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Old 09-28-2013, 06:38 AM   #1
Finalplay10
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BBA Observation


So over the last few months my 40B has had a bit of a BBA problem as my 29g had before it. I attribute my BBA issue to my completely sucking at CO2 management. Recently the filter that I had all of my in-line equipment tied into died on me and I was forced to go about 6 weeks without my UV Sterilizer, Heater, and CO2. During this time I actually noticed some fairly interesting results.

My temperature at the time of filter death was 78 degrees and my CO2 drop checker was a nice green color. After 3 days I observed that my temperature fell to a low of 58 degrees and went as high as 65 (I attribute this to the tank being near a window and the rapid fluctuation in temperatures that New England experiences in the fall). My CO2 drop checker also turned to a deep blue as expected with no CO2 being fed into the water column.

Over the 6 weeks I spent without a heater and CO2 the BBA in my tank completely disappeared (my second filter was still running during this time but with no in-line additions). My hypothesis is that the BBA needs warmer temperatures to thrive and was unable to sustain itself through the frigid temperatures that is was being forced to endure. Meanwhile my "tropical" plants managed to survive quite well although there was a noticeable decline in growth.

Upon my purchasing a new filtration system and restarting all of the in-line equipment I noticed that the BBA took only days to re-emerge in a very "You'll never be rid of me and you are a fool for thinking you had defeated me" manner.

Any thoughts on why it was able to re-emerge so quickly? Had the temperature drop only sent it into a hibernation-esque slumber somewhere deep in the bowels of my tank where it was just waiting for suitable conditions to reappear so that it could return to torment me? So many questions but too few answers...
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Old 09-28-2013, 10:54 PM   #2
brogan
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Did you decrease your photoperiod during this time?

I had a similar experience when I intentionally stopped co2 and decreased my photoperiod when going through a columnaris outbreak, and didn't want to stress my fish. I noticed that my BBA actually started to slow down (though I also decreased my temp form 80 to 78....)
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Old 09-28-2013, 11:20 PM   #3
Finalplay10
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No increase or decrease in photo period. I have a BuildMyLED system and keep it at 50% for 8 hours a day. 100% is like Sinai desert during the mid afternoon bright. Hurts your eyes just to look at it. Ph also remained stable at 7.6 throughout the period mentioned above. That in itself doesn't particularly help any but just something I had noticed.
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Old 09-29-2013, 04:34 AM   #4
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Co2 levels increase in cold water and it will decrease in warm water, maybe your BBA could relate to this.
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Old 09-29-2013, 08:26 AM   #5
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There was no added CO2 present in the aquarium while the heater was inoperable.
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Old 09-29-2013, 09:38 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happi View Post
Co2 levels increase in cold water and it will decrease in warm water, maybe your BBA could relate to this.
Can you expand on that statement. Why would the temperature fluctuate CO2 levels in the water?
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Old 09-29-2013, 01:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danielt View Post
Can you expand on that statement. Why would the temperature fluctuate CO2 levels in the water?
Gas transfer occurs at a greater rate into water at lower temps. So, CO2 in the air can partition at a greater rate into water when the water is colder. At higher water temps the CO2 molecules move faster into the air. This is the basis of gas law with some assumptions built in (those assumptions would hold true in this case).
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Old 09-29-2013, 06:45 PM   #8
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Why is gas transfer from atmospheric air in question if OP is dissolving CO2 in the water column? And no, from my knowledge only the latter part is true for both in and out transfer. CO2 gasses in and out faster at higher temperatures.

Also, I've had BBA growing even at lethal doses of CO2. I'm thinking the temperature swing doesn't have anything in common with something in your tank but the source of your water. Lower temperatures might be changing its chemistry in some way that starves the algae. Do you have some readings of parameters when the algae was growing?

Would be nice to have something to compare to. Surprisingly, or not, the tap water is not that constant in its chemistry as we tend/like to believe.
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Old 09-29-2013, 10:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danielt View Post
Why is gas transfer from atmospheric air in question if OP is dissolving CO2 in the water column? And no, from my knowledge only the latter part is true for both in and out transfer. CO2 gasses in and out faster at higher temperatures.

Also, I've had BBA growing even at lethal doses of CO2. I'm thinking the temperature swing doesn't have anything in common with something in your tank but the source of your water. Lower temperatures might be changing its chemistry in some way that starves the algae. Do you have some readings of parameters when the algae was growing?

Would be nice to have something to compare to. Surprisingly, or not, the tap water is not that constant in its chemistry as we tend/like to believe.
Sorry but the gas laws support my statement hence where I got it from. Higher water temps will drive off dissolved gasses faster into air and not gases in air transfer into water....the gases want to be in air more than water....this is the basis for forming equilibrium (equilibrium for solubility partioning that is...not equal parts gas in air & water). So, cooler water will allow more diffusion into the water than higher temps. A perfect example of this can be found in ponds & streams all the time.

Also we see algae in cooler waters & higher water temps for example algae will thrive in almost ice cold fast moving water in the mountains where I would fish. However, that's not BBA and I'm unsure of the water temps BBA likes....I will note from personal experience when my 135gal was low tech and the heater went out the water temp got pretty low but I do not recall how low and I saw BBA.

I have to assume he did a water change or two during the 6 weeks ? In most cases the tap water does have more dissolved gas (we see this in "false pearling". Typically though fluctuations in CO2 is what most contribute to BBA rather than lack of CO2 or a high level of CO2.

So, best guess is that he had CO2 swings in his system and when it went "offline" for 6 weeks he actually saw a CO2 stabiliztion at the cooler temps.

It would be interesting if he could reproduce the situation and record all observations & data. Either way very interesting...
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Old 09-30-2013, 07:30 PM   #10
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i have no explanations but also like to add my own oberservation.

I have a 20 gallon with current freshwater led+ and no co2, 8 hour photo period, heater. etc.. all stable. There is no bba at all.

I added pressurized co2 about 3 weeks later with no change to any other params, co2 turns on 2 hrs before photo period, turns off 15 mins after photo period, my dropchecker is a nice light green, however i noticed bba started appearing all over my rocks and started to cover my hairgrass.

They are easy to remove, i just took a toothbrush and brushed them off and the filter took care of the rest.

But nonetheless, i dont know why this is happening. As my light/heat/nutrients all remain the same. BBA continues to be a problem, i had to brush them off every week otherwise the tank becomes unsightly.
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Old 09-30-2013, 09:52 PM   #11
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Although it derails the thread. Adding CO2 is like adding any other macro fertilizer. BBA shows up because you have induced an imbalance in the plant nutrition program. You give more (CO2) out of other macro nutrients and plants need the rest of them. BBA shows up as a result of this imbalance. That's my observation from what I experimented while doing battle with this algae. That might explain why unstable CO2 seems to help the algae rather than killing it off.

I see CO2 as light. When you increase light do you leave the fertilizer dose the same as before? Don't think so. I saw a tremendous decline in BBA growth when my plants did ok. Look at pictures of plants. If yours do not look the same, they aren't getting enough of food. See the barrel theory publicized in numerous occasions by Tom Barr.
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Old 10-02-2013, 03:53 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danielt View Post
Although it derails the thread. Adding CO2 is like adding any other macro fertilizer. BBA shows up because you have induced an imbalance in the plant nutrition program. You give more (CO2) out of other macro nutrients and plants need the rest of them. BBA shows up as a result of this imbalance. That's my observation from what I experimented while doing battle with this algae. That might explain why unstable CO2 seems to help the algae rather than killing it off.

I see CO2 as light. When you increase light do you leave the fertilizer dose the same as before? Don't think so. I saw a tremendous decline in BBA growth when my plants did ok. Look at pictures of plants. If yours do not look the same, they aren't getting enough of food. See the barrel theory publicized in numerous occasions by Tom Barr.

I agree 100% and same as I posted above, "So, best guess is that he had CO2 swings in his system and when it went "offline" for 6 weeks he actually saw a CO2 stabiliztion at the cooler temps.".

Also I've never heard nor found in my past experience that BBA is easily removed with a toothbrush....you may have a different type of algae but it's BBA just b/c it's dark. This is where good in-focus pics help the most.
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