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> I am guessing
> that it got introduced somehow (new plant?) and that indeed the
> conditions were favourable enough for it to spread very freely.

Maybe but it could have ridden in on another piece of of eukaryotic algae.
You would have never seen it. BGA often grows epiphytically on other algae.
You have it all over, high in the mountains, in local ponds, in everyone's
tanks. It easily and handedly gets into about every bit of water after some
time has passed. It doesn't take long. Introduction or sterilizing your
plants will not prevent this. It occurs seasonally also(when spores are
produced, GW, the same darn thing). You can try as you may, but most algae
eventually make it to your tank. BBA and some species of hair algae seem to
have trouble making the airborne jump. But even the dust can have a fair
amount of dormant algae just waiting for water. Even the fish water and the
fish and waste themselves. Even if that water look 100% clean, you cannot
see these.  

As far as calling them BGA or Cyanophyta or cyanobacteria, well the
literature still refers often to them in both terms and it's easier for some
folks to remember it that way and it is shorter to spell(my reason for using
Ecologist see them as algae since the function in that manner to them. A
Microbiologist(very tiny biologist, hard to notice or see them) would
certainly lean towards the bacterial idea, while an evolutionist might
consider them something in between prokaryotes and eukaryotes, since they
have starch, stacked thykaloids in some ssp, Chl a and b in some ssp, Carbon
fixing via the Calvin cycle etc.....
So there's three different answers. Who's right then?

I'll leave that to ye who wants to yell loudest. That issue make no
difference nor means anything at the of the day as long as folks know what
the thing is.  
Most treat it as the bacterial code rather than the old botanical code these
> I don't doubt that there are other approaches to the problem.  I
> described the approach I used.  I don't use CO2 in this tank and don't
> plan to.

There are many ways around algae and almost never just one, if you don't use
CO2 this applies also. I like to use everything, not just one thing to
remove a problem algae. Algae generally grows slower in these tanks as does
the plants. Blackout works there also. I did this about 18 months ago on a
55 gallon of a friends. Has not come back since.
> Well...there may be more BGA lurking in this tank...but there may not.
> Since BGA is a bacteria, not an algae, that's why it definitely does
> respond to antibiotics (no voodoo here).  As I understand it, bacteria
> reproduce via the cell's DNA and RNA, not spores.

I said "spores" and it's correct although folks can confuse the word
"spore". Most folks don't know what a "hormogonium" or "Akinetes" are so I'm
not going to cause more grief there, just tell them "how" and the basics of
"why". I go off in depth too much for many folks as it is:)

"A range of cell types can also be made for dispersal which are generally
called spores but should not be confused with sexual spores in eukaryotic
organisms. Cyanobacterial spores are all produced vegetatively by cell
division processes. In cyanobacteria the genomic replication process is
called fission and must NOT be confused with mitosis. Mitosis occurs only in
eukaryotic cells!"

quoted text from  above.

Some new stuff in cyano land: "Chl D" discovered in one BGA. Cool stuff.
A good web based overview on the division. I've gone through a couple of the
orders pretty good with ID and microscope samples. And I will get more into
them later at U of F.

> This is interesting, I have heard that diatoms help with green water,
> but I hadn't heard that they help with BGA.  I'd like to hear more about
> it.  I had considered the fish waste and/or dead plant matter as a
> possible contributor, so I have been careful about this.  The fishload
> is fairly light and I remove dead leaves, etc.

After you go in and remove and scrape off all this algae and suspend all
this muck, fluffing the dirt and algae off the plants, run that mechanical
filter! Use a fine net etc. The more crap you remove from the water column
the better. Small bits and pieces are floating all over the tank. A micron
filter in the 20um or less range is going to remove most of it(20 microns
clogs fast and removes even finer particles). Diatom filters can remove many
bacteria and the particles they live on etc. It certainly can help clean up
things after a good cleaning and get the tank back on to a more inorganic
phase where you know what all is in your tank. It's just another tool if you
have handy to use against algae.
>> You might be able to kill BGA with antibiotic but if the
>> cause is not corrected, all this means is that you'll get a
>> NEW algae that cannot be killed with antibiotics. Growing the
>> plants well is the only reasonable solution from everything
>> I've seen. Works every time.
> As to the issue of antibacterial resistance, that could occur if the
> antibiotic dosage were not high enough, or not long enough in duration.

No, not a new BGA, a new type of algae(eukaryotic this time) such as GW,
hair or BBA etc. If the plants are not doing that great, algae of some sort
or another will come fill in whatever was displaced.
My point is less that issue of resistance here, which is important but
simply practical $ matters, antibiotics cost $,  a little work(or alot) and
turning the lights out don't.
> I am hoping that is not the case, and I am thinking that if it were the
> case, I would be seeing at least tiny signs of it by now.  I do know
> someone else who used erythromycin against BGA, and never had the
> problem again.
> Gitte

Under some conditions adding Nitrogen shifts the balance away from BGA(to
higher algae and plants) in some of the scientific literature. We've know
this for some time in the hobby also.

I used antibiotics a long time ago, maybe 6 years ago or so. I have never
used it since, never needed too. I've knock off more BGA issues than I can
count since. It's the same old thing time after time. CO2 or not.

Tom Barr