Excessive BGA in ADA tanks - need help

Gautam

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Hi Tom. This is Gautam from India and this is my first post. I need some help and guidance from you very badly.

I have recently set up 2 tanks with the following ADA products (after 5 years of aquascaping with both DIY like laterrite and products like AZOO etc):

ADA Aquasoil Amazonia II
ADA Powesand Special M/S
Liquid fertilizers: ADA Brigthy K, Step 1, Shade in one tank and Ferka Aquatalizer and Balance K in another
Filter - Eheim (with Activated Charcoal, Ceramic Rings)

I am facing uncontrollable BGA in both tanks. Following are the tank parameters:

Nitrate - 0 - 5 ppm
Nitrite/ Ammonia - 0
kH - 3
CO2- 1 Bubble/ second
Light - (2 -75 W + 1 - 150 W Metal Hallide in the 5 ft/ 2ft/ 2ft tank) and (4 - 20 W Fluoroscent tubes in 2ft/1ft/1.5ft tank)
Water change - 3 to 4 times a week, 50% change

I have increased the nitrate levels and increased water flow and had limited success. BGA simply persists. I don't have access to stuffs like Phyton Git , Green Gain whichj ADA claims can control algae.

I have never faced such bad algae problems in either my laterite or AZOO tanks or when I used PMDD.

I would remain grateful if you or my friends from Brarr Report can help me. It's very difficult to get decent help here in India
 

VaughnH

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The two tanks are about 150 gallons and 20 gallons, but you say you use one bubble per second for CO2 on both of them. If that is enough for the 20 gallon tank it can't be enough for the 150 gallon tank. Get a drop checker and use it with 4 dKH distilled or deionized water in it, to verify that you have enough CO2 in both tanks. You need nitrates in the tank for the plants to grow, but you say you have as little as zero nitrates. So, dose both tanks per the EI method to be sure they are not limited by fertilizers. I don't think you have too much light on either tank, so for the moment all I would do is keep the lights on for no longer than 8 hours a day.
 

Gautam

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Thanks for your advice.

As I said earlier it is difficult to get decent stuff here in India so I am not sure whether I can get a drop checker but I will try. But immediately I would increase CO2 dosing in the 120 G tank.

Can you also share some light on why with ADA Aquasoil Amazonia II there are problems with Blue Green Algae. I have seen a number of references in net and now I am seeing it first hand. I never had such BGA problems with laterite or AZOO substrates.

I am in no position to comment on ADA product range. I guess I am doing something wrong or not using all the related products. So some pointers would be of great help.

One of my friend uses ADA Aquasoil Africana and didnot face this much BGA problem. Does ADA Aquasoil Amazonia II leach nutrients? If yes then for how long as both the tanks are nearing 2 months post setup
 

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Gautam

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Thanks again. I will get hold of the Drop Checker or make one myself.

Any idea or clue on the excessive BGA in tanks with ADA Aquasoil Amazonia II

In this connection would like to share an interesting fact:

Post setting up the 2 previously mentioned tanks with ADA Aquasoil Amazonia II and Power Sand I had helped to setup a tank for a friend of mine.

My friends tank had a layer of ADA Aquasoil Africana existing for 2/3 months and no Power Sand. There was a layer of Prodac Fondovivo + Humus beneath the ADA Layer (Fondovivo + Humus, in my opinion is a low cost substitute to PS).

Before re-setting up I added a layer of Amazonia and did the aquascaping with a combination of easy to use plants like Star Grass or even difficult ones like Micranthenum Umbrosum and Glossostigma.

I also advised him to use Ferka liquid fertilizers (again a low cost substitute to ADA Brighty K and Step 1, in my opinion) as he couldnot afford ADA.

I visited him after a gap of 2 months and saw that the tank has done pretty well (I will post a picture later, looks pretty gorgeous:) ) and there is no algae at least no BGA. All plants have survived and doing very well even the Umbrosums

I am really perplexed why the 3 tanks are behaving differently. I have few guesses and would like to have your opinion:

1> Establishment of bacterial colony is where the answer lies. The tank with Africana layer was filled with water but not planted fully for nearly 2 months before the aquscaping was done. The filter was on so I guess the bacterial colony got stabilized but somehow that is not happening to the desired level in the other 2 tanks.

2> Africana does not leach enough nutrients as Amazonia II

3> The filtration setup needs to be looked at in addition to the increased CO2 levels suggested earlier
 

Tom Barr

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All 3 points are partially correct I'd say.
Also, realize that ADA AS and the liquid ferts are not high in NO3.

Mic umbrosum is a native weed here in the USA, it is very NO3 hungry plant and is not hard at all to grow if you have good NO3 and CO2. The same is true for Gloss, but it's less sensitive to wide ranges of NO3. M umbrosum really does poorly when the NO3 declines.

KNO3 dosing resolves this and it grows at amazing speed. The same is true for Pogostemon stellata etc.

Low NO3 is linked strongly to BGA.

You can kill it by doing a 3 day blackout(cover tank with 2-3 layers of black trash bags, turn off lights, increase circulation some, turn off CO2, after 3 days, hook everything back up) with daily 50% water changes, and KNO3 dosing. KNO3 is MUCH cheaper than Ferka or ADA, and KH2PO4 and a trace mix ought to be available locally in India for very few rubees.

Plants all use the same basic elements, so brand names are meaningless.
The 3 day blackout will kill all the BGA.

Maintaining good levels of NO3, 10-30ppm all the time will prevent the BGA, along with routine water changes, good pruning and good cleaning of filter and the tank from now on.

Prevention is the best method.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

Gautam

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Thanks a lot Tom. I am really grateful.

I have already sourced the KNO3 and start dosing as suggested and would get back with results

I had some more queries on your suggestions and comments and would be garteful to get your views:

1> Will there be significant damages to plants and fishes due to this 3 day balckout?

2> I agree with your observation on branded products. I have myself setup tanks with laterite/PMDD and other DIY stuff and have got good results. But then I wonder what is the actual USP of products like those of ADAs? Is it only marketing or there are advantages which I am missing out?
 

Tom Barr

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Plants have been shipped via the mail for decades and often longer than 3 days.
So that should answer the question about 3 days of darkness.
As far as ADA, I've done the full analysis on the liquid ferts, you are not missing out on anything other than loosing more of your rupees:eek:

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

Gautam

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Dear Tom,

Understood about ADA liquid ferts.

Any comments on ADA Phytongit, Greengain, Greenbacter, ECA?

Also what is the hype about Penac W, Penac P, Bacter 100?

Are they really useful?
 

Tom Barr

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Gautam;26480 said:
Dear Tom,

Understood about ADA liquid ferts.

Any comments on ADA Phytongit, Greengain, Greenbacter, ECA?

Also what is the hype about Penac W, Penac P, Bacter 100?

Are they really useful?

I have very strong reservations about them and the folks that suggest them seem to have never done any simple studies using a control or a reference.

ECA is much like any daily Fe supplement.
I'm extremely harsh on anything Penac.
That guy is a clown.

Fe is a nutrient, so obviously that will help if you dose Fe daily etc, but it need not be $$$$ ADa stuff however.

Plants all grow for the same reasons and the same basic nutrients, NO3 or K+ from the agri store vs ADA is not going to be any different.

Good CO2 and pruning, water changes, basic care will do 1000X more than any or all of the above will.

Buy some KNO3, KH2PO4, perhaps some Gh booster of some sort(SG folks or Thai folks can sell them to you if no one is available in India).

TRopica Master grow is also very good.

Nothing wrong with ADA, it's just it will cost you a lot.
Cheaper stuff will yield similar if not the exact same results.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

Gautam

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OK Tom. I will avoid the Penacs

Any idea on why ADA Aquasoil is so prone to BGA?

I have earlier tried substrates from AZOO or even laterite and never had such BGA problems. I had other types of algaes with normal reasons like lack of CO2 but never faced such strong and persisten BGA issue. It has taken me to a point of frustration now with the increased KNO3 suggested by you showing some encouragement. The last option will be the total dark for 3 days option suggested by you.
 

Tom Barr

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Likely due to organics in the ADA AS, add more KNO3 and kill what is there.
I've never had any BGA issues nor seen any really with ADA AS.
You can do the blackout or EM treatments if it gets bad and clean the AS up some.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

Gautam

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In this connection, Tom, allow me to draw your attention to a portio of your post titled "Super easy method to start a new tank without any algae, any issues,dosing etc - 09-24-2007, 12:47 PM " in the EI forum

This was in connection with starting a tank in emersed fashion, letting the plants grow emerese for 8 weeks and then adding water. You had made a following very important observation:

Bacteria will cycle after about 3 weeks or so, about the time frame the rug grows in using the ADA AS. So the NH4 is now been converted to NO3 and has plenty of bacteria to keep it low.

Some will say they wanna add their fish right away, then can do the old way if they want to, but this method makes life much easier and a little patience can make the tank look very nice with virtually no work.

Not many trade offs here.
And the success rate ought to be near 100% without any issues with algae, growth etc


So you have observed that it takes about 3/4 weeks for NH4 in AS to get converted into NO3 by bacterial action.

You have earlier in this thread replied to my query on BGA in AS due to it's high organic content. By organic content I am presuming that you are referring to NH4.

Hence one might conclude that while going by the full water method from day zero, due to some reason, the bacterial colony is not growing properly there by insufficient conversion of NH4 to NO3 and obvioisly leaching of this NH4 in the water column and hence the excessive BGA.

My question thus is what is the reason that if one starts with the emersed method the bacterial colonization is happening but in the submersed method that is not happenig sufficiently leading to excessive BGA?

My knowledge in organic chemistry is little. I am only trying to compare various information available and may sound foolish:) Please excuse me for that
 

Tom Barr

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Gautam;26537 said:
So you have observed that it takes about 3/4 weeks for NH4 in AS to get converted into NO3 by bacterial action.

You have earlier in this thread replied to my query on BGA in AS due to it's high organic content. By organic content I am presuming that you are referring to NH4.

No, organic matter is not NH4, some can release NH4, but OM is carbon based and generally all reduced carbon. NH4 itself is inorganic.

Hence one might conclude that while going by the full water method from day zero, due to some reason, the bacterial colony is not growing properly there by insufficient conversion of NH4 to NO3 and obvioisly leaching of this NH4 in the water column and hence the excessive BGA.

Sorry if that was not clear. BGA ios not caused, at least near as I can tell, but NH4 dosing or excess amounts.

GW and perhaps a few other species are.

My question thus is what is the reason that if one starts with the emersed method the bacterial colonization is happening but in the submersed method that is not happenig sufficiently leading to excessive BGA?

My knowledge in organic chemistry is little. I am only trying to compare various information available and may sound foolish:) Please excuse me for that

If you look at my advice for the DSM, I discuss the day of the flooding.
You fill the tank slowly, wait a few hours, then drain and refill the tank again.
This flushes out anything in the sediment over the last few weeks.
Then perhaps once every 3 days for the next month.
It depends on the ADA AS really, it's not always the same.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

Gautam

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Sorry sudden increase in work pressure kept me away from continuing with this discussion for a few days. Have some more quereis and observations to share

Tom Barr;26598 said:
If you look at my advice for the DSM, I discuss the day of the flooding.
You fill the tank slowly, wait a few hours, then drain and refill the tank again.
This flushes out anything in the sediment over the last few weeks.
Then perhaps once every 3 days for the next month.
It depends on the ADA AS really, it's not always the same.

Regards,
Tom Barr

Tom would be grateful if you can explain what do you mean by DSM?

Also I am still not clear why bacterial colonization doesnot happen as qucikly in the submersed method as it happens in the emersed method

Updates on BGA in tank

As suggested I have increased nitrate levels in the 2 tanks affected with BGA. Current levels in both tanks is between 10 to 15 ppm. While the BGA problem has reduced significantly in the 120 G tank but it is not at all subsiding in the 20 G tank. Mosses are getting severly affected in the 20 G. Though I have not tried out the dark period for 3 days, the lights were switched off for the 120 G tank for 2 days and only indirect sunlight was filtering in it. Is the reduction of BGA in the 120 G due to reduced lights and increased nitrates? Would appreciate some comments

Significant "pearling" is happening in the 20 G tank so oxygen saturation level should be pretty high in the tank and plants (except mosses) looking very healthy and growing but still BGA is persisting. Very surprising as BGA is not supposed to survive in oxygen saturated environment and the nitrates are high too. Would appreciate some comments on this phenomenon and additional steps that can be tried out (other than EM) to eradicate the remaining BGA?

Tried out Excel as an expirement in the 20 G tank (read somewhere in one of the post in the forum that Excel can be used for BGA treatment too). BBA got elliminated but there is no affect on BGA. Excel was diluted in the ratio of 1:9, should I increase the Excel strength and try again?
 

Tom Barr

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No, you must kill what is there by one of two main methods: blackout(free) or Erythromyacin tablets etc.

Sort of killing it will not do.
Indirect light is not a blackout.

3 days, cover the tank entirely and no CO2, add KNO3 and do a water change right before and right afterwards. Increase aeration or surface movement while the blackout is occurring.

Adding KNO3 will not kill anything that's already there.
Only the 2 above treatments will.
Use black plastic trash bags etc to prevent any light from getting in there. You can peak and feed fish etc, but no light.

DSM is just the Dry Start Method, see the articles section,. there's a lengthy thread there about it. Or the 180 Gallon tank I recently did.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

Tom Barr

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Gautam;26822 said:
Thanks Tom.

Any feedback on my earlier observations of pearling and Excel usage to kill BGA

Pearling is good for plants, Excel can be used, but it's not going that effective I'm afraid, I know 3 days or Blackout is, or EM tablets.

Chose one of these methods to kill what is there, then use the other things to prevent reoccurrances.

Regards,
Tom Barr