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I believe Niko is closer to the answer and with some additional thoughts of my own.
First: I would suspect the substrate. If it has collected too much organics, then then this may be the clue to bba. Now many aquarist's state that one should not vacuum the gravel below its surface but to vacuum just the surface. I did not find any solid research on the pro's & con's on this subject.
I believe in Niko's statement that water should be able to flow through the substrate. Now if the substrate is full of muck, then the flow is hindered.
I am thinking of taking "Seachems Flourite out of my tank and replacing it with another material that does not dissolve. But it has to be a material that will allow biological filtration and allow plant roots to adhere to.

Second: I also believe that low flow or no flow areas play a hand in helping bba to appear along with an increase in temperature. I noticed an increase in growth when my tank temperature went up to 80 degrees F.

Third: if one does vacuum the gravel, then I would recommend using a micron filter afterwards to clear up the water. Then revert back to your regular filter pads.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
I wanted to revive this topic after some experiments I did....

I used my Vietnamese biotope as a test subject. This aquarium has an overkill filter (Fluval U4) on an 10-12 gallon. I barely feed this tank and I do weekly 50% water changes. Almost no plants, and fertilizer whenever I feel like it. This means, plants are doing great sometimes, other times not so good. The tank is mainly filled with rocks and quite some flow (20x the tank volume). I can keep all these things constant and am able to induce BBA and stop it from growing by one simple change... oxygen!

When I aerate the tank 24/7, no BBA at all. When I stop aerating, BBA pops up. Aerate again and it stops growing (it doesn't die). Not sure whether it is the direct effect of the high oxygen, or the fact that all organics are broken down easier. But with the mass overcapacity of the filter and low organics due to little dying plants and little fish food, I almost expect the direct effect.

In my other tank I use CO2, but by keeping the tank clean, I reduced the oxygen demand of the organics, and thus raised the amount of oxygen as well. When people use more CO2 and conquer BBA, they raise the amount of O2 as well, by making their plants produce more.

Let me know what you think!
 

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I performed a few tests on the differance of oxygen supply by plants by day vs overnight aeration by a powerhead pointed up towards the surface and the result was 6 ppm by plants and 8 ppm by the powerhead. I used a Hach test kit for my results.
When I reported my results on another thread, I stated that my 75 gallon was lightly planted. So I do not know if a well planted tank could produce 8 ppm oxygen. But the important thing is that plants take up oxygen after photosynthesis and are also competing with the bacteria and the inhabitants overnight for it. So those with BBA may want to try using a powerhead overnight directed at the surface to see if it makes a differance in the coming weeks.
 

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The purported oxygen-increase remedy seems inconsistent with the reported natural habitat of this algae (and fresh water red algae in general), which is one of highly oxygenated waters (streems) and low eutrophication.
 

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If it is inconsistant, then we have to question whether BBA is a form of red algae. In late 2013, I had a little of BBA and then I got the idea of adding a powerhead. Soon after, the BBA disappeared and has not appeared since. But I have to admit that I also changed the way the flow is introduced. So I cannot say for sure that increased oxygen levels have an effect unless other hobbiests try it. We already have Cavan's and Yohan"s support on this.
 

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As more support, I like to say that the Asian's hang out their blankets to expose them to sunlight and the air (aerating so to speak) to remove odors.
So with increased oxygen levels, we have the result of increased oxidation of organics which is also suspect of causing BBA.
 

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I would guess the o2 benefit to the bacteria results in the bba decline and it is not necessarily a direct result of the added o2 on the alga itself.

When the growth of Scenedesmus sp.
and Pseudomonas sp. at an initial phosphate
concentration of 0.505 PM was
examined ( Fig. 1) , it was immediately apparent
that algal growth was severely limited
in the presence of the bacteria, but
the bacteria were hardly affected by the
algae.
http://www.aslo.org/lo/toc/vol_17/issue_4/0505.pdf
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
I would guess the o2 benefit to the bacteria results in the bba decline and it is not necessarily a direct result of the added o2 on the alga itself.

When the growth of Scenedesmus sp.
and Pseudomonas sp. at an initial phosphate
concentration of 0.505 PM was
examined ( Fig. 1) , it was immediately apparent
that algal growth was severely limited
in the presence of the bacteria, but
the bacteria were hardly affected by the
algae.
http://www.aslo.org/lo/toc/vol_17/issue_4/0505.pdf
How would it be possible to test the direct effect or a bacterial effect?
 

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Hi everyone,

In my current tank, BBA only grows on the plants in much the same way as orchids grow on trees. I believe the term may be epiphytic growth. I have no visible growth of any algae on the substrate, which is JBL Manado. There is a correlation between the extent of BBA and the rate of growth of the host plant. Fast-growing plants exhibit minimal BBA whereas slow-growing plants are more prone to growth of BBA.

The type of BBA to which I am referring are the small black tufts that usually grow on the very edge of plant leaves. It is known as Audouinella. Here is a description from Wikipedia:

"Audouinella is a widespread genus of red algae, found in marine and freshwater. Grows as small tufts of red, brown, or black hairlike filaments on any solid surface - most dramatically on the edges of slow-growing leaves. Often tolerant of high levels of pollution, acidity, and thrives on dissolved phosphate and nitrates. Reproduces via spores.

The form known as Black Brush Algae is a particular nuisance in aquaria as few fish, even those widely promoted as algivores, will eat it.

In natural ecosystems, this genus that infested aquariums is found in unpolluted lotic systems.

It has been tested for germination and new growth using NO3 and PO4 fertilizers and such results came out negative for a decade's worth of observations. It has been shown to be inducible by limiting and varying the CO2 concentration in planted aquariums. While other possible inducement mechanisms may exists, this is the most consistent and has been shown in many test by aquarists".

Yorkie
 

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I wanted to revive this topic after some experiments I did....

I used my Vietnamese biotope as a test subject. This aquarium has an overkill filter (Fluval U4) on an 10-12 gallon. I barely feed this tank and I do weekly 50% water changes. Almost no plants, and fertilizer whenever I feel like it. This means, plants are doing great sometimes, other times not so good. The tank is mainly filled with rocks and quite some flow (20x the tank volume). I can keep all these things constant and am able to induce BBA and stop it from growing by one simple change... oxygen!

When I aerate the tank 24/7, no BBA at all. When I stop aerating, BBA pops up. Aerate again and it stops growing (it doesn't die). Not sure whether it is the direct effect of the high oxygen, or the fact that all organics are broken down easier. But with the mass overcapacity of the filter and low organics due to little dying plants and little fish food, I almost expect the direct effect.

In my other tank I use CO2, but by keeping the tank clean, I reduced the oxygen demand of the organics, and thus raised the amount of oxygen as well. When people use more CO2 and conquer BBA, they raise the amount of O2 as well, by making their plants produce more.

Let me know what you think!
I am sorry to resuscitate a old thread, but what you Yo-han wrote is very interesting and I'd like to apply it to my tanks where I have persistent BBA. Could you please clarify what kind of "aeration" are you providing to your tanks? Is that via increased circulation, surface ripple or airstone?

And I'd be also curious to know how's your situation with BBA right now, in order to understand if you could keep it under control.

Thank you so much!

Fab.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Works in every tank I maintain, plus lots of customers I recommended it to. I do believe more and more BBA thrives on some kind of organic. Heavily overfeeded tanks, tanks with dead or decaying plants are most prone to BBA.

The trick behind aerating is twofold. To break down organics loads of oxygen is needed. And in CO2 injected tanks, it also helps to degas CO2. Which in turn raises the pH. And bacteria break down organics better with a higher pH.

The method doesn't really matter. I use a venturi to suck in air in one tank. In most tank I simply use an airstone. But you can also simply use surface agitation like Amano does by raising the lily pipes. Good luck!
 

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Thank you for your quick reply!

That's fantastic to know, I will try that. One more key question: do you aerate 24/7 in Co2 tanks, or only at night? If so, for how long? From Co2 turn off until Co2 turn on again?

Thank you again very much.

Best,
Fab.
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Not 24/7, only during lights off. Otherwise you loose quite a lot of CO2
 
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