I've been meaning to start one of these journals since December 2012 when I started my first planted tank, never really got around to it. It started with one then I was stricken by mts and now I have 3 planted tanks an emersed setup, and a girlfriend still thankfully
Let me start by apologizing for the poor photography, water spots, co2 bubbles etc., all my pics are full of them
So it started in feb 2013 when I found this on cl for $40, I was mostly interested in the filter, but decided to use the tank
Tried some derimming, it came out pretty sloppy but good enough for me, and much better than leaving the old black rim. Enough hard water haze to scrape and dose calcium for a year.........hours, clr and several razor blades got the worst of it
In my ignorance I neglected to do any real research on dirt at this time. Unfortunately I forgot to take pics, but you would laugh at the ridiculous amount of topsoil, peat moss, kitty litter, sand, organic fertilizer and such I dumped in there, it was about 4-5" deep before
the cap which was 3" of floramax! Yikes
some serious stink emanated from this tank from that major mistake.
Here it is after the first fill, couple cfls at the time
I began daily substrate poking and smelled some smells, it was definitely anaerobic, maybe even anoxic it was so deep. The plants didn't do as bad as I was expecting however, in fact they did ok
Then I got the diatoms....bad. I had this happen in my first tank just awhile ago at the time, and they went away on their own after 2-3 weeks, the more I researched the more I would hear: "Oh diatoms are just common in new setups, they go away after awhile on their own" So I ran with that theory.....1 month......2.....3.......4 months later I still had diatoms
This was becoming a serious problem, smothering everything choking out the light. I figured it was due to the excessive amounts of substrate ingredients I dumped in, but I nearly shut the tank down because I just couldn't keep up. I thought of algae eaters but didn't want livestock as the tank seemed to be dangerous. Around this time I read diatoms can sometimes be related to low light, I figured sounds like bs but might as well try, so I found a 24" hagen glo t5ho for $20, not bad. About a week or two later the diatoms were turning white! I can't attribute this to the light change cause I also changed who knows what else, but I can't deny the apparent correlation either. Maybe it was more from lack of photosynthetic activity from the plants that allowed the diatoms a foothold? Just not sure, here are some diatoms for your enjoyment if anyone made their way through this jambled paragraph
Everything was good for awhile,
ordered some gla ferts to replace the ghetto stuff I had been using: Hi-yield stump remover, fleet enema, potassium chloride, epsom salts, dabbled with calcium chloride ice melter, and flourish comprehensive. This stuff worked sort of, but I would always think of the salt in the fleet and the excessive amount of chloride I was adding. If for no other reason than peace of mind, I prefer the "real" ferts from gla, even though it is more expensive, for example I bought a lifetime supply of kcl for $20, whereas I got about 1/2-1 year or so of k2so4 for around $15 after shipping
As time wore on, the substrate settled down, the plants began doing better for the most part, I got some otos and a betta. I am still struggling with some algae and poor growth from a. reineckii, but it's only been about 2-3 weeks since I switched to gla ferts, so I am hoping to see improvement.