I was kind of disappointed when I noticed the large amount of diffraction that gets in the way when trying to take close macro shots from any angle other than straight on, it makes things much more difficult. The shots in the OP were taken with a Sigma 30mm f/1.4.
I noticed this exact same thing. Even an inch to one side or the other makes a big difference.
Nitrites are back way up this morning, I'm not sure what to make of it.
That's part of the cycle. At first you just have ammonia. Then as you build bacterial colonies to eat the ammonia, the levels drop. But those bacteria give off nitrite, which is where you are now. Eventually you'll build bacterial colonies to consume the nitrite, and that'll start to drop. When that happens, you'll see nitrate usually start to rise, since that's what those bacteria convert nitrite too.
Also, since you have aquasoil, which leaches a lot of ammonia, you'll be converting ammonia to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate for a long time. As such, expect nitrate to possibly be high for quite some time once the nitirite bacteria can consume all of the nitrite that the ammonia bacteria are producing. You'll be getting nitrate in the end until the aquasoil stops leaching ammonia. Your plants will also help consume nitrate.
Thanks, I was just surprised to see the nitrite was actually consumed last night several hours after adding the Tetra Safe Start by what I assume are the bacteria that convert it to Nitrate. I'm not sure if that bacteria was overwhelmed by too much nitrite overnight or what but I only used half the bottle, I'm going to keep doing the water changes and just squirt a few ml of TSS into the filter every day until things stabilize.
photo update, 13th day. I played around a little bit with free hand macro lens, I had an SB-600 (flash) positioned above the tank bounced off a diffuser for the first two shots.
The only problem with bouncing the flash was that it created a lot of reflections.
This one I took with the flash pointing straight down in the center of the tank and shot from the end. I wasn't going to show it but in the end I thought it was kind of a neat mysterious effect.
Added some Fissidens yesterday but I didn't want to pull any of the larger rocks to attach it. I ended up gluing it in small clumps to a few of the smaller rocks in the back, it's my first time with this moss and it has pretty much turned brown overnight.
I used AnotherHobby's tip of turning off the filter for a while to allow for cleaner full tank shots and had some nice pearling. Here's a quick video of the rainbows playing in it.
Thank you! You're right about the Hydrocotyle, it's the only plant I've trimmed so far, the rotola is about due as well. The crazy ottos have been swimming a little haphazardly on the HC end of the tank and doing their best to uproot it, I turned the light up a little to try to force it down more.
Looking good! Starting to green up quite a bit. They hydrocotyle is looking great along the rocks. Don't be afraid to trim that stuff a lot to keep it out of where you don't want it — it grows like crazy.
Thanks! Just finished trimming a few things after I took those pictures, I think the hydrocotyle looks a little cramped going up the sides of the main rocks. I might keep it near the front of them and let the hairgrass take over the area on the sides. The Rotala got chopped to 1/3 height, I'm hoping it grows back a little more bushy and even.. the outside edges were getting shaded by the filter pipes. I'm going to have a heck of a time keeping the hairgrass out of the HC, so I might see how they look mixing together.