Blue Green Algae linked to low/no co2?

Discussion in 'Algae' started by Garuf, 25 Apr 2008.

  1. Garuf

    Garuf Member

    Messages:
    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
    Hello, I'm sure some of you aware I recently set up a 15 gallon tank with a sand foreground, thread can be viewed here. http://ukaps.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=1311&start=70
    So yestreday I ran out of co2, to compensate I had the lights come on late and go off early until I get some more.
    Despite cutting down the light I did nothing else, this evening when I get home from college this greats me.
    [​IMG]
    Worst affected are the mosses, hairgrass and the sand path/foreground, it is taking 2 distinct forms long black slimey tufts and then a green/blue film.
    I fully expected to get BBA and for which I was prepared but what I actually have is a thick layer of BGA which has grown over night seemingly.
    This to me makes no sense since I know BGA is linked to low KNO3 levels.
    Worth considering is that I recently added a curtain which blocked off direct sunlight from hitting the tank, but again why would the bacteria manifest itself after the window is blocked, another thing that to me just doesn't add up.
    What do I do to prevent this and how do I go about rectifying matters once I have co2 again?
     
  2. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Gareth,
    I checked the thread but couldn't find your dosing schedule. Low nitrates and/or flow is the typical culprit as you say but remember that ammonia "microburst" will be a catalyst. A CO2 failure could have caused NH4 ejection to help trigger the BGA if your were already marginal in that direction. That's why poor tank maintenance is often another cause. You can usually get away with fooling around with CO2 for a week or so before BBA will raise it's ugly head so this sort of indicates that it's something you have been doing (or not doing) for more than just a day or two.

    Cheers,
     
  3. Garuf

    Garuf Member

    Messages:
    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
    Sorry Ceg I meant to post dosing, It's roughly double dose Ei, I basically just bung in an amount of everything that looks right and have done, I've no deficiencies so I'm working on the assumption it's working fine.
    I agree there would be something wrong before hand but I'm cleaning the tank while doing a 9gallon water change every weekend and I clean the filter once a week.
    The theory of low flow would be understandable though despite having an eheim 2224 on there I've always found it to be inadequate in the flow department. I do have a spray bar I could trial out if needs be, I've also a PM lily on the way to replace the Cal Aqua one's I'm currently using.
     
  4. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Yeah, if it's attacking the high density plants that could indicate a flow problem. Don't know what your work/school schedule is like but a water change frequency upgrade will help. Elbow grease is called for here, otherwise it's going to have to be blackout city. Are you sure it's BGA only and not hair algae as well?

    Cheers,
     
  5. Garuf

    Garuf Member

    Messages:
    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
    No you're right I've a case of hair/thread algae too, I hadn't noticed until now.
    I don't mind running a black out but that's only going to postpone matters until I get to the root cause, which currently I suspect is flow.
     
  6. Garuf

    Garuf Member

    Messages:
    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
    just to note, the thread/hair only effects the bolbitis and anubias there's also a small amount on the diffuser its self.
     
  7. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    Well, I hate to depress you, but the hair is a strong indication that your CO2 (or it's delivery) was marginal to begin with, even when it was working. :( If you fix the flow you might fix both but you will need to at least think about upping the bubble rate.

    Cheers,
     
  8. Garuf

    Garuf Member

    Messages:
    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
    Now that would make sense, my drop checker was struggling to get green and I put this down to simply being that the bottle was running low, thanks for proving I was correct, regarding the co2, I'll up it significantly to get the desired effect.
    But the algae, will that not just remain?
     
  9. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
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    You will have to remove it, no way around that. The difference is that when the plant becomes healthier and not CO2 limited this will stop the formation of new hair strands. Once algae changes from the spore to the vegetative mode there is nothing you can do but to physically remove it. Excel/Easycarbo will damage it. Water changes will remove NH4 and the spores as well. This might take a few weeks to get the leaf healthy.

    Cheers,
     
  10. Garuf

    Garuf Member

    Messages:
    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
    I'll do the best I can, I'll run a black out to kill the BGA and then concentrate on the hair algae, remove, water change, excel.
    Should have a new co2 bottle tomorrow, what other considerations should I have in getting everything back on track?
     
  11. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
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    That's all I can think of mate. Just from reflex action I have a tendency to lower the light during the battle but since you will do the blackout that's moot. Give us an update after a few days and we can troubleshoot further.

    Cheers,
     
  12. beeky

    beeky Member

    Messages:
    879
    Location:
    Chippenham, Wiltshire
    Just come across this thread and to me the algae doesn't look "slimy" enough for BGA. Does it smell?
     
  13. Garuf

    Garuf Member

    Messages:
    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
    It's undoubtedly Blue-Green, the stuff stinks and its in a form I've seen before. It's only tufted where it grows over hair algae.
     
  14. Garuf

    Garuf Member

    Messages:
    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
    The situation has only gotten worse since upping co2, I've been doing 50% water changes twice a week, keeping my dosing high and running the drop checker as yellow as I can without fish gasping.
    The plants have all taken off but so has the algae despite removal everyday.

    Pictures to come soon.
     
  15. Garuf

    Garuf Member

    Messages:
    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
  16. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
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    Ouch. :mad: Gareth, if you're already dosing high nitrates then the only thing left is flow/distribution. Have you tried mounting the spraybar on the back wall or the right wall? You may have to do another 3 day blackout first. Shut down the CO2 but dose at night while keeping the tank completely covered.

    Cheers mate,
     
  17. Garuf

    Garuf Member

    Messages:
    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
    I did, but It wasn't as good when I have it on the side pane, I'll give it a move and see if it makes any difference.
    I 'll do a 3 day black out and see where that gets me. In the mean time what's caused the hair algae to take of so much after injecting more co2? Surely that should signal a recession of it?
     
  18. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    What is the timing of the gas? You may need to turn it on much earlier. I'm not quite sure what flow rate you have but you may want to add another bar to the one you have to get a better spread. If you have a powerhead you may want to mount it so that it is pointing across that are just to troubleshoot for a while. That will tell you if it is a flow problem or not.

    I recall you said you were dosing double EI but could you repeat exactly how many teaspoons of what?

    Cheers,
     
  19. Garuf

    Garuf Member

    Messages:
    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
    The Co2 comes on an hour before the lights and goes off an hour before them as per current recommendations.

    The filter is an eheim 2224, which gives a theoretical 700lph. The spray bar gives little more than a trickle when in long format across the back of the tank and it also fails to "catch" any of the co2 mist like when on the side walls.

    I'm dosing 1headed teaspoon of kno3 and half a teaspoon of mgso4 every other day.
     
  20. JamesC

    JamesC Member

    Messages:
    1,276
    Location:
    Bexley, Kent
    The hair algae you have looks like rhizoclonium. See my algae guide to see some photo's for ID - http://www.theplantedtank.co.uk/algae.htm. Having both BGA and rhizoclonium suggests a dirty tank or uneaten food. Poor circulation is also another factor. 3-4 day blackouts work very well against BGA and if done correctly are 100% effective.

    James
     

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