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A bit of help please guys with BBA, C02 and ferts

Keetchy

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8 Nov 2019
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So my tank was doing really well until I decided to add a second light to get more coverage over the whole tank. Since then I've had an outbreak of what I think is BBA (black hair on plants and rocks). The plants that had BBA was Buces, ferns and MC. When I added the extra light, I increased the C02 but forgot to increase the ferts. Which I'm hoping is the reason for all of this.

Here is a pic of the MC which I think has BBA on it
20220121_184555.jpg

20220121_184618.jpg


The Tenellum has had brown leaves and see-through leaves so I'm guessing they're dieing leaves.

Also the 53B is starting to get red on some of the leaves
20220121_190024.jpg

20220121_190034.jpg


Here are a few pics of the other plants if anyone can see any other deficiencies
20220121_191926.jpg

20220121_191934.jpg

20220121_191950.jpg


So I have just finished a big WC and have scrubbed all rocks and cut out all leaves with BBA, or as much as I could anyway
20220121_184034.jpg


I still have both lights fitted but have elevated them above the tank by about 6 inches
20220121_200017.jpg


Now the help I need from you guys is.....
1 - What has caused the BBA? Is it because I increased light intensity and C02 but not the ferts? Or have I got another issue in the tank?

2 - At the moment I have C02 switched off until I know what I'm doing. With the 2 lights now in their higher positions, shall I now start introducing C02 slowly until I have a lime green colour on DC and then start ferting? Or start ferting at the same time I start C02 back up?

Thanks guys, I really wanna save the tank and not throw in the towel
 

Keetchy

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Am I right in thinking I can start adding C02 and ferts again but just act as if I've just started the tank up again. So do daily WCs while the plants adjust to the new intensity of light, C02 and ferts
 

Oldguy

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So my tank was doing really well until I decided to add a second light to get more coverage over the whole tank.
From what you have said it could well be that the extra light is the problem. Put the CO2 back on. BBA is in most cases a result of unbalanced light to C02/circulation. Unfortunately getting rid of BBA is an other matter.
Raising your lights is a good start.
A generous helping of ferts can do no harm and hopefully your plants will out grow the problem, especially with careful removal of dead/dying/BBA coated plant material.

All best wishes for your tanks return to health and glory.
 

Keetchy

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From what you have said it could well be that the extra light is the problem. Put the CO2 back on. BBA is in most cases a result of unbalanced light to C02/circulation. Unfortunately getting rid of BBA is an other matter.
Raising your lights is a good start.
A generous helping of ferts can do no harm and hopefully your plants will out grow the problem, especially with careful removal of dead/dying/BBA coated plant material.

All best wishes for your tanks return to health and glory.
Thanks bud. So C02 is on and is giving a lime green colour on the DC from lights on to lights off and I am ferting again. Also doing daily to every other day WCs. Scrubbing the rocks regularly and removing any leaves I see with BBA on them. Fingers crossed
 

GHNelson

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Looks like filamentous algae.
Be careful you don't gas the fish!
Use some of that B53 as a floating plant.
hoggie
 

Keetchy

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Looks like filamentous algae.
Be careful you don't gas the fish!
Use some of that B53 as a floating plant.
hoggie
Yeah I'm keeping a close eye on the fish. The DC has been a lime green for couple of days now from lights on to lights off so I think I got that OK now, so no need to adjust it anymore.

I could buy a bunch of floating plants if you think that will help
 

arcturus

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DE
Now the help I need from you guys is.....
1 - What has caused the BBA?
It does not look like BBA but green thread/filamentous algae.
Is it because I increased light intensity and C02 but not the ferts? Or have I got another issue in the tank?
This is a common problem. More light intensity will promote plant (and algae) photosynthesis. So, the plants will need more CO2 and the essential nutrients to grow. If these are lacking then the plants will start struggling, which can trigger algae.

2 - At the moment I have C02 switched off until I know what I'm doing. With the 2 lights now in their higher positions, shall I now start introducing C02 slowly until I have a lime green colour on DC and then start ferting? Or start ferting at the same time I start C02 back up?
  • To do at once
    • Reduce light intensity and overall light period to say 4-5 hours.
    • Add floating plants. These will help controlling the algae and also helping blocking the extra light. Floating plants consume a lot of nutrients since they are not limited by dissolved CO2 levels in the water, so adjust fertilizers accordingly.
    • Resume CO2 to the levels you had before. Do not increase CO2 levels.
    • Adjust/increase the fertilizers (macro + micro).
    • Increase water changes, clean the algae, remove affected leaves.
  • Wait...
  • After the algae are under control, then slowly increase the photoperiod and slowly ramp up the lights. You will eventually reach a point where plants will start showing deficiencies again. Then you need to decide if you want to adjust the lights or increase fertilization levels... it depends on your goals.
 

Keetchy

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It does not look like BBA but green thread/filamentous algae.

This is a common problem. More light intensity will promote plant (and algae) photosynthesis. So, the plants will need more CO2 and the essential nutrients to grow. If these are lacking then the plants will start struggling, which can trigger algae.


  • To do at once
    • Reduce light intensity and overall light period to say 4-5 hours.
    • Add floating plants. These will help controlling the algae and also helping blocking the extra light. Floating plants consume a lot of nutrients since they are not limited by dissolved CO2 levels in the water, so adjust fertilizers accordingly.
    • Resume CO2 to the levels you had before. Do not increase CO2 levels.
    • Adjust/increase the fertilizers (macro + micro).
    • Increase water changes, clean the algae, remove affected leaves.
  • Wait...
  • After the algae are under control, then slowly increase the photoperiod and slowly ramp up the lights. You will eventually reach a point where plants will start showing deficiencies again. Then you need to decide if you want to adjust the lights or increase fertilization levels... it depends on your goals.
OK great. Thanks man. I can't adjust the intensity of the lights but I have reduced hours from 6 hours to 5. Since the issue I've got C02 back on to where it was which is giving me a lime green on the DC from lights on to lights off. I am still ferting the same I was before the issue but am now starting to see deficiencies in the Anubias and Palustris. So I'm guessing I will need to increase the ferts at some point, but probably not until the algae is under control right? I am doing daily, if not daily then every other day 50% WCs with cutting algae leaves off and scrubbing the wood and rocks.
 

arcturus

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You need to adjust the the ferts to start controlling the algae. Plants and algae use the same energy sources and nutrients, but algae are more efficient. So, plants will only have the upper edge if they are healthy.

Look at some tips on how to address this <here> and <here>. However, it seems that the majority of your plants is ok. So, just adjust the ferts, reduce lights, remove the algae and affected leaves. If the problem persists you can do a blackout.
 

Keetchy

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You need to adjust the the ferts to start controlling the algae. Plants and algae use the same energy sources and nutrients, but algae are more efficient. So, plants will only have the upper edge if they are healthy.

Look at some tips on how to address this <here> and <here>. However, it seems that the majority of your plants is ok. So, just adjust the ferts, reduce lights, remove the algae and affected leaves. If the problem persists you can do a blackout.
OK bud. So am I right in thinking I should reduce ferts so it kind of starves the algae, then once algae is under control, start slowly increasing ferts again so the plants have no more deficiencies. The light I have reduced from 6 hours to 5 hours. So I can reduce that by another hour if I need to.
So I see why you suggest adding floating plants so they can help absorb the nutrients away from the algae.
Im seeing 90% staghorn in those pics
All of the algae in the tank is the algae that is in those pics. So I got no BBA then? And Staghorn is worst than BBA right?
 

arcturus

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OK bud. So am I right in thinking I should reduce ferts so it kind of starves the algae, then once algae is under control, start slowly increasing ferts again so the plants have no more deficiencies. The light I have reduced from 6 hours to 5 hours. So I can reduce that by another hour if I need to.
So I see why you suggest adding floating plants so they can help absorb the nutrients away from the algae.
You will starve the plants and the algae. And the algae will win that game because they are much more efficient than plants

All of the algae in the tank is the algae that is in those pics. So I got no BBA then? And Staghorn is worst than BBA right?
Just take a bit of algae and place it in alcohol. If it is staghorn it will become reddish (staghorn is a red algae). Staghorn is also harder to remove manually than filamentous algae and has a particular branched growth.

1643061837183.png
 

Keetchy

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You will starve the plants and the algae. And the algae will win that game because they are much more efficient than plants


Just take a bit of algae and place it in alcohol. If it is staghorn it will become reddish (staghorn is a red algae). Staghorn is also harder to remove manually than filamentous algae and has a particular branched growth.

View attachment 180718
OK. I won't reduce the amount of ferts then. But then surely increasing ferts will then feed the algae more. So maybe keep it as it is but just add floating plants and keep doing what I'm doing, WC every other day and cut out any leaves with algae on and scrub hardscape.

So the algae in the tank definitely isn't green and it is a lot more like hair compared to that pic you've just added. None of it has "branches" coming off. Just looks like tiny furr balls. And it comes off of the hardscape fairly easy with a brush. Then before it gets siphoned up, it just looks like a ball of fluff floating in the water.
 

arcturus

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Just tested water after reading those links you sent me, and ammonia and nitrite are 0 and nitrate is present but very low
Low nitrates are not surprising since you increased the light input. Nitrate and/or CO2 deficiency are common triggers for algae. Just make sure the plants are getting sufficient NPK macros and micros. Overdosing ferts will not cause algae.
 

Keetchy

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Low nitrates are not surprising since you increased the light input. Nitrate and/or CO2 deficiency are common triggers for algae. Just make sure the plants are getting sufficient NPK macros and micros. Overdosing ferts will not cause algae.
OK thanks again. I'm dosing TNC complete so don't have individual micros and macros like in Ei dosing. I am dosing 4.5ml per day for 6 days a week so far, I can try increasing that to maybe 5ml per day and see what happens
 

erwin123

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In UKAPS I learnt that the 3 key factors are
(1) stable CO2
(2) flow is king. don't neglect flow at the substrate level
(3) keep the tank clean

In UKAPS I also learnt that we shouldn't trust retail nitrate tests but should focus on what we add into the water, and what is already in the water (water supply report). On the other hand, I occasionally use NO3 tests to tell me that there is nothing unusual happening (i.e. the test result is the same yellow/orange colour as previous weeks, as opposed to suddenly turning an angry red - just in case my root tabs are leaking into the water column).

For your tank, what caught my eye was the position of your filter outlet which seems to be pushing water along the 'short-side' of your tank from back to front, whereas the 'usual' way of setting up lily pipes is shown in the above video from George Farmer- i.e. outflow is at the front, pushing water along the 'long side' of the tank. Also noteworthy from the video is the amount of surface agitation.
 

Keetchy

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In UKAPS I learnt that the 3 key factors are
(1) stable CO2
(2) flow is king. don't neglect flow at the substrate level
(3) keep the tank clean

In UKAPS I also learnt that we shouldn't trust retail nitrate tests but should focus on what we add into the water, and what is already in the water (water supply report). On the other hand, I occasionally use NO3 tests to tell me that there is nothing unusual happening (i.e. the test result is the same yellow/orange colour as previous weeks, as opposed to suddenly turning an angry red - just in case my root tabs are leaking into the water column).

For your tank, what caught my eye was the position of your filter outlet which seems to be pushing water along the 'short-side' of your tank from back to front, whereas the 'usual' way of setting up lily pipes is shown in the above video from George Farmer- i.e. outflow is at the front, pushing water along the 'long side' of the tank. Also noteworthy from the video is the amount of surface agitation.

Thanks bud. OK I can look into getting a skimmer lily pipe glassware set. I suppose this way I can take my Eheim surface skimmer out of the tank. I will move the inlet and outlet pipes to the side walls of the tank too. I do notice all AG tanks have the outlet and inlet next to each other and flowing the water across the front panel of the tank from side to side. So I can try this at some point.
So how do I get water movement across the whole base of the tank at substrate level? Without affecting the plants? Surely a powerhead at substrate level will affect the growth of the plants, as it they will all be pushed at an angle instead of growing straight up. Or have I pictured this wrong?
 
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