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BBA help.

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by Gbark, Aug 13, 2009.

  1. Gbark

    Gbark Guru Class Expert

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    Hi everyone,

    I have a mild case of BBA in my 125ltr tank,

    I am new to the planted tank world, and was wondering what quanties of elements i should have in my tank.

    I have a c02 cylinder setup with Tropica plant substrate, and i dose 10ml of tropica aquacare liquid fert every week on a 50% water change.
     
  2. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    Can you provide some info on how you diffuse c02 into the water and how you guage the amount of c02 as well as your lighting levels/duration? Do you use a drop checker at all? Are your lights adjustable (up and down) at all?

    Many times BBA is caused by poor c02 and this may be caused by too high lighting for the c02 rate. Or inefficient diffusion method....

    Telling us more will result in better advice!
     
  3. Gbark

    Gbark Guru Class Expert

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    Hi

    My tank is a Juwel Rio 125 with T5 highlite tubes (x2) They are not adjustable. I have been running them for 12 hours a day, up until 3 days ago, and dropped it to 10 hours.
    My C02 is regulated through a needle valve and non-return valve into a bublle counter then a glass diffuser, i have a drop checker on the otherside of the tank, and it shows a nice lime green colour, almost to a yellow tinge. at night it is blue.

    I also have a very low voltage blue LED nightlight i made myself, it runs on a 12volt transformer and is a strip of 16 LED's mounted on the lid of the tank in some clear tubing to make it waterproof, They come on when the main lights go out, for 3 hours.

    Thanks
     
  4. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Just In Case...

    Frankly, it is usually a CO2 and/or circulation problem. The drop checker gives an indication at that point. Focusing on the area(s) where you see the BGA, is there any obstruction that might cause a calm area? Any places where mulm or debris fall out and pile up?

    Just in case though…

    I am not a botanist, expert or otherwise, in addition to my disclaimer.

    It does seem like a lot of light. Light drives the nutrient demand system. It strikes me as possible you are getting behind the fertilizer uptake power curve. I am not personally familiar with Tropica AquaCare liquid fertilizers, assuming it is a balanced mix, I would add maybe two or three milliliters on the third and fifth day after the weekly water change.

    I don’t mean to state the obvious, but I would also remove all the BGA I could on sight.

    This is just me.:eek:

    Biollante
     
  5. Gbark

    Gbark Guru Class Expert

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    Thanks, i will move my drop catcher around the tank for the next couple of days, and after tomorrows water change i will add more fert on the 3rd and 5th day

    Geoff
     
  6. Gbark

    Gbark Guru Class Expert

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    Just to udate, I have done my water change and increased the amount of co2 slightly, i have moved my drop checker around the tank and i get a consistant light green colour bordering on yellow.

    I havent fed any fert after the water change though, as i read that i should hold off until BBA has cleared. I have tried cutting out the affective leaves and have replaced some plants.

    It is still on my small grasses, and one or two leaves of the hygrophillia.

    Is there anything else that i could be doing wrong? or is there anything to treat it with that won't harm my plants/fish.

    Thanks
    :)
     
  7. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    I think I would dose the tank.

    Since it does not appear to be CO2; that takes us to the "just in case..."

    I am not good at calculating non EI/PMDD but rather than withholding nutrients I think if anything I would increase the nutrients.

    Biollante
     
  8. Gbark

    Gbark Guru Class Expert

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    Ok i will add my usual 10ml Tropica Aquacare. It is the one without the K and the N.

    Should i be adding Potassium?
    I don't add the N as my nitrates are around 12.5ppm and creap up to 25ppm by the time i need a water change.
     
  9. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    I am not familiar with Tropica Aquacare I know someone on this site looked it up, but I can't locate the whats in it part.

    Yes, though for 125 gallon tank 10 ml seems low.

    Assuming this is 125 gallon tank we are talking about I recommend these amounts as a starting point that is a lot of light you are supporting.

    Yes, I would add potassium, I don't know what form you have.

    If K2SO4 1 7/8 teaspoon.

    I would add Phosphate as well if KH2PO4 3/8 teaspoon. If no KH2PO4, 14 ml Fleet Enema.

    I would also urge you to add MgSO4 (Epsom Salt) 4 ½ teaspoon.

    Biollante
     
  10. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi,
    BBA is ALWAYS due to a CO2 issue. The problem is that many assume that when we say "a CO2 issue" that this automatically means a poor injection rate.

    AS mentioned by Biollante, CO2 uptake can be stifled by having insufficient flow or inadequate flow distribution at the affected location. So that even though the injection rate seems adequate, it may not be reaching the plant in question. It could be that your filter flow rating is inadequate or the manner in which you arrange the outlet(s) is problematic.

    Another issue is unstable CO2 delivery to the plant. It could be, for example, that at lights ON, the CO2 level is poor but that a few hours later the concentration level is elevated, giving the illusion that CO2 is OK. It may be a simple fix to simply turn the gas on earlier that you are doing now in order to ensure that the concentration levels are adequate at the beginning of the photoperiod, which happens to be the most crucial time of day for CO2. This can be compensated for by turning the gas OFF earlier since this is a less critical time. This can also be addressed by having a much lower intensity at lights ON so that the CO2 demand is lowered at this time.

    So step number one is to know the truth, that BBA is absolutely caused by poor CO2 for that given lighting level and to never waver from that truth. Step two is to understand that light causes a CO2 uptake demand. High light causes a high CO2 demand, low light causes a low CO2 demand. In order to meet the demand, then either the light must be lowered or the CO2 increased or a combination of both. Thinking that there is any other cause is self delusional.

    Depending on the plant species in your tank liquid carbon products such as Excel may be used regularly to supplement the CO2 levels in the tank.

    I guess we have also assumed that your dropchecker is filled with 4dkh water as well? An oblivious question but one that always has to be asked. Using anything other water can give you false high readings.

    Cheers,
     
  11. Gbark

    Gbark Guru Class Expert

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    Thanks Biollante,

    I may have got a bit confussed.

    I do dose K It is in the liquid fert.
    Here is tropica's make up.

    w/w%:
    K = 0.80%
    Mg = 0.39%
    S = 0.91%
    B = 0.004%
    Cu = 0.006%
    Fe = 0.07%
    Mn = 0.04%
    Mo = 0.002%
    Zn = 0.002%
    HEEDTA
    DTPA
    E123

    and the weight (s.g)

    500ml= 520g

    So there is no N and no P.

    Will check my P level 2moro hopefully!
     
  12. Gbark

    Gbark Guru Class Expert

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    I have checked my CO2 level tonight, it reads about 40ppm,
    (i have also bought an extra pump today to give extra circulation to the gravel.)

    This is based on a KH of 8.4 and a pH of 6.8

    I have also tested my PO4 and it less than 0.1 ppm, so i guess i could dose that.

    my Nitrate is 12.5 ppm

    Water change 2moro:)



     
  13. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi Gbark,
    If you are checking your CO2 level by measuring the tank water's pH and KH, then using those values in the tables then I can guarantee you that your calculations are incorrect and that you are calculating a higher CO2 level that you actually have.

    The reason is simple: The KH/pH/CO2 table is predicated on the assumption that the only acid in the water to affect the pH of that water is Carbonic acid due directly to and uniquely to the dissolved CO2. Unfortunately for this calculation, an aquarium has lots of different acids dissolved in the water. There a re organic acids as a result of the products of metabolism and there are other acids as a result of the nutrients that we ourselves add, such as phosphoric acid and even nitric acid. Therefore the pH reading is corrupted, is lower than that due to the carbonic acid content and when you look this value up on the chart it returns a high CO2 level than is actually there. I can assure you therefore that you almost certainly do NOT have 40ppm CO2. This is undoubtedly part of your problem.

    The conventional method of determining the CO2 level is to use a drop checker, which is a simple vessel filled with distilled water which has then been adjusted to a known kH value, typically 4 dKH plus a pH test reagent. The vessel is placed in the tank and it's water sample is isolated from the tank water. The CO2 in the tank dissolves into this isolated sample and the pH is then read visually. With this sample, free of any other acid the pH/KH/CO2 relationship is validated and it gives a more accurate picture of the actual dissolved levels.

    An illustrated article about the use of dropcheckers can be found here: Welcome To UKaps - CO2 Measurement Using A Drop Checker

    I cannot say exactly how much you are off by but you can do with increasing the injection rate even more than you have so far. You did not have 30ppm before and you don't have 40ppm now. We can be fairly certain of that. Obviously care should be taken to avoid injuring the fish so be careful with any rate increase. Monitor the fish's behaviour for signs of stress.

    Additionally, I strongly suggest that you simply stop testing. It's almost a certainty that your numbers are totally incorrect because the test kits have a miserable track record for accuracy. Just dose the standard EI values and forget about testing.

    Cheers,
     
  14. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    I am in almost total agreement with ceg4048, all things being equal it is most likely CO2, circulation, distribution.

    I also agree that test kits are miserably inaccurate, observation is your best tool.

    Trust and stick to your dosing schedule, make sure all of your practices are good practices.

    Gently adjust your CO2, if you have not been using a drop checker with a known (uncontaminated) KH value there is little likelihood that you have a clue as to the CO2 level beyond the fact that the cyanobacteria are a pretty good indication that the CO2 is low.

    Should it happen your CO2 has been correct and this is where the ever-decisive ceg4048 and I part company, the cyanobacteria indicate that something is unbalanced, granted anyone or I can as Tom Barr demonstrated produce cyanobacteria by simply reducing the CO2, though the variables may be a little more complex. Without going into too much detail the relationship N2 + 8H+ + 8e- + 16 (C10H15N5O10P2) = 2NH3 + H2 + 16(C10H16N5O13P3) + 16 Pi, leaves room for other possible explanation for the imbalance.

    Biollante
     
  15. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hmm, I've reviewed the thread carefully and I can't find any mention of the OP having issues with cyanobacteria (BGA). Unless BGA was mentioned in another related thread, this is all about Black Brush Algae (BBA). If so this is undoubtedly a CO2 issue.

    Cyanobacteria (BGA) is related to inadequate NO3, not necessarily inadequate CO2, and I'm fairly certain that the demonstrations have shown this correlation.

    ATP synthesis and consumption occurs in every plant cell, to a lesser or greater degree, the balance of the two being dependent on many things including nutrient and CO2 availability. Specific deficiencies (as well as their acuteness) affect a specific combination of processes which are expressed in certain ways, so I'm not really sure the equation shown clarifies any deficiency expression (at least not in a plant). In fact the equation appears to show basic atmospheric nitrogen fixation, which could easily describe a bacterial metabolic pathway - and a very expensive pathway at that, since it appears to require a massive 16 ATP molecules to complete.

    The result of ATP consumption is typically liberated inorganic Phosphate (Pi) via ATP (Adinosine Triphosphate) conversion to ADP (Adinosine Diphosphate). Not only that, but the result appears to produce ammonia, which is highly toxic and if this is some sort of diazotrophic process, would then have to be somehow assimilated, maybe by protein action into glutamate.

    I guess I'm not sure what imbalance or possible explanation is implied by this equation. The equation itself is out of context because it does not, for example, explain where the 8 electrons are coming from. There would be a related equation to show the reaction of ferredoxin (iron-sulphur protein which mediates electron transfer) with some enzyme which executes the electron transfer, perhaps something like nitrogenase reductase. The 8 protons would be generated by some other equation possibly describing a hydrogenase enzyme acting on Hydrogen and separating the 8 electrons. So really, these are fundamental reactions that don't really imply anything other than basic life processes. I can't detect any imbalance there. Tom would have a better grip on it though.

    Cheers,
     
  16. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Oops!

    Oops got my letters wrong how embarrassing!:eek:

    So-called Black Beard Algae or Black Brush Algae, BBA, more generally known as Red Algae, is still a cyanobacterium.

    I am still with you most of the way, yet this is a messy world in which multiple possibilities exist. Granted some more likely than others.

    What would the fun be if things were absolute!:)

    Biollante
     
  17. Gbark

    Gbark Guru Class Expert

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    Thanks for all the advice, :D

    My drop catcher is always yellow, i do my weekly water changes, and add Tropica aquacare (10ml).

    I need to add P04, not sure what to use.

    The BBA doesn't seem to be spreading, but is still visable on the short foreground grasses.

    I will post a pic if i can

    Geoff
     
  18. Gbark

    Gbark Guru Class Expert

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