What exactly causes BBA? Part 2 - Bacterial imbalance

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Light and BBA correlation in terms of trigger or cure has never held true. On one of my tanks which was around 100g I reduced the light to oneT5 of 32W for over a year and BBA grew as happily as ever. On my other latest 5f tank the light had been 45w led for probably a year before BBA appeared(at the same time as overstocking my tank)Bba is unaffected by low light....
 

zozo

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For me it is and it works every time i see BBA grow.. And the only tank i have the most (often) BBA is the high tech tank with the strongest lights. And 1 low tech with very low light has non and never had, the other low tech relatively high light for this category has little BBA.. It had more of it in the first months when plantmass was still rather low. Going down with intensity and patiently wait for plant mass to grow did it again.. All my tanks have 10 + hours of light.

Think of what makes plants grow, that's light and ferts.. Than it actualy only can work counter productive to give plants a short 6 hour periode of high light and a lot of ferts.. Not saying it doesn't work, many do it also with succes, but it is definitively not maximizing the plants life cycle. Over the day that would be 6 hours of growing time and 18 hours of doing nothing. And doing nothing is also not helping to get all into transition. If you want more plantmass in a shorter time span, than lower the intensity and double the periode.. Makes your plants grow bit slower but it will make them grow 6 hours longer. In the end you will have a lot more mass and a much larger and healthier developed rootsystem.

In here again is a variable :) and this one is what if i grow only High light demanding plants and you want them to grow compact and colorfull from the start. Than you are doomed to go with a high intensity short periode.. Tho here goes the same, the other variable is a minimum of light and a maximum of light needed, than go down in intensity to a minimum and prolong the period to a maximum and grow your needed mass. It might begin with a bit less compact, but it will be very good rooted healthy less compact mass of submersed growth. A less compact plant is not per definition an unhealthy plant as long as minimum requirments are met.. Once you have the mass, go up in intensity and shorten the periode again. And trim everything leggy back with patience and it grows back compact from a healthy large rootsystem. All plants need to go through that transition from emersed to submersed. Doing this in a short high light period is asking for and running on the edge of a BBA problem.. Which you actualy do not need to get at all..

That's my take on BBA.. :)

Hows it's said in english... 'The sun is not hurried by early risers '?
 

roadmaster

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Believe an aquarium is the only place that plant's see 10 + hour's of midday lighting be it low or high light day in ,day out..
In nature, the sun provides the light and it moves across the sky throughout the day.
Many of the plant's due to shading by other plant's,tree canopy over head,or several day's/week's of overcast skies,may only see three or four hour's of bright,midday lighting in a single day before sun moves away rather than 10 + hour's.
I can run four 54 watt T5's over my low tech for no more than eight hour's and lighting hung ten inches above the surface of the water in 300 litre tank lest algae become problematic.
I can run four 32 watt T8's for ten hour's with no issues and the bulb's re cheaper/easier to find locally.
 

zozo

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Believe an aquarium is the only place that plant's see 10 + hour's of midday lighting be it low or high light day in ,day out..
In nature, the sun provides the light and it moves across the sky throughout the day.
Many of the plant's due to shading by other plant's,tree canopy over head,or several day's/week's of overcast skies,may only see three or four hour's of bright,midday lighting in a single day before sun moves away rather than 10 + hour's.
I can run four 54 watt T5's over my low tech for no more than eight hour's and lighting hung ten inches above the surface of the water in 300 litre tank lest algae become problematic.
I can run four 32 watt T8's for ten hour's with no issues and the bulb's re cheaper/easier to find locally.
Don't forget to mention, the majority of plants we grow do not grow submersed in nature. Rather marginal and only submersed in the rainy seasons. If a plant grows submersed in nature it is mainly in places where it is unchaded in rather clear waters.. Like i see where the Calitriche grows in the local streams near my place. Where we have in summer season a few weeks of 18 hours daylight.. In a brightness our tanks lights do not come close too.
I also see this in my garden pond which gets very little shade. SO this also highly depends on where on earth you are..

Above my tanks i also do not have a full 100% for the whole periode.. It gradualy goes up and down with about 3 hours 50%, 4 hours 80% and 5 hours 100%. That's in total 12 hours of which i guess fall into the compensation point of the plants. There are a few hours more but probably to low for the plants. But my lights are burning from 8 am to after 10 pm. :)
 

zozo

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Also as a reminder because i remember it mentioned before in this BBA conclave.. It is a collectivum of several species of Rodophytha.. How many of us do know which one is in our tank? Not far fetched to think not all require the same approach.. :) The one lurking in my tanks till now is highly light sensitive.. Just as advice, you have to start somewhere..
 
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It is a collectivum of several species of Rodophytha.. How many of us do know which one is in our tank? Not far fetched to think not all require the same approach..
Well, I definitely have the type of BBA that grows in shade as well as in good light....Lowering the light surely doesn't work for me. As I said in my last tank the BBA appeared when the light was already quite low, below the compensation point for almost any plants, even the emersed peace lilies didn't grow and were slowly dying because the tank got no natural light at all....Most of the anubias which was majorly affected didn't even get direct tank light..It was in the shadow of driftwood at the bottom but this didn't stop the BBA from spreading on it...
And for me shorter period with higher intensity as opposed to long period with low intensity works better in terms of any type of algae. Either way, no approach has magically cleared bba outbreak so far. Shoot if you have a clear method with a rough time period and not just the general thinking we've read and tried numerous times..
.... I do not do drastic measures like dosing liquid carbon and removing all affected plants anymore.....I stopped that in order to figure this BBA one day....somehow....so I need to monitor it....When I set up my round "plastic bucket" recently I did not clean the plants I moved from my previous tank that were already covered in BBA on purpose....I think I am the only person that hangs on to their BBA ridden plants for experimental purposes :)....especially in a new tank...

And so far, for the last couple of months of this tank being setup, without doing anything major the BBA that was already on the leaves has not grown one bit. I saw a lot of "tuffs" falling off in the first few weeks....All I've changed with the move is very low bioload for a way bigger water volume and if I am right about organics and BBA having a direct correlation, my BBA should eventually completely die off, light or no light...as long as I keep the bioload relatively low and manage the growth of the plants well by covering their necessities...
I've seen it happen once when in one of my previous tanks and I hope to see it happen again if I am on the right track...For the last couple of weeks these same plants are receiving more light than they did in the last couple of years. Having tried the low light approach for an extensive period of time I am going in the opposite direction from what is generally advised as far as light is and BBA is concerned....
 

zozo

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Kinda reminds me of that Rachel O Reily video, with that tank full with BBA and those monster fish. She grew it by accident as she killed it all by accident. Not knowing or beter to say not reporting how she grew it, probably just happend, took advantage of it and one day without knowing how she managed it, killed it all again... This also looked like a tank with rather low light.. But she grew it and killed it.. Funny stuff.. :)
 

fablau

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In my experience in all 3 tanks it is a combination where light always is the main factor.. And if light is ample and plants are not realy healthy BBA will firstly attack the unhealthy plant parts. Unhealthy plants mainly caused by nutrient insufficiencies or just older leaves dying off..

If light is more than ample BBA will even attack hardscape.

For me this theory works in every case, got a little 25 litre tank i use as plantbin.. It is super low tech, no filter nor flow, very low light less than 9 watt led light, if i have to guess maybe 700 lumen maybe less. No ferts, no foods, very low on co2.. only cramped with plants and shrimps.. Gets a weekly 50% water change. There is a lot of melting going on in this tank but never ever grows BBA, the only algae growing in this tank is diatoms.. Even if i throw in a plant from one of my other tanks containing BBA it dies off.. So if light is low enough than the TT doesn't hold ground, than bba even doesn't grow on the unhealthy parts of a plant.

So just only saying plants not growing well is not the correct approach.. For example putting a Java fern in a very bright lit tank or any other slow grower.
It grows well and maybe even relatively fast for a java, but gets to much light and there for most likely also will start grow BBA. This algae attaches deeply into the plant cells, the longer it is on it the deeper it will eat itself into it..At one point it will start feeding off the host and make it unhealthy..

So if you think of it, it is a combination of several variables.. Light, health (ferts/co2) plant sp. with different grow characteristics put together. Next to that flow can be a additional variable with distributing ferts/co2 around..

Actualy it is very simple.. If light is ample you need ample co2 and ample ferts to make the plant do something with this light.. Next to that you need plant sp. that have grow characteristics meeting these variables. For example you can not make a Java fern grow as fast as a Rotala, if you try you are just wasting ferts, co2 and light. Maybe having a nice rotala and bba on the java fern.. When it comes to the flow variable, you might take into consideration and ask the question whats wrong here... Is it the flow or is it the wrong plant sp. in the wrong place? As light and shading in a scape is an equaly important variable here.

What makes this whole subject so illusive and dificult is because we are talking variables here. There isn't a constant number to give.. Plants grow in mass, more mass can take more of everything. Lights are expressed in watts and lumen, but still it's just an illusive number not saying very much it still is different for each tank even with the same numbers given.

Keep up the ferts and co2 and play with your ligh intensity is where you need to start.. But it takes time and patience.. Lower it with 10 or 20 % or more and prolong the period if necessary and wait several weeks maybe 2 months it's a variable and impossible to give a number.. But wait and see what happens.. You will see less BBA.. ;) and probably more plantmass. ;)

If you do it right you might come to a point where BBA is gone.. From there you might have enough plantmass gathered to go up again with the lights.. And again go easy on it and wait and see.. Go up and down like that till you find your sweetspot..
This is a very interesting and different approach. I will try what you have suggested with the hope to get rid of the last strand of BBA I have in my tanks. Thank you!
 

zozo

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And for me shorter period with higher intensity as opposed to long period with low intensity works better in terms of any type of algae. Either way, no approach has magically cleared bba outbreak so far. Shoot if you have a clear method with a rough time period and not just the general thinking we've read and tried numerous times..
Interesting to read you have completely opposite experience.. Algae can be realy mysterious lifeform.. I have no idea what is going on in your tank, till now i've never met this type of bba.. For me personaly and the plants i grow the lower intensity and longer periode works like a charm with a good fert regime. As well in the high tech as low tech.. And also stopped using glut and rarely use peroxide only spray some in hard to reach corners during a water change. But as said it all hangs together with many different variables and it's certainly the type of plants you grow wil determine the light intensity you need to get the required healthy plantmass. I do not grow anything realy advanced so i have no need for a bomshell of light above the tank.. And can only say as said above in the 3 tanks i have the 1 tank with the lowest light is absolutely bba free, the other 2 have it.. And i switch plants around constantly and just can't get bba in that 1 tank even if i put it in there it goes away.

I have the same issue right now with some clado, it was growing and carpeting on several pieces of hardscape in the low tech and i kinda liked it. And though just let it grow.. And for what ever reason i've seen it dissapear again and have very little left.. And i have no clue what has changed to make it go away..

Here they are happily together, some BBA and Clado. :) That's all the clado i have left..
DSCF8010.jpg
 
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AndyMcD

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Looks like another "how to get rid of BBA" thread is dead with no outcome

14 months after posting this suggestion, I'm still convinced that preventing an increased and established population of heterotrophic bacteria is the way to control BBA.

However, without a lottery win there is no way to prove through experiments that this is the cause.

I do have something else to add to support this idea - quorum sensing. We should perhaps be adding garlic and ginseng to aquariums.

I think we all agree that heterotrophic bacteria play a role in the nitrogen cycle, breaking down proteins into amino acids and ammonia. Note well, algae contains a higher proportion of protein (Nitrogen) to plants, meaning that the C/N ratio is much lower for algae vs plants, due to algae's higher nitrogen content. Algae has more to benefit from free nitrogen compounds than plants.

Unlike plants, Algae (rhodophytes) make use of phycobiliproteins, to convert light energy through photosynthesis. A mix of these different types of light sensitive proteins may help to explain why there is a difference in BBA's response to light, in comparison to plants and different species of BBA.

Heterotrophic bacteria also play a role in the phosphorous cycle, releasing phosphorous compounds back into the environment, essential for photosynthesis (ATP).

In addition to nitrogen and phosphorous compounds, heterotrophic bacteria also provide some algae with vitamins that they are unable to produce themselves (vitamin allelopathy), e.g. Vitamin B12 (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0734975015300586). There is a proven symbiotic link between bacteria and some types of algae, vitamins are provided in return for fixed carbon.

What has been lacking from this proposal is how a definite triggered response could happen due to changes in the environment. If there is an increase in organics, why is there a sudden outbreak of BBA? Not only could an increasing population of heterotrophic bacteria improve the environment for the BBA, the bacteria may also be able to signal to the algae that the conditions have improved that may trigger a response.

It has been found that bacteria release pheromones or autoinducers to signal to each other once the population reaches a certain density. This is quorum sensing. In this way, populations of bacteria can act together, in response to changes in the environment. Also, it has been found that other species can sense these autoinducers and pheromones. Once an established population density of bacteria begins to act in unison, this may stimulate a response from the algae (e.g. spore germination) and the start of a bacteria / algae symbiotic relationship (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2667375/).

Quorum sensing (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quorum_sensing) "Quorum sensing is a system of stimuli and response correlated to population density. Many species of bacteria use quorum sensing to coordinate gene expression according to the density of their local population."


Garlic and ginseng experimentally block quorum sensing in Pseudomonas aeruginosa (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quorum_sensing). Pseudomonas Denitrificans (closely related?) is used in the production of Vitamin B12. Perhaps, garlic and ginseng could help block quorum sensing in an aquarium. Two plus two equals five?


For conspiracy theorists, are ADA adding garlic to their Suikei food for the benefit of the fish's appetite?

Some of the techniques people use now to control BBA will have an impact on the bacteria population density.

Water changes may remove bacteria and pheromones / autoinducers, reducing population density and perhaps reducing quorum sensing.

Removing organics will remove the bacteria's main source of food, meaning a smaller population can be supported.

Unhealthy plants may be a source of decaying plant material. Healthy plants are not and also may be better able to absorb ammonia and other nutrients, which algae need to thrive.

Glutaraldehyde (e.g. Easycarbo) is used by scientists to fix bacteria and by hospitals to kill bacteria. Addition of Glutaraldehyde, particularly in worst affected areas, could act to slow growth or kill populations of heterotrophic bacteria.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Note well, algae contains a higher proportion of protein (Nitrogen) to plants, meaning that the C/N ratio is much lower for algae vs plants, due to algae's higher nitrogen content. Algae has more to benefit from free nitrogen compounds than plants.
I'm not sure that is really a physiological difference, higher plants need to build a structural support system, and that is based on structural carbohydrates, like cellulose etc.

If you ignore that there won't be much difference between the carbon:nitrogen ratio of green algae and higher plants. Obligate aquatic plants will have a lower proportion of structural carbohydrates than land plants, because they are supported by a much denser medium (the water).
Perhaps, garlic and ginseng could help block quorum sensing in an aquarium.....For conspiracy theorists, are ADA adding garlic to their Suikei food for the benefit of the fish's appetite?
I don't know about Ginseng, but Garlic is stuffed full of <"anti-microbial sulphur compounds">, but they are fairly short lived. Allicin is formed when the <"plant is damaged">, but has a short half-life.
Glutaraldehyde (e.g. Easycarbo) is used by scientists to fix bacteria and by hospitals to kill bacteria. Addition of Glutaraldehyde, particularly in worst affected areas, could act to slow growth or kill populations of heterotrophic bacteria
Glutaraldehyde is definitely anti-microbial.

cheers Darrel
 

alto

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Glutaraldehyde is used by scientists to fix bacteria and by hospitals to kill bacteria
:confused:
Can you expand upon this?


Re garlic use in aquaria & fish foods, I'm somewhat sceptical re garlic induced hemolytic anemia in cats, dogs & horses (of course this doesn't stop pet food manufacturers from advocating garlic laced foods/treats/medicants for cats, dogs & horses :rolleyes: )
 

AndyMcD

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Can you expand upon this?
Sure. According to Wikipedia:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glutaraldehyde
"A glutaraldehyde solution of 0.1% to 1.0% concentration may be used as a biocide for system disinfection and as a preservative for long term storage."

"It kills cells quickly by crosslinking their proteins and is usually employed alone or mixed with formaldehyde[7] as the first of two fixative processes to stabilize specimens such as bacteria, plant material, and human cells."


https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fixation_(histology)
"Another popular aldehyde for fixation is glutaraldehyde. It operates in a similar way to formaldehyde by causing deformation of the alpha-helix structures in proteins...

One of the advantages of glutaraldehyde fixation is that it may offer a more rigid or tightly linked fixed product—its greater length and two aldehyde groups allow it to 'bridge' and link more distant pairs of protein molecules.

It causes rapid and irreversible changes, fixes quickly, is well suited for electron microscopy, fixes well at 4 oC, and gives best overall cytoplasmic and nuclear detail..."

Also,

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2001-115/
"Glutaraldehyde is used as a cold sterilant to disinfect and clean heat-sensitive equipment such as dialysis instruments, surgical instruments, suction bottles, bronchoscopes, endoscopes, and ear, nose, and throat instruments.

This chemical is also used as a tissue fixative in histology and pathology labs and as a hardening agent in the development of x-rays. Glutaraldehyde is a colorless, oily liquid with a pungent odor. Hospital workers use it most often in a diluted form mixed with water.

The strength of glutaraldehyde and water solutions typically ranges from 1% to 50%, but other formulations are available."

I'm also sceptical of the use of garlic. Pseudomonas Aeruginosa is a cause of infections which is why it is studied frequently, but I'm assuming is from the same family and may behave similarly to Pseudomonas Denitrificans, which is used for vitamin B12 production:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3690052/#!po=30.2083
"There are also other higher plants such as vegetables that are found to possess anti-QS properties [17]. The examples include carrot, chamomile, and water lily as well as an array of peppers that have been proven to have anti-QS activity against the luxI-gfp reporter strain. Previous research has reported that metabolites such as disulphides and trisulphides which are extracted from garlic can inhibit LuxR-based QSI in P. aeruginosa [59]. Rosmarinic acid extracted from sweet basil can decrease the expression of the elastase and protease, as well as biofilm formation in P. aeruginosa [60]."
 

AndyMcD

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Due mostly to the following paragraph, I emailed Glen Wheeler at The Marine Biological Association for his opinion on this discussion, but he didn't respond:

https://www.mba.ac.uk/fellows/gwheeler/

"Many important marine algae require vitamin B12 for growth. Eukaryotes cannot synthesise vitamin B12 and this co-factor must therefore be obtained from bacterial sources. However, only 50% of algal species require B12 and it appears B12dependence has arisen independently in many different lineages
throughout evolution. In collaboration with Prof Alison Smith (University of Cambridge), we are examining the cellular mechanisms responsible and the nature of the interaction between algae and bacteria. We have discovered that several algae species have recently lost the B12-independent isoform of methionine synthase leading to dependence on exogenous sources vitamin B12 (Helliwell et al, 2011)."
 
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Sweded

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In my experience is BBA strongly correlated to high organics.
I base that on 60 low tech aquariums of different flora and fauna. Dirty substrate and filter is the most common trigger. Too many fish, not enough water changes and gravel vac.
I can trigger BBA in a low tech aquarium with medium organics by dosing/overdosing NO3 / PMDD+P04 as well.

BBA can grow in literally the most shaded area in the tank but I have found a correlation between too much light and BBA.

Best way to combat this algae is to feed less food, clean your filters and gravel vac more often, lower light duration/intensity and buy a school of siamese algae eaters. Nothing like those fish for removing this algae.
 

Westyggx

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I've had a long battle with bad BBA outbreak i left un-attended for some time, im finally beating it by spot dosing, filter maintenance more regular and two SAE's. I'm now keeping it at bay!
 

neil frank

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Andy,
Your TAG article is also great! I fully subscribe to your thesis regarding assimilation of organic carbon (OC). Appearance of BBA in my aquaria is always a reminder that I need to clean filter sponges or remove accumulation in an old substrate. Related to your important point about greater B12 production (needed for BBA) with lower dissolved oxygen (DO) ...may similarly be increased OC assimilation and NH4 production by heterotrophs. With healthy leaves, local NH4 would be lower and O2 would be higher, partricularly when O2 saturation exits from pearling. Then BBA is not seen! I have previously reported that BBA doesn't like high DO. From your work, it seems this may be a direct consequence of the connections to OC assimilation!
 
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