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Topic Review (Newest First)
12-18-2014 02:19 AM
Kathyy [Jay, don't go look at the 12 long club then. Those people know how to do more with less! I have been down sizing my plants steadily. C. balansae, gone. That long leaved narrow java fern, gone. Big is out of there! I even downsized the hairgrass, E. Belem is in the tank!

Big changes. I treated myself to a new lighting fixture for Christmas. The ADA MH bulbs were 2 years old and putting out all of 100PAR at 12" on center. Rather than get new bulbs I went twenty first century with LED.

Ended up getting a 5 foot long S400 Malibu LEDzeal fixture with slightly customized spectrum, wired controller and 12' fixture to power box cord so I can run it to the ceiling and down the wall with no extension cords! Unit has fans everywhere and is aluminum finished and very slimline.

This fixture has 4 channels. The vendor suggested channel#1 - royal blue, violet and green. Channel#2 - 6000K white, #3 - deep red, red, neutral white and #4 - 7000K cool white. I thought that much too cool and changed channel #2 to 3500K and left it at that.

Nailed it! With equal percentages of each channel the color in the tank is terrific. I am running 50% of the white channels and 20% of the red and blue channels today and that is fine as well.

The controller is easy to deal with but has to be left plugged in so I really should have spent the extra to get a wireless controller. Oh well, I will deal. Every day I am planning a new variation to see what works best for me and using my DIY PAR meter from Hoppy to compare lighting level. Yesterday's top PAR of 120 with 60% whites and 10% blue/red was a bit high so at 50% whites, 20% blue/red today for instance.

My plan is to have the lights on for a long time but have a short high light period. I have already discovered I hate long ramp up/downs so not doing that for beginning and ending the day starting tomorrow.

Lucky for us I just upgraded the lighting in the house as this thing doesn't light up the room the way the MH did. It doesn't blind people sitting on the sofa either, point in its favor for sure. It does look like Christmas lights what with blue, green, violet, almost yellow and red as well as white LEDs but there isn't any disco color on the tank or floor.

First photo is 100% all channels which comes to 500PAR at the top of the tank and so not going to be happening much if at all.
Attachment 404938
All blue @50%, see how well it blends? Okay, it is 15" or so off the tank but still. Blue and red together was a horrible lavender color. Red alone was orange. Whites together were fairly nice.
Attachment 404946
Last is the current program of 50% whites and 20% blue/red. I fed the fish so flake is flying around the tank.
Attachment 404954
Here is Belem and Hygrophila Araquaia. Like the ruffle between rocks and substrate a lot but am hoping it fills out in time.
Attachment 404962
12-13-2014 12:08 AM
jay973 This will be stunning once again amazingly your 180g looks a lot bigger than mine definitely digging the scape as it matures =)
12-12-2014 11:02 PM
Kathyy The new fish went into the tank last week. Baby Congo tetras are really pretty, they flash blue but I couldn't see the anal fins to attempt to sex them, too small. Rainbow Gudgeons are awesome, tiny predators with wonderful colors. Picky eaters but I see them choosing to eat some flakes. Corydoras sterbai are dying off slowly sad to say. The baby congos vanished a couple a day until I hadn't seen any for several days. Today there were 7 baby congos in the tank! I was thinking that suspiciously plump female Congo had eaten them all. They were probably in the overflow but how and when they got out I don't know. Now I can see the anal fins, some of them are convex I think. Might be a mix of male and female.

Got new plants in the tank.
There is now a little ruffle of 'Belem' hairgrass around the bottom of the rocks. I am going to see if it will thicken up near the rocks and spread out rather than going for a solid lawn. Blyxa japonica is front and center, Hygrophila 'Araguaia' looks really great between a couple of big reddish rocks in front.

Other plants are continuing to grow well. I even topped a few Potamogeton gayi stems and replanted them. The mini pennywort is gone for good but the Brazilian looks great although I am trying to reduce its mass in favor of P. gayi and hornwort. Hornwort that is anchored on a stick at the right is serving as shade over the right hand ferns and Anubias. Working quite well and I am planning to continue this until the Java fern is showing up well. Not a fan of the pointy rock on the right but Bolbitis has decided to send a rhizome right on that sharp angle. Might be just the right plant in that spot!

Algae.
I did get the left side panel mostly cleaned off last night. It was hard to see through and was mostly gritty diatoms with some fairly soft GSA in top corners. I was even able to start cleaning off the back pane and got about half way down. Looks much nicer cleaned off. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get much GSA off the back but it was soft and wiped off quite easily, 2-4 swipes per area where doing the front pane a couple of weeks ago was hard work. I didn't do much to the front pane but I do see a couple places with some haze to them. Maybe if I do a really good job next session all will stay away the way it used to.

Diatoms are covering older Anubias leaves. I see my lonely 2 otos and ramshorn snails working hard but the leaves are still dusty brown.

There have been a few BBA tufts here and there on the wood that I have scraped off and some rocks have quite a bit of the stuff. I have been squirting 1/2 strength glut on the rocks then snails, otos and platies eat the 'cooked' BBA.

I have a really good excuse for no photos after the water change this week. All those diatoms clouded the water badly and even though water was clear inside 45 minutes the lights were going out.
12-07-2014 07:04 AM
Riceman Love the tank,sorry to see the set back but I will be watching the rebirth!
12-01-2014 11:18 PM
Kathyy Yes, my front and center Congos are hiding more now. Be a while before the new babies really show up in the tank though, they are an inch long and colorless.

Hoping to see lots of Corydoras zoomies. The two remaining Peppered Corydoras [likely born and raised in the tank] are getting frisky in spite of just being a pair so the baby C. sterbai should have a really good time in the tank.

The four black neon tetras were schooling very nicely front and center last night though. Nice to see although 4 isn't much of a school.

The patches of algae on the lower front of the tank are driving me batty. Sure hope I can get those polished off next water change.
12-01-2014 03:18 PM
rustbucket I love it. I can totally imagine sitting on that branch.
I love the big stones, I removed all my stones, I need to get more.
Only thing missing is fish, I barely see any. When you add the new fish it will look really good.
12-01-2014 03:07 AM
Kathyy Got a few photos done this evening. I did take out the floaters though before taking photos though, sorted them out and put back some of it.

Experimented with floaters when I put them back in though. Put the hornwort in then lay the pennywort stems on top. Seems to be keeping the mass from rolling, it is only spinning a little and all the stems are staying together with pretty pennywort stem tips spinning off the edges. Before the hornwort was tangling with the pennywort and looked awful.

On the full tank shot you can see the algae line on the left tank pane. That's as far as I drained the tank. I did get some more algae off the front pane and GSA isn't regrowing. Some BBA did appear but a little glut and some rubbing and it seems to be on the wane. I hope!

The P. gayii is starting to show up behind the Java Fern and is also planted on the left side of the tank behind the large crypt that is just showing its leaves above the wood - and it is still lurking in the front of the tank. It roots and then sprouts from roots so is not so easy to dislodge when it is happy!

Attachment 397362

I cannot believe I didn't realize that Anubias belonged in the left rear of the tank between those rocks! It was completely covering the large pointy rock at front left center. Soon enough it will be covering that plastic card trying to keep the gravel in place. One branch broke off and I moved it to the gap between the pointy rock and the one to its left. Now that rock has root remnants of Anubias root on it. The Bolbitis roots and rhizome look really jungly and natural though.

Attachment 397370

Attachment 397394

Can you see the tiny Java fern fronds on the right side of the tank? Some of them are actually forked but I don't think they are 'Trident'. Sad thing is I actually glued about half the remaining growth back on the wood. If you look closely at the second photo from the end you can see a fern frond with a white spot of glue on it showing no harm whatsoever after 4 days. Super gel glue isn't toxic!

The green crypt that grew too tall has been relocated to the back center and right front and looks very nice there. Hides any remaining junk on the substrate as well!

Attachment 397378

Foreground is going to be Eleocharis 'Belem'. Probably mostly on the left and left side, we will see. The tiny green bits in the front center are Staurogyne repens and these are actually rooted and growing 'well'.
Attachment 397386

Watching the fish swim through and round I realize that I have created in miniature my ideal playground! Can you imagine sitting on that thick branch and watching the world go by or playing hide and seek in the Anubias thickets?
11-29-2014 06:35 AM
Kathyy Teeny toothpick size from above Congos? Wow.. They are all fine and eating well in quarantine and I am so tempted to put them in the big tank! Just another week....

Been on track again this week and glued more ferns to wood. Baby Bolbitis are just the cutest things too. Mini ferns they are unlike the java fern which look like what they are, sprouted tips of rhizomes. Tied the stray bits of wood together so it isn't all over the tank and got more gunk out of the tank. I tried to get all the algae off the front of the tank but no luck, the bottom few inches front and center are still clouded up. I tried to reach without the stepstool, no way and no way I could go back on the stepstool as I was too tired. The pennywort I neatly planted last week decided to make a break for it during the water change so I need to pull them out trim and replant but otherwise the tank looks nice and tidy.

The main pump stopped working last Sunday so I got to spend a good hour taking it and the CO2 reactor's pump apart and cleaning them out plus rinsing out the prefilters but it is working well now.

Getting good at going on the ladder anyway. Guess that is what hobbies are for, get you moving and doing stuff! And emptying the old bank account but that is for next week's installment I hope. Hoping to find the camera and the batteries and the charger before then.
11-21-2014 02:39 PM
rustbucket I think the tank must look good despite it, this tank has always been one of my favorites.

I will say though I think young Congo's can be sexed, I have heard of it before, and had pretty good success sexing my young ones. But hopefully you'll get a good mix.

I am letting my tank grow out a bit as well, but its kind of a controlled mess (if that's possible) I liked it for a bit, but I think I may do a big trim today. I have baby bn's that I want to survive though.

I want a pic, I'll say nice things
11-21-2014 04:20 AM
Kathyy Thank you for the kind offer. I am going to experiment using just the gayi for now.

Well the tank looks like a planted tank again! No photos as the camera batteries are doubtless dead and it is over there and I am here. I have no clue as to how to take photos off my phone either. Want more excuses? I probably could come up with more.

I moved crypts from the front, cut back one of the giant Anubias nanas and placed it elsewhere, cleaned out the corners of the gayi, tiny Bolbitis and Java fern and various bits of dead stuff and glued some of the ferns back on the wood.

Some of the Java fern bits have divided leaves so I made a point of using them first on the wood. I don't think it is Trident, that seems to be gone but maybe this variation will be durable.

Pennywort stems are now visible above the hardscape as are a few gayi stems. Cut back moss is turning green. The big crypts now have leaves growing above the wood. Just now I polished most of the GSA off the front pane. All the water changes have cleared the water, it is now nicely colorless rather than yellowish.


I did buy a pack of Staurogyne repens from Petsmart and it is currently melting away and floating stems show no root growth. I can bring easy stuff back from the dead but not old PS stock apparently. I found that Marsilea stem in the hornwort AGAIN and needed to plant it upside down as it was so curled from living in the hornwort. Also found a Hydrocotyle sibthorpioides stem but so have the Congo tetras so it may not be long for this world.

Also picked up 15 tiny new Congo tetras, 12 gorgeous Sterbai Corydoras and 4 Rainbow Gudgeons that are currently in quarantine. At least there is no way the congos could be sexed and the males separated out! They are the size of the black neons in the tank!

This time round I will NOT let pennywort rule the tank!
I will remove and prune oversized plants!
11-07-2014 11:56 PM
jfynyson So sorry to hear about you getting hurt and having to watch such a beautiful tank take a back seat to real life. I'll be willing to help donate any stems I may have if they line up with your wish list.


John 14:6
Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
11-07-2014 11:29 PM
Kathyy Thank you very much. I still like the basic idea a lot too.

You wouldn't like the look of it right now! I got hurt 5 months ago and was only topping off the tank, feeding the fish and rinsing the prefilters when they clogged. An experiment of sorts let's call it. Allowed hornwort and pennywort to grow a deep layer in the tank and the plants weren't fed. No CO2 but lights still on. No fertilizer added to tank and no dechlor added to the small amount of water needed to keep the sump pumps from complaining.

Result? Anubias thrived. Crypts dealt fine but got elongated and pale in color. Stems mostly disappeared. Bits of P. gayi, feeble pennywort and happy hornwort remain. Java ferns NOT happy! Lost all leaves and trident seems to be gone. Bolbitis fronds and most rhizomes died but there are tiny new plants sunk in the bottom right of the tank same as the P. gayi. I found one bit of Marsilia floating with a couple tiny new leaves and all other ground covering plants gone. Hornwort took over the tank, pennywort was doing fine until nutrients ran out a couple months ago then turned into bare stems.

Lots of buildup of debris in right corners of the tank which turned out to be mostly dead java fern rhizomes and dead looking moss rather than mulm, sort of a surprise. Lost a lot of fish, down to ~dozen small platies, 1/2 dozen Congos and black neon tetras, 2 Corydoras, couple of otos and Ms. Bristlenose.

Since I had just been topping off the tank I assumed without actually testing that KH and GH would different than the tap water so I made 10% water changes daily for a week. Turned out to be a good idea as the Congo tetra male was looking peaked after the first few water changes, breathing rapidly with nose up. After a week I did dig out the KH test and tank and tap were the same so I am clear to doing bigger water changes now. Mr. Congo is looking fine now, I didn't mess it up too badly for him.

I pulled out the hornwort and put back all the healthy looking growth so not to mess with the plant mass of the tank too suddenly. Sorted through the debris piles and so far removed and replanted most of the P. gayi, some rooted itself through the debris! Planted the stray Marsilia. Now have lots of bare java fern rhizomes and tiny Bolbitis plants to find homes for. Will be moving the green crypts from left to somewhere else, cut back and move the extremely happy Anubias that is pushing on the front of the tank and hope the pennywort and gayi get happy soon. Pulled off dead looking moss and to my surprise it has started growing again.

BBA vanished but the plaques it forms on wood are still there. GSA stuck around. Cyano appeared especially in the hornwort thicket. I had a huge layer of cyano on the back left hand side of the tank that kept creeping towards the middle of the tank. Critters were eating it so it got all sorts of creepy holes in it. Finally got tired of watching it so wiped it off with paper towels so it was completely removed from tank. Have a couple photos on my phone but there they stay for now.

Since plant mass is much reduced I have been dosing with a lot less fertilizer so GSA is going to continue to form I think. I did wipe most off best I could this week though. I found window screen and have put it on top of the tank to screen light. Before I did anything even started changing water I did dump some N and P into the tank. Inside a week I could see tiny new java fern leaves appearing. They are now 3" long or so. The bare pennywort stems started growing new leaves but new growth is feeble with only 1" leaves. Even putting CO2 back on the tank last week hasn't perked up pennywort yet although I do see a lot of pearling going on.

Continuing plan of action? Go through the debris, toss dead stuff and glue/plant living stuff around the tank. Keep up water changes and keep feeding the plants. Move the plants mentioned, possibly buying more stems and ground covering plants. Increase Corydoras, Congo tetra numbers and probably buy a couple more pairs of platies as they have been breeding for 4 years without new blood. Oh - get up energy to get sponges out of sump and slap them around. Pretty sure they need it by now! Should be fine, I am improving daily and need to get moving.

Even before my injury I wasn't doing much in the tank. The attached photo is from February 2014 and obviously I wasn't doing a lot of pruning! That Ginger is a time sucker let me tell you!
11-07-2014 05:07 PM
jfynyson Any updates here ? I've always loved the looks of the tank...
08-07-2013 02:48 PM
jfynyson Tank is still looking great. I always love coming back to see your tank. My water parameters are very very close to yours. I'm seeing good growth (have to do bi-weekly trimming of some plants). I know you've mentioned you've had your bouts with algae. Have you ever experienced green beard algae (aka fuzz algae) ? If so what did you do ? I also have platies but I do not see them peaking at this stuff. My otos do not touch it either. DarkCobra's 1-2 punch with H2O2 & Excel do not touch this stuff either. I cannot find any info at all with regards to why I'm seeing this in the past month in my system when things were going so well. Thinking about trying black mollies as they may hit it up a bit.


I have 135gal high light (~ 80-100 PAR from LEDs at substrate) for 7 hrs (cut down from 8hrs), running about 40ppm CO2 (I titrated it), dosing EI (keeping NO3 around 30-40ppm, phos around 2-5ppm, adding potassium at same level as NO3, adding micros & Mg sulfate at same level as micros). I have good flow across the top of the water with a powerhead on each tank end(maybe too much as some plants lean side to side vs a gentle sway ???), add air stone at night, perform 50-60% WC weekly.
08-07-2013 05:43 AM
Kathyy
Quote:
Originally Posted by shawnleon View Post
Love the density of the scape, everything flows nicely and feels very organic. The rocks feel appropriately sized and blend in nicely. How are the Congo tetras treating the ferns?
Thanks! I have been trying avoid total anarchy by having a stronger hardscape than I have ever put together but it is rapidly vanishing. I think I have seen a couple of fern samples taken but so far they have been able to outgrow any grazing. I love my rocks but a neighbor has a larger one just rolling around the shrubbery and am thinking of asking if he wouldn't mind rehoming that one and any others he has that aren't being used. It would be nice to have fewer and larger rocks as they just vanish under the plants. You think that looks dense, the ferns have been going nuts for the past 2 months.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rustbucket View Post
Looking so nice, and the Congos!!!!!!!!! I'll switch my plants to suit them if I have too, love these fish so much, and yours are gorgeous
They sure are gorgeous!

Quote:
Originally Posted by HD Blazingwolf View Post
very true statement
i find this very so in my 75 gallon. i have 324 watts sitting over it from a Tek fixture
i've missed a water change before... BAD idea
It is amazing what a difference they make! Last summer the tank missed maybe 2 changes and what a mess I came home to!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jfynyson View Post
Curious. Could you share what your latest tank parameters are ?

temp
pH
KH
CO2 set up & bps
NO3
PO4
Dosing frequency
etc...
temp - about 76*F but the thermometer is in the sump and hard to read!
pH - 6.2-6.4 with CO2 on, 7.6 when it turns on each day.
KH - I think it is between 3-4 but my test is really old.
CO2 - set up & bps A 20" Cerges reactor powered by a RIO 2500 on its own open loop sitting in the sump. Cannot count the bubbles per second but 10 pounds of CO2 lasts for about a month.
NO3 - varies depending on how many water changes I do, 5-10 if 75% 2x a week, 30 if 50% 1x a week
PO4 - I haven't used the test lately but it was quite high last time. Plants did not like 2x 75% water changes with the same dosing I do at 1x and 50% change. I sure did though, the water was so clear and clean and there seemed to be less algae starting up.
Dosing frequency - 3x a week NO3+P, 3x a week micros, at water change I currently only dose Mg and Ca as I ran out of K. Staurogyne repens really took off when I was using the K.

On to the photos. I have been enjoying the tank and haven't missed water changes and even took out all the stems and reorganized them but my main obsession for the past month has been my new little 19 pound dog Ginger. Working on the fat [couldn't feel any torso bones at all when she came home], no longer flea ridden [I couldn't sleep the first night because I was itchy in sympathy with the poor thing] and a spunky fun little dog. She is supposed to be about 5 years old and really looks up to 13 year old Max. Have been reading up on going slow with a new dog and have mostly resisted heavy training but she is taking a lot of my brain power lately. Simply having her stay out of the kitchen at meal prep time has been quite a lot of work as she is really good at hiding behind me without getting stepped on. She looks to be a min pin/chihuahua/pomeranian/spaniel/JRT sort of dog. Be really interesting if she is actually a large flop eared long haired 'landrace' chihuahua as I have long been interested in natural breeds.
Attachment 187673

Tank today after a 75% water change and a week's worth of growth on stems. Giving up on pennywort in the fastest water movement. That mystery stem is very stiff and doing much better in that spot. I think it is Proserpinaca palustris but a very vigorous one that isn't getting red or divided leaves in my tank.
Attachment 187697

What the tank looked like before I did the weeding out last week and another just before I rehomed the enormous narrow leaf java fern. Most of the java is now the dwarf one which isn't so dwarf anymore. I really like the way it grows but of course it needs to be pruned and I will let it grow until that wood is completely covered...........
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