Excessive BGA in ADA tanks - need help

Gautam

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I am going to try the 3 day dark period and then I will go for EM.

Just got delivery of old voulme 33 of ADA Aquajournal (one of those very few published in English). There is an interesting article on using alleochemicals for controlling algae. The article actually talks about ADA Phytongit having extracts of garlic and chemicals extracted out of potato skin and being effective in controlling various strains of algae BGA included.

I was wondering Tom to have your view point on this. Has anybody in the forum used Phytongit, if yes then I would like to know about it's effectiveness.

I found the use of alleochemicals for controlling algaes very interesting. By the way I think Ms. Diana Walstad also mentions usage of allechemicals secreted by certain plants being effectve in algae control.

I know Tom you have already told me about the methods of controlling BGA and I am trying them one by one but at the same time I want to clear any myths surrounding the ADA product line and be clear about their effectiveness.
 

Tom Barr

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Garlic and potato do nothing according to the members at my lab, who study and test various compounds for large scale rice field BGA control.

These are old things that fish food makers add to their foods, it's homeopthy mumbo.
Same deal with Barley straw etc.

I've heard everything under the sun but when it's rigorously tested, somehow every time we get great results..............that show it does not work.

I'd be a very rich man if I have a nickel for every algae cure all that's come down the pipe. You'll note, they told you nothing new in the article. No hard data, no methods, no method of inducement, no species, not much of any info other than yea, we added this and it has garlic etc and it took care of the BGA.....

I can get some and show folks it does not work when you have BGA growing, I can induce it and measure it. I might work, but I'd be pretty surprised.
Excel would also work or peroxide, but we know how and why those work:cool:

Same with a 3 day blackout and EM, all of which are cheaper and easier to use.
So I see little reason to test it, but if someone is really interested, it's not a hard test to show one way or the other.

Allellopathic algae control in aquatic plant systems is exceedingly difficult to show but very easy to show that it has no effect.

Add activated carbon and you should see algae blooms(this is the reference), we have never seen that to date with any chemical.

So you can test to disprove it, but you cannot easily test tpo rpve it does what they claim.

This reverse approach is very effective at dealing with snake oils
Folks will claim and insist and typically give up after realizing other simple methods......like learning how to grow plant and focus on their needs, the real root cause of all algae.

From this perspective, we see that the algicide business preys on the ignorant, gullible, the newbies who do not know any better, the desperate..............

So if you take a step back and look at algicedes from a philosophical and scientific standpoint, at least for planted tanks, there's no sense in this, it does not address the root core problem and they never will.

After 30+ years at this, that's something folks can see the truth in.
Amano knows this, but still sells the stuff;)

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

Gautam

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I can understand your point of view Tom.

As I have earlier said in this thread I have been in the aquurium hobby for last 20+ years and specifically in planted tanks for last 5 years. Due to lack of technical support or good products here in India I have mostly tried DIY (laterite, yeast injection) and then tried AZOO product line. In both the cases I got decent results and attaching some pictures of what I could achieve with DIY. I have never tried any algecides as I have never believed in chemical warfare:D

However after seeing Amano pictures I understood my effort is nowhere near what he has achieved and obviously I thought his products will give me some added advantage and I gave lot of effort to get his stuff here in India. I used Amazoinia with Powersand, while they reduced my pH and some species like Glossostigma grew very well but same did BGA. You know in India it is very difficult to get lab setups to test out any product so I am resorting to your experience and knowledge base to understand the true merit of ADA product line. Does any product offer any advantage or can we really achieve "AMANO" with DIY?

Aquarium1912 012.jpg
 

detlef

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I once added the recommended amount of Phyton Git to full tank volume during water change when the tank actually was drained to only 1/3. After 20 min's I refilled to full volume. During the following days L.arcuata lost its leaves in areas where it was hit by current of the filter outlet pipe. Nothing else was introduced to the tank.

If you sprinkle some drops of Phyton Git on BBA infested rocks or driftwood when they are exposed to open air BBA will turn grey the other day and eventually die. I have done this repeatedly. The effect is easy to show. This tells me there is something to PG!

Best regards,
Detlef
 

Gautam

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Thanks for sharing your observations on BBA. Any experience of effectiveness of PG on BGA? Would be grateful if you can share that with us.
 

Tom Barr

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I can do the exact same thing with Excel or Peroxide also which are 100X cheaper than PG.............

Lots cheaper, Excel at least is a form of plant nutrient and there are direct studies showing that both work much more effectively as algicide.

Never understood why so many think algicides are the "silver bullet"
Not even close. :eek:

PG is not going to prevent BBA from returning, nor is any algicide product........which is why many seem to ...ahem......use it multiple times...........
only good care will do this.

No algicide will do that.

There is no pill for neglect...

If all you need to do is kill what is there, then a blackout, peroxides, Excel, pruning, removal and bleaching equipment/wood etc works pretty well and is very cheap. Sodium and potassium Percarbonates are really good at cleaning any surface without harming plants also(Raises the KH though) also. KH2PO4 sprinkled on infected areas can kill a wide range of algae also, most any salt can if it's high enough concentration.
I really never understood the whole algae killing notion folks have.

How do we know it's not just poor care or that the algae was about to die anyway now that you have seen it appearing and decided to take care of the tank now?

When there are issues with a tank, folks do tend to take better care of the tank, then the algae goes away, and it may have little, or nothing to do with the algicide.
Then folks slack off now their immediate issue is gone, 2-8 weeks later, the algae slowly returns.
Folks get lazy and do the minimal amount of work when the tank is doing well.
They can often push that too far and then end up with algae once again every few weeks, month, year etc.
It's still observational, not experimental data/results.

I'm not saying this is the case always, but such issues need ruled out and are certainly highly possible, no matter how bad we might want to believe......
This means you need to know how to grow the algae actively and with new growth and be willing to do so to rule out this issue. You have to grow the algae on purpose, then test it a few times(say 4-8 times).
Something I've rarely ever seen folks willing to do. Wait, actually, I've never met a single hobbyist ever that's done this to date..........

Good care and pruning, care of the tank and a blackout can resolve perhaps 99% of all algae issues. Excel if you are less patient or cannot get the routine right for whatever reason.
Blackouts are "free", ADA nor anyone else will beat that price.:cool:


Regards,
Tom Barr
 

detlef

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Before BBA will infest all over your tank you get some warning signals. One of them being small patches of BBA usually growing first on driftwood, rocks and old/dying/dead leaves preferably in areas with strong current. This is where Excel, PG and peroxide should be considered.

I thought this was the question concerning PG: Does it work or does it nothing.
The many times I've used it showed clearly that it has been quite effective FOR SPOT TREATMENTS OF SMALL PATCHES OF BBA WHILE EXPOSED TO OPEN AIR. I did not intend to suggest otherwise.

No doubt Excel, bleach, peroxide etc. are at least as effective and also much cheaper.

Excel is of course a form of plant nutrient but it kills bacteria also. I am hesitant to using it longer than a few days.

@ Gautam
No, don't have any experience for PG and BGA. What I do have are some small infected areas in the substrat. I can easily do a one time test injecting PG using a syringe. I let you know how it turns out soon. Though never used it myself I have no reason not to believe ADA's claim that PG can exterminate BGA. You own yourself AJ #33 so you know the instructions.

Best regards,
Detlef
 

Tom Barr

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detlef;26938 said:
FOR SPOT TREATMENTS OF SMALL PATCHES OF BBA WHILE EXPOSED TO OPEN AIR. I did not intend to suggest otherwise.
Best regards,
Detlef

Well, when you limit the use to this very narrow range, many things will work to kill BBA. Table salt kills it, KCL etc, baking soda etc........would you pay that much for those?

BGA I can induce via low NO3 or high organic load/clogged filters etc, and given the leaner dosing many use with ADA AS, it's not surprising that many have BGA. Adding the higher organic content in ADA AS adds more to this.

I've rarely had issues with BGA in ADA AS(actually never), but I keep the NO3's higher than the ADA's typical routine, they needed not be in the 30ppm range, but at 5-15ppm, the BGA should not bother folks.

This is the real solution, not a lack of PG.

When you can repeatedly induce algae, only then can you really address the cause and solution as well as a good test. Otherwise there's no control, you have nothign to verify or compare against really. I'm not saying it does not work, I am saying I am skeptical, I've seen these same things before many many times in this hobby and a several others.

I can set up a test for this and the other tangential ADA products later, but I want to address the larger issues with ADA's sediment, then work down from there.
I have plenty of credit at AF for such items to test.

I know the species of BGA. I know several simple cheap methods to kill it, more importantly, I know how to keep it from coming back. PG while it may or may not work, does not address all of those issues nor teaches anyone much about plant care.
 

Gautam

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Tom Barr;26948 said:
I can set up a test for this and the other tangential ADA products later, but I want to address the larger issues with ADA's sediment, then work down from there.
I have plenty of credit at AF for such items to test.

I know the species of BGA. I know several simple cheap methods to kill it, more importantly, I know how to keep it from coming back. PG while it may or may not work, does not address all of those issues nor teaches anyone much about plant care.

You have hit the nail Tom. I also believe that there might be some issues with the AS or the way I have used it. I am suspecting the second as you have stated that you have used AS and never had any BGA problem. So my question is that what precautions one needs to take while setting up a new ADA AS tank so that the root cause of BGA can be elliminated and it does not recurr. As I have stated earlier I have NEVER faced BGA with laterite tanks or tanks with AZOO substrates.

In this connection I can share some more facts. In the last tank that I had set with ADA Africana Soil mainly with only a layer of Amazoinia on the top I have not got any BGA. I couldnot get any Power Sand so I substituited it with Prodac's FondoVivo mixed with some Humus as the bottom most layer. But this tank was setup and was kept idle without any planting but with the filter running for more than a month. So one can conclude that high organics in Amazonia is causing the problem. So the key may be using Amazonia but then again taking counter measures to remove the organics either by frequent water changes or strong filtration or combination of both.

I agree that PG cannot be a long term solution but then again I would like to try it out to cross check ADA claims and thanks a lot to Detlef for kindly agreeing to try that out and letting all of us know the results
 

Tom Barr

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Nothing wrong with trying out any product if you can afford to the $.
You do have to be very careful is what you conclude about the product and what you really did/saw when you used it, then compare it to other products that are similar in nature.

After reviewing perhaps 100 snake oil algae killers over the years, some never make it to the plate due to high cost, some miss the point entirely, some cannot be shown to work no matter what folks do, some do, but for unknown reasons perhaps, some are questionable and results vary widely(most typical).

I'm pretty good at figuring out if they work because I can provide 2 good reference points, a control without any algae, and I can induce most species of algae specifically in a planted tank. Then when the bloom is going full blast, that is the only good time to test an algicide.

So you have to be able to induce the algae on purpose, be waiting for it, then dose, then measure and observe.

Repeat(4-5X).

Next you need to think carefully about the results.

Few aquarist will ever do this, as a matter of fact, I've never met anyone other than myself that's done this...........:mad:
After 30 years in the hobby...........

Sad.

So I could sell a bottled product and call it an algicide like item etc and no one would ever really know one way or another. That's a safe bet.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

Gautam

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detlef;26938 said:
@ Gautam
No, don't have any experience for PG and BGA. What I do have are some small infected areas in the substrat. I can easily do a one time test injecting PG using a syringe. I let you know how it turns out soon.
Best regards,
Detlef

Hi Detlef. Could not check the forum for the last few days. Just wondering whether your tried PG in the infected areas of the substrate. Would be grateful if you can kindly let me know
 

detlef

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Hi Gautam,

yes, I've done the testing but the result is somewhat disappointing.
Injected PG 4x in the same infected area and last time using the max. recommended amount by ADA for a given volume of water.

BGA retreated a little but mostly remained uneffected. If I injected much more of PG it might have kept the bacteria from spreading further or even might have killed it but that's neither worth the effort nor the money involved.

Best regards,
Detlef
 

Gautam

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Thanks Detlef for the update. I am yet to get PG mysel. I will also try it out and let the forum know about the outcome.

Update on BGA

As suggested by Tom, tried out the 3 day darkness method in two tanks. Results are very encouraging. BGA has got totally elliminated in one, while there are traces of it in another. I am now keeping an eye on whether they make a comeback or not. To stop that again as suggested by Tom and others I am keeping the nitrate levels high. Some of the plants like Hygrophila Compacta got affected but mostly there are little signs of distress in the other plants.

Thanks Tom, Detlef and others for all help and advice.:)

I would be starting another thread on the right steps of using ADA Aquasoil wothout getting into trouble with BGA. Hope to get the same enthusiastic response and guidance from Tom and my friends in the forum
 

Tom Barr

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Clean that filter good, do those water changes, stay on top of it.
The blackout works well for most species of plants. If the tank is completely covered, there's no light coming in, you clean the tank and try and get all the BGA you can reasonablely well prior, you should not see any after 3 full days.

Detlef: you might consider testing in small nano sized tanks, this reduces cost, however, they are generally less stable, but easier to redo and set up and you can run more replicates.

Might help if testing is of interest.
I have a college bio lab to develop using algae and might use a set of 18 x 10 gal tanks to test various algae and plant interactions each semester. Then have them write a report on the study. Not a bad idea I think. Then we could test the various products as well.

We'd only be able to use one species of plant though.


Regards,
Tom Barr
 

Gautam

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Hi Tom and Detlef,

Updates on BGA

No trace of BGA in either tank (for my 5ft tank though I actually didnot do a complete blackout but didnot switch on the lights for 3 days and supplied some Hagen Liquid Bacteria). Thanks a lot once again for all help and suggestion. I alos thought of sharing my learnigs.

My learnigs on setting up of tanks with ADA AS and Power Sand

1> Regular water changes, at least every other day is a must after the tank is newly set. It would be great also to have some external filtration with activated carbon during this stage. ADA AS definitely leaches a lot of Ammonia and the key to have no BGA is it's quick removal

2> This should be continued with gradual rate of decrease in the water change cycle till the bacterial colonization stabilizes. However 1/3 rd water change is absolutely necessary once a week

3> During the intial stages lighting should be kept at minimum and no fertlization in the water column

4> Maintaining a good water circulation also helps

Tom, any updates on the algae related experiments in College Biolabs that you were planning to conduct?
 

Tom Barr

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No updates, getting ready to publish the ADA As results.
Have to travel to do some talks, work etc.

1. Yes, good conclusion there.
2.Yes again,

3. No, I've not found any issue with adding fertilizer in the start, but this also suggest that the tank is full of plants, however, that should not really matter either.
Low light is wise however, good CO2 etc so that's a yes.
Likely will not hurt if you do not add ferts for a week or two.
But doing so will not hurt anything either.

Plants do not need time to acclimate when added to a new tank any more than they might when you trim them, pull them up and cut the raggy bottom stems/root off and replant the tops.

the only difference here is that there's little bacteria and plant biomass. Many aquarists have not yet dialed in the CO2 and dosing yet either.



4, Yes.


Regards,
Tom Barr
 

Gautam

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Thanks Tom for confirming my observations. This means a lot to me.

While I could control BGA, there is a sudden outburst of thread algae. I am confused whether it is Spirogyra or Hair Algae? They are looking like long hairs mainly green in colour. The plants are growing very well and so is the algae and as a result the aqurium is looking very unkempt. I am able to clear them with a tooth brush but then again it is too much of an effort for a 400 L tank. The algae is totally covering the Java Mosses and as a result some sections are turning brown and dying.

Information available with me tells me that this algal infestation happens if iron levels are high but when I tested with my Sera test kits I practically had no iron reported. Asked my friend who has access to advanced lab equipments to test the water and he reported the following:

Fe - 0.04 ppm
P - 1.40 ppm

Thus iron is low but P IMO is high. Would be great to hear your opinion on this and advice on how to control this algae.

The tank as reported earlier has artificial CO2 injection and total 300 W MH (1 8500 K, 1 6500 K, 1 4500 K - total 8 hours of lighting )

Other parameters:

NO3 - 10 ppm
KH - 4 Degrees
GH - 7 Degrees
pH - 7.5

Regards,

Gautam
 

Gautam

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Based on a fellow aquarist's suggestion I re-tested the NO3. His felt that high PO4 may be because less of nitrate and if NO3 is low then plants are not able to use the available PO4, so high PO4 in water column and hence the growth of Spirogyra and Hair algae.

I was not sure whether high PO4 would cause this kind of algae but tested the NO3 once more and was surpirsed with the result. Though without any practical reason I tested the NH4 too. The readings are:

NO3 -