Suggestions? Starting from scratch due to BGA - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-14-2014, 05:42 PM Thread Starter
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Suggestions? Starting from scratch due to BGA

I've had it. I've spent 10 months dealing with blue green algae that became a problem after the neighbours over fed our fish while on vacation last year. I have tried frequent cleaning, removing a ton of plants to increase water movement, treating with antibiotics (killed snails), treating with hydrogen peroxide (decent results), black out, etc. it just keeps coming back. I don't want to get into parameters or finger pointing or whatever else, I just want to MOVE ON.

So I've removed the ADA Aquasoil. It was constantly getting covered and I'm fed up with it. It was like the BGA's preferred habitat - it would blanket the substrate, I would vacuum it out, it would regrow, repeat.

I've also removed my plants and rock. I'll toss the plants and start over, and boil the rock.

I'll scrub everything down.

I'll replace the substrate, if only temporarily, with a natural and neutral fine grade gravel. I have it on hand and the nice LFS I go to uses it in their fish tanks (not the planted ones mind you). It looks fine.

I have 1 betta and 3 embers. Yes, I know I need more embers but I've held off buying more because of this constant BGA problem.

In the past year I've had to remove and dump my red root floaters and water spangles because BGA kept forming on the roots. I removed mostly all of my java moss and some java fern which kept getting entombed in BGA. I removed all of my other plants a last spring in an act of desperation.

So where do I go from here? What's my best bet? I have an Eheim Aquastyle 9g and a toddler and newborn, with little time or interest in a labour intensive set up. I want it to be simple and clean and not an ongoing, frustrating battle of me vs. BGA or me vs. White fuzzy fungus, etc. I'm fed up.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-14-2014, 07:03 PM
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Wow, sounds like you've had an awful time of it. I have no experience but hopefully someone here can point you in the right direction.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-16-2014, 01:38 PM
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I have experience with BGA and I got it to go away. I think too much dissolved organics and/or not enough water circulation are certainly big factors in a BGA bloom. Also weekly 50% water changes and weekly rinsing out the filter sponges (with the water from the aquarium) and generally keeping the aquarium clean and well-maintained. You should also test your tap water and bring it into line in some cases. I vacuumed my gravel substrate at the time wherever it was accessible. My tank is a 10 gallon.

Sorry for lecturing The reason I'm telling you all of this is that although it may be a bit discouraging now, it strikes me that if you use the same aquarium with the same equipment and the same techniques, you may encounter a BGA or algae bloom sometime in the future. Or not, hopefully. If it suits you, you could read about BGA, algae, and general tank setup and maintenance. I have a good link to an algae blog that you might want to bookmark for future reference:

MY TANK: Planted 10g; 2 x 10W CFL; Fluval U2 internal filter; MGOCPM/black sand cap

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started April 18, 2012
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-17-2014, 02:06 PM
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What type of lighting do you have? Have you tested your nitrates? I had it once in my heavily planted tank and discovered my nitrates were too low. I dosed Maracyn, ordered KNO3 from GLA (along with other dry ferts) to raise nitrate and it's been gone for over a year. You mentioned you didn't want to get into parameters, but honestly testing them isn't that difficult or expensive, not to mention it's a heck of a lot easier that breaking down a tank and starting over. Less frustrating too
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-18-2014, 10:38 AM
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BGA is most often the result of too much light (or wrong wavelengths) and/or too high a concentration of soluble nutrients in the water. Poor water circulation can allow BGA to remain even after many water changes. I have quite the collection of heavily planted nano tanks and vases that have no filtration or circulation of any kind. The only ones I have had BGA show up in are the ones with fish in them, and then only if I forget to do regular water changes. You can NEVER get rid of BGA 100% because the spores float around in the air, are on the plants you buy, in the gravel, the water from the fish store, and essentially everywhere. All you can do is decline to provide it with the conditions that favor its growth. Sometimes this can be as simple as doing a massive water change, and then raising the light a bit further away from the top of the tank, or shortening the photoperiod. That being said, I had a 55g tank that after 15 years of running developed BGA, and the only way I got rid of it was a complete teardown and starting fresh. Just be thankful you don't have Black Bristle Algae, the cancer of aquariums.

Why is the "next" tank, always the most interesting?

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