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Can't ditch this BGA

Discussion in 'Algae Control' started by magicmagni, May 19, 2005.

  1. magicmagni

    magicmagni Prolific Poster

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    Maybe this will subside on it's own with time, but I am having a problem with Blue-Green Algae growth in my tank. It is only in one spot in the center of the tank and it is only growing on the Java Moss. When I do my weekly water changes I vacuum it all off, but by midweek it's back again. It's destroying the moss.

    The only thing that I can attribute to this was lean macro conditions when the tank was setup NPK(5-0.5-15) this was about 2 months ago though when I first started the tank. In my experience this type of algae goes away on it's own at 10ppm NO3 and good plant growth, but this is not the case here, which is why I am puzzled.

    Here's an overall pic of the tank- although the plants have grown in a lot more now.
    [​IMG]

    Here are the tank parameters:

    Size= 4'x2'x2' 125g
    Plant mass= moderate to heavy
    Bio load= 4 adult Discus, 20 small schoolers, few other small fish
    Feeding schedule= 4x's a day live and frozen food.

    PH=6.55
    kh=4*
    gh=7*
    c02=34ppm
    Nitrate=10ppm
    Phosphate=2ppm
    Potassium= 12-18ppm

    I do weekly 50% water changes and dose the following:
    1.5tsp Potassium Nitrate
    1.5tsp Potassium Sulfate
    4ml Fleet enema


    Then in addition I add twice a week:
    1/4tsp Potassium Nitrate
    .5 ml Fleet enema

    Traces are added on days that I don't do macros a weekly total of 25ml Flourish and 30ml Flourish Iron.

    Anyone have any suggestions on how to rid this tank of this pesty BGA before it really gets out of control?

    Thanks!
     
  2. m lemay

    m lemay Prolific Poster

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    Re: Can't ditch this BGA

    Maracyn is the only thing that got rid of it permanently for me.
     
  3. magicmagni

    magicmagni Prolific Poster

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    Re: Can't ditch this BGA

    Thanks for the response!

    Hmmm. That's gonna be alot of meds on a 125g. I'm concerned with medicating the fish in the tank. I have $100's of fish in there so I'm very conservative with the use of any treatment. Maybe I should manually remove and try a blackout first? I just don't know why it is growing so well at these nutrient levels. Very frustrating especially because I've seen these nutrient levels decimate this stuff in the past. :confused:
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
    Staff Member Administrator Social Group Admin

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    Re: Can't ditch this BGA

    I have a 350 gal and used a blackout after the dosing timer got loused up and no macros where dosed for a week.

    3Day blackout will kill it.
    I have more fish and lots of wood and moss in the tank.

    The KNO3 dosing after will keep it away, but you need to kill what's there, then keep and maintain good KNO3 dosing.

    Blackout is free.
    Antibiotic do work and if you follow it back up with KNO3, that works the same as well.

    The 350 tank had BGA 2x, once it was treated with antibiotics, it came back about 1 month later, now the timer is set, things have done well after the blackout.

    I'm less concerned about the method of killin as I am about adding KNO3 and associating the low NO3 with BGA as the main cause.

    FWIW, a friend has 13 full sized Discus in the same sized tank loads of weeds.
    He cuts the KNO3 dosing by 1/2.

    He also uses a slow float valve sump driven auto water changer, does about 30-40% 2x weekly. He just prunes and doses with a dosing pump.

    So feeding, and pruning are his main jobs on the tank.
    Fish are in great shape.



    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  5. magicmagni

    magicmagni Prolific Poster

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    Re: Can't ditch this BGA

    Thanks for chiming in Tom. Had a feeling you'd say blackout and I think I'll give it a go first since this is less intrusive. Now If I'm doing this correctly I will continue to run the C02 and ferts as normal right? I'm a little concerned though about the dissolved oxygen levels during this time- the levels getting too low. Do you find that there is a need to run air bubbles during the blackout period?

    Your friend has quite a setup by the sound of it. Like your friend I reduced the macros anticipating the addition of the Discus would give quite a bit of them, but apparently not enough with the Bio load and that probably is what got this whole thing started.

    O yeah. I have an 18W UV plumbed in too that can be utilized. In your experience would running this 24/7 help my situation? I currently only use it rarely since I'm afraid it will take traces out of the water, but if you think it's OK maybe I'll just leave it on. Maybe this is for a new thread?


    Thanks again

    Jeff
     
  6. Laith

    Laith Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Can't ditch this BGA

    I had an outbreak of BGA after I was away for a month and macro dosing didn't happen.

    I did a blackout. (By the way, how in the world it's allowed for people to get antibiotics over the counter in the States still escapes me! Antibiotics are not aspirin; misuse and overuse are real issues. I though the FDA was pretty tough in the US?)

    Anyway here's what I did:

    I cleaned up as much of the BGA as I could and did a 50% water change. Added my normal water change fert dosing (KNO3, KH2PO4 and K2SO4).

    Then blacked out the tank *completely*. This is important; some people just blackout partially. I even heard a case where the person just turned the lights off for three days. I used large black plastic garbage bags and didn't cut them open so I had a double thickness. Taped them all over the tank, including over the hood. I don't think one photon of light could have gotten in there.

    Turned *off* the CO2.

    Waited three days. Some people can't resist "peeking"... don't!

    Removed the trash bags, BGA completely disappeared, fish and plants were fine.

    Did another 50% water change, re-dosed and turned on the CO2.

    Haven't seen BGA since.
     
  7. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Can't ditch this BGA

    Well, it IS tough here, some say too tough. Perhaps there is a message in that?

    A friend who is in the pest control business says that the most dangerous place a the house is the cabinet under the kitchen sink, where all kinds of dangerous -and legal- substances are often stored.

    Bill
     
  8. magicmagni

    magicmagni Prolific Poster

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    Re: Can't ditch this BGA

    Well so far so good. I initially removed all the BGA on Sat, but it nearly grew back on Sunday. Amazing how fast it grows. I did the blackout last Sunday, honestly got lazy and didn't bother removing the BGA that grew back. Turned the lights on/ uncovered the tank Weds evening/ I was afraid to look, but the fish were still alive- sigh of relief- and all the BGA was erased!! Also Cleaned out the filters especially the Eheim, which hadn't been changed for a couple months- It was pretty dirty! At any rate the moss, which was most effected looks better than ever. I'm really pleased with the results. Now that I am keeping my macros up and plan on not slacking off on the filter maintenance as much I don't expect to see it come back. The only algae I'm dealing with now is BBA, but I'm gonna try to raise the C02 levels to 40ppm and see what happens. This is according to the charts, but I doubt that it is really that high since the tannins in water may be throwing it off slightly. We'll see what happens.


    Thanks!!

    Jeff
     
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