Aquatic Plant Forum banner
1 - 20 of 29 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am trying to understand more about black brush algae. The first thing I would like to understand is exactly how it comes to be present in an aquarium in the first place.

1. Is BBA present, as spores, at all times in the air (i.e. we 'breath' it in all the time)?

2. Or, is BBA an algae that can only be introduced into an aquarium?

3. What conditions 'trigger' an outbreak of BBA?

4. What conditions nurture the ongoing 'take over' of BBA?

5. As a hypothetical experiment, imagine that I deliberately wanted to culture BBA - how would I go about doing this?

6. It appears that there is a great deal of confusion as to whether certain fish will eat this stuff. Manual removal is also extremely time consuming. I manually remove it and it keeps coming back - obviously I need to understand the answers to question 3/4 above better.

Scott.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
145 Posts
I think fluctuating CO2 is what I've seen as the cause most of the time.

I know for a fact Excel kills it, I have a non CO2 tank and if I do water changes w/o letting the CO2 off gas it causes fluctuations, I believe this is how I have gotten it in my tank, I spot dosed Excel and most of it turned white the next day and some red(assuming the most hurt part).

Actually I just reread this page and it says, low water current/CO2 for co2 injected tanks and CO2 fluctuations in non CO2 injected tanks(due to water changes. Which fluctuating CO2 levels can also be caused low circulation IMO.
http://www.theplantedtank.co.uk/algae.htm

I agree 100% with that as I have low light non CO2 and have a couple small spots of BBA, I positive its from doing water changes in my setup.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
525 Posts
BBA is brought on by fluctuating Co2. It only takes a little to start a problem. It can be brought in by anything plants, rocks, fish, water, and probably air LOL. so trying to stop its introduction is not possible as far as i know.

Once BBA gets a little start from a Co2 fluctuation its set, It has everything it needs Lights, Co2, ferts.

Stopping it from getting a hold is easier by keeping a regular and stable Co2 level. Spot dosing or over dosing with excel, glut, or hydrogen peroxide H2o2, will kill it pretty fast.

I suggest the excel spot dosing at regular levels for safety and ease. Put it in a syringe and squirt it on the BBA, in a day or 2 of doing this it turns into some very beautiful shades of red and white as it dies.


Their are fish that will eat it some Mollys i believe and Florida flag fish are some. In my experience they only eat the new growth or dieing BBA.

But easy way really is take a day clean the wood and rocks, Dip the plants that can take it, remove heavily covered plants, start spot dosing places you cant or don't want to clean, and stabilize the C02

Hope i helped
Jeremy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi. Thanks for the info. Ok, so this 'stabilise the CO2' seems to come up a lot. Let's go back a step...

WHY does fluctuating CO2 encourage BBA? Does it directly encourage the BBA or does it indirectly encourage the BBA by affecting something else, i.e. higher plant growth?

Scott.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
525 Posts
From what i understand and have been able to learn, (im no scientist lol) Algae is a single cell organism, while plants are not. When a necessary nutrient is running lean the plants slow down their metabolism, they have many cells to feed, where as algae has only one cell to feed so it can take advantage of the low nutrient, in this example Co2 or carbon, and use the other nutrients. I believe that BBA is better adjusted to low Co2 levels then other algae their for when the Co2 goes down or even up the plants have to adjust all their cells to better use what they have so they slow or stop, where as algae is quicker at the adjustment because it only has to adjust itself.

This is only my theory from trying to read and learn what i can. And fill in the gaps on what i couldn't find.

I do hope that someone can come along and correct me or say if im right.


EDIT: I do not believe that BBA is airborne, that was a joke. I do believe it is in everything else though, and I also believe it can dry out and come back to life.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi. Is it possible to dose the entire tank with Excel, rather than 'spot dosing'? I have BBA on various leaves of plants and if I can nuke the whole lot in one go that would be easier.

When the BBA turns white, does it fall off the leaves by itself or does the dead BBA still have to be removed?

Scott.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
299 Posts
It is possible to dose the entire tank with Flourish Excel as opposed to targeted dosing. After the dead BBA turns white it will fall off although you can help it along.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
145 Posts
I have been dosing Excel 2x the daily strength in my tank for the past week and it does not seem to touch the BBA. Spot dosing deff hurts it bad. I just did a spot dose on my driftwood this morning and 5hrs later all the BBA was red on the driftwood, the other spots in the tank are still black and doing fine(will spot dose them in a day or 2).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
299 Posts
Increase the dosage to 3x, 4x or even 5x but only every third day. I dosed 5x normal every third day for two weeks to rid my Anubias of BBA.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
635 Posts
Increase the dosage to 3x, 4x or even 5x but only every third day. I dosed 5x normal every third day for two weeks to rid my Anubias of BBA.
+1 to that, and it works. But your vals, (and a few other types) if you have any, will melt.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
145 Posts
Well I was going for ~2x daily, then I did 1x, then the next day I did ~2.5-3x and I found an Oto that was suffering bad the next day. I'm not positive that Excel was the cause but it is my guess. The other Oto i had in there is still fine. I removed the one that was laying funny on the substrate and put it into my 10G that had no excel and it died the next day. The RCS and Endlers and that other Oto are still fine so maybe it was a fluke?

I guess I'm just more comfortable doing spot dosing of 2x, or maybe I will try the 3-4x every couple days and see since I have some algae all over.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,116 Posts
BBA goes away, every time, slowly but surely with:

- light doses of Excel (around 5 ml per 55 gals a week)
- amano shrimp
- minimum organics in the water

--Nikolay
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
635 Posts
BBA goes away, every time, slowly but surely with:

- light doses of Excel (around 5 ml per 55 gals a week)
- amano shrimp
- minimum organics in the water

--Nikolay
Man, I wish it were that easy.

My amanos never touched the stuff (and I guess I'm not alone: http://www.aquariacentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=110860 )

That little Excel never helped me, until I dosed 3x the "water change" dose for about 4-5 days in row. What do you mean by 5ml per week?

What do you mean by the third ("minimum organics in the water")?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,116 Posts
Rich,

It is easy. But you have to be patient. As many other cases in planted tanks - you have to have all 3 things to make the BBA go away. Actually the Amanos are not mandatory but they will pester the BBA if hungry enough. If you have to decide between Amanos that MAY try to hurt the BBA or no Amanos at all what would you choose? But the Excel and especially the low organics is what really makes BBA go away.

Organics are one of the main causes of algae in a planted tank. We seldom talk about them because there are cooler, much more fabulous things to discuss - grams of fertilizers, % of water changes, Kelvins, turning CO2 off and so on. The organics aren't necessarily visible mulm on the bottom. There is a test kit for them, but any test kit is very much useless for a planted tank. The best approach is to do your part and ensure no organics accumulate in the water. How? It's VERY complicated, trust me:

- Don't overfeed
- Don't overstock with fish
- Change water regularly (smaller portions more often is better than 50% once a week).
- Remove all visible mulm, dead leaves etc.
- Stay consistent with the above maintenance
- Have Amanos, but also dwarf shrimp (they eat what Amanos produce as waste), also have different kinds of snails. Otos, ancistrus too. Basically you are trying to build an processing plant so very little organic matter stays rotting.
- Damaged leaves ooze juice. This juice is pure organics. It's best to remove damaged leaves (and of course fish that damage them).
- Some fish have only liquid waste. Cardinals are like that. It is prefferable to hard waste because it gets processed by the bacteria faster.

You get the idea. Takes several weeks and it works.

--Nikolay
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
635 Posts
Thanks Nikolay. I have no reason not to doubt you but once again, like so many things in this hobby, some of what you say goes totally opposite to so much I read here and elsewhere, particularly the water change thing and only 5ml per week of Excel....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
128 Posts
I have mostly Vallisneria in my 29 gallon tank, The BBA is starting to grow on the leaves of my Vallisneria.
What is the best way to git rid of BBA in this situation since Excel will kill these plants?
I never had problem with BBA until I introduced a DIY Yeast generated CO2 system to my tank...
It's growing fast, I been doing a 4 gallon water change once a week, and I only dose at 50% ferts listed on Seachems dosing chart.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,136 Posts
Other ways BBA establishes itself is letting the NO3 get near zero, too much iron, too much phosphate.
I have found that limiting iron will limit the spead and growth. Areas with low water flow seem to be a suitable refuge for it to establish itself.

Prune ruthlessly and bleach dip any ornaments and equipment; but wood should be boiled and/or scrubbed.

Fish that I have observed eating it are: SAE's, False SAE, Guppies, and Cherry Barbs. However, they never seem to eradicate it. I had 2 Florida Flag fish that didnt touch it - they seem to like hair and thread algae.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,136 Posts
I have been dosing Excel 2x the daily strength in my tank for the past week and it does not seem to touch the BBA. Spot dosing deff hurts it bad. I just did a spot dose on my driftwood this morning and 5hrs later all the BBA was red on the driftwood, the other spots in the tank are still black and doing fine(will spot dose them in a day or 2).
When people say 'spot dose': Is this done with the affected plant/ornament out of the tank or in the tank. It may sound like a stupid question but I've had no luck either way.
 
1 - 20 of 29 Posts
Top