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BBA, re-scaping and re-using the filter

seb tries to scape

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2 Jan 2021
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I've got a Juwel Rio 125, which I upgraded to run CO2 and replaced the internal filter with a new Oase Biomaster 600 Thermo last June. My first attempt at running a "high tech tank", it took me a while to get the circulation and flow correct, turns out I was also under injecting CO2 until recently (overly cautious.) The upshot is that I had a BBA outbreak, I didn't get on top of it in the early stages and now I can't shake it off.

As I'm not too attached to the current scape, I plan to re-scape the tank. I'll completely strip it down and start again with new hardscape, plants and soil so BBA will not survive in the tank. I've got a 200 litre container to use as a holding tank for my fish and shrimp so I can take as much time as I need. However, I'll need to move the Biomaster to run the holding tank and then plan to move it back once the new scape is stable.

My question is, will BBA survive in my filter, even if I don't transfer any plants / hardscape from the tank, in to the holding container?

Will I need to replace all my filter sponges and start a new cycle from fresh?
 

ceg4048

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I'll completely strip it down and start again with new hardscape, plants and soil so BBA will not survive in the tank
Sorry, but this is an illusion. BBA rules the world and their spores are ubiquitous. The blooms occur whenever we make mistakes. It's up to you of course, but it's better to learn how to solve the algae problem. Stripping the tank will not teach you anything. Even if the BBA does not return there is a likelihood of some other algal species blooming, such as diatoms, which really love it when you start everything new, especially new sediment.
Every tank has algal spores You are probably breathing in and out algal spores right now. All you have to do is to put your face near the tank and you will have sent spores into the tank.
Algae are not a disease to be cured. They are the owners of the tank and we are merely renting the space. We need to learn how to negotiate with algae so that they do not take over. Yes, occasionally, we need to resort to carpet bombing to get them to leave, but nowadays it's very easy using Excel and other glutaraldehyde products. Simply use 2X or 3X the bottle suggested dosing and wait for the BBA to turn from black to pink. As long as you have in fact solved the problem then they will not bloom because your plants will be healthy. If the BBA return then that means you have not solved the problem.

Cheers,
 

seb tries to scape

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Algae are not a disease to be cured. They are the owners of the tank and we are merely renting the space. We need to learn how to negotiate with algae so that they do not take over

Cheers for your thoughts @ceg4048, this in particular, is a very good way of looking at things!

I do also agree that by stripping the tank, in this case I won't have learnt how to solve the specific issue I'm experiencing. I've previously managed to keep tanks well balanced and avoid BBA outbreaks, but all of my previous setups have been "low tech" with no additional CO2 so this is a new challenge to me.

The problem is, I don't feel I'm learning anything at the moment either. The algae spores seem to be the dominant force in the tank and plant health in general is struggling. With the BBA being there, I can't tell if the problem is my technique, or if it's just the algae inhibiting things. For example, I added a few pots of Hygrophila Polysperma to try and outcompete the algae as it grows like wildfire, but I'm finding it's growing slower than I've experienced in a previous low tech setup, which doesn't stack up.

I do get concerned about the risks to the livestock when dosing liquid CO2 products above the manufacturer's recommendations, but if it is safe to do that, I'll do some more research and give that a go, to see if I can get on top of it before deciding to do a full restart.

Cheers
 

ceg4048

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Cheers for your thoughts @ceg4048, this in particular, is a very good way of looking at things!

I do also agree that by stripping the tank, in this case I won't have learnt how to solve the specific issue I'm experiencing. I've previously managed to keep tanks well balanced and avoid BBA outbreaks, but all of my previous setups have been "low tech" with no additional CO2 so this is a new challenge to me.

The problem is, I don't feel I'm learning anything at the moment either. The algae spores seem to be the dominant force in the tank and plant health in general is struggling. With the BBA being there, I can't tell if the problem is my technique, or if it's just the algae inhibiting things. For example, I added a few pots of Hygrophila Polysperma to try and outcompete the algae as it grows like wildfire, but I'm finding it's growing slower than I've experienced in a previous low tech setup, which doesn't stack up.

I do get concerned about the risks to the livestock when dosing liquid CO2 products above the manufacturer's recommendations, but if it is safe to do that, I'll do some more research and give that a go, to see if I can get on top of it before deciding to do a full restart.

Cheers
Hello,
Well, the reason this is challenging and that you may feel that you are not learning is probably because many of the things you were taught previously were all incorrect. I'm afraid you'll need to learn some new principles and perhaps that will empower you to find the correct solutions.

The first principle you'll need to learn is that plants cannot possibly compete with algae in any capacity, primarily because algae do not care how much nutrients are in the water. This is an important principle that I'm forced to repeat over an over again. Algae can bloom when there are undetectable levels of nutrients in the water. Algae are microscopic entities and therefore require only microscopic levels of nutrients. Plants, on the other hand, require thousands of times more nutrients than algae require, so with this perspective in mind can you see that there is no possible way plants have any hope of competing? There is no competition. Algae are the predators and plants are the prey. When the nutrient levels fail, therefore, the plants suffer malnutrition and are weakened. Weak plants then fall prey to algae who were never in any danger of starving at all.

Can you see now why your strategy failed? The strategy of asking an elephant to compete against a mouse for food will always fail because mice can survive on tidbits while elephants require tons of grass to avoid starvation.

Secondly, this mythical idea of "plants competing with algae" is rooted in an ancient and flawed belief that nutrients cause algae and so the idea is to rid the tank of nutrients so that it will be unavailable to algae. Once you understand and believe that nutrients do not cause algae and that high nutrient nutrient levels are crucial to the survival of plants it will then be easy to discard any notion of the need to have plants out compete algae.
Lack of nutrients causes algae and so in your case, there is or was a lack of CO2. This lack of CO2 weekend the plants sufficiently that they became susceptible to attack by BBA.
H. polysperma is a fast growing plant and fast growth requires fast and plentiful access to CO2. So you put a plant that demands plenty of CO2 in a tank with poor CO2, so that only adds to the trouble. Can you now see why the BBA would spread like wildfire?
I do get concerned about the risks to the livestock when dosing liquid CO2 products above the manufacturer's recommendations
Yet we think nothing of dumping CO2 into the tank on a daily basis, which is a chemical 10X more toxic than liquid CO2 and which can kill fish within a few hours. Everything we do is a managed risk. Glutaraldehyde products also supplement CO2 to the plants, so it's effects are dual.

Cheers,
 

erwin123

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4 Mar 2021
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Regarding your comment about very slow growth of H.Polysperma, ,my H.Polysperma "tiger" in a high-tech high light tank, took several weeks to convert to submersed form during which time nothing seemed to happen.

After a few weeks. instead of growing upwards it started to bend and starting creeping on the substrate, a bit like H.Lancea 'Araguia', though eventually the additional shoots started growing vertically up.

I also recently had a BBA attack but that was consistent with me experimenting with the amount of CO2.... once i stabilised the CO2, the BBA didn't come back. I had to kill the existing BBA with H2O2 (far more effective IMHO than liquid carbon, and some plants are really sensitive to it even though they have no issues with H2O2).

Some slow growing Buces that are getting hit by direct flow of CO2 mist from my Lily pipe still have a bit of BBA, and again, when i check the internet, that seems to be consistent with what some websites say about BBA. I have adjusted my Lily Pipe and hope to see a change. My Qanvee inline diffuser is capable of generating an incredible amount of CO2 mist from 1 bubble per second...
 

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