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Re:BBA again

>Date: Tue, 23 Nov 1999 11:43:43 EST
>From: Piabinha at aol_com
>Subject: phosphorus/phosphates, black brush (hairy) algae
>i had inquired about eliminating this pest from one of my tanks.  it dawned 
>on me that it is the only tank that has this problem and it is also my only 
>tank that has a large chunk of driftwood.  i had thought, maybe taht is the 
>problem.  some of you wrote back to say it probably is not the source of 
>excess phosphates.  
>i don't use CO2 injection.  it is a low-tech tank, as all of mine are.  from 
>what roger and others have posted, i can see that there are some problems: 
>our water is soft and acidic, the tank used to have a forest of java fern 
>growing on this piece of wood, now it's been mostly decimated by the BBA.  
>the other plants in the tank are 3 huge swords.  recently it is being 
>overtaken by giant vals (there are at least 6 of them), a large Cryp. 
>balansae and a Nymphaea, al recent additions.  it has had a large explosion 
>of water lettuce, which has now gone through some decline.  i don't test my 
>water, although a friend had taken a sample home and tested and it came out 
>that it was overloaded with phosphates.  he gave me some phosguard to use and 
>it doesn't seem to have made a dent in the problem. 

P remover won't do much for you. Neither will lots of slower growing plants.
How's your fish load? And your NO3? I bet it's high and your one fast
grower, Water lettuce, is growing fast right? Why would this plant be
growing so fast? And now it's backed off right? So it had to get the
nutrients from somewhere and now it's sucked them all out the plant is
slowing down. No CO2 right? Water lettuce doesn't have to worry about no CO2
being a floater and all.
But now you also have the BBA which won't go away unless you do something
about it, like the SAE's, Mechanically clean it off everything or bleach the
plants a little. Ever so fun<g>. 
Sounds like things were going along fine and then perhaps something went
overboard and messed it up. Could have been a change in fish loads, feeding
too much,
etc. or something that might cause a shift in the tank's balance like an
explosive plant growth that depleted all the nutrients. The Vals growing
does sound like a lack CO2( they tend to do very well in low tech tanks
without CO2) which certainly helps BBA. Or perhaps now there's some
nutrients again for the plants to grow. The BBA is tough and doesn't give up
unless you do something to kill it off some.
Low tech tanks need balance as well. Swords are monster nutrient sponges. At
a certain point, without CO2, things will hit a breaking point that will
cause this (or something else.....  likely worse) to happen. Often you can
go for years without anything going wrong too. They (low tech tanks) don't
drive the growth rates as fast therefore there's less chance in general of
problems happening from this.

>i'm still puzzled as to why it only happens in this tank.  i'll reduce 
>feeding (although i generally feed all my tanks 5-6 times a WEEK).  i tend to 
>think i don't overfeed them.  i'm puzzled as to why the explosive growth of 
>the vals have not cut down on the BBA.  my amazon swords used to grow a lot 
>and even bloomed and produced plantlets.  now they are just huge and don't 
>grow much bigger, although their plantlets have not reached the mother 
>plant's proportions.   this tank produces a lot of plant waste, as the plants 
>shed lots of parts taht are attacked by the algae, and it's an uphill battle 
>to keep it clean.  i know that this rotting vegetation only adds to the 

Not enough/not stable CO2 and High fish loads are the main BBA causes.
Correcting conditions is only half the job though. Removing it after it's
there, is a big job also. This needs to be done also. Reduced feedings will
help slow *new* growth but the growth that's there will not just die by
Harass the BBA as much as your willing too.
Different tanks maintained in an almost identical manner often will do this.
One good tank and another bad tank. Just the difference in types of plants
alone between one tank and another can cause problems if they are both
maintained in a similar manner. A lack of a stable CO2 supply for the plants
will cause problems too. Do the Ph test at night and morning to see what the
CO2 is doing. Clean the tank, add SAE's, keep an eye on any BBA coming back,
consider CO2/lower feedings/less fish.
Hope this helps or points you in the right direction(s). Go ahead and buy a
NO3 test kit and a ph moniter or test kit. Buy a good one too. These are two
problem solvers and are worth the money in the long run.
Tom Barr