T5 Lighting + EI Dosing + Pressurized Co2 = BBA for me - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-04-2014, 03:05 PM Thread Starter
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T5 Lighting + EI Dosing + Pressurized Co2 = BBA for me

Please help me to figure out what I am doing wrong. I keep getting BBA when using CO2 + EI Dosing and a T5HO 4 bulb Odyssea that I am only using (2) 6500k bulbs.

The tank is a 29 gallon medium planted tank. I also had this issue when using just the 30" Planted+ on the tank.

PH = 7.2
KH = 5
AM = 0
NI = 0
NA = 40 - 80ppm. Hard to tell the difference and I'm using a API and Seachem test kit.

Lights are on about 6.5 hours per day. My Co2 checker what I'll call a medium green color.

Dosing Regimen
+/- KN03 Not adding this since Nitrates are high
+/- 1/16 tsp KH2P04 3x a week (Mon/Wed/Fri)
+/- 1/16 tsp KH2P04 3x a week (Mon/Wed/Fri)
+/- 1/16 tsp (5ml) Trace Elements 3x a week (Tues/Thur/Sat)
50% weekly water change (Sunday)

Thanks!

Last edited by PhilthyMcnasty; 12-04-2014 at 04:11 PM. Reason: Added CO2 checker status
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-04-2014, 04:15 PM
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Can you tell us about your CO2 levels?

CO2 and light levels matter more than anything else in BBA... We have a good description of your lighting (2xT5HO 6500k for 6.5hrs/day), but no description of your CO2 beyond that you are using it.

Also, if you haven't done a calibration, take your nitrate test readings with a massive grain of salt. My API nitrate test reads 6 times higher than actual.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-04-2014, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattinmd View Post
Can you tell us about your CO2 levels?

CO2 and light levels matter more than anything else in BBA... We have a good description of your lighting (2xT5HO 6500k for 6.5hrs/day), but no description of your CO2 beyond that you are using it.

Also, if you haven't done a calibration, take your nitrate test readings with a massive grain of salt. My API nitrate test reads 6 times higher than actual.
Thanks for replying. I am running a pressurized system using Aquatek regulator with solenoid. As of right now until I get another timer the co2 comes on with the lights and shuts off when the lights go out.

The co2 line goes into a diffuser and spits out fine bubbles. The bubbles are moved around by a canisiter filter spray bar and a Koralia Nano circulation pump. The CO2 checker shows a medium green color which should be right around 30ppm.

The BBA is mostly on Anubis and Crypts which I know are slow growing plant which is why I have the Koralia pointed towards these plants but I can see it on some of the Anacharis stems also.

Bump: I should have added that my bulbs are probably around 10 - 12 months old but this has happen to me when the bulbs where just a few months old.

I have new ZooMed bulbs coming tomorrow.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-04-2014, 06:04 PM
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I'm thinking low co2 levels.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-04-2014, 06:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrill View Post
I'm thinking low co2 levels.
+1. bba is almost always linked to low or fluctuating co2 levels


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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-04-2014, 06:57 PM
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I get a little bit of BBA even when my drop checker goes from blue to yellow and my pH drops from 7.00 - 6.00.

I use 2x BML Dutch XB on my 75 gallon running at around 40-50% for 8 hours a day (2 hour ramp up / down) with EI dosing.

Hopefully someone can shed some light here...


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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-04-2014, 07:15 PM Thread Starter
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How accurate are drop checkers and would I be better off having CO2 come on 1 hour before lights come on and 1 hour before lights go out?
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-04-2014, 07:34 PM
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I'll admit I never side-by-sided a drop checker against lab bench equipment.

That said, drop checkers should be fairly precise (repeatably read the same) and accurate (report the correct level), bounded by a few things:

1) Your color perception. Obviously your ability to distinguish shades of green from one another affects the overall accuracy and precision, as well as the granularity of readings. You won't be able to tell 29 ppm from 30 ppm on a drop checker, the shade differences are too fine. This part can be improved using multiple checkers with different dKH solutions in them, resulting in two different color change points that make it easier to read the overall level.

2) The accuracy of your 4dKH solution used to fill the checker. Obviously if this solution is off, the pH shift caused by CO2 will be different, and the color changes will be different. However they should still be precise in that 30ppm will always be the same color, it just might not be the same shade of green that represents 30ppm. Your color perception prevents this from needing to be too terribly precise, but there are big differences between 2dKH (lime green at ~15ppm) and 4dKH (lime green at ~30ppm)


2) time lag caused by CO2 needing to diffuse from tank to air in checker to water in checker. AFAIK and based on my own observations this is fairly short, maybe 1 hour to get to a point your eyes ability to distinguish colors is a limiting factor.



4) contamination of the checker with tank water or vapor condensation.. obviously if it gets diluted, it is going to read differently..
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-04-2014, 07:42 PM
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I think its important to rember that hobby level tests are just ballpark approximations. To many variables to be really sure. Crank up the co2 till the fish gasp for air then back it down till they don't.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-04-2014, 07:57 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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I think its important to rember that hobby level tests are just ballpark approximations. To many variables to be really sure. Crank up the co2 till the fish gasp for air then back it down till they don't.

Since I will be home the next 3 days to keep an eye on the tank I will give this a try.

I guess I will have to treat the plants that have BBA first with peroxide or even bleach if I give them a dip outside the tank? Luckily removing the plants will not make a mess since I'm using PFS.

Last edited by PhilthyMcnasty; 12-04-2014 at 07:58 PM. Reason: grammar
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-04-2014, 08:30 PM
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you could also spot treat in-tank with peroxide or excel... assuming you've got an eyedropper around.
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-04-2014, 08:33 PM
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All tanks are different by on my 26 I have to run at least 3 1/2 BPS to stop BBA. Another thing that seems to be a factor is I've notice the more driftwood including , Malaysian, Manzanita or Cholla I have in the tank the more likely I am to get BBA. That is once my Amanos start to break down the wood the chances of getting BBA increases. Subsequently as much as I love wood in the scape I've removed it all. I've never heard anyone else say anything about wood and BBA so it maybe it is just me.

The wheel turns.

Last edited by DayOlder; 12-04-2014 at 08:34 PM. Reason: Edit
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-04-2014, 10:45 PM
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My 75 had a bad time of BBA, I think if it comes in from someone elses tank (like you buy plants but don't do any kind of dip or anything) and something in your tank lets it take root, its just going to keep going and going.

Also clean up any dead and decaying plant matter in your tank. I realized at one point that my dad would let dead leafs accumulate in my tank when I was away at school and just let them blow all over the tank. This is more an issue when a bunch of plants are just starting to settle in, but that organic buildup will screw things up. On that note I'd also suggest more regular filter maintenance.

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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-04-2014, 10:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilthyMcnasty View Post
Please help me to figure out what I am doing wrong. I keep getting BBA when using CO2 + EI Dosing and a T5HO 4 bulb Odyssea that I am only using (2) 6500k bulbs.

The tank is a 29 gallon medium planted tank. I also had this issue when using just the 30" Planted+ on the tank.

PH = 7.2
KH = 5
AM = 0
NI = 0
NA = 40 - 80ppm. Hard to tell the difference and I'm using a API and Seachem test kit.

Lights are on about 6.5 hours per day. My Co2 checker what I'll call a medium green color.

Dosing Regimen
+/- KN03 Not adding this since Nitrates are high
+/- 1/16 tsp KH2P04 3x a week (Mon/Wed/Fri)
+/- 1/16 tsp KH2P04 3x a week (Mon/Wed/Fri)
+/- 1/16 tsp (5ml) Trace Elements 3x a week (Tues/Thur/Sat)
50% weekly water change (Sunday)

Thanks!
the pH/KH/CO2 chart suggest that you need a pH drop to the 6.6 range or so for this light routine if the tank is full of faster growing stem plants.

Frankly, there is no way you have enough CO2 based on the pH and KH data provided. Note, that pH/KH measure will NEVER EVER underestimate the CO2 ppm's, it will only over estimate the concentration.

So the skew makes you assume you have MORE CO2 than you might.

And that is just the CO2/pH/KH chart.

Drop checkers suck.
Period.

Do not even bother using them.
I'm thinking if I have EVER suggested anyone to use them, and I cannot think I have.

They cause more bad assumptions and more harm than they solve.
I think folks are better off with a pH meter or decent pen and decent KH measurement. Much better off.
You can at least get a relative pH drop and use that as a starting point and a way to adjust it.

30 ppm might work for some tanks, but others it will not. There is no optimal CO2 ppm for every tank really. My tanks measure roughly 45-70 ppm range.

Lower light tanks might need only 15-20 ppm and that have cooler temp water, say 20C vs say 30 C, the difference in growth and CO2 are massive.

So there's many factors here.
Ferts are a minor issue, light and CO2 are MAJOR issues.




Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-04-2014, 11:23 PM
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Note, that pH/KH measure will NEVER EVER underestimate the CO2 ppm's, it will only over estimate the concentration.
Interesting.. I would have assumed that a phosphate buffered water system would grossly underestimate CO2 concentrations, with its tendency towards low KH and pH that doesn't want to move from 7.0.
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