Bba (UPDATE) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 168 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
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Bba (UPDATE)

This tank has become an ongoing problem (headache!) because of reoccurring BBA. It is so ugly. Im thinking it is time to just tear it down and start over. New substrate, most plants tossed and other plants treated with H2O.



I have read and listened to various opinions on this forum regarding BBA's cause, and still, regardless of whatever steps I take from those recommendations- the BBA continues.

It has gotten worse of late. The last advice I heeded was that the organics were too high- despite 75% water changes every 3 days. So, in the last 2 weeks, I went to every other day water changes of 75% with gravel cleanings. It looks worse. It has now started to cover the substrate.



Ive been able to do pretty well with my other low-tech tanks- but, this one is a disaster.


I think Ill just get some inert sand, put in a couple sticks, and call it a defeat.





Last edited by Discusluv; 10-21-2019 at 11:43 PM. Reason: Update
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post #2 of 168 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 07:02 PM
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Do you know what your nutrient levels are at? How intense is your lighting and what is your photoperiod? Have you stirred up the substrate sending organics into the water?


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post #3 of 168 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 07:57 PM Thread Starter
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I fertilize very little- relative to others because its low-tech with low-light plants.. I do the dosing recommended on the back of Seachem bottle for NPK, Iron, Flourish, and use Advance. I also do some dosing with Excel for algae control. But, inconsistently- and obviously, to little benefit.
I use Rootabs which I replace every 4 months.

There are 2-Current Satellite plus pro on here. The tank is a 60 inch cube -so deep. I leave one on for 6 hours ( the back strip) and the other for 8 hours to allow more time for viewing.

I vacuum the substrate well. I submerge the head of the python into top layers of substrate routinely to keep these layers clean.
I also have very good circulation with a Fluvel G6 Filter with two inlets ( 1 pointed at back and to substrate and the other just below water line to increase oxygen saturation. All plants move throughout aquarium.


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post #4 of 168 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Discusluv View Post
I fertilize very little- relative to others because its low-tech with low-light plants.. I do the dosing recommended on the back of Seachem bottle for NPK, Iron, Flourish, and use Advance. I also do some dosing with Excel for algae control. But, inconsistently- and obviously, to little benefit.
I use Rootabs which I replace every 4 months.

There are 2-Current Satellite plus pro on here. The tank is a 60 inch cube -so deep. I leave one on for 6 hours ( the back strip) and the other for 8 hours to allow more time for viewing.

I vacuum the substrate well. I submerge the head of the python into top layers of substrate routinely to keep these layers clean.
I also have very good circulation with a Fluvel G6 Filter with two inlets ( 1 pointed at back and to substrate and the other just below water line to increase oxygen saturation. All plants move throughout aquarium.
Nice, I've always wondered about those fancier lookin' Fluval filters. How do you like it?

Would it be possible to get some measurements? The Seachem recommended dosages are pretty conservative, I'm suspecting your plants are reaching a limiting factor on nutrients, allowing algae to take hold.


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post #5 of 168 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
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Nice, I've always wondered about those fancier lookin' Fluval filters. How do you like it?

Would it be possible to get some measurements? The Seachem recommended dosages are pretty conservative, I'm suspecting your plants are reaching a limiting factor on nutrients, allowing algae to take hold.
This fluvel G6 is my favorite filter ever--

It has been going strong for many years- at least 6 years without any problems.



I dont have any testing stuff beyond nitrates, nitrite, ammonia, KH/GH, PH.

I think your right on that limiting factor. I also think it is lack of balance between this, lighting, and Co2.

But, this is primarily a discus tank that gets minimum 2 x 75% water changes weekly. I think it is just not a good environment for plant growth and perfect for algae.
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post #6 of 168 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 08:39 PM
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Sorry you are dealing with this, it's a bear. I have tinkered around with it but never really could pinpoint a perfect method of eradication. Tried spot treating with Excel, but as you describe -it's often just too "all over the place" for spot treatment. Best luck I had was putting Excel in a spray bottle, draining the tank down to expose it, and spray the Glut right on it and let it sit for a few minutes, then fill back up as usual. This would be especially difficult if growing on the substrate and is an extreme measure for sure, but everything else I tried and it just comes right back. It seems to have certain sets of conditions though. I once moved an old Anubias with BBA all over the roots into a high tech tank and the BBA withered away to nothing. Don't know if CO2 levels can kill it, bright lights or what but it hated that tank. I have found nothing that reliably eats it.

In your tank photos maybe it's the lighting or a camera trick but yours looks compromised. I've had it lush and ink black to dark gray in color. That looks almost brownish. Maybe the Excel is working?
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post #7 of 168 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 08:45 PM
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This fluvel G6 is my favorite filter ever--

It has been going strong for many years- at least 6 years without any problems.



I dont have any testing stuff beyond nitrates, nitrite, ammonia, KH/GH, PH.

I think your right on that limiting factor. I also think it is lack of balance between this, lighting, and Co2.

But, this is primarily a discus tank that gets minimum 2 x 75% water changes weekly. I think it is just not a good environment for plant growth and perfect for algae.
Good to know! I may try one out in the future, they look pretty cool. lol

Try this, dose your macros on water change day, dose for a TOTAL of 20ish ppm nitrates (say you have 10 ppm after WC, add another 10 or so from dosing) and 2 ppm of phosphate, follow the directions for potassium. If you're doing micros, just follow the directions there as well. See if that helps you.
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post #8 of 168 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 08:54 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Ridge Reef View Post
Sorry you are dealing with this, it's a bear. I have tinkered around with it but never really could pinpoint a perfect method of eradication. Tried spot treating with Excel, but as you describe -it's often just too "all over the place" for spot treatment. Best luck I had was putting Excel in a spray bottle, draining the tank down to expose it, and spray the Glut right on it and let it sit for a few minutes, then fill back up as usual. This would be especially difficult if growing on the substrate and is an extreme measure for sure, but everything else I tried and it just comes right back. It seems to have certain sets of conditions though. I once moved an old Anubias with BBA all over the roots into a high tech tank and the BBA withered away to nothing. Don't know if CO2 levels can kill it, bright lights or what but it hated that tank. I have found nothing that reliably eats it.

In your tank photos maybe it's the lighting or a camera trick but yours looks compromised. I've had it lush and ink black to dark gray in color. That looks almost brownish. Maybe the Excel is working?
No, not a trick of camera, it is more brown than grey or black on wood. I hope it is stressed!

I was okay with the BBA until it started getting on substrate- then it was like- no way!


I suppose I can give this one last try- like you suggest with the Excel.

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by varanidguy View Post
Good to know! I may try one out in the future, they look pretty cool. lol

Try this, dose your macros on water change day, dose for a TOTAL of 20ish ppm nitrates (say you have 10 ppm after WC, add another 10 or so from dosing) and 2 ppm of phosphate, follow the directions for potassium. If you're doing micros, just follow the directions there as well. See if that helps you.
I just got ( a few days ago) the Thrive All In One liquid ferts to start weaning myself out of the 6 liquid bottle designer ferts. Stupid it has taken me so long. After a while maybe Ill feel confident enough to go dry and mix myself- I am wary because of my sensitive fish.

I think the Thrive will be setting me at a higher nitrate concentration than the Seachem line was. Ill do some testing to see where Im falling. .



Thanks for some tips, the fish could care less but Im really getting so frustrated with this tank.
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post #9 of 168 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 09:33 PM
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Iím seeing large amounts of detritus still in the substrate bed. Circled in red.



Can you take a well illuminated pic of side of substrate bed?
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post #10 of 168 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 10:33 PM
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Excel and Gluteraldehyde works really well on BBA..
Just need to find the magic dose..

note Vals are susceptible but most find "acclimating" them to glut works..
Discus and shrimp may have issues.

1/2 ml/gallon works pretty well for me NOTE CORRECTION
If you have sensitive plants or shrimp.. doing a low dose every 2 days and gradually upping the level 'should" work..
NORMAL dosing as per bottle of Excel is pointless .

do a google search to see what others do..


Oh and one doesn't need to do it daily or for long BUT you still need to find a "cure"...

I've seen worse BBA and more on plants than you have.

Last edited by jeffkrol; 08-16-2019 at 10:58 PM. Reason: 1/2ml not 1
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post #11 of 168 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 10:39 PM
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@jeffkrol do you agree that it looks like the glut is working? I think the BBA looks to be struggling in those pics already. Wish I could find old photos of how mine looked last outbreak I had, but it had a ton more pigment and for lack of a better word "firm" growth. That stuff looks droopy and brown, wonder if she isn't making some headway already.
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post #12 of 168 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 10:56 PM
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@jeffkrol do you agree that it looks like the glut is working? I think the BBA looks to be struggling in those pics already. Wish I could find old photos of how mine looked last outbreak I had, but it had a ton more pigment and for lack of a better word "firm" growth. That stuff looks droopy and brown, wonder if she isn't making some headway already.

Actually w/ the correct dose it goes grey in a few days...
direct answer.. looks pretty "healthy" to me atm..doesn't mean it's not dying.


I need to make a BIG correction to my first post...


1/2mL/ gallon some do and quite successfully dose 1 and greater ml/galllon though my "sweet spot" was 1/2mL gallon

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post #13 of 168 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Blue Ridge Reef View Post
@jeffkrol do you agree that it looks like the glut is working? I think the BBA looks to be struggling in those pics already. Wish I could find old photos of how mine looked last outbreak I had, but it had a ton more pigment and for lack of a better word "firm" growth. That stuff looks droopy and brown, wonder if she isn't making some headway already.
I agree that the condition of the BBA on the wood is weakened. I once had such strong jet black BBA that I took down the whole tank. Let me tell you, yours looks like it's in bad shape. Dont give up 🙂 we all struggle at some point, if nothing else maybe try to allow this to happen and try to slowly tweak things that could be causing the algae. The most annoying part about taking a tank down after an algae infestation is the fear it could happen again.

Try to find the root cause and take this as a learning curve 🙂
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post #14 of 168 (permalink) Old 08-17-2019, 01:56 AM
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Hey @Discusluv

As a recipient of your good advice since I've been here I'd like to share my own history with this unsightly and stubborn algae and how I eradicated it completely. There are many theories as to what causes BBA. For me it was inconsistencies in CO2. I suspect that the Lemon tetras are the unwitting cause, the levels of CO2 they create differs during the day (especially if they sparring and/or spawning mode) and night. I had thick "carpets of this BBA and it attached itself everywhere.

My solution was DIY co2 and at a later date pressurized CO2. BBA in my experience can't stand a consistent and stable level of CO2. Once introduced it took several days for the bba to go from Black/brown, to red, to white and then die. The bigger "carpets" quickly turned pale and then quite literally, floated to the surface for removal by hand.

Obviously pressurized or even DIY CO2 might not be for you. The former can be pricey and the latter inconsistent without the right mix but they can be fed to every aquarium viaco2 tubing splitters.

NOTE: I had a DIY CO2 recipe that used molasses and wine yeast. It created 1bps for 6 days before needing to be renewed.
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post #15 of 168 (permalink) Old 08-17-2019, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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After sleeping on it decided to just take out substrate and start over. Ordered 2 - 20lb bags of Caribsea instant aquarium sand in Sunset Gold. My favorite sand.

I will toss the worst of the BBA ridden plants and treat the others with? Excel or H202?
The Wood? Should I just toss it? Or can I actually clean it so the BBA doesnt come back?
Ill clean all inside tank well with H202?

This is a big deal, gutting the tank, because of the sensitive fish in here, but I cant stand this ugly stuff anymore in here. It will ultimately put me through a mini-cycle ( with discus) but, will be fine with daily water changes. Its more stressful on me than the fish.

I am hoping this will restore some semblance of balance to this tank.


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