Anyone ever just outcompete BBA?
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Old 04-23-2013, 06:15 AM   #1
Aquarist_Fist
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Anyone ever just outcompete BBA?


Serious question. I have been unsuccessful defeating BBA for good every time I have tried. However, the right conditions (i.e. relatively low light, good water movement, CO2) seem to slow BBA down enough for me to remove most of it and then just keep it in check infinitely. In my current tank, I don't even use pressurized CO2, though I do use 5-10ml Excel (on 58g) every other day. I clean the glass and equipment periodically and clip leaves that have BBA (most plants are not affected). I remove a bit of gravel here and there, and that's pretty much it. 90% of success for 10% of the stress compared to the more radical methods.

Edit: Oh, I know this is hardly a new approach. I just wonder when I read the frequent extremely frustrated, "F@$^!& BBA - I am giving up!!" threads.
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Old 04-23-2013, 07:51 PM   #2
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I often wonder about the importance of the competition theory for BBA control as well. When we speak of competition it seems to be far more relevant to other forms of algae. It seems to me at least, that competition for organic nutrients are not as important in regards to BBA. From my limited experience, it seems competing for organic nutrients seems far less important in BBA control than CO2 stability.

If I had to choose one thing to control BBA it would be CO2 stability, not the level. It seems to grow in low/med/high light or low/med/high CO2 conditions. The organic load does seem to play a part, but to a lesser degree. If the organic side is high, we tend to see other algae before BBA appears. The common denominator seems to always be fluctuation in CO2 levels whether from DIY CO2, frequent water changes, lighting changes, water circulation etc.

BBA seems to be the one algae that once established, hangs on furiously. So after correcting the initial problem it always seems to be there although to a far lesser degree.
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Old 04-24-2013, 05:34 AM   #3
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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.
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Old 04-24-2013, 07:03 PM   #4
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In my tank, BBA seemed to grow almost anywhere, I do not have a large scale outbreak, but i do see it in some places,
It seems to grow in high flow and low flow areas, high light and low light. Organics dont seem to be a factor because my nitrates were always below 5.

I was only able to attribute the growth to fluctuating CO2 levels, and more importantly delivery of co2 to all areas in the tank. Also it seems to only grow on the older more established leaves rather than new ones.

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Old 04-24-2013, 07:14 PM   #5
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CO2, CO2 and CO2.
Excel dosing should be more like 30 mls daily for a 58 Gallon tank.
Water changes: dose the excel, let it dribble on hardscape etc, not live plants.
Let sit a few min, then refill etc.

Some use H2O2 and spot treat also.
Note, the BBA will always come back till you dial the CO2 in correctly.

Be careful, slow and observe plants, algae(new growth) and adjust the CO2 SLOWLY.

Once the CO2 is correct, then you can go in and kill the remaining BBA with excel, spot treatments, trimming etc.
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Old 04-24-2013, 10:31 PM   #6
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So I need to actually kill/remove the existing BBA even after dialing the CO2? Or will the BBA just tap out on its own.
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Old 04-24-2013, 10:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
Once the CO2 is correct, then you can go in and kill the remaining BBA with excel, spot treatments, trimming etc.
Says it all IMO
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Old 04-24-2013, 11:01 PM   #8
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+1 to co2. make sure your drop checker is green and have enough water flow. once i had these in check i don't have a problem with BBA
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Old 04-25-2013, 04:44 AM   #9
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Plants which grow verrrrry slowly are prime targets for BBA. Anubias leaves seem to grow to adult size, then just sit there watching other leaves grow. Those leaves that are just sitting there always get BBA in my tank, even with low light, 20-25 PAR, with daily 5-8 ml dosages of Excel. I cut those leaves off when they begin to offend me, but eventually other leaves get it too, still only those leaves that are not growing.

My anubias are anubias nana, about an inch high above the substrate, so they are definitely in very low light - they are also snuggled up against the Mattenfilter, at one end of the tank, where the light is even lower in intensity. I don't really get bothered by it since I can ignore it for a couple of weeks or more, then trim it off, and it's gone. With high light it grows very fast, making you do the trimming every day, and that is still not enough to slow it down.
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Old 04-25-2013, 04:50 AM   #10
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Thanks for the tips regarding the CO2, but again, this isn't about eradicating BBA once and for all. I get that CO2 is the key to the end of all algae problems, but if I hook up CO2 now, my plants will go bonkers. I have no desire to do any more pruning than I already have to. I am perfectly fine with the low amount of BBA I have now. That and a minimal dusting of green spot algae on one of the sides is the only algae I have.
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Old 04-25-2013, 05:18 AM   #11
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Default Re: Anyone ever just outcompete BBA?

Uhm. In a plant-only tank with co2 up to the kazoo, with every leaf swaying I still can grow BBA of epic sizes. The only long-term tank I had that never had any algae was a 4g Finnex with their 26w clip-on CFL light, no co2 and ferts when I remembered, with no visible water circulation. The only inhabitants were a motley assortment of snails. I used that tank for dumping random clippings in and it ended up being 150% 'planted'. The tank and the filter were not cleaned for over a year, no wc, some occasional top offs. Some algae wafers once in a while. I have an older thread on it somewhere here.

I had a pretty bad case of BBA in a 17g for several months. I finally raised the filter output to create substantial surface ripples. Green thread algae promptly took over in under a week. In under two weeks all BBA was dead (silverish grey and falling off). AlgaeFix took care if the thread algae. Since then I started regular maintenance and that tank is now hosting most of my rotalas with dwarf puffers. The tank has Hagen Glo 2 x 24" t5ho 16" above the substrate and co2.

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Old 04-25-2013, 09:18 AM   #12
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I have a 90 gallon tank with lowish light (twin 54 watt T5HO sitting immediately on the glass - cheap reflectors). No Co2. I had some problems with BBA when I first set it up - easy fixed by adding a few Siamensis. The SAEs moved to a new home a few years ago and I haven't seen any BBA since, or any other sort of algae for that matter (not even green spot any more, which is probably bad).

Mind you, the plants are grimly surviving, not thriving - mostly very tough stuff like Val, Anubias and Java Fern.

I dose a little potassium sulfate, Seachem Flourish (iron+traces) and Equilibrium (gH). I dose glut during my occasional spurts of enthusiasm for aquarium keeping.

Now, however, I've gone out and bought myself some proper CO2 gear and blinding lights- so it's time to grow me some uncontrollable algae!
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Old 04-25-2013, 02:12 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquarist_Fist View Post
Thanks for the tips regarding the CO2, but again, this isn't about eradicating BBA once and for all. I get that CO2 is the key to the end of all algae problems, but if I hook up CO2 now, my plants will go bonkers. I have no desire to do any more pruning than I already have to. I am perfectly fine with the low amount of BBA I have now. That and a minimal dusting of green spot algae on one of the sides is the only algae I have.
I think when we mention CO2 as an influencing factor most people think CO2 as a tank under the aquarium. That's pretty misleading.

CO2 levels can change without injecting any at all. Water flow patterns can leave areas of varying CO2 levels within the tank as well as areas that fluctuate. Water changes are probably the biggest cause of fluctuating CO2 in the non injected tank.

Then when we see algae problems we raise or lower the lighting. This also changes the CO2 levels because the plant's uptake changes. We decrease a nutrient thinking it is a cause of algae. This limits the growth and CO2 uptake changing it yet again.

So basically, CO2 levels or fluctuations do not only apply to injected tanks.

Out of curiosity, Aquarist_Fist, do you do frequent water changes? In a low tech tank that seems to be one of the main reasons for BBA problems.
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Old 04-25-2013, 02:15 PM   #14
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sorry guys marking this so i can come back and read it after work
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Old 04-25-2013, 03:33 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OVT View Post
Uhm. In a plant-only tank with co2 up to the kazoo, with every leaf swaying I still can grow BBA of epic sizes. The only long-term tank I had that never had any algae was a 4g Finnex with their 26w clip-on CFL light, no co2 and ferts when I remembered, with no visible water circulation. The only inhabitants were a motley assortment of snails. I used that tank for dumping random clippings in and it ended up being 150% 'planted'. The tank and the filter were not cleaned for over a year, no wc, some occasional top offs. Some algae wafers once in a while. I have an older thread on it somewhere here.

I had a pretty bad case of BBA in a 17g for several months. I finally raised the filter output to create substantial surface ripples. Green thread algae promptly took over in under a week. In under two weeks all BBA was dead (silverish grey and falling off). AlgaeFix took care if the thread algae. Since then I started regular maintenance and that tank is now hosting most of my rotalas with dwarf puffers. The tank has Hagen Glo 2 x 24" t5ho 16" above the substrate and co2.

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So why don't I have BBA then and ONLY get it and only seem to cure other folk's BBA issue with CO2 then?

I've NEVER been able to induce BBA any other way, using insane light PAR, low light, nutrients from near to far. And I've tried.

Non CO2 tanks are inherently __(what?)___________with regards to CO2 concentration?

Stability is the key and simply good observations and respond to issues, no parameter will make up for poor care and poor observation.

Larding on CO2 alone is not enough. Often, most folks have other issues. Example, while cranking the CO2 up helps most, others it does not. Degassing rates might be too high for example.

Flow/current etc.

Perhaps having no current is okay, but if you have fish and want decent O2 levels........well.......
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