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Red Algae/BBA - An Update

Happi

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Hi @Happi & @dw1305

Yes, my mistake entirely! Darrel has hit the nail on the head. Try as I might, all that my eyes and brain were 'seeing' was a terrestrial lawn. o_O:rolleyes::arghh:

JPC
this is a good thing, because that mean my aquarium water must be crystal clear. the ADA glass also adds to the confusion.
 

jaypeecee

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Not sure who suggested that the solution to BBA was to increase and stabilize the CO2 but that is definitely over-simplistic.
Hi @Hanuman

In another post, I questioned this notion of stabilizing the CO2. I'm not sure to what extent this is possible. What happens at night and the following morning? Firstly, CO2 is switched OFF, then lights fade OFF. And then, the following morning, this is reversed. That's hardly stable CO2, is it? And, pH will also fluctuate in response to this. Or, am I overlooking something?

JPC
 

jaypeecee

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Hi @Happi

In Red Algae/BBA - An Update, (third paragraph) it talks about nitrifying bacteria not being able to break down organic matter. It's my understanding that nitrifying bacteria, being autotrophic, don't consume organic matter. This is a job for the heterotrophic bacteria, isn't it?

JPC
 

Hanuman

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Hi @Hanuman

In another post, I questioned this notion of stabilizing the CO2. I'm not sure to what extent this is possible. What happens at night and the following morning? Firstly, CO2 is switched OFF, then lights fade OFF. And then, the following morning, this is reversed. That's hardly stable CO2, is it? And, pH will also fluctuate in response to this. Or, am I overlooking something?

JPC
When we are talking about CO2 fluctuations we are more specifically referring to fluctuations within the photo period, not necessarily from one day to the other as plants/algae only use CO2 when lights are on. Obviously if CO2 fluctuates from one day to the other where CO2 content during the photo period differs from one day to the next then that is also not good as plants need to adapt and can't figure out what the deal is. If CO2 dips during photo period then goes up again, in other words CO2 content in water is not stable, plants also suffer and algae takes advantage of that situation. That's what fluctuation means to me.

One should focus on plant health and stability, short, medium and long term. Do that and algae becomes a dream of the past OR one can keep trying to find reasons to why this algae or the other is appearing and trying to find the solution, but at the end it will all end up in the same solution. Stability. This applies to CO2, light, organics, ferts etc etc. So CO2 stability is one big piece of the puzzle but it definitely isn't the only one when it comes to BBA. What I say sounds pretty general and basic but is not always easy to keep a system stable in a closed and small environment like a tank.

In my experience BBA proliferation can start at any stage of the tank life. If at the beginning then it means something is really out of wack. Most commonly though it starts becoming more prominent when the tank has a certain age and organics have had enough time to accumulate over time. That's why consistent maintenance will keep BBA away while keeping all other parameters in check and stable. CO2+organics = catalysts.

Here is a good explanation about CO2 stability/fluctuation:
 
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jaypeecee

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Hi @Hanuman

When we are talking about CO2 fluctuations we are more specifically referring to fluctuations within the photo period, not necessarily from one day to the other as plants/algae only use CO2 when lights are on.
Obviously, I'm aware that plants/algae can only use DIC* for photosynthesis when lights are on. Is it aquatics hobbyists' experience that fluctuating CO2 levels do contribute to the growth of BBA? Perhaps one of the root causes of BBA growth is not fluctuating CO2 levels per se but fluctuating pH? And if pH fluctuates, that may cause different forms of DIC* to be available in the water column, i.e. CO2/bicarbonate/carbonate. Dependent on BBA's preferred form of DIC*, perhaps pH is fluctuating around the pH8 mark? See below:


* DIC = Dissolved Inorganic Carbon

JPC
 
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Hanuman

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Is it aquatics hobbyists' experience that fluctuating CO2 levels do contribute to the growth of BBA?
I think it's not specifically addressed to BBA but to most problems that hobbyist experience. Fluctuating CO2 or whatever the parameters I guess is no bueno.

Perhaps one of the root causes of BBA growth is not fluctuating CO2 levels per se but fluctuating pH? And if pH fluctuates, that may cause different forms of DIC to be available in the water column, i.e. CO2/bicarbonate/carbonate. As BBA seems to prefer free CO2, perhaps pH is fluctuating around the pH8 mark?
Honestly, that's beyond my knowledge. The experts here can probably answer that. I was simply addressing the concept of fluctuation. It could very well be PH, although my instinct tells me it's the CO2 since that is the element that plants need, not PH. If the supply is constantly swinging plants can't properly function and start "degrading" and that is when algae see the opportunity. But again, just guessing.
 
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jaypeecee

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Dependent on BBA's preferred form of DIC*, perhaps pH is fluctuating around the pH8 mark?
Hi Folks,

The species Audouinella is the most common in our tanks, according to the literature. In a copy of The Barr Report*, the author concludes "Results from pH experiments showed best photosynthetic performances under pH 8.5 or 6.5 for all but one species**, indicating higher affinity for inorganic carbon as bicarbonate or indistinct use of bicarbonate and free carbon dioxide". Thus, from a pH perspective, it looks as if any BBA in our tanks will grow most rapidly at a water column pH of around 8. As for pH fluctuations, the magnitude of these will depend on water alkalinity/KH and CO2 injection rate.

* Volume 3, Issue 3
** I think the exception may be Compsopogon (Staghorn)

JPC
 
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Yugang

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Hong Kong
Over the past months I have been experimenting and learning about the CO2 Spray Bar, and accepted that my tank (not my fish or shrimps) would suffer to some extent. My tank has seen pH drops anywhere between 1.0 and 1.7 and has been quite the opposite of the CO2 stability that we usually aim for.

I almost deserve an outbreak of BBA. It did not come.

Understanding what causes BBA should be demonstrated by minimizing BBA while doing the right thing as well as creating a BBA farm doing the opposite. It makes me think if my assumptions (based on reading from experts) have been wrong.

One tank is not a scientific experiment, and I am an imperfect observer, but I share my own sense of what is happening in my virtually BBA free tank.
  • It is well known that plants need to adjust to CO2 levels (Rubisco), but in the tough testing conditions in my tank some plants suffer so much that old leaves die off and some plants only survive by fresh new growth.
  • Some plants seem more sensitive to CO2 instability than others. 90% of annubias leaves are in bad health, some new leaves hopefully save the plants. Wallichi stunts, only recovers through new side shoots. Higrophila Difformis and Staurogyne Repens seem more or less fine.
  • While I have been very rough on CO2, I kept a good maintenance with regular cleaning and removal of unhealthy plant material. Not too many fish for my tank size, 60% or more weekly WC, and good flow. My guess is that this has been the key to keeping BBA still under control.
This is nothing more than anecdotal evidence, but it does raise the question whether it is CO2 instability that directly triggers BBA or rather the suffering plants, possibly releasing organics, that cause BBA in an indirect chain reaction. My experience also suggests that when other conditions are favourable, one can get away with quite some CO2 instability before BBA breaks out.
 
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