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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V4 #949

> Adding nitrate to my tank has always stunted BBA growth due to the fact it
> likes high phosphorus.

>Plants like both P04 and N03. Not just one. So do algae.

Yes, but plants will utilize more PO4 if there is a good measurable amount
of No3 in the tank, I've always come up roughly zero, and I know this is
true because I've verified the test kit, and if I don't dose Nitrate
regularly, alot of my plants such as jungle val and swords will be
completely red and dont change back until I add nitrate.

> This algae always loves conditions in which Nitrate
> becomes the limiting factor, since the plants no longer utilize
> if P and N is low this algae will not grow.

>I now have very low NO3 (it is my limiting nutrient) and very high PO4's.
>Why do you think the plants are not  utilizing PO4 in your example and the
>algae are? Both plants and algae use N and P. Yes, every plant and every
>algae need both of these. I can watch my PO4 levels fall quite fast in my
>tanks. Of course my CO2 levels are good. So is it the N and P thing or is
>the CO2? You have BBA, I don't. Haven't in many years. My NO3's are the
>limiting nutrient.
>But I did have BBA at one point....as bad as any on this list perhaps. It
>grew when I had high NO3's and high PO4's then too. But I did not have
>enough CO2. It took awhile to figure it out but that's when you really can
>start doing well with plants and have little algae problems and move on to
>fine tuning your nutrition of macro's and traces.
>I had BBA a long time ago and hated it.

Well, it's impossible for me to dose more co2 in the system, since it's
already 35ppm+

> I've noticed that this algae
> ONLY grows in areas where Phosphorus is quite high, especially where there
> is LOTS of deterious under the gravel, I did a test by moving a lot of the
> deterious into certain places and the algae would only grow on top of the
> gravel in those spots, once it was cleaned, it vanished.

>Could be a good substrate for growth and attachment of BBA also. I've never
>equated detritus with algae growth. I think in a well run tank detritus has
>little bearing on algae. At least if nutrients are well taken care of-
>do any test until you try out that for awhile (everything correct/in a good
>range except for one item). I can assure anyone that high P in and of
>themselves, does not equate directly to algae BBA or other types. CO2 is
>much more the issue.

I tend to not vaccuum the gravel, and try to do as less water changes as I
can since I breed gourami's in the same tank, I think I vacuumed once after
3 months or so, and water changes bi-weekly, however the water looks like a
greyish yellow and I know I dont have nutrient deficiency's cause i'm dosing
a pretty high dosage of kent, but I've never really gotten plants like java
moss to grow.

> There's no P to speak of in the tap water where I now live. A LSF has
>beautiful BBA plant display tanks. They use RO etc and I'm quite certain
>they have zero PO4's(they PO4 remover also). They seem to think that P04 =
>algae. They think I have no clue/don't know what I'm talking about etc. I
>listen to the "expert" go on and on about her great planted tank abilities
>and incredible wealth of knowledge.  I suggested that they add CO2. They
>not like that idea. I heard so many reasons why not to have it from them. I
>smiled and left. The other *good LFS* decided to add CO2 on my
>recommendation. They don't have BBA anymore. They get the weekly trimming
>for trade from my high PO4 tanks now. The other store? Arrogant, bad
>customer service, lack of knowledge etc. If you don't know just say so.
>Don't BS the customer. Very very bad thing to do. Especially when your

> The Tap is rated here at 0.06ppm PO4 on average. Pretty low. They do not
>add any to the tap here. I messed without adding any PO4 for about 3 months
>or so. I had plants that were about a 3-4 on a scale one to ten, based on
>vigor and health. I started adding progressively more and more PO4 and my
>tanks have truly bloomed up to the 9-10 range. Many species did complete
>degree turns. The CO2/K/NO3 etc were maintained in the exact same levels. I
>repeated it twice both with and without PO4 additions.
>I also did this on four different tanks for the runs.
>My old tap water had 1.12ppm PO4. Plants always did great.
>And when the plants are happy so are the fish.
>A tank full of Amano shrimps buzzing like mad all over a tank 3 hours
>the lights go off near the end of the day is neat to watch. They get
>extremely active it seems as the DO levels increase. It seems like putting
>them on speed.

Well, I'd hate to get another test kit and buy something with po4 in it, and
just start dosing :)
>>> Try to keep your pH between 7.0 and 7.2 at most and that
>>>> should take care of it.
>>> I'll raise the CO2 level. Any target to shoot for in pH? 7.0? I'm at pH
> 7.2
> I have had BBA at 7.6+ pH, as far as I can tell it doesn't benifit from

Well, there you have it in a nutshell. I said and have said for some time
that CO2 is often the cause (of many algae) ... your CO2 levels are too low.
That's the main reason you have BBA. Also why your plants are not utilizing
the PO4's. Perhaps you don't want to add CO2 or lighting.

>But if you don't want CO2 you need to try limiting iron rather than PO4.
>It's much easier to deal with and control and is needed far less than PO4
>or both algae and plants. Iron can be added to the gravel where the algae
>an't get at it and the plants can, they have roots, algae doesn't. There's
>PO4 in most Tap waters. Iron not nearly as much. Much better choice also
>since the plants need much more PO4 than iron. Plants can go quite some
>with out iron(perhaps 3 weeks) but the algae cannot(has less reserves). Not
>so for PO4. Plants suffer much faster if you limit this nutrient to zero.
>Of course the proof is in the pudding. I've done both and tested/observed
>home and elsewhere. It does work.
>I have CO2 on my tanks at home and therefore use a fair amount of water
>column iron. I keep my NO3's very low(hopefully in the 1-2ppm range).

Well, I'm showing Iron deficiency's w/ adding 2 ppm of kent fw daily,
basically colorless leaves.

> however if you do use Co2 nitrates are going to be depleted a lot more and
> leaving excess Phosphorus allowing the algae to grow.

>I have N:P in 1:1 or 2:1 ratios. N is used more than P. My tanks "eat"
> about 10 times more N and than P. My tanks are very low in N and high P
> have no algae and certainly not any BBA.
>This is certainly excess PO4's by any standards. Still think CO2 is not it?

So low or high levels of Co2 cause BBA then?

>You can tell by testing your water. In a tank with 20-30ppm of CO2 you will
>use up much more N and P than say in your CO2 limited tank. Many low or non
>CO2 tanks rise in these levels after water changes. But you can balance
>as well.  You can grow plants in a more limited manner and limit CO2 or not
>add it etc but you must also limit something, ideally iron, in the water
>column. You do not do this and you have algae. Co2 by itself is a poor
>candidate for limiting a tank. That's why so many non planted tanks have
>algae and can't grow plants well.

I dont notice to much algae at this point, just little growth and iron
defieicny's with overdosing 2ppm of iron daily, and the growth of any of the
plants does not seem very much, ie. not everything grows, no plants have
even reached the top after 2 weeks.

> Some people also claim
> that this algae likes high concentrations of Fe, but I have well over 2ppm
> Fe and as long as I regularly add nitrate, it doesn't grow,

>If you added more CO2 it wouldn't grow. Are you suggesting that adding NO3
>by itself is causing the algae to go away? So high iron, higher NO3, and
>PO4 will cause it to go away and low CO2?

As I understand it from the krib, red algae's flourish in conditions with
limited nitrates and excess phosphates not used by the plants. How much more
co2 are we talking about? I already have 35ppm.

> I also use
> Natural Sunlight instead of any artifical lighting, the bad thing about
> though is the tank doesn't look that pretty, sort of yellow, and the fish
> colors look dull and dark in the front.

>And natural sunlight? And your comparing this to CO2 enriched artificially
>lighted tanks? Natural sunlight and no CO2?

No, I'm saying that algae grows a lot differently under artificial
conditions, infact I've noticed that they grow ALOT more under artificial
conditions, atleast in my experience, and I believe this to be due to the
fact that light is never a true balance in nature.

>You can get all the N and P you need with fish load. I'd limit the Fe way
>way back. Like add *none* at all to the water column. Add iron deep in the
>gravel bed instead. Consider Diana Walstead's book. Her approach would
>better suit you I think. And it works. I know, I've done it a long time ago
>but didn't realize a number of things then. I approached again about 4-5
>years ago and used kitty litter then went to 100% flourite to see if that
>helped which it did.  A low fish load and a number of algae eaters add to
>he tank and the tank will generally do very well. I only have to clean the
>lass once every 3 months or so. That's good because I'm known not to like
>o clean glass:)

Add no iron with iron defiency's already present?

 cichlids that have bred a
   number of times(we lost count) and has natural sunlight from both sides.
iron etc is added. Some K2SO4 and fish food is all. Growth is slow but
there's only a slight glass algae that gets a wipe every month or so. We
later added 1 watt per gallon to the tank for extra lighting. The P is
rather high from the tap(around 1.2ppm.). No algae except the green spot on
the glass that slowly comes in.
Bet if you try that instead you'll have better algae control.
>>> now.
>> A low of 7.0 and a high of 7.2 if you can. SAE's will help greatly.
> I have one SAE had he's never touched the stuff, part of the problem is I
> cannot starve him, I feed my oto's zucchini and he loves it as well and my
> oto's are already starved. And sometimes he'll be sneaky and take flakes
> when I feed my other fish.

>You have one SAE in how big of a tank? You can feed your fish and
>should......but back off for awhile and see. SAE's will nibble edges and
>will eat BBA. They will also eat a few types of hair algae. If you over
>hem or give them something more tasty all the time they get lazy often.
>Otto's can last for many years, some don't make it till the next week. Buy
>20 of them and tell me how many make till next year. Are they starving or
>coming in with sensitivities?  But if you balance the food amount being fed
>they will spend most of their(SAE's) time grazing. If you give them some
>nice zuke all the time they will not graze as much. The ISO spirulina tabs
>are good and I have some algae sticks that I buy in 5 lb amounts for about
>30-35$ that are super. SAE's shrimps, otto's, any bottom feeder seems to
>really love it. I only feed once a day right at night.

The otto's have sunken bellys, and the SAE is about 3", I Feed one zucchini
once a week sometimes two, and the SAE is LAZY.
>> Watch what it does(the pH).
>> Keep good overall nutrient levels as best you can.
>> Anubias and sword etc are quite prone to BBA as they make excellent
>> substrates for this algae. Try to reduce the numbers and replace with
>> growing stem plants.

I have anachris and a bunch of others.
> I added Anachris and it only stunted the growth of BBA and killed off all
> the other algaes. BBA can last sometimes months after you correct
> conditions. Some people report taking BBA out of the water and put it back
> in after a few months and it continues to grow.

Wow, now there's another clue as to why it's the CO2.

>Why do think the Anacharis stunted the growth? What can Anacaris do that
>many other plants we keep cannot? They can use HCO3, bicarbonates. They
>don't need the CO2 like most of the plants often kept in tank to do well.
>The writing is on the wall. That number 2# sign bad CO2 levels = BBA and
>algae problems. Natural sunlight can go either way but most folks have
>problems with it. I personally never have but only done 2 tanks. With extra
>artificial lighting sunlight always seem to help more than hurt in the
>I've seen but some BGA along the front surface below the gravel line
>time to time. Winter time presents a problem with less hours etc.

Well, Anachris does use up a lot of nutrients, I had to double the dose
within 2 months.

>Add CO2 and keep good conditions, and/or bleach and trim off all the
>remaining BBA. Do everything you can to reduce it's numbers/presence in
>tank. Trim leaves, remove and bleach/HP equipment, scrub wood or add wood
>a tank with some Panaque sp pleco's.

> The amount of lighting varies greatly from day to day. If it were totally
>consistent many species of plants and algae could not exist. This variation
>allows weaker competitors such as algae in some cases and plants in others
>and a balance in between often also. Many would be out competed completely
>if this were not case. So would many species of animals/plants etc.

>It is this variation we hope to minimize and allow plants to have the
>competitive edge. CO2/lighting/nutrients. You don't have 2 of the three.

I dont have which? I have Co2, I have sunlight, and I have Kent FW.
> Replace later after the BBA has gone. I think Tom Wood
>> mentioned driftwood. It can make a great place for algae to grow but the
>> pine you have not especially good for it. Pleco's will keep most any wood
>> surface clean. Cleaning dead object(rocks, equipment etc) with bleach is
>> good idea to reduce the amount.
>> Regards,
>> Tom Barr
> I'm a firm believer in Hydrogen Peroxide.

CO2 is more important and much much easier and better as a long term
solution. HP is a good tool for slight control measures but you've done
nothing to solve your algae problem really. It'll come back. I have not had
BBA for years. I don't use HP either. Don't need too:)
But if you have BBA and you want to leave the piece of wood etc in there
this is a good method.

> I dose 15ml per 10 gallons
> directly onto the BBA and it starts bubbling and a few days later it's
> You have to spray directly over it otherwise it doesn't do any good, (not
> enough concentration if you just add it to the water) and no ill effects
> from my fish ever. I sprayed it the other day on my driftwood, and it
> bubbled so much it looks like a champagne glass.

So will your plants if you add good CO2 and balance your tank. Mine bubble
like that for about 6 hours every day. Severe pearling. BBA doesn't have a

>If you do not wish to use CO2 please pick up Diana's Book and read it. The
>iron limiting method can really work. You don't have to use soil but it
>works also. Flourite will work and so will gravel plus some iron additions
>to the gravel bed every so often.

hehe, if you only knew how much money I've spent on a single 10 gallon fish
tank... I probably could have bought a playstation 2 twice.

- Matt