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black beard algae how to effectively eliminate?

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by iverson387, May 16, 2008.

  1. iverson387

    iverson387 Junior Poster

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    Ok ive read up on this but cant seem to get a straight answer on what exactly to do to get rid of it completely. I have a 65 gal tank 36x18x24 with 3x39 w of t5ho, dosing ei for a 40-60 gal tank, rena xp3 filter and pressurized co2 with a rex rigg reactor. I have been having algae problems since the beginning. First i had green water so i bought a uv. then i got blue green algae so 3 day blackout +EM. now i have bba. My co2 is at least 30 ppm using 4dkh water in drop checker and just on the yellow side. I have the lights on for 8 hrs per day. anyway what should i do to get rid of the algae. i have been trimming and cleaning but its spreading faster. this mainly grows on my dwarf hairgrass, microsword, and java fern.
     
  2. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Do you have good water circulation in the tank? Do all of the leaves at least gently sway in the flowing water? Without that the CO2 and nutrient rich water never reaches all of the plants. You could use a powerhead hidden in back somewhere to supplement the circulation.

    Once you get a heavy growth of BBA you can't get rid of it without actively killing or removing it. You can remove hardscape and equipment and soak them in a bleach bath - the BBA will turn white. You can prune away stems infested with BBA. And, you can squirt Excel on smaller patches in the tank. Once you kill or get rid of it all, then you have a chance with good tank conditions to avoid its return.
     
  3. shane

    shane Lifetime Charter Member
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    Whats your bioload? How much water do you change per week?

    I have some BBA as well. I think it might be because of my bioload (large discus). Basically, I think I need to do more water changes.

    I have had some success with directly spraying Excel onto the leaves of the BBA infested leaves (only have experience with anubius leaves). If you dose excel everyday, you can try to spray the excel onto the infested leaves daily. I have successfully killed BBA on driftwood and some anubius leaves doing this until the BBA is gone.

    Also, if you are doing a water change and the infested plant/driftwood happens to be out of water, you can add excel directly onto the leaves/driftwood as well. I have noticed moss doesn't like Excel and will die if applying it as described above.
     
  4. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi iverson,
    This may sound absurd but it's entirely possible that your filter is not delivering a sufficient amount of flow to satisfy the distribution of nutrients/CO2. Filter ratings are a bit optimistic in the first place and they are rated for fish bio-load, not algae reduction in the second place. As Vaughn says you can add a powerhead to help push the water around a bit better or you can upgrade or add another filter. Believe it or not a filtration "rating" of 10X the tank volume per hour (or as close as you can get) would reduce a lot of these issues.

    Cheers,
     
  5. iverson387

    iverson387 Junior Poster

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    ok the leaves are swayin about 1 inch back and forth but i do have some dead spots. i will add 2 powerheads in these areas . it is generally growing on my hairgrass. only the older established pieces though the new runners are clean. im thinking about redoing the tank but i really want to figure out how to balance everythihng out before i create another mess. I will also trim all this tomorrow. Im doing 50 percent water changes per week. and as as far as bioload i have about 35 fish but they are mostly small younger fish. tetras, guppys, a few cories 2 young whiptail catfish and some ottos. I dont think the tank is overstocked for their size as i will eventually be removing them. Also the nitrates are at approx 10-15 ppm. and im adding kno3 to the tank.
     
  6. Trivr

    Trivr Prolific Poster

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    Hi Iverson,

    I'm relatively new here, but your situation sounded so similar to my experience, I thought I'd chime in. I have a 55g with a very large piece of driftwood and lots of floating plants. The wood is about 3 feet long and the main trunk sits diagonal along the back only 2 inches from the back glass. I realized I had flow issues when I noticed bba growing in a narrow strip the full length of the wood directly across from the glass. The filter data says it's fine for my 55g, but I created the problem through poor layout of my decorations. Now if I see bba growth in another area, that's the first thing I look for.

    Also, I haven't seen this mentioned by anyone else, but when this same piece of wood was hopelessly covered in algae a few months ago, I simply removed it from my tank and proped it up in my bathroom with a small room fan blowing on it for less than a day (about 18 hours), put it back in the tank and all the algae turned a purplish/pink and disappeared.

    Trivr
     
  7. iverson387

    iverson387 Junior Poster

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    ok i did a trim /bleach dip and added two powerheads but the bba is still spreading. Not as fast but it isnt going away. It is mainly on my java fern, dwarf hairgrass, and micro sword. so i dipped these plants in the bleach solution. i have done this once befor about a month ago and it all went away for a while. Why is the bba still growing how do i stop it? I beleive all my parameters are in check. everywhere i read it says low co2 is the cause but mine is definitely around 30-40ppm. I almost killed my fish the other day but luckily caught it in time. anyway i have to trim/clean daily to keep the algae from getting out of control. Im trying hard to get rid of it but cant find a solution. What else should i try.
     
  8. shane

    shane Lifetime Charter Member
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    I have noticed it takes some time to get rid of BBA. Perhaps wait a few weeks and see what happens?

    If you change something in your tank, give it a few weeks before you claim it didn't work.

    How is your filter? How many water changes are you doing?

    Doing plant bleaching may get rid of the BBA short term but it may not be the core reason on why the BBA was there in the first place.

    Read this post:
    http://www.barrreport.com/general-plant-topics/4289-too-many-fish.html
     
  9. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    Are you dosing iron? I know this may go against some general consensus around here, but I have found that if I have an issue with bba to start with, if I go way overboard on my iron dosing it seems to really speed up the bba's growth and others have said this too. I'm not saying it's the cause, but it seems to make things worse in a situation that is already iffy. If you are dosing iron make sure you are doing it within standard parameters and not overdoing it, especially if you have iron in your tap water already.

    If this tank is somewhat new (< 3 months) don't give up on it and start over - it takes time for plants to adapt to their environment, and in the meantime algae is more likely to become an issue, especially if parameters are changing a lot. Simply keeping things stable with regular maintenance for a month or so while doing as much manual removal of the algae as possible could eventually solve most of the issue.
     
  10. iverson387

    iverson387 Junior Poster

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    Well ive had the algae for about 2 weeks now and there is more everyday. I will trim all leaves wit bba then the next day it will reappear somewhere else. I have recently added powerhead to increase flow but the algae is still contantly growing in these areas. It is also growing on the jets of the spraybar. I am not currently dosing iron and dont believe im overstocked. I have 10 cardinal tetras, 15 guppys (most less than half inch-4 at 1.5 inches), 4 otocinclus, 2 corydoras (2 in), 2 whiptail catfish( 3 in), and 3 small balas(2.5 in) which will be moved once they get larger.
     
  11. shane

    shane Lifetime Charter Member
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    Do lots of water changes? 3-4 times a week at 50% each?
     
  12. peecolattack

    peecolattack Junior Poster

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    i have a 16 gallon tank, with one small plant.
    i found two spots of Black Beard Algae (?) on one of my fake plants..


    what do i do about this?
    i read something about the real plant swaying? mine does nothing at all.

    help?
     
  13. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    You might get banned for keeping plastic plants on this forum :p

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  14. Koen_v_V

    Koen_v_V Prolific Poster

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    I have a lot of BBA, not growing very fast, on java fern, vallisneria, H. Corymbosa and my synthetic side and back covering (don't know the english word for it) completely covered by BBA for more than 500 square inches.

    I dose IE high tech, high light tank but have a low light tank, more than sufficient flow and CO2 (30ppm by drop checker and PH controller). EasyCarbo (Excel) does help to stop growing BBA, but doesn't help eliminating it, tried this for 2 months single daily dose and 1 month triple daily dose. I've stoppped dosing Easy Carbo and BBA is back spreading again.

    Didn't try direct spraying on materials and plant, so i'll give it a go with that method.

    I have a very aerial gravel (3-6mm) and a lot of clay with iron in it. Maybe that causes BBA, referring to another post in this thread?

    Cheers, Koen.
     
  15. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    No, I would look at the plants more than anything, adjust the CO2 slowly and gradually, to prevent them from getting BBA.

    The glass, and other surfaces can be removed or cleaned during the water change.
    Any BBA that gets exposd to air during a large water change, particularly non living things, can have some Easy Carb/Excel squirted on it directly.

    This will kill it in a few minutes.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  16. incubus3x3x3

    incubus3x3x3 Junior Poster

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    I wanted to ask this for a long time:
    I know that most of guys, on this forum, turn off the CO2 on the night and turn it on again with a few hours before the light goes on.

    Doesn't this cause a CO2 variation that the BBA and other algaes loves?:confused:
     
  17. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Only during the day.

    That's the key.

    Here's a possible problem, and I know it does occurr more often than many like to admit or are aware of, yet often claim they are "certain":

    The CO2 does not add enough CO2 fast enough to the tank, generally with high light, to get up to a critical level. So the plants are limited for the first 1-3 hours of the day when they need the CO2 the most.

    I think this is quite common and I've had it happen to some tanks myself, DIY CO2 and also with disc more than other things like mist and power heads, Mazzei, reactors, but also with CO2 delievry methods that are also very underpowered and do not have enough flow through rates to mix and add enough CO2 fast enough etc.

    At lower light, this is a lesser problem, at higher light, much more so.

    I also watch closely for BBA and GSA. If I see it, I know to add more CO2, kill what is there asap, add Excel and do a water change, clean the disc, filter etc.

    I do not wait for things to get really bad, that just means a lot more work later.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  18. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    However the last post on this article was over a month ago, I'd like to post a reply.
    I had trouble with BBA too, and solved it by REDUCING the flow of my filter to around 2x the volume of the tank per hour and taking out the spray bar. Now the flow comes in 2 inch below the surface and is diagonal from rear to front in an open space, with just very little surface agitation and movement of leaves. What was surprising to me is that when a Vallisneria leaf got caught in the flow directly after the filter outlet it developed BBA in a week. Just that leaf.

    I use CO2 at 1 bps (20ppm) in a 60 gal. tank (52 gal. effective)

    Regards,
    HJ
     
  19. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    A 60 gallon tank will not have 20 ppm of CO2 with only one bubble per second of CO2 being added, unless those bubbles are about 3-4 times as big as usual. I suspect you are using KH and pH to determine how much CO2 you have - that isn't at all accurate. A drop checker with a 4 dKH reference solution in it would be much more accurate, but still not very accurate.

    I have seen BBA develop in high flow areas too, and I don't have an explanation for it. I comfort myself by deciding that it takes skill to grow BBA as well as I do.:D
     
  20. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    You're right about the CO2 readings. I'm going to follow your post about the drop checker.
    But....if high CO2 seems to be the solution for eradicating BBA, then why are you still having trouble?
    Maybe in the high flow are there is a continious flow of nutrients and oxygen. I also read in some scientific articles about red algae that the audouinella species (BBA?) grows fastest in light around 500 nm (green), very differerent from the aquatic plants. That's bad for us, because it's the same range that we see. So it seems that lamps with a high green spectrum favours these algaes.

    When I turned the flow of the filter to hit the front window that's exactly the spot where the most algaes grow. I see a lot of people here that use spray bars, and powerheads while my filter puts out just 1 liter of water every 9 seconds.



    Regards,
    HJ.
     
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