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Help with BBA in planted freshwater tank

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Hello fellow fish people,

I found this store/site sometime in the past year or so and am really enjoying the forums, the YouTube videos, etc. I kept freshwater fish as a kid and have gotten back into in the past 5 years or so. Hoping for some collective advice/answers from the Aquarium Co-Op community.  

My tank is ~18 gallons rimless (with a glass top) planted freshwater tank. Last summer I had a heater go bad on me, so started over after that, with the current config now up and running ~7 months. 

My current livestock includes:

  • ~5 Cory cats
  • ~7 rainbow fish
  • 1 honey gourami
  • 1 Molly (had two others, but they died a few months ago)
  • 2 nerite snails

I do a ~33% water change each weekend. My tap water is quite hard. I buy Ro-Di at a local aquarium shop and refill my tank with 50/50 tap/Ro-Di. When I do water changes I test and record my levels. Will post a screenshot. Everything has been quite steady for a long time. 

This is my light: Finnex KLC-24A (24.5 watts) https://www.fin nex.net/planted-klc

I have it plugged into a timer. I turn it on once in the morning for 1 hour. Then I turn it on again in the afternoon. Currently that is for 9 hours, so 10 hours total per day. I started with I think 7 or 8 total hours, but was trying to get my plants to grow better (I don't inject CO2), so increased it a couple hours until my current pattern. Don't recall when I made those adjustments, but definitely at least 2-3 months ago I moved to the current 1+9 hours pattern. 

I also started using Aquarium Co-Op's Easy Green. Per my order confirm, I bought that at the end of August, so have been using that for 4.5 months. Started using one pump per water change. After maybe 3-4 weeks, changed that to 2 pumps.

I have developed what now I am able to identify at black beard algae. I have rocks and wood, so for that hardscape, I've removed them individually, scrubbed with wire brush, trying to remove as much as possible, sprayed with 3% hydrogen peroxide, let stand 5-10 minutes, then thoroughly rinsed and put back in tank. That seems to be working pretty well.

Oh yes, also, just went to aquarium shop, which suggested likely BBA came from having high phosphates. Bought a test kit, just tested and result is 0 phosphates. They suggested that cause could be either issues with my tap water (possible) or me overfeeding (I don't think this is the issue).

OK, now questions.

1) BBA on hardscape seems to be addressed, but many of my plant leaves still have it. I believe to try to eliminate, I need to put some 3% hydrogen peroxide in the water and then maybe change my lighting pattern for a few days. If so, can you provide guidance on how to do this? I don't have another tank to put my fish in for safe keeping, so I know I'll be taking a risk.

2) What do you suspect caused this in the first place? Too much light? Too much Easy Green? Which would you test first? If light, how many daily hours would you reduce it? How many days/weeks would you wait to determine results?


Thanks in advance for any/all suggestion and help! Happy to answer any Qs.











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Nice details! You might lose your mind with how much algae I have in some of my tanks. But as a fish breeder, I have other priorities.

Sounds like you’re doing the right things. I have found success with several species of fish to control it - Siamese Algae Eaters (SAEs); _female_ Florida Flagfish (Jordanella floridae); and a Clown Pleco. All might prove disruptive to your community.

You can trim affected leaves off… dose liquid carbon… but you might consider setting up a passive CO2 system. Get a ca. 50-ml. Turbidity column (not the whole kit… just a tube)…

Turn it upside down in the water, allowing water to fill it. Place it along the back somewhere inconspicuous. Attach the foot somehow to the rim. Be creative. We used black Gorilla tape on a black rim.

Get a low pressure soda stream CO2 canister, and regulator valve…



Attach a long airline to it, and carefully fill the inverted 50 ml. Turbidity column once per day — only half if the tank does not absorb it all. Make sure you have some flow in the tank, but no air-stone _directly under the inverted column_.

This is a “Passive CO2 system.” Beware that it can crash your pH if you over do it. Up the tap-water buffer a bit to counteract that. CO2 diffused this way is quite accessible to normal aquarium plants.

Here is something like this being used in practice (begin at 8:00)…


Edited by Fish Folk
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