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Discussion Starter #1
I am recently experiencing some (quite big) issues with BBA in my 100 lt. heavily planted tank, whose features you may read in the Fertilizing area of the Forum.
Basically, all values are in the wished range, light and CO2 are fine also...
In my opinion only 2 things could be the reason of a BBA explosion.

1- I may have an imbalance of nutrients due to a far too limited micros dosing... I was dosing only 2 ml of Flourish weekly. Two weeks ago I doubled the dose and now waiting for results. A sign of micros deficency could be noticed on my heteranthera zosterifolia's leaves. The final parts of the leaves are somewhat "damaged" and/or darkish. They told me it is a sign of micros lack. Could you confirm?
2- I may have an excess of CO2. From the KH/PH readings I noticed a CO2 level of 40 mg/lt and higher. I recently riduced the injection and now wait for the result. I've read somewhere that BBA are almost always noticed in acid environments and they might take advantage of free CO2. Is that possible? I've read in this forum that people with BBA issues are always encouraged to increase CO2... Could it be that lack of CO2 (limiting factor) can cause BBA explosion as well as excess of CO2 could lead to the same situation (but, of course, for different reasons)?

Any opinion?
 

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Darkswan,

2 ml of Fluorish weekly in a 100 liter tank will not do much. I personally would try 2 ml. every 2 days (or better yet - 1 ml every day). H. zosterifolia is a good indicator of deficiencies but the dark leaves may be a result of shadowing by other plants too.

BBA have some cell structures that are Calcim based. That means that vefy soft water may casue these structures to disolve or at least ake it harder to develop new ones.

Acidic environment may do the same thing since Calcium disolves better at low pH.

All that means that if you have good CO2 supply + soft water you are doing something right to fight BBA. That being said I still think that aggressive manual removal of objects (rocks, wood, equipment, plants) is the best way to fight BBA.

--Nikolay
 

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Darkswan,

2 ml of Fluorish weekly in a 100 liter tank will not do much. I personally would try 2 ml. every 2 days (or better yet - 1 ml every day). H. zosterifolia is a good indicator of deficiencies but the dark leaves may be a result of shadowing by other plants too.

BBA have some cell structures that are Calcim based. That means that vefy soft water may casue these structures to disolve or at least ake it harder to develop new ones.

Acidic environment may do the same thing since Calcium disolves better at low pH.

All that means that if you have good CO2 supply + soft water you are doing something right to fight BBA. That being said I still think that aggressive manual removal of objects (rocks, wood, equipment, plants) is the best way to fight BBA.

--Nikolay
 

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I agree manual removal is a great way to help combat BBA. I also found that BBA seems to like water flow. In my tank it seems to collect where the strongest water flow is, so I devert the water flow away from those areas and switch the water flow to differant locations weekly.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for your inputs :)
I agree in that manual removing is the only way with BBA!
I'd like to understand better what are the real conditions for BBA outcoming...
Niko, do you mean that softening the water could help to fight them? Provided that KH lower than 3,5-4 is not advisable in a CO2 tank, what do you recommend, to decrease GH in order to have lower calcium levels?
The article I mentioned seems to say just the opposite: BBA are likely found in acid environments with soft water and a lot of free CO2, but quite never in alkaline water (es. african chiclids).
I think I'm getting confused... :shock:
One thing is for sure: in many years of my hobby I experienced BBA with many different water conditions and I really have a hard time to push them away. I think they are the worst kind of algae to deal with :twisted:
 

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Darkswan,

I don't claim to know how to get rid of BBA. In my previous post I said that soft water and good CO2 level MAY help. But besided manual removal I don't think anyone has a guaranteed approach for getting rid of BBA. :D

BBA is indeed the worst algae that plagues planted tanks because it doesn't seem to react logically to anything. My personal experience is that the usual "weapon" - great plant growth - is the best but will not work 100%.

You mentioned that KH for planted tanks should be about 3.5-4.0. That is not necessarily so.

--Nikolay
 

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BBA grow most excellent in soft water FYI.
CO2 at 20-30ppm works dany.

If you have BBA, you need to re evaluate your CO2 dosing.
95% of the issue is CO2(not enough).

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi Tom!

First of all nice to get to know you :)
I was just waiting for your opinion!
My doubts are just due to the fact that I do have enough CO2...

You can get a full picture of my tank features here:
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=21873#21873

What do you think? Maybe I should increase PO4 in order to have more NO3 consume? In other words: speed up the tank to let plants grow better and outcompete algae... ?!?

Thanks for support!
 

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Yes, I heard that the Aquaplnta forum is going into the entire Nitrogen article I wrote.

I have some new (actually old) data from Diana Walstad's presentation and book about NH4 vs NO3 uptake.

Although she argues that NH4 is preferred in her book and speaking, the graph she uses clearly suggest NO3, not NH4 is preferred at the concentrations that we use each of them at in our tanks.

Insightful interptation of the graph celarly shows the opposite effect(NO3 is preferred) since the slope of the line in the graph is the rate of uptake.

BBA:
Re evaluate your CO2.
Kill and trim off the BBA that's there now.
High CO2 will stop BBA from growing but noit really kill it etc.

Also, test the pH/KH at the end of the photocycle.That's the most critical time if something is funny with your CO2.

We assume, Amano, Myself, and many other seasoned plant folks that our CO2 is fine when in fact it's often CO2 and we overlooked something.

All CO2 errors are such they produce less, never more than the actual measurements of CO2.

So add a tad more(unless fish respond poorly) even if the test kits seem right but growth is sub standard.

Plants are the ultimate test and their health should used to gauge the proper conditions in one's tank at the last test.

So remove what's there, re evaluate the CO2 a few times, add some more KNO3 (2-3x a week if you CO2, 4x a week with high light).

10-20ppm works well.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for your insights Tom!

I’ll check again CO2/KH/PH relations and, in case, increase CO2 injection.
What I’ll certainly do is to dose more traces (I was absolutely too low with them). Passing from 2 ml to 4 ml of Flourish weekly I noticed improvements. Next step is 6 ml. As a consequence, I noticed also a bigger N depletion. I’ll do as you suggest: increase KNO3 dosing (at first from 1 to 2 doses per week). Could it be that too little traces dosing limited also N and P uptake? And inderectly cause the BBA issue, as imbalance of nutrients?
I’ve read the Walstad’s book and I find it really interesting and useful even if her aquariums style doesn’t match exactly with my personal conception of planted tank. In any case, the book is one of the unique scientific book (even too much for my knowledge in this field) for aquarists. Yes, according to what she says it seems that ammonium is the preferred N source for plants (better than NO3). In the last release of Aquaplanta magazine there is an article by Diana describing the process. Honestly I didn’t go into deep analysis of graphs… :roll:
 

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If you use a graph to support your assumptions, better make sure you know how to discuss a graph and apply it to an arguement:)

Anyone want to challenge the assumption I made about the rates based on that graph? If you use rates as a form of "preference", clearly in planted tanks, NO3 is the preferred form based on that graph.

We never have 0.25ppm of NH4 present. Algae
We can and do have .25ppm of NO3 or higher. No algae and good plant growth.

But if you have a sterile tank with no algae spores, no fish etc, then adding .5-2.0ppm NH4 will be preferred.

That's not very useful, information.
Why? It's assumed that 0.5-2.0ppm of NH4 is present in our tanks.

It also suggest a great importance on the form of Nitrogen that really exist in practical terms. I have not seen any difference(even if we ignored fish/algae issues-I used no fish and used a UV to control algae in my experiments) in plant growth rates/health in CO2 enriched systems.

Non CO2 tanks may have slightly better results, but.............she does not measure each parameter, nor measures the CO2, DO, NO3, etc etc........

I do.

Non CO2 tanks have other issues going on that make teasing apart thing tougher.


Back to your tank:
Yes, just follow the advice.
For a 100liter tank with high light:

Add every other day:
1/4 teaspoon KNO3
~1/16" KH2PO4 or 2-3 drops of enema

On the off day, add 5mls of trace mix(TMG, Flourish or equivalent)

Do 50% weekly (or larger water changes)

So 4 days of macro dosing, 3 of trace dosing per week.
This is very heavy dosing and can be scaled back with less light, but it will not harm a lower light tank either.

Make sure you have good CO2.
That's the main issue with your tank.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Tom,

Very clear your point of view with regard to NH4/NO3 issue and Walstad's theory...

I was really glad to see that you joined our italian Forum Aquaplanta. I hope it's not just a visit but a long-lasting presence! :D As you noticed, there are many threads dealing directly or indirectly with your principles. If you are there later on today we will have the chance to chat a little further and share info with other italian friends... :D

Back to the tank.
You recommend to dose for a 100 lt. tank (with high light and enough CO2) the following:
1,4 g (1/4 teaspoon) of KNO3 (that results in 8,4 mg/lt every 100 lt) + somewhat KH2PO4 or 2-3 drops of enema. The whole thing every other day (4 times per week)
5 ml of Flourish 3 times per week (on days you don't dose macros)

Very clear! If I'm not wrong this is a little more massive than first versions of your dosing recipe. Isn't it?

I always had a little doubt concerning this technique. I also mentioned it to Giancarlo...
With a 50% weekly water change how can you be sure that you FULLY reset the tank? I mean, you certainly avoid build-up of nutrients... but since plant uptake is not a known parameter and testing is something (of course mainly tedious) not precise by definition, the only 100% known parameter is the quantity of compund you dose. All that given, with a 50% change it could be resonable that somewhat nutrients remain in solution. Only a 100% change could give a real and total reset...
So, the conclusion: could it be useful to make a "diet-week" every let's say 2-3 months when you don't dose anything and just let plants consume all residual nutrients. In this way you could be sure that you start with a "clean" tank, fully reset...
What do you think?

Thanks for attention. Ciao!
 

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darkswan said:
Tom,

I was really glad to see that you joined our italian Forum Aquaplanta. I hope it's not just a visit but a long-lasting presence! :D As you noticed, there are many threads dealing directly or indirectly with your principles. If you are there later on today we will have the chance to chat a little further and share info with other italian friends... :D !
I'll try and get there often.

darkswan said:
Back to the tank.
You recommend to dose for a 100 lt. tank (with high light and enough CO2) the following:
1,4 g (1/4 teaspoon) of KNO3 (that results in 8,4 mg/lt every 100 lt) + somewhat KH2PO4 or 2-3 drops of enema. The whole thing every other day (4 times per week)
5 ml of Flourish 3 times per week (on days you don't dose macros)

Very clear! If I'm not wrong this is a little more massive than first versions of your dosing recipe. Isn't it?!
Yes, but giuven the loighting and low fish load, this should only increase plant growth, you can back off slowly(3 weeks for each time you do a change) and see what your tank needs specifically.

That will maximize the use of nutrients(namely Traces which cost $$, macro's are dirt cheap)

BTW, www.gregwatson.com will send PMDD stiuff if you want it.
You can become a distributor if you want:)

darkswan said:
I always had a little doubt concerning this technique. I also mentioned it to Giancarlo...
With a 50% weekly water change how can you be sure that you FULLY reset the tank? I mean, you certainly avoid build-up of nutrients... but since plant uptake is not a known parameter and testing is something (of course mainly tedious) not precise by definition, the only 100% known parameter is the quantity of compund you dose. All that given, with a 50% change it could be resonable that somewhat nutrients remain in solution. Only a 100% change could give a real and total reset...
So, the conclusion: could it be useful to make a "diet-week" every let's say 2-3 months when you don't dose anything and just let plants consume all residual nutrients. In this way you could be sure that you start with a "clean" tank, fully reset...
What do you think?

Thanks for attention. Ciao!
You can do more if you want, 50% can be expressed mathmatically over a week's dilution etc.

But it's good enough to keep things from egtting out of control or levels getting too high etc.
Nothing wrong with more % if you want or RO water etc. Cost more, takes more time etc.

50% allows close enough guessing.
It's not for preciuse control, it's for practical control of nutrients.
More% will give less guessing and more precision if you want that.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Tom,

Regarding the Forum Aquaplanta, if you agree I could propose to open a specific area within the Fertilization section (or somewhere else...) where we italian hobbysts could get informed about your techniques/advices. It would be not too heavy for you (hope :lol: ) to check that section let's say once per week and give your comments. And easier for Giancarlo to translate too!!! :). What do you think?

I have another question regarding estimative index... When you talk about traces, if I'm not wrong you always mention "full spectrum" products like Flourish or TMG and you suggest to dose them targeting iron to be around 0,5 mg/lt.
But what do you think about separated (or supplementar) dosing of iron (so Flourish + Flourish iron)? You don't recommend it because you just think that iron inside Flourish is enough or because it would be harder to get an estimative index of traces if iron would be dosed separately?

Finally: how long is your ideal photoperiod?
You see. I'd have hundreds questions...

Thanks
Andrea (which is a male name in my country :D ) - I'm Andrea67 in Aquaplanta
 

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Andrea,

Sure, that's for there though, not here:)

Regarding traces, since the light is far more intense these days, so must the CO2(so 20-30ppm is needed , not 10-15ppm), more NO3, PO4, K, GH etc..........as must the traces at the end there.

I use full spectrum traces since it is roughly what the plants need, not just iron.

I find no real use in adding more Fe only.

I use it as a proxy for the other nutrients.
10-11hrs is my light peroid, 10-12 is fine.

I do not suggest a measurement for Fe.
That was done away with about 7-8 years ago amid lots of problems with test kits.

I decided to do away with most test kits thereafter since making a reference solution with tap water is easier/cheaper and simpler for everyone.


Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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Tom should be doing a house call on this patient to see if his prescriptions are working. I'm sure he'd enjoy a trip to Italy...

Suffering in silence a persisent outbreak of BBA, I am curious to hear more of this thread and see if Andrea's outbreak has been defeated.

I noticed a dramatic decrease in BBA recently when I changed two parameters:

- upgraded the light to 110w 2 GE9325 55w bulbs on an AHS-based system (20 US gallon, 75 litres); and
- started to shut off CO2 at night

I also increased the weekly water change to 70-80%.

Previously I spot treated with H2O2 but that had little effect.

Andrew Cribb
 

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Tom,

You mention that a high stable CO2 concentration helps stop the spread of BBA. Does this mean that a person shouldn't be turning off their CO2 at night when trying to fight it?

Thanks,
Aaron
 

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For what its worth, I leave my CO2 on all the time (it's run by a pH controller) and don't have BBA issues.

What I have noticed however is that once a year, in the fall, I get just a couple of spots of BBA, and only on the driftwood. This coincides perfectly with the annual change in my tap water parameters (change of source), going from a KH and GH of around 6 to 13-15.

At this point I set up the good old RO unit and use RO/tap mixes to bring it back down to 6 and the BBA stops growing. I scrape it off the wood and it doesn't come back for a year. :D
 

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Aaron Ivers said:
Tom,

You mention that a high stable CO2 concentration helps stop the spread of BBA. Does this mean that a person shouldn't be turning off their CO2 at night when trying to fight it?

Thanks,
Aaron
No.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 
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