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Old 06-26-2007, 04:47 AM   #1
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BBA - Is it my PO4?

Hi,

I'm getting my first bit of BBA on my tank after it has been running for 4 months.

It is appearing roughly down the centre of the tank on the Amazon Swords (some leaves) on the Crypts and a bit on my Hydrocotyle.

It isnt spreading fast (if at all really) and may have been triggered when I was setting up my pressurised & PH monitored CO2 kit. In that time I was experiementing with various ways of getting more O2 in the tank as well as running the lights for 10 hours not 8.

But i'm scratching my head now (a month and a bit later) about why it seems to be sticking around.

Water Params

Lights on for 8 hours

Ph - 6.6 -> 6.8 (over the course of a day, CO2 kicks in to keep it below 6.8, but hardly needs to come on)

KH - 4

Ammn - 0
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 7
Phosphate - 5 mg/l

I do a 50% water change every week with gravel vac. I dose Iron and Potassium weekly and occasionally Excel Flourish.

Looking at the stats the Phosphate sticks out by miles. My tap water is straight off the Scottish Hills around Edinburgh and generally very nice, but is very high in Phosphates.

My testing kit indicates that the a value below of 1 mg/l is preferred. Is that for a planted tank?

Beyond that would the high Phosphates promote slow BBA growth?

Best Regards,

John
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Old 06-26-2007, 07:38 AM   #2
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It was the fluctuating CO2 levels that brought it on. High phosphate will not make a difference. I would remove the effected leaves and see if it comes back, or you can squirt excel on the stuff, it will kill it.
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Old 06-26-2007, 07:49 AM   #3
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Quote:
Ph - 6.6 -> 6.8 (over the course of a day, CO2 kicks in to keep it below 6.8, but hardly needs to come on)
John,

My chart shows your co2 level at 19ppm with a ph of 6.8 and a KH of 4. I have found that in my 55g tank I need to run a little over 30 ppm to avoid the dreaded BBA. The fact that you say your co2 rarely turns on I think may be a good starting point. Make sure your pH controller is calibrated and check it frequently. I would consider a ph setting of 6.6 - 6.5 as long as you have enough plant mass to produce O2.

Phosphate seems a bit on the high side, but I would not freak out about it. Phosphate tests are inaccurate at best unless you have gone to the trouble of calibrating your test kit. Nitrates are quite low though. I would suggest dosing nitrate to a target of 30, again assuming you have a decent plant mass.

With plenty of light, co2, and a full compliment of ferts you may even see those phosphate come down a little by your test kit.

The only fix I have found for removal of BBA is to remove the effected leaves. Some people have had luck with dosing the startup level of excel for a week to kill off the remaining BBA.

Hope this helps.
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Old 06-26-2007, 08:41 AM   #4
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How much light is on your system?

Also, I've found the P04 tests to be completely worthless, IMO. I used the API and the Seachem test kits for a while, and was getting readings like you are, around 5ppm. Thought something was wrong, so I stopped dosing phosphates for a few weeks while monitoring the levels. During the time I wasn't dosing phosphates, I had no (and I literally mean no) plant growth, and algae problems ensued. So I started dosing phosphate again using EI regardless of what my test kit was reading, and things went back to normal with good plant growth and the algae calmed down.
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Old 06-26-2007, 09:14 AM   #5
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I agree with Neilan (don't tell him). I think we all pretty much start out using our test kits to try and pin point the ferts. But it becomes obvious in time that the EI method is really the only way to go for most of us. My test kits have dust all over them from lack of use. And my tanks have never looked so good IMO.

It's a leap of faith, but it works.
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Old 06-26-2007, 09:58 AM   #6
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hi,

Thanks for the answers so far....

I use the Nutrafin testing kits. My local fish store confirmed the PO4 levels of our tap water are pretty **** high. But as mentioned here there are alot of things I could improve.

The lighting is 2 T5 24W bulbs over a 46G tank. That are plant bulbs so as an estimate id say potentially 1.8 wpg.

I spent along time calibrating and testing different ways of calibration fluid when I was setting up the PH monitor. This is one of the reasons it took me so long to run it in.

Especially when I initially found as soon as I turned it on and left it for a day the fish were all gasping for air.

I've improved things now by increasing the surface agitation with an extra HOB filter making a nice ripple (which was totally lacking before).

My KH is probably a touch less then 4 as the kit rounds it to the nearest whole digit. So on the safe side id say 3.5. Working off the night/day range of variation in PH of 0.2 if I dropped my upper cap to 6.6 it would hit 6.4 by lights on in the morning. Ranging from 26 -> 41ppm.

I suppose this is a better figure then I have now, but will it adversely effect the plants or worse the fish?

Would I be better adding one of these airstones i've heard about or just increase the surface agitation using my existing extra HOB filter?

I've been removing alot of the dead leaves every week already. Thankfully the Amazon Sword grows fast and thick.

I'll take some more pictures soon and add them to my diary thread this week. I've added my dwarf clover foreground now.

Thanks,

John

p.s I'll start a new thread on EI and my dosing later this week. Its one I need to get my head around.
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Old 06-26-2007, 10:10 AM   #7
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Upping your CO2 levels to 35ppm or so should not adversly effect your fish. I am sure mine are much higher than that. I just run it during the day and tuirn it off at night. Everyonce in a while I glance at my drop checker. Once you get it dialed in you should be fine. I did notice you don't mention adding any nitrate, unless I missed it.
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Old 06-26-2007, 10:20 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by rich311k
I did notice you don't mention adding any nitrate, unless I missed it.
Hi,

I have a very high bioload atm so have been holding off regularly dosing Nitrates.

My weekly tests were showing results varying from 5 to 15 ppm. When I got the low results I was dosing with about 10 ml of Seachem Nitrogen to bring up the amount of Nitrate by about 5 points.

But as I mentioned in the ps of my last post I need to get this EI dosing sorted out.

When I first got my head into the dosing id be needing to do I looked at EI and didnt think I would be changing out 50% of the water each week.

But now i'm use to that amount and don't see why I shouldnt be using it. Especially now I have the CO2 kit setup.

I'll go home and dig out what I have got in the water of bottles of ferts and come and post another thread tomorrow where I can pick your brains properly on EI.

Thanks,

John
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Old 06-26-2007, 11:19 AM   #9
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Unfortunately while you can stop the spread of BBA by fixing the imbalances in your aquarium, the existing BBA generally doesn't go away on it's own. Some algae do, but BBA doesn't. This is why you either need to kill it off with spot treatments of Excel or remove the affected leaves.
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Old 06-26-2007, 03:29 PM   #10
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Do fish do better if you do a 50% weekly water change or do they do better if you do say 25% every 2 weeks or so?

Regardless of plants or not?

Now apply the plants and good healthy growing plants which remove NH4 directly from the fish waste? Are you more apt to do a water change or use a test kit for several parameters as a matter of routine stable consistent habits?

Give that some thought.

You suggest you have high bioloads, so.............

Focus on the plant's needs as well as the fish, you have a win win situation, a python water changer etc makes changing 25% vs 50% or more easy.
You are not required to do 50%, many get away with less etc, but you have a better range if you do.

Regards,
Tom Barr
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