BBA in low tech

mexicatz

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Feb 10, 2015
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I was wondering what other steps I can take to prevent BBA in my low tech excel based tank. I have cut water changes down to every two weeks and I let buckets of water sit out 24 hours before a water change or top off. With these steps it seems like I still get some new BBA. It isn't that bad and probably 98% of it is on hardscape.

I kill it off with excel and it seems to re appear. I've seen some people recommend changing the water at night, but its tough since I have cherry shrimp.

I also have some algae or possible deficiencies in my monte carlo that I need help identifying. I need to place some root tabs again if that would help.

http://imgur.com/a/5ZT2k

For reference:
I dose kh2po4, flourish, excel, equilibrium on water changes. I skip on kno3 because of high nitrates, not sure if I need k2so4. I've been reducing my dosing a lot because of light planting.
 
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bshenanagins

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Mar 3, 2017
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How is your lighting? Plenty of nutrients but a lack of demand from plants is what attracts algae, especially if there is an abundance of light.
 

mexicatz

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Feb 10, 2015
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How is your lighting? Plenty of nutrients but a lack of demand from plants is what attracts algae, especially if there is an abundance of light.
Was only using a finnex clip on, but it was recommended it still might be too much light based on the other algae. I've raised the arm on the light to reduce it to see if there's any change
 

mexicatz

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Feb 10, 2015
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Here's a few different photos with some photos of the BBA and some of what I assume to be green fuzz algae or green hair algae. I've lowered my dosing to just 2 ml of flourish and a small amount of kh2po4, with excel daily. Current plants monte carlo and e. tenellus. I don't really know if my light is too low and I'm overdosing or my lighting was too high. There's a video for the PAR on the finnex stingray clip on and it should definitely be below 30par.

20170830_164050.jpg
20170830_164132.jpg

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20170830_164115.jpg
 

bshenanagins

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Mar 3, 2017
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Your hard scape and substrate surface area greatly outnumbers your plant load so that's def a factor. Seems pretty bright in that tank and although the par may not be super high it's enough to be in favor of algae. Too much of your macros is not the issue. That one big rock is pretty close to the surface and has a large surface area so it would be difficult not to attract algae.
 
Jul 17, 2017
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I'm a noob but I run a similar light level with low tech as well and I also had problems with green fuzz. Check out my journal for some details. In my case, I'm pretty sure I didn't have enough nutrients, Fe specifically because my pH is high. I can't find where you provide the tank volume so I don't know how much you're dosing. How long has the tank been set up? The root tabs might not be helping much if the roots haven't developed into the substrate. Also, it looks like your plant mass is really low. I don't think you can compensate for that simply by lowering the dosing. Have you thought about throwing in some fast growing floaters or Ceratophylum or water sprite to give you plant mass that you can take out later after your carpet is more established?
 

mexicatz

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Feb 10, 2015
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Your hard scape and substrate surface area greatly outnumbers your plant load so that's def a factor. Seems pretty bright in that tank and although the par may not be super high it's enough to be in favor of algae. Too much of your macros is not the issue. That one big rock is pretty close to the surface and has a large surface area so it would be difficult not to attract algae.

Ya the tank does seem pretty bright. It was way brighter about 2 weeks ago. I had the light sitting almost flat, so I raised it to where it is now. Hopefully its enough. Should I still dose a small amount of kno3 even if my nitrates are high or should I go with k2so4? I'm not sure if my nitrate test kit has been becoming inaccurate because when I test, both my tanks are nearly exact ( I've seen it mentioned nitrate test kits are a bad indicator). This 5.5 gallon only has shrimp that I haven't really fed, filter is clean, and there aren't any decaying plants. The bottle only has about 2-3 tests left in it and is 2+yrs old.

for example, I just tested my water and the reading is 40+ppm nitrate. I just did around a 40-50% change 5 days ago and didnt add any nitrate. The nitrate then was 40+ and it hasn't even lowered. When I was dosing the kno3, I only dosed 1/32 every two weeks.
 
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mexicatz

Junior Poster
Feb 10, 2015
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I'm a noob but I run a similar light level with low tech as well and I also had problems with green fuzz. Check out my journal for some details. In my case, I'm pretty sure I didn't have enough nutrients, Fe specifically because my pH is high. I can't find where you provide the tank volume so I don't know how much you're dosing. How long has the tank been set up? The root tabs might not be helping much if the roots haven't developed into the substrate. Also, it looks like your plant mass is really low. I don't think you can compensate for that simply by lowering the dosing. Have you thought about throwing in some fast growing floaters or Ceratophylum or water sprite to give you plant mass that you can take out later after your carpet is more established?

This is a 5.5 gallon tank thats been set up for about 1.5 years. Right now I dose 1/32 equilibrium on water change to raise the ph since my tap ph is low. For others, about 1/64 kh2po4, 2ml flourish once a week or two weeks, .75ml excel daily. I stopped kno3 because my nitrates are pretty high from previous dosing.

I plan on buying more monte carlo if that will help out. If not, maybe i'll try the floaters
 
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bshenanagins

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Mar 3, 2017
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You could take a break from the nitrates just make sure your getting the potassium in, however I wouldn't rely on those tests. More plant mass can only help I say go for it.
 

mexicatz

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Feb 10, 2015
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You could take a break from the nitrates just make sure your getting the potassium in, however I wouldn't rely on those tests. More plant mass can only help I say go for it.
I tested my tap water which came out as 0 nitrates, tank 40+. I wonder if its something with the osmocote root tabs I put in raising the nitrates. I may have put too many in a tank thats only 5 gallons


Just tested after I mentioned that could be the cause, and my tank has nitrites and i presume ammonia likely being released from too many root tabs. This might be causing the algae. Do you know what steps I should take? Do I do several water changes or attempt to remove tabs from the substrate?
 
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slipfinger

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The down fall of O+ Gel caps, you lose control of how much is being realeased.

I would do your best to remove what you can. You need to regain control.

If you want to use them than place one or two individual prills not gel caps under and around your plants.
 
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mexicatz

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Feb 10, 2015
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The down fall of O+ Gel caps, you lose control of how much is being realeased.

I would do your best to remove what you can. You need to regain control.

If you want to use them than place one or two individual prills not gel caps under and around your plants.
I think it may be a combination of this and I cleaned out my filter using tap water which I usually don't do. The only issue now is that I don't know if these spikes allowed the algae to develop which would leave me stuck on the lightning situation. Theres also some BBA in my other tank, but I think it has been reduced a lot with my new water change schedule/methods.

I have this algae in my other tank. I'm not sure if this is green spot algae. Today I reduced the light in this tank as well.

20170830_164553.jpg
 

Tom Barr

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Frankly this set up with the HC and hair grass is asking for trouble using a non CO2 method.
Excel maybe..........
But you lack any real density in plant types, an ADA aqua soil sediment would be better.
You need to be able to control the light intensity.

I'd suggest less CO2 demanding plants.
Hairgrass works if you have other stem plants and other plants at or on the surface.
HC, not so well. It can be done, but not to the similar levels you see in CO2 enriched tanks as a general rule.
UG is easier actually.

You do not get to do the same types of scapes well by simply saying I'm not going to use CO2. There's more to it.
Iwagumi or similar layouts tend to work poorly with non CO2.
 
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mexicatz

Junior Poster
Feb 10, 2015
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Frankly this set up with the HC and hair grass is asking for trouble using a non CO2 method.
Excel maybe..........
But you lack any real density in plant types, an ADA aqua soil sediment would be better.
You need to be able to control the light intensity.

I'd suggest less CO2 demanding plants.
Hairgrass works if you have other stem plants and other plants at or on the surface.
HC, not so well. It can be done, but not to the similar levels you see in CO2 enriched tanks as a general rule.
UG is easier actually.

You do not get to do the same types of scapes well by simply saying I'm not going to use CO2. There's more to it.
Iwagumi or similar layouts tend to work poorly with non CO2.

Not sure if it matters, but the 5.5 gallon is monte carlo and the hairgrass is in my 20 gallon (pictured below: poor quality). I've been dosing excel in both hoping it would be enough to grow the hairgrass and monte carlo, but both tanks have low plant density and slow growers. I've lowered the light in my 20 gallon using window screening and tried raising the arm on the stingray clip on to reduce light.


Am I trying to achieve too much only using excel? Knowing some of this additional info, is there any way to makes these work? I know you mentioned a different substrate and higher plant density

20170830_164427.jpg
 

bshenanagins

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Mar 3, 2017
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You can try it, but like tom said it's going to be difficult to control algae and also promote plant growth. How much osmocote did you put in there? I'm pretty sure two full tabs would be the most you could put in the 5 gallon, but since you have limited plant mass it might not be a bad idea to empty the tank and dig through the substrate to remove what you can.
 

mexicatz

Junior Poster
Feb 10, 2015
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You can try it, but like tom said it's going to be difficult to control algae and also promote plant growth. How much osmocote did you put in there? I'm pretty sure two full tabs would be the most you could put in the 5 gallon, but since you have limited plant mass it might not be a bad idea to empty the tank and dig through the substrate to remove what you can.
I think there's definitely 5+
 

mexicatz

Junior Poster
Feb 10, 2015
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You can try it, but like tom said it's going to be difficult to control algae and also promote plant growth. How much osmocote did you put in there? I'm pretty sure two full tabs would be the most you could put in the 5 gallon, but since you have limited plant mass it might not be a bad idea to empty the tank and dig through the substrate to remove what you can.

Pulled out 2-3 pills worth of osmocote and did a water change. The ammonia and nitrite are back at 0. So, I've raised the light slightly and started dosing 2x the daily excel dosage so it can work for plant growth and to kill algae. Going to see if it works out.
 
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