BGA in planted aquarium

Discussion in 'Algae' started by jaycat, 2 Aug 2008.

  1. jaycat

    jaycat Member

    Messages:
    74
    Hi guys,

    I have a 75l 30" aquarium with amazon swords, 6 mini amazons, hair grass, ludwigia, wendtti, java fern, tall hydro plants. I'd say about 50% of my substrate is now covered. Beginning to have slight problem with BGA on the leaves of Wendti and Ludwigia.

    Lights are one 18w daylite with reflector on for 12 hours. I add 1ml of TNT+ every other day. Prune every other week, water change every 2 weeks. No co2 as only have ladder system, and not convinced it's necessary.

    Substrate sand with tetra soil under.

    Stats:

    gh more than 16 eg. off my scale!
    kh 15
    ph 7.6
    amonia 0
    nitrite 0
    nitrate 20

    21 small fish at moment in there. Tetras, corys and Ottos.

    Internal filter with flow pointing out into tank and an airstone.

    Going to do water change tomorrow and prune, should I then do 3 day blackout?

    Ideas appreciated.

    Thanks guys
     
  2. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    Is the internal all the filtration the tank has? Give the tank and filter a really good clean first syphoning out all the debris, give the substrate a good hoover (syphoning off any debris) and basically get all the organic waste out of the tank you can. I think you may find that the filter isn't quite up to the job. 12 hours is quite a long photoperiod too. 8 - 10 hours would be plenty.

    When you say you have a ladder system do you mean you are injecting CO2 but Yeast generated rather than pressurised?
     
  3. jaycat

    jaycat Member

    Messages:
    74
    Hi,

    yes internal is the only filtration I have. alough I do have an extra airstone in there.

    OK i will clean the filter and everything well and cut the hours of light down, at the moment I have no co2 running. The only CO2 I have is the ladder with the DIY canister. Do you think I should run CO2?

    Thanks for your help, also would you leave the blackout for a while then? The BGA has only gradually built up. I could add another filter, say a fluval 1, would that help? Do I place it at the other end of the aquarium?
     
  4. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    The bubbles that are coming out of your DIY cannister are CO2. The yeast consumes the sugar and respires anaerobically and produces CO2 and ethanol. The CO2 goes out through the top and bubbles onto the ladder. You can tell when it's working well as the bubbles will shrink as they rise up the ladder. This means the CO2 is dissolving/diffusing into the water. The problem with DIY CO2 is that it's hard to control the levels or run it at high levels without killing the fish as the rate changes over time and with the temperature.

    You need to aim to filter a planted tank about 10x an hour. That means getting a filter rated way over the manufacturers recommendations. In your 75l tank you're looking for a filter that is rated at 7,500lph. Internals aren't great either because most only have the foam media and usually not a lot of that. This then hampers the area for bacteria to colonise and doesn't allow you to have more effective media such as sintered glass media. These support huge colonies of different bacteria as they provide a range of niches for different types as well as a huge surface area. Basically can you change you filter for a decent external?
     
  5. jaycat

    jaycat Member

    Messages:
    74
    Thanks Ed,

    just talking to my partner about changing over, if we partition off the end where the internal is, get an external up and running having cycled it with old media from tank. Keep fish down partitioned end, she should then be able to remove internal without removing too much water. Do you think? Not changed from gravel to sand that long ago, so would rather not empty tank completely again. And she has already removed an internal from a larger tank.

    Just out of curiosity how often do you do water change? There seems to be so many conflicting ideas. I have been leaving it 2-3 wks as I did not want to keep messing with the CO2 levels which I thought I'd finally understood! ie cleaning = flutuating CO2. So without my canister CO2 which I believe also flutuates CO2, I thought less cleaning would be best.


    Tank does look much better apart from some stubborn BGA on plant leaves, mainly those closet to filter outlet, and bogwood, but bogwood looks ok.

    Thanks for your time in answering my questions, I will get an external in the next couple of weeks up and running. If you could briefly answer my query I'd be most gratful. Just looking, would fluval 205 be ok?

    Jackie
     
  6. Matt Holbrook-Bull

    Matt Holbrook-Bull Founder

    Messages:
    963
    Location:
    Dorset, UK
    Jaycat, I think youd really benefit from reading the Estimative Index thread in the articles page. :) Itll explain all about co2, dosing and water changes in there. This will go a huge way towards solving your BGA issues..

    I think that filtration should be lower on your list of priorities in solving the problem, you have far more important points to sort out first.
     
  7. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    All you need to do when switching to an external is to set it up in the tank and run it alongside the internal for a few weeks then remove the internal once the new filter has matured.

    You do also need to address the other issues in the tank such as very low lighting levels and stable CO2. You may also need to up your ferts as 1ml of TPN+ seems rather light dosing even to me! However IME BGA is often linked to high levels of organic wastes and a cleaner, better filtered tank will sort these out.

    I change about 50% every week (though this has lapsed to every couple of weeks as my tanks have got older).

    You need to get your lighting to about 2 watts per gallon and really look at investing in pressurised CO2 (it's worth it's weight in gold in getting good plant growth and thereby reducing algae).

    Just one last thing. Are you sure it's BGA (Blue-green 'algae' - a slimey, smelly mat of cyanobacteria)? OR do you have BBA (Black Brush Algae - a dark 'fluffy' algae that looks like tufts often on the margins of leaves)? It often grows in good flow from filter outlets and is a sign of not enough/stable CO2 generally.
     
  8. jaycat

    jaycat Member

    Messages:
    74
    Thanks Matt, brain hurts now!! (woman you understand, very chemical!)

    I'm going to have a try at cleaning the filter housing out completely, removing the BGA off leaves, which are the ones mainly by the filter outlet, which leads me to think flow is not that good. Then up the dose of TPT+ as advised. If I add my internal fluval 1 to the other end of the tank, would that push the water around more? (without media) Or how else do I get better flow rate?

    I will go back to see if your articles explain this also. My tank is nowhere near as heavily planted as those though, so I would def call it a low maintenece one. Still find the whole CO2 subject confusing though, sorry! (for a lesser planted tank I mean)
     
  9. jaycat

    jaycat Member

    Messages:
    74
    def BGA, slimey covering on leaves. Mainly on ludwidgia and wendtii nearest to filter though. Not sure if smelly, i'll check that out when I clean! J
     
  10. jaycat

    jaycat Member

    Messages:
    74
    Hi,

    OK, I've cleaned the tank and the filter removing as much as BGA as I could, taking it off all the leaves and hoovering with airline to remove as much as posible. Some has been left on substrate, (just the odd bits) really not that much. Done 50% water change, and started regine of adding more ferts. Also found a power head 4.5w and so added that to the other end of the tank, I can see the difference in water circulation already.

    Can add a fluval 1 at a later date if necessary. Here's hoping it's a cirulation and dosing problem. If it comes back i will review the CO2 status. Looking at my amount of plants, I think I have more like 30%-35% of substrate covered as I have a large piece of bogwood running accross the middle of the tank.

    Thanks for looking, J
     
  11. Brenmuk

    Brenmuk Member

    Messages:
    198
    Location:
    Peterborough
    I notice in your tank set up that you have an air stone - is that for decoration or for extra aeration of the water? If I were you I would get rid of this as the extra turbulance it creates drives off CO2 from the water and probably negates the effect of additional CO2 from your DIY yeast reactor. Also to to make the most of the C02 that is in the water ensure that your filter outlet does not cause excessive ripples on the water surface - I have my filter outlet poiting slightly downwards and have a calm surface. If the plants are growing well they will provide plenty of O2 for the fish even with additional CO2.
     

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