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C02 Conundrum - good enough for plants - bba exists

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by Gerryd, Jul 14, 2010.

  1. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi all,

    After recently switching to a Rio 1000 with DIY needle wheel I find the following:

    1. Excellent plant growth. Size, shape, color, etc. Branching, runners, etc.
    2. Increasing BBA on all wood and rocks but NOT plants. Anubias tied to wood with BBA all around does not have it (yet).

    If I increase the c02 my cards are affected.

    I have increased the surface ripple and 02 so I can try again to increase the c02.

    My stauro carpet has really taken off the last 2-3 weeks due to better c02, but the same time the BBA is much worse and is steadily taking over the hardscape..

    So, not like c02 was fixed yesterday.... After all the advice I have given about patience, am I now being impatient for it to go away?

    I don't 'mind' too much as the plant and fish health are excellent..

    However, it IS unsightly and makes me think c02 is still not 'optimal'???

    Appreciate all thoughts.
     
  2. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    If you can remove your hard scape without disturbing anything too much. I found a good scrubbing and soak in potassium permanganate killed bba on some wood I had covered with it, over a month with no sign of returning. Sorry this does not address the underlying question. Just my two cents. Patience....... smatience.
     
  3. scottward

    scottward Guru Class Expert

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    Hi Gerry,

    I only have large rocks in my tank now, as they are much easier for me to clean that wood. I will put wood back in my tank once the BBA is completely mastered (i.e. gone).

    I too am seeing excellent growth with the DIY needle wheel + AM1000 combo in my 100g. And I am also seeing tufts of BBA on my rocks. I don't think it is a direct result of the switch to using the DIY needle wheel, as there was always small amounts of it, but it is nevertheless not completely dissapearing.

    It can't be a matter of waiting longer, it can't possibly just go away by itself can it? Although I've read that supposedly it can.

    I don't see how it can be flow related either, in your case or mine, as it's all rocks/wood that are affected, not just one particular spot.

    Hmmmm.

    If I had enough spare time I would try water changing every day for a month to see if it would go away! Maybe just too many spores in the water giving it too much of an edge??
     
  4. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    Hi guys,

    Strange. The only thing I can tell you is that I don't have ANY BBA in my tank, just using AM1000's. I think I'm doing far less effort than both of you in the aspect of providing plants with CO2 which means that I don't have any complex plumbing to make it work. Just two outlets on each side of the tank, close to the side windows. No seperate pumps, inline with two 500 GPH filters. Of course there's the MP40, which gives me a total of 10x turnover. But that's not something you don't have either.
    If I had a lot less light than both of you, so less CO2 demand, it would be easy to find an explanation, but being at 60 micromols at the substrate I'm not that low on light. Also my tank is packed with plants.

    I tried needle wheel for some time but couldn't find any advantages to using an AM1000. The disadvantage was that I used a lot more CO2 to get the desired level. I know Tom has good results with the mist, but I think the finer the mist is, the easier plants will uptake the CO2. The waterflow will break up the boundary layer of the leaves anyway, you don't need the mist to do that.

    That you're seeing BBA on rocks and wood first, is because plants have a little bit of resistance against algae. I have always seen BBA grow first (or the most) on dead irregular surfaces. I don't think the BBA spores "choose" to grow on a plant. They will grow were they can get a foothold. Still the cause would be the same, low CO2.

    Anyway, it's just my view of things, don't want to pretend I'm right..... but, to put it Tom's way... then why don't I have BBA? ;)

    regards,
    dutchy
     
    #4 dutchy, Jul 15, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 15, 2010
  5. scottward

    scottward Guru Class Expert

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    Hi dutchy.

    Just a few of quick questions, probably already answered in your own post...

    How long has your tank been setup as is with the twin AM1000's?

    Also, I remember opting for a dedicated pump for my single AM1000, thinking that as the canister starts to block the flow patter and hence CO2 output would become irregular. Do you find that you are constantly having to clean those 2 filters of yours?

    And finally, how long is your CO2 bottle lasting you and what is your typical water temperature?

    It seems Gerry and I are roughly about the same in terms of how we are progressing, except Gerry's tank is 80 gallons bigger than mine and he has a lot more plumbing! ;-)
     
  6. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    Hi Scott,

    I had the twin AM1000's from the start. On my old tank, a 55 gallon, I had one. As it happens I cleaned one of the filters yesterday, after six weeks. I measured flow at the return at tank level. The GPH's were the same, before and after the cleaning. I think this depends on how big your internal filter capacity is. I have two Eheim 2078e's. Normally people use ONE of those for a tank my size. But I have two. I think it will take a long time before both get clogged. Now I'm trying to find where that point is. I will clean the other filter in another 2 weeks, so 8 weeks total. Could easy be more than 2 months before I notice any difference in flow. Total filter cleaning maybe every 4 months.

    Well since I have two CO2 systems I also have two 4 lbs bottles, which last me around 3 months. CO2 is on for 10 hours per day at max what the fish can take.
     
    #6 dutchy, Jul 15, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 15, 2010
  7. hbosman

    hbosman Guru Class Expert

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    It might be that the cause of the BBA happened prior to you changing to needle wheels. Once you have BBA in your tank, it will continue to comeback. I think the key is, physically getting rid of it as completely as possible and then don't allow conditions to arise that are suitable to it. Since I don't have hard scape, I only get BBA on filter intakes, outputs and gravel. If I physically remove the infected gravel and clean the filter pieces, I won't have BBA until I recreate the conditions that it likes. If I don't physically remove the infected gravel, it will comeback much quicker. Basically, I haven't found anything besides my hands that will remove BBA. If it's gone, it will stay gone until I make changes again. I don't use driftwood anymore because I always had to clean off the BBA. If ever I find another way to kill BBA, I will use the wood again. Since I can't leave well enough alone, I will always manage to induce BBA.
     
  8. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Which conditions are you finding that will consistently cause it?

    -
    S
     
  9. hbosman

    hbosman Guru Class Expert

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    I wished I knew so, I wouldn't cause it. :)

    It would have to be fluctuating CO2 levels and too much light in relation to the amount of CO2. My ferts are always in excess so, I don't think that is the issue. In the past, I used more light than is necessary. I believed much of the information indicating that more light is better. I used to use 156 watts of T5HO lighting over a 46 gallon bowfront. Now I only use half of that and my Rotala Macandra is still red. The more light you have, the more precise you have to be with your CO2 levels and that is often difficult. The more plants you have, the more CO2 they use and the more plants you have, the less flow you have so, it's a vicious cycle. Someday I'll get it right.
     
  10. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi all,

    Many thanks for the replies, thoughts, and suggestions...

    To clarify: I am NOT saying the cause or increase of BBA is attributable SOLELY to the change in c02 diffusion method.

    I was merely pointing out (well, bitching actually) that I FINALLY get my carpet plants and ALL other plants going well SIMULTANEOUSLY, and I have BBA.

    When I could grow ALMOST all plants except carpets, I had no BBA.

    I am sure I will look back on this someday and laugh, but it is NOT today and I just hope that time is soon :)

    It is starting to really affect the look of the wood especially and I want it gone.

    It seems like for some reason I need to use 10lbs of c02 every 4 weeks to keep it off..that is what I was running with the mazzei prior to the switch.

    I have reduced the BUBBLE rate because the PLANTS are doing really well. Stauro is now more like Tom's green fields on his farm:)

    I cannot really increase the rate as the cards are a little iffy if I go higher than I am now.... that is why I thought I was doing BETTER as I got BETTER plant growth/health with LESS rate on the needle wheel. Yet apparently not enough to hold back BBA..I know my PAR is high but if the plants are okay, what?

    I really just need to go back to my old 240 watts of T12 and be done with it....

    A little frustrated right now. Sorry.

    Thanks,

    So, will go back to square one and check flow, c02, etc.
     
    #10 Gerryd, Jul 15, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 15, 2010
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    [​IMG]

    Uses a needle wheel, no BBA.
    Same for the Reactor, same for disc in many cases.

    I've seen a 1/2 dozen ADA full systems with BBA this week.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  12. CL_

    CL_ Guest

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    So Tom, is your experience is it merely fluctuating CO2 that causes BBA? (Like having a medium amount of CO2 before upping it to high CO2). Have you ever had BBA die from simply doing the right things in the tank, or did you have to manually remove it before it stays gone? (I'm sure you don't get BBA now, I'm just talking about your experiences in years past.)
     
  13. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I view algae as a plant growth issue.
    It's a nuisance, but I hit it with several things, BBA is annoying for some, but it really is fairly easy kill out and remove.

    Gas tank runs out.........new CO2 method.........more off gassing........too much light..........

    Once an alga blooms, it will take some time to beat it back. The parameters that induce the bloom might be long gone. So more effort is required to beat the BBA back once it does bloom.
    SAE's, shrimp, Excel, water changes and toothbrushing the rocks, wood, spraying with excel etc, can kill anything attached to non live equipment and decor.

    Do a large water change, while drained, add the excel directly on the areas, do this 1-2x a week nothing is going to grow there.

    H2O2 works as well, or both that and excel.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  14. Oreo

    Oreo Guru Class Expert

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    Tom, when you talk of combating algae this way, is the idea to eradicate it to the point that the residual spore level drops to near-zero such that even when aggressive cleaning methods are stopped the algae will not return? Or are you saying that these aggressive cleaning methods need to be a perpetual chore to keep the hard-scape clean?
     
  15. CL_

    CL_ Guest

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    Thanks, Tom!
    Oreo, I think what he is saying is that once you trigger the BBA, it is basically there to stay for a while (unless you manually remove it). You can fix all of the conditions so that you won't trigger it again, but it could still be there. It's kinda like when a hole forms in a dam and water leaks to the "dry" side. You can repair the hole so that it is no longer there, but there will still be water on the dry side. You have to pump the water out after you fix the hole in order for the dry side to be dry again. (It's a stretch, but hopefully you follow my poorly worded visualization :D)
     
  16. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    Hi Gerry,
    That means that you are using 200% more CO2 than me on the same water volume. Looks like you are outgassing a lot. As I pay like $20 for a filling of 5 lbs, that alone would be a reason for me to change the method or review it.

    How high? What's the difference in PAR between those two? Maybe you should try.


    Try not to be. You have a very nice tank. It's just as we (and our tank) develop we get more picky (I do!) I'm sure you (we) can beat this.

    regards,
    dutchy
     
  17. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Guru Class Expert

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    I think the Analogy I would use for Tom's post would be that if you weed the garden you have to remove every bit of root from the bed or the weed returns. Remove all the roots and it won't return. In essence if you clean the hardscape thoroughly once and remove all trace then you should be OK whereas if you do it quickly then you leave traces and you will have to clean again later.

    I have always had little bits of BBA. Namely on the bare hardscape but only close to the water surface and always in areas that have high flow patterns (and light) and on a couple of Anubias leaves close to the filter inlet. By high flow patterns I mean directly in the output of a filter and directly where the water is drawn from. Fast Current areas!! For outlets the flow pattern will normally be faster higher up the tank as it can move easier there and of course lower down the inlets draw the water very quickly.

    The anubias BBA lead me to believe that it is to do with water circulation, namely nutrient and fert delivery because of the masses of Anubias I have it is only this 1% of leaves in that 1 position that have the problem. The rest are clean, shiny and pretty much superb examples of plants fit for marketing pictures. lol

    Another thing that would 'aid' me in this suggestion would be that when I had algae/CO2 problems with just 6x flow (just the filter) I had rampant Java Fern growth. I put in a Koralia to boost the flow to just under 20x and the algae/CO2 problems disappeared however the Java Fern just below the Koralia became almost stagnant where everything else was still rampant.

    I assume and of course it is only conjecture that the Koralia was 'robbing' the are directly around it of the nutrient/CO2 and firing it away in the opposite direction. This would tie in with the anubias that have BBA very close to the filter outlet. Maybe the hardscape problem is also a difference in water flow. After all the needle wheel has 'altered' the flow pattern from where it was before. Maybe try an external method for the needle wheel.

    Saying that maybe the tank needs time to adapt to the new flow pattern?

    Of course as always I maybe making false assumptions here and wrong correlations as to the reasoning.

    AC
     
    #17 SuperColey1, Jul 16, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 16, 2010
  18. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi all,

    Thanks for all the thoughts...

    Here are a few things I am going to review/monitor that I think are combining to cause this issue. Many of these were touched on in your replies, so I am mostly responding to ALL at this point as many of you had some common thoughts.

    Light

    1. I do have a high PAR tank. Max 105 at substrate (in brightest area) and >200 at surface.
    2. Lights are mounted 24" above the tank and at the highest adjustment. I will remount so I can go even higher and reduce the PAR by 30-40% or less. Don't want to shock the plants with a huge difference. The PAR meter will make this easy though.. Looks really stupid that high though...
    3. I am going to investigate getting a new T5 fixture that controls each bulb so I can control it as I want. I will attempt a DIY conduit fuxture mount at the same time..

    Dutchy, I gave the T12 fixtures to a friend for his 240gal..Can't ask for them back now :)

    Flow

    I do have twin overflows and a very large pump that runs the entire closed loop system. I also DOUBLED the INTAKE capacity so the flow into the weirs is very very rapid. I also shut off the mazzei leg, so more overall flow is directed to all other legs.. so more flow/current PLUS the needle wheel itself....

    1. I notice that due to evaporataion, one of the wiers will drain somewhat. This causes a 1-3" waterfall depending on how long it goes unnoticed. I top it off at least twice daily to keep this at a min... With the increased intake, this causes a huge amount of 02 injection.

    As evidence, I point to the following observation:

    a) it is currently 10:30 am.
    b) lights and c02 for my tank are NOT on and will not do so until 3:00.
    c) Overnight the left weir had a large waterfall.
    d) EVERY leaf/plant surface is pearling like mad right now even though the room is dark and blinds drawn. No lights. I mean EVERY plant or algae is glowing like mad...
    e) lights and c02 have been OFF for at least 10 hours.

    So, I think that c02 outgassing is a HUGE issue for me due to the amount of 02 generated by Niagara falls..Wait till you see the video....

    To resolve permanently, I will most likely have to remove the weir grates entirely and lose and the surface skimming (bummer). This will eliminate any waterfall as the weirs will also drain with the rest of the tank and the levels will always be equal. I still need most of the walls to hide the plumbing.....

    I do notice a lot of the BBA in high flow, but the whole tank is high flow :) I thought that was the point lol

    So, will capture some pics/video of this later so you can see what I mean. The waterfall effect is pretty large and can happen at any time...If I keep my house at 50F, it will still do so just slower lol

    I also did some rescaping and reconfigured the flow patterns to remove blocked areas, etc. So seems better and less stagnant areas...I really did not redo the flow well after the rescape..

    Thanks,
     
    #18 Gerryd, Jul 17, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 17, 2010
  19. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    Hi Gerry,

    I read what you're planning and it sounds good, especially restricting outgassing and going for less light. When I had 90 micromols of light at the substrate, I had some BBA on my hygro's. Now, at 55 to 60 micromols, I don't have ANY BBA. I really thought you had less PAR, 105 is a lot. I'm convinced this will help. You could cut down by 50%. I did the change all at once and noticed there was no more pearling until it returned after around 2 weeks. Yet, plant growth didn't get less, anyway, not noticable.

    About high flow, I would prevent to get more average flow in your tank than around 2 inch per second, as more will cause plant stress and inhibited growth. See Madsen et al, 2001 (The interaction between water movement, sediment dynamics and submersed macrophytes)

    Keep us posted,

    regards,
    dutchy.
     
  20. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Update #1

    Hi all,

    So I raised the MH fixture another 7.5" to 31.5" above the tank surface....

    PAR is more than halved at 30-50 at substrate and about 100-110 at surface...

    So quite a considerable reduction in light. Thank you PAR meter lol

    It DOES look stupid way up there as I thought and you will see for yourself later...

    Will do some flow patterning and such later....

    I think this will help a lot...
     
    #20 Gerryd, Jul 17, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 17, 2010
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