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Arrrhhh.... BBA

Discussion in 'Algae Control' started by colonel, Feb 21, 2006.

  1. colonel

    colonel Guru Class Expert

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    I am starting to get BBA all over my tank. I know this is usually a sign of low CO2 but this just doesnt seem possible in my case. Im running pressurized gas, my tank has a KH of 3 degrees. At lights on my PH test 6.0 with a Hanna PH pen, around lights off it test all the way down at 5.6 for whatever reason through the day I am getting a build up of CO2. Is this more likely the cause of BBA? or is it really a lack of CO2? i just dont really know how much more can be added and still have living fish, and its to the point where I feel the PH is to low as it is, let alone going even lower.
    Im using an inline external reactor, it works very well within an hour I get the PH down to 6.... but then for whatever reason slowly over the course of the day it continues to drop down to 5.6 any thoughts on this?
     
  2. Spar

    Spar Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Arrrhhh.... BBA

    the other sign of BBA is low Phosphates. I would increase what you are currently dosing and see if that helps.

    your co2 sounds fine, but if your fish aren't gasping or even looking like they want to, you could still increase it.

    any chance you have peat moss in your tank?
     
  3. colonel

    colonel Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Arrrhhh.... BBA

    Thanks for the Advice spar, I have been trying to get my tank in shape and things have improved since I started to dose a bit more, But phosphates I left alone thinking I had pleanty. Growth has still seemed slugish to me though, maybe thats it. Its a 75 gallon, and I have been doseing 3/4 t. of KNO3 and 1/8 t. of KH2PO4..... which is roughly 1.84 ppm per dose, or 5.52 ppm per week. Think I am running on the lean side with that?
    Fish arnt gasping or looking stressed, I have cherry shimp also that seem to do fine just grazing all day long but it doesnt really seem like lack of CO2 would be the issue with dropping the PH so LOW. there has got to be a a decent amount. And no there really isnt any peat. I mean there was a thin layer on the bottom of the substrate when the tank was first set up over a year ago... but since then it has gone through a total rescape with all of the substrate taken and and rinsed clean taking out most of the peat.... but there is still a small amount mixed through out the substate.
    I also had filter floss in my canister that had clogged up pretty good and slowed down the flow rate a pretty good amount. So i pulled that out tonight hoping to get the CO2 stable again, as it was when I first got the tank all set up, but as the floss clogged I started to have the trouble with the PH dropping over the day, So hopefully it will be more stable now. Guess ill bump up the PO4 to 1/4 t. also and see if that helps at all, cant hurt I have learned that much so far ;)
     
  4. DavidR

    DavidR Prolific Poster

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    Re: Arrrhhh.... BBA

    You are addressing the wrong problems. Nutrients are good. NO3 in a 75g should be a little over 0.5 tsp. KNO3, up to 0.75 tsp.. KH2PO4 should be no more than 1/8 tsp. (.125 tsp.). K2SO4 will help in some cases (high fish load and/or high light), about 0.5 tsp. every other day. Traces should be 15 mL every other day of TMG or Flourish. 10-15mL every other day of Seachem Iron will help some with either fert, but mandatory with Flourish.

    You are getting BBA not because of "low" CO2, but the improper use of it. In a 75g tank, you must have excellent water circulation throughout the entire tank at all times. Filters should never be clogged, and cannister filters will NOT provide the correct amount of water circulation alone. You need a powerhead or two. You must have a very stable supply of CO2, coupled with a very stable method of circulation (the powerhead). Couple that with good light and adequate nutrients, and you can grow anything.
     
  5. colonel

    colonel Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Arrrhhh.... BBA

    To tell you the truth I dont think thats the problem at all, for months I had NO BBA at all in this tank using a single peguin 330 HOB filter.... no power heads in the tank. Plants grew well and No algae..... now I have made some lighting up grades and swiched to a canister filter, and swiched to a different method of trying to get the plants the nutrients they need.... and needles to say its been a strugle the entire time. Thanks for the reply, but I dont really want to see my fish pinned to the tank sides and my plants blowing over, and with all of the circulation from the canister filter alone, yes belive it..... things are already close to that.
     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Arrrhhh.... BBA

    Well, the change increased the lighting a great deal.

    When you switch new lights, the bulbs are much brighter initally.
    This in turn increases the CO2 demand.
    You got BBA then.

    The nutrients seem fine and fairly "trusty".
    CO2........ahaha you knwo what I'm going to say, and you might not think I'm right,. but unfortunately I am.

    Add a little more, ignore the pH but use it as a "relative gauge", move it down in 0.1pH units and keep a good eye on the fish late in the day. That's when CO2 will be highest.

    10 hours max of light.

    Also, you might have decent CO2 now, but it's okay to add more as long as the critters are fine. But...........go in and kill the BBA on anything non living object now.

    If it comes back soon, then you know it's poor CO2.
    It should not come back if......the CO2 is good.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  7. colonel

    colonel Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Arrrhhh.... BBA

    thanks Tom, I didnt want to hear it.... but you said it! LoL Im going to work on getting the CO2 stablized so its the same through the day first, then add a bit more once things are more consistant..... I mean the fish and shrimp seem fine with the PH and CO2 levels now..... It just makes me wonder how low can I go with PH and still be in an acceptable range? Thanks for the replies!
     
  8. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Arrrhhh.... BBA

    I do not know how low you might go relatively speaking with pH.
    Some have supposedly 100-200ppm of CO2 based on the pH/KH charts.
    The KH seems to be the main issue for many.

    Anyway, the BBa that's there can be killed and should be, only if you plan on fixing the the long term issue: CO2.

    You can trim off the BBa on plants and with good CO2-2-4 weeks will allow that as the plants grow in.

    Trim them good when you clean the other non living parts of the tank, then pick at what's left over while keeping good CO2 levels.

    Algae is a visual thing, you see it, you add more CO2 and trim it off before it gets out of hand. If it gets out of hand fast, then you know it's a big CO2 issue.

    It's the same old thing 1000 times.
    Nothing new, although everyone likes to think they are special and are visited by algae hobgoblins and are sure their CO2 is good. Doubt is a sign of wisdom. Especially when it comes to CO2.

    Nutrient tweaking is generally more subtle, algae is generally major issues or you have to clean up what is there presently if you corrected things previously(1-3 weeks).

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  9. colonel

    colonel Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Arrrhhh.... BBA

    LoL with a PH dropped down to 5.9, I really thought I was going to be the special one ;) Oh well for whatever reason the PH KH relationship if off in my case, maybe something the city adds to the water, maybe from the small amount of peat, and drift wood in my tank. Who knows. Anyway im sure the slow increase in CO2 concentration over the day didnt help matters since things wernt staying stable. I pulled the filter floss from my canister last night (does a great job of polishing the water but gets clogged up fast!) and seems as thought the PH is going to hold stable through the day.... it was actually higher today now that flow rate in my filter was up to normal.... 6.2 when the lights came on, its usually at 6.0. so if it holds I will probably go down to around 5.7 or 5.8 depending on what my fish have to say about it
     
  10. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Arrrhhh.... BBA

    You could add some baking soda to raise the kH a few degrees, then you wouldn't have to worry about low PH. I rarely ever measure either kH or ph and I add a teaspoon of baking soda every water change in my 29 gallon tank. I use as much CO2 as I can without the fish telling me "uncle!". My BBA vanished!
     
  11. colonel

    colonel Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Arrrhhh.... BBA

    Yea Im not really all to worried about how low the PH is as long as its not going to have adverse affects on plant growth, the fish are south americans or acid loving fish anyway, pencils, sturisoma sp. and apistogramma's I don't think they will mind the PH at all, its just that do you get to a point where the extreme is reached and it affects plants growth in a negative way?
    Also I am having trouble getting my CO2 to stay consistant through out the day. I am using an external reactor for the sole and only reason i dont want a bulky reactor inside of my tank. The CO2 NEVER drops, it just starts out at a good level and slowly raises through out the day. Has anyone found this to be a problem and incourge BBA? If so I may try the Mist method, locally I cant get sweet water stones but they do have those wood stones that put off a very fine mist, and im sure a few other products that produce a mist effect. Just for the sake of TRYING the mist method out, has any other type of mist stone be used with success so i dont have to order and pay for shipping? thanks for the advice everyone!
     
  12. colonel

    colonel Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Arrrhhh.... BBA

    I was inspecting my tank getting a feel for how bad the algae is, and upon closer inspection Its pretty clear that what I have isnt BBA at all. I feel like a bit of a jack ***, It really does look like BBA at first, until you really take a look at it, and pull some out, and its clear its more of a short black hair algae of some sort, growing in single strands from what ever surface its attached to, about 1/4 of an inch long. And all of the strands just sort of clump and blend togeather making it look like the starting coat of BBA if not inspected very close.
    Basically still seems like CO2? possible PO4? I really dont have much of a feel for how much is enough at each dose. Its tossed around all over that you can have levels of 2-3 ppm and its fine, thats great but how much PO4 actually needs to be added 3x a week to maintain that 2-3 ppm in the water at all times?
    Until yesterday I was adding 1/8 t. KH2PO4 3x, I bumped it up to 1/4 t last night
     
  13. PeterGwee

    PeterGwee Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Arrrhhh.... BBA

    You really just need to trim the algae off and see if it comes back again after you reset things. Playing around with nutrients and CO2 isn't going to make it disappear. Go after all the algae as Tom has suggested and see if things work out well. EI rules out the nutrient issues if you dose them and not base them off test kits...all thats left is basically CO2. (Gentle even current is the best imo...mist as well since you can see where the CO2 is going.)

    Regards
    Peter Gwee
     
  14. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Arrrhhh.... BBA

    There is a point where that occurs(200-400ppm), but it's extremely high, fish will die first.

    Yes, most definitely.
    That's it, plain and simple.

    Naw, just use the wooden limewood air stones, they need weighted down, so if you have any of the metal plant ties, try using them.
    Place the limewood under the filter flow so the mist gets blasted all over the tank.

    Check the flow carefully for a few days and then thereafter maybe once every 3-7 day.

    I've gone to the limewood stones for a few reasons, the mist is smaller, more varied, but smaller in general. They are available everywhere.
    You can sand the sides with 120 grit sandpaper etc to refresh them as they get old.

    Coralife makes a little stubby 1" version also.
    Just try it and see how it compares the same rate of CO2 you now add.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  15. colonel

    colonel Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Arrrhhh.... BBA

    Good deal Tom, thanks! that works out better for me and most because as you said, you can get limewood stones at pretty much any pet shop locally. Thats where I am headed I believe, I really like not having a reactor in the tank, and no bubbles all clear... etc. etc. etc.... but its also pretty clear that its hard to get consistant CO2 rates using an inline reactor, it is for me at least. I would rather have healthy beautiful plants with little algae.... and some misting bubbles around the tank than a clear cut view to... plain and simple an ugly algae mess.
     
  16. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Arrrhhh.... BBA

    Well, rather than a bubble counter, you look and see a steady rate of mist coming from the stone, then you know, also the plants and the plants will generally tell you when they are not doing the best with slowed growth. Sometimes small growth also(this is prevalent in many species with low CO2).

    It takes some getting use to, but it'll push your plant keeping skills up one full notch at least.

    Some complain about trhe bubbles in the tank, but heck, they are pure, or very very close to pure CO2 gas hitting the plants and dissolving near them.

    I talked to Roxanne here in Davis, she has kept plants for perhaps 15-20 years, maybe more, she tried it and was impressed.

    She has used an ADA beetle for many years. She has watched the bubble rise up and disappear, then when she added more current and blasted them around, things now pearl vigorously 1 hour or so after the lights come on.
    The bubbles persist about 20-60 seconds. Not much gas can exchange in that time frame and if it was not CO2, then the plants would not respond so vigorously. Also, just as it is very hard for gases to exchange and equilibrate on the water's surface(10,000x slower than in air), the same is true for the bubbles in the water. The volume might be small, but the surface tension and the rate of diffusion across gas/water interface is very slow.

    I'm telling you(and others) this as a visual gauge, a cue as to when the CO2 is maximized. 1 hour after the lights come, if you don't see good pearling, try adding a tad more.

    This seems to be a good standard for the mist method.
    There are no plants you cannot grow using this method and EI.
    A low to moderate KH and you are set for any species.
    But there are only a few you will not do super with if you have hard KH's also.
    Still, it'll enhance anyone's method in general.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  17. PeterGwee

    PeterGwee Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Arrrhhh.... BBA

    Huh? Tom, if the CO2 rises through the day even in excess, we can still get BBA?

    Regards
    Peter Gwee
     
  18. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Arrrhhh.... BBA

    Ah, I was thinking pH. My bad.

    CO2 ppm can rise but it should a little, but the starting point, the first 1 hour is a critical time also, you need to get good CO2 soon, not at the end of the day.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  19. PeterGwee

    PeterGwee Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Arrrhhh.... BBA

    Does the mist method makes the 1hr critical period less critical since its direct gas transfer to the stomata?

    Regards
    Peter Gwee
     
  20. colonel

    colonel Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Arrrhhh.... BBA

    I picked up one of those Lee's limewood stoned today on the way home from work, and of course with my luck the very top had a small crack in it allowing gas to escape, with out it being forced through the stone to make a mist. LoL
    It was an easy fix though the crack was only about 1/8 down into the stone so i simply cut about a quarter inch off of the top, and glued the plastic air line connector back it. So im waiting for that to dry and I plan on getting this mist running. I dont think I really am going to mind the bubbles all to much, there cant be a high concentration of them since really all that is needed is a few bubbles a second or so to get enough CO2, so that shouldnt be to bad.
    And from seeing some plants you are Growing in a recent post, I think some Tonina's you have set up in dutch row style, Man.... if my plants looked half that good I would be happy as heck :) So we will see how this works out.... im pretty much dumping the nutrients in there, there should be enough of everything..... so this HAS to be whats missing, I hope so at least im tired of tinkering and failing!
    I will post about how its all going once I have the mist running a few days
    thanks for all the help
     
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