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BBA discussion (aka the Barr/Frank wars :-)

Folks, Tom and I may have confused you with our bantering, so a little
clarification for the archives is needed:

>>> Improper CO2 levels(most often too low) are almost always the root
>>> cause for the Audouinella (BBA) in most planted tanks. You cannot
remove it
>>> by limiting a nutrient(N or P) without stunting and killing your plants.
>> I strongly disagree. In a low N,P tank with medium/low light _and_ SAEs,
>> you can eliminate visible audouinella.

Note the word "visible." I was not saying a complete cure or elimination of
the alga.

>I disagree. I've worked on many many BBA tanks. I've tried to lower the NO3
>to zero(then up to 75ppm), I've tried to lower PO4(mine sat mighty high at
>1.2ppm). Steve Dixon also tried all sorts of methods based on nutrition to
>kill it(ran the ranges of NO3 and PO4 as well all the way up and all the way
>down).  We both failed to get rid of it and addressed this issue carefully
>(he has soft water, I have moderately hard, we both used good Lamott or Hach
>test kits and pH monitors).

I have been there and done that too. And for a much longer time :-)  
Note that my statement above included the use of SAEs

 He still had BBA till he tried raising of CO2.
>He had SAE's removed. So did I. Again (to use your own logic against you:))
>not _everyone_ has SAE's or can get them.
>But a simple increase from the old recommendation of 15ppm(which a fair
>amount of testing error of the user is included here) to a 20-30ppm range
>throughout the day has "cured" all the ones I have personally gone in and
>fixed and they remain free of BBA today. Many of the German suggestions also
>point to virtually no problems with BBA when CO2 is properly used.
>Many of my BBA issues centered around lack of CO2 from the DIY yeast. MY
>clients had gas. They never had BBA even though I cleaned their tank 4 or 6
>times less than mine and spent much more time fussing over the details.
>It was poor CO2 in every case I've ever seen and dealt with.

Tom is making a different and important point. That CO2 can be an important
part of the solution. However, not every BBA tank can easily have CO2
injection. [I keep 12 planted tanks...more without water for emersed
growth. I only have CO2 on 4 aquaria] I think it is a safe bet that some of
us keep a least one planted tank without CO2. Let's not make CO2 a
requirment or we will have to form a new email list. :-)

>BBA is persistent. Even after you correct the conditions it hangs on in many
>instances. So when you do test the CO2 it might seem fine but at some point
>it was not and this allowed the BBA to establish and grow as these fluxes in
>poor CO2 occurred.
>Steve had some on rocks and placed them outside in air for months and placed
>them back into his tank and the damn stuff hung on even growing a tad.
>It has to be removed in some cases by trimming off the infected part or
>scrubbing. I've watched it turn white and drop off a number of times by
>increasing CO2. It stops growing when the CO2 is elevated. Whether it's the
>CO2 or the DO that is a by product, I am not sure. It's difficult to
>separate without removing the plants.

Yes BBA is persistent. I have treated tanks with 0.5 ppm copper only to
find that the sensitive BBA returned a year later. I have one non-CO2 tank
where BBA only appears on the spray bar where the SAEs dont seem to want or
are able to eat it. I have also seen the BBA become more VISIBLE in this
same tank when the SAEs get old and lazy.  I suspect that if Steve would
let his tank go to pot (which is not possible :-), then the BBA would
reappear. Of course, some folks like the look of BBA. It can be quite
attractive on driftwood under a current.

So, folks the conclusion is that there are several methods to reduce and
even eliminate visible BBA if that is your wish. If you dont want to use
CO2, or you cant get SAEs, then algaechemicals may look appealing . Be
forewarned, however, these algicides may come back to bite you.