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BBA is KILLIN ME!!! HELP!

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by newtothis, Apr 30, 2009.

  1. newtothis

    newtothis Junior Poster

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    Hello all, I'm new here and have been reading old threads for weeks now but I need some specialized help:D

    I have a 55g tank that BBA has taken over the last few weeks. I am running DIY CO2 and have no clue what levels I have or even how to test for it. all I know is that I used to run 2 bottles (2 liter) to one powerhead. Having read that insufficiant co2 levels are the lead cause of bba I setup another powerhead with two more bottles and also ran a bottle to an airstone that I placed under a cave that acts like a bell. That was two weeks ago and it has gotten worse. The plants that the powerheads directly spray even have bba taking over them. So I'm confused. I have a great amount of flow throughout the tank, two powerheads and two HOB filters one on each side of tank, so water circulation is not the problem.

    Lighting:

    This economy has killed us with my wife and I both bieng laid off 9 months ago now..so I couldn't afford great lights. I build furniture as a hobby so I made a real nice hood for the tank, lined it wiht stainless and installed 6 26w CFL lights with a color rating of 6500k. so I have 156watts of inefficient CFL lighting. I read on another forum that lighting less than 6700k makes algae grow at a greater rate than plants, but I'm not sure if that is true or not.

    I cannot afford to fix everything at once so... what should I do?? Buy new t5 lights and if so what bulb temp? I've seen 6700k to 12500k.
    OR... should I leave my lighting and get a CO2 system? if so what do I need?

    I noticed that my baby dwarf tears are not growing AT ALL and is now becoming covered in BBA...is that due to light not reaching down to the substrate? I also dose the EI method for the last few months and haven't changed anything recently. Lights are on 8-10 hours a day.


    Here is my fish load (overstocked for now)

    2 bala sharks (one 6" one baby)
    1 gold gourami
    1 rainbow something or another
    3 little silver things
    4 guppies
    2 platy
    15 molly (freekin baby machines!!)
    2 stingray pleco (really hillstream loaaches)
    10 baby SAE

    Most of the mollies are soon to be moved to a 30 gallon I have cycling in my sons room.

    Thanks for all the help!!
     
  2. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi and welcome,

    One of your biggest issues is the high amount of light. Light is what drives plant growth which in turn drives nutrient demand including c02.

    The higher the light, the more demand will exist.

    DIY is very difficult to use and keep up with that amount of light. It is better for much lower lighting levels.

    I would remove 2-3 bulbs easily but leave the bulbs to still get a good spread over the tank, if you know what I mean.

    That should reduce the demand for nutes and c02.

    Okay to measure c02 you need a c02 meter, but that is out of most folks budget.

    So we use a drop checker (DC) which does not cost much and is described in this thread.

    http://www.barrreport.com/articles/2661-drop-checkers-co2-indicators-why-how.html?highlight=test+kits

    Manually remove your BBA as you can and reduce the light. Try and do some more water changes, as that will add c02 to the tank and help reduce nh4 which will drive algae.

    BBA is usually caused by low c02 and it will take a while to remove all traces. When you see it STOP spreading, you are getting somewhere.

    I know there is a nice thread on the things you need for pressurized c02 and will see if I can find it, but in a nutshell:

    1. C02 bottle. Usually 5 or 10 lbs. Buy it used is much cheaper. Look at welding supply and fire ext refill/sales.
    2. Regulator and needle valve - this connects to the tank and has high and low guages along with a needle valve to increase/decrease the c02 output.
    3. The c02 output line (or air tubing) then needs to somehow get mixed into the tank. Many many ways to do this, here is one.

    http://www.barrreport.com/articles/3444-dual-venturi-diy-external-co2-reactor.html?highlight=reactor

    and this one for DIY c02:

    http://www.barrreport.com/articles/41-diy-internal-reactor-great-yeast-co2-users.html?highlight=reactor

    I hope this helps.
     
  3. newtothis

    newtothis Junior Poster

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    thanks for the reply!

    I wired the 6 lights into 3 switches so I have 3 two light banks setup with two in center then next two towards each end then the two farthest away from center.

    I'll run just two lights for a few days and see if that helps. I have never been able to grow forground plants so I assumed I needed more light...no?

    would this be good to buy?
    AquariumPlants.com's Electronic Co2 Regulator
     
  4. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    Well experimenting with light levels may take more than a few days......

    It is the single biggest factor that can CONTROL plant growth (to a point).

    If you are handy, mount the lights so they can be raised/lowered as desired.

    That is not a bad setup, but here are a couple of other options.

    The guages are one thing, but it is the quality of the needle valve too that is vital.

    I got one from here:

    Home - SuMo CO2 Regulators for Planted and Reef Aquariums

    and other folks went here:

    Welcome to Rex's Guide to Planted Tanks

    The guage/valve setup will be your most expensive item, but it is vital, so spend there if possible.

    I got a used 10 lb filled at the local fire ext refill place for $55. Much cheaper than new and I bet e-bay is better....

    You also need to think about how to mix the c02 and the water........

    But you need the setup no matter the chosen method.
     
  5. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Oh BTW,

    Your SAE if they live will get 4-6" easy. Bala sharks are BIG fish and your 55 will soon be too small. Just a thought............before you get too attached.
     
  6. newtothis

    newtothis Junior Poster

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    thanks for everything...this place rocks!

    As for the fish outgrowing the tank...I have a 200g setup waiting to be filled and put to use...once someone in this house starts working again I'll set it up.

    I'm doing research now and getting a list together of stuff I need ot inject co2. I thought my lights may need replacing first as they are cheapy CFL's but if not, thats great too.

    would dosing excel ( think thats the name of the stuff) be a good idea in the meantime?
     
  7. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Yes, excel is a good product but pricey so I did not mention it....

    It will help with algae a bit as well, but will melt valisneria....

    I think your lighting is fine for now........plants will grow under most anything, it is the nutes and c02 that are usually the limiting factors. Most folks have way too much light.........

    Good setup with the mult switches........

    BTW, when you look into c02, you don't need a ph controller. You can just have the c02 on only when the lights are on and turn it off when lights are off.

    NO c02 when lights are off!!!!!

    PH will respond to more than just carbon concentration in the water and this may cause the controller to turn off the c02.

    Plus, it is an expense that is unnecessary IME.

    Nice for the 200.... I wish. My 180 always seems small :)
     
  8. newtothis

    newtothis Junior Poster

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    Yea, the 200 was purely luck! My neighbor moved and was told that an in wall tank was a turn off to buyers so he asked me if I would take the fishroom out and re-drywall and I could have the setup... I'm still to get it filled though...just sits in my shop mocking me :mad:

    I noticed one thing tonight while doing my nightly fish count. Parts of the black beard algae is turning red...?!?!?! Is this a good thing?


    a fert question:

    I bought my dry ferts from aquariumfertilizer.com and on the labels it says to make a pmdd solution mix together one part each of KNO3,K2SO4 and CSM+B Plantex. Then add 1/4cup of that mix to 500ml water. Says to add 1-4 drops daily per gallon of water. So thats 220 drops or so daily for a 55...gots to be an easier method then counting 220 drops...lol.

    I'm going to have to use this approach now as my kids got into my cabinet and poured all my dry ferts into the back of their dump truck...:eek:
     
  9. Nos

    Nos Junior Poster

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    As far as I know it is a good thing as it is dying. When I had BBA, it turned red after I started dosing Easycarbo and my SAE preferred it that way. :)
     
  10. Liakern

    Liakern Junior Poster

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    how long after you made adjustments did it take to start turning red cause i got the same issue with my micro sword.
     
  11. newtothis

    newtothis Junior Poster

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    honestly...I have no idea what caused it to turn red...there is only one half dollar sized spot on my java moss that turned red...and the funny thing is that spot is directly where I dumped the liquid fert mixture yesterday morning...hmmm

    My hood is heavy and hard to remove...so to add liquid ferts I attached a section of silicone tubing to a syringe filled with the proper amounts of ferts and just inject the ferts into the tank...the red spot of algae is where the tube was sitting when I injected the ferts. I normally inject them in my powerhead but I got lazy yesterday.
     
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