Filtration and CO2
Filtration, flow rates and patterns, bubble counts and injection techniques... This is where all the problems started and all my headaches began.
The tank started with an XP3 powering a Rex reactor at 1.5 bps, through a spraybar across the top of the left wall. This is the same setup that grew blyxa, lobelia, HC, Limnophila and others beatifully for me previously, but had mixed results with more delicate Rotalas. This time it failed spectacularly.
I'll skip all the intermediary steps I've taken the past few months, and get right to what is working
Flow rate is driven by an XP3 and a Gen-x 1000 needlewheel pump run inline. The XP3 gets an approximate 160 gph, and the pump seems to nearly double that when on, so I am guessing there is 8x turnover of the water column per hour.
The flow pattern in the tank has been vastly improved by removing the spray bar, and replacing it with a marineland output, similar to a plastic lily pipe. The output is positioned in the back left corner, at a 45 degree angle towards the front glass. This pushes the water down the front, across the foreground and back into the corners. This pattern does a much better job of pushing the current down into the plant beds than the previous set up, which seemed to just circulate around the top of the tank.
CO2 is pumped into the system just below the needlewheel pump at a rate of 3 bubbles per second. The needlewheel impeller chops the CO2 into a mist of fine bubbles that are pushed around in the current.
I'm not exactly sure why CO2 mist is more effective than dissolving the CO2, but it does seem to be. The same rate of bps through a reactor would kill all my fish, yet with this set up they are happier than ever, and my plants look healthier than I have ever seen them.
The tank is finally shaping up, but there are still a few changes in the works. Some plant species need to be moved or removed, and the middle section needs to get cleaned up. There is still some residual BBA that needs to be spot treated, and the substrate has leveled out a bit and accumulated in the foreground and needs to be removed (I am so not looking forward to this).
In additon, all my shrimp have been removed or murdered by my checkerboard, so it is time to copper the tank and kill off all the plant eating pond snails and foreground disrupting MTS
Once the MTS are gone, hopefully my UG will form a tighter carpet, otherwise I will switch to HC or maybe the mysterious microsword I have a tiny piece of will grow out.
Other than that, it is just letting the plants grow out, and hopefully soon I will have the tank I always wanted
Thanks for reading, Rupert says "Happy Holidays!"