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[APD] Re: BGA, EM and blackouts

Jim said:

>Whenever I set up a soil substrate tank, no matter how heavily planted it
>is, within a week or two I will have a BGA outbreak.  I treat this with
>Maracyn (erythromycin).  After that, I remove the dead and dying BGA, and,
>if necessary, repeat the procedure once or twice.  Then the BGA is gone from
>that tank forever.

That is an assumption, it's not gone forever, it takes roughly 30m days or so to re-infect.
It is waiting for good conditions to bloom.

BTW, soil is loaded with BGA, you just inoculated your tank with fresh BGA.
Try this: cook/boil the soil first or let it pre soak for 2-3 weeks. 
You can also use less or use peat and mulm like I do.
You won't have to do this then. 

After about 6-12 months, there is little N coming from the soil, it'll mainly come from the fish food/waste afterwards.

>The blackout alternative is to eliminate all light from the tank for three
>to five days, then remove the dead BGA and do a water change.  That works

No, 3 day blackout is 100% effective, not 5.

>My question is, what is wrong with using the antibiotic?  To me it is
>easier, it produces tangible results in a day,
>and it works, long term.

Works in one day does it? Most all antibiotics suggest 5 days, although 3 days is good in most cases.

Long term? Is EM "active" for forever?
No, that is also an assumption you cannot justify.

>Sure, the use of an antibiotic won't be effective if the basic cause of the
>BGA outbreak isn't addressed, but that is also true of the blackout method.

But no one else suggested a caustive reason for BGA to occur when suggesting EM. I did/have.
I suggest adding KNO3 to tanks as prevention for future occurances, __no other antibiotic suggestion__ says anything about the cause or how to prevent it from coming back. They also go to say how BGA can fix atmospheric N2 which is wrong as well with respect to the species that infect our tanks. There's plenty of NO3/NH4 for them to grow and thrive. They have no need for N2 fixation. The genus Oscillatoria only fixes N2 with heterocyst, no heterocyst, no N2 fixation. This is the only species that is present in our tanks, I've looked at samples from all over the world, it's present in everyone's tanks.

So in that respect my advice and approach using the blackout method is unique and does address the long term issue.

My issue is that this method is not more wide spread. Lots of folks know about and use the antibiotics, but the blackout method is easier/as easy and cost nothing.

Yep, it's free and anyone can use it, there are places such as Europe where you cannot get antibiotics without a prescription, places where MO is difficult, LFS, cost etc. If you have a large tank, it also becomes costly.
So how do argue with FREE?
Do tell.

>Some might be concerned about the danger of creating antibiotic-resistant
>strains of BGA, but I can't find any evidence of that happening in an
>aquarium.   (Note that we all carry zillions of antibiotic-resistant
>bacteria on and in us.)

I doubt BGA will become resistant. It's very different from all the other bacteria and from all the other algae.
Adding antibiotics to our food supply, available in non prescription and folks not taking it all/full dosage will encourage resistance species.
But that is a different health/risk issue that's often confused over to this hobby about BGA. I cannot think of any better ways actually from a human health prespective to make antibiotics that we now have useless. But I just deal with plants/algae, I ain't no doc.  
>BTW, I keep fish with my plants and I have never used any medications.

Errr, yea ya do, see line #2 above. 

>  Nor do I add any other chemicals to
> my tanks to enhance fish appearance, plant growth, nor anything else except
> fish food.

So this would be a non CO2 tank using soil substrates?
As such, the growth rate is slowed down but is similar to a high growth CO2 plant tank.
Algae and plants prefer CO2, algae tend to do better at higher light. So a lower light, non CO2 tank also helps to control algae, but the balance is still similar to that of a CO2 enriched tank.

Poor NO3 will cause issues in either. 
Stop feeding your fish and see.
It takes longer to note changes than a high light CO2 enriched tank. I'm better able to tease apart relationships using a fast growth tank as well. 
I do not think you can use much of your experience to say much about BGA though. 
We really don't know the nutrient status of your tanks before, during after etc or other details.
I know where the BGA came from though(the soil). If all you add is fish food, then you are heavy on N light on P and very likely do not use CO2. 

>So, is this a Green thing, or is there something that I am missing?

No, it's a "cheap thing".
It could be a "green thing" I suppose, nothing wrong with that either. 
Church of the Cheap. 
It's Free, anyone can do it without any trip to the LFS(one person suggested that was good).
Most non CO2 folks like the method since it's cheap and easy.
Blackout goes right along with that train of thought.

If you have extra $, please it to me. "Add EM" does not tell you how to keep BGA away nor is it needed, nor does it grow plants. 

Tom Barr

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