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Discussion Starter #1
Hey folks,

I really need some advice on dealing with BGA. I've been battling this in all my tanks for 3+ years now... It comes and goes with little rhyme or reason, And now my freshly setup iron aquascape contest tank is a slime coated mess (barely 24hours after its initial setup).

10g setup is:
10g tank, 30w NO flourescent, Whisper Jr, Pond pump (60gph) feeding a DIY reactor Fed by DIY CO2 system.
Substrate is onyx sand
Plant load to start was about 20 stems of Ambulia (temporary resident), Hydrocotyle verticillata (waiting on rotala indica to arrive)
KH is 14, pH is 7.0 (42ppm CO2) Ferts, NO3 - 8ppm, PO4 1ppm, dosed 3ml Plantex (a guess of a starting point).

No fish yet, 12 hour light cycle...

What is going on here? There has to be a cause, Only consistant cause I've seen is that these outbreaks happen when my WTP pulls from a specific well, which results in high silicate levels in the water.

I know I can deal with the mess, using erythromyacin, blackouts, and H2O2... But why do these outbreaks keep hapening?

Idears?

Andy
 

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You will no doubt hear the usual NO3, CO2 and other nutrient balancing acts to rid yourself of BBA. While I agree with all that and I myself suggest using H2O2 as spot treatment to kill it, using natural predators such as SAE and Amano Shrimp is probably the biggest help you can get. I've beaten BBA without either of these critters in the past but that isn't always as easy as we make it sound. I recently gave 2 of my adult SAEs to a friend who was having BBA problems, it's a low light tank and he doesn't really get into testing and fertilizing too much, luckily the 2 SAEs I gave him cleaned up his BBA problems in a matter of a couple weeks, his tank is free of BBA now, or at least they are eating it faster than it's growing back.

Hope that helps
Giancarlo Podio
 

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I thought it was BGA not BBA?:) Giuancarlo, you are lucks if your Amano's eat BBA. Mine wont touch it:(

Andy,

I find that maintaining good NO3 levels to be ideal in batteling this plague. If you only dose 8ppm at the wc and have no fish load, the NO3 is most certainly being used up by mid week. This is almost certain since you are dosing P. Adding P to the water column tends to make NO3 uptake increase. Try checking NO3 levels every 2-3 days until you have a handle on how your tnaks is working. I bet you find that by mid week you NO3 levels are 0ppm, thus your BGA problem

Make sue that your CO2 levels are maintained in a good range. The only times I get BBA problems is when my CO2 levels fall for a coupl eof days, then, ughhh!

Hope it helps:)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
It's a BLUE GREEN algae problem, not black brush algae. (I wish, BBA is relatively easy to deal with).

Tanks not even 24 hours old, nutrients are still where they should be (With the exception maybe of traces). I'm going to bump up the NO3 a bit higher (10ppm), CO2 levels are deadly to fish at the moment. I haven't mixed a DIY CO2 for a 10g in a while, wasn't thinking when I added the yeast...

(BTW, guppies do great work on BBA - just don't feed them, when they get hungry enough they'll start munching on it).

What drove me insane most with this tank, is the speed in which the BGA outbreak happened, less than 24 hours and the tank was coated. I've never seen it progress that fast before. But now I'm looking for a final solution - this is getting insane, 6 tanks running in the house right now and each one has a BGA outbreak (Some less than others).

Andy
 

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Just clean out good and make sure you have the plants cleaned well.
Not sure what you did for the set up but algae blooms do not happen typically for a week or so even if the tank is loused up when setting up a new one.

Something else is happening we do not know about here.
Silicates are not going to cause BGA, diatoms are the only group that will use Si. The BGA came in on your plants.

You say all your tank have issues with it, well the KNO3 will help and good CO2 etc.

I think you already an existing problem on the plants, and you brought it over to a brand new tank.

Add mulm/peat to a new substrate and this will help reduce issues.
But your other tanks also have issues. So blaming it on this tank is not fair if you are adding plants from one tank to the other.

Take care of all the tanks, don't expect the new one to be any different.
I don't have any visible BGA. It's there, and most folks have it in their tanks right now.
It's just not growing.

It does not like being disturbed or water changes.
But it will grow back fast, so kill and remove what is there first.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Tom: what else could cause BGA outbreaks? I'm not blaming the problem on the 10g, just frustrated by the rate it seems to take over on occasion.

I decided to setup an experiment, and try to find the source of the problem... Setup another identical 10g tank, mixed the substrates, then divided, same quantity/quality of plants, same setup (removed driftwood from the iron aquascaper tank just to make things fair) same lighting, same filters (new media in each). Then I did a single 1day 200mg treatment of erythromyacin to each so neither tank should have an existing BGA problem. Dosing the same amounts of ferts (10ppm of NO3, 1ppm PO4 + traces), DIY CO2 to each, CO2 is still rather high in both, trying to get the plants kickstarted to a certain degree (42ppm - pH is 7.0 in 14dkh)

I'm running one tank on city water, one on reconstituted RO/DI (bringing it up to the same kh/gh as the city water - as it comes out of the tap).

3 days later, the 10g on city water definintely is developing a BGA problem. The reconstituted RO tank, is clean. To be clear, the original 10g I was asking about, is now the RO/DI tank.

I'm befuddled - Somethings causing these algae outbreaks... But it doesn't seem to be the usual suspects.

I did mention I do have BGA in all my tanks - to varying degrees, in some tanks it's just a little green tint on the substrate, maybe a bit of black in the corners under the substrate line... Other tanks like the 55g seem to be fine one week, slimed the next.

Andy
 

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No tank is ever identical unless you really really try very hard.

I do not think RO is going to solve anything for you.
You've had BGA issues for 3 years now.
It's something other than the tap water.

Try cleaning the tank and filters good, keeping the nutrients in a good range dose KNO3 etc, doing regular 50% weekly water changes etc.

You need to work on the nutrients and keeping the CO2 up in a good range. Plants do well=> the algae will not.
This is true for all algae.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 
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