BGA Battle

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Oblio

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I continue to struggle with BGA. It has moved on and abandoned the driftwood (it's original outpost) and now covers most of the gravel substrate at the end of each week. I've reduced lighting in both intensity (60%) and duration (6hrs day, with sunset/sunrise and blue moonlight at other times). I gravel vac weekly mostly to remove the BGA, I am thinking about doing a deep clean on the gravel, at least as much as I can get before the water draws down to 25-20%. Water parameters are good: 0/0/2-5 (NH3,NO2+,NO3+) ppm. Food is a cycling variety of flakes, sinking pellets or wafers, frozen Brine Shrimp, Daphnia, and Bloodworms.

Everyone, even the Corys seems 'happy', but I'm tired of looking at BGA. Maybe it is just a visual indicator that it is time for a water change? :unsure:

Suggestions?
 

TwoTankAmin

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Blue green algae is mainly caused by excess light and ammonia. It grows extremely well in aquariums with low nitrate level. Dirty filter or substrate is usually the main reasons that cause blue green algae to grow and invade your aquarium.

BGA is not actually algae, it is cyanobacteria. You can eliminate stubborn BGA with antibiotics. Usually one or two doses does the trick. I have not had to battle BGA for many years. But in a worst case tank years back I ultimately used the "triple threat" to eliminate it. The treatment below is as extreme as one can get. Usually

1. Manually remove as much as possible and then do a big water change. Also rinse out the media in your filter. Add new floss if you use it.
2. Dose an antibiotic at the recommended dose. Maracyn or Erythromycin (EM) work well as they are the same thing.
3. Blackout the tank for several days. Cyanobacteria uses light to photosynthesize. Do not feed the fish during the blackout.

When done with the above treatment do a good vacuuming and another big water change as the dead BGA should not be left in the tank to rot.

Normally, some antibiotics can harm nitrifying bacteria. However, I have never had this problem using EM. The biofilm in which the nitrifying bacteria live offers them protections. Plus they are gram negative and EM works mostly against gram positive bacteria although they will work on a few gram negative ones. I have never lost a cycle from using EM.
 
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Oblio

Oblio

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Thanks @TwoTankAmin for the recommendations!

I knew BGA was Cyano but titled as BGA and tagged as both so others could find in the future. I'll up my filter cleaning even though it only seems to have any gunk after about a month. My tank is pretty lightly stocked so I don't think I have much ammonia (always at 0 during tests). After my next cleaning/WC I'll go dark for a few days to see if that stunts it. I really don't want to dose the tank, except as a last resort.
 

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