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Topic Review (Newest First)
12-31-2014 06:06 PM
hypsophrys After a long accumulation like this there's definitely nothing wrong with lightly vacuuming the gravel; good call. And 10% is just a reference point.

Don't panic on the Nitrates, they will come down.

Bump: Oh, regarding floating plants. Most probably won't thrive under your light (duckweed, perhaps, but you don't want that). Pennywort might do OK. The main thing is that you don't want to over-shade the Anubias. They are low light but that's pushing it...
12-31-2014 03:33 PM
Saxtonhill Over the weekend I purchased 4 gallons of RO water at Walmart (labeled as drinking water and in small letters as Processed by Reverse Osmosis and had green caps on the jugs)

I also purchased a T8 15 watt 6500K flourescent bulb and replaced the old T8 15 watt 8000K bulb which was several years old.

Out of curiosity, I tested the RO water:

PH 6.4
Ammonia 0 PPM
Nitrite 0 PPM
Nitrate 0 PPM
GH 3
KH 3

The water parameters of the 20 Gallon High tank after water change and replacing discarded water with 2 gallons of RO water:

Temperature 74 F
TDS 643
PH 7.6/7.7
Ammonia 0 ppm
Nitrite 0 PPM
Nitrate about 50 ppm (not good...obviously it was much higher before the water change! )
GH 25
KH 14

Worried about the Nitrate level being so high after a water change, I decided to siphon out another gallon of water off the bottom to get at some debris under rocks and along edges of rocks. Water was BLACK with decomposing material. Did not want to siphon around the plants as this material is supposed to be food for the plants?

I replaced the siphoned gallon with 1 gallon of RO water. The parameters of the 20 Gallon High tank after this change are as follows

Temperature 74 F
TDS 590
PH 7.6
Ammonia 0 PPM
Nitrite 0 PPM
Nitrate 40 ppm
GH 23
KH 13

I don't want to change out any more water until next week. This was more than a 10% water change but I felt that I had to get the Nitrate level down.
I also removed the sad little red melon sword which was not doing well despite and was starting to rot.

**** Question: Should I be adding some nitrate loving plants like frogbit? Frogbit is a floater..just how big do these plants get? Anacharis? Or just more plats? I'm thinking they'd have to be low light plants that don't mind hard water.
12-29-2014 09:54 PM
hypsophrys Ok, good
12-29-2014 05:55 PM
Saxtonhill When you say "planted" the Anubias - hopefully that means attaching them to a rock?[/QUOTE]

Yes, the rhizomes are above the substrate and most are attached to rocks by a small dot of super glue.
12-28-2014 12:08 AM
hypsophrys Keep up the WCs and don't worry about dosing. Under a single T8 (very low light), you'll never need to dose fertilizers IMO.

To Kathyy's point about nitrate, WCs will help bring it down while replenishing other nutrients which might be limiting growth.

If, after another month of regular WCs, you're still having algae issues, you might consider using Flourish Excel (half dosage to begin with, daily).

It will take Anubias time to outcompete algae, but low light is to its advantage, generally speaking. With slightly more light, stem plants can help with that, but under T8 you're pretty limited.

A 6500K light will be an improvement, certainly.

When you say "planted" the Anubias - hopefully that means attaching them to a rock?
12-27-2014 04:23 PM
Saxtonhill Thanks hypsophrys and Kathyy! I really appreciate your experienced input. I sure would like to eventually keep some RC shrimp in this tank (and eventually move the neons to the 20 gallon long when it is set up and properly cycled) . Per your advice to change the water parameters slowly on the 20 gallon high aquarium, I've done about a 10% /15% water change each of the past 2 weeks. PH is hovering around 7.5. Nitrates are still on the lower side of 30ppm. I haven't dosed any plant ferts in this time frame.

Also per your advice, I'm going to get some gallon jugs RO water from Walmart's today to start mixing into the this week's water change and then test the water to see what the KH and GH values are

While at Walmart's I am going to look at new T8 florescent light bulb for the hood. I am thinking of getting a 6500K to replace the old 8000K that is presently in use?

Two weeks ago, I ordered some more anubias and the UPS man put the box into a snow bank beside out garage door. Fortunately, I was home at the time or that would have been the end of the anubias. Some of the leaves got nipped by the cold, so I floated the plants for a week and a half to see if they would revive. They all began to send out new roots, so today I trimmed off a few bad leaves and planted the anubias.

12-13-2014 06:59 PM
Originally Posted by hypsophrys View Post
Sorry to hear about your mom...

I would focus on water changes almost exclusively right now. Get your TDS and hardness matching the tap water, to start. No ferts except a couple of root tabs, for now.

Change your light bulb, and see how the plants look in a month.

You can keep RCS in your tap params, IMO. If you want to optimize it for them, you could start mixing your WC water with RO and shoot for cutting KH and GH in half.

I'd be more worried about the neons eating shrimplets than the water hardness.

Agree with the above. If the tank hasn't had water changes then go slow. I changed about 10% when I started taking care of the tank again and my male Congo tetra wasn't happy. Continued to make small changes and he perked up. Topping off likely increased the hardness of the water more than the rock dissolving. Changes in hardness can be hard on fish. Once tank hardness and tap water hardness were the same I started making bigger changes.

30ppm nitrate is fine for a planted tank. Algae is more apt to be a problem if there is too much light and/or not enough nitrate, phosphate, potassium and the minor nutrients so the plants cannot grow well.
12-13-2014 06:37 PM
hypsophrys Sorry to hear about your mom...

I would focus on water changes almost exclusively right now. Get your TDS and hardness matching the tap water, to start. No ferts except a couple of root tabs, for now.

Change your light bulb, and see how the plants look in a month.

You can keep RCS in your tap params, IMO. If you want to optimize it for them, you could start mixing your WC water with RO and shoot for cutting KH and GH in half.

I'd be more worried about the neons eating shrimplets than the water hardness.

12-13-2014 02:47 PM
Saxtonhill Kind of beginnerly questions that I have to ask:

This 20 gallon tank has been running for about 5 years. Are the high nitrate levels (about 30 ppm) a result of it being an older tank with perhaps more accumulated plant mulm/waste in the gravel?

As I continue to do 25% to 30% weekly water changes and vacuum the gravel with the hose, will the nitrates continue to go down?

Will adding more plants help reduce the nitrates?

Was I in error adding a little bit of liquid ferts (Flourish Iron and API Leaf Zone) to a tank with 30ppm nitrates and am I looking at a possible algae bloom in the future?
12-13-2014 01:08 PM
Saxtonhill This morning the 20 gallon TDS is 764, the PH is still 7.6, and the Nitrate reading is about 30 ppm, with the API test color reading about the same bright orangish red. It might be the rocks that are making the water more hard? It's mostly slate, but I do have a chunk of something the LFS called peacock rock (the striped layered rock to the left in photo below) Not sure about the nitrate reading but I will research that.

My gut reaction is to not try to change things up too much in this aquarium. The neons are active and poking through the plants looking for things to eat, they quickly come to the front of the tank to get their fish food, their colors are bright. The anubias are sending out new leaves. the algae levels are way down. The crypts look a bit more green, olive and reddish this morning. The leaves on the sad sword plant are greening up.

Going to keep the light time period to no more than 5 possibly 6 hours. Going to do small liquid fert doses every other week and if the algae increases, I'll back off on the light duration and the ferts. The bulb is an Aqueon 18 inch T8 fluorescent at 8000K. Going to do the 25 % water changes weekly.

If I want to keep shrimp, I will have to set up an aquarium with RO water and make the habitat specifically for red cherry shrimp. I purchased a 20 gallon long last year for this purpose but became very busy caring for my Mom. So maybe it is time to dust that aquarium off (it's sitting on a dresser with no water in it) and re-investigate the aspects of shrimp setups. I have a dish full of java moss and algae that will do very nicely in a shrimp tank.
12-12-2014 05:37 PM
Saxtonhill I'd like to add more root tabs to the gravel substrate and dose the water with a little Flourish Iron and API Leaf Zone. These were the ferts I was using with better success in the past. I did not add any tabs or ferts during the past 10 months.
12-12-2014 05:08 PM
Saxtonhill Today, before I did the 25% water change on the 20 gallon, I tested the water, thinking that with the top offs due to evaporation over nearly 10 months, the water was going to be pretty badly concentrated with wastes, etc. I kind of hesitated to post the results but I won't learn anything if I don't post please chime in and let me know what are your thoughts

Here are the test results before the water change:
Temperature 74 F

Used API Freshwater Master Test Kit
PH 7.8
Ammonia 0 ppm
Nitrite 0 ppm
Nitrates about 40 ppm (bright red nearly matching the hue of the 40 ppm test chip)

TDS 826

After a 25% water change: (used API water conditioner)

Temperature: 74 F
PH 7.6 (Tap water tested at 7.4)
Ammonia 0 ppm
Nitrite 0 ppm
Nitrate closer to 30 ppm (bright orange reddish color which was in hue between the 20 ppm and 40 ppm test color chip) After testing, I put a Purigen mesh bag in the HOB filter. I only rinsed out the filter pad.

TDS 732
Only did General and Carbonite Hardness test after the water change.
Used API KH & GH test kit
KH 12 drops (test kit states 8-12 drops are about 140/200 ppm)
GH 23 drops (more than 400 ppm) (test kit states 11-22 drops are about 200/400 ppm)

The Tap water is:
PH 7.4
TDS 317
KH 14 drops
GH 18 drops

I don't think I want to put any shrimp in this tank yet. Anubias apparently don't mind hard water?
12-12-2014 04:35 PM
Saxtonhill It has been 10 months since I have updated this thread, due to caring for my terminally ill Mother with in-home hospice. Sadly, my Mother passed away last summer. In this time frame, I was only able to do water changes maybe 3 times, and generally just topped off the evaporated water and fed the neons.

The neons are doing great (maybe?) I had 15 and there are 11 remaining. The plants in the tank were mainly anubias, which are doing generally OK, but the crypts slowed down considerably and did not send out very many new leaves. The Hygrophilia corymboso has been reduced to just a few floating clusters, but with lots of roots. Sadly the shrimps are no more. The java moss was loaded with hair algae, so I pulled most of that out and will try to sort the moss from the algae in a dish. I was only keeping the hood light on for about 4-5 hours a day and some days not at all, so the algae over growth isn't too bad. However, a year ago the tank's plants were so much more lush looking and now...all looks kind of sadly dormant and neglected.

Last week, I did a 25% water change (first in several months), and discovered that the temperature of the water was 68 degrees due to the heater being unplugged for some reason. It must have been unplugged for a long time. However, the neons didn't seem to be very much bothered by this low temperature. Their colors were bright blue and red and they would come to the front of the tank to be fed when I came into the room. I plugged in the heater and after a few hours the temperature gradually went up to 74 F where it has remained consistently. The neons became a bit more active, but seem pretty much the same as they were in the 68 degree water with bright colors and good appetites. I have read that they like cooler temperatures in the lower 70s, but I also feel that I was very lucky that I didn't lose many of the neons! And also very lucky that the water temperature didn't go lower as we don't heat the upstairs rooms much past 62-63 F at night in the winter.

Below is a close up of the sad looking little red melon (?) sword that I transplanted last week into the 20 gallon from the 30 gallon. It is showing much more green than last week...I put in a couple of root tabs in the vicinity...but it is still very poorly looking.

02-26-2014 07:59 AM
burr740 Nice tanks. I've enjoyed this thread :subscribed:
02-24-2014 10:37 AM
Saxtonhill The ghost shrimp are doing fine. And I added some neon tetras to the 20 gallon tank recently.

The neons are fun, perky little fish...and yes I do have an algae farm...

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