How to clean up BBA covered plants I get from client's tanks that I redo

Christophe

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Non-CO2 Low Light Works...

It’s been two weeks now since I turned off the CO2 & reverted to Excel — BBA is probably about 80% reduced from what it was. In three to four days in, the thicker areas of BBA had all turned red, those areas were clean after the first week, thanks to a dozen shrimp. They wouldn’t touch the BBA when it was healthy, but once you damage it, you just can sit and watch them completely strip an area in a few minutes. They should have the whole tank clear in another few weeks.

The plants seem to be holding up. The stauro is dropping a few leaves here and there, but it’s not a huge melt. The Cabomba I used to have to cut in half and replant weekly will probably go a month at a time before that’s necessary. It still looks healthy.

I haven’t changed lighting at all for this. I’m running a Current LED+ which, by their claims, gives a PAR of about 30umol at substrate for my system. I run it on a DIY Arduino controller, 6 hour photoperiod with about 1 hour ramps up/down. I think I picked up most of my BBA issue between variable CO2 levels (as I figured out how to work it) and longer photoperiods with 2 hour ramp times.

As for ferts I’m maintaining the levels I had before, the dosing to get there is reduced. Once the fish are fed, I don’t need to add nitrate, the tank’s still 10-20ppm. I add a tiny bit of PO4 (seem to need to stay above 2ppm to keep GSA at bay) and about 8ppm of K per week. The CO2 is what has made all the difference. If things stabilize well, I might look into cutting back the Excel as well, just to see if the plants I’ve got will hold up purely on ambient CO2 without losing all my plant mass.

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Non-CO2 Low Light Works...

It’s been two weeks now since I turned off the CO2 & reverted to Excel — BBA is probably about 80% reduced from what it was. In three to four days in, the thicker areas of BBA had all turned red, those areas were clean after the first week, thanks to a dozen shrimp. They wouldn’t touch the BBA when it was healthy, but once you damage it, you just can sit and watch them completely strip an area in a few minutes. They should have the whole tank clear in another few weeks.

The plants seem to be holding up. The stauro is dropping a few leaves here and there, but it’s not a huge melt. The Cabomba I used to have to cut in half and replant weekly will probably go a month at a time before that’s necessary. It still looks healthy.

I haven’t changed lighting at all for this. I’m running a Current LED+ which, by their claims, gives a PAR of about 30umol at substrate for my system. I run it on a DIY Arduino controller, 6 hour photoperiod with about 1 hour ramps up/down. I think I picked up most of my BBA issue between variable CO2 levels (as I figured out how to work it) and longer photoperiods with 2 hour ramp times.

As for ferts I’m maintaining the levels I had before, the dosing to get there is reduced. Once the fish are fed, I don’t need to add nitrate, the tank’s still 10-20ppm. I add a tiny bit of PO4 (seem to need to stay above 2ppm to keep GSA at bay) and about 8ppm of K per week. The CO2 is what has made all the difference. If things stabilize well, I might look into cutting back the Excel as well, just to see if the plants I’ve got will hold up purely on ambient CO2 without losing all my plant mass.
 

Tom Barr

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Once you beat the BBA back good, then you can revert back if the CO2 is good now.

Seems such a method of not adding CO2, lowering the light, Excel for a few weeks, then returning back might be a good way to clean up the tanks with BBA.
This might not work well with say Downoi and Red pantanal.....but for Anubias, moss, Java ferns etc......certainly.

2-3 weeks then back to the gas.
 

Christophe

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Turned the gas back on yesterday after five weeks off. It seems like the BBA die-off peaked at about three weeks, so it would have been optimal to restart CO2 then, but I was going to be out of town for a week, and it was easier to keep it off the extra time.

Growth slowed way down over the break, and a lot of staurogyne yellowed, shed some leaves, and even picked up some pinholes. I know there were no deficiencies other than CO2, as everything tested fairly stable. Nothing else suffered much.

At least now I have a better idea of how to dial the gas in, hopefully won't pick up a problem getting it spun back up!

Cheers, and thanks for the discussion here.

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Turned the gas back on yesterday after five weeks off. It seems like the BBA die-off peaked at about three weeks, so it would have been optimal to restart CO2 then, but I was going to be out of town for a week, and it was easier to keep it off the extra time.

Growth slowed way down over the break, and a lot of staurogyne yellowed, shed some leaves, and even picked up some pinholes. I know there were no deficiencies other than CO2, as everything tested fairly stable. Nothing else suffered much.

At least now I have a better idea of how to dial the gas in, hopefully won't pick up a problem getting it spun back up!

Cheers, and thanks for the discussion here.
 

Tom Barr

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I have long stated that pin holes and the like are not K+ issues, rather, CO2 issues, no one listens though.

2-3 weeks sounds about right.
 
Tom, my tank has more BBA than plants by now (not really but it has a lot),
Its a 10G tank, pressurized CO2, moderate light with EI fert for about 4 months now,

Problems started to spike when my CO2 bootle got empty about 1 month ago and the few BBA i had just took control of the tank (substrate is almost all BBA, older Althernanthera leaves and even rotala stems)

So my question is, instead of doing the H202 and Excel treatment with an extra strong current, if i do this no CO2 method for 3 weeks, wouldnt it hurt my Althernantera and the mini version of it? thats about the only red plants i have.

After i do this i will install my new TMC 1500 ULTIMA LED and plant a hole carpet of HC cuba, but i dont want to do it with my tank filled with that nasty BBA (oh and a little of GSA)

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Tom, my tank has more BBA than plants by now (not really but it has a lot),
Its a 10G tank, pressurized CO2, moderate light with EI fert for about 4 months now,

Problems started to spike when my CO2 bootle got empty about 1 month ago and the few BBA i had just took control of the tank (substrate is almost all BBA, older Althernanthera leaves and even rotala stems)

So my question is, instead of doing the H202 and Excel treatment with an extra strong current, if i do this no CO2 method for 3 weeks, wouldnt it hurt my Althernantera and the mini version of it? thats about the only red plants i have.

After i do this i will install my new TMC 1500 ULTIMA LED and plant a hole carpet of HC cuba, but i dont want to do it with my tank filled with that nasty BBA (oh and a little of GSA)
 

Tom Barr

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Not sure really, the plants will not die though. Add Excel during that time and no CO2.
That might offer a better result perhaps even.
 
Thank you Tom,

It will start today, adding the stipulated excel dose since i never added any and the bottle is still sealed.

How about the water changes? 50% weekly would spike CO2 levels so im guessing 20% weekly just to prevent TDS accumulation?

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Thank you Tom,

It will start today, adding the stipulated excel dose since i never added any and the bottle is still sealed.

How about the water changes? 50% weekly would spike CO2 levels so im guessing 20% weekly just to prevent TDS accumulation?
 

Tom Barr

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Algae never like water changes if you enrich with carbon.
 
I didnt know that,
I did read here that doing 1/3 EI and twice monthly WC would be best,

Is it still the best way of doing so? Seems better to spike twice monthly than to spike weekly, even if i let water sit for about half a day with surface movement before changing it.

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I didnt know that,
I did read here that doing 1/3 EI and twice monthly WC would be best,

Is it still the best way of doing so? Seems better to spike twice monthly than to spike weekly, even if i let water sit for about half a day with surface movement before changing it.
 
Im entering the 3rd week with no co2 in jection and weekly 20% water change with hours of degassing the new water but the BBA doesnt seem to be weakened,


Is it supposed to happen on this time frame?

Im dosing excel daily at 1.25ml to 50Lt, i do have a dozen or more RCS and snails.

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Im entering the 3rd week with no co2 in jection and weekly 20% water change with hours of degassing the new water but the BBA doesnt seem to be weakened,


Is it supposed to happen on this time frame?

Im dosing excel daily at 1.25ml to 50Lt, i do have a dozen or more RCS and snails.
 

PhilipS

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So the plants are healed? Amen.

Any evidence the BBA infiltrated the inner cells?

I read that once they engulf a leaf its best to remove it because the inner cells are destroyed with BBA.
 

Melissa Morrison

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Hi Tom,


I had a little bit of BBA on an Anubis plant that I moved from my high-tech tank to my low tech tank (same as you, low light, no CO2, no chemicals). After a about a month, the BBA got worse, not better. So, I'm going to go with the shrimp as the reason your BBA was cleaned out. Maybe?


Although my low-tech tank has fish, not shrimp. So go figure.
 

Tom Barr

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the low tech tank had less light, lots of plants, lower temp, no water changes. But a fair number of shrimp, but the shrimp do nothing to stop the BBA for the most part in most tanks, just very mild cases perhaps. SAE's will, but that's about it.
 

Tom Barr

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I got some more Anubias petites with some on it,I'll see how they do and repeat the test.
 

UDGags

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Does BBA prefer certain surface textures? I ask because the same piece of wood that got BBA in my 2013 scape has some tufts popping up on it after 3 weeks. This is the one I covered in moss (your suggestion) in 2014 to not get the BBA (and never did). The piece of wood directly next to it this year (they are touching in some spots) doesn't have a single spot of it. Is the wood breaking down causing organics that the BBA might like?


I just find it odd it only grows on that one piece and no where else in the tank really.
 

fablau

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UDGas, is that wood where the water current is strongest? Is there water turbulence? I have noticed that in my tank BBA appears where turbulence is highest (maybe giving Co2 fluctuations in those areas??). I am trying to reduce turbulence in those areas and see if that makes any difference... just tried the test 2 days ago.
 

UDGags

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Hmmm, there is a return line in the area but I would think it would effect the other piece of wood too. I'll see what happens if I point it in another direction for a week or two.