Algae/flow/CO2 distribution help

belladee

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Mar 7, 2009
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Ok Ive got a 75 gallon with 2x54W giesemann T5HO's and one regular florescent, pressurized CO2. I turn on the Co2 1/2 hr before the florescent comes on and then in another 1/2 the main HO's come on. I run the HO's for 7 hrs and the florescent for 9 hrs.

Drop checker reads light green and when I test PH the ppm of co2 is 30.

I dose EI for 60-80 tank

50% water change every week

filtration Eheim 2215 and Ive got the Co2 going into a ceramic airstone under the intake of a Rio 600 seems to make lots of little bubbles that fill the tank.

I had a lot of GDA so I cut back the HO light 1 hr (for 8-7 hrs) and that helped.

Now Ive got BBA on my anubias, which I understand because that is a low light plant but ive also got it on my limnophelia and rotala and pogo stellus and others.

My Rio just died so im thinking about what to do.

Im gonia cut off the BBA and turn on the CO2 2 hrs before the lights come on and possibly cutting back one more hr of the HO's to 6 hrs. another possibility is to get another Eheim 2215 to add to the tank and get a reactor or maybe I could just get a larger Rio?

Ive got a lot of thoughts but just want to make the best move to keep algae away and get the tank looking good..

any and all advice welcome.
 

Philosophos

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Push the CO2 higher if you can, unless it's stressing the fish. I know it's an old line, but if your nutrients are right then it's your co2. Get a new powerhead when you can; I've found the ViaAquas work quite well when needle wheel modded, and they've got nifty loc-line fan nozzles you can point around the tank.

If it's not the CO2, and it's not the nutrients, maybe you've got some NH4 hanging around. When's the last time you cleaned your filter well? I've often found messed up filters to be a cause of algae. I try to replace or heavily rinse the fine filter pads monthly. Every few months I go hard on one of the other filter mediums.

For GSA/GDA try upping the PO4.

-Philosophos
 

Biollante

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CO2 Likely Problem

Hi,

What Philosophos said.;)

It is a CO2 issue and if you got bubbles chasing around the tank you are wasting CO2 it isn’t getting into solution. Look at building or buying some kind of reactor for the CO2 and feeding that into the modification Philosophos suggested.

When was the last time you changed the reference solution in your drop checker? What are you using for your reference solution?

Low light seems like moderate light if the unspecified fluorescent is 40 watts, simply stated that isn’t the cause of anything except maybe slow growth.

Pull up, suck up, clean up as much of the cyanobacteria as you can.;)

Big water change 50% minimum with another in a couple of days. Cyanobacteria don't like oxygen.;)

As Philosophos says clean the filters, then clean them again after the tank cleaning and big water changes.

An additional filter is a good idea, check circulation make sure everything is moving more or less in one direction.

Good luck

Biollante
 

scottward

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Oct 26, 2007
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I tossed out my drop checker. ;-)

CO2 will be it. Forget what the drop checker tells you. The algae is telling you the real story.

We are all starting to sound like Tom now.

Because we are putting Tom's CO2 theories to the test and proving them to ourselves.

Circulation needs to be good and CO2 needs to be stable.

I'm thinking your lighting level looks ok? Lower light lowers CO2 demand, but I think your lighting level is quite modest as it is, so, as the other guys have said, you probably just need to evaluate how much CO2 your pumping in, your diffusion method and circulation.

You could get a bit carried away at the moment, and then gradually back things off. If the BBA comes back, you will have backed off too much. ;-)
 

Philosophos

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I still use my drop checker for breaking in a new tank. I find that once you get to know its behavior based on how the tank is set up, you can be monitoring your CO2 throughout the day, even if it's just in the one point in the tank. If it's not pushing quite as greenish yellow at certain times of the day, you can get a heads up long before the plants will tell you.

Besides, it's a good conversation piece; people look at your tank and almost immediately ask what it is. And it looks nicer than any other piece of equipment :D

-Philosophos
 

Biollante

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What Scott Said

Aesthetics aside, I gotta go with Scott.:)

Given the variables, if you are very careful you might be plus or minus 20% with that drop checker.

Your tank will tell you everything you need to know. ;)

Way too many folks chasing numbers around when they ought be paying attention to their flora and fauna instead of cranking some valve up one day and down the next.

Biollante
 

aquabillpers

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Philosophos;40572 said:
Push the CO2 higher if you can, unless it's stressing the fish. I know it's an old line, but if your nutrients are right then it's your co2. Get a new powerhead when you can; I've found the ViaAquas work quite well when needle wheel modded, and they've got nifty loc-line fan nozzles you can point around the tank.

If it's not the CO2, and it's not the nutrients, maybe you've got some NH4 hanging around. When's the last time you cleaned your filter well? I've often found messed up filters to be a cause of algae. I try to replace or heavily rinse the fine filter pads monthly. Every few months I go hard on one of the other filter mediums.

For GSA/GDA try upping the PO4.

Some of my soil-based tanks develop BBA on occasion; others don't. I'm sure the nutrient levels are similar. None have CO2 injection; they are always "low" on CO2. So there must be another cause of BGA.

Excess NH4 is possible but in my case, unlikely. I'd bet that light levels have something to do with it - either too much or not enough.

By way of example, I have several anubias that I've had for 10 years. The poor things are about 1/5 of their original size. They lived in the bottom of a 2 wpg, 29 gallon tank where the light level at the bottom was about 800 lux. They were covered with BBA. That disappeared after bleach treatments, but it soon returned.

The plants were treated with bleach again and moved to a smaller tank in which the light at the bottom was
about 1900 lux. After 6 weeks, the plants are BBA-free, a bright green, and growing.
 

Philosophos

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I find the various forms of A. barteri have trouble taking advantage of higher light levels, even if CO2 is provided; I tend to put it in the shade.

I'm not sure why you're using lux, and I'm not very familiar with it. Lux is yellow-weighted for the human eye, and doesn't address PAR in any way. If anything it biases towards weighting around 600-620nm if i remember right.

It's also not accurate to say that because you have low CO2, BBA will occur. It used to be the classic trade off to accept GSA instead of BBA through PO4 limitation.

-Philosophos
 

aquabillpers

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Philosophos;40634 said:
I find the various forms of A. barteri have trouble taking advantage of higher light levels, even if CO2 is provided; I tend to put it in the shade.

I'm not sure why you're using lux, and I'm not very familiar with it. Lux is yellow-weighted for the human eye, and doesn't address PAR in any way. If anything it biases towards weighting around 600-620nm if i remember right.

It's also not accurate to say that because you have low CO2, BBA will occur. It used to be the classic trade off to accept GSA instead of BBA through PO4 limitation.

-Philosophos

I'm using lux because it is a widely-accepted measurement of the light energy that falls on a surface. It was the standard for measuring aquarium light until PAR came along. People who work with light talk in terms of lux or lumens, not PAR.

Lux measures the energy occurring in the visible spectrum, which is about 400 to 700 nm.

When measuring the output of full spectrum bulbs, lux can be converted to PAR by dividing it by 54. The PAR equivalent of 1950 lux is about 36; of 800 lux, about 15.

Note that this comparison is only valid for broad spectrum bulbs. There was a discussion of that here within the last year.

I don't believe that I said that BBA occurs when CO2 is low. In fact, I said the opposite, based on my experience. My main point was to speculate that insufficient light levels, or insufficient light levels in combination with other factors, might cause BBA.

Bill
 

Philosophos

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Do you have nutrient levels for both? Were both tanks set up with similar equipment? I guess what I'm wondering is whether or not you had any controls between the two tanks.

I've taken the same tank, and repeatedly brought CO2 levels up and down under high light via compressed CO2. All other variables stayed pretty much unchanged; the dosing routine was the same, the feeding times and brand, the filtration, the water source, etc. I found BBA happened when CO2 was low and went away when it was high.

This has been the case for many of us, and Tom has put a lot of time in to researching it. I'm just wondering why your circumstances are suddenly unique. Anomalies should definitely be examined closely.

-Philosophos
 

nipat

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May 23, 2009
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Philosophos;40640 said:
-snip-

I've taken the same tank, and repeatedly brought CO2 levels up and down under high light via compressed CO2. All other variables stayed pretty much unchanged; the dosing routine was the same, the feeding times and brand, the filtration, the water source, etc. I found BBA happened when CO2 was low and went away when it was high.

This has been the case for many of us, and Tom has put a lot of time in to researching it. I'm just wondering why your circumstances are suddenly unique. Anomalies should definitely be examined closely.

-Philosophos

But you just said:

-snip-
It's also not accurate to say that because you have low CO2, BBA will occur. It used to be the classic trade off to accept GSA instead of BBA through PO4 limitation.

Why the contradiction ? :confused:

Yep, I already know that in Tom Barr school, BBA = Low CO2 :rolleyes: (not too low though, very low CO2 will have the
same affect as high CO2: http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/algae/1717-get-rid-black-brush-algae-100-a-3.html )
 

Philosophos

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Why are you purposely taking the logically inconsistent interpretation of what I said, rather than asking for clarification?

The statement was in context with the previous understanding that low CO2 does not always create BBA, I did not make that absolute statement. I'd be willing to bet that if you introduced BBA, it would flourish in a typical fish tank with limiting CO2.

It's a tendency for it to appear when CO2 is low, and I have no knowledge of it developing under any controlled tests where CO2 is non-limiting, and there isn't anything offbeat like high levels of NH4.

I'm going to say the same thing I did in my last post, and I'm guessing the same thing Tom has said to you when you've brought this up in the past. Have you put the effort in to creating a tank with good controls, in order to observe the behavior of BBA its self? Can you tell me that these tanks you experienced things with were identical? Can you create BBA at high CO2 levels, or have it continue to thrive at these levels?

The evidence I've seen points to the contrary. Your anomaly does not constitute a thesis, what you have is conjecture. Build on that conjecture, make something stable of it, then come back. I would more than welcome seeing a blatant contradiction to our understanding of planted tanks; I tend to think of it as a point of progress. Right now though, you aren't offering enough in terms of concrete evidence to be able to overturn good research.

-Philosophos
 

aquabillpers

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Philosophos;40648 said:
Why are you purposely taking the logically inconsistent interpretation of what I said, rather than asking for clarification?

The statement was in context with the previous understanding that low CO2 does not always create BBA, I did not make that absolute statement. I'd be willing to bet that if you introduced BBA, it would flourish in a typical fish tank with limiting CO2.

BBA cells are almost always present in aquariums. It manifests itself when conditions are right, just as do other alga and pathogens that are also present. They don't have to be introduced.

You would lose your bet. None of my non CO2 injected tanks currently have BBA, knock on wood. In one that did, pruning and a 30 percent increase in the length of the photoperiod eliminated it and it hasn't returned.

There are a lot of roads to success with planted aquaria.

Bill
 

nipat

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Philosophos;40648 said:
Why are you purposely taking the logically inconsistent interpretation of what I said, rather than asking for clarification?

Well, my purpose was asking for clarification. Because I saw that sentence strange,
especially when it came from you. Just that, no bad intention hidden.


The statement was in context with the previous understanding that low CO2 does not always create BBA, I did not make that absolute statement. I'd be willing to bet that if you introduced BBA, it would flourish in a typical fish tank with limiting CO2.

It's a tendency for it to appear when CO2 is low, and I have no knowledge of it developing under any controlled tests where CO2 is non-limiting, and there isn't anything offbeat like high levels of NH4.

OK, thanks for the clarification.

I'm going to say the same thing I did in my last post, and I'm guessing the same thing Tom has said to you when you've brought this up in the past. Have you put the effort in to creating a tank with good controls, in order to observe the behavior of BBA its self? Can you tell me that these tanks you experienced things with were identical? Can you create BBA at high CO2 levels, or have it continue to thrive at these levels?

The evidence I've seen points to the contrary. Your anomaly does not constitute a thesis, what you have is conjecture. Build on that conjecture, make something stable of it, then come back. I would more than welcome seeing a blatant contradiction to our understanding of planted tanks; I tend to think of it as a point of progress. Right now though, you aren't offering enough in terms of concrete evidence to be able to overturn good research.

-Philosophos

Hey, I've never brought this up in the past. I start to think that this whole reply
is not to me. And you might confused my post with aquabillpers' ?
 

nipat

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aquabillpers;40649 said:
BBA cells are almost always present in aquariums. It manifests itself when conditions are right, just as do other alga and pathogens that are also present. They don't have to be introduced.

You would lose your bet. None of my non CO2 injected tanks currently have BBA, knock on wood. In one that did, pruning and a 30 percent increase in the length of the photoperiod eliminated it and it hasn't returned.

There are a lot of roads to success with planted aquaria.

Bill

Tom used to said in this thread http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/algae/1717-get-rid-black-brush-algae-100-a-3.html
that very low CO2 (below 5-10 PPM perhaps—if I got it right) would give the same
effect as high CO2 to BBA. Unless beautiful non-CO2 tanks would be impossible.
 

aquabillpers

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nipat;40658 said:
Tom used to said in this thread http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/algae/1717-get-rid-black-brush-algae-100-a-3.html
that very low CO2 (below 5-10 PPM perhaps—if I got it right) would give the same
effect as high CO2 to BBA. Unless beautiful non-CO2 tanks would be impossible.

Part of what Tom said was

Water changes typically add CO2 and cause the algae and plants to respond to this. BBA seems to like higher CO2 levels but only up to a point. I've found this to be true in natural systems as well. 5-10ppm or so seems good.

Forcing BBA to use KH or having access to very little CO2 seems to slow growth and makes it very rough on new BBA spores that settle and attach.

The same appears to be true with high CO2 levels above 15ppm. As long as the levels do not drop or move around too much, BBA will stop growing.

I believe that the key here has to do with reproduction of spores. When times are good, the algae does its vegetative growth cycle. When the CO2 varies a lot, then it thinks that local environment is getting worse, so it releases spores that will hopefully land somewhere more favorable.

If you provide constant variation and change with enough CO2, then you have a nasty BBA problem.

If you go outside this range, say very low CO2 or high CO2, then the algae stops producing spores and eventually the older BBA dies off never being replaced by the young spores

I interpret this to mean that very low or very high CO2 levels was not healthy for BBA, and that fluctuations in CO2 levels stimulates it. He didn't mention the effect, if any, of light.

But, in the example I've been citing, the CO2 level was both low and constant, and BBA flourished. Increasing the photoperiod seems to have eliminated it.

I think high tech and low tech tanks respond differently to different stimuli. Some "rules" that work for high tech tanks don't work in low tech environments, and vice versa.

Bill
 

Philosophos

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Arg, sorry nipat; I took you for aquabillbpers. AI was making an insane number of posts yesterday, crossed a couple wires on who I was talking to. Somewhere over on APC I'm sure there's a very confused newbie who caught fragments of stuff meant for this thread >.<

As for losing any bets... I have 2 tanks with no CO2, and no BBA. The light is low though, and that's a large part of it.

-Philosophos