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Old 01-03-2013, 04:00 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by houseofcards View Post
I don't disagree that if you have BBA highlight can make it worse/harder to control, but co2 isn't always the problem. There are plenty of folks here that run co2 until there fish are gassed and they still have BBA. I've seen BBA grow in all tank lit conditions. I've seen BBA growing in an indoor koi pond with no direct light. How 'bout all those dim-lit LFS tanks.
You have valid points but I'm only going to talk about from my personal experience as you know every tank is different.

I have done both low tech and high tech planted tanks. I have always found flow is understated in planted tank. Of course, routine maintenance is always must.

I have a few BBA outbreaks, but they occurred when:

1: I'm lazy of keeping up my maintenance so all the plants are overgrown, therefore, inhibiting the flow in the tank.

2. Stop fertilizing because I'm busy with other stuff or laziness.

3. Ran out of co2 and stop fert. This cause a massive algae outbreak in a high tech tank. Almost every algae you can think of.

My remedies were always the same... keep up routine maintenance, trim plants or increase flow (not necessary increasing filtration), and spot treat the algae.

IME, to sustain a good almost algae free low tech or high tech tank is good flow. By maintaining good flow, the tank will get good distribution of nutrients or c02 which keep algae from to adhere and grow on your plants, glass, or equipment. And all the plants in the tank get equal nutrients.

I've read in your posts that you've keep a tank successful with less than 1 turnover. I think that is awesome if you can do that. But from my experience, I could never do that. Maybe you should a write up on it.
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:57 PM   #47
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You mentioned PH and KH method, would you mind explaining this? I've never heard of this. I have both PH and KH tests
Going back to this:
http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/CO2/kh-ph-co2-chart.html

http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.u...t.php?sid=5264

Quote:
I will start watching the plants more carefully to see if I see any changes (hopefully for the better) and only look for new algae growth and battle that instead of old algae

Also, how am I supposed to bring my CO2 up more when I already brought it up to the point of my fish gasping at the top for air? BBA is one notorious PITA. All my low-med light tanks don't have a BBA issue, only my 60G that has CO2 on it. Some LFS tanks don't get the attention they deserve either, but that's another story
If you correct the initial cause(say poor CO2) for the BBA bloom(new BBA growth all over the place, often smothering things fairly quick(1-3 weeks), you still will have adult old BBA covering things. It will NOT die by correcting to good CO2.

BBA will also grow fine in very low light.

So you are still left with basic maintenance when you fall off the CO2 routine and get a bloom. Such labor is effective, but only if you stop the NEW growth. Cappish?

So then Excel/H2O2 spot treatments , finger nails, trimming the old leaves off, toothbrush scrubbing, cleaning any equipment that gets infested etc, works.

Otherwise it'll just get covered a week later.
SAE's(true) will eat it and keep semi moderate amounts at bay.
Amano shrimp in high no#s' will beat new BBA back quite well IME.

I took out a rock covered many years ago as did another member, with BBA, and let it dry out for a few months return it, and the BBA came back to life.

So what you want: no NEW BBA growth; algae free new plant growth.
It'll take some time to get rid of it.

Many mistake BBA in a tank as an active bloom, this is not true.
I have a little BBA on some wood here or there. But not on the plants.
I could work and get rid of any visible trace, but it's not an issue.

If it covers plants, gets on equipment, covers the wood, then yes, I have an issue.

Point is, it's easy to manage and my labor does not go without some good return. I also have plenty of algae eaters and take care of the tank in a timely manner.

So algae is not much of an issue.
Good plant growth is my concern, which if I am not mistaken, is also your goal when you started this hobby. Do not get side tracked with algae.

Good CO2 management, focus there.
Also, respiration of fish: is both O2 and CO2.

So more O2/good surface movement(but not breaking the surface) is key. It'll provide more wiggle room. Also, even at low light, the CO2 will help a great deal and provide much more wiggle room for new folks.

More light= harder to maintain that threshold between gassing livestock/stressing them, vs no algae and good plant growth. If you am fairly good and have 1-4 years in, then high light etc might be your can O worms.

But for most goals, low light with good CO2, cooler temps if the fish can handle it, good current etc, clean the filters often, do good sized water changes etc, that's where it is at.

Here's another good article:

http://www.tropica.com/en/tropica-ab...and-light.aspx
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Old 01-03-2013, 07:03 PM   #48
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These links were a little confusing until I read the Practical Fishkeeping article you posted and it all makes sense. I can see how PH and KH play a key role and how to figure out how much CO2 I need for my tank parameters. With this new set of information, I will go home tonight and post some test results from my tank.

Now when testing for PH, do I test the water straight out of my tank with CO2 concentration in it, or do I get a cup and let it sit out for 24 hours before testing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
If you correct the initial cause(say poor CO2) for the BBA bloom(new BBA growth all over the place, often smothering things fairly quick(1-3 weeks), you still will have adult old BBA covering things. It will NOT die by correcting to good CO2.

BBA will also grow fine in very low light.

So you are still left with basic maintenance when you fall off the CO2 routine and get a bloom. Such labor is effective, but only if you stop the NEW growth. Cappish?

So then Excel/H2O2 spot treatments , finger nails, trimming the old leaves off, toothbrush scrubbing, cleaning any equipment that gets infested etc, works.

Otherwise it'll just get covered a week later.
SAE's(true) will eat it and keep semi moderate amounts at bay.
Amano shrimp in high no#s' will beat new BBA back quite well IME.

I took out a rock covered many years ago as did another member, with BBA, and let it dry out for a few months return it, and the BBA came back to life.

So what you want: no NEW BBA growth; algae free new plant growth.
It'll take some time to get rid of it.

Many mistake BBA in a tank as an active bloom, this is not true.
I have a little BBA on some wood here or there. But not on the plants.
I could work and get rid of any visible trace, but it's not an issue.

If it covers plants, gets on equipment, covers the wood, then yes, I have an issue.

Point is, it's easy to manage and my labor does not go without some good return. I also have plenty of algae eaters and take care of the tank in a timely manner.

So algae is not much of an issue.
Good plant growth is my concern, which if I am not mistaken, is also your goal when you started this hobby. Do not get side tracked with algae.

Good CO2 management, focus there.
Also, respiration of fish: is both O2 and CO2.

So more O2/good surface movement(but not breaking the surface) is key. It'll provide more wiggle room. Also, even at low light, the CO2 will help a great deal and provide much more wiggle room for new folks.

More light= harder to maintain that threshold between gassing livestock/stressing them, vs no algae and good plant growth. If you am fairly good and have 1-4 years in, then high light etc might be your can O worms.

But for most goals, low light with good CO2, cooler temps if the fish can handle it, good current etc, clean the filters often, do good sized water changes etc, that's where it is at.
I've read over this part a few times already and can see you stressing on how important it is to watching how the plants react to anything you do in the tank.

Circulation is also another thing, which I am hoping to have figured out, but only time will tell.

I also have a ton of surface movement without breaking the surface (powerhead and filter output are both pointed up towards the surface).

If there ever is any BBA on plants, it's always on the old leaves and not the new ones. Mostly on my Anubias, Amazon Sword, and Ludwigia Red (the older leaves)
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Old 01-03-2013, 07:11 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by houseofcards View Post
I don't disagree that if you have BBA highlight can make it worse/harder to control, but co2 isn't always the problem. There are plenty of folks here that run co2 until there fish are gassed and they still have BBA. I've seen BBA grow in all tank lit conditions. I've seen BBA growing in an indoor koi pond with no direct light. How 'bout all those dim-lit LFS tanks.
I am glad to see this comment, because it's hard to digest the message that algae issues can be resolved largely by having good CO2 levels/flow/etc - it's just not true in all cases.

On my tank, I had my CO2 running steady 24/7 with massive flow and a high enough levels to kill off some fish and all the invertebrates - a bright yellow DC! That was a clean restart of the entire tank, and included some aggressive Excel use and constant pruning etc. The BBA came back and took over the tank within a couple of months.
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:39 PM   #50
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Looking at this thread and all the dogmatic answers makes me SO glad I quit CO2 and went back to low-tech. I'm sure that there is some good information here, but my tank is finally algae free, lush, and green and I am pretty happy!

still trying to sell my CO2 setup, though!
Couldn't you still inject CO2 on your low tech setup? I bet you would still see benefit. Why not use your CO2 since you have it or, until you can sell it.
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:46 PM   #51
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I keep thinking about doing that (starting up the CO2), but there is no algae and the plants are beautiful so the only effect would be that the plants might grow faster. I don't need any extra maintenance so I am just leaving it as is and trying to sell the CO2 system.

Actually, I'm sort of leaning the other way lately. I am going for low maintenance, low tech, low light and seeing how easy this can be! My technique is to use easy plants, hardy fish, and lots of diversity (snails, shrimp, frog, loaches, etc). For the last few months I've done maintenance exactly 1 time per month (huge w/c/) and the tank is ship shape!!
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:22 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by Dave-H View Post
I am glad to see this comment, because it's hard to digest the message that algae issues can be resolved largely by having good CO2 levels/flow/etc - it's just not true in all cases.
I've yet to see otherwise in 20 years.


Quote:
On my tank, I had my CO2 running steady 24/7 with massive flow and a high enough levels to kill off some fish and all the invertebrates - a bright yellow DC! That was a clean restart of the entire tank, and included some aggressive Excel use and constant pruning etc. The BBA came back and took over the tank within a couple of months.
You can gas the fish with poor O2 and low CO2.
Does not imply there was ample CO2 for the plants, or that other factors were not accounted for.

To get a reference tank, you must have mastery of the control in any test, otherwise you have no methods comparison. A tank without BBA being an issue is a reference tank.

Running CO2 24/7 means you add more stress to the livestock than adding it only during the light period. There's no good reason to do this, timers are 5$.
Adding CO2 only when the plants are growing (during the light cycle) means the plants will add more O2, so you have more buffer/wiggle room with CO2.

Drop checkers are not the best method to measure, gauge CO2.
I have several tanks and the CO2 ppm is all over the place.
I made CO2 reference solutions to check as well as KH reference solutions.

I also measured O2 and changed all my filters over that produced 1-2 ppm higher O2. Cooler temps also make it easier to keep O2 higher and slows plant growth. Which makes adding CO2 even easier.

Even my 180 which is about 83-84F, has 70 ppm of CO2 after 1-2 hours.
Amano shrimp likely help, SAE's definitely help.

When starting a new tank, I do more water changes and care till things grow in. for some client's, I'm only able to do this once a week. So they might get a little algae in the start up phase. But I knock it back and then a couple of weeks later, things are fine. If the tank is at home, then I can take better care of things in the new tank start up.

I think given your goal, you should stick with it.
If the CO2 algae thing is a real monkey on your back, it'll be waiting for you to master it. A lot of folks have to beat this thing. Even if your goal is different

Just the way some of us are.

Client tanks are very instructional for myself, they illustrate what goes wrong even with good care when the CO2 tank runs out mid week. How plants and algae respond. Corrective measures to fix things thereafter.
I think you'd be best off adding CO2 to the low light tank given your goal. You would end up with maybe 3-4x the growth rate and be able to keep most all plant species together.
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:54 PM   #53
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I see you give this advice over and over, but the fact that you won't even consider that there might be exceptional cases seems to be a bit too rigid of a mindset to me. I don't want CO2 in my low light tank, like I said, and the fact that you haven't seen something in 20 years doesn't mean it isn't true.

Respectfully, your advice didn't work for me and it's not clear to me that it's 'fact' that CO2 correlates so closely to algae.
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Old 01-04-2013, 12:03 AM   #54
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Thanks for all the info. A) So I'm lead to belive BBA colonizes when CO2 is deficient or when it's levels are inconsistent. B)Also if the plants are growing and doing well, then there will be no black brush algae colonizing. From my encounters with BBA, I could see both of those hypotheses being true.

A few general observations: In a tank with no supplemental carbon and very high light, I had no BBA until I did water changes with city tap water. The more water changes I did, the more this stuff would colonize, but if used RO water, I had no more colonizing. Based on what I've read here, I would imagine the tap water was high in CO2, and the temporary rise in CO2 spurred the BBA colonization.

Regarding B) generally when the plants are growing really well, the BBA is not spreading. Now is this because the CO2 levels, and/or perhaps the tank conditions are stable and therefore the stimuli for BBA to colonize are not there, or is there some sort of allelopathic effect that is only generated by growing plants that keeps the algae from colonizing? I was reading through an awful planted tank book a few months ago, and that was one of the nice sentimental points the book made (healthy plants will produce allelopathic chemicals that inhibit algae), which I have not seen talked about much outside that book. Since the book had so much misinformation I have to think that Idea could be bogus as well.

Finally my last mixed question/statement. Would the build up of CO2 at night, if you run it 24/7, promote BBA colonization?

Oh one more, has anyone looked into the life cycle of the BBA? Anyone know the Latin name? I'm guessing there are some spores being exchanged, and probably some environmental cues that trigger their development and release? If we knew exactly how this stuff operated we would have a much better chance not getting it in the first place.
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Old 01-04-2013, 12:04 AM   #55
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hmmmmm check out Nicko's flow thread & filter thread. You might think diffrently.

someone probably already said this but..... turn off your equipment before doing the excel kill BBA thing. best to use a syringe and douse offending areas very slowly and limit hand/arm movement.
let it stand for 10 -15 min. Then do WC - add macro ferts- excel & micos - If you do it right ....ut will be all gone in less than 2 weeks. However heed the CO2 warnings - get a drop checker and a good needle valve ( not a clippard - go for a NV-55) GLA sells them.

HTH
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:31 AM   #56
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..and it's not clear to me that it's 'fact' that CO2 correlates so closely to algae.
Yes it's way to general. This is 'The Planted tank' not 'The Heavily Planted Tank. The CO2 will only buy you so much since it's directly related to plant mass. Of course light, waste load and other factors are at play, but I see so much advice to correct CO2 before anyone even sees the OP's tank. Why does CO2 work at all. The plants increase uptake and get rid of nh3, etc in the WC. It's not an Algaecide like the way Excel is used. It needs good plant mass to be effective.
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Old 01-04-2013, 02:39 AM   #57
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So I did my PH and KH tests finally...

PH 6.8
KH 11

So then based off the chart here, I want to shoot for around 50ppm of CO2 in the tank. Is that correct?
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Old 01-04-2013, 03:54 AM   #58
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Originally Posted by Dave-H View Post
I see you give this advice over and over, but the fact that you won't even consider that there might be exceptional cases seems to be a bit too rigid of a mindset to me. I don't want CO2 in my low light tank, like I said, and the fact that you haven't seen something in 20 years doesn't mean it isn't true.

Respectfully, your advice didn't work for me and it's not clear to me that it's 'fact' that CO2 correlates so closely to algae.
Oh, I've more than considered exceptional cases.

I did in fact say there are other factors that lead to long term algae issues, current, filtration, general care, if you have some hypothesis you'd like to pose that says X causes BBA, I'm all ears.

Every single case I've addressed for myself and others in the last 20 years have all been, without a single exception, due to some type of CO2 issue.
We are talking well past 100 tanks.

I never said there are not exceptions.

Try messing with your CO2 and see if you get algae then. If you want it to happened even faster, add a lot of light. Drop checkers have many issues, if I used them and thought they were accurate, all my tanks would also have algae.

Yes, I'll get algae in tanks time to time. But I can beat them back pretty well. And I've gotten good enough to induce the algae and then go back and test to see if I can get rid of it. GDA is the only one I cannot induce easily. Most any other is pretty easy to do.

I think most assume they maxed their CO2 levels, they gas their fish. But they rarely go slow and progressive in small incremental adjustments, then carefully watch. Watch the plants and..the new algae growth. This is what I was telling Shineycard255.

Like most hobbyists, we are impatient.
If we adjust the cO2 slow and progressive, notch by notch on a good needle valve, make sure we have good current, clean the tank often, keep up on things routinely, use less, not more light, then algae is not much of threat.

A recent example:
1.2 W/gal of Tek T5's at 36" from the gloss. About 30 umols.



Another:


This is complete control over algae in such tanks.
Even with minimal plant biomass, eg, not just tanks full of stems.
Both tanks got a little BBA.
Typically about the 3-5th week in and both cases where due to........yep, CO2. The new growth stopped completely after careful tweaking.

But the old BBA? It stayed awhile.
I killed it with a big water change, sprayed the wood with excel, done.
In the larger Gloss tank, I have some BBA on the rocks, but it's never gone farther, and I've spot treated here and there, it's slowly dying off.

Older leaves the plant has given up on also get BBA.
After a big hack on my Starougyne lawn in my 180, the anemic whitish shaded leaves are suddenly exposed after trimming the tops.
Those leaves are not adapted to the high sudden light. The plant responds by not "defending them". A small amount of BBA covers a few leaves after 2-3 weeks till the new growth buries the BBA leaves and they decay away as new growth piles on.

In my 120 Gallon, there's a few short tufts of BBA on some spots of the wood that are below the water change line(roughly 70% in that tank).
The CO2 is obviously plenty good for any plant that's added in there, but BBA still will slowly grow. Why?

It cannot be due to the CO2, so I'd say there are exceptions also.
However, the BBA is so minor, it's hardly problematic, but it is there.

Nuisance algae where it causes real issues are/is due to CO2 however. I've yet to see otherwise. One might argue that new tank start ups are prone to BBA or other species more than any other tank, it might be due to new tank CO2 demand is not yet dialed in. But it could be due to something else.

I've fixed many friends, club members BBA issues and been hired to fix such issues. Some have taken a few years to figure out some things, some only a few days. Many try everything else, then finally after exhausting every other cure all, come back.

I was that guy myself.
Even then, I doubted for years and years.
Maybe I'm just lucky 100 out of 100 times?
Maybe, it's possible. But I've never relied much on luck.
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:19 AM   #59
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Personally I feel Co2 is part of it, but is it the biggest part of keeping BBA and other algae away? Why is the water change so essential to keeping things pristine? Pretty simple to me your diluting any nitro organic decay, but at the same time your creating fluxing co2 levels are you not? If you increase water changes to every day are you going to get more algae because of the constant co2 flux. I don't think so.
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:53 AM   #60
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Thanks for all the info. A) So I'm lead to belive BBA colonizes when CO2 is deficient or when it's levels are inconsistent. B)Also if the plants are growing and doing well, then there will be no black brush algae colonizing. From my encounters with BBA, I could see both of those hypotheses being true.
Yep I'd agree with that.

Quote:
A few general observations: In a tank with no supplemental carbon and very high light, I had no BBA until I did water changes with city tap water. The more water changes I did, the more this stuff would colonize, but if used RO water, I had no more colonizing. Based on what I've read here, I would imagine the tap water was high in CO2, and the temporary rise in CO2 spurred the BBA colonization.
Yep, I'd agree with that also.
What might you do to test to make sure?
Degas the tap water really well, then use that for water changes by slow exchange without exposing the plants to air(this will quickly supply them with a lot of CO2 from the air exchange).

You might even try this without degassing the tap water.

Then see if you get BBA.

If not, and then you repeat the test while exposing the plants to air, then you have a a much much more likely culprit.

Plants are like a factory ina way. If you sudden increase production say 10X faster, but do not account for downstream production or it's justa blast through the factory, this upsets the entire assembly line.

It takes awhile to get things back in order.

Plant's enzymes have trouble readjusting and this seems to give the algae a signal( no clue how), maybe the sudden rapid change in CO2 is a good signal itself?

Like your tank and Dave's non CO2 tank, the plants did in fact adapt to LOW CO2. They grow, just slower. when you suddenly add a lot of CO2, this throws everything into Chaos for the plants.

If you live in a stream or lake/pond etc, and suddenly there's a large increase in CO2.........this means there's likely nutrients along with that CO2 since it's likely the CO2 is from organic decaying matter that runoff added from the valley/watershed around the water. Not a bad cue to start growing in a good spot if you are an alga.

Better than say O2 levels, or nutrient levels. But those likely play some role also.

Still, we find nice plants growing well in natural systems where the CO2 is stable. These spring fed systems have been in wonderful shape with plants for 500 years in some cases in Florida(The priest took notes that went with Ponce de Leon in his search of the fountain of youth in Florida). Those same springs still, have lush beds of aquatic plants.

Quote:
Regarding B) generally when the plants are growing really well, the BBA is not spreading. Now is this because the CO2 levels, and/or perhaps the tank conditions are stable and therefore the stimuli for BBA to colonize are not there, or is there some sort of allelopathic effect that is only generated by growing plants that keeps the algae from colonizing? I was reading through an awful planted tank book a few months ago, and that was one of the nice sentimental points the book made (healthy plants will produce allelopathic chemicals that inhibit algae), which I have not seen talked about much outside that book. Since the book had so much misinformation I have to think that Idea could be bogus as well.
I refuted this a few times, so did Ole, you can search for more on allelopathy. I provided a few methods to test for controls. Also, what sitb likelihood that all 400+ species/types of aquatic plants all produce the same chemical cocktail that works on all algae equally in many tanks with many different biomass and growth rates?

A few Billion to one might be generous odds. And that's just one of the issues with the observation.

Quote:
Finally my last mixed question/statement. Would the build up of CO2 at night, if you run it 24/7, promote BBA colonization?

Oh one more, has anyone looked into the life cycle of the BBA? Anyone know the Latin name? I'm guessing there are some spores being exchanged, and probably some environmental cues that trigger their development and release? If we knew exactly how this stuff operated we would have a much better chance not getting it in the first place.
I doubt that BBA is ever CO2 limited, nor any algae for that matter.
Plants? Certainly, this is very very common. Like palnts, the algae only use CO2 during the day time, maybe a few minutes after sunset, but not much more than few minutes after.

Audouinella is the genus.

Common in streams with 5-10 ppm of CO2(Sheath and Wehr Freshwater Algae of North America, 2003).

You can find plenty on this topic on google.
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Regards,
Tom Barr
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