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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone. As some of you know i have been battling BGA Bacteria for awhile, and with the advise of some friends, I have been doing water changes every week at 50% and cleaning the BGA as much as possible, i have also reduced my lighting duration to 7 hours. My Nitrate levels are 10 ppm, Ammonia and Nitrite are 0. I have also cut back the amount i feed my fish and i also Make sure i remove any dead plant matter in my tank. All my plants seem to have new growth on them. But every time i clean my tank of the BGA, it comes back, fast and looks like i haven't even touched it. I have been struggling to get rid of it with out using Chemicals, or doing a black out. But i have not been able to find the root cause of it.

So i am asking for Any help and question you can ask to help me diagnose the problem. my tank specs are as follows

55g planted tank. Ammonia and Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10ppm. (Nitrates high in tap. have to use bottled water 50/50 mix)

temp. is 77 degrees, i have 2 T8 shop 6500k daylight bulbs. I fertilize after water changes. My pH is 7.4

I also have BBA and green spot algae in my tank now.

I do not know what the cause is and can't seem to figure out what is causing the problem. your help and input is greatly wanted.

thanks in advance
 

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there is a overbalnce in the tank, be it ferts light or co2. my guess would be too much light and fert not enough co2. i would half the fert dosing or even stop it for a month with the reduced light schedule and see how that works. my guess is that the BGA is using the excess ferts that the plants are not to balance out the aquarium. plants can only use fert and liught where there is enough co2, you say its a heavily planted 55, how heavy? any co2 injection? but do you see my point? plants are like cars light is like the gas pedal ferts are the gas and co2 is the air. the more you press the pedel the more air to fuel ratio a car needs and if it doesnt have enough of air and gas (ferts co2) then your car doesnt respond. then you get algae to compensate.

so i reccomend no more fert dosing or atleast cutting it way back and keep cleaning it out (BGA). then when you notice it stoping from coming back then slowly up your ferts to the threshold. or to get a easyier fix add co2 to where the palnts can use every bit of fert and light you can throw at them with a low risk of algae.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I did a water change this morning and I didn't add any ferts to it. I did cut back on the ferts. I did forget to mention that. But i do see your point. I found one of my Cory's dead. He must of died Last night, I am unsure what the cause of him dying. my water tested good. And my tank isn't heavy heavy stocked on plants but its medium stocked on plants.
 

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I'd agree that cutting back the fertilizer dose may help. I'd also suggest (perhaps even a few) 50% water changes to get the tank clear of unwanted nutrients and impurities.

You might use API Nitra-Zorb to get your tank nitrates low. It is a synthetic resin that adsorbs nitrates and can be regenerated several times in ordinary salt water.
As for your source water, consider an API Tap Water Filter (TWF) to create deionized (DI) water (instead of store bought bottled water). I have done this with success. Lately, I have converted a spent TWF cartridge and filled it with API Nitra-Zorb to filter my tap water (I was running it in a filter in a spare aquarium but this method is better). I can use this filtered water alone or as available, I mix it 50/50 with water I capture from my basement dehumidifier (pseudo distilled). Of course DI and distilled water requires treatment for minerals and pH. I use Seachem Replenish and Fresh Trace with small amounts of Seachem Neutral Regulator and Alkaline Regulator for pH.

Good luck and keep us posted.
 

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Mitch's point on the plant fertilizer is well taken. In thinking about my case after your PM earlier, Josh, I remembered that I did stop using Flourish Comp for a few weeks. Cyanobacteria is caused by organics, that is clear, so eliminating as much as possible any organics will or should help. This, plus AD's suggestions. But I did have this linger for several months before it suddenly disappeared.

I also had crypts in this tank, and elsewhere it has been mentioned that for some reason this seems to be connected. Still don't know why. But I have crypts in other tanks with no cyano.

The green spot is not a problem, just use a good scraper on the glass each water change. I have found that cleaning the glass with a sponge scraper at each water change prevents this from getting a hold. If I miss a week or usually two, sure enough I may see it. But only in the 115g tank.

Brush algae is light and nutrients. Floating plants will help here.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yeah i'm not to worried about the BBA or the spot Algae At the levels that is in there Kinda makes it look Nice. But the Bacteria Is my main concern. I will hold off on the ferts for awhile And see how well that helps. I almost had it gone at one point but It came back for some reason...
 

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Yeah i'm not to worried about the BBA or the spot Algae At the levels that is in there Kinda makes it look Nice. But the Bacteria Is my main concern. I will hold off on the ferts for awhile And see how well that helps. I almost had it gone at one point but It came back for some reason...
Like I said, keep at it week by week, even if it takes a few months. This is better than resorting to antibiotics which will cause more trouble.
 

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Yeah i'm going to Stop ferts for for awhile, and keep at it, Thanks Byron. And MoneyMitch The black brush isn't to bad at the moment its mostly on my driftwood and a few slow growing plants. I normally scrap it off and trim the leaf that has it the worse. But it is no where near as bad as the BGA.
 

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Yeah i'm going to Stop ferts for for awhile, and keep at it, Thanks Byron. And MoneyMitch The black brush isn't to bad at the moment its mostly on my driftwood and a few slow growing plants. I normally scrap it off and trim the leaf that has it the worse. But it is no where near as bad as the BGA.
Stay with my suggestion and keep us posted.

Just a quick comment on the first article Mitch linked, concerning the suggested treatment for cyanobacteria and brush algae.

The aquarium containing fish and plants is a closed system in which natural processes will occur. Every time the aquarist interferes no matter how, these processes will be affected. This can be good, as when we change the water, add fish food, etc. But they can also be dangerous. The aquarist must very carefully consider the ramifications of doing this or that, and weigh the consequences.

The fish are captive in this closed environment, and unlike in nature where they can usually escape something by swimming elsewhere, in the aquarium they cannot do this. My first concern is always the fish. Plants, algae, etc are secondary.

Adding nitrates in an attempt to combat brush algae is not advisable. We now know that fish are affected by nitrate, at varying levels depending upon the species. But the long-term effects of the fish remaining exposed to nitrates even at low levels are now beginning to be examined. Cichlids are known to have problems at nitrate levels of 20 ppm when this remains constant. Many soft water fish experience problems at lower levels. Nitrate should never be allowed to rise above 10 ppm, and keeping nitrates below this is even better. This should seem logical when one remembers that in their natural habitats, nitrates are so low they are usually undetectable. And nitrate is just another form of nitrogen, similar to ammonia and nitrite; all three are toxic to fish.

Algae even at its worst is not going to harm fish--though the cause when it is too high an organic load may; taking measures that can harm the fish just to deal with some algae is not very practical.

Byron.
 
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Pottassium nitrate,inorganic mineral salt KNO3, is macronutrient for planted aquarium's, and is whole different kettle of corn than Nitrates as result of organic matter being processed = ammonia to nitrites to nitrates.(is this process that fish feel)
Plenty of folk's dosing inorganic KNO3,KH2PO4 daily, and yet they have no algae,no problem's keeping sensitive fishes,invert's.(myself included)
Inorganic mineral salt's mentioned, are NOT the boogeyman.(too many folk's using them without issues, algae,etc)
Poor circulation,low or fluctuating CO2,dirty filter's,would be where I began trouble shooting.
Limiting fertz is rarely successful, and may cause more algae. When plant's begin to suffer,algae will thrive.And plant's WILL suffer without enough light,food's.
Give plant's food,not too much light,too little light, and algae has tough time IME.
 

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I agree, but still caution that every aquarium is an unique biological system and what may work in one may not in another.

I have done a fair bit of experimenting with nutrients over the past 2+ years, and for extended periods with each "change" so I can better monitor the effects. I also have 7 planted tanks running, so when this or that occurs in only one tank, I have evidence of the individuality of each aquarium. And some factors, such as light, are basically identical on each tank, so this is not directly a factor in the results from tank to tank.

I agree and have frequently written that algae issues should not be treated by reducing plant nutrient fertilization. The plants need nutrients in order to out-compete the algae. However, this has to be taken in context with the light and CO2 which is the one nutrient I do not add but for which I rely completely on that naturally occurring, chiefly from the breakdown of organics.

I noticed a few weeks back that a type of brush algae began increasing in one tank, the 90g. This is what some members have assumed to be diatoms or brown algae, but it is actually a form of a red brush algae. Anyway, it was basically carpeting every leaf of the four large swords, E. bleherae, and it had spread very fast indeed. I decided to reduce the fertilizing from twice to once a week, since this was the only tank getting this, and I have a fair carpet of floating plants between Water Sprite and the floating leaves of the two red tiger lotus. Within 2 weeks I saw a difference; new leaves on the E. bleherae were not getting this algae. Now, some 5 weeks later, there are more "clean" leaves than algae-encrusted on the swords. The other plants seem no worse. This appears to have been a situation where the nutrients being added were greater than the light and CO2 could balance. Reducing the light would probably not have worked here, as it has in a couple of other tanks previously with this same algae, because of the imbalance.

Normally I would reduce light (intensity and/or duration, depending upon the light) to deal with the green and red algae because we want light to be the limiting factor to plant growth. But excess nutrient fertilization cannot exceed what the light and CO2 can support, so all factors must be considered.

With respect to the cyanobacteria, which is not an algae but a photosynthesizing bacteria, and which is caused by organics: this is always controlled by reducing organics. I agree that light reduction may help, but the cyano will only return if the organics are not dealt with. This too was an experiment, and the results proved to me that by eliminating the Flourish Comp I was forcing the plants to utilize the natural nutrients. It took a while, but it did work.

I also have had cyano appear when I tried my experimental 10g with no artificial light, utilizing the natural daylight in front of a window. Cyano appeared on the tank wall next to the window, and this did not surprise me, as I have occasionally seen it among floating plants, closest to the tank lights. Organics is still the cause, but being photosynthetic it obviously needs light to flourish.

Byron.
 

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Agree with all Byron. I think we share same view's ,just maybe differing approaches.
I choose to fertilize the wate, and plant's use substrate as storage for nutrient's, and or uptake.
I add a little bit of everything once a week or every two week's as plant's may indicate.
I add enough light but not too much ,or for too long.
That only leaves CO2 which in low tech is, wholly dependent on the organic's being broken down in substrate (rather low level) and as by product of fish ,plant respiration.
I lost my way in this thread ,,searching back,,,It is inclear if the OP has BGA,BBA,GSA,or all three.
If the BBA is mainly affecting wood,rock's,other hard scape item's,,then I might remove these item's and use eye dropper,medicine dropper ,with Excel,or 3% hydrogen peroxide,to spot treat the area's after I gave them good scrub with old tooth brush.
I have BBA on large piece of wood but that is only place in the tank,and this is what I do maybe once a month. each time,,it grow's back but much less than before.eventually,, I hope it get's tired of my harrassment and leaves, but as you cannot really see it without searching,,,It 's not really bugging me.
Is also unclear to me whether this tank is new, in which case there may not be much in the way of nutrient's in substrate right away,,and further limiting fertz,,could as mentioned actually be contributer to problem.
Might also wonder if we are SURE that shop light's over this tank are running T8 bulb's ,or T5"s.
From plant's perspective,,this is huge difference.
Would submit that plant's can and do adapt to low CO2 level's often normal in low tech tank's so long as the CO2 does not fluctuate too seriously.
I too, have seen no evidence that weekly water changes and associated brief,CO2 influx has produced negative reaction from plant's or further encouraged alage to grow but might consider switching to straight tapwater for this tank rather than 50/50 mix of bottled water and tap that was mentioned in other thread(S)??
Wonder if filtration for this tank is sufficient to get good circulation?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
1077 my tank is fairly new been running a few months now. I have t8 lighting, As far has Algae I have GSA on my glass. not bad mostly near the substrate. I have BBA on a few plants and a few spots on my driftwood. I have BGA all in my tank I have good circulation i made Sure i had a big enough filter before getting the tank set up. And I can't use just straight tap water I have Very high Nitrates In my tap over 20ppm, I was doing straight tap water but It was Making my Nitrates high in the tank.
 

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Quick comment this time (promise:)).

Let's keep algae and cyanobacteria separated. They are two very different things. Algae is fine and normal, and contol is fairly easy. Cyano is something to get rid of.
 

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Have seen Cyno in my tank's when I kept large cichlid's and no plant's.
Reduced stock or feeding,keep filter's clean (monthly for canister's,weekly with HOB).
Might consider aeration at night for planted tank.
Remove what you can see repeatedly.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Your right Byron the Algae Doesn't Bother me it's not a big problem with me. I call BGA algea even tho i know it isn't It's just hard to spell its name So BGA is easier for me to say for the Bacteria. and 1077 My stock levels aren't high. and I clean my canister every 2 weeks due to the cleaning of the Cyno bact. so i try to keep up with my tank the best i can all the time.
 

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