High CO2 and still have BBA
Planted Tank Forums
Your Tanks Image Hosting *Tank Tracker * Plant Profiles Fish Profiles Planted Tank Guide Photo Gallery Articles

Go Back   The Planted Tank Forum > Specific Aspects of a Planted Tank > Algae


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 09-12-2013, 04:51 AM   #1
ptychoptera
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 7
Default

High CO2 and still have BBA


Hi Plant Nerds,

I work in an aquarium store and our 120g planted tank has been suffering from BBA for a while. I'm running out of ideas about what to try next.

CO2 is from a cylinder. Drop checker is consistently yellowish-green. More yellow than green. CO2 is constant 24-7.

RO water is used. I dose the full line of Flourish liquids, including Excel.

Ammonia - 0.25ppm
Nitrite - 0ppm
Nitrate - 30-40ppm
Phos - 2ppm
pH - 6.0 on API test.
kH - 0 (no color change using multiple different brands of tests)

Lighting is from 7 Ecoxotic Magenta/White Stunner strips. PAR at the bottom is 30, 60 mid, 120 top.

I've read elsewhere that there seems to be a higher prevalence for BBA in low ph/KH tanks. My next idea is to add a small amount of calcium carbonate into the canister filter to buffer the water a little higher. The charts I've seen for CO2/KH/PH indicate that a KH as low as mine might mean there's less than 30ppm CO2 dissolved in the water. Can anyone comment on the chemistry of that argument? Why would a tank with seemingly 0 carbonates be lower in dissolved CO2 than one with carbonates? Any other ideas about the cause of this BBA?

Any idea why my ammonia always measures at 0.25? It used to read higher (1ppm) on my API test when I dosed Flourish Nitrate more heavily. The tank is several years old, densely plants, has a modest amount of fish and is fed appropriately. None of the fish have ever showed signs of ammonia poisoning.

Thanks.
ptychoptera is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 09-12-2013, 05:47 AM   #2
plantbrain
Planted Tank Guru
 
plantbrain's Avatar
 
PTrader: (255/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: The swamp
Posts: 13,334
Default

Drop checks stink.

Algae, plants etc are better test kits than any drop checker.

Drop checkers are not particularly easy to read, nor are they targeting the correct ranges, the tank might need 20 ppm, or it might need 30 ppm or it might need 50 ppm. Each tank will be and is different.

Kill what is there, then re evaluate the CO2.

Bad assumptions with CO2 and poor management cause about 95% of the algae issues I've seen for the last 20 years, and not just BBA, pretty much most algae.

Drop checkers cause more problems than they solve.
__________________
Regards,
Tom Barr
plantbrain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2013, 01:35 PM   #3
houseofcards
Suspended
 
PTrader: (55/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 2,611
Default

If the tank is several years old, it could just be a build up of organics surpassing what the biofilter can handle. Are the plants growing well? What is heavily planted? Do you have a pic?
houseofcards is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2013, 01:38 PM   #4
ThatGuyWithTheFish
perugiae
 
ThatGuyWithTheFish's Avatar
 
PTrader: (23/100%)
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Boston
Posts: 2,318
Default

Why do you have ammonia? I find that disconcerting.
__________________

"Boulders-Upon-Meadow"


My Golden Rule of planted tanks: WWTAD-
"What would Takashi Amano do?"


RAOK Club #69
ThatGuyWithTheFish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2013, 01:46 PM   #5
Chronados
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (22/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: CT
Posts: 392
Default

With 0 kH, CO2 injection, and your pH bottomed out, it's possible that the nitrifying bacteria in your tank have stalled out due to unfavorable conditions. You could try stabilizing the pH a bit by adding some baking soda to bring the pH back to readable levels. On the bright side, at that low of a pH, the ammonia would almost all be in the ammonium form, so fish would not show signs of ammonia poisoning, especially at only 0.25ppm.

Though I suppose your plants should be uptaking the ammonium anyways, so it's possibly just a bad test kit as well.
__________________
Chronados is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2013, 03:44 AM   #6
ptychoptera
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 7
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
Drop checks stink.

Algae, plants etc are better test kits than any drop checker.

Drop checkers are not particularly easy to read, nor are they targeting the correct ranges, the tank might need 20 ppm, or it might need 30 ppm or it might need 50 ppm. Each tank will be and is different.

Kill what is there, then re evaluate the CO2.

Bad assumptions with CO2 and poor management cause about 95% of the algae issues I've seen for the last 20 years, and not just BBA, pretty much most algae.

Drop checkers cause more problems than they solve.
Thanks for the info, Tom. I've been hesitant to crank the CO2 higher, since the dropchecker was always quite yellow. But at the same time I noticed none of the plants were pearling.

I think I'll proceed with a little calcium carbonate to buffer things better and then crank the CO2. Right now I have 2-3 bubbles per second... which seems like a lot. Have you had tanks that required that high a rate of CO2?
ptychoptera is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2013, 04:10 AM   #7
ua hua
Suspended
 
PTrader: (49/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Nebraska
Posts: 2,346
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ptychoptera View Post
Thanks for the info, Tom. I've been hesitant to crank the CO2 higher, since the dropchecker was always quite yellow. But at the same time I noticed none of the plants were pearling.

I think I'll proceed with a little calcium carbonate to buffer things better and then crank the CO2. Right now I have 2-3 bubbles per second... which seems like a lot. Have you had tanks that required that high a rate of CO2?
To be perfectly honest with you I don't use a bubble counter but I know my bubble count is so high that you can't count them. You can use an inverted flask or any type of glass that has mL markings and run your co2 into it and see how many mL per second are filled into the flask. When I did this it was around 1-2mL per second.
__________________
All matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death life is only a dream which is an imagination of ourselves. Bill Hicks
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ua hua's 90 gal. high tech
ua hua's 5,000 gal. water garden

Last edited by ua hua; 09-18-2013 at 01:38 AM.. Reason: .....
ua hua is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2013, 05:21 AM   #8
OVT
Suspended
 
PTrader: (142/100%)
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: SF East Bay Area
Posts: 5,183
Default

+1
I use bubble counters as a visual aid to see that I actually have co2 going. If you can count bubbles, you are not pushing enough. Just watch the livestock.

CO2 does not kill BBA.

v3
__________________
Courtesy * Integrity * Perseverance * Indominable Spirit * and Self Control
Tenets of TKD
OVT is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2013, 01:47 PM   #9
houseofcards
Suspended
 
PTrader: (55/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 2,611
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by OVT View Post
..

CO2 does not kill BBA.

v3
+1

Raising co2 might help, but as OVT pointed out in itself it does not kill algae. You do realize why raising co2 many times can help BBA and other algae, right?
houseofcards is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2013, 02:13 PM   #10
crice8
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (31/100%)
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Texas
Posts: 518
Default

I cut back on my ferts a tad and left my co2 where it was and BBA stopped growing. What I had remained but it stopped growing. I did a trim and now two weeks later have almost no BBA!!! I'm going to increase my co2 some as time goes, but my cause seemed to be too much ferts.
crice8 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2013, 02:18 PM   #11
Chronados
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (22/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: CT
Posts: 392
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by crice8 View Post
I cut back on my ferts a tad and left my co2 where it was and BBA stopped growing. What I had remained but it stopped growing. I did a trim and now two weeks later have almost no BBA!!! I'm going to increase my co2 some as time goes, but my cause seemed to be too much ferts.
Remember that ferts, CO2, and lighting are all related. So another way of looking at it is that you had insufficient CO2 for the level of ferts you were adding, for which there are two solutions. Generally people raise the CO2 instead of lowering the level of ferts, but I'm glad it worked out well for you!
__________________
Chronados is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2013, 02:21 PM   #12
crice8
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (31/100%)
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Texas
Posts: 518
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronados View Post
Remember that ferts, CO2, and lighting are all related. So another way of looking at it is that you had insufficient CO2 for the level of ferts you were adding, for which there are two solutions. Generally people raise the CO2 instead of lowering the level of ferts, but I'm glad it worked out well for you!
Yes I kept this in mind! But rather than fighting algae as I increase the co2, I cut the fuel to the algae and can raise my ferts as I increase the co2
crice8 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2013, 02:35 PM   #13
BriDroid
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Frisco, TX
Posts: 348
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by OVT View Post
I use bubble counters as a visual aid to see that I actually have co2 going. If you can count bubbles, you are not pushing enough. Just watch the livestock.
I agree with this! When you try to stay with bubbles you can count, you NEVER have enough CO2. I just like to see the bubbles flowing so I can make sure I have CO2 going into the aquarium.
BriDroid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2013, 05:01 PM   #14
jonathan
Planted Member
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Brooklyn NYC
Posts: 197
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by BriDroid View Post
I agree with this! When you try to stay with bubbles you can count, you NEVER have enough CO2.
I have a standard 29 gallon. Would you say this still applies ?
jonathan is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
bba

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 12:10 PM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright Planted Tank LLC 2012