05-15-2011, 03:53 PM
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Algae (any of the green or red varieties, and BBA is actually a red algae) occur due to light. Nutrients must be available, sort of, but in any fish tank that will be a given. Balancing the light (intensity and duration) to the available nutrients (carbon as CO2 is a major factor in this) will prevent algae from being troublesome. But if the plants cannot use the available light (due to some nutrient being no longer in adequate supply), then algae will take advantage.
Reducing the light usually works to slow BBA and keep it in check. Algae is naturally, and should be expected to appear in any aquarium. It is interesting that some algae will appear and other types won't, presumably due to some condition in the tank. Rhonda Wilson has written that in her fishroom of 20+ tanks, she will get a type of algae in one tank but no others, and another type in another tank but no others, etc., even though light, substrates, plants, fish load are identical. Just one of those things.
I don't fuss over BBA on wood or rock, or the filter tubes [this is where it often first appears, it like water movement], but as soon as it attacks plant leaves to excess, I reduce the light duration. With respect to the plant leaves, I always note that it grows on leaves that are dying (when I remove the leaf, which I do if it is getting too much BBA, it is always brown at the base indicating demise), though I've no idea if the dying leaf attracts the algae, or if the algae causes the leaf to die.
Regular (weekly) partial water changes would help although this will not prevent BBA if conditions are to its liking; I do 50% weekly and I still see it now and then.
"Treatments" are best avoided as the main cause is light and that can easily be adjusted. I usually reduce the period by one hour. I also find BBA more likely to appear or increase in the summer, and I am certain this is due to the increased ambient light from longer days and brighter daylight.
P.S. Nice to see you back.