Overall tank setup - BBA! :(

Lee_k

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1 Nov 2020
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Hi all,

First post and asking for help already! :)

I'm getting BBA on my plant leaves! I've been cutting it out by trimming the vallis and cutting off leaves of any plants that get it but it returns. Not alot like you see the pictures online but a thin black line of it around the edge of the leaf and I worry if I don't cut it out it'll get worse especially given as it always seems to come back. Then with the swords I'm cutting the leaves at the base but i'm not sure they'll ever really grow back!

Any ideas of tips on what the cause might be and more importantly - how I can get rid of it. At this point I'm thinking the only way is to add a siamese algae eater but I'm not really a fan of trying to add fish to do a job as it seems inconsistent in its results!

The setup:

Ciano Pro Emotion 120 tank
Fluval Aquasky 2.0 light (33w)
Betta Choice 1620 UV external filter
Hydor 300w inline heater
Colombo Profi CO2 System

Sand only substrate
8 squirts of Colombo Flora Grow Fertilizer per day
4 squirts of Colombo liquid carbon per day (started using this about a week or 2 ago in a fight against the BBA)

Last tested all parameters on 21st Sept (can retest if needed as I have turned the co2 up a little since)

Temp - 28c (Stendker discus)

PH 6.6
KH - 4
GH - 14

Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 12mg/l
Phosphate 2mg/l

co2 - 20mg/l

Maintenance - Currently 1 water change per week (around 30-40%)

Photos attached:

One bad leaf - normally not quite that bad normally more "black" and not as big but due to trimming it out yesterday and doing the water change etc I had to find a old pic on phone
Overall tank (ignore the background! thats what happens when you decide to swap it from the white to black background but cant get behind the tank.... :( )
Light settings



Tetra o2 test - 5 mg/l

Light comes on around 12 and goes off around 8 - does do a couple of hours of blue only but I've read today that this also can promote some algae so i've this morning changed the light to the attached settings.

If I need to retest any of the above or anything else needed to help let me know - happy to try pretty much anything at this point!

Lee
 

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dw1305

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Hi all,
Welcome.
Betta Choice 1620 UV external filter
What filter media do you have in your filter? and how do you feel about snails? I'm not a CO2 user, so I'll leave some-one else to answer that bit.

cheers Darrel
 

lilirose

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I would be spot treating the BBA with the Liquid Carbon rather than dosing the whole tank. If you dose the whole tank, the system becomes "accustomed" and the BBA will grow back as soon as you stop. Spot treatment will not cause this issue as severely as daily whole-tank dosing will. What I would do is remove all you can manually remove- cutting off the leaves should spur new growth rather than harming the plant- and then spot treat any that's left. It will turn pink or red when it dies. You should not need to spot treat for more than three days. I use a syringe (with no needle) to do spot treatment, I also wear gloves as Liquid Carbon is toxic.

When I've had BBA in my high tech tanks, it was related to the CO2 flow not reaching all over the tank (the BBA popped up in areas where there was less CO2). Adjusting the flow eliminated the BBA. However, I'm still quite a newbie to CO2 and my tanks are much smaller than yours, so don't take my answer as gospel, someone else probably knows more than I do about this.
 

Kezzab

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Hi,
The algae on that vallis leaf looks more like a staghorn algae rather than BBA.

But anyway...

I think spot dosing liquid carbon on things like vallis and swords really just destroys the leaf. I'd only do this on tough plants like anubias.

I'd suggest:
Nip off the affected leaves at the base.
Reduce the intensity of your light a bit and drop the duration to maybe 6 hours.
Check your co2 injection and ensure your drop checker is green at lights on.
Stop using liquid carbon. Vallis is generally not a fan of it and the damage it may be causing is an invitation for algae to get stuck in.
Increase your water change frequency.
Make sure you are dosing fertilizer at the correct dosage for a co2 injected tank.

Then look out for new growth appearing from the base. If that looks good and stays algae free then you are on a winner.

Stick with the new regime for at least 4 weeks so you can see if it is having an impact.

That's what I'd do anyway.
K
 

Kezzab

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Carlisle
Also, from the pic it looks like your co2 is just rising straight up from the diffuser to the water surface. Reposition your diffuser so your filter outflow is blowing the bubbles around the tank. You want to see bubbles moving all around, not just rising in a column.

As it is, it's likely much of the gas is just escaping at the surface.

Edit: just noticed diffuser is under outflow, just make sure the jet of water is picking up and moving the bubbles.
 

Lee_k

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1 Nov 2020
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Location
Staffordshire
Hi all,
Welcome.

What filter media do you have in your filter? and how do you feel about snails? I'm not a CO2 user, so I'll leave some-one else to answer that bit.

cheers Darrel

Hi Darrel,

Thanks for the response - In the filter is the standard media it came with (i removed the activated carbon) along with a "resin" media bag, a bag of purigen, bag of NTLABs phosphate media and a bag of siphorax - although tbh most of that probably needs a recharge, I best get researching how I do that!

Sanils - not a huge fan and there are some polka dot loaches in there.... - there is some malaysian trumpet snails in there however that obviously came in on a plant and the beefheart obviously keeps there population going!!

I would be spot treating the BBA with the Liquid Carbon rather than dosing the whole tank. If you dose the whole tank, the system becomes "accustomed" and the BBA will grow back as soon as you stop. Spot treatment will not cause this issue as severely as daily whole-tank dosing will. What I would do is remove all you can manually remove- cutting off the leaves should spur new growth rather than harming the plant- and then spot treat any that's left. It will turn pink or red when it dies. You should not need to spot treat for more than three days. I use a syringe (with no needle) to do spot treatment, I also wear gloves as Liquid Carbon is toxic.

When I've had BBA in my high tech tanks, it was related to the CO2 flow not reaching all over the tank (the BBA popped up in areas where there was less CO2). Adjusting the flow eliminated the BBA. However, I'm still quite a newbie to CO2 and my tanks are much smaller than yours, so don't take my answer as gospel, someone else probably knows more than I do about this.

Thanks for the response - I only added the output jet to the filter yesterday to angle the flow down a little in this battle, previously I only had the pipe going direct in the tank so less "plastic" on show but I'm not sure if I should add the spray bar onto the filter to gain a bit more flow

Hi,
The algae on that vallis leaf looks more like a staghorn algae rather than BBA.

But anyway...

I think spot dosing liquid carbon on things like vallis and swords really just destroys the leaf. I'd only do this on tough plants like anubias.

I'd suggest:
Nip off the affected leaves at the base.
Reduce the intensity of your light a bit and drop the duration to maybe 6 hours.
Check your co2 injection and ensure your drop checker is green at lights on.
Stop using liquid carbon. Vallis is generally not a fan of it and the damage it may be causing is an invitation for algae to get stuck in.
Increase your water change frequency.
Make sure you are dosing fertilizer at the correct dosage for a co2 injected tank.

Then look out for new growth appearing from the base. If that looks good and stays algae free then you are on a winner.

Stick with the new regime for at least 4 weeks so you can see if it is having an impact.

That's what I'd do anyway.
K

I did wonder if it could be staghorn but it seems to only get thick and bushy and never gets stringy

Drop checker is green throughout the day (JBL drop checker if that makes a difference)
I'll start doing a mid week water change and i'll stop with the liquid carbon as it does seem to split opinions on its uses and in a few weeks of 4 squirts per day it seems to have done nothing/very very little

You say about the fertilizer for a co2 tank - i could be making a mistake here. Tank is 120cm x 40cm x 60cm (fill line is at about 55cm) and i'm doing 8 squirts per day but i think thats about right for bottle instructions which i'd guess is for none co2?

Does timing of fertiliser make a difference? - like should I add it in a morning before lights on etc?

Thanks
Lee
 

Kezzab

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Hi, do whatever to try and get water circulating. Not a whirlpool, just movement.

Timing of ferts makes no real difference id say.

I don't know the composition of the fert you are using. But for comparison, using TNC Complete it is recommended to dose 3x the standard dose for a high light, co2 injected tank (that's dosing at an Estimative Index equivalent level I think). Do some checking of the levels of N, P and K in your fert and compare to TNC for a reference point.
K
 

Lee_k

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1 Nov 2020
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Location
Staffordshire
So I've just retested everything as I had cranked up the co2 since them last tests in Sept (CO2 was only added in Sept - tank running since Feb)

Maybe i've cranked the co2 too much?

PH - 6.4
GH - 14dkh
KH - 4dkh
Nitrate - 20ppm
co2 - Looks around the 50 colour.... I guess this changes through the day as co2 builds etc - but that seems too high?
Phosphates - 2ppm
O2 - 2mg/l - Im not sure this can be right....does anyone use the Tetra Test O2?

In terms of the fertilizer, looking at the bottle now and it says:

K (+MG) - Fertiliser 0.48 (+ 017) with micronutrients Guarenteed composition in a percentage by weight: 0.48%
Potassium oxide (K2O) - Soluble in water 0.17%
Magnesium Oxide total (MgO) - Soluble in water 0.003%
Boron (B)*/0.0004%
Cobalt (Co)*/0.002%
Cp[[er (Cu)*/0.062%
Iron (Fe)**/0.02%
Manganese (Mn)*/0.005%
Molybdenum (Mo)*0.001%
Zinc (Zn)*.

*Chelating Agent: EDTA
**Chelated by DTPA

I have literally no idea what any of that means! o_O:lol:
Is it good? bad? - should I be using something else? - How much of this should I use it says use between PH 6-9 1 Pump per 5 litres per week

Thanks
Lee
 

dw1305

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7 Apr 2008
Messages
10,975
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
I did wonder if it could be staghorn
Yes, Staghorn for me as well. Another Red Algae like BBA. We don't know what causes any algae, but there is some suggestion that <"high levels of Dissolved Organic Matter (DOM)"> may be implicated with Staghorn. Planted tanks <"offer much more in the way of biological filtration than non-planted ones">, which means that we don't want the <"thick biofilms"> and <"anaerobic denitrification"> that might be recommended for non-planted tanks.
bag of NTLABs phosphate media
You don't actually need this, if it is "working" it <"actually will hinder plant growth">. If a nutrient is limiting at doesn't matter how much more you add of the other ones, you don't get any more growth. Plants are often carbon limited, but more carbon (CO2) doesn't mean more growth unless everything else is in place. I've got a <"very jaundiced view of the sellers of many of these products"> they are, at best, economical with the truth. Plant growth is like a car assembly line, you have to have all the components before you get a "car".
KH - 4
GH - 14

Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 12mg/l
Phosphate 2mg/l

co2 - 20mg/l...................Tetra o2 test - 5 mg/l
Same applies to a lot of the tests we can buy, they aren't necessarily accurate, and in many cases the manufactures know this. It isn't that we don't want to know what the levels of the tank water are, personally I would really like to know, but <"it isn't as straightforward as the sellers of test kits would have you believe">.

Have a look through the linked threads, they provide some background for techniques that allow you to retain water quality and have acceptable plant growth.

cheers Darrel
 
Last edited:

Lee_k

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1 Nov 2020
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Location
Staffordshire
I've just done a quick vid showing the algae hoping someone might be able to positively ID


The discus were clearly unsure of the camera haha!
 

lilirose

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Location
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The exact identification does not really matter TBH- there is not a treatment or adjustment I'm aware of that works on staghorn but not BBA, or vice-versa.

I would adjust the flow in your aquarium so that the CO2 is circulating properly around the tank before doing anything else. @Kezzab is correct, if the mist from your diffuser rises in a column, your CO2 is not circulating properly, and this can cause algae issues.
 

Kezzab

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Carlisle
The algae doesnt look that bad in the vid. Co2 is getting blown by the outlet but there doesnt seem to much water movement judging by the plants appearing static.

Are you also running an air stone? Switch this off while co2 is on. Have it on when co2 is off. If you have it on with the co2 you are just causing agitation and increasing the rate the co2 escapes the tank.
 

rebel

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4 Aug 2015
Messages
2,193
I would be spot treating the BBA with the Liquid Carbon rather than dosing the whole tank
This and it would work for staghorn as well.

Looks more staghorny in the video.
 

Lee_k

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1 Nov 2020
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Location
Staffordshire
Well one week on, last week was up's and downs!

Ups:

Did extra water change on the Wed
Added the spray bar back onto to filter and angled it down slightly increasing flow
New light pattern
Moved the CO2 To front of tank where it looks ugly and annoying but with the spray bar when its on the back glass it was going straight up so i'll have to find a fix to this another way as I dont want to leave it where it is now, but it is getting pushed around the tank more now

Downs:

CO2 ran out on Wed and I didnt have a spare bottle! - Knowing than fluctuation of CO2 can cause issues I thought this would undo all the other effort but ordered a bottle from pro shrimp late Wed and it came Fri! So hopefully no long term effects! For the first 24hrs the CO2 liquid stayed greeny/similar to before but after 24hrs you could tell it was starting to go slightly darker

Done another large water change today and fished out about 23 bristlenose fry - also added 5 more plants as i'd read more plant = less algae so hopefully i'll start winning the battle!

Lee
 
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