BGA erythromycin treatment journal - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 10:08 PM Thread Starter
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BGA erythromycin treatment journal

Finally felt it was time to nuke my BGA with erythromycin, picked up some Maracyn from my LFS and began treatment today. Mixed two packets in some tank water then dumped it in. Tested parameters before the 50% pwc I did earlier at 0/0/~40 (working on the nitrates issue) and will test again tomorrow then every day going forward. It's been really frustrating to deal with, hope this works and I don't lose any livestock.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 11:20 PM
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Thanks for keeping this journal. Erythromycin should work if long in high enough concentration and for long enough. I did not have any problems from the drug itself. If algae biomass is high enough, its death can lead to high NH4 levels, so watch out for this.

It would help the community here if you provided a little more details like what ppm of erythromycin did you dose, when and how often. Do you do any waterchanges in between etc. It would also help if you could describe the setup light, co2, substrate, fertilization ...

You can find more information about this treatment at the krib website.

It is unclear to me what 0/0/40 means ? If NO3 are 40ppm it does not seem much for me but you might need to investigate what is the source of it ? Do you add NO3, does it come from a NH4 source such as substrate or overfeeding ? Treating with erytromycin is a good step to remove this bloom but unless you deal with the underlying cause you could experience re-contamination or another algae bloom.

Thanks again for your time.

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 11:44 PM Thread Starter
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Here's more info:

The tank is a 20H, dosing modified EI (lean kno3 until I figure out my nitrate issue), pressurized co2 at around 30ppm, Finnex planted+ on a 7 hour photoperiod. I dosed according to the Maracyn packaging, one .6g packets per 10 gallons of water.

I'm very new to the hobby and am trying to get all the nuances down. My tank is slightly overstocked, I feed just what they'll eat in about 2-3 minutes a day (besides my bn pleco he gets an algae wafer every other day). I do religious 50% pwc every week, every other week that entails a full gravel vacuum (where I can get to without destroying plants at least) and once a month I rinse out my filter media (lightly in tank water, mostly to get rid of detritus).

The parameters are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, somewhere in the red area between 40-80ppm nitrates. Sorry, that's how I write it shorthand.

Edit: Felt I should add that it's a new tank, ~5 months old, couple weeks in had the brown diatoms, then they cleared up and this bloomed immediately after
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-28-2016, 12:07 AM
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Is the BGA all over the tank or just in one area? I ask because in the second picture the plants look like their packed in tight. Since you can't get in there with a siphon, invest in a turkey baster.

By holding the turkey baster 6 or so inches from the substrate and gently squeezing the bulb part, it will help clear out any detritus that may be hiding in there. Of course you would want to do this at your water change as you'll want to remove anything that comes up.

If you have shrimp or other small critters, shoo them out of the way before giving the turkey baster a squeeze. They won't appreciate being being blown around even if it is a gentle push of water.

After that, I'd check around the tank for flow issues as you don't have a problem with cleaning.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-28-2016, 12:19 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Smooch View Post
Is the BGA all over the tank or just in one area? I ask because in the second picture the plants look like their packed in tight. Since you can't get in there with a siphon, invest in a turkey baster.

By holding the turkey baster 6 or so inches from the substrate and gently squeezing the bulb part, it will help clear out any detritus that may be hiding in there. Of course you would want to do this at your water change as you'll want to remove anything that comes up.

If you have shrimp or other small critters, shoo them out of the way before giving the turkey baster a squeeze. They won't appreciate being being blown around even if it is a gentle push of water.

After that, I'd check around the tank for flow issues as you don't have a problem with cleaning.
How have I never heard of that! I'll have one by the next water change.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-28-2016, 12:21 AM
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How have I never heard of that! I'll have one by the next water change.
I bought one a couple of weeks ago as I was annoyed with plantlets uprooting in my 5.5 gallon when I vac'd. It is the best $2.00 I've spent in a long time. LOL
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-28-2016, 12:50 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by themetalchurch View Post
How have I never heard of that! I'll have one by the next water change.
I bought one a couple of weeks ago as I was annoyed with plantlets uprooting in my 5.5 gallon when I vac'd. It is the best $2.00 I've spent in a long time. LOL
Between water changes and my corys I always have plants floating. Hope this will cut that down some!
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-28-2016, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
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Day two:

Added another two .6g packets. Looks like it's starting to jump ship off of some plants, the Java fern specifically. Going to measure parameters around 8, will repeat back with those. So far all livestock seems happy and healthy.

Edit: I plan on doing a 30-50% water change tomorrow regardless of ammonia spikes. BGA is starting to die and think I should get it out as quickly as possible.
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Last edited by themetalchurch; 06-28-2016 at 11:39 PM.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-29-2016, 04:57 AM
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Nice, glad to hear it. Remember to keep the conc. of the erythromycin back up after the water change. Remove what you can by hand, less algae mass means the antibiotic will be more effective and your tank will have less organics.

Another quick though, after you finish your last dose , it might be good to make a hyper concetrated solution (of erythromycin) and dip all the equipment that comes into contact with your aquarium... scrissors, pincers, algae scrapers etc.

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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-29-2016, 03:44 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dukydaf View Post
Nice, glad to hear it. Remember to keep the conc. of the erythromycin back up after the water change. Remove what you can by hand, less algae mass means the antibiotic will be more effective and your tank will have less organics.

Another quick though, after you finish your last dose , it might be good to make a hyper concetrated solution (of erythromycin) and dip all the equipment that comes into contact with your aquarium... scrissors, pincers, algae scrapers etc.
That is a good idea! I plan on doing the pwc before I dose the third installment, adding it after the top off. I'll grab some more of the meds from my lfs and do an equipment dip later this week. I actually hacked back my rotala last night (it was looking scraggly) so I definitely got a good chunk of the BGA out right then.
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-29-2016, 07:09 PM
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With the antibiotic, this is a 3 day journal, 4, 5 days tops depending on dosages. U cannot overdose really, or I have rather put in 4x the rec. Amount
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-30-2016, 12:36 AM Thread Starter
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Day 3:

Came home and did a 25% pwc to get out as much of the dead and dying cyano as possible. Did the same amount of medicine as the first two days, hoping it dies out much more by tomorrow evening. One dose to go after this one. Tested water parameters at 0ppm ammonia 0ppm nitrite and 15ppm nitrate 2.5 hours after the water change.

Mostly doing this journal as another resource for someone thinking about using the antibiotic route. Haven't found another one with daily pictures, figured it might help someone down the line.

Edit: I have been dosing my normal ferts along with the Maracyn. I think the ultimate cause of the bloom was lack of proper circulation (had the intake/outflow of my canister set up incorrectly in the tank) and not cleaning enough fish waste out during water changes. Really appreciate the turkey baster advice, think that will solve my nitrates issue.
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-30-2016, 10:04 PM Thread Starter
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Day 4:

No ammonia/nitrite spikes so it seems my beneficial bac colony is fine. Unfortunately the BGA has largely survived as well. Just added the final course of Maracyn, my glass and most of my plants are still covered. At a loss here.
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-30-2016, 10:23 PM
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Are your nitrates still hanging in the 15ppm range? If so, that is fine.

If not, maybe be a little more aggressive with filter cleaning. Don't over clean as that will cause cycle issues, but wring out sponges, filter pads and that kind of thing to knock back the nitrates further. Giving bio media a swish in tank water is fine as the only goal with that is to make sure water can easily flow through it.

Does the Finnex planted have a dimming option? If not, you can add floating plants such as Frog Bit ( not messy like Duck weed) and that will absorb the excess nutrients in the water column. You always remove them later.

Cut back on your ferts. Since this problem isn't going away, something is feeding the bacteria. Try cutting your normal dose in half. The alternative is to dose at regular amounts less often. If you dose 6 days, try dosing every other day. The plants will tell you whether they like what you're doing or not.

Your photo period isn't crazy long to begin with, but try 6 hours and see what happens. If you don't like that idea, raising your light if possible will also help.

Increasing water changes will also help rid the excess out of the water column.

Just a few ideas.
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-30-2016, 10:35 PM Thread Starter
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Haven't tested nitrates again today. I'll test tomorrow, kind of burnt out on the tank for today. I did just get some frogbit actually, 6 plants which I'm sure will be 60 in no time lol. Going to do more thorough gravel vacs every week, and completely clean (in tank water of course) my giant filtermax II prefilter sponge weekly as well. Just disheartening, immediately took to this hobby but it can be immensely frustrating.

On a more positive note, I am very excited to see how my rotala rotofundiola grows back in after the big hack job I did the other day. Would love a big thick bush of that (no double entendre I swear). Now I just need to figure out what to replace my creeping Jenny with. Not too into its look and it absolutely refuses to stay planted. Damn corys and mr destructo (bn pleco) make sure of that.

I will say this. My livestock and plants seem happy. All of the fish are active and healthy, frolicking in their little glass prison. Of course my Reineckii could be redder and my downoi a more lush green, but for someone who started researching planted tanks about eight months ago and set one up for the first time five months ago, I think I'm doing a pretty damn good job. All of you (yes YOU) have been so unreasonably helpful as well and I truly appreciate it. I'll contribute anything I can and can't imagine not getting the reciprocation from the rest of you planted tank freaks out there.
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