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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 1 year old 29 gallon low tech tank that recently started developing blackbeard algae. Around the same time i removed about 80% of my floating plants to reduce the constant job of thinning them out. What could be causing my new BBA outbreak? Nutrients, co2, lighting too strong?

Lighting: Nicrew classic LED on 10 hrs. (7am-5pm)
Fertilizer: Easy Gro (2x/week), Seachem Fourish Advance
Plants: Crypts, amazon sword, Ludwigia, Val, Water lettuce, frogbit, red root floaters, Various Anubias,
Maintenance: 40% water change 1x per week. Clean filtration media every other water change.
Co2: None
Filtration: AquaClear A615 70 gallon & Large sponge filter
Stock:
10 Neocaridina davidi (Cherry shrimp)
3 Macrotocinclus affinis (Dwarf oto)
3 Gymnocorymbus ternetzi (Black skirt tetra)
9 Hemigrammus bleheri (Rummy nose tetra)
1 Poecilia wingei (Endlers livebearer)
1 Poecilia reticulata (Lyretail guppy)
1 Poecilia reticulata (Fancytail guppy)
1 Poecilia reticulata (Cobra guppy)
1 Tuberoschistura arakanensis (Rosy Loach)
1 Ancistrus sp. (Super Red Bristlenose Pleco)

Photo is before all floaters were removed.
1026205
 

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By removing 80% of the floating plants, you did two things. You removed a quick grower that helps remove excessive organics and you significantly increased the amount of light the plants are receiving. Either of these sudden changes could have led you to where you are today with BBA. Personally, I have found that excessive organics in the system usually leads to a BBA outbreak. Spot treating excel/h2o2 will knock it back, but still need to get to the root cause of the issue so it doesn't come back. Please provide some water parameters if possible (kh,gh,po4,no3 & h2o temp).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have spot treated H2O2 once a week for 2 weeks so far. It kills the BBA and the fish eat it but it comes back. Tank parameters are as follows

PH: 7.8
KH: 9 dKH
GH: 16 dGH
PO4: .25 ppm
NO3: 20 ppm
H2O: 78°F
 

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I have a 1 year old 29 gallon low tech tank that recently started developing blackbeard algae. Around the same time i removed about 80% of my floating plants to reduce the constant job of thinning them out. What could be causing my new BBA outbreak? Nutrients, co2, lighting too strong?
As mentioned by @ytro it's all about what amount of organics (most notably waste) your setup can handle. Light accelerates the growth of algae. So the more light you have the more uptake of waste you need from plants. If you don't have enough plants you need to do more water changes, less feeding and more maintenance (removing left over food/damaged dying plant leaves before they decompose and release ammonia.) Ammonia even in the smallest amounts is the catalyst for algae.

So the answer is all of those things play a role, nutrients (waste) and lighting. You don't inject co2 so that's not going to change much in terms of driving the existing plants to grow quicker and uptake more nutrients.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@Asteroid and @ytro I will keep an eye on the ammonia and work out a more restrictive lighting schedule and see what happens. Co2 is my next adventure as i have successfully been able to keep aquatic plants and animals alive. I am looking at a DIY setup currently to verify effectiveness before the real investment. Any DIY method y'all recommend over another?
 

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@Asteroid and @ytro I will keep an eye on the ammonia and work out a more restrictive lighting schedule and see what happens. Co2 is my next adventure as i have successfully been able to keep aquatic plants and animals alive. I am looking at a DIY setup currently to verify effectiveness before the real investment. Any DIY method y'all recommend over another?
I tried DIY CO2 many years ago before I got my pressurized system and while it can produce results, they are marginal and the fluctuation in CO2 production if you use the yeast method as I did back then can actually be counterproductive since the yeast produces different amounts of CO2 depending on what strain of yeast it is, and what the room temperature is. Fluctuations in CO2 can actually affect some plants, and cause algae problems, and there is no shut off on those systems to stop overnight as CO2 is produced round the clock until the yeast runs out of sugar and dies off. CO2 works and is effective, there are plenty of studies, and examples of tanks to show it, so I'm not going to ask you to just believe me. It's up to you to if you want to mess around with DIY and get disgusted with its messiness but if you do want to get into pressurized CO2 I'd recommend getting a 5 lb. aluminum cylinder, CO2 line, a Dennerle CO2 check valve, and a dual stage regulator with solenoid, and bubble counter. You can then decide if you want an inline atomizer, CO2 reactor, or diffuser. I'm using a large Aquario Neo diffuser on my 75 gallon tank, and a GreenLeaf Aquariums dual stage CO2 regulator with what is in my experience the best warranty on any such equipment around, they are a little pricier but have turned out to be well worth the money compared to the box full of junk regulators I had bought previously over the years. They might be second only to some of those from dedicated hobby builders here on this forum. If I had to do it all over again I would not mess around with DIY, single stage, and dubious manufacture, no warranty dual stage regulators and just buy what works and ultimately save a lot of time and money. If you still need to see results first then I'd recommend getting one of those cartridge driven mini pressurized systems, but even they in my opinion are more of a headache than they are worth. I hope this helps. You can operate a nicely planted tank without CO2 and low light plants but the CO2 makes a huge difference, and if any of this will be helpful to you and save you from having to jump through hoops and waste time and money like I did over the years, with every new gadget since we all started using CO2 in the aquarium hobby then I will consider this a mission accomplished; I wish someone would have been able to do that for me but most of what I use now was not even around back then.
 

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To 2nd the above, save yourself a lot of frustration and algae breakouts from radical co2 fluctuations by not doing diy co2. Either go with the best quality parts you can afford, or stick with low-tech. It's fun for about a week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
@Spiritus-Ichthus @novato Thank you both so much for your insight. The GreenLeaf regulators look very nice and well built. I agree completely with using purpose built solution, however, as a Mechanical Designer by trade its difficult to get past the need to design something :). I should just go with what works and not jeopardize my investment in plants and animals in my tank. I think the DIY Co2 is better tested on my 1 gallon Nano aquascape :)
 
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