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BBA and Excel

Discussion in 'Aquatic Plant Fertilization' started by Gerryd, May 30, 2011.

  1. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi all,

    I have had some issues lately with BBA taking over a good portion of my manzanita wood and my rockwork.....

    A lot on the stauro but not on the other plants so much just a bit. The hardscape was looking bad...

    Over the last 2 weeks I have done my best to battle it with every other day large water changes, dosing, trimming, etc. Monitoring/adjusting c02 a tiny bit...

    I also removed some of the bulbs that lit nothing basically but the wood. With no attached plants, the wood was getting LOTS of unrestricted light. The plants below the wood were Java species, so why so much light, he asked rhetorically?

    These prcatices have had a positive overall effect, but the rocks and wood were still very bad with BBA.

    To hasten the cleanup I decided to try using excel to soak the rocks and wood if possible.

    I poured a few ounces of excel into a 5 gal bucket and filled 1/3 with tap water. I then removed each rock and simply 'swished' it around the bucket, ensuring that it was submerged and all surfaces got soaked. Less than 1 minute per rock lol

    I removed the more complex wood from the right side and then poured the contents of the bucket slowly over the manzy wood ensuring to cover it all. I held the wood over the sink.

    I then did the same in tank for the other manzy wood. But since this water ended up IN TANK, I made a weaker excel solution.

    Results within 48 hours showed the BBA slowly turning paler on the rocks and wood. Things seemed 'clearer' and the stauro seemed fresher/newer and less algae ridden.

    I then went away overnight and now within another 48 hours and the rocks are completely devoid of any algae and are very clean. The stauro is almost completely cleansed as well.

    The wood is much better and was much more infested so may take a bit more time or another application.

    I forgot to take before pics but trust me it was pretty bad, esp the rocks and wood.

    So just thought I would toss this out as my experience using this tool for this specific cleanup issue. I think others have also had this experience.

    So, much less work than scrubbing with a toothbrush. Did a better/quicker job too :)

    So, now to ensure that I have fixed the root cause(s), but growth is good and I see no NEW algae, but the existing BBA is resilient as you all know :)

    Root cause was simply too much light but we will see now that light is reduced quite a bit over the wood esp and we have a clean hardscape to benchmark against...

    Later.
     
    #1 Gerryd, May 30, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 30, 2011
  2. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Please note that most of the excel did NOT end up in the tank. I would think that the weaker solution used in-tank was less than the normal water change dosage...

    However, I have found that using excel after a large water change has had positive affects on plants and the tank overall..

    I don;t normally use excel unless dealing with issue that are stubborn like BBA, but I keep it around in the toolbox..
     
  3. Matt F.

    Matt F. Lifetime Charter Member
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    another way is to out compete the BBA by providing higher light/co2/ei to your plants. THis will help rid the plants of BBA. e. belem is notorious for attraccting all kinds of algae.
    I also use one of those ADA scrapers to scrape BBA off my hardscape.
    excel works wonders. I also use 20 mls per day (non-water change day regular dose) to keep the BBA in check. This works a bit.
     
  4. jerrybforl

    jerrybforl Lifetime Members
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    I'm going through the same situation. I adjusted my Co2 output tonight. Hopefully this will help!
     
  5. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Big water change= exposed rock and wood.

    Toothbrush and excel.

    Spray bottle for larger areas, then brush.

    Peroxide works well during water changes if you turn things off and have low water also.

    Also get the right critters.
    Pitbull plecos rip up algae pretty well on rock and wood.
    Fairly reasonable price.
    Small.
    Get about 20 for the 180 Gal tank.

    I have other species in my tanks, but they all gnaw the wood/rock.
     
  6. scottward

    scottward Guru Class Expert

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    This thread is a bit of a coincidence for me Gerry as I was just thinking about BBA/Excel this morning (I have a bit in a few places in my tank).

    I started thinking about the Chinese Algae Eaters thing - is the modern consensus that these fish are not worth buying for BBA?

    I was also reading another thread elsewhere about alternative, less expensive, options to Seachem Excel and Tom mentioned that based on what it contains the pricing by Flourish is actually not too bad. It was an old thread though. Is there currently any alternative to Excel or is it still just Excel?

    Hydrogen Peroxide - this can only be used directly at low water levels? This can't be added routinely as a BBA preventative like Excel can it?

    How much Excel do you need to dose a 100g tank routinely? Do you dose it daily? How much? Can you completely erradicate/control BBA with it if you dose it daily at the right amount?

    Scott.
     
  7. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    Because of changing the scape I had both BBA and hair algae. I beat it, without using Excel at all. I bumped up the CO2 until my discus started to show distress. I pruned and trimming frequently, did a lot of wc's and bought 4 SAE's, which did a very good job. The BBA on the rocks disappeared (or was eaten). But it took 4 to 6 weeks alltogether.

    The PAR is 90 micromol now, and no BBA, not even on the rocks.

    It's just about adding enough CO2. The bubble rate is about twice as high as with 50 micromols.
     
  8. Matt F.

    Matt F. Lifetime Charter Member
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    I dose 20 ml daily in my 55 Gallon tank. Still have BBA, but it is localized to the hardscape. As a dip, mist, or a direct treatment excel kills BBA (turning it pink, then gray, then it disappears).

    BBA tends to love lower light/shadowy areas
    It also loves higher current areas

    My guess is that lowerer lighting conditions as well as high flow areas impede growth,much like low/fuctuating co2 levels do.

    BBA tends to thrive, IME, when plant growth is slower.

    I had a slight BBA problem in my 55L with eleocharis belem. I increased the light at added MGSO4 to the mix, and the BBA disappeared. Now only the hardscape had BBA.

    I'm doing 216 watts of T5HO, too! Been doing high light for a few months.
     
  9. Matt F.

    Matt F. Lifetime Charter Member
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    I think accelerated plant growth is key...or at least it seems like it.
     
  10. scottward

    scottward Guru Class Expert

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    dutchy - 4 SAE's were enough for your size tank, which I think is the same size as mine, i.e. 100g? What size were the SAE's and how are they behaving themselves with other fish and nibbling at plants etc?

    Matt F - what was the reason behind adding the MgSO4 to your tank? Does this correlate with the BBA control in any way in your experience/observations?

    Gerry - I just had a thought - it is warming up where you are in the US? It is cooling down here in Australia (quite cold today actually, 1st day of winter for us). My thought was that if your ambient water temperate is rising, even just a degree or 2, the CO2 setting that you have at the moment might be starting to slide in terms of CO2 concentration in the tank due to the fact that the CO2 doesn't dissolve as well as the water warms up. Perhaps all you need to do is push the CO2 a little harder as the temperature rises? My problem here is that in summer my system can't cope with the amount of CO2 that I push; I will rectify this eventually.

    Scott.
     
  11. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi all,

    Thanks for all the sharing of experience...

    I was simply passing along a QUICK and fairly simple way to clean HARDSCAPE of BBA..

    I agree with points made about plant growth and c02/temp issues..

    Please keep in mind that my tank has very low plant mass due to the majority of the hardscape and my scape layout itself.

    So, not like dutchy's tank with 6' of large stems to feed :)

    I think the lower light will help me going forward. I had been playing around with all 12 bulbs for a week or two and then had the 24/7 lights ON for 4 days while I was away, so not surprised BBA got worse:)
     
  12. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    My 180 has few stems, but a lot of Starougyne, but I just hacked it.
    A lot of wood real estate...........lots of glass etc........and little algae.

    The starou gets a little BBa on the OLD leaves after it melted about 6 weeks ago, then recovered. No BBA on new growth.

    When I trim and it is doing normal, I do not get any BBA.
    I also do not get BBA except maybe on the spiky tips of the wood, never anywhere else.

    Plecos have something to do with this, and perhaps 300-400 RCS.
     
  13. scottward

    scottward Guru Class Expert

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    Hi Tom,

    You mentioned earlier that Pitbull plecos are helpful. I will look them up...

    So they eat BBA? Sorry if this is a dumb question - but how do you know they are actually eating the BBA? Simple, bit silly I suppose, but could you literaly place a rock covered in BBA in the tank and the pitbull's would decend upon it? Do they do a better job than SAE?

    Scott.
     
  14. scottward

    scottward Guru Class Expert

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    Hey Gerry how is the BBA going in your tank? Have you needed to get the Excel out of the toolbox?

    It's ok to spray diluted (20:1) Excel mist directly onto exposed plants during a water change? Give 'em 5 minutes then refill?

    Also - does Excel have a shelf life?

    Does it have a shelf life once mixed with water and kept in a spray bottle (i.e. can I mix up more than I need so it's ready to go whenever)?

    Scott.
     
    #14 scottward, Mar 10, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 10, 2012
  15. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi Scott,

    A bit on the wood again as I had stopped dosing daily excel, had lowered c02 levels for fish comfort, and had eased off dosing for a bit..

    So, is back to daily dosing and manual gentle scraping to remove the BBA from the wood. I then can net it out, well mostly :)

    Usure of shelf life but I tend NOT to spray or dip plants anymore. Infested leaves are simply removed and I observe NEW growth after whatever change I made :)

    Spraying while exposed during a WC is a good way. Just dilute more rather than less to be safe, but others have more knowledge of actual numbers to use..

    I tend to let the plants simply regenerate new growth as it removes some when the leave is removed so less around, and it is easier to guage new growth than to think, 'how is that damaged and infested leaf doing? ' LOL Most of those leaves are gone anyway so why keep them around? If conditions are good, regrowth should not be far away.

    If no improvement seen within 3-5 days, try again...
     
  16. Florin Ilia

    Florin Ilia Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi Scott,

    I am not sure of the effects of this treatment but be careful when spraying Excel - don't breathe in too much of that aerosol.
    Some people insist there are differences between batches. I don't know if this is due to shelf life or other factors. See this thread for an example: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/algae/125230-bba-loves-low-light-too-36.html#post1452633

    I got rid of BBA using excel (and other measures) by simple dosing in the water column (not even localized injections): http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/algae/156998-long-term-overdosing-excel-excel-resistant-2.html#post1625141

    Sorry I can't be more authoritative :)
     
    #16 Florin Ilia, Mar 19, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 19, 2012
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