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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, I need help. The past 6-8 weeks have been very bad for my tank. Although lighting, fertilization, and flow are very consistent, I've had a horrible outbreak of BBA.

Things that have changed:
-I removed the giant java fern, but this was after the problem popped up
- I added six small plecos to the tank, which only has three cories and one other pleco
- Bulbs are getting near 2 years old ( I think)
- I took off the spraybar, leaving the "jet". Water circulation is plentiful, the whole tank has movement. Last week I replaced spraybar, BBA is still infecting new leaves.
- The stump is getting old. The BBA started there before covering all the plants.
-I removed almost all the stem plants in the tank. I have been letting them thicken and grow back, and now L. Arcuata fills about 1/4 of the tank. However, the new growth is quickly covered by BBA.
- I'm using the ebay special inline diffuser. It works very well, before I was using a glass diffuser inside the tank, and the CO2 is better dispersed now than before. I'm getting very similar results to when I was using the needle wheel pump.
- The tank started getting some indirect morning sunlight from a nearby window. This problem has been corrected for a week now. The light wasn't terribly bright, but may have triggered algae?

The BBA is mostly attacking the bolbitis. However, it is growing on the L. Arcuata is mentioned, as well as the silicone on the corners of the tank and the thermometer, filter pipes too.

Short of dosing Excel, or H2O2, does anyone have any suggestions? I know that my CO2 levels are fine, the tank has been set up for quite some time with no problems. Overall plant mass has not changed, actually reduced from where it once was.

I guess my question really is, could the aging tank and tank ornaments (the cedar stump) be the cause of the BBA? I'm hoping someone has a similar experience.
Thanks for your thoughts.
 

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I don't like "jets" of flow. They definitely cause BBA IME. Once it got started, that may have been all it needed before it started growing on everything. BBA does like to grow on wood..
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That's what I was kind of thinking too. When I took the spraybar off and left just the "crook", the overall flow increased in the tank. However, I do believe that's where the first algae showed up on the plants themselves, a few inches in front of the jet.

And yes, BBA and wood seem to go together. This stump is a couple years old now, and has been the substrate for algal growth for quite a while. At the current moment however, there is only a bit of cladophora at the top of the stump which has been resident there since I put the stump in, and a very small amount of BBA. The majority of the algae is now on the plants, and spreading.
 

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Well if you do decide to do the h2o2, I always lower the water level so that the bba is right after the surface. this way I know that the h2o2 is actually on/in the bba, and not just sinking down to the bottom of the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That's the way I've done it in the past. However, I'm a little skittish of using it again, I overdosed the tank last time and killed my large male bristlenose pleco. I definitely don't want a repeat of that again, especially considering the amount of cash I have in livestock in this tank at the moment.

I dosed peroxide at 1ml/gal both yesterday and today. Some of the upper leaves have BBA that's turning pink, the rest is unaffected. All livestock is healthy. Hopefully in a few days I'll have this under control again.

Thanks for the input CL!
Anybody else got .02?
 

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Nothing to add other I feel your pain. I've had it pop up from time to time like you while having maintained what I thought was consistent ferts, CO2, flow, etc. When it shows up it's usually around the holes of the spraybar, on driftwood and on the leaves on my java fern and anubias. Removing the affected leaves and cleaning the spraybar and driftwood thouroughly usually take care of it but then months later I'll see it start to reappear and repeat the above process. It never gets out of hand but it bugs me that it will at some point reappear and no one who doesn't keep a tank would even notice but I would love to know what I'm missing.
 

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That's what I was kind of thinking too. When I took the spraybar off and left just the "crook", the overall flow increased in the tank. However, I do believe that's where the first algae showed up on the plants themselves, a few inches in front of the jet.

And yes, BBA and wood seem to go together. This stump is a couple years old now, and has been the substrate for algal growth for quite a while. At the current moment however, there is only a bit of cladophora at the top of the stump which has been resident there since I put the stump in, and a very small amount of BBA. The majority of the algae is now on the plants, and spreading.
It's odd that you started getting BBA after you removed the spraybar and started using the "crook". I found exactly the opposite. When I used to use the spraybar, it would develop BBA starting at the holes. When I went to using the bend or crook without the jet nozzle piece, I started getting less BBA. I still get a little on the front gravel, I just suck up the affected gravel during water changes and dispose of it. Whenever I see BBA on the silicone corners, yeah I just have to scrape it with a thumbnail. I don't get BBA on plants though. Are your plants healthy otherwise? I think healthy plants tend to resist algae infection. You might want to check your fert routine. I think I have had worse BBA infections when my macros got to lean, especially nitrate. When I get to lean in phosphate, it's kind of obvious because I get Green Spot Algae on the glass. I would always keep a healthy population of stems, they keep things in balance more easily. It might help to shade the ferns, anubias and crypts with the stems as well. If you can, remove the wood until you get a handle on the BBA.

For me, BBA is always something I have to deal with so I have adjusted my scape to make BBA easier to manage. I shade the slow growers a bit with stems and aim the "crook" of my filter at the front left corner so the flow deflects off of it and flows counter clockwise toward the filter intake in the right rear corner. That way if, I get BBA, it's in the front gravel where I can easily reach it. I gave up on keeping wood in my aquarium. I resorted to more to a dutch scape with no wood and strategically placed shade.

Most importantly, make sure your 4 KDH drop checker stays light lime green. CO2 and adjusting flow are your most important tools for fighting BBA. Below is a link to what my tank looked like when it was way overgrown. If you keep glosso covering the gravel, it tends to prevent BBA on the gravel as well.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/h_bosman/4138934167/in/set-72157622829944660/

Other pictures there might make it easier to see how I set my filter ins and outs. So far, I've finally kept my BBA to a manageable level.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the input.

I have always had BBA on the holes of the spraybar, but never on the plants themselves before.

The wood is rather integral to the rest of the tank and all the inhabitants use it as a home in some way or another, so I can't remove it. The cories sit in the shade of it, the plecos are always attached to it, the kuhli loach hides in a tiny nook, and the kribs have staked out real estate in the "cave" part under it.

My dosing may have been lean, that's certainly a possibility. With my hectic schedule, remembering to fertilize the tank is usually pretty far down on the list. Of course the problem with BBA is that it takes about 2 weeks to pop up after you screw something up, so it's hard to pinpoint what you did.

I'm going to maintain the peroxide dosing daily, until the algae is dead. Hopefully I can prevent its return.
 

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"Of course the problem with BBA is that it takes about 2 weeks to pop up after you screw something up, so it's hard to pinpoint what you did."

I hear you on that one! On the other side of the coin, I'm not exactly sure why I don't have as much BBA as I used to. I was sure It had to do with the changes I previously described. But, you had the opposite result with similar changes so I am not sure now.

Anyway, let me know how your battle goes, it sounds like we have a common foe. LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I will keep this thread and my journal updated on my progress. When the lights came on today about 75% of the BBA was pink, a sign the low dosing of H2O2 is working. I dosed the tank again at 1 ml/gal., and hopefully tomorrow it will all look dead.

In the future I am going to try to be more consistent in my dosing, as well as keeping the tank clean. Cleanliness goes a long way to warding off algae, more so other types like cladophora and hair or slime type algaes, but should help with BBA nonetheless.

Out of curiosity hbosman, how old is the tank you're dealing with? I'm just wondering if the aging tank accumulates decaying matter over time, leading to a proliferation of algae spores that are waiting for a chance to bloom (i.e. ,a missed day or two of dosing).
 

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i kept some madtoms for a few years and I never cleaned the gravel. They ate like little pigs and I didn't dose anything. It was an algae pit. I think it gets that way with heavily stocked tanks. And, plecos are poop machines.
 

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I will keep this thread and my journal updated on my progress. When the lights came on today about 75% of the BBA was pink, a sign the low dosing of H2O2 is working. I dosed the tank again at 1 ml/gal., and hopefully tomorrow it will all look dead.

In the future I am going to try to be more consistent in my dosing, as well as keeping the tank clean. Cleanliness goes a long way to warding off algae, more so other types like cladophora and hair or slime type algaes, but should help with BBA nonetheless.

Out of curiosity hbosman, how old is the tank you're dealing with? I'm just wondering if the aging tank accumulates decaying matter over time, leading to a proliferation of algae spores that are waiting for a chance to bloom (i.e. ,a missed day or two of dosing).
It's been running since 2004 without a substrate change or removal. I like the decaying matter in the substrate, it makes my crypts happy. I don't need to use substrate fertilizers. I would imagine spores would accumulate over time but, a new tank has more issues than an established one. One thing I forgot to mention, I started doing at least one 50 % water change versus two 25 % water changes per week. That really seemed to improve things, probably the best and easiest way to remove algae spores.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I've been doing 50% water changes since I started the tank in August 07. I suppose this should keep the spore level low, I was just wondering if they were free floating or mostly attached in the spore change, before they bloom.
 

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I've been doing 50% water changes since I started the tank in August 07. I suppose this should keep the spore level low, I was just wondering if they were free floating or mostly attached in the spore change, before they bloom.
I don't recall reading anything about spores except that they exist and are in the air everywhere. I would imagine that Hydrogen Peroxide would kill the spores, Excel I kind of doubt it because it didn't do much for me. Guesses and speculation on my part.
 
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