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thefisherman 01-13-2013 02:02 PM

Dealing with BGA in a slow growing crypt tank...
Ongoing battle with BGA... I did the research, read many articles and took friend's advice (thank you). People seem to think BGA is easy to erradicate, I wish I could concur :(

BGA is still lurking in my beloved crypt tank...Here's what I managed to do to fight the BGA to date (since Dec)...

-cleaned filter
-maintained Nitrate at >40ppm
-increased water movement
-reduced light intensity (raised lights)
-reduced photo period (to 8hrs)
-mechanically suction/remove BGA
-prune dying or affected leaves

I did NOT do the following (for fear of damaging crypts):
-use anti-biotics
-dose excel
-blackout tank

I know part of the key to success are thriving growing plants, unfortunately many of my crypts are of the slow growers.

I've seen a reduction of the BGA, but yet it lurks and remains visble in my tank. I've been fighting this thing for 5wks now and I'm about to give up and re-boot my tank.

Any advice or spiritual guidance is appreciated :)

BruceF 01-13-2013 02:55 PM

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Got any pictures of it?

danielt 01-13-2013 03:12 PM

If it's BGA nitrates and cleaning the tank, not the filter, should make it back out. I don't think it's BGA though if indeed you kept your nitrates that high for a week or two.

I had it a couple of times until I raised the fertilizer dosing and it went away by itself.

Kathyy 01-13-2013 03:28 PM

Just keep harassing it and it will cease to be a nuisance if you are having success with your methods. It is probably a presence in most tanks but usually it isn't noticed as it is lurking under the gravel line or under suction cups where it doesn't really bother anything.

How much is there and where is it growing?

thefisherman 01-13-2013 03:47 PM
you can see it on the substrate and leaves of my foreground plant. it has also sprea as i've been suctioning and cleaning to other leaves, a light dusting tho nor as thick...

danielt 01-13-2013 05:01 PM

Yep, BGA all right. You have low nitrates.

thefisherman 01-13-2013 05:12 PM

my Nitrates are >40 ppm... unless my test kit is busted (API)

danielt 01-13-2013 05:16 PM

I don't think the test is good. BGA is better :)

If you have someone to borrow a test and see if the result differs that will be also good. You don't mentioned how you fertilize and how you feed the fish if any.

BruceF 01-13-2013 05:40 PM

13 Attachment(s)
I don’t really know about that one. Have you tried blasting it with oxygen? I do this fairly regularly when I can’t figure out what else to do. Clean the tank as much as possible. Empty half the water. Let the filter run so that the water is returned above the surface level. Just leave it like that until you can’t stand to wait any longer. Turn the filter off and take the filter apart and clean it in the tank water you removed in the first place. Essentially it is just a normal water change with a huge churn of water in the middle.

Algae Beater 01-13-2013 05:43 PM

1/3 dose of antibiotics will not harm your crypts, and will get rid of the BGA

DarkCobra 01-13-2013 06:01 PM

A big part of the reason BGA is considered easy to eradicate is because there's the option of antibiotics. Which typically destroys it completely, with surgical precision. And it will not reappear, regardless of tank conditions, unless reintroduced from an outside source.

Why would antibiotics damage your crypts? Plants are not bacteria.

Why would you avoid any risk of damage, imagined or real, to the point of giving up and destroying the plants yourself?

No harm attempting to deal with it first through other means. Sometimes it works. But once your patience is exhausted, it's time to stop avoiding the most reliable cure.

DarkCobra 01-13-2013 06:50 PM


Originally Posted by danielt (Post 2232018)
I don't think the test is good. BGA is better :)

Sure, test kits are fallible, but they get an unnecessarily bad rap.

I have blamed my test kits for being faulty numerous times, whenever what they told me didn't fit with my understanding on how things work.

Now that I'm more experienced, I look back on all this and find my tests have only lied to me once - an expired KH test that gave readings so high it was immediately rejected.

BGA consumes an enormous amount of nitrate. So much that it can cause levels to bottom out, starving your plants, which is obviously a bad thing. The BGA does not starve itself in the process, because it can directly utilize additional nitrogen sources that plants cannot.

So you add more nitrate. And sometimes the BGA goes away. Folks say nitrate kills BGA. I say if BGA loves nitrate so much, all you're doing is feeding it.

What's important is that now there's some nitrate left over for the plants. It's the plants that beat the BGA, not the nitrate.

But they may not be able to fully accomplish this feat, if there are nothing but slow growers. Or few plants. Or anything else affecting plant health. Or areas of a tank that act as almost independent ecosystems, isolated by poor flow or physical barriers.

So I believe [thefisherman] and his test kit. It's no surprise to me that additional nitrate didn't solve his problem, and that results for increasing nitrate are so varied in general.

danielt 01-13-2013 07:59 PM

Don't want to start anything.

All I know is BGA turns off because of the high nitrates. It's the relationship between the bacteria and the algae that breaks down with Nitrates in excess. It will not grow better if it's above the feeding limit, it uses a soft-spot. Once you're out of bounds it will disappear as it's unable to maintain the symbiosis.

I never used medication in my tank. BGA came and went all by itself every time. Once I spotted the algae I would increase dosing of NO3. Why I got low NO3 in the first place? I trim plants when I feel like it. Sometimes there's almost no NO3 left. In the span of two weeks I had NO3 jump from 10PPM to over 30PPM. All just with a heavy dose of scissors action.

BruceF 01-13-2013 08:30 PM

13 Attachment(s)
Nitrogen fixation

Cyanobacteria cultured in specific media. Cyanobacteria can be helpful in agriculture as they have the capability to fix atmospheric nitrogen to soil.
Cyanobacteria include unicellular and colonial species. Colonies may form filaments, sheets or even hollow balls. Some filamentous colonies show the ability to differentiate into several different cell types: vegetative cells, the normal, photosynthetic cells that are formed under favorable growing conditions; akinetes, the climate-resistant spores that may form when environmental conditions become harsh; and thick-walled heterocysts, which contain the enzyme nitrogenase, vital for nitrogen fixation. Heterocysts may also form under the appropriate environmental conditions (anoxic) when fixed nitrogen is scarce. Heterocyst-forming species are specialized for nitrogen fixation and are able to fix nitrogen gas into ammonia (NH3), nitrites (NO−
2) or nitrates (NO−
3) which can be absorbed by plants and converted to protein and nucleic acids (atmospheric nitrogen is not bioavailable to plants).

Rice plantations utilize healthy populations of nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria (Anabaena, as symbiotes of the aquatic fern Azolla) for use as rice paddy fertilizer.[5]

Cyanobacteria are arguably the most successful group of microorganisms on earth. They are the most genetically diverse; they occupy a broad range of habitats across all latitudes, widespread in freshwater, marine and terrestrial ecosystems, and they are found in the most extreme niches such as hot springs, salt works, and hypersaline bays. Photoautotrophic, oxygen-producing cyanobacteria created the conditions in the planet's early atmosphere that directed the evolution of aerobic metabolism and eukarotic photosynthesis. Cyanobacteria fulfill vital ecological functions in the world's oceans, being important contributors to global carbon and nitrogen budgets.

JoraaŃ 01-13-2013 08:56 PM

Antibiotics full dose will take care of this nasty algae...wont hurt and sp. at all...

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