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Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by MediaOne, Sep 5, 2007.

  1. MediaOne

    MediaOne Prolific Poster

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    Hey everyone,

    Why is my drop checker indicating a "high" CO2 level when persistent growth of black beard algae suggests otherwise?

    *I am using lab grade kH reference fluid (4 dKH) purchased online that I have confirmed is accurate.

    Any help is appreciated!

    Regards,

    MediaOne
     
  2. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Having a high concentration of CO2 in the water is no guarantee of having no BBA. In fact BBA likes the growing conditions on the spray bar through which the CO2 enriched water enters the tank. I think high CO2 levels are a help in preventing BBA, but keeping dead leaves removed, keeping a good level of substrate cleanliness, and quickly removing any BBA that does show up is also very important. I say this being one who is also frustrated that BBA continues to show up in my tank apparently just to teach me humility.
     
  3. MediaOne

    MediaOne Prolific Poster

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    Thank you for the response!

    Everything I have read seems to indicate that increased CO2 levels will hault the growth of BBA.

    My substrate is clean and I don't leave old leaves hanging around. Over the last couple days I have been increasing my CO2 levels until fish show signs of CO2 related stress (hiding, rapid breathing and/or faded color). I'm going to find the tipping point and hold it there. The excel has done yet another excellent job of destroying the BBA that was present previously.

    I'm amazed how much CO2 can come ramming out of my ceramic diffuser .... however I have only a basic small one (similar to a ADA Pollen Glass Large 30). Would I benefit from going to a Beetle 50 or something like that with a larger diffusion surface area?

    Thank you,
     
  4. MediaOne

    MediaOne Prolific Poster

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    *bump

    Anyone?
     
  5. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Have you tried improving the water circulation in your tank, to make sure the CO2 enriched water reaches all of the areas of the tank? That is necessary to avoid dead water areas that get depleted of CO2. Usually we set up our tank with good circulation, but the plants all grow, filling up the volume of the tank and stopping circulation in many areas. Then we need to do a major pruniing job, readjust our water circulation system - powerheads, spray bars, etc - and make sure the drop checker is in a typical area of the tank, not an area with unusually good circulation. The thing that works best to stop algae from starting to grow is good healthy plant growth, but once algae gets started CO2 alone isn't likely to kill off that algae.
     
  6. MediaOne

    MediaOne Prolific Poster

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    I have debated increasing the waterflow in my aquarium many times but I always come back to thinking it is adequate. I recently increased from an Eheim Pro II to an electronic III and it increased circulation.

    I have my drop checker placed in an area of the tank with low water flow. It was placed there in hopes of providing me with information on how the worst CO2 level was doing in the tank (that in the low flow area).

    I found that increasing CO2 until the fish started to hide, increased their respiration, and became faded in color to work well. I backed off by a ph of about 0.15 and things seem to be doing well.

    The little bit of Excel dosing I have been doing seems to decrease the rate of pearling in my aquarium dramatically.

    What are your thoughts on me using a kH 5 or higher reference fluid instead of the 4 that I have?
     
  7. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi,
    I can't see the point of changing th dkh of the drop checker fluid. All that does is to change the color at which your optimum CO2 concentration from green to a more bluish color which adds even more ambiguity. Also it adds more complication because you have to prepare the 5 dkh. I don't believe it's sold. All you really need to do is to settle on a target color for the 4 dkh solution. If limeade green is not enough then adjust until it starts to turn greenish/yellowish. It seems that if practicable you ought to place the drop checker as near as possible to the places(s) where the bba is appearing.

    As hoppy said, the task now is to get rid of the growth that is there now. It won't disappear just because you've increased the CO2, and it definitely won't disappear overnight. Continue the treatment for a few weeks until it clears up, continue to trim and remove and make sure your dosing continues properly.

    Cheers,
     
  8. MediaOne

    MediaOne Prolific Poster

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    I thought I could use a higher dKH fluid in order to read a higher CO2 level.... but ... point taken.

    My drop checker is exactly above the BBA hot spot. Always has been.

    I realize that the BBA will not dissapear on its own and that it has to be physically removed. After increasing my CO2 level I added some Excel in to my regime to kill that which was present. Each time I do a water change I siphon it off the wood and cut the leaves of the Anubias.

    When I cut back from the Excel dosing I will see if the BBA slowly comes back again (as it always has).

    Anyone else experience Excel interferring with pearling?

    Regards,
     
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    The KH change will not matter, you are measuring CO2, not KH.

    If you need more CO2, have a different target pH etc, you use the CO2, not the pH/KH to do this, adding more KH will not add more CO2, nor will a lower pH directly.

    If you need more CO2, or stable CO2, you use only CO2 to do that.

    Seems obvious, but many folks try to monkey with KH etc to change the pH/KH relationship for measuring CO2.

    Still, pH/KH are only use to measure, not to change CO2.
    To change the CO2, you add more/less CO2:p

    Don't worry, many go through that.

    It can take time for algae to go away and for it to appear.
    Many assume it's an instant rapid response.

    This is also a lesson, often a hard one for many, to realize.

    Nutrients alone are not the sole cure for many cases, sometimes they can be..........so folks automatically assume that should be the case for every algae issue if they had one such experience.

    That's very naive!
    Bad assumptions, still , many, some often good planted aquarist make this assumption!!!

    If I have 4 w/gal and another tank has 2 w/gal and the same algae, the response to fixing the issue will be a lot different.
    I might have GSA, and low CO2 in the high light tank and low PO4 and good CO2 in the other.

    I may have to work a lot harder for the high light tank:mad:

    Still, you should look at each parameter, watch the plant's response, and then once they are growing well, you can assume things are doing better.

    Algae can be attacked and eradicated as you fix the plant growth issue, and that is always the case.................poor plant growth => algae.

    So the focus is really on plant growth, not algae control and plants are easy to stunt if you run too low or make assumptions like this plant is best grown at low NO3 and high light and my tesdt kits are good and do not need any calibration or only test once in a great while.

    These are just some general areas/examples where folks can and do go wrong.
    Patience goes a long way for getting rid of BBa and several other species of algae, but most can be beaten back in a few weeks, 1-3 typically.

    I cured a number of tanks of BBA, but there where some signs of BBA left for several weeks after, but.........no new growth. I removed the last little bits here and there.

    Then you are done and no new growth, no signs in the tank, then you just keep up on things and the next time you see it, you get to work before it gets out of hand! CO2!!

    If someone has another way to induce BBA other than CO2, I'm all ears. I've never been able to induce it any other way.

    We have added rocks, plants w/ healthy BBA and purees of the healthy alga as well as just sit and wait for the spores present to inoculate.
    High NO3, PO4, Fe, KH, GH, pH, tannins low/absent/immeasurable.

    Nothing worked even after months.

    CO2 did.

    Many things influence CO2.
    It's perhaps the most complicated issue in the hobby.

    So hopefully this will help you.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  10. MediaOne

    MediaOne Prolific Poster

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    Thank you for your reply.

    From what I saw it was CO2 every time as well.. I guess what I am getting at is that if I put enough CO2 to stop/slow the BBA growth.... my drop checker is yellow!

    I will thus continue to dose additional CO2 until there is no new growth of BBA and the fish are not breathing rapidly.

    Regards,
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Just focus heavily on CO2 for awhile, see how it influences everything.
    I think folks get tired of hearing add more CO2, but there's more to it than that.

    You have to convince yourself that CO2 and BBA are related, not me:p
    Many that have long been dogged by BBA believe it's something else or Fe, or PO4 or or or.........a never ending list and each rarely works as well.

    That should be revealing in and of it's self:)

    I've tried those while maintaining good control over the other parameters, never was able to induce it.

    CO2?
    Every time.

    Now there are folks out there that have never mastered BBA and blamed a method of dosing or a nutrient still..........they are always 100% sure that they did everything right etc........I'm never 100% sure.........about anything and worry when I think such ways...........

    I need to convince myself I did it right.
    Same deal for other hobbyist, you need to convince your skeptical self that CO2 is the key here.

    Do not be afraid to induce algae to learn more and gain a better understanding, once you know how to get rid of it, it's no longer an issue:)

    You know the cause, so you can stop new growth. Some species go away without removal etc unlike some BBA cases.

    Folks generalize between algae species also, they clump them all together.
    that causes a lot of issues also.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  12. MediaOne

    MediaOne Prolific Poster

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    If there is anything I have under control.... it is the ability to never assume I know what is going on in the aquarium. I have been focussing first and foremost on CO2 lately (while keeping all other variables constant) and I have seen many positive changes.

    I will continue to play with CO2 to gain a better understanding and appreciation for its power.

    It is interesting that you mention not to be affraid of inducing algae. In fact, the entire reason I started this aquarium was to study it and learn how to deal with the different situations that can arise (I have seen a large number of them!). I am involved in the marine aquarium industry and wanted to gain some experience in the planted aquarium arena. It has been a very interesting and challenging mission thus far.

    Thank you Tom & everyone else that has helped me along the way.
     
  13. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Well, learning to grow a wide range of marine macro algae is the other thing I seem much more able to do than many Marine folks.

    Same with FW algae.

    They make good bioindicators, much like a test kit to measure environmental health.
    The EPA also uses such methods to gauge water in natural/constructed systems.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  14. MediaOne

    MediaOne Prolific Poster

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    Tom,

    Very interesting approach. What genus/species are you working with?

    Chaetomorpha?
    Halimeda?
    Caulerpa?

    I am currently running my marine aquarium using a probiotic approach (Zeovit type). This has shown itself to be very powerful indeed. I am impressed at bacteria's ability to export nutrients (when used with a protein skimmer of course)
     
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