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BBA Spread, Grow?

Discussion in 'Algae Control' started by DutchMuch, Aug 26, 2017.

  1. DutchMuch

    DutchMuch Junior Poster

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    I have read and have experienced, BBA spreading and growing, I thought i'd make a thread on this.

    Ok so my question is, can BBA spread, and Grow. Some opinions are that its like ich, (which it is) and just spores all across the tank like any algae, and where it lands it sits, and gets larger (growing).

    My experience, I have first hand seen it actually Spread, and Grow, like a plant or moss. It just grows wherever it can touch.

    Whats your experience? this to me is a really stumping subject.

    Here at these links, they say this: (whats in quotes)

    "When it first begins to grow"
    http://www.everythingaquatic.net/forum/articles/algae-library/149846-black-beard-algae

    "and then spreads rapidly all over the aquarium"
    https://fishyaquaria.wordpress.com/2010/05/04/tackling-the-black-brush-algae-bba/
     
  2. burr740

    burr740 Micros Spiller
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    It spreads when tank conditions are favorable for it, stalled or struggling plants, damaged tissue, excessive organic waste, etc.

    It goes away when plants are thriving and the system is clean.

    Thriving plants plants dont get algae, even if it's showing up on the hardscape.

    So to answer your question, it appears/spreads based on other conditions, not as a result of simply being present.

    You could say it's at the mercy of the plants and tank conditions, not the other way around. It almost always comes down to healthy plants.

    Try searching the forum for Toms posts on the subject. He's often mentioned putting bba covered plants from clients tanks in his own, and watching it disappear. That's a good example.
     
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  3. DutchMuch

    DutchMuch Junior Poster

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    From my situation as you know, that is a perfect example.
    But you know, when I received a new shipment of plants, they Had BBA on them visibly, but I just didn't notice until later on when it grew, spread, and got bigger. Previously before those plants were added, no fish where in the tank, plants were LUSH (mostly other crypts, pearlweed, arcuate, etc) and thick. Not much algae growth other than spot algae on old leaves. Which is normal, but when the plants were added its almost as if a trigger happened, and the bomb of BBA just went off. But I didn't change anything, not lighting, didn't move plants around, didn't do a thing. So if BBA is like ICH and the spores are just everywhere, anyplace, anytime, then why when the plants were added, did the BBA bomb go off? that's more like my question. Hard to explains sometimes.
     
  4. burr740

    burr740 Micros Spiller
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    It all boils down to healthy plants, and to a lesser degree, dirty conditions.

    Dirty conditions are easy to fix, clean the filters, remove any dead or dying tissue, mulm on the substrate, water change. Boom, no more dirty conditions.

    Healthy plants is not always so simple. Plants stall before we actually notice them stalling or becoming unhealthy. Especially in a low tech where things move slowly. And this is when algae shows up.

    Look at some of the common "causes" for algae and notice how plant health is at the root of it all

    - Too much light > drives growth rates beyond available nutrients and co2 > unhealthy plants

    - Low/fluctuating CO2 > unhealthy plants

    - Nutrient deficiencies > unhealthy plants

    - Nutrient overdose/toxicity/imbalance > unhealthy plants

    - Poor flow > inefficient distribution of co2 and nutrients, low O2 > unhealthy plants


    In your case, maybe the additional plants created a need for more nutrients in the system, or being a low tech (right?) created more of a co2 deficit. Thereby stalling both the old plants and the new ones. Or maybe there was some die off on the new plants as they adapted to new conditions, in other words new decaying matter in the system. Im just speculating here.

    In my own tanks, one of the first signs that plants arent as happy as they should be, is tiny tufts of BBA will start showing on the substrate. Little balls of BBA on individual grains of sand. This means something is not right with the plants. Always. No exceptions

    And until I figure out what the problem is, and fix it, I can "fight" the bba all day long and it'll just keep coming back.

    To the untrained eye, it may seem like a BBA infestation that is spreading. But in reality its all because the plants arent happy - even if there's no visible signs yet..

    Fix the plants and the algae will stop.
     
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  5. slipfinger

    slipfinger Article Editor
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    You say nothing changed in your tank, but it did.

    You increased bioload within the tank by adding the plants. Your tank may have been in balance before you added the plants, but was thrown out of wack by adding them.

    Pikez mentions bioload all the time and how letting it get out of hand causes issues. Getting it back under control fixes these issues, either by reducing plant material of upping all the other requirements. Co2, nutrients etc etc.

    What's the difference between bioload from plant growth or dropping new plants into the tank?

    Food for thought.
     
    #5 slipfinger, Aug 26, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2017
    DutchMuch likes this.
  6. AquaK

    AquaK New Member

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    High DOC levels seem to drive it. For me, it mostly grew on old decaying driftwood and filter outlets. These are some of the higher flow areas in my setup. Pulling the driftwood out and scraping off the infested soft, outer layer definitely helped. Removing mulm from the substrate, cleaning the filters and even adding prefilters to the inlets helps keep filters cleaner longer. Purigen, h2o2 treatments obviously help, too.
     
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  7. DutchMuch

    DutchMuch Junior Poster

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    This makes sense!
    So the bioload coming from the plants is what though? decaying leaves?
     
  8. slipfinger

    slipfinger Article Editor
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    The bioload in this case is the plants themselves this includes roots, leaves, stems etc etc. As the plant mass (leaves, roots, stems) increases its demands for nutrients, Co2 and O2 increase. If you don't supply the plants with the extras of what it is asking for, or reduce the bioload so the plants demands are lower, plants are going to get unhealthy pretty quick.

    Does this make sense?
     
  9. DutchMuch

    DutchMuch Junior Poster

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    yep that makes sense thanks,
    OK now my question is, if your saying when a new plant(s) is/are added, bioload is added (roots, etc as you said) and this bioload enhances the growth of BBA? if I'm understanding (prob. not, super newb) correctly...?
    So the more plants, the more supply and demand.
    Ok but here is the thing, when I added those plants, they didn't begin to look bad at all... But they BBA kept growing and spreading on those plants, and then eventually the whole tank. But those plants were submersed grown, and transitioned pretty well (other than the BBA). Not much die off. But I picked the dead few leaves out of the tank, so now I'm just leading myself back to the original question....
    Feel like such a noob LOL
     
  10. SingAlongWithTsing

    SingAlongWithTsing Junior Poster

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    yup this happens to me too. the flow in my tank might be good but some times uneaten food wills till get caught in leaves of the slow growing plants.

    you didnt disturb the substrate too much when you planted the crypts did you? from my experience if i disturb the substrate too much and junk flies up my bba flares up
     
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  11. DutchMuch

    DutchMuch Junior Poster

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    No it wasn't a major disturbance, or at least what I consider one.. But there was some sediment in the water afterwards, but it cleared up in less than 30 mins or so
     
  12. Phishless

    Phishless Lifetime Member
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    This is a fact BTW.
    When starting my 80G frag tank I imported lots of nasty BBA covered plants.
    1 week in, the BBA is about all released and able to be vacuumed away.

    Concentrating on good plant growth is a win.
    Trim, vacuum, remove any dead plant matter and Purigen is your friend.
    Consistent daily CO2 is also of great importance!
     
  13. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Please note, the non CO2 tank is BBA free as is the CO2 enriched tank. One gets large water changes, the other none. DOC's I cannot say they add any merit to the causes of BBA. Some have speculated and tried. I think poor circulation from clogged filters, lower O2, something else........is more the issue, DOC's can be removed as a control using Activated carbon, see allelopathy also which claims these DOC's suppress the algae(and likely suppress other plant species, which is the thrust of most terrestrial research on the topic, yet we see little evidence of this in aquariums).

    So two ends of the CO2 concentration, but...........both cases have stable CO2. In nature, the BBA tends to grow in streams, and at about 5-10ppm(Sheath and Wehr).
    Buce, Anubias and Swords tend to be the most affected plants. Their leaves tend to be long lived, so there's ample time to colonize. Red Pantanal? No way. Tops grow too fast.

    Still, I've taken BBA covered plants, added them to either system, it goes away in about 2-4 weeks and the plants are nice looking after 1-3 months of growth.

    Red moss algae? That crap is far tougher. Then Bladderwort, duckweed, Riccia, etc. Manual removal and spot treatment, careful picking.
     
  14. DutchMuch

    DutchMuch Junior Poster

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    hm. Interesting! something for me to think about.
     
  15. AquaK

    AquaK New Member

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    IME, It almost always appears once regular maintenance has been neglected for a length of time. Filters allowed to hold excessive detritus, loose mulm trapped at the base of plants, rocks, wood, etc...and ignoring it once it sinks it's teeth in your display.

    Eventually, it gets to a point where you decide to take action and clean it up. The only thing that has worked for me is manual removal, more frequent water changes and filter maintenance along with substrate cleaning.

    I do not inject CO2 and flow has never been an issue. If anything, i have to dial it back or my stem plants and vals look like Fabio in a Hurricane. The BBA love the flow.

    One thing I have noticed, if my slow-growers are stunted and doing poorly, BBA is more likely to be present in the tank. There is no difference with the weeds.

    Maybe DOC in itself isn't the issue, but could it be related to chemical changes going on in the water when present?

    Getting rid of BBA is pretty easy actually. If I could prevent it from appearing in the first place. I never get it in my small tanks with internal sponge filters. But then again, the bioload is much less in them.
     
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  16. Omar EAZi

    Omar EAZi Member

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    you saw my tank, I had severe bba issue in the tank, it was all over the place, I did what was called the 1, 2 punch method, hydrogen peroxide followed by excel. I lost 3 apple snails and 2 fries.. but all bba was gone and my tank was clean again. the rest you already know :p
     
  17. Dale Hazey

    Dale Hazey Junior Poster

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    Omar EAZi likes this.
  18. Omar EAZi

    Omar EAZi Member

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    I heard that, they didn't eat mine though.
     
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