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Here's My Issue With BBA

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My fight with BBA continues which I am still learning about but there's still a couple of things that are niggling me if anyone can explain.
Firstly I have been learning about how co2 levels and poor distribution have an effect on BBA so have addressed those issues first. I now have stopped being a miser and with my CO2 and concentrate on having a yellow DC from lights on time to lights off and have added a 1600lph Koralia to improve circulation to all dead spots in the tank. My issue is that the BBA increases in the areas nearest to the outflow of the Koralia. Considering that the diffuser is directly under it then I would have assumed this would be the last place the BBA would want to be in the best circulated most co2 rich part?
I have read somewhere that fast moving oxygen rich water oxidises iron which makes it inaccessible to plants but certain algae thrive on it, not sure how true or relevant that is.

Secondly I also dose easy carbo the recommended dosage daily to affected areas, now there are people in here that dose only EC and don't bother with co2 with good results so that begs the question, if I don't actually need co2 but I keep it as target as I can is that better or worse than not adding it at all? Does poor flow poor co2 distribution cause BBA even when EC is added?

I have 70watts of T8 over 155ltrs contemplating lowering the light but as I'm moderately lit to start with not sure if I will benefit. Some of the brighter lit loving species don't fair well to start with. The likes of the hair grass spread towards the lights with plantlets rather than bush out at the base.
 

ceg4048

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Hi,
BBA is mostly a CO2 stability issue so the things you've done will help that. But you still have to kill the BBA that is there because BBA loves CO2 as well. You can do a 2X or 3X overdose the Easycarbo as well as physical removal and within a week or so the BBA should start turning red and weaken.

More CO2 means more growth. Its as simple as that. So the question of better or worse really doesn't apply. The people dosing only EC do not achieve as much growth as those that use gas, but if you are using gas then it should be used correctly, such as the adjustments you've made (timing, injection rate, and so on).

The so-called brighter light loving species are really higher CO2 loving species as you cannot successfully have the first without supplying the second. This is another misconception. When one of these plants suffer, it normally not because you don't have enough light. It's because you don't have enough CO2 for the level of lighting that you are providing. The plants do fine in lower light, but they don't grow nearly as quickly as when high CO2/light is provided.

Straggly growth and spreading upwards has nothing to do with the light. This is yet another optical illusion that we have been under for years. Plants grown in air have a specific physiology which includes a distribution network of tubing. This tubing network allows for gas exchange and gas transportation throughout the plant. So for example gaseous Oxygen needs to be transported to the roots from the upper region of the plant. CO2 needs to move from the underside of the leaf to the reaction chambers on the upper side. There is another important gas called ethylene (C2H4) that is present inside the tissues in very small concentration. As it turns out, this gas is actually a hormone and it's used to regulate plant growth and also to regulate cell death.

There are lots of environmental conditions under which the plant needs to change it's growth rate. This normally happens under environmental stress. When the plant is under these stress the concentration of ethylene rises and various mechanisms respond to the concentration rise. One of the most extreme environmental stresses a plant can face is that of being flooded. Flooding the plant traps gasses, prevents their movement and causes buildup. In general, gasses are about 10,000X less soluble in water than in air. That's why CO2 uptake is such an acute problem for aquatic plants. When the plant is flooded ethylene is trapped and it's concentration build. The reaction of the plant is to immediately grow upwards to reach the surface where there is air and where access to atmospheric gasses are in greater abundance. In effect, the plant is building a snorkel by having straggly growth.

There are a couple of ways that we fight the straggly growth. One way is to simply cut the growth. The new leaves that grow are submerged leaves and they are better adapted to a flooded environment, so they tend to grow less straggly. The penalty though is that cut leaves do not produce food, so recovery is slow. Another way is to have better flow. More flow across the leaf means better diffusion of gasses so ethylene can be removed more quickly and CO2 and O2 also have better movement.

Carpet plants such as HC, grasses, P. helferi, Glosso and so forth are real victims of this optical illusion. "I need more light" is a famous battle cry when most see upwards growth. This is exactly the wrong thing to do. Better that you have more flow, more CO2 which then produces more O2. This improves the gas exchange, lowers the ethylene concentration buildup and relaxes the plant to grow more horizontal instead of desperately grasping for air.

People are so hypnotized by light it's incredible. Every problem that occurs must be because they need more light...

Cheers,
 

AverageWhiteBloke

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Thank you yet again you have jumped in and blew apart more of my misconceptions :D I would do well on QI if that gets over your way.
So although I have probably improved the situation for my plants the resident algae quite like it as well, makes sense. I'm doing a manual removal and large WC this Saturday so I'll scale up my dosing to 2x or 3x then I just need to check how sensitive my Amano shrimp are to this sort of dosing. So I guess that the standard dose of EC will only create a better environment for plants by making up shortfalls in co2 with a mild algaecide that's not enough to kill it off just making it more uncomfortable.

I did think that the hair grass was stretching for light now it turns out its was stretching for gas, another misconception well and truly blew out the water surely there can't be any left? I'm sure I'll come out with a few more before I get this tank looking good :D

Re-think time, I was aiming for making the plants so happy that the algae gave up and went away which obviously isn't going to happen, in fact making where the algae was thriving even worse by pointing co2 rich well circulated water towards it :eek:
New plan get the BBA out first then re-apply all these principles to prevent it wanting to come back again.

Thank you again m8
 

ceg4048

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Yeah, be careful with your inverts. Some people report that extreme Excel dosing has a negative effect on them. If they could be re-housed that might be the best. BBA is tenacious and once triggered hangs on with vice grips. In a way it's sort of like the story of Pandora's Box. Frequent water changes and scrubbing will help. I'm assuming that it's all on the hardscape right? During a water change, take out as much water as needed to expose the surface (or remove the object from the tank if possible) and blast it with full strength Excel while scrubbing.

Cheers,
 

AverageWhiteBloke

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Actually surprisingly my hard scape items are OK, they were covered badly to start with but some direct dosing cleaned them up and touch wood never came back. The shrimp seem to keep on top of it on hard scape before it can get a good hold.
My main affected area are some crypts around the front and some small ground level spreading plants that I'm unsure of all towards the front though as well as the gravel. I do get it slightly on the edges of some Amazons but they get a good clip out weekly to help with circulation so between trimming times I'm usually dealing with some fairly new leaves the BBA hasn't had time to get a hold of yet.

That's what prompted my now answered question has I had pointed the Koralia spitting out co2 from a diffuser into these areas and the problem was getting worse I now know why :) I also dose my EC into the flow so the BBA Was getting attacked on two fronts.

The BBA seems to start at the base of plants and spread upwards with the new leaves so new growth is doomed. I have considered also biting the bullet and removing all affected plants from these areas but worry that removing this many in one go could cause a major imbalance compounding the problem further.

I'll check out invert section of the board and see what other peoples experiences were with dosing and inverts see what the warning signs are. I don't think I could get hold of them to get them out the tank.
 

ghostsword

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By Ceg4048
Carpet plants such as HC, grasses, P. helferi, Glosso and so forth are real victims of this optical illusion. "I need more light" is a famous battle cry when most see upwards growth. This is exactly the wrong thing to do. Better that you have more flow, more CO2 which then produces more O2. This improves the gas exchange, lowers the ethylene concentration buildup and relaxes the plant to grow more horizontal instead of desperately grasping for air.

Thanks for providing the explanation above. I should print out of your replies to posts and compile a guide to deal with algae, flow, CO2 and gas transfer.

I got bba on my tank, and although I have halved the light output, increased the CO2, I am still struggling to keep it stable, and the plants seem to take a while to adapt.

Thanks for the help.
 

andyh

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Top knotch question and answer!

Really useful, i actually learnt something! :geek:
 

geoffbark

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Chester, Cheshire
True SAE's are good for BBA, i got a mild case of it when i started my tank 2years ago. The SAE's cleared the lot in two weeks. And they are great fish to watch. Just ensure that they are SAE's and not flying fox :)
 
A

Anonymous

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As ceg stated BBA is a matter of CO2 stability but it doesn't regard only folks who use pressurized CO2, it can also occur in non-CO2 tanks. Under hard water BBA uses biogenic decalcification to build his calcium skeleton and that's why they ar so hard to scrape off or eaten by SAE so dosing more CO2 could prevent this. I also recommend to dose more N/P to get your plants healthy so the BBA can't attach on them. EC could help a lot but you need good CO2 levels (I explained above why).

----------------

Biogenic decalcification
When there is a carbon dioxide deficiencey in the water, plants can derive CO2 from the hardening constituents of the carbonate hardness. First they split the hydrogen carbonates into CO2 and carbonates. This causes the pH to rise about one step and the largely insoluable carbonates precipitate and form rough deposits on the leaves and substrate. Some plants such as Vallisneria can even destroy the carbonates and obtain CO2 from them. This raises the pH again by another step. Biogenic decalcification thus causes the water to be 10 to 100 times more alkaline than it was previous. In the dark, the process reverses and the pH drops considerably. Thus these continous large pH swings can pose a significant risk to the well being of fish and animals. The solution is to add enough CO2 to the water and have a significant carbonate level to act as a buffer.

http://www.aquabotanic.com/glossary.htm
 

AverageWhiteBloke

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Thanks I am working hard on co2 and its distribution at the moment as well as 2xdosing EC with some good results.
I don't have a solenoid for the co2 so I'm trying to be as consistent with it manually. Having 2bps when I leave for work in the morning then turning it up a little when I get home from work seems to keep me in target with two DC's I have strategically placed in potential poor flow areas of the tank.

Another question I have though is does co2 fluctuations affect the tank through the lights off period? Reason I ask is because I knock my co2 off through the night but as my trickle filter is quite effective at de-gassing co2 my DC's are dark green in the morning.
This is probably opposite to what happens in most peoples tank, having a touch too much co2 in the morning and just enough just before lights off. My co2 levels actually increase as the day goes on. Does anyone think I should keep it running a touch through the night?
 

ceg4048

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No, CO2 is completely irrelevant during non-photoperiod times. The balance of gas exchange is actually reversed in the dark because Oxygen production is zero, but all cells still use Oxygen and produce CO2.

The mechanism of CO2 failure has to do with the chain of Reduction-Oxidation (Redox) reactions of photosynthesis. The energy of the light triggers the initial oxidation (electron ejection) of the chlorophyll. There is then a steady stream of electrons along this path and CO2 is used at the end of the chain. Inadequate CO2 causes the electron flow to "back up" which results in electrons being scattered and attracted to whatever molecules or ions that happen to be nearby. This creates some very damaging molecules called "Radicals", some of the most toxic Radicals are actually ionized Oxygen molecules called "SuperOxides". A famous Superoxide is H202, otherwise known as Hydrogen Peroxide and it is extremely toxic because it damages cell walls by pummelling them with the very same electrons it just gained.

This is THE reason CO2 failures cause such havoc, because the plant is unable to produce enough "Anti-Oxidants" to neutralize these free radicals. This is why you see holes in plants, disintegration and meltdown/mushiness when there is insufficient CO2. The plant is being poisoned from within by free radical formation caused by the over-abundance and loss of control of electrons. This is also why turning down the light helps. Less light causes less electron production.

When CO2 levels fluctuate you can see that the free radical formation is cyclic, so first there is an electron "back-up" then the back-up is relieved then it occurs again in a cycle. BBA spores possibly can detect the fluctuations and they possibly can sense the damage to plants if the internal free radical damage causes intermittent cell rupture and ejection of plant material into the water column.

None of this can happen in the dark because there is no electron flow.

Cheers,
 
A

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I think you have a magic hat where you keep all the good stuff ceg :D :thumbup:
 

ghostsword

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ceg4048 said:
BBA spores possibly can detect the fluctuations and they possibly can sense the damage to plants if the internal free radical damage causes intermittent cell rupture and ejection of plant material into the water column.

This would be quite amazing if it could be proven. A algae so advanced that would sense weakness on plants. It is a major leap forward to think about plants and algae as living organisms that sense failure on others. However it makes sense, as when a plant is struggling it will release into the water column proteins and amino acids. But how to prove it? Or has it been studied already?
 

AverageWhiteBloke

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CO2 staying off at night then cheers again Clive.
 

ceg4048

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ghostsword said:
ceg4048 said:
BBA spores possibly can detect the fluctuations and they possibly can sense the damage to plants if the internal free radical damage causes intermittent cell rupture and ejection of plant material into the water column.

This would be quite amazing if it could be proven. A algae so advanced that would sense weakness on plants. It is a major leap forward to think about plants and algae as living organisms that sense failure on others. However it makes sense, as when a plant is struggling it will release into the water column proteins and amino acids. But how to prove it? Or has it been studied already?
Actually, algae are not advanced. They are primordial, but their initial design was so successful that there was little need for dramatic change, only for basic adaptation. The sensing mechanisms don't really need to be sophisticated. Simple summing mechanisms or "difference engines" can tell them all they need to know about the environment. Algae are adapted to dynamic environments. Higher plants are billions of years more advanced but they are so complicated by comparison that their adaptations effectively are related to very stable environments. This is why it's very easy to trigger algal blooms in our tanks, because we are not very good at keeping things stable. In addition, our water volumes are extremely small, so things change rapidly in such small volumes. All the circumstances in our tanks are stacked in favour of algae, not plants. Algal spores sit right on top of plants living within a thin film of ooze that covers every submerged surface, waiting for the chemical signals of negative circumstances. This is called the biofilm, and in some ecosystems, algae comprise a majority of the biomass in that system just within the film. It's very easy for them to determine the health status of plants and to combine that data with environmental data such as PAR/CO2.

Cheers,
 

arty

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AverageWhiteBloke said:
Thanks I am working hard on co2 and its distribution at the moment as well as 2xdosing EC with some good results.
I don't have a solenoid for the co2 so I'm trying to be as consistent with it manually. Having 2bps when I leave for work in the morning then turning it up a little when I get home from work seems to keep me in target with two DC's I have strategically placed in potential poor flow areas of the tank.

Another question I have though is does co2 fluctuations affect the tank through the lights off period? Reason I ask is because I knock my co2 off through the night but as my trickle filter is quite effective at de-gassing co2 my DC's are dark green in the morning.
This is probably opposite to what happens in most peoples tank, having a touch too much co2 in the morning and just enough just before lights off. My co2 levels actually increase as the day goes on. Does anyone think I should keep it running a touch through the night?


I'm not sure about night co2. I had last time 24/7 co2 around 30ppm and some fishes distressed. Now will try go back on night off but only will switch on 3-4 hours before lights on(1-2hr not enough for good level when lights on) or simply if i'l setup 1-2hr before then i need increase co2 in result less efficient disolving and after some daylight time co2 levels can increase out of safety barier, also depend on light-plant uptake, i think if light is over 1.5wpg then can 1-2hr before and increase co2. But all depend from many factors, also size of tank,light, flow, surface movement, ...
I think best middle way need find every one induvidualy. Ph meter and proper dropchecker + br. blue and kh4 solutution good thing on proper setup. With ph meter can control swings but dropchecker as sucifient co2 indicator. Without ph meter is hard to test swing because dropchecker can show with same color even ph 6.9 or 6.8, but difference in co2 in half or simply standard eye with bussy daily routine don't recognize if there is color-tonality small change, personaly tested on my tank

Best Regards,
 

AverageWhiteBloke

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I know that test kits are often the bone of contention in here but I bought the full Hagen set :eek: bit of an impulse buy really :D I was only going to get a KH/GH test which I use for testing for buffer on my DE-IO water and making 4dkh mixes. It was on offer for £30 and came with tests for NO3,NO4,Ammonia,PO4,calcium,GH, KH,Chelated iron and PH high and low. Considering the GH/KH test was £10 alone it was worth getting, I also realised that the PH low was Bromo-blue which was a bonus as I was due some shortly. Unfortunately the PH high range was a mixture of indicators so not sure if that would be any use in a drop checker. Anybody got a marine tank I can do you the Calcium, high PH and Ammonia tests cheap unopened. ;) :D

Anyway tested my water and was surprised at the results, I'm not taking these results as gospel or trying to work out if I have 25 or 30ml of nitrate just really looking for extremes and that's what I found :eek: My Nitrates,PO4 and chelated iron were through the roof. In fact the colour was so dark it didn't even fit on the coloured scale.

I did a 10 gall in a 35 gall water change with my tapwater which got things down a bit at least onto the scale, checking my tap water that also has 0 nitrate and 2mgl of PO4 in so the po4 still up there at about 5mgl in the tank. I've stopped using my NPK mix and just been adding the NK and mag dry.

My di-io resin should be here this week so I'll do another big water change to reset things in the tank, I know these tests are not the best but I think with the tank being well stocked, the co2 not being up to scratch previously and me over estimating the amount of ferts to add (to be on the safe side) may have caused a massive build up and maybe explain the recent demise of my female Blue Ram.

I guess that tests do have some place in the hobby, often when using our plants as indicators of how well things are going we forget that there's fish in there as well.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
I know that test kits are often the bone of contention in here
I'd just buy a conductivity meter, that way you can test the tap water going into the tank, and the conductivity of the tank water before and after your water changes. If you do a 100% water change, and add your EI ferts. you have a datum value to measure any changes against.

If the conductivity is creeping up over time, despite your "EI" water change, you need to change more water.

cheers Darrel
 

chris1004

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ceg4048 said:
Oh-oh, this is my stop. This is where I get off... :wave:

Cheers,

Hi,

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:



Averagewhitebloke,

Nutrients don't cause algae!! Reducing them however will.

Home test kits especially nitrate ones are totally unreliable, best put into the bin.

Regards, Chris.
 
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