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mrkookm

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I know that low/unstable CO2 in and of itself does not automatically cause BBA. I have three tanks here that can testify to that, I've had every CO2 issue under the sun and back again and cannot trigger BBA. I can add BBA to a non-CO2 tank and it dies. There has to be a reason for that. Something is lacking in my tanks that prevents BBA from thriving. Whatever that something is, doesn't affect my plants. I dose all macros and micros regularly and my plants are thriving for the most part.

Tom Bar said:
I've "cured" BBA is a dozen tanks by simply reducing the light intensity.
No other changes where done, this reduces CO2 demand.

Maybe because all your tanks are low lit so very low demand on Co2 therefore BBA will not be an issue for you?
 

Carissa

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Very possibly that has a good effect. But if that was the only reason, 108 watts over a 90 gallon should be fine too. I have 26 watts on one 10 gallon, 10 hour photoperiod, that's not exactly low lighting, I would think that if I was going to get BBA I would have gotten it. I have 18 watts over my other 10g, 10 hour photoperiod. They are both non-co2 tanks so co2 is probably the limiting factor in both cases.

If my water has something in it that is preventing it, it's probably only what I'm adding which is pretty standard ei; my tap water has near 0 on both KH and GH and little of anything else in it (I've seen the town water analysis on the tap water). Just a lack of deficiencies basically.

Maybe your dosing regimen with exact amounts and frequencies would show something up.
 

Tom Barr

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tcomfort;20959 said:
Or something is sufficient in your tanks that prevents BBA from thriving!

Yep, good plant growth, active gnarly pearling etc.
Usually a decline in pearling, loss of leaves, film on the water etc, are a good sign something is not quite right.

The requirements for BBA are not just CO2/water obviously.
This is true for all algae.

However, the levels of both light and nutrients are still much lower than any plant before they become "limiting" to algae growth.
I've tested for that.
We bottomed out NO3 for several months, did the same with PO4, we worked each nutrient, one at time.
Nothing worked.
We even dried the BBA out for a few days.

CO2 demand was the main issue. If the plants had the other nutrients, and good stable CO2, you just do not get BBA.

You do not see expert plant folks, or those with a lot of experience, as well as their own past BBA wars behind them..... arguing this point either.
You see newbies that are frustrated arguing this point or someone who thinks it's something else because they are so sure that it cannot be CO2.

Folks that have won the war all pretty much focused on CO2....
I had high levels of nutrients and have for many years.....I've done lower levels also for years........but BBA only came up and only went away when I adjusted CO2.

Stable CO2 can be related to reducing the light levels, often this "cures" BBA.
A good pruning and cleaning also helps, a change in the flow, or current in the tank around the CO2 input also can cure things.

It's not just "add more CO2".
The above other suggestions are common sense, that somethings eludes us every so often though.......however the cause is still CO2 related.

CO2 can change dramatically inside 1 hour in a tank, NO3? PO4? K+? light?
Nope.......

Plant growth can 2-4x the biomass after a trim inside 2-3 weeks in many tanks, the flow and the CO2 demand changes dramatically during this same time period.

Still, the basic cause is CO2.

Some have way too much light in their tanks, again, reducing it down, makes the BBA go away or that much easier to deal with.

You still need to trim and kill the BBa that's there, but it should not come back.

A dilute spray when doing a large water change on the plants infected or wood etc of Excel and water can help, but use this at lower concentrations more frequently to kill the BBA that is there. Excel really should not be used except to kill the BBA though.

Adding SAE's Amano shrimps can help a great deal all on their own.

Consistent pruning etc also helps.

DIY CO2 folks are the most common group plagued by BBA on the web..........and given the nature of CO2 and BBA....it is no wonder.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

Carissa

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However, the levels of both light and nutrients are still much lower than any plant before they become "limiting" to algae growth.

Couldn't it be that extremely high levels of something, when combined with a co2 fluctuation or overlighting, triggers BBA? Limiting nutrients is obviously not the answer, but then couldn't you can go to the other extreme too where you're not helping the plants much anymore but you could be helping algae by adding more nutrients? Similar to the lighting issue, where you have to keep lighting at a balance as opposed to blasting the tank with light.
 

Tom Barr

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Well, I've added 75 ppm of NO3, 3 ppm PO4, 2 ppm of Fe(and associated trace metals), high GH, high K+, and never saw any effects.........

You still get algae if you mess with CO2.

Same with adding too many fish, too much NH4, dead plant leaves etc etc.........

Messing with CO2 slows the plant growth down a lot.
Confuses plants, so they stop growing and wait till things stabilize.

Algae responses to this lull rapidly. They look for a good opening to grow.

Changes in CO2 signal that. So do increasing changes in NH4.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

MediaOne

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Sep 15, 2006
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Gerryd: Here are the answers/comments.

As mentioned, an Eheim Electronic Pro 3 at 450GPH rating. To ensure that water flow was maximized,
I placed the spray bar vertical pumping from left to right across the back wall. My DC has always been placed
directly above where the BBA starts to grow (on the Anubias). I placed the DC in the slowest flow in order to
ensure I had adequate CO2 levels in that area.

Correct, EI-6 Hour lighting-CO2 running 24/7 via an inline reactor.

You really have me thinking when you say that my short photoperiod may be a limiting factor. It would be great
to hear what other people on here think of this idea ...

Oh I'm sure Tom is correct... but I don't see what next steps to take - I've taken them all!!!

I agree that explaining things to peers is extremely helpful. That is why I am here.

Tom:

So what steps do you think I should take next? Keep in mind I do not have lots of stem plants, the drop checker is
bright yellow and lighting is dual t5.

Could the 50 cardinal/rummynose I have be causing problems? They don't get all that much food and sometimes none at all.

I just know what needs to be focussed on the most at this point. Everything I know is important to do/check is done.

Thank you,
 

Gerryd

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MediaOne,

1. 450 gph will turn over your tank 5x per hour, sounds good, at first........

However, I know that a 90g is at least 18" tall, plus your cabinet/stand, and your canister is most likely on the floor. The head height will clearly affect the gph flow rate in a downward direction, so the tank does not get as much as you think. What is your height and do you know the flow rate at that level? Maybe the tank only gets turned over 2-3x???

I looked online for a specific head height/gph rate for this filter and could only find a max height spec.

2. Your vertical idea sounds good and the DC placement also sounds reasonable.
Why did you choose a spraybar? Can you remove it and try a 'normal' return to see if it helps at all?

3. I meant actually speak to, like in person. I know this is no longer in style, but perhaps your LFS or someone you trust with planted tanks?

E-mails can be notoriously tone deaf and can be very difficult to interpret, esp for problem solving.

4. Can you post a pic or two to show your setup/issues/etc?

Happy Holidays to all.....
 
M

mrkookm

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Gerryd: Here are the answers/comments.

As mentioned, an Eheim Electronic Pro 3 at 450GPH rating. To ensure that water flow was maximized,
I placed the spray bar vertical pumping from left to right across the back wall. My DC has always been placed
directly above where the BBA starts to grow (on the Anubias). I placed the DC in the slowest flow in order to
ensure I had adequate CO2 levels in that area.

Correct, EI-6 Hour lighting-CO2 running 24/7 via an inline reactor.

You really have me thinking when you say that my short photoperiod may be a limiting factor. It would be great
to hear what other people on here think of this idea ...

Oh I'm sure Tom is correct... but I don't see what next steps to take - I've taken them all!!!

I agree that explaining things to peers is extremely helpful. That is why I am here.

Tom:

So what steps do you think I should take next? Keep in mind I do not have lots of stem plants, the drop checker is
bright yellow and lighting is dual t5.

Could the 50 cardinal/rummynose I have be causing problems? They don't get all that much food and sometimes none at all.

I just know what needs to be focussed on the most at this point. Everything I know is important to do/check is done.

Thank you,

When was the last time you changed your DC solution? Bright yellow sound suspect to me. I change mine every 2 weeks like clockwork and use Billionz KH standard. A photoperiod of only 6hr @ 108watts will not make things worse or cause an issue and would actually suggest one more bank of 54watts.

Most people I know use 2 Cans for optimal filtration and from what you are explaining you seem to have subpar flow. An eheim @ only 450gph 'paper rating' is not enough flow for a 90gal IMO and I concur with Gerryd that it is more like 250gph~260gph maybe less after the 4' height it has to overcome, hose length, in-line reactor and the filter media which I'm sure is not brand new.

In my 90gal I have had all kinds of intensity lighting from a 260watt Coralife Aqualight, 2x250watt SE MH, 2x175watt SE MH, my last halide setup as of '3 weeks ago' 3x150watts HQI's and now 290watts of ODNO T8. Throughout all the highlight setup I had the only time I BBA was while I was using my lowest lighting the Corallife Aqualight back in my newb days. The cause straight lack of Co2, nothing else, not the excess ferts from EI, nor excess iron, photoperiod, the 25+ Rainbows, 6" Pleco, 4" redtail shark and 4" clown loach, which I fed heavily. Co2 was the only thing changed nothing else and the BBA never returned. In my quest to get the proper Co2 into my tank during my newb stage a 10Lb tank was lasting me for 1 month only. I knew this wasn't supposed to be but that wasn't my concern then, mine was to maintain good levels at all times when I found out what caused this algae. I then came across the 'misting' concept from barrreport.com and once I got my Co2 together via misting I had never had anymore BBA issues whatsover.

There are three methods I will only recommend for getting Co2. While there might be others out there that works well, I will only suggest what worked for me because I know it works. They are Rhinox 5000 only of all the Rhinox series, the Tbarr venturi reactor which is an excellent reactor if built correctly and then a Mazzei which is superior if using an external pump.

I would suggest giving the misting method a try if you are still experiencing BBA issues as whatever you are doing now is not working apparently, even with a yellow DC.

I use an external sump with a 1200gph w/ 28' head return pump which I have adjusted to give me an exact flow of 590gph and I make sure I can see mist in every crevice and corner of my tank. I even use 2 DC's just to be on the safe side and none is remotely close to my return.
 

VaughnH

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If a drop checker with 4 dKH distilled water in it is bright yellow you can't have fish swimming around undisturbed. You would have about 120 ppm of CO2 in the water, and that is lethal. So, I strongly suspect there is something wrong with the pH reagent or the water in your drop checker.
 

MediaOne

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mrkookm: The misting method was used for the first 8 months of this tanks life. It didn't help the situation although I don't doubt it as a viable method of adding CO2. Like you, I also use Billionz KH fluid (4). I last changed it two weeks ago. I have 3 banks of dual T5 over the tank so I have excellent control over amount of lighting I use. I have come down from all 6 bulbs, to 4 bulbs, to the 2 bulbs I am running now. I think I will leave it at 2 bulbs and then add the "noon burst" back in when I get the CO2 thing sorted out.

Question: The fluid we are using in our DC's goes bad? How so?

GerryD: Thank you for all your comments. I do plan to post some pictures but just haven't got the chance to yet.

Don't take me the wrong way everyone. I'm sure it is CO2. I'm not hear to fly in the face of known solutions. However, I am doing things as best I can and I'm not seeing the results.

Vaughn: This is the first thing I have heard that *I feel* is the most relevant to my personal situation. When I test the fishes tolerance of CO2 they start to hide down in the foliage when they are getting stressed. If one looks closely rapid breathing is visible. If I continue a few more tenths of a point pH drop from there... the fish will migrate to the top to gasp at the surface.

Regarding my CO2 drop checker:

Billionz kH fluid. (I've checked it - it's right). dkh 4
Hagen pH indicator. It is fresh! (and it's the right kind, Brom... blah blah can't remember right now.)

Pointing a finger at the pH indicator for the moment, lets assume it is faulty. What brand would you recommend I use?

Also, I have another general CO2 question:

What regulator PSI allows me to have the greatest control of flow using the needle valve. Right now if I move the needle valve even 2 degrees, I can triple my CO2 flow (reg pressure is 15 psi). I think I may need to change my reg pressure? Please advise.

After sorting the CO2 thing out. I will also try adding additional flow.

Thanks everyone,
 

FacePlanted

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I think additional flow IS part of the co2 thing. I think a spraybar takes your stream of water flow and spreads it out -- weaker flow/water movement over a greater area. When I have a filter outlet that is just a "jet" it pushes water around the tank a lot more, much stronger, than if the flow from the outlet was divided by however many holes are in the spraybar. I have an 800 gph pump pushing my system for a 29gal tank and I think it is just barely enough for my setup.

I would try changing the spraybar to something else, and see if you can get all the leaves of your plants slightly moving in the current. I found that if I have all my inlets into the tank coming from the same spot or corner of the tank, it creates a good "swirl" of movement in the tank.

Flow in the tank is very important in regards to co2. This is where I would look to try to solve your problem. This is where my problem with co2 and BBA came from. I had to get a better circulation pattern and higher flow across my diffuser. Now I have a mazzei and there is mist in every square inch of my tank. I can easily see where the currents flow in my tank, and BBA now is virtually nonexistant.

Good luck, and keep at it. You'll get it.

-Mike B-
 

MediaOne

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Sep 15, 2006
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Hello everyone,

I added an additional 270 GPH last night via a Hagen 402 Powerhead. Now, all plants are swaying left to right slightly. Also, I redid the fluid (using same pH reagent as last time) in my drop checker to see if it registers something different.

I added a slight bit more CO2 the day before yesterday and almost gassed my fish to deah so I'm quite certain I have adequate CO2 levels. I will play with it to keep it maximized.

Thinking more about all of this in the shower yesterday. I thought about a few things.

If all pearling really means is that the plants are producing oxygen faster than it can diffuse in to the water, doesn't it stand to reason that this was a sign that flow was not adequate? With better flow perhaps the oxygen would be carried/CO2 would be brought to the leaves quicker and not stall the plants. If this were the case, it would explain my drop checker indicating adequate CO2 levels the whole time.

What do you think?
 

FacePlanted

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Jul 9, 2007
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I think that is the exact reason for the suggestions of adding more flow/circulation. The drop checker can show good levels, but the area immediately around the plants/leaves can use the co2 up rapidly and needs higher flow and circulation to replenish the co2 to that localized area.

-Mike B-
 

MediaOne

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Sep 15, 2006
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rrrr.....

so far all the pump has done is killed 4 sterbai catfish and a couple of Otto cats. I have to put a sponge or a prefilter of some kind on this thing. I think I will cut down a "Quick Filter" to keep all the fishes safe.

But ya, I can see your suggestion of the area immediately surrounding the leaves being an issue. It makes sense given the drop checkers indications.

Can someone show me pictures of the natural environment that the majority of our plants come from? Can this generalization even be made?

Rivers? Streams? Bogs?

Regards,
 

MediaOne

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Sep 15, 2006
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Thanks Mike ...

I have the much needed guard installed now.

In other news, I upgraded two components of my CO2 system.

I installed an AquaMedic bubble counter in place of the Precision Marine (combo check valve) counter that I had. The bubbles were breaking up inside the PM one and I was finding it impossible to read it. I really appreciate the design of the AquaMedic unit...

Question: With my tank running 2x54W T5's and being heavily planted, what "average" bubble rate would an aquarium like this commonly require? I know I am starting to generalize here ... but I'm just curious. I will continue to monitor it and see what rate I have when my drop checker reads light green/yellow.

Also, I installed a "Germain Air Pressure Systems" brass check valve. This valve is well known for it's durability and reliability. I noticed when shutting off my gas flow via my solenoids that water from my inline CO2 reactor still creeps back along the line (very slowly, but it does). If I turn off my canister filter (and thus remove the pressure in the line) the check valve has absolutely no problem stopping water dead in its tracks.

I don't want the water to be able to return like this.... is the only way around it to put my co2 reactor on the canister input instead?

Any advice appreciated!

Regards,
 

Gerryd

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Please stay away from generalizations of bubbles per second.

Every tank is different.................

My 180 gal needs a 'lot' of bps to get to a 6.6 ph in my drop checker.

There is no way I can count them, as it is a steady stream. I just replace bottles more often than others. Is why I have a spare :D

Watch your DC color and the health of plants.

Not sure about the check valve issue.....
 

VaughnH

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The check valve should be as close to the reactor as is practical. When the CO2 is shut down the remaining CO2 in the line to the reactor will continue to be dissolved into the water, and as it is being dissolved, water will be creeping back towards the check valve, replacing the CO2. But, it should stop at the check valve. I keep mine about 6 inches from the reactor. Probably the ideal place is screwed into the reactor.

You don't need to actually count bubbles in the bubble counter. You just look at it to see if the bubble stream looks like it did when you had the right amount for the tank. Once you pass about 2 bubbles per second you can't count them anyway. And, the number of bubbles depends on the size of each bubble, which is determined mostly by the size of the hole where the bubbles enter the water.
 

MediaOne

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I had a feeling you would say that. Sounds good to me. I will watch the DC and the plants and see what it "equates" too ... for my own system.

VaughnH: Ya, I was always wondering how people knew they had 5 or 6 bubbles per second. I thought that it was impossible to accurately know over about 2 as well. Cool.

Also, according to the instructions I should be placing the check valve post regulator but pre bubble counter. ??? It is interesting to hear you describe the opposite ...

I'm assuming then that water won't do any damage to the check valve?

My check valve has a 12 PSI switching point. If I put it post the bubble counter it will pressurize it and possibly cause problems. Your experience here?