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Black Brush Algae

edinjapan

New Member
5 Year Member
Large tank 120 cm x 45 cm x 45 cm the wood and submersed plants are covered with short tufts of black algae. I have dwarf ancistrus in the tank but they won't touch this stuff. Shrimp and snails are out of the question as the dwarf cichlids-Nannacara anomala and Pelvichromis taeniatus Nigerian Red consider them as snacks.

pH is 6.0, KH and GH are so low as to off the scale.Ammonia, nitrates and nitrites are not a problem.

A neighbour lives one floor down has discus which are breeding, his water coming from the tap has the same parameters. He's not concerned about brush algae as he keeps bare tanks-no plants or gravel.
 

ed seeley

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
BBA is caused by low or inconsistent CO2 levels. Seachem Excel provides some of the intermediates of the carbon fixation metabolic pathways that the plant can use as if it's carbon.

As Apisto-nut says it also has excellent anti-algae properties. I have treated BBA and other algae with it by taking the day's dose for the tank volume and squirting neat onto the areas with algae. They bleach and die within a day or so. Be careful with certain plants though as people have found certain mosses, ferns and Blyxa seem to react against it if you squirt them directly.
 

Cowboy

New Member
5 Year Member
Does Flourish Excel work well in addition to CO2? I use CO2, but it is a little underpowered (CO2 Natural Plant System) and the plants could use a boost. I have a 29gal with four 30 t-5 bulbs. I also have laterite in the substrate and use ferro-vit weekly. Would This give me the boost I need or do I need pressurized CO2 for this tank to reach its potentail.
 

langosh

New Member
5 Year Member
As for my experience - lowering the water flow helped me to reduce BBA significantly even though very often is advised reversely (i.e. good water flow)...
Roman
 

ed seeley

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Does Flourish Excel work well in addition to CO2? I use CO2, but it is a little underpowered (CO2 Natural Plant System) and the plants could use a boost. I have a 29gal with four 30 t-5 bulbs. I also have laterite in the substrate and use ferro-vit weekly. Would This give me the boost I need or do I need pressurized CO2 for this tank to reach its potentail.
You have high light levels there. That's 4 watts per gallon!!! I run my tanks at around 2 WPG and can grow even tricky plants at that level. You really need to address your CO2 levels for your plants to grow properly and then think about adding more ferts too.

If you can afford pressurised CO2 then it is worth every single penny! It allows total control of the CO2 levels at the turn of the reg and you can fit it with a solenoid (which I would definitely advise) to turn off the CO2 at night giving peace of mind that the CO2 won't build up to dangerous levels when the plants aren't using it. If you have a powercut too the solenoid will cut the CO2 off preventing an overdose.

However you can use Yeast generated CO2 and Excel together with good effect. I have used this in the past on a small tank and got great results. However Excel on its own works great too, but can cost quite a bit unless your tank is tiny.

To be honest your fertilisation regime is not what I would call ideal to reach the full potential; you are only dosing micronutrients and your plants might be lacking in NPK! (Nitrogen, Phosphate and Potassium). However address your CO2 levels before dosing macro nutrients or it often allows more algae to get hold. The greatest difference I made to my tanks after pressurised CO2 was using Aquasoil which gives the plants huge growth boost - but it costs a lot.

Finally flow. The reason the other posters BBA probably dropped when he cut the flow is that it reduced the amount of CO2 being lost through the surface. However this is rarely stable and changing another parameter may mean it comes back with a vengence. I use about 10 times the tanks volume turnover on my tanks to make sure the CO2 and nutrients are evenly distributed around the tank so high flow won't cause BBA per se, but may gas off more CO2 causing the BBA outbreak.
 

Cowboy

New Member
5 Year Member
Hi Ed,

Thank you very much for your assessment. It helps quite a bit and it give me some long term goals on my next tank. I will use the Excel until I get the pressurized CO2 and I will either change the substrate or introduce the macro nutrients slowly.
On the same note, is there a particularly good book out there I should read on planted aquaria? Most I have seen in the bookstores are very topical and do not offer the details that I otherwise would not know.

All the best,

Cowboy
 

ed seeley

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
On the same note, is there a particularly good book out there I should read on planted aquaria? Most I have seen in the bookstores are very topical and do not offer the details that I otherwise would not know.

All the best,

Cowboy
To be honest I don't know of a planted tank book that is written about these high tech newer ways of keeping plants! The best bet is to look on some forums and internet sites. I'm obviously going to recommend UKAPS (see below!!!) but Aquatic plant Central and the Barr Report are others based in America. (American sites do, in general, tend to go for more light though, sometimes at silly level!!!).

There's lots of info there, and lots of different ways to run a planted tank successfully, this is just one way but it works for me and IME allows a pretty stable and resilient set up. I've written an article about setting up a higher tech planted tank too which might explain some of the ideas better too.
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Low tech - Walstad

Hi all,
I'm resolutely low tech, (but I do like lots of light). With no feeding or CO2 plant growth will be sub-optimal and some plants with a high nutrient requirement won't grow. However I like stability and I don't care about slow growth or a certain amount of algae. I use the lawn analogy, I don't feed or water my lawn, if I go away for a month my lawn will be basically the same as when I left it, just a little longer. My neighbour feeds and waters his lush, green lawn, if he goes away for a month, when he comes back the lawn will be a jungle of grass and weeds 2 feet tall if it's been wet, or a brown desert if its been dry. His lawn is much "better" than mine, but mine is much more resilient.

I still like the recommendations in Diana Walstads book <http://www.theaquariumwiki.com/Walstad_method>.

I've adapted them a bit for Apistogramma keeping, I use a layer of quartz sand topping, I don't use "an inch of garden soil", I use much less acidic low nutrient "greensand" woodland soil and leaf mould, and I change the water frequently (10% a day). I do keep Malaysian Trumpet Snails, but I don't deliberately buffer the water, and I find that I don't get rapid changes in pH, although it will be significantly lower at night.

cheers Darrel
 
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