Long battle with BBA. Please help!

bryanjames

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Oct 28, 2015
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Hey Guys,


For the past month or two I've been fighting an outbreak of algae. At first it was brown diatoms but thankfully they went away. As soon as the diatoms went away BBA came right in. I have no idea what caused this. This tank was algae free for three months and suddenly things just went crazy. So far I been slowly adjusting my CO2 and light cycle as well as flow the past 2 weeks. This has helped but there are a few areas that just wont give up. I've included pictures of these BBA holdouts. It seems to want to grow on the older leaves not so much the new. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Here are my specs at the time these pics were taken.


CO2: 113ppm. Have a little surface agitation, fish seem okay.


pH: 5.9


kH 3


GH 6


Ammonia .15ppm


Nitrite 0ppm


Nitrates: ~30ppm


Calcium 8ppm


PO4: ~3.5ppm


Light schedule:


9am-5pm roughly 65 PAR at substrate.


11am-3pm 90ish PAR at substrate as second fixture turns on.


C02: 8am-6pm


My EI Daily dosing schedule based on Seachem's Flourish line.


Time: 8AM


Comprehensive: 8ml


Excel: 3ml


Fe: 5ml


K: 7ml


P: 16ml


N: 5ml


50% water change Saturdays after lights out.


Flow: (2) Canister filters outflows and (2) Hydor circulation pumps.


In addition I have (2) 9w UV Sterilizers.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Mar 20, 2013
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It's highly improbable that CO2 is over 100ppm. If it were, the fish would be dead. Most likely, there are other acids in the water causing the pH to be low. Size of the tank?
 

bryanjames

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Oct 28, 2015
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This tank is 29 Gallons. I got the 113ppm by triple testing my kH and using a calibrated PH probe combined with the http://aquariuminfo.org/co2calculator.html calc I got 113 PPM. Is this not how I should go about this?


FWIW I do not use any kind of PH Altering chemicals. I use only 3/4 RODI water and 1/4 Tap treated with Prime on initial setup. For water changes at 50% or less and top offs I use only RO water with no GH additives.
 
Mar 20, 2013
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If the substrate is Aquasoil, it will leach humic acids which will lower the pH. The plants are deficient in micros or potassium. Add some and the plants should improve in health.
 
Mar 20, 2013
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The mL are meaningless without ppm. Can you update with the ppm? Because 5ml of Fe seems like an massive overdose.


A pH drop or degas is a better way to determine CO2 concentrations.
 

Pikez

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May 12, 2013
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Bryan - you've shared a lot of data, but I'm with Solcielo on this: still missing critical data. Your estimate of CO2 is off. Need ppm of everything.


General suggestions:


1. Do lots of 60-70% water changes. By lots, I mean every 3 or 4 days.


2. Switch to dry ferts. You will save a TON of money and you'll never look back. Some plants don't look well fed. Follow basic EI.


3. Trim infested leaves. Clean, clean, clean. Prune and garden.


4. Make sure you have enough Ca and Mg by adding GH booster.


5. Calibrate and/or replace pH probe. This will help you nail down pH drop…and ultimately your CO2. 113 ppm is a wild theoretical guess.


6. Could not tell what your substrate is - get Aquasoil or something like it.


7. Find a way to stabilize CO2.
 

bryanjames

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Oct 28, 2015
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Solcielo lawrencia said:
The mL are meaningless without ppm. Can you update with the ppm? Because 5ml of Fe seems like an massive overdose.

A pH drop or degas is a better way to determine CO2 concentrations.

So I should test my Fe levels at dosing?
 

bryanjames

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Oct 28, 2015
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Pikez said:
Bryan - you've shared a lot of data, but I'm with Solcielo on this: still missing critical data. Your estimate of CO2 is off. Need ppm of everything.

General suggestions:


1. Do lots of 60-70% water changes. By lots, I mean every 3 or 4 days.


2. Switch to dry ferts. You will save a TON of money and you'll never look back. Some plants don't look well fed. Follow basic EI.


3. Trim infested leaves. Clean, clean, clean. Prune and garden.


4. Make sure you have enough Ca and Mg by adding GH booster.


5. Calibrate and/or replace pH probe. This will help you nail down pH dropand ultimately your CO2. 113 ppm is a wild theoretical guess.


6. Could not tell what your substrate is - get Aquasoil or something like it.


7. Find a way to stabilize CO2.

My pH rides around 6.8 and drips to about 5.7-9 once the CO2 kicks on.


I'm trying my best to figure out a ppm of CO2.


http://www.fishfriend.com/aquarium_co2_calculator.html


http://aquariuminfo.org/co2calculator.html


http://www.theaquatools.com/co2-calculations


These three calcs have given me the same results.


As far as ppm of everything I do not know how to go about that. Like how much ppm of K is in my tank? I'm not well versed on this.


1. I've been doing 50% every days for about a week now. I will do another 50% as soon as I post this.


2. Have an EI kit from GLA sitting right next to my keyboard, I plan on switching soon although it isn't a money issue for me. Frankly, I like the premixed Seachem line as it is just easier for me and the autodosing system I use.


3. Been doing that every night, mainly in the lower leaves of the stems. I increased space between groups of plants to allow more flow. Seems to be helping, all the plants have movement to them.


4. My GH sits at 6. Is this not a good representation of Ca and Mg? If not, how do I check it?


5. I check every time I use it, I have vials with 7pH and 4pH that I use to check calibration. I also have a digital pH monitor now in that tank that constantly shows pH reading and it is in line with the pH pen I use give or take 0.1 difference.


6. This is Aquasoil from ST International. Its just what I had laying around. I have bags of ADA AS and Flourite standing by for two other tanks but I don't feel I need to rip out my substrate all because of some algae.


7. My CO2 is pressurized on a timer with a good quality regulator/solenoid and ss bubble counter into a co2art inline glass atomizer with gets feed to a spray bar, the circulation pumps then grab that water and push it around in a circular pattern. What else should I do?


Any ideas?
 

Julia Adkins

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It looks like you add a lot of phosphates. Phosphates accumulate in the substrate and will contribute to the algae bloom. You also add quite a bit of iron which is only needed in small amounts unless you have really a lot of red plants. Iron is a trace nutrient which is why you only dose small amounts of iron. You are dosing small amounts of potassium and nitrate which are two of the most used nutrients and thus run out the fastest. Your dosing seems out of balance to me. In short, that is what I would work on: a better balance of nutrients. Good luck. BBA is ornery stuff.
 

UDGags

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You Iron is about twice what it should be. Cut it back down to 2mL instead of 5mL. You also have Iron in the Comprehensive product don't forget. His phosphates are correct for EI daily levels on a 29 gallon with that product. Your other dosing values are correct too.


You shouldn't be doing 50% water changes daily, 2-3 times a week max for the first month or two of a new setup. I would then cut back to 1 per week. The EI daily values you are using assume you are only doing a water change once per week. If you are doing water changes more frequently the amount of elements in your water is a lot lower than EI expects.


You won't be able to tell your CO2 ppm level until the aquasoil stops effecting your pH. You can check the pH of your tap water (or whatever water you are doing water changes with) see how much that differs from the pH of your tank and subtract it out. Not an absolute correct measurement but gives you a ballpark idea of what effect the AS is having on your water. The chart is here


If you want to check your ppm levels yourself here are the steps

  1. Go to http://rotalabutterfly.com/
  2. Put in your tank size (29 gallons)
  3. Select premixed
  4. Select your product(s) one at a time.
  5. The "I Am Calculating For" should be set for EI Daily
  6. Click Calculate
  7. It will show the results to the right in mL and it will give you a list of ppm for each element.
  8. Since you are doing multiple products, I would copy and paste the results into Excel or Word and then add up all the ppm's for each element to get your totals.
  9. When you get the dry chemicals you would choose DIY instead of premixed.


Also with the dry chemicals you can mix up stock solutions just like the Flourish products. You're basically paying for water and extra shipping weight getting them premixed.
 
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The problem with the plants are a micronutrient toxicity which leads to it being colonized by BBA and other algae. Which specific micronutrients are causing issues? Not Fe, but probably Mn and others.