Almost completely done over BBA

MMac

This is my tank at 7 months. You can see in some of the close ups that I am dealing with a BBA problem (she grimaces as she realizes that "problem" is too small of a word to express the issue).

Here are what I have done to try to get rid of this stuff.

1. Reduced lighting (currently only at 5 hours a day), but my house is small and the ambient light abundant, no direct sunlight, however.
2. Ensured adequate/sustained (drop checker) CO2 delivery
3. Pulled out driftwood many times to clean off the BBA - then soaked in H2O2
4. Mowed down my Bacopa until only roots and let it reemerge
5. Thinned my vals out
6. Yesterday I removed all of my Java Moss (much to the shirmp and baby cories dismay) b/c it seems like it is where it gathers first
7. Yesterday I brought the water level down below the slate formation at the top and just above the cave top towards the middle of the tank and syringed H2O2 all around. Then I scraped what was above the water level off and cleaned it real good to hopefully remove any microscopic spores. Just let what was below water level sit and it is turning red now. Hoping for the best, but it has fooled me before.
8. I have increased ferts - currenlt using Thrive and Thrive tablets in sand
9. I have decreased and actually stopped ferts all together. I know stopping is not the answer, so currently dosing 1/2 recommended on water change days - I change water @ about 30% two times weekly

Current stock: 16 panda cories (plus unknown babies)
15 ember tetras
7 octocinculus
3 Amano shrimp
too many cherry shrimp (` 50ish)
I feed crushed shrimp pellets and/or flakes 1x daily with a weekly treat feeding of blood worms and brine shirmp - both frozen.

What else can I do? Water parameters are good - 0, 0, ~5-10 nitrates. ph @ 6.4, RO water for water changes, gh 10, kh 7, TDS @131, phosphates not detectable (could this be my problem?).

Any/all thoughts welcomed. Thanks.
 

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Mudminnow

I've found BBA seems to grow well in high-light and low-light, and it grows well with lean fertilization or rich fertilization. If you're adding enough light and ferts to keep your plants alive, the BBA can survive too. So, I really don't think tweaking light and ferts is going to help you...at least not with the BBA. On the other hand, if your plants aren't getting what they need, they could struggle--which helps the BBA grow more.

H2O2 kills it, but it just comes right back.

The things that have made a difference for me are keeping the tank super clean (big water changes/vacuuming up mulm) and optimizing CO2 levels (either no added CO2 or high levels of CO2--nothing in between). Also, BBA seems to like strong water flow and hard water.

It doesn't grow on healthy, fast-growing plants, so filling your tank with those is one way to get rid of it.

Sometimes the stuff just seems to grow without a good explanation. Personally, I use Siamese Algae Eaters. They eat it up until you can't see it anymore.
 

WRWAquarium

Far as I know BBA is often related to fluctuating C02 levels.

As C02 is not somthing I dabble with I guess I've just been lucky with levels in current tanks. I've had BBA before and I think it was low flow and probably C02 or nutrient imbalance.

Try the siamese algae eater fish, I really like them not just for alage eating.
 

MMac

I've found BBA seems to grow well in high-light and low-light, and it grows well with lean fertilization or rich fertilization. If you're adding enough light and ferts to keep your plants alive, the BBA can survive too. So, I really don't think tweaking light and ferts is going to help you...at least not with the BBA. On the other hand, if your plants aren't getting what they need, they could struggle--which helps the BBA grow more.

H2O2 kills it, but it just comes right back.

The things that have made a difference for me are keeping the tank super clean (big water changes/vacuuming up mulm) and optimizing CO2 levels (either no added CO2 or high levels of CO2--nothing in between). Also, BBA seems to like strong water flow and hard water.

It doesn't grow on healthy, fast-growing plants, so filling your tank with those is one way to get rid of it.

Sometimes the stuff just seems to grow without a good explanation. Personally, I use Siamese Algae Eaters. They eat it up until you can't see it anymore.
Thank you. I have thought about SAE an everything I read is that they are peaceful community fish. My only hesitation (besides the fact that I have to drive 2+ hours one way to get them) is my panda cories. Since they occupy the same space I am a little hesitant at upsetting the cories. Also, I have read either get just one or at least 5. What are your thoughts on that?
Far as I know BBA is often related to fluctuating C02 levels.

As C02 is not somthing I dabble with I guess I've just been lucky with levels in current tanks. I've had BBA before and I think it was low flow and probably C02 or nutrient imbalance.

Try the siamese algae eater fish, I really like them not just for alage eating.
Thank you. I have thought about SAE an everything I read is that they are peaceful community fish. My only hesitation (besides the fact that I have to drive 2+ hours one way to get them) is my panda cories. Since they occupy the same space I am a little hesitant at upsetting the cories. Also, I have read either get just one or at least 5. What are your thoughts on that?
 

WRWAquarium

I have 2 SAE in a 4ft tank and they seem very happy. Maybe more would be better but I don't think it's essential like other species such as tetras or Cory's. My two have a bit of a play together and feed together and they don't spend all their time at the bottom...more middle in my opinion.

I have 0 issues with my SAE ever bothering other fish, very peaceful and gentle with my peppered Cory's. They do eat sinking food so will compete with other bottom feeders. I don't think you would have issues with your shrimp but not 100% a full grown adult would be safe.
 

MMac

I have 2 SAE in a 4ft tank and they seem very happy. Maybe more would be better but I don't think it's essential like other species such as tetras or Cory's. My two have a bit of a play together and feed together and they don't spend all their time at the bottom...more middle in my opinion.

I have 0 issues with my SAE ever bothering other fish, very peaceful and gentle with my peppered Cory's. They do eat sinking food so will compete with other bottom feeders. I don't think you would have issues with your shrimp but not 100% a full grown adult would be safe.
Thank you for the reply. I will look into getting some SAE. Not too worried about the shrimp - only the Amanos and I don't think they will bother them. The others were a bad sell from my LFS - I wanted a few more Amanos and all the sudden have bunches of little guys running around...ugh. Perhaps a way to keep population under control.

Do you think they would bother baby panda cories? I do like it when I see those babies. I also have an assassin snail. Would he be okay with them?

Thanks for your time.
 

Mudminnow

Thank you. I have thought about SAE an everything I read is that they are peaceful community fish.
That's been my experience too...mostly. They sometimes squabble amongst themselves or chase other fish from the food, but I've never seen them do any damage.
My only hesitation (besides the fact that I have to drive 2+ hours one way to get them) is my panda cories. Since they occupy the same space I am a little hesitant at upsetting the cories.
I doubt it would be a problem. I've seen SEAs get along with cory cats and other bottom dwellers just fine.
Also, I have read either get just one or at least 5. What are your thoughts on that?
I'd say 1 or 3 or more. The number that sometimes doesn't work out so well is 2. 2 can still work, but sometimes one picks on the other too much.
 

SparkyJones

Just my opinion on the pictures, take it with a grain of salt, I don't have a planted tank, But I have what your pictures seem to show, I keep it off the glass, and flip the rocks over to a clean side, and tussle up the substrate and it's never been a big issue for me it dies off on the completely dark sides of stuff it grows on, I've never gotten completely rid of it, but I didn't have a problem with it really except for the darn circle spots on the glass appearing and then clustering.
I don't think its' BBA,in my case, I think it's More of a Green Spot algae (black spot algae though) it starts and stays black, but doesn't grow the furry hair like BBA does and grow long ever.

If that's the case, it's from the lack of phosphates every time. I don't have plants or ferts. I don't have phosphates at all. I could leave the light off completely and it's going to appear from ambient lighting, but I only have the light on for like 5 hours max anyways, I don't think it gets enough light to be green in my case.

Your pics of the spots on the glass look just like what I got going on to me. I don't know how you'd deal with it if you are scaping and have growing substrate and like things as they are placed, I just have rocks and I flip stuff over and more them around a lot.
I bet though if you rolled the stick over no algae is under it growing on the bottom side, it can't, there's no light at all.
 

MMac

Just my opinion on the pictures, take it with a grain of salt, I don't have a planted tank, But I have what your pictures seem to show, I keep it off the glass, and flip the rocks over to a clean side, and tussle up the substrate and it's never been a big issue for me it dies off on the completely dark sides of stuff it grows on, I've never gotten completely rid of it, but I didn't have a problem with it really except for the darn circle spots on the glass appearing and then clustering.
I don't think its' BBA,in my case, I think it's More of a Green Spot algae (black spot algae though) it starts and stays black, but doesn't grow the furry hair like BBA does and grow long ever.

If that's the case, it's from the lack of phosphates every time. I don't have plants or ferts. I don't have phosphates at all. I could leave the light off completely and it's going to appear from ambient lighting, but I only have the light on for like 5 hours max anyways, I don't think it gets enough light to be green in my case.

Your pics of the spots on the glass look just like what I got going on to me. I don't know how you'd deal with it if you are scaping and have growing substrate and like things as they are placed, I just have rocks and I flip stuff over and more them around a lot.
I bet though if you rolled the stick over no algae is under it growing on the bottom side, it can't, there's no light at all.
Thank you. The green stuff on the back glass is green spot algae (accept where the BBA has populated in the midst of the GSA). I don't have an issue with that - scrap and siphon and it is kept under control. The problem I have is with BBA that is growing all over my rocks, plants and to a certain degree on the driftwood. I take the driftwood out on occasion and scrap it off that when it is necessary. I don't want to flip it over b/c of the groove that I specifically put in the wood for affect. The rocks in my formation are not easily removable - boy will I accomodate for that in my next aquascape build. My dream right now is that all my stuff was removable and/or flip-able. HAHA Thank you for your insight
 

MMac

That's been my experience too...mostly. They sometimes squabble amongst themselves or chase other fish from the food, but I've never seen them do any damage.

I doubt it would be a problem. I've seen SEAs get along with cory cats and other bottom dwellers just fine.

I'd say 1 or 3 or more. The number that sometimes doesn't work out so well is 2. 2 can still work, but sometimes one picks on the other too much.
Thank you.
 

Cherryshrimp420

Tank seems fine to me. I think you are going in with different expectations of how much algae grows on bare surfaces without plant competition. Naturally there will be a lot of algae growth.

More fast growing plants would help. Guppies and mollies will also clean them off completely, provided you don't feed them much.
 

MMac

Tank seems fine to me. I think you are going in with different expectations of how much algae grows on bare surfaces without plant competition. Naturally there will be a lot of algae growth.

More fast growing plants would help. Guppies and mollies will also clean them off completely, provided you don't feed them much.
To be fair, you are viewing the tank after a MASSIVE plant removal. Removed all of my Java Moss - it was covering about equal to 1/2 of the big driftwood - it was on another piece of wood that I removed plus more on a rock in the other corner. I also cut all my Bacopa down and pulled up many roots and replaced with only the clean tops that are currently in the sand and I removed probably 1/3 of my vals. Mollies and guppies require much harder water than I am running, so that is off the table. I am thinking about replacing the Java Moss with something, just have to figure out what. Both Vals and Bapcopa seem to grown very fast as well as my monte carlo. What type of fast growing plants are better suited for fast growth? Also, I don't know if you can see it by the BBA is covering not only the flat surfaces, but also all up and down my slate walls. I have to remove tufts every day from the glass and I have to remove plants/leaves on a regular basis. Perhaps I am expecting too much, but it seems out of whack to me.

Thanks for your input.
 

Cherryshrimp420

To be fair, you are viewing the tank after a MASSIVE plant removal. Removed all of my Java Moss - it was covering about equal to 1/2 of the big driftwood - it was on another piece of wood that I removed plus more on a rock in the other corner. I also cut all my Bacopa down and pulled up many roots and replaced with only the clean tops that are currently in the sand and I removed probably 1/3 of my vals. Mollies and guppies require much harder water than I am running, so that is off the table. I am thinking about replacing the Java Moss with something, just have to figure out what. Both Vals and Bapcopa seem to grown very fast as well as my monte carlo. What type of fast growing plants are better suited for fast growth? Also, I don't know if you can see it by the BBA is covering not only the flat surfaces, but also all up and down my slate walls. I have to remove tufts every day from the glass and I have to remove plants/leaves on a regular basis. Perhaps I am expecting too much, but it seems out of whack to me.

Thanks for your input.

Yes I did expect the pic to be from a big cleaning, because the bare driftwood and gravel are all prime real estate for BBA.

The vals and Bacopa are all pretty fast growers but you need a lot more of them.

In my own tanks, BBA has a very hard time taking hold because I don't dose any ferts and keep feeding low. Since you are going high-tech then a heavier plant load would be recommended.

Another fast grower is rotala rotundifolia, grows well in hard and soft waters.
 

JRM592

This is how I killed BBA in my tank. I used a single dose of aquarium salt via syringe application on all the BBA. Just get a good syringe that has a long nose and small hole so nothing leaks out automatically. The BBA will turn red, and temporarily die or it's growth inhibited. Then you're gonna want to do same thing but using that polyquat algaecide stuff found in tetra algae control. Don't need to dose at all for the entire aquarium just a few drops in a syringe since the chemical interacts with cell membranes like that of algae. You just need to apply this stuff in an isolated manner like above so it's effective against the algae and not your aquarium buddies. Then, a few days later, I did another isolated syringe application using seachem cupramine. Again, no need to dose for the entire tank. I did a single dose of each in just a week. Killed all the BBA. Then brown and green algae grew in it's place weeks later (obviously from the nutrient release of the dead BBA plus it's own decomposition, etc.). But, I blasted those suckers away too and dosed some sludge eating bacteria to eat up all the excess nutrients, to prevent future (possibly) apocalyptic breakouts.
 

Shrimpee

you cant get rid of the BBA. but can definitely keep it under control with good balance of light, CO2 and ferts.

regards to SAE...they only eat algae when young and small. once bigger they will eat the smaller fish..shrimps...thats what happened and 4 SAE almost wipe out the RCS colony in a month.

my tank used to have loads of BBA. now it mostly appears on the CO2 diffuser tube, where the HOB water flows is aimed at. and at the water inlet of the HOB. so i can say that high flow areas has the most BBA. CO2 wise, i don think CO2 is an issue cos even the metal around the ceramic diffuser plate has BBA. but enough CO2 is important w light fert so that the plants grows and use as much nutrients for the BBA as possible. but they will still be there. just low enough that some syringe H2O2 dosing and cleaning every quarterly can eradicate the problems.

my fish tank also had the same issue. until i gave up..then suddenly almost all the BBA were gone ( like 90%) with just a little appearing on the edge of amazon sword leaves. till today still teh same. that was like 1 year ago.
 

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