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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This could have been in the algae forum, so feel free to move it if necessary. I am primarily interested in knowing if my dose of CSM is appropriate.

Here’s the scenario. I’ve got a 20H with an AH Supply 1x 55w bright kit. The tank has been set up with the existing substrate for three years. The light is on for 10 hours each day. I am using compressed CO2, and the tank is moderately planted (foreground is sparsely planted with HC) with “narrower leaf” java fern, Cyperus helferi, Hemianthus callitrichoides, and multiple stones covered by java moss, erect moss, or riccia. The substrate is Flourite. Fauna is comprised of eleven cardinals, five ottos, and four Yamato shrimp. The cardinals are fed a small pinch of Hikari micro pellets once each day; two Hikari Crab Cuisine pellets are added each day, and a piece of boiled spinach is added twice a week for the ottos.

My parameters are as follows:

pH = 6.6
NO3 - varies between 10 and 20ppm
PO4 – varies between 1 and 2 ppm
GH = 6
KH = 4
Ca = ?
Mg = ?

My weekly maintenance routine is as follows:

Day 1 – 60% H2O change; followed by addition of ¼ tsp KNO3, 1/8 tsp K2SO4, and 2 ml of phosphate solution (solution is 1.5T of KH2PO4 in 250ml H2O; 1ml in 20gal adds ~0.79ppm PO4)
Day 2 – 1/32 tsp of dry Plantex CSM+B
Day 3 – nothing
Day 4 – 1/8 tsp KNO3, 1/8 tsp K2SO4, 1 ml of phosphate solution
Day 5 – 1/32 tsp of dry Plantex CSM+B
Day 6 – nothing
Day 7 – 1/32 tsp of dry Plantex CSM+B

I have been battling what I believe to be BBA since I switched from Flourish to Plantex. That might not be what caused it, but it was shortly after the change that it first appeared. I use an external CO2 reactor, I calculate my CO2 levels to be approximately 30ppm at the end of the day, and the plants do pearl nicely. I only see the BBA on the java fern and C. helferi (both relatively slow-growing). Two weeks ago, I pulled out the java fern and C. helferi, put them in a 5 gallon bucket full of water, and added about 20 ml of H2O2. I then heavily pruned each plant prior to replanting them in the tank, vacumed the gravel by filling and draining the tank four times, and cleaned the canister filter (Fluval 204). Apparently, the conditions are ripe for BBA, because it has appeared again on the same plants.

Is it possible that my fertilization routine is causing this? Is my TE supplement being added at an appropriate level/frequency. Should I consider supplementing with iron and decreasing the Plantex dose?

Any insight will be appreciated.


1,035 Posts
I guess you know what Tom Barr might say ;-)

This is a timely post, for me. I was thinking of trying CSM+B on my 20H as well, switching from TMG. Having got rid of BBA some weeks ago, using H2O2, I am interested to hear more of how this situation develops and the related advice from APC. I think I will leave that CSM+B solution in a dark cupboard until I hear more.

My plants have certainly done better by dosing the same amount of K (K2SO4) as N (KNO3). That was something I failed to do before the BBA rose up and took over.

By the way, the dilligent detail of your post is great! Thanks.

Andrew Cribb
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