have to scrub off the BBA while it's still in the tank. I've done this with wood in tanks before. Yes, it makes a huge mess, but you'll clean that up. You can remove your fish if you'd like, but I never have, and I've never had any problems with my fish, inverts, or snails having done it (however, I wouldn't suggest this for sensitive inverts, such as CRS).

First, turn off your filters unless you're willing to clean your filters when you're done. Otherwise, the filters will get clogged very quickly. Then take anything you can find to scrub off the BBA from the wood. I've used scouring pads, scrub brushes, and toothbrushes. It's a time consuming process, but you have to do this. Scrub every inch of the wood. Get all the BBA off of it. ALL of it. It usually takes me a few hours to do this, but it's well worth the effort. The results are amazing.

Once you've cleaned off all the BBA from the wood, do a water change, doing your best to get all the BBA out of the tank. If you have to do more than one water change, then so be it. You can start out by using a small net to grab as much of the large pieces of BBA floating around which will reduce the need for multiple water changes. I've also used a large plastic spoon to "swoosh" the water around plants and the substrate to kick up debris into the water column so it can be netted. When you think you have netted all you can get, then go on and do your water change(s).

After you've finished your water change(s), turn your filter(s) back on. They should finish cleaning the water. The next day, change out your filter floss as it should be clogged.

NOW it is time to start treating with H2O2. This will kill out the small amount of BBA you could not get off the wood and decor. Use 1ml of H2o2 per gallon for your tank (so 40ml for a 40g tank). Turn off your filters. Use a syringe to squirt the H2O2 directly onto the BBA. Once you've used up the full 40ml, turn off your lights. Wait 15 minutes. Then turn on your filters. Wait another 15 minutes. Now turn on your lights. You can do a water change if you want, but it's optional.

I have used higher concentrations of H2O2 (as much as 4ml per gallon); however, the higher you go, the riskier it becomes. If you have done a good job of scrubbing off the BBA, you should not need to take the risks of using higher H2O2 doses. You can repeat the H2O2 treatments as often as twice a day, but space them far enough apart to be certain that the first treatment has completely broken down (H2O2 breaks down into water (H2O) and oxygen (O)). I generally wait 9-12 hours between treatments.

The more algae you kill with H2O2, the more you will need to keep up with water changes to remove the dead algae from the tank; otherwise, the dead algae will decompose and turn into ammonia which can cause your tank to mini-cycle (another reason why physical removal is preferred over using H2O2 with a bad outbreak of BBA like this). So it's always a good idea to test your water for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates while you're doing all this to be sure your cycle remains in good shape. If you do get a mini-cycle, perform water changes as needed to clean out the dead algae and to keep the water parameters in check. Dose with Prime every 24 hours to protect the fish from any harmful effects of the mini-cycle.

It is always best to catch an algae problem before it gets this bad, but it's not impossible to fix it once it's taken over like this. While my suggestion may include a lot of hard work and may make the tank look disastrous while you're working on it, the results are excellent. The two times I've done this, it has completely resolved the algae problems after just one round of cleaning. So the work is well worth the effort and much preferred over spending months and months of fighting the algae. I've even won the battle over a combination of BBA and Clado using this technique.
08-10-2012 11:49 PM
cradleoffilthfan I took these pictures about ten minutes ago. I did a large (80%) water change and while the water level was down, I used about 1ml per gallon of aquarium volume of Hydrogen Peroxide on the branches of the driftwood to see if it would kill the BBA.
08-10-2012 11:47 PM

Believe it or not this is quite a bit better than it was o_O And hey, at least my water is clear. It was really cloudy:

Since this picture, I have turned off one of the 24" T5HO bulbs, so now I am only running 2 out of the 3 bulbs in the fixture, and I have taken out the glosso which was not growing well obviously, and put in micro sword instead, which is putting out new runners already and has been in there for about a week and a half. The pictures color are a little off since I was contending with natural sunlight coming into the room. My wife has ordered new blinds and the old curtains came down.
08-10-2012 06:56 AM
cradleoffilthfan The BBA is retreating, just slower than I thought, but at least it's going away. It was definitely the fluctuation in the co2. I am now a believer in keeping the co2 on all the time and just keeping adequate surface agitation in the tank. Also, you mentioned "Wood Snot" which actually describes it perfectly. For me, when I look very closely, the structure of the "Slime" looks a little like a sponge in a saltwater tank, like microscopic branches. It looks really gross when I do a water change and the stuff is exposed to air, it just hangs on the wood, exactly like wood snot. I will have to google it lol and see if that's it. If it is wood snot, what gets rid of it I wonder, maybe google will have an answer?

P.S. I wish I had the time to take pictures. I bought a nice Nikon D90 a couple Christmas' ago and don't even have the time to take pictures. I hate working constantly, but gotta pay the bills right? Private school for the kid, mortgage, etc. Who said life would be easy I guess.
08-09-2012 07:30 PM
Complexity FTS = full tank shot.

Gray branched out algae sounds like staghorn algae, but I have never heard of it described as slimy. You may just have regular "wood snot" which is ugly, but normal and resolves itself in time. However, "wood snot" isn't branchy, so again, that doesn't fit.

That's why I'd really need a picture to be able to have any idea what you have. Without a picture, it's really hard to say what it might be.

Since you mentioned that the driftwood also has BBA on it, you might be best off just pulling the driftwood out of the tank, scrubbing it down, and then soaking it in water with H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) for 15-30 minutes. If nothing else, that should kill the BBA. However, this will not prevent it from coming back. To prevent algae from coming back, it would be important to find out what's out of balance in your tank and correct it. Otherwise, the algae will just keep returning.
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