60 Gallon Tank The 6 Months War On Bba

Awaken_Riceball_

Here is the 6 months war on Black Beard Algae (BBA) story. I have read numerous how to articles on eradicating BBA and while I experienced mild results, the BBA reinforced and continued conquering more and more of the plants, decors, equipment and established onto the substrate. Thus, months passed by and reached a stalemate. Throughout my research, I continued to gather data on keyword, possible, causes for the BBA. Day and night, I watched, I observed, trying, thinking, but the BBA remained strong happily swaying in the current.

The probable causes of BBA are due to:

· Low/Fluctuating CO2 – I am injecting CO2 into the 60G and the drop checker shows a constant lime green color on the left, middle, right sides of the aquarium. The Betta Aquarium, I am dosing excel, not a single strain of BBA. No Issues.

· Inadequate flow, dead spots – I have an oversized canister filter with a spray bar and x2 power head. Diestrus does not overrun the substrate. Feed food, I can see where the food gets dispersed, and it is moving throughout the aquarium. All plants are swaying in the current as well. The Betta tank, very low flow, no BBA. No issues.

· High Flow – The fish are not struggling to swim against the current and the plants are gently swaying. No issues with high flow.

· Spot Dosing – Attempted with a syringe using Seachem Excel and Hydrogen Peroxide for 3 weeks. Short term fix, the BBA returned with a vengeance.

· Wire Brush, Manual Removal – Same as spot dosing, it returned with a vengeance since I could not remove the BBA attached to the edges of the plants.

· High PO4 (Phosphate) – Possibility, my PO4 test kit was showing 5ppm due to dosing EI Method using NiloCG Thrive. I decided to run a test and purchase Seachem Phosguard. The BBA remained after 1 month, the plants had stunted growth within days. Removed Phosguard after 2 weeks, the plant growth resumed.

· Nutrient Imbalance – TADA, but this was by far the most difficult portion to figure out. Time to dive into this part of the story.

The Nutrient Imbalance, the short story, I quit dosing Phosphate, PO4. The long story, the struggle, I knew that the macro nutrients is Nitrates, Potassium and Phosphate, but there is a catch, phosphate was the macro nutrient that plants uses the least and thus, the conflicting information began. One of the famous information I read is that phosphate does not cause algae and when dosing EI method, it is fine to keep Phosphate levels high around 2 – 6 ppm. Hold up, another source says that when using a phosphate remover, their algae problem went away. Another source mentioned that high Phosphate will cause stress plant growth and plants leaves to turn a darker color. I saw a few of the symptoms on the, needle java fern, Amazon Sword and the rare helanthium quadricostatus plants. The brucephalandra, it was showing signs of stunted growth as well as the anubias. I did not take it into consideration at the time due to the aquarium plants were still growing but not effectively until I saw the unbelievable difference in growth rate and growth size after I stopped dosing phosphates. As a test, I asked NiloCG to create a custom EI dosing bottle without phosphate, and it made a major difference within 3 weeks. An unbelievable turnaround. Within the first week, the BBA begun to die back because the black color was not prominent and began to fade into a greyish color, so to accelerate the dying process, I spot dosed daily with excel for a week. It is now ongoing 5th week and the BBA has vanquished! Regarding Phosphate levels, feeding the fish daily is more than enough to keep PO4 levels high enough for the plants to thrive and to keep algae at bay and most definitely prevent the BBA unprecedented return.

In closure, if you are struggling with BBA, then look at the PO4. If you are struggling to eradicate it and have a similar setup to mine, then I highly recommend to keep an eye on PO4 and assure the level does not get to high as 0.5ppm – 1ppm is ideal range according to my research. Furthermore, I realized that when the plants are stressed, then they release nutrients back into the water column creating more nutrient imbalance issues. PO4 is potent chemical, needed for plant growth, but overdo it, can spell disaster!

I hope my experience helps shed light to win your war on BBA!
 

nikm128

Have you tried a blackout?
 

Awaken_Riceball_

Have you tried a blackout?

No, I read about a black out, but to me, it does not make any sense. It is a short term fix which is why I did not attempt that solution.
 

SFGiantsGuy

Only about 2 months ago, I had high PO4 readings. And some, but not much BBA. I simply got better flow and more plants. The BBA is completely gone now...and I upped my light to 9 hours per day and cranked up the CO2 a bit more as well...
 

SFGiantsGuy

You always wanna slowly utilize ONE thing at a time.
 

KeeperOfASilentWorld

Keep on dosing EI levels. Ideally keep NO3 between 25-35ppm, PO4 between 3.5-4.5ppm, K between 25-35ppm. GH 6 ( around 9-10 Mg, 28-32 Ca ), KH 2, CO2 40-50ppm ( depending on livestock ), 8 hour lighting period.

Daily dose Excel to the water column, daily 50% to 75% WC, clean all filter components every week.

!!! Buy a pH pen !!! and a KH test to determine where your CO2 levels are. Measure 3 times a day for the first few days to understand where your CO2 concentrations are.
Keep CO2 over 40 ppm at all times.

BBA will be gone on its own probably in a week or two.
 

LuckyGourami

I had black beard algae in my 8-gallon at one point. I took out my plants and soaked their leaves in a 10% bleach solution for ten minutes. If you do this, be sure to dip only the leaves and not the roots, and rinse them really well.

I scrubbed the remaining BBA off the glass and left some green algae behind, hoping it would eat up nutrients and starve out any remaining blackbeard. It's been about two months. I have found one tiny sprig of blackbeard on the glass, so it's not completely gone, but my plants are algae-free and growing well. YMMV.
 

Awaken_Riceball_

Keep on dosing EI levels. Ideally keep NO3 between 25-35ppm, PO4 between 3.5-4.5ppm, K between 25-35ppm. GH 6 ( around 9-10 Mg, 28-32 Ca ), KH 2, CO2 40-50ppm ( depending on livestock ), 8 hour lighting period.

Daily dose Excel to the water column, daily 50% to 75% WC, clean all filter components every week.

!!! Buy a pH pen !!! and a KH test to determine where your CO2 levels are. Measure 3 times a day for the first few days to understand where your CO2 concentrations are.
Keep CO2 over 40 ppm at all times.

BBA will be gone on its own probably in a week or two.

Thank you for sharing, I appreciate it greatly! The PO4 at 3.5 - 4.5ppm, I will have to monitor it closely.
 

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