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Help needed with BGA and slow growth

Discussion in 'Algae Control' started by slalomsk8er, Aug 25, 2009.

  1. slalomsk8er

    slalomsk8er Junior Poster

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    Hello

    The NO2 is gone (oops it spiked again) now I can start phase 2 of the redesign of my tank - get the plants to grow like mad and remove the algae.

    About the tank:

    • Volume: 30l Dennerle Nano Cube
    • Size: 30x30x35cm
    • Light: Dennerle Nano Light 11 W
    • Substrate: Sand with some clay balls
    • CO2: yeast DIY with CO2 dome and a Dennerle drop checker
    • Filter: Dennerle Nano corner filter
    • Fertilizers: EI 30g KNO3, 5g KH2P04 mixed with 500ml, dosed 4 times a week 5,5ml (2 times a week because the lack of uptake by the plants). 50% water change once a week with one dose of easy-life ProFito for traces.
    • Plants:
      • Hemianthus callitrichoides 'Cuba'
      • Cryptocoryne spec. "Flamingo"
      • Ceratopteris thalictroides
      • Rotala rotundifolia
    • Fishes:
      • 8 Corydoras hastatus
      • 8 Hyphessobrycon amandae
    • Snails:
      • 4 Clithon sp. (diadema) souleyetana
      • 2 Neritina natalensis
    • Water parameters (changed water after testing because of the high NO2):
      • 27° C
      • 238 µS/cm2
      • 4° dKH
      • 5° dGH
      • 6-6.5 pH
      • 0.05 mg/l Fe
      • 0.2 mg/l NO2
      • 10-20 mg/l NO3
      • 3-5 mg/l PO4
      • 3.5-113 mg/l CO2 (drop checker 80 mg/l CO2)

    Things I had done include:
    • Added one Ceratopteris thalictroides and 3 Rotala rotundifolia
    • Added more CO2 by getting more washed in to the water with the current from the filter and a bigger dome.
    • Added a max 660 l/h or 175US gph powerhead to get more current.

    Things I could do:
    • Adding epsom salt.
    • Adding a second identical filter.
    • Adding a second identical light.
    • Building a CO2 reactor out of the powerhead or get a other one as this one maybe to strong.

    Before cleanup and Sundays water change:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    What should I do to get the plants pearling again?
    What should I do to get the tank free of algae?

    Regards,
    Dominik Riva
     
  2. slalomsk8er

    slalomsk8er Junior Poster

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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    After the cleanup:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Plants, Plants & More Plants

    Hi Dominik,

    I think you are doing most of the right things.:)

    I believe that your BGA is primarily due to low nutrients :eek: and a lack of plants, more light won’t hurt.

    I believe that you should add another light, a second filter never hurt, though I doubt it is necessary.

    Unless you just plain messed up the drop checker and I doubt you did, the CO2 and likely the circulation are fine.

    I don’t know what is in Easy-Life ProFito trace. For our purposes, compare it to CSM+B.

    I recommend:
    • 5 grams KNO3
    • 2.3 grams K2SO4 (real life a heavy 2 grams will do)
    • 1.5 grams KH2PO4
    • 13 grams MgSO4.7H2O (Epsom Salt)
    Mix into 250 ml water (RO/DI or distilled is best). Label ‘Macros’, store in a dark container, store in cool place.

    Dose a heavy 20 ml (or a very light 21 ml) three times a week, starting after the weekly water change.

    On the ‘other’ day dose trace whatever equals:
    • 21 grams CSM+B
    Mix into 250 ml water (RO/DI or distilled is best). Label ‘Trace’, store in a dark container, store in cool place.

    Dose a heavy 20 ml (or a very light 21 ml) three times a week.

    These mixes should last four weeks.

    Find more Rotala rotundifolia or any fast growing plants, just get them in, you can always remove them later. Over planting from the beginning really stabilizes things quickly.

    Biollante
     
  4. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Actually, the worse thing one can do when a tank suffers from algae is to add more light. In fact, a three day blackout combined with the improved dosing strategy and higher biomass, as mentioned - as well as more frequent water changes would be the way to go. I would strongly suggest to avoid adding more light for now, at least until this issue is resolved.

    Cheers,
     
  5. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    You also need more plant biomass to start with.
    That and good CO2.

    Clean the BGA out, then do the black out, then add more plants , then dose well and add good CO2.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  6. slalomsk8er

    slalomsk8er Junior Poster

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    Thank you all for your help.

    I will do as advised and start with cleaning and my first tank blackout tomorrow.

    I report here how it works out.

    Regards,
    Dominik Riva
     
  7. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
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    When I get BGA, which happens on about half of the soil-based tanks that I start, I zap it with erythromycin.

    Blackouts are another approach.

    I think one cause of BGA in aquariums is an excess of nutrients. Even tanks that are heavily planted take a while for the plants to start "eating".

    Reducing light is not the way to battle BGA, IMO.

    Bill
     
  8. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I've seen this in higher organic matter aquariums(high nutrients are just correlation it seems), and we also see it in Rice fields where BGA smothers the new rice plants before they can reach the surface of the water.

    This did not occur when they did not use the old chaft form the prior year(they use to burn it and smoke the place up). Now they are required to add it back to the soil, this saves the carbon and adds it back to the soil, which is good, but now they have a lot more issues with BGA as a result.
    the nutrients are the same still, but there is a lot more organic matter.

    What I'm suggesting, and there is a fair amount of correlation in the observations both in the Rice and the aquariums, is that some soils(ADA is included here also), when you have too much % or a ratio of organic carbon added either at the initial stage, or allow so much to build up over time, you can get a BGA bloom.

    So while some aquariums have too little NO3, some have too much organoic carbon. Perhaps the plants leach organic carbon in response to low NO3/low N.
    and perhaps the old detritus and dead plant material leaches this also.
    So it might be a secondary effect with low NO3 levels causing organic carbon leaching.

    Either that, or there are tow separate causes (more than 1) for BGA.
    Flow is another factor, but the less flow, the less cycling of organic matter into CO2 due to reduced O2.

    Cleaning things out good, not allowing NO3 to get low seems to keep it away for good. With a non CO2 tank, a blackout of EM tablets worked pretty well, I often did a small water change, and added about 5ppm of KNo3 and then added that much every other week.

    Never came back in 2 non CO2 aquariums using that method with blackouts.

    Hardly definitive............but none the less, seems to work and prevents it in non CO2 tanks, as well as CO2 enriched tanks.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  9. scottward

    scottward Guru Class Expert

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    I've had BGA in my tank lots of times! I've had it all through the tank, all over the plants, the gravel, horrible stuff. I'd wipe it off as much as I could but it would be back again the next night - it comes back so quickly!!

    The blackouts absolutely definitely got rid of it. I would cover my tank very well with some dark towels and leave them there for 4-5 days (3 days never seemed to quite be enough for me).

    When I removed the towels, there would be a lot of mulm on the substrate - all the dead algae. So, I would give the tank a really thorough clean, large water change etc.

    Then I would get the lights back on, set the dosing routine going again, turn on the CO2...

    However, after a few weeks the BGA was back again!

    So, I had figured out that how to get rid of it, but not how to prevent it coming back.

    That was a while ago. Now I am doing much better. The last time I blacked out my tank, cleaned it after removing the towels etc, I knew that if I did the same things I did last time the BGA was going to come back again...

    So, I had to change something.

    What worked for me was reducing the amount of light over the tank, improving the CO2 level/distribution/circulation - in short - the solution was for me to get the plants growing really well and increase the overall biomass.

    The plants are now growing well, there has been a huge increase in their biomass (I am starting to throw some plants out which is a good thing!!), and there has been absolutely no BGA for months!

    Do what you've gotta do to get the plants growing well and the BGA will go away by itself. Go out and buy a whole heap of cheap filler plants if you have to, but make absolutlely sure that you have that critical light/CO2/nutrient balance working.

    I'm no expert, but I've had lots of problems with my tank, lots of swearing at it....

    Scott.
     
  10. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Lifetime Charter Member
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    I always have excess nutrients and I rarely get BGA. The fact that blackouts work is an indication that light plays a role.

    Dirty filters are also highly correlated to BGA, which supports the excess organic matter explanation.

    Cheers,
     
  11. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
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    The only time that I ever get it is on newly set up soil-based tanks.

    My theory is that the soil generates a lot of nutrients, more than the new plants are able to utilize. If the BGA outreak is small, sometimes I let it run its course and it eventually goes away, I assume once the plants get started.

    Blackouts do get rid of BGA. I don't think it follows that light causes BGA, though.

    In nature it seems that most publicized BGA flareups occur in late summer, in lakes and impoundments, when water levels are at their seasonal lows and water temperatures are at their highs. Maybe those two conditions combine to increase the nutrients in the water?

    Bill
     
  12. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I do not think it's the nutrients, rather, the reduced carbon, lower O2 perhaps.
    we can test nutrients in and of themselves independent of other factor pretty easily and move them all over.

    If it was nutrients alone, then we would be able to induce BGa pretty consistently in most every case.

    But all you need are few cases to falsify that.
    Since if the nutrients are the fact that causes BGA(or any specific alga), then we add those nutrients, independent of EVERYTHING ELSE that is going on in the aquarium, we should see BGA(or any other algae).

    The fact that we do not means it has to be some other cause/s.
    You might not be able to stop BGA and have an issue with the soil, or other folks might as well, or someone might have low NO3 often times and BGA...........

    I can induce BGA again and again with low NO3.
    I've never once induced it with higher nutrients.
    Also, even if I can induce a few times using just KNO3 in an otherwise stable healthy aquarium with plants, that still does not imply cause.
    It suggest it, but does not mean that is the case.

    Maybe I overlooked something else I did. Seems to work well along with good removal of filter waste, organic loading in the start up phase. Finding cause is tough, finding what it is not, that's fairly easy.

    Have you attempted mineralization(+ a few good weekly water changes) prior to adding soil to the tank, then add lights, plants etc? Or soak the soil 2-3 week, boil it for 10 min etc?

    Try that and see.
    I get a little BGA with ADA AS if I do not dose KNO3.

    BGA seems much more common where organic matter is used for sediments.
    So oxidizing it should help reduce the issue in the start up phase.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  13. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
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    I usually soak the soil for at least a month but in this latest case I just soaked it for a day or two, with a few water changes.

    In this tank for the first time I had a green water outbreak. It started about the 5th day and lasted for about 4 days. Then the BGA showed up and spread rapidly until I killed it.

    Now that tank is completely algae-free, which is strange - usually I have a little on the glass, at least. In fact, it is so clear that it looks unhealthy. The plants are doing well, however.

    Bill
     
  14. slalomsk8er

    slalomsk8er Junior Poster

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    Sorry for the late reply.

    It worked like magic. I had some fear for my fish so I had mixed feelings when I uncovered the tank. The look was stunning, after 4 days the tank looked like new.

    Thanks, for your help.


    Regards,
    Dominik Riva
     
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