What exactly causes BBA?

Discussion in 'Algae' started by Zak Rafik, 29 Mar 2015.

  1. Zak Rafik

    Zak Rafik Member

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    The more I read about BBA, the more I'm getting lost.
    It seemed that BBA was a result of not enough Co2 or fluctuating levels of Co2, at least that's what I have read here many many times in this forum.

    But I cam across this info at http://www.gwapa.org/articles/algae/ and it states this about BBA :

    Black brush, or BBA, algae can be one of a number of specific genera of “red” algae in the Rhodophyta family. Most of the algae in this family are actually marine, but a few freshwater species exist that particularly target our planted aquariums. This algae may be black, brown, red, or green in coloration, and can quickly coat your plants and hardscape if not kept in check.

    Cause:

    • Nutrient Imbalance - potentially excess N, P, Fe. Strive for the following nutrient levels: N (10-20ppm), P (0.5-2ppm), K (10-20ppm), Ca (10-30ppm), Mg (2-5ppm), Fe (.1ppm).
    • Low pH - Neil Frank observes that African Rift tanks never have BBA. It’s believed that BBA thrives in acidic environments, which is unfortunately what most plants prefer.
    Cure:

    • Increase CO2 - This will stimulate plant growth, which should help the plants out-compete the algae for resources.
    • Excel/H202 treatment - Use a syringe to spot treat problem areas. Then manually remove when BBA turns grey/white.
    • Manual removal - Use toothbrush to remove as much as possible.
    • Bleach treatment - Dip affected hardscape items/hardy plants in a bleach/water solution using a 1:20 ratio of bleach to water. Before putting them back into the tank, make sure the item is free of bleach odor.
    • OxiClean treatment - Dip affected hardscape items in a OxiClean solution, making sure you only use the original OxiClean with no other additives.
    • Maintain proper water change/dosing schedule - weekly / bi-weekly changes.
    • Algae Crew - Siamese Algae Eaters (SAE) and Amano shrimp are known to eat this algae.
    • Copper (not recommended) - There are commercial algaecides containing copper that will kill BBA, but they will mostly likely also kill your plants.

    From the above, am I right to say that the advice to up the levels of Co2 in the tank is basically to boost the growth of plants so that they can overtake the algae in nutrient uptake?
    Its not the low Co2 but excess nutrients in the tank that actually promotes BBA?

    Anyone?
     
  2. Julian

    Julian Member

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    BBA is caused by too much light and fluctuating CO2 levels in my own experience.
     
  3. karla

    karla Member

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    The nutrient imbalance theory is likely to start an argument, in my experience. Lol.
     
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  4. kirk

    kirk Member

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    I disagree:D
     
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  5. Andy Thurston

    Andy Thurston Forum Moderator Staff Member

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  6. Colinlp

    Colinlp Member

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    Complete and utter rubbish! :mad:
     
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  7. Andy Thurston

    Andy Thurston Forum Moderator Staff Member

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    :lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:
     
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  8. kirk

    kirk Member

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    :D ;)
     
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  9. Zak Rafik

    Zak Rafik Member

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    guys what's happening here.o_O I just see smilies. :lol:
     
  10. Andy Thurston

    Andy Thurston Forum Moderator Staff Member

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    English humour
     
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  11. Marcel G

    Marcel G Guest

    If you want to know anything serious about algae, then don't ask on the aquatic forums but ask the experts (algologists) who specialize on algae. I must laugh whenever I read the matra "BBA is caused by too much light and fluctuating (or low) CO2 levels". It's nothing more than pure belief => religious belief based on no scientific data. I could show you several tanks with high light levels (100-150 µmol PAR at the substrate) and low CO2 levels (10-15 ppm), yet without any visible algae.
    BTW, BBA prefers a pH in the range of 8.5 to 6.5, so it's not true that it prefers acidic water.
     
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  12. kirk

    kirk Member

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    that's interesting, what did you learn from the algologist? or am I mistaken and you are one? It Would be great if you shared the facts proof / info as I'd like to crank my light through the roof and save some co2 and also people can throw away there twinstars.

    What is causing my algae when I turn my lights up.?
     
    Last edited: 29 Mar 2015
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  13. Julian

    Julian Member

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    I'd very much like to see these tanks, I think you should show everyone, so we might learn something constructive. Rather than listen to you boasting about your superior knowledge on the subject, and advising the OP to disregard all the users on this forum.
     
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  14. karla

    karla Member

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    I warned you...... Here it comes.
    :lol:
     
  15. Andy Thurston

    Andy Thurston Forum Moderator Staff Member

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    strange I'm starting to get it at ph 5.5/5.6, i just put it down to poor maintenance on my part when i keep my tank clean and topped up I dont get it but when I let the water level fall and dont add nutrients it comes out in force. is this going to be another low phosphates argument
    personally I think its a combination of a few factors that cause it
     
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  16. parotet

    parotet Member

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    Completely agree... But also with Marcel (aka Ardjuna), in my opinion it's more complex than just the canned answer 'too much light and poor co2'. I recognize that most of the times this fact may be behind the problem, but other management/chemistry aspect are closely related.

    Jordi
     
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  17. ourmanflint

    ourmanflint Member

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    I did an experiment a while back on one of my tanks that suffers from BBA and GBA, I read in Diane Walstads book about blue light reducing iron in substrates so made available to nasty algae. To test this I placed a colour correcting gel from Lee Filters above the tank, which cut out about 98% of blue spectrum light. The algae growth slowed significantly, and to normalise the test I removed the gel about a month ago and growth went back to previous. ie out of control.
    Cheers
    Rod
     
  18. Jose

    Jose Member

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    Ardjunas cases of high light and low co2 w/o algae is explained because low phosphates is limitting co2 demmand. If you limit growth via phosphate limititation, then the co2 demand from the plant is also very low. So the plant doesnt suffer too much at high light and algae doesnt appear.

    Yet high nutrients isnt the cause either due to the many EI tanks there are as proof for this.

    Probably low co2, non limitting phosphates (thus not limitting co2 uptake indirectly), and high light for the co2 level seems to add up as a cause, simply because this damages the plant.

    I agree with Ardjuna on one thing though. This isnt probably the place where youll find the answer for this.
     
    Last edited: 29 Mar 2015
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  19. Zak Rafik

    Zak Rafik Member

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    That's what many here tell too about bluish light encouraging algae but then again it 50% saying YES and the other 50% saying NO. Each have their valid arguments. Then its back to square one.o_O
     
  20. EnderUK

    EnderUK Member

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    pfft what has sciene ever done for us?
     

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