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Battling BGA and BBA at The Same Time?

Discussion in 'Aquatic Microbiology' started by Steven, May 6, 2010.

  1. Steven

    Steven Guru Class Expert

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    Hi,

    When BBA first started to grow on my driftwood, I spot treat them with Excel and seem like they were gone away but after a closer look after weeks, I just know that they are also growing on my fast growing Rotala green at its lower stem, how weird as almost everyone will tell that algae never grow on fast growing plants.

    Meanwhile at the same time I also have BGA lurking above my front substrate. First I just noticed they started to form below front substrate and I used dark tape to cover front tank glass and after few weeks, they are starting lurking above substrate now.

    Though I have good experience battling BGA 100% successfully with 3 days blackout but it costs me dead downoi and all my plants were hit hard. So, I don't think this time it's a good idea killing BGA with blackout moreover I am struggling to grow certain plants healthily now.

    My questions are :
    • Will BBA survive 3 days blackout?
      Is there any other way besides Excel? I don't think that increasing CO2 now will kill them as they have set foothold in my tank already. If BBA will not survive blackout, I think it's worth the risk to kill BBA and BGA at the same time in exchange of my plants health.
    • Has anyone success killing BGA with ADA Phyton Git?
      The product claims it's phytoncide that extracted from certain plant and act like counter diseases of germ and both fish and plant will be benefit from it. Frankly speaking, I like to try this one even though it's very costly especially it's safe for fish and plant but the only thing that make re-think again after reading the instruction manual is the usage of phyton git has to be followed by turning the light off for 3 days just the same as blackout, make me wander if the blackout that kill BGA or Phyton Git itself?
    • Has anyone success killing BGA with antibiotic Erythromycin?
      If there is, what is the dosage? Would beneficial bacteria die too?

    Lastly, I am very curious if the usage of ADA Bacter 100 will really restraining the growth of BGA? This is my 2nd setup using ADA soil and have BGA issues, this way, looks like Amano aware that his soil somehow will tend to attract BGA, that's why he creates Bacter 100 to counter act? Also the same as to ADA penac W, will it really prevent the soil from becoming anaerobic?

    Thank you.
     
  2. Crispino Ramos

    Crispino Ramos Guru Class Expert

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    I had success killing BGA using Maracyn (followed dosage instruction that came with it). It would kill beneficial bacteria but not all.
     
  3. Koen_v_V

    Koen_v_V Prolific Poster

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    Hi,

    I am/was fighting the same, and blackouts don't help against BBA. I did 3 blackouts this month myself, and BBA is still there, as well as the rest of my plants. Just a few took a slight beating like Potamogeton wrightii, but P helferi doesnt show any damage at all. You are sure you are continuing dosing and CO2 the entire blackout?

    BGA is entirely gone for now. Make sure you clean gravel and filters and do WC afterwards a blackout.

    Good luck, Koen.
     
  4. Steven

    Steven Guru Class Expert

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    No, what's the point of continuing dosing and CO2 during blackout? Thank you.
     
  5. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Water circulation is key

    Hi Steven,
    Try addressing the cause of your problems, dead/dying plant material and poor circulation (dead spots) and give it some time. Take out infested plants. You might need to keep replacing plants and adding plants until this turns around for you. I had to. Remove hard scape, wood, etc., to treat BBA. Short cuts remind me of a mountain path. Once, instead of staying on the path, I kept going off the trail to head down the mountain. It worked a couple of times but I overshot the trail eventually and had to walk back up the mountain to get back on the path taking me home. http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/7155-Help-with-CO2-Efficiency

    You might still have a lot more light then you need. If the lights can be run independently try running only one light at a time with more or less a 4 hour overlap instead of a blackout. Here is a resent lighting question with links to a few of Vaughn's studies on lighting that should help you balance your demand for CO2, with appropriate lighting, http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php?t=7266 If I am reading it right, one T5HO (2xT5NO) is considered mid-light. You can always increase the amount of light when you are satisfied that your CO2 levels are consistent, your water is circulating properly and your dissolved oxygen levels remain high with proper surface ripple. Low O2 levels are what you are bumping up against, I fear, in your attempt to increase your levels of CO2.

    I notice your powerhead is close to the surface. That's fine, if it is drawing water from lower down in the tank. The way it is now might not improve the amount of DO in your water. Can it be fitted with something to draw water in from near the substrate? If not, place the powerhead closer to the substrate and run a line from the output to the surface to create more surface ripple.[​IMG]Not a bad picture really. After all is said a done you should be be able to help others with all you have learned from this experience.

    Cheers,
     
    #5 Tug, May 7, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2010
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    BBA/BGA both suggest a few major issues, that nothing in a bottle that kills algae will,ever cure.
    Killing algae only works well if you have fixed the root issue.

    So focus on good plant growth/health, not killing algae.
    Generally, you have little algae issues if you focus on plants.
    Problem is, algae is a sign of poor plant growth, so people see algae, think that it;s the problem, not poor plant growth/health.

    Plants might grow, not look that bad also........but they are lacking something, in your case, NO3 and CO2.

    Focus there.
    ADA crap cost a lot of $ and cannot be any better than EM antibiotics.
    I like a Blackout since it takes the same amount of time and cost nothing.

    The blackout tells you quickly if the issue was addressed also, the BGA will come back if you did not address the root.
    CO2 is NOT added during the blackout, KNO3 is and is thereafter.

    CO2 is added only when the light is ON.
    A little BGA along the gravel line on the glass is acceptable.
    I scrap it off anyway personally.

    Final word of advice, stay away from all those ADA little bottles of snake oil.
    Stick with ferts, CO2, water changes, lighting adjustment. You are not looking for a cure in pill or a bottle, you need to take care of the tank/plant basics.
    I've never needed such things. Many have nice tanks and never have either.

    Those who have nice tanks rarely if ever.......use such things. Perhaps some do out of curiosity, but none use them much.
    Now folks who are desperate intermediates or newbies? That is the target market group, some will get a little correlation, so there will be a few that think the snake oil works, just like diet pills, which is a billion $$$ per year industry.

    Excel will help with your CO2 issue, but do not do the double dosing methods popular on line, stick with no more than about 5mls per 10 Gal per day.
    CO2 is still the main issue for BBA, Excel can be dribbled on non living materials, when doing a large water change, I'd do 2x a week 50-80% water changes if you see an issue coming on, then dose well, adjust the CO2 up a tad, then raise the lights up/reduce the intensity.
    This should be standard methods if you notice any algae issues.

    ADA AS over time loses most of it's Nitrogen. So to make up for this, you need to add more KNO3.
    This is why you have BGA.

    Initially, there's plenty of N in the aqua soil, and no BGA..........
    ADA As has a lot of nutrients that last for perhaps a decade.........except for N, FYI.

    If you are using those disc diffusers, clean them well using Tilex in a small cup and wait about 15-30 minutes, rinse well, add to dechlorinated water, and then return to service.
    I do this 2x a month or so depending. I get nice smaller bubbles and better flow after each cleaning.

    This helps the CO2 diffusion more.
    Another thing: as a tank ages and the plants fill in, the demand for CO2 goes up, some plants will suck the CO2 out faster than others, so you need to watch closely, and adjust the CO2 slow and progressively, never rapidly and fasts(= dead or gasping fish). Excel dosign can help till you achieve the optimal CO2(no BBA, good plant health, no fish health or behavioral issues). As mentioned good current is essential(adds more O2 for fish, so you can add more CO2 for plants=> respiration is both O2 and CO2, not just CO2 dosing!!!!)

    This should help and save you $, time and result in and better looking tank.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  7. Frank Lawler

    Frank Lawler Member

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    I can get good current and no splashing with my HOB filter if it is set on maximum output with high water level, but this will induce surface rippling. As long as there is no splashing, is this OK as far as CO2 is concerned. I like the idea of having good circulation and oxygen levels in my 29 gal tall, which has a low surface/water volume ration.
     
  8. Steven

    Steven Guru Class Expert

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    Thank you all.

    When I used those disc diffusers, I have problem with CO2 diffusion rate not being well diffused but have no problem with O2 level, so in order to make CO2 diffused even finer, I switch to a reactor. Fear that my reactor is feed to my canister filter output will make the CO2 evaporate too quickly since it's close to the surface, I extend the output lower from the surface and guess, now I have O2 level problem but I've added a small powerhead to add more circulation and O2 level to compensate. Always a problem, how do I know my surface agitation is enough or not to create more O2 level? For sure I can see my surface water is moving and ripple a bit.

    I'm removing the BGA with EM now and have gone in day 2, I can see the good result and at the same time I crank my CO2 level even higher again up to 5 bps and also add more KNO3 but I have no way of decreasing neither the light intensity nor wattage output. Now, I can see almost all of my plants heavy pearl after light is on about 2 hours later but not sure if they are really pearl or just the CO2 mist that stick to them, even I can see the lower leaves of my anubias are full of those bubbles.

    Oh yes, I'm just adding more dose of Excel to treat the BBA from usual 2.5ml/90L tank to 5ml/90L every day. I'm hoping that my struggling Ludwigia arcuata and Hemianthus micranthemoides will come to healthy and grow. After that will try to plant the HC and downoi again that I can't even remember it was already how many time I try and try :).

    Regards,
    Steven
     
  9. Koen_v_V

    Koen_v_V Prolific Poster

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    Hi Steven,

    What result do you have untill now?

    I had issues where BBA and BGA where present on the same time. BBA and BGA was gone after months going nonCO2 driven, but plant health was very poor then. So back on CO2, BGA is back as well...(?) Don't know why, but after multiple blackouts, BGA was coming back after days. But after a gravel cleaning and a single blackout it is entirely gone and not come back for 2 weeks, not even a single spot. So I've addressed some part of the problem with gravel cleaning...

    BBA is little present after going CO2 again, but I have now not a unstable dupla regulator, but a dual stage reg with a nice needle valve from swagelok, so I have extremely stable CO2 output for 24/7. As I have 24/7 CO2, I leave CO2 open during blackout, As I know, no damage can be done (at night I still have lower pH (so higher CO2) than during day time. Maybe stable CO2 output gives me less BBA than last year.

    But I'm battleling diatoms and Rhizoclonium now, not sure what is causing it. I'm back on the fourth total blackout now, after installing two koralia 1, so I have massive current now. I'm pretty sure my flow was far to less.

    So in the end we will prevail, make sure you follow Toms recommendations and have a lot of patience. It will take some time and errors before all puzzles are in place to have a real nice tank. I'm not there yet!
     
  10. Steven

    Steven Guru Class Expert

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    After treated with EM for 3 days, I can see no BGA anymore. I also noticed that my BBA numbers are droping too due to my spot Excel treat, this time I triple dose. Thanks.
     
  11. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    I would just like to remind you that addressing the cause of the algae will prevent it from returning, not EM or Excel. What caused the BBA and BGA outbreak? Answer that and you will know what needs to be done to prevent it from happening again.
     
  12. scottward

    scottward Guru Class Expert

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    Yeah, I did several blackouts in a row on my tank but sure enough the BGA came back a few weeks later to my dissapointment. Problem was that each time I reset everything after the blackout, I didn't really change anything, and, to make matters worse, the plant biomass in my tank was gradually declining therefore exarbating the problem.

    In the end I did something that was so easy I wished I had done it in the first place, I halved the amount of light over my tank. The result was incredible - suddenly I was providing enough CO2, nutrients, and the plants starting growing new leaves, throwing out runners etc etc. I also bought some really cheap bunches of stem plants and they started to take off.

    No BGA problem for a good 12 months or so now, only some minor BGA along the gravel line at the front which is ok as Tom mentioned (I use an old credit card to scrape it away).

    I still have some BBA here and there, but it's better than it was, and I'm working at it.

    So, after you have completed the black out, take a different approach. Reduce the lighting, put in lots of cheap plants, plenty of CO2/ferts, and I bet you'll see things improve.
     
  13. Steven

    Steven Guru Class Expert

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    Thank you all,

    Since I increase the PO4 dosing last time, my GSA was completely gone and taught me a lesson that during this time I'm too afraid to dose more that I still believe the old myth "too much fertz cause algae". Now I see it with my own eyes and now, I become too lazy to measure the nutrient uptake level anymore, so I just dose and dose more and WC 50% to reset things once a week. Since I introduced my RCS to cleaned my old weaken BBA fought with Excel, I can noticed that there's almost no new growth and in the same time I keep increasing my CO2 as I am now also increasing my NO3 dose.
     
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