BBA ever present - what am I missing?
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Old 11-11-2012, 03:14 AM   #1
rockwood
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BBA ever present - what am I missing?


Some may or may not know the troubles I've had with BBA over the years.

I recently (about 2.5 months ago) got my tank set back up after moving. I bought all new substrate (Fluval Stratum), with a new hardscape, and ordered some plants from AP.com. My light (4xT5HO) is up high, like 14-15" above the water line on a 75g tank. I'm running 2x for 2 hours, 4x for 4 hours and 2x for another 2 hours.

My CO2 turns on 2 hours ahead of my lights to start building up before they kick on and kicks off 1 hour before lights out. I can't give you a bubble rate, its way too fast to count.

I'm dosing EI with M/W/F - 5/8tsp KNO3, 3/8tsp K2SO4 and T/Th - 3/8 CSM+B, 3/8 KH2PO4


So to my knowledge this is doing everything properly. So why am I having a constant battle with BBA? I feel like my CO2 is up to the level of almost wasteful considering my Cerges reactor can be up to 1/2 full of built up CO2 when I get home from work. It simply can't diffuse any faster. Do I need to adjust my EI mix? I don't want to cut the light too much because a couple plant species really don't respond well to lower light (glosso, limno, blyxa).

Any ideas? I've tried dosing Excel before, and short of draining the water down so I can pour it directly on the BBA, I've found it ineffective even when double dosing for 2+ weeks.
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:23 AM   #2
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By reading this, it may be your light. Even with the distance above your tank, 4xt5HO is a lot a light. Perhaps running 3 would yield better results? I know you probably are using the chart in the Par VS Distance thread but from what you posted it mostly seems like it could be a problem with lighting.
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:35 AM   #3
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what is your tank dimensions
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Old 11-11-2012, 06:03 AM   #4
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if your reactor is half full of co2 its not diffusing much
as soon as you have a co2 pocket its not very efficient
you want most of the co2 in your tank not in your reactor
i have a 75 gal and my drop checker is yellow
bubble rate about 2 to 3 bps
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Old 11-11-2012, 06:16 AM   #5
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Sometimes algae just happens. But with that in mind, there are a couple things to make sure of first.

at 14-15" above the water, your light probably aren't *too* bright. However, your bubble count is useless to anybody else because of all the factors involved. So how's your drop checker? If it's at least solid green, pushing toward yellow, you're probably fine. And your ferts are probably fine as well.

Also, how's your water flow? Any powerheads on top of the canister?

And, while you dose EI, do you do 50% water changes weekly, as per EI? Just checking - a clean tank definitely helps.

I've had excellent success with spot-dosing Excel using a syringe (available at any pharmacy for a couple bucks). Just turn off the water flow, squirt a double dose on trouble areas, let it sit for 15 minutes, and turn the flow back on.

API Algaefix is also an algaecide that some folks have had success with.

You're probably overdoing it with the KSO4, but I'm not sure that's a cause of algae - just unnecessary for most folks.
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:13 PM   #6
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mitch_p - I've considered pulling one of the bulbs out and seeing if the fixture will run without one. My only worry is that I'll lose the intensity that some of my plants love so much.

brainwavepc.com - It's a standard 75g - 48"x20"x18"

willknowitall - I've never been completely satisfied with the diffusion of this thing either. I've always felt it was a waste as well. I don't have a bubble checker (my gf's dog actually chewed it up....) but I'm at similar settings to what I've always used which put me at bright green/yellow. I need to get another bubble checker and I'm considering going to a different type of CO2 set up. Maybe a different reactor or switching to a pH monitor to do 24/7 injection control.

kevmo911 - I have plenty of flow. I'm running a 2262 for bio and a 2217 for the heaters/reactor/extra mech filtration. I do the 50% WC each week. I imagine I'll need to spot treat this coming week to keep it from spreading any more. I just think that's a stop gap and don't want to rely on spot treating for the length of this set up. I think the K2SO4 is according to the EI suggestions here on TPT, but I'll look into it and back it off if not. At this point I'm willing to give anything a fair try, because I've consistently had an issue with it cropping up the same way every time I set the tank up.
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Old 11-12-2012, 05:39 PM   #7
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BBA is nature's way of telling us we don't have enough dissolved CO2 in the water for the amount of light we have. If you have tried doing a really thorough cleaning, and pruning to get rid of all traces of BBA, and it still comes back, you just don't have enough CO2 for the amount of light you have. You can either work on the CO2 or decrease the light.

To get more CO2, without killing the fish, make sure your tank water is very well oxygenated, by setting up the filter outlets and powerheads to ensure having the whole water surface rippled, not splashing, but getting close to doing so. Then, to really be sure, install a wet/dry filter, which does a great job of dissolving oxygen into the water. With well oxygenated water, the fish can live with much more CO2 in the water, making it less of a gamble to increase the CO2.

Don't rely on a drop checker or bubble rate alone to determine that you have enough CO2. You need to slowly increase the CO2 bubble rate, a little bit at a time, then wait while watching the fish and plants to see if the plants respond favorably. If they do, and, of course, if the fish don't show obvious distress, slightly increase it again, and repeat the watching. It works best if you watch the plants for a few days to be sure they are responding. Once you reach a bubble rate, where a further slight increase doesn't do anything for the plants, you have the right CO2 bubble rate. (This can only work if you are dosing more than enough of all of the nutrients the plants need, so only the CO2 and light are determining how fast and well the plants grow.)
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:05 PM   #8
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Hoppy, what would you suggest to help increase how well CO2 is diffusing into the water? If I'm getting build up into the Cerge reactor then it's not diffusing fast enough correct? So how would you rectify that?

I adjusted all my timers yesterday. With lighting I cut the 4x period down to 2 hours instead of 4 and the total light period to 7 hours vs 8 and the CO2 now cuts on a full 2 hours before the lights (was just 1.5.)
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
BBA is nature's way of telling us we don't have enough dissolved CO2 in the water for the amount of light we have. If you have tried doing a really thorough cleaning, and pruning to get rid of all traces of BBA, and it still comes back, you just don't have enough CO2 for the amount of light you have. You can either work on the CO2 or decrease the light.
I'm sorry Hoppy that is really not true IMO and impossible to even say. Are you saying co2 is an algaecide like Excel?
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:08 PM   #10
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I'm sorry Hoppy that is really not true IMO and impossible to even say. Are you saying co2 is an algaecide like Excel?
BBA comes about due to a co2/lighting imbalance also fluctuating co2

Its been proven that sufficient co2 in retrospect to your lighting and avoiding fluctuations will greatly reduce your chances of getting it and also can cause it to start disappearing.

Though in my experience i don't think the correlation is what we think... Examples my 125 i had co2 going 24/7 running two 80 Watt bulbs at a time and still got bba even after raising the lighting,my co2 ran out and lost a ballast, still running two so really lighting didn't change and i have little to no BBA

Another example my 10 gallon sponge filter with a small aquaclear, no co2 and a single t8 on top... No bba, or algae of any kind for that matter, yet have dropped random plants in and it grows about anything.... Even dropped a Java Fern with BBA in. The BBA is gone... I can't even begin to speculate

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Old 11-13-2012, 12:13 AM   #11
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There are many factors to BBA in regards to any setup. You can't just say there's not enough Co2 for light. Most of these threads the first advise given is raise you co2 and then you look at the OP's tank and there's like no plant mass in there. You can raise the co2 up the yin-yang and it's not going to do a thing.
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Old 11-13-2012, 01:58 AM   #12
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houseofcards - What are your suggestions then? Not trying to start a flame war on here, I'm just looking for suggestions. I feel like I've been "towing the line" as far as what to do as a standard guide, but something is off. I think it is beneficial to the community to start looking at ideas and systematically working through them to see what has a serious effect on BBA's ability to grow.

So for now, I've cut my lighting period back and adjusted the "lead in" time for CO2 before lights kick on. When I was doing my 50% WC this week I cut/scraped/trimmed as much BBA out as I could so I can monitor the growth over this week.

Pending results of the changes thus far what would be the most logical next step?
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Old 11-13-2012, 02:25 AM   #13
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I also have two tanks: one high tech with co2 , the other one is low tech with no co2 .
The high tech always have bba , but weekly spot dosing of excel keeps it in check.
The plants in my low tech came from my high tech , so I was sure I was going to have same problem , to my surprise the BBA in my low tech didn't grow till the filter get clogged up while I was away. Once filter was cleaned , bba gave up , till I overstocked the tank. I then invested in TDS meter and started topping the tank off with RO water instead of regular tap water . TDS went down from 220+ to 150 and no more BBA .
I really think cleanliness of the water combined with stable parameters of the water is the key for BBA free tank.
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Old 11-13-2012, 02:20 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockwood View Post
houseofcards - What are your suggestions then? Not trying to start a flame war on here, I'm just looking for suggestions. I feel like I've been "towing the line" as far as what to do as a standard guide, but something is off. I think it is beneficial to the community to start looking at ideas and systematically working through them to see what has a serious effect on BBA's ability to grow.

So for now, I've cut my lighting period back and adjusted the "lead in" time for CO2 before lights kick on. When I was doing my 50% WC this week I cut/scraped/trimmed as much BBA out as I could so I can monitor the growth over this week.

Pending results of the changes thus far what would be the most logical next step?
The idea is that you can't relate every tank that has BBA to not enough Co2 in relation to light. No flame wars, I just don't agree with that type of blanket statement, my opinion. Your tank is relatively young, more than likely your BBA issues developed early. Of course light is part of it, but other factors can be equally and sometimes even more important. At startup did you have a lot of plant mass, did you use carbon or other layers of organic absorbent to assist with organic removal before the plants and/or biofilter matured. Did you do regular water changes and cut back on the light duration. Did you use mulm from an established tank to get the biofilter going. If you did all those things, your changes of a clean take 2-4 months out greatly improve IMO. At this point I think your doing the right things. I would personally use carbon/purigen, cut back on light duration and keep up with regular water changes. I would be surprised if your situation doesn't improve.
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Old 11-13-2012, 02:21 PM   #15
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Quote:
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....
I really think cleanliness of the water combined with stable parameters of the water is the key for BBA free tank.
I agree it's a huge part of it, and if you focus on this as much as you do light, co2, you would be amazed at the amount of wiggle room it gives you.
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