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Yet another beginner trying to beat BBA

Yet another beginner trying to beat BBA.  I have a 6 gal System Six Eclipse
tank that I have tried to set up for plants. I set up the tank 2 months ago.
The substrate is gravel with Laterite.  The lighting was initially the 8
watt T5 fluorescent that is standard in the hood. No CO2 initially.  Water

pH 7.6
NH4/NH3/NO2 0ppm
NO3 5-10ppm
PO4 unknown
kH 8-9 dkH
GH 15 dGH 
76 ­78 F

Needless to say BBA appeared fairly quickly.  I went looking for help and
landed here.  I set up DIY CO2 and swapped out the lighting for a
CustomSeaLife CSL22 that has a 9 watt and a 13 watt compact fluorescent
bulbs (7100K).  For a while looked as though I was winning, but things have
started going down hill once more.  This is where Iım at now.

Water changes once a week ~50%
Fe 0.25ppm
K there but not measured (added with the Fe)
pH 6.8 ­ 7.0
CO2 based on pH and kH ~25 ­ 38 ppm
NH4/NH3/NO2 0ppm
NO3 < 5ppm
PO4 0.1 ­ 0.25 ppm
kH 8 dkH
GH 11 dGH
74-76 F
Light cycle is 1.5h 9w ­ 9h 13w ­ 1.5h 9w
Flora: started with 3 guppies, now have about 20 (most still pretty small),
4 amano shrimp (which I just found out wonıt touch BBA), lotsıo MTSıs
Fauna:  Few different swords, Bacopa caroliniana, Cardamine lyrata,
Cryptocoryne wendtii, Cyperus helferi, Lilaeopsis brasiliensis, Hydrotyle
leucocephala, and a few others.

What I have noticed is that new growth is not touched by BBA.  Older leaves
that have reached full growth start to accumulate BBA.  The CO2 levels I
know are high, however the fish, shrimp and snails are doing fine.  I have
an air stone that goes on after lights out.  I would lower the CO2 but in
this small a tank with DIY itıs a little tricky to maintain.

So as I said it looked as though BBA had stalled and the plants were
winning.  Then things switched and the BBA just grew like a shot.  No change
in water chemistry, I check everything daily.  Two nights ago I removed all
the plants and did a deep gravel cleaning.  Cleared out as much BBA as
possible by hand and replanted.  I did several water changes (easy with well
water ­ no chlorine) and have had the NO3 down to 1 ppm for the last two
days.  I also cut back on Fe in the water column.  The last two days BBA has
definitely slowed, but so have the plants.  With out the Fe and NO-3 I donıt
see nearly the pearling during the day that I used to see.

Anything obvious that I am missing?  I havenıt started micro-nutrients yet,
but plan to soon.  Iım an organic chemist so I have most of the things I
need around the lab, just havenıt put them together yet.  Another plan I
have is to remove the guppies (take them back) and put in a couple of SAEıs.

I have this feeling like Iım missing something important, but canıt quite
figure out what is missing.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.

                                                               - Jason

Jason Camara
Singaram Research Group
University of California
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
email:  camara at chemistry_ucsc.edu