Long babble... skip to end for photos!
So tank finally cycled a few days ago (it almsot ahd befoer but nitrties spiked again) So I decided it was time to bring down the nitrates, which were off the charts toxic.. except apparently to the pond snails which I now think are as indestructible as roaches (unless you .. you know.. squish them) in terms of water tolerances at least. I took out the driftwood to treat for hair algae again
and started prepping for a big clean up.
I took apart the canister filter and clean all the media within the water contained in the filter. When i say clean I simply mean just agitate the bio-balls and ceramic tubes around, ring out the thread pads and agitate the charcoal bags. By the time I was done I could not see 1 inch into the canister's water it was a thick black/brown (eww) dumped that out and put everything back in. I detached the green hosing (which I really wish they're made clear or black) used my husbands cleaning rod to get all the gunk out that had built up and was getting rather unsightly with the transparent tubing. Everything went back together ok after cleaning and resealed and started up just fine. I then did a tiny water changed (6-9 gallons) and got some of the snail poo out of the substrate.
I went at the gravel like a mad woman and ended up siphon cleaning the entire bottom (after removing all plants and about 1/2 the duckweed to a spare pot). Got quite a bit out and siphon worked well getting the water level down to about 2" above the substrate (with the high walls of the "55" gallon I couldn't get more out with it. I used a plastic cup and pushed a alrge ammoung of gravel asside to get out more water so the level was about 1" above substrate (when its level). My tank had ben ever so slgihtly off center for a while so i decided to try to move the 1" to the elft taht it needed to go... 50 pounds of gravel, 20+ of glass tank and another 15-30 in water = it ain't freaking budging
. Oh well it hasn't burst yet, I can tolerate it being off center a little longer. Started re-fill with 1 4 gallon bucket of treated water at a time, and wouldn't ya know it... it was below freezing this morning so the tap was fudging freezing!
I didn't have the patience to heat 1 bucket of water at a time then add it so I left the canister off (been off since the water level started dropping with the cleaning today) and added the cold water to the tank without flow. It dropped the temp from 78 to 60F, thats a bit low!
So I grabbed the small 50 watt heater from my Evolve and threw it in the "55" to help the large heater along, I know it won't help much but its gotta do a little.. right? Well took a few hours to finish re-filling (had to run errands in between) but its full and the plants finally back in. The tank is only at 70-72 now (the plants bucket cooled down to about the same temp before they were re-added) but I'm hoping with the fitler back on and flowing it will heat up again quickly and not freeze out the BB.
I will do another water test and probably more water changes to get the nitrates down (went from blood red off the charts to red-ish orange from today's clean.... got to get it closer to yellow! If BB survived the clean and cold wc I'll be putting my Madagascar rainbowfish in to test that its all clear then in go the others!
Anyways enough talk onto photos!
first up: my origianl anubias nana (pleco ate most of it) look new leaves!! so my new nana in off to the left
New anubias nana & old java fern (wrecked by same pleco) photo bombing it. Has new leaf and.. new rhizome growth! look at the right side its growing a new tiny rhizome with tiny leaves!
above view of old nana and both new one (also with new leaves) the white speck is a duckweed... the old nana doesn't look like the new one.. I'm starting to think its actually a "petite"
Above view of new java ferns (tons of new leaves)
Close up of baby java ferns that grew from old java the pleco had devoured (this is why I don't throw out the nearly dead java, it gives me new ones!)
Tank is still a little .. cloudy from the clean and wc so no full views yet sorry.