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Re: Nuking BGA


I hesitated to respond to this letter, because I can't help with the
actual question.  Some of us have been saying for some time that it's a
bad idea to use antibiotics and other poisons to control BGA, so I
couldn't miss this opportunity to thank Forbem for confirming that all
those warnings were worthwhile.

Forbem wrote:

> Hello to everyone.I have a 65 gallon tank that had BGA about six months ago
> which I sucessfully treated with erythromycin. I guess I was not aware of the
> underlying cause that started it and it is back.I think I finally have the nutrient
> balance down now but the BGA is stll here to stay regardless.

I don't know why you think the problem was caused by a problem with the
nutrient balance.  *If* it was and *if* you fixed the nutrient-balance
problem then you should be able to thoroughly remove the BGA and it
won't come back.  You might have to remove it several times before it
stays gone but if you solved the basic problem then removing it should
be all that's left for you to do.

If you didn't solve the problem then the BGA won't go away.

> I am positive it is
> Blue-Green Algae which I know is actually a gram negative bacteria. I tried using
> the erythro. again but the bacteria are now resistant to it because I possibly did
> not complete the full dosage the first time. I also tried using hydrogen peroxide at
> different dosages for several days on a couple of occassions. I would to get rid it
> for good because it is getting worse daily. My iron is about .1, nitrate about 4.4,
> gh about 7deg., kh 4deg. I dose tropica master grow at about 25ml a week. I also
> add a little KNO3(1/4 tsp. weekly) along with Seachem's potassium supplement(14
> ml a week.). I temporarily stopped the fertilization while the problem exists.

You want the plants and green algae to be competing with the BGA.  Not
fertilizing probably doesn't help you any.

> The
> plants and fish all seem to be fine also. I do water changes every two weeks and
> change 20 gallons with reconstituted RO water(I use the seachem equilibrium, acid
> buffer and alkaline buffer).  My PH is about 6.8 controlled by automatic  CO2
> injection.

I can't imagine why you would use both the acid buffer and the alkaline
buffer at the same time.  The Seachem web site suggests for a planted
tank using Equilibrium with the alkaline buffer.  Alternatively, you
could just use oyster shells (for instance) to provide the right buffer.

I don't know why you aren't just using tap water for your tank.  There
aren't very many cases where you need to use RO water to grow plants. 
Tap water would be simpler and might even make your tank less prone to

> I have read up on using potassium permangenate on the krib and from
> the archives of this list and have purchased some online. I am not sure of duration
> of treatment though .  Because of all the warnings I have read  I know the dangers
> behind this product. I found information on the web about dosage for using 1/8
> grain to the gallon which I have been using for the past week (I figured a dosage
> of .486 grams) but the BGA has only been getting slightly better.I dose once daily
> ,diluted with R.O. water. My water now is also a little cloudy but it may be from a
> green water outbreak or the nitrifing bacteria dying also(I tested for nitrite and it
> was zero).

It sounds like you're doing almost everything you can to make the tank
as unstable as possible, and it's working.

> After I add the potassium permangenate the water only stays purple for
> a couple of hours and then goes back to being cloudy so it may be exhausting
> itself prematurely because of other organics in the tank.  I thought a product like
> that would rid the bacteria in no time. I just wanted to know if anyone could give
> me clear advice on dosage and duration of potassium permangenate in a planted
> aquarium from their own experiences. Thanks for any help.

The best thing you can do is put all the chemicals away and practice
good, simple aquarium care.  *Stop* trying to poison things and *start*
trying to grow things.

Roger Miller