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Old 04-25-2013, 04:07 PM   #16
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Anyone ever just outcompete BBA?


I would love to understand in more detail how (proper levels of) co2 affect BBA.

If we all try to induce BBA then all of us can be free of it forever.

If you need a volunteer to attempt to induce BBA in a reasonably well defined environment, I will gladly dedicate my time and resources for such endeavor.

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Old 04-26-2013, 12:51 AM   #17
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Is there a good theory about why CO2 reduces BBA problems? Or why healthy, fast growing plants reduce BBA problems? I'm not as young as I used to be, and my memory isn't as good as it was, but I can't recall any well founded theory about the relationship of BBA to CO2 to fast growing plants, etc. If we understood what was happening when fluctuating CO2 levels induce BBA or when fast growing plants inhibit BBA, it would make it a lot easier to think rationally about BBA -as opposed to simply flying into a murderous rage on seeing it
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Old 04-26-2013, 12:56 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
Is there a good theory about why CO2 reduces BBA problems? Or why healthy, fast growing plants reduce BBA problems? I'm not as young as I used to be, and my memory isn't as good as it was, but I can't recall any well founded theory about the relationship of BBA to CO2 to fast growing plants, etc. If we understood what was happening when fluctuating CO2 levels induce BBA or when fast growing plants inhibit BBA, it would make it a lot easier to think rationally about BBA -as opposed to simply flying into a murderous rage on seeing it
Much better stated.
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Old 04-26-2013, 05:38 AM   #19
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To understand how CO2 fluctuations can trigger BBA it's important to understand how CO2 is utilized by the plants.

Light, photons actually, strike the leaf surface and throw off electrons which are used in a chemical reaction to produce sugar "food" for the plant. The reaction cannot occur without a sufficient number of CO2 molecules. Plants make an enzyme for CO2 transport called rubisco. This enzyme can take up to a week to produce requiring energy from the plant. When CO2 is plentiful the plant will reabsorb this enzyme for other tasks. The levels of robisco are based on the amount of CO2 in the water column.
 
The production of robisco is signaled by CO2 levels. When CO2 levels fluctuate it causes mayhem with enzyme production. This leaves the plant unable to efficiently utilize the CO2 available. This results in a weakened plant and does not compete well.

I believe BBA on the other hand is quite efficient at dealing with CO2 fluctuations. So while the plant is struggling BBA is busy setting up shop.

This could be one possible cause.

Last edited by Zorfox; 04-26-2013 at 03:00 PM.. Reason: disclaimer added
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Old 04-26-2013, 01:23 PM   #20
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RuBisCO
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Old 04-26-2013, 02:14 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Zorfox View Post
To understand how CO2 fluctuations can trigger BBA it's important to understand how CO2 is utilized by the plants.

Light, photons actually, strike the leaf surface and throw off electrons which are used in a chemical reaction to produce sugar "food" for the plant. The reaction cannot occur without a sufficient number of CO2 molecules. Plants make an enzyme for CO2 transport called rubisco. This enzyme can take up to a week to produce requiring energy from the plant. When CO2 is plentiful the plant will reabsorb this enzyme for other tasks. The levels of robisco are based on the amount of CO2 in the water column.
 
The production of robisco is signaled by CO2 levels. When CO2 levels fluctuate it causes mayhem with enzyme production. This leaves the plant unable to efficiently utilize the CO2 available. This results in a weakened plant and does not compete well.

I believe BBA on the other hand is quite efficient at dealing with CO2 fluctuations. So while the plant is struggling BBA is busy setting up shop.
Okay, but this doesn't explain how you can have BBA outbreaks in perfectly healthy tanks with thriving plants. Most plants show very quickly when they are struggling, and we have all seen BBA happily colonizing plants that didn't seem to be suffering.

The fluctuation theory still makes a lot of sense to me. I have rarely seen massive outbreaks in tanks with no CO2 and good water movement and low fish density, and neither in stable tanks with good CO2 supply. It's the up and down that seems to lead to big BBA problems: Lots of fish, poor circulation, DIY CO2, erratic water changes, etc.
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Old 04-26-2013, 02:58 PM   #22
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That was a quick post before bed. I probably should have added a big question mark at the end. In fact I'll edit it and add, that could be one possible cause. I'm just "spit balling" here. It happens to be an excellent way to learn for me.

The idea does sounds plausible. I'm new to the hobby so I have done ALOT of reading. In regards to BBA a common theme arises from the question and answers I've seen.

In nearly every case a condition of fluctuating CO2 levels exist. This and experts telling us it's CO2 related led me to look under the hood and come up with reasons why this could occur. I like learning on my own rather than have someone tell me to do X and Y to achieve Z. However, a two bedroom apartment isn't conducive to 20 experimental tanks to test every hypothesis. So I have to rely on others that have done this and draw conclusions on hundreds of articles and try to connect the dots. I only have two experiments now. My tanks are primarily used for learning to grow healthy algae free plants. It seems silly to me to purchase expensive equipment, plants and fauna only to aquascape an algae farm. Gotta walk before I can run.

I think a plant that looks healthy and is growing can be misleading at times. The plant can undergo many changes before appearing unhealthy. Switching between enzyme production to absorption may not cause the typical yellowing or holes in the leaves etc. However, these enzymes are very expensive for the plant to make and reabsorb for other tasks. So the energy involved will stall growth somewhat and decrease the uptake of nutrients as well as CO2. Example, if you have a CO2 level of 40ppm and turn it off do your plants start dropping leaves and yellowing before you see algae appear?

I think BBA and most algae in general have "learned" to recognize situations that weaken a plants ability to uptake the nutrients they need as well. CO2 fluctuations is only one. However, I think BBA is one that has targeted this condition better than others. Maybe the CO2 fluctuations trigger an enzyme in BBA to proliferate. Algae certainly can tolerate CO2 fluctuations better than plants.
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Old 04-26-2013, 11:47 PM   #23
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Without reading all of this, which I will soon, my understanding is that fast growing plants deprive algae of nutrients. So therefor, if you are using CO2, you probably have faster growing plants taking up the nutrients.
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Old 04-27-2013, 04:21 AM   #24
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I have evidence in my low light tank that lower water flow equals more BBA. That is the only thing that has changed.

It is only growing on older leaves that are in the brightest spots. Maybe they are leaching nutrients and with less flow to move them away from the plant, the algae can latch on.

I changed one of my filter cartridges, but that filter is still underperforming. I'm going to scrub the tubes and make a closer inspection next water change.

I had an outbreak last October, but I added another HOB filter and it was absent until now.

This is all theory of course, I'll see what happens once I get the flow back to what it was before this outbreak.
So in my case, a rise in CO2 due to less surface agitation caused it? It hasn't spread, I haven't messed with anything except lessening my light cycle by about 20 minutes. Also, it I correct the flow problem and lower CO2, it could trigger more?

I have low light going for about 8.5 hours a day, dose Leaf Zone and CO2 Booster according to directions religiously at the same time every week/day, a 25% water change at the same time every week, low fish stock, and nitrates never go above 20. I'd say the tank is moderately planted.

Sorry, I don't mean to hijack this thread, but maybe others might have the same problem, and it may help us all understand what is going on.
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Old 04-30-2013, 02:12 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
CO2, CO2 and CO2.
I agree with TB.
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Old 04-30-2013, 02:53 PM   #26
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Poor circulation always comes up in a BBA thread, but explain how BBA grows on the inside of the filter output nozzle ?
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Old 04-30-2013, 11:53 PM   #27
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I agree with TB.
If it were that easy, people would have had BBA farms 20 years ago when CO2 was still much less common. But that wasn't the case. It's certainly a factor, but it's not the only one.
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Old 05-01-2013, 01:01 AM   #28
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CO2 levels are certainly not the only factor involved with BBA. The same could be said for the cause of traffic accidents when the driver was intoxicated. CO2 has been around for millions of years. Simply because it's injected or not does not eliminate it as a factor for BBA. A weekly water change, turning the lights on/off, decreasing flow from dirty filters, pruning or adding plants, poor water circulation, and many more can all cause CO2 changes.

Now that we use CO2 it's no wonder BBA has become worse. Now in addition to the other causes we have changes as a result of cheap regulators, turning it on/off, poor diffusion, and worse yet bad DIY CO2 setups to name a few.

BBA grows naturally in fast flowing streams and rivers where CO2 is high and fluctuating. Ever floated down one of the spring fed rivers in Florida? It's everywhere. I certainly don't have all the answers but I've noticed that most of the time a condition for fluctuating CO2 levels was present when a hobbyist had a problem with it. Correcting that problem seemed to alleviate the BBA. Why do CO2 levels trigger it? I have no idea. But if we look at where is grows naturally we see the same issue. Everything seems to have a niche in nature. When we create a similar niche in our tanks it's bound to be a problem.
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