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Conquering BGA

I've been on the list mostly lurking for years and have always read about
the horror stories of BGA.  A couple of weeks ago I noticed I had Blue Green
Algae.  At first I was convinced the tank would be covered in no time, and
to make it worse I was very busy with other things in my life and didn't
have time to get to it immediately.  A couple of days went by, maybe a week,
before I had a chance to address the BGA.  When I got back to it it had
really spread.

After re-reading the typical fish resources on the Internet I felt I could
easily get rid of this stuff.  Poor water quality and low nitrates keep
coming up as the most likely cause of BGA.  Well I had not changed the water
in 6 weeks or so and when I had I was lazy and only changed 2.5 gallons on a
75 gallon tank.  The low nitrate level was easy.  The last time I made a
mixture of PMDD I left out the nitrates because I had been having problems
with my nitrates getting to high.  A quick check on the nitrate levels
confirmed zero nitrates in the water.

I changed about 15 gallons and in the process I manually removed as much of
the BGA as I could.  The largest amount was covering the Java Fern I have on
a tall piece of wood (I call it my Java Tree
http://www.kutzfamily.net/photos/fish/2001_10/java3.jpg).  I took the Java
Tree completely out of the tank and used the vegetable sprayer on the
kitchen sink to easily rinse it off.  The pressure from the water sprayer
was no match for the BGA (tip for those with spouses that just don't
understand:  I waited until my wife left the house before doing this.  She
would not have allowed that nasty algae anywhere near the kitchen.)

To fix the low Nitrate level I added a small amount into the water as I was
putting fresh water back into the tank.  Then I just remade a new batch of
PMDD with half the normal nitrates.  I'll have to watch this over the next
couple of weeks and re-adjust the nitrates if needed.

From my experience the BGA seems to like to grow along the surface of the
water close to the lights.  My Java Tree had grown right up out of the water
and this is were the majority of the BGA was.  If you look at this picture I
have Java Fern on the right that is right up against the top of the tank
http://www.kutzfamily.net/photos/fish/2001_10/20011028.jpg.  After cleaning
the tank I moved the Java Fern lower on the wood so it would not stick out
of the water http://www.kutzfamily.net/photos/fish/2001_10/110801_2.jpg.

It has been a few weeks, and so far things are looking much better and no
signs of BGA.

More pictures of the tank.  http://www.kutzfamily.net/photos/fish/2001_10/