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post #16 of 47 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 02:36 PM
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The causes of BBA have been debated here and elsewhere quite often. I can only speak to my personal experience, and what I have observed following numerous journals here on the board.

Most cases have much in common. First and foremost is generally dirty conditions. Lack of water changes, lack of filter cleaning, lack of substrate vacuuming, overfeeding fish, overstocking fish, etc. All lead to excess dissolved organics in the system, which BBA loves. IMO, the first step to avoid BBA is to provide uber clean tank conditions. When you see very successful tanks here and elsewhere, if you dig deep enough you will find that tank cleanliness is taken very seriously, and that includes large regular water changes.

Too much light is another common cause. Light needs to be provided in relation your plant types and mass. Combine too much light with dirty tank conditions, and you have a perfect recipe for BBA. Seen it over and over here and elsewhere. The more light you provide the more algae and other problems will expose any weakness and lack of balance. In general, if you are going to blast the light, you better have everything else in good balance.

Plant health is also a contributing factor. Not so much that it causes BBA, but dead and decaying plant matter is a magnet for BBA and other algae. You will notice that folks who demonstrate success pay more attention to every detail. This includes keeping CO2 at optimal levels (and O2 as well), removing any dead or decaying plant matter, pruning old unhealthy growth, providing a good level of nutrients in relation to the plants being kept, etc. No question to me that happy healthy plants are the best defense against all algae.

On a side note, I often see folks reduce or eliminate fert dosing to battle algae. IMO, exactly the wrong thing to do in some cases. Starved weak plants are an easy target for algae. And IME, I have not seen a correlation between rich fert dosing and algae. There are situations where too much is not good, with CSM+B toxicity coming to mind. But that all goes back to general plant health, and providing a good overall balance of nutrients. In general, itís better to be focused on making plants happy and healthy than defeating algae.

Now flow is an interesting factor to me, in that both too little and too much can be a problem. Too little flow and stagnant water seems to be a contributing factor for BBA. Sometimes it is related to too much uncontrolled plant mass, with creates dead spots and a large buildup of detritus. Pull out a large dense grouping of plants, and watch the detritus and organics fly. That dead and dying material needs to be removed, as it leads to more dissolved organics in the system, which you should be trying to avoid.

Now too much flow is another issue. Many times BBA develops right in the areas of the highest flow. Letís say a powerhead is aimed right at a piece of driftwood. Many times, that is exactly the spot where BBA flourishes. I have experienced this and have seen it countless other times in other tanks. Sometimes just reducing flow can beat back BBA quite quickly.

Now these are all just personal observations from my tank and other tanks that I follow. Now as to @Discusluv, and BBA issues with a an exceptionally clean tank, well I am at a bit of a loss there. My guess would be too much light in relation to plant mass, but really I am a bit stumped. Another possible issue could be adequate bio filtration, as a mature steady bio field quickly converts ammonia. I only mention it as I have seen instances where ammonia spikes triggered an outbreak of BBA, but doubt it is the case there.
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post #17 of 47 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 03:06 PM
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Any action or condition that disrupts allelochemicals makes BBA stronger.
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post #18 of 47 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 03:48 PM
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Getting back to a possible reason why @Discusluv might have BBA in a tank that receives 2x75% weekly WCs could be related to two things. The first thought is that when you have large waste producing fish like discus and other larger fish it's always a challenge to run enough light to grow plants and not get algae. In this case in spite of the WCs the waste can be still sitting in the filter, decomposing and re-entering the WC. Even with good filter cleaning it doesn't take long for waste to breakdown.

The other would be in line with what @Greggz stated that in spite of the cleaning the light, plant mass, WCs isn't enough for the given setup. There is still waste that remains in spite of the WCs do to large waste producing fish.
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post #19 of 47 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Edward View Post
Any action or condition that disrupts allelochemicals makes BBA stronger.
Can you explain for us newbies what you mean by "allelochemicals"? What are they from, and what effect do they have?

Thanks!
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post #20 of 47 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
The causes of BBA have been debated here and elsewhere quite often. I can only speak to my personal experience, and what I have observed following numerous journals here on the board.

Most cases have much in common. First and foremost is generally dirty conditions. Lack of water changes, lack of filter cleaning, lack of substrate vacuuming, overfeeding fish, overstocking fish, etc. All lead to excess dissolved organics in the system, which BBA loves. IMO, the first step to avoid BBA is to provide uber clean tank conditions. When you see very successful tanks here and elsewhere, if you dig deep enough you will find that tank cleanliness is taken very seriously, and that includes large regular water changes.

Too much light is another common cause. Light needs to be provided in relation your plant types and mass. Combine too much light with dirty tank conditions, and you have a perfect recipe for BBA. Seen it over and over here and elsewhere. The more light you provide the more algae and other problems will expose any weakness and lack of balance. In general, if you are going to blast the light, you better have everything else in good balance.

Plant health is also a contributing factor. Not so much that it causes BBA, but dead and decaying plant matter is a magnet for BBA and other algae. You will notice that folks who demonstrate success pay more attention to every detail. This includes keeping CO2 at optimal levels (and O2 as well), removing any dead or decaying plant matter, pruning old unhealthy growth, providing a good level of nutrients in relation to the plants being kept, etc. No question to me that happy healthy plants are the best defense against all algae.

On a side note, I often see folks reduce or eliminate fert dosing to battle algae. IMO, exactly the wrong thing to do in some cases. Starved weak plants are an easy target for algae. And IME, I have not seen a correlation between rich fert dosing and algae. There are situations where too much is not good, with CSM+B toxicity coming to mind. But that all goes back to general plant health, and providing a good overall balance of nutrients. In general, itís better to be focused on making plants happy and healthy than defeating algae.

Now flow is an interesting factor to me, in that both too little and too much can be a problem. Too little flow and stagnant water seems to be a contributing factor for BBA. Sometimes it is related to too much uncontrolled plant mass, with creates dead spots and a large buildup of detritus. Pull out a large dense grouping of plants, and watch the detritus and organics fly. That dead and dying material needs to be removed, as it leads to more dissolved organics in the system, which you should be trying to avoid.

Now too much flow is another issue. Many times BBA develops right in the areas of the highest flow. Letís say a powerhead is aimed right at a piece of driftwood. Many times, that is exactly the spot where BBA flourishes. I have experienced this and have seen it countless other times in other tanks. Sometimes just reducing flow can beat back BBA quite quickly.

Now these are all just personal observations from my tank and other tanks that I follow. Now as to @Discusluv, and BBA issues with a an exceptionally clean tank, well I am at a bit of a loss there. My guess would be too much light in relation to plant mass, but really I am a bit stumped. Another possible issue could be adequate bio filtration, as a mature steady bio field quickly converts ammonia. I only mention it as I have seen instances where ammonia spikes triggered an outbreak of BBA, but doubt it is the case there.
The BBA is not on the plants at all. It is just on high flow areas: the filter inflows and outflows, airlines, and driftwood. I have a very powerful filter on this tank- a Fluvel G6 on a 60 gallon tank. I think you have something there.
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post #21 of 47 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Desert Pupfish View Post
Can you explain for us newbies what you mean by "allelochemicals"? What are they from, and what effect do they have?

Thanks!
Allelochemicals is rather large topic for its complexity and diversity. There are many publications and videos describing it.

In simple terms, allelochemicals are chemical compounds created and released by plants in order to fight herbivorous animals, algae, fungus, and also other plant species in close proximity. They can get so specialized that different allelochemicals can be made by the same plant for daylight defense and night defense against insect or animals. We can also see how some plant species donít grow in close proximity in nature. It is powerful warfare.

When aquarium conditions are right, plants can fight algae, we can see that often. Plantís leaves become clean and glossy, algae free. But why also glass walls, decoration and equipment also become algae free? Because somehow plants ďoutcompeteĒ algae for nutrients? Nonsense, algae can get away with much lower nutrient concentrations than plants. It is a presence of active anti-algae compounds made by the healthy plants.

I think the compounds have a short lifespan due to degradation and interactions. Also the concentrations are very small.

Letís watch following posts, arguing, when water was filtered with carbon and without no difference in algae was observed, therefor allelochemicals do not exist . Well, itís obviously more complicated than that.

Thanks for asking.
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post #22 of 47 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Edward View Post
Let’s watch following posts, arguing, when water was filtered with carbon and without no difference in algae was observed, therefor allelochemicals do not exist . Well, it’s obviously more complicated than that.

I actually don't mind this reasoning. It may or may not be behind "happy plants = no algae", but it sure aligns with it.

BBA is so mystical that I'm willing to dance around a bush to ward it off. So I'll readily take anything that stronger resembles a sane explanation.

However, I can't help but to think about the move 'the happening' whenever someone mentions it
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post #23 of 47 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Edward View Post
Any action or condition that disrupts allelochemicals makes BBA stronger.
Is just more of the same non-applicable science that is brought up which in effect simply stirs the pot against almost all rational thinking from professional and very experienced aquascapers and aquatic farmers who watch BBA disappear by doing more water changes, reducing light and removing organics.

it could be true in a sterile setting, but in our home aquariums light and organic load will have a far greater effect on keeping BBA away. Under aquarium conditions making it applicable to most people's aquariums this thought is useless IMO.

So anyone reading posters prior post would have you believe not doing water changes, increasing your light and/or duration will either not increase BBA or reduce its impact or remove BBA from your system.
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post #24 of 47 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 06:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward View Post
Allelochemicals is rather large topic for its complexity and diversity. There are many publications and videos describing it.

In simple terms, allelochemicals are chemical compounds created and released by plants in order to fight herbivorous animals, algae, fungus, and also other plant species in close proximity. They can get so specialized that different allelochemicals can be made by the same plant for daylight defense and night defense against insect or animals. We can also see how some plant species donít grow in close proximity in nature. It is powerful warfare.

When aquarium conditions are right, plants can fight algae, we can see that often. Plantís leaves become clean and glossy, algae free. But why also glass walls, decoration and equipment also become algae free? Because somehow plants ďoutcompeteĒ algae for nutrients? Nonsense, algae can get away with much lower nutrient concentrations than plants. It is a presence of active anti-algae compounds made by the healthy plants.

I think the compounds have a short lifespan due to degradation and interactions. Also the concentrations are very small.

Letís watch following posts, arguing, when water was filtered with carbon and without no difference in algae was observed, therefor allelochemicals do not exist . Well, itís obviously more complicated than that.

Thanks for asking.
Makes sense- thanks.
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post #25 of 47 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 08:56 PM
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So anyone reading posters prior post would have you believe not doing water changes, increasing your light and/or duration will either not increase BBA or reduce its impact or remove BBA from your system.
+1.

For the vast majority of folks, particularly those with any decent fish load, turning up the light and not changing water is the quickest path to all kinds of algae.

Why? Doesn't matter. Seeing it happen over and over again is enough for me.
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post #26 of 47 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
The causes of BBA have been debated here and elsewhere quite often. I can only speak to my personal experience, and what I have observed following numerous journals here on the board.

Most cases have much in common. First and foremost is generally dirty conditions. Lack of water changes, lack of filter cleaning, lack of substrate vacuuming, overfeeding fish, overstocking fish, etc. All lead to excess dissolved organics in the system, which BBA loves. IMO, the first step to avoid BBA is to provide uber clean tank conditions. When you see very successful tanks here and elsewhere, if you dig deep enough you will find that tank cleanliness is taken very seriously, and that includes large regular water changes.

Too much light is another common cause. Light needs to be provided in relation your plant types and mass. Combine too much light with dirty tank conditions, and you have a perfect recipe for BBA. Seen it over and over here and elsewhere. The more light you provide the more algae and other problems will expose any weakness and lack of balance. In general, if you are going to blast the light, you better have everything else in good balance.

Plant health is also a contributing factor. Not so much that it causes BBA, but dead and decaying plant matter is a magnet for BBA and other algae. You will notice that folks who demonstrate success pay more attention to every detail. This includes keeping CO2 at optimal levels (and O2 as well), removing any dead or decaying plant matter, pruning old unhealthy growth, providing a good level of nutrients in relation to the plants being kept, etc. No question to me that happy healthy plants are the best defense against all algae.

On a side note, I often see folks reduce or eliminate fert dosing to battle algae. IMO, exactly the wrong thing to do in some cases. Starved weak plants are an easy target for algae. And IME, I have not seen a correlation between rich fert dosing and algae. There are situations where too much is not good, with CSM+B toxicity coming to mind. But that all goes back to general plant health, and providing a good overall balance of nutrients. In general, it’s better to be focused on making plants happy and healthy than defeating algae.

Now flow is an interesting factor to me, in that both too little and too much can be a problem. Too little flow and stagnant water seems to be a contributing factor for BBA. Sometimes it is related to too much uncontrolled plant mass, with creates dead spots and a large buildup of detritus. Pull out a large dense grouping of plants, and watch the detritus and organics fly. That dead and dying material needs to be removed, as it leads to more dissolved organics in the system, which you should be trying to avoid.

Now too much flow is another issue. Many times BBA develops right in the areas of the highest flow. Let’s say a powerhead is aimed right at a piece of driftwood. Many times, that is exactly the spot where BBA flourishes. I have experienced this and have seen it countless other times in other tanks. Sometimes just reducing flow can beat back BBA quite quickly.

Now these are all just personal observations from my tank and other tanks that I follow. Now as to @Discusluv, and BBA issues with a an exceptionally clean tank, well I am at a bit of a loss there. My guess would be too much light in relation to plant mass, but really I am a bit stumped. Another possible issue could be adequate bio filtration, as a mature steady bio field quickly converts ammonia. I only mention it as I have seen instances where ammonia spikes triggered an outbreak of BBA, but doubt it is the case there.
This all matches up with my experience too, except for the flow part.
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post #27 of 47 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 10:01 PM
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Whatever it is, not that big of a deal to me- my tanks are not going to win any awards with their beauty- LOL. That is not my focus.

Just frustrating because it's cause seems so elusive given my maintenance practices. From what I gather from this thread it appears that high organics is believed to be a trigger. My tanks never go beyond 10ppm nitrates with 2 x 75% water changes, I vacuum weekly, clean filter via manufacturers instructions.
But, I do have high flow and high (er) light.
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post #28 of 47 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 11:15 PM
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But, I do have high flow and high (er) light.
This would be my guess, but only a guess.

Some time back I bought new impellers for my Rena filters. It increased flow quite a bit.

Within days I started to get a little BBA on my driftwood, right where the flow was the strongest. It quickly caught my attention, as I had not seen BBA in a very long time.

I drilled out the holes on my spray bars, which created a wider gentler flow. Within days the BBA started receding, and then I never saw it again.

I documented this in my journal. It led to an interesting discussion about flow, and many chimed in that they have seen BBA in high flow areas. It seems to be pretty well known in the hobby. IMO, good flow is misunderstood. Many think it is plants waving around, basically on the edge of mayhem (not saying that is you!). IMO a wide gentle laminar flow is best.

Now as to light, no question too much could very well be an issue.

Easy way to find out. First manually remove all BBA (bleach soak works well). Then turn down light a bit and decrease flow a little and see what happens.
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post #29 of 47 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 11:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
This would be my guess, but only a guess.

Some time back I bought new impellers for my Rena filters. It increased flow quite a bit.

Within days I started to get a little BBA on my driftwood, right where the flow was the strongest. It quickly caught my attention, as I had not seen BBA in a very long time.

I drilled out the holes on my spray bars, which created a wider gentler flow. Within days the BBA started receding, and then I never saw it again.

I documented this in my journal. It led to an interesting discussion about flow, and many chimed in that they have seen BBA in high flow areas. It seems to be pretty well known in the hobby. IMO, good flow is misunderstood. Many think it is plants waving around, basically on the edge of mayhem (not saying that is you!). IMO a wide gentle laminar flow is best.

Now as to light, no question too much could very well be an issue.

Easy way to find out. First manually remove all BBA (bleach soak works well). Then turn down light a bit and decrease flow a little and see what happens.
I will do that, thank you, my friend.
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post #30 of 47 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 11:40 PM
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I am on board with high flow and heat.

None on my plants or substrate.
Spray bar takes a whipping, tufts will grow all around the holes.
My heater gets completely engulfed in it.
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Growing is not that difficult.
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