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Discussion Starter #1
Is this black beard algae? This is a 55 gallon tank that's been cycled for close to a year. Nitrates hover around 5-10. A-0 N-0. I need to know its definitely BBA so I'll know how to treat it. Some say more light, some say less. I've only got one side of tank lit for several days now, and have the other side down to 9 hours now. Bio Sorb? Will that help? Its a BEAR to remove!

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I can't quite tell. If it's furry, it's likely to be BBA.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
YES! Its furry. What is the best solution to this problem?
 

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beats me. It's next to impossible to get rid of. I have it in some of my tanks - it adds character ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
OMG, so I'm stuck with it? Its so ugly! It doesn't go well in my tank. My pretty multi-colored river rocks are now black, and so are the edges of my anubias, as you can see. I'm afraid it'll spread everywhere. How disgusting. Anyone have any solutions?
 

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I've heard (don't know how try this is) that Chinese algae eaters eat BBA. Got to get them when they are young so they have to hunger to eat it. Don't quote me on this though.
 

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I've only got one side of tank lit for several days now, and have the other side down to 9 hours now.
What do you mean exactly by that statement?? You have one side lit for 9 hours and the other for several days in a row?? Am I understanding that correctly??

That is BBA by the way and there are ways to fight it. So no your not stuck with it. Well to a point, there's no way of getting the Bba that's there gone besides removing the effected leaves/plant but you can stop it from spreading.
It all comes down to lighting and nutrients. So with that said we need more info.
How long are the lights on for durning the day? What type of lights are they? What type of bulb(s)? Do you use fertilizer for the plants? Does the tank get hit by sunlight? Is this a standard 48" 55 gallon? Is the whole tank effect by this or just some plants?? Any info you can think of will help aid in you stopping the spread of BBA.
 

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Yeah, I would just remove whatever has the BBA on it if you don't want it. Mine is on pieces of decor and the spraybar, so it gives it a more natural look IMO. I would it want it on the substrate or live plants either.


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Discussion Starter #9
Yes, its a standard 48" 55. What I MEANT to type was that I have had the lights out in one half of the tank for several days now. That's where the majority of the BBA is. The OTHER half was lit for 10 hours previously. Now I'm leaving the lights on for only 8-9 hours daily. I only have the standard lighting that the tank came with (flourescent) Marineland. F15TA/18", one on each side. BUT... late afternoon sunlight hits part of the tank for approx. an hour to an hour and a half this time of year.

I use fertilizer (Flourish root tabs) for my swords. I have only 3 tabs in that tank. I use nothing else for fertilizing. I do have several small java ferns in there. Just the tall anubia is the only plant affected, although pieces of the cave I have in there, and several of my river rocks also have it.

I read online to use bleach (1 part to 9 parts water) on the Anubia, and I did that, for a two minute soak. I rinsed it very well and soaked it in water with Prime for half an hour before replacing it. I did the same with the river rocks and pieces of cave that were affected. Anything else I should be doing?
 

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If you are only using root tabs then your other plants are not getting all that they need. Using a liquid fertilizer (Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive for example) provides key trace nutrients that the non-rooted plants need and this could be a factor in the outbreak. Fertilizing the plants will help them to grow to their potential and they will then be better able to use other nutrients that are present that the algae are currently using... basically the plants can then out compete the algae for water sourced nutrients and minerals.

I started out not intending to fertilize my plants but now am glad that I do... I have not seen algae other than the normal trace amounts and a little BBA on some dead vall leaves... not enough to worry about as I can just cut off the offending pieces if I want to. Everything else is clean.

Jeff.
 

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I personally would start be fixing some of the light issues. The bulbs you have are not the best for plants. I would at the very least get some from a hardware store that are natural daylight bulbs with a Kelvin rating around 6500k. GE makes some that will work. That will but you in low lighting. Your Java ferns and Anubias will be fine with that lighting. Another bulb you can get is Zoo meds Ultra Sun super daylight bulbs or Hagen makes a bulb that will work. Both of those will have more intensity then a GE natural daylight bulb.
I would also just leave the lights on for 8hrs and try and see if you can block the sunlight from hitting the tank.
These changes should help. Remember the goal here is to stop the spreading of the BBA and not to kill it. This won't kill what there and using anything in the tank or on the plants them self can cause damage to the plants.
Try this for a couple of weeks if you see no change try reducing the light by another hour. Small changes and patience works best here.
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Discussion Starter #12
I will get some Flourish Comprehensive. I can't find it in Petsmart or Petco, so I'll get it online. I didn't know it was necessary. No wonder my plants grow so slowly! I really can't afford different lighting, so I think I'll just cut the lighting down to 8 hrs. a day, every day, and block the sun (somehow) from hitting the glass in the afternoon. Thanks, guys!
 

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The GE daylight bulbs at Lowes costs about $13.
If you don't have a background you use construction paper color of your choice. That cost about a buck or soo. You can also use it on the sides or top of the tank to block the sun.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Will the GE bulbs fit in where the strips are now? I'd have to have something that would fit my set up as I'm not good at altering things. I do have a background. Its the front of the tank that the sun hits, so the background paper wouldn't help there. Thanks.
 

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Just went back and looked where you said what the bulbs were. Yes the GE Bulbs will fit your hood.
You can take a bulb with you to the store and ask a sellsman for a bulb like yours except the new ones need to be a Daylight bulb around 6500 Kelvin. GE makes ones and I think there other brands that do aswell. The new bulbs will just pop in the same way as the old ones come out.
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Discussion Starter #17
Oh, that's great news! I'll go the hardware store and get those within the next few days. Can't thank you enough!
 

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I would get different tubes. What you are proposing will not likely help. I have experimented with these myself, so allow me to explain.

Tubes come in standard sizes (lengths), and basic wattage for the length. But the actual intensity of light emitted from a tube depends upon the phosphors and tube construction, and this is where they differ substantially.

The less expensive tubes by GE, Phillips and Sylvania in the 4-foot length are quite good; I use these on my dual-tube 4 and 5-foot tanks. But the smaller sizes like the 24-inch are not worth getting at all. I did an experiment over several months on my 29g which has a single T8 24-inch tube over it. The existing Life-Glo tube weakened due to age (I had it on for over 18 months) and I noticed this by the plants. So I replaced it with a GE Daylight 6500K. Within a matter of weeks, all the plants began dying. I left this tube in for 4 months, and basically killed everything except the Java Fern. I left the plant roots [some had like a single leaf yellowing, nothing more] and put a new Life-Glo tube over the tank. Within 3 weeks, leaves began appearing on the crypts, then the pygmy chain swords began rebounding though some didn't, being too far gone. The intensity of the Life-Glo is considerably more than that of basic tubes, at least in these smaller lengths. I've no numbers, but the proof is in the pudding, as they say.

So, to your Brush Algae. Normally this will occur on plant leaves due to too much light, or too many nutrients when some other nutrient is insufficient to balance. I have had both situations. So the trick is to find the balance. Brush algae on wood or rock is fine, I leave it alone. I take steps to correct the balance when I see it increasing on plant leaves.

First step here is to improve your light. As you intend staying with the present fixture, which is low light no matter what tubes, I would suggest you get Life-Glo tubes or ZooMed's UltraSun. The Life-Glo is what I use on all my single-tube tanks. They last for 12-18 months. They are more expensive, but they are superior as I mentioned above.

Second, use a comprehensive liquid fertilizer like Flourish Comprehensive Supplement once a week; in a 55g I would dose 1 teaspoon on the day following the water change every week.

Third, keep direct sun off the tank. Sun light is very bright, even more than we realize, and just an hour of it makes a big difference. Algae is able to take advantage of imbalanced tanks, where light and nutrients are not properly balanced, and the plants cannot adequately compete in this situation.

Hope this helps to explain things.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks, Byron. I can't afford the more expensive lights right now, so that will have to be out the window. I did order the Flourish Comprehensive (500ml) last night, so I'm glad both you and Boredomb agree that I need it, as its already on its way! I'm going to figure out a way to keep that late afternoon sun off the tank.

I had no idea I didn't need to clean the BBA off the rocks and caves! That's good--lots less work for me! The anubia seemed to tolerate the bleach well, and the BBA is hardly visible on it now. We'll see how this goes. With my columnaris outbreaks and now this stubborn BBA is really getting me down. I feel better now knowing that I'm doing something positive to fix it.
 

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The bulbs that Byron mentioned (as so did I earlier in the thread.) cost about $13 a piece at a petstore. They will fit your existing hood just like the cheaper GE bulbs.
 
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