squirrelproductions' MiniBow 5 - journal - 56k warn
February 19, 2004 -After reading about a clearance sale on MiniBow 5, I called my local CostCo to check availability. I somehow convinced my wife that our 23 month-old son needed one; to be honest, I prolly miss my 75 gallon reeftank. Anyways, I scored a rose colored one for my son that night; it was either rose or orange, which was way too loud of a color.
February 22, 2004 - I picked up blue gravel, a floating thermometer and instant Cycle from Chicago Aquarium and Pond on 5028 N. Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois. This LFS is nicely kept with fair prices. I have seen other stores where the markup on items and livestock is ridiculous!
We went home and proceeded to setup the tank – putting in RO water, the gravel, the thermometer, and finally the Cycle. I plan on at least a one-week cycle. We’ll see how that goes.
February 25, 2004 - I went to the PetCo to get some fish to stock the tank. It’s been less than a week, and I’ve already caved in! My wife and son kept asking what's the point of having a tank if you don't have fish. Picked up a red cap oranda. Before everyone chimes in that the 5 gallon is way too small for a goldfish, I know. I know. I plan to move the goldfish into larger accomodations down the line -- prolly a friend's 2000+ gallon pond.
March 2, 2004 - Picked up a red lionhead. Again, I know that the 5 gallon tank is way too small for a goldfish much less two! But each fish was no more than one-inch long, and I did plan on moving them to larger accomodations down the line.
March 6, 2004 - Picked up some ludwigia, cabomba and something that I identified as Variegated Japanese Dwarf Rush from the local PetSmart.
March 9, 2004 - Improved lighting. I’ve been reading up on various message boards about how to improve the lighting on our little Mini Bow 5. I was all set to put together LED lighting as outlined in this thread. Fortuitously, I came upon this other thread which describes a simple mod to expose a second, hidden socket on the stock hood of the Mini Bow 5. The tank now has 2x11 watts of CF lighting (4.4 watts/gallon).
Here is a picture of the tank at day 16.
March 29, 2004 - Day 29 pictures. I got supplies (airline tubing, airline holders, and a check valve) for a DIY CO2 generator. I’m using a 20oz Gatorade bottle, and I’ve prepared the cap for the tubing. The caulk needs 24 hours to cure, so I’ll have to wait until tomorrow to setup the rest of the generator.
just the lionhead this time
March 30, 2004 - DIY CO2 on! I finally got all the parts necessary, and I mixed my first batch this morning. In a 20 oz Gatorade container filled almost to top with water, I mixed 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon yeast; I forgot to add the baking soda per the recipe. I used a smaller recipe since I am only dosing an AGA Mini Bow 5. Within the first thirty minutes after mixing, I was getting about 6-10 bubbles per minute.
sits on desk next to tank
I hooked up the tubing to the intake of the MiniBow5’s HOT Whisper filter. Within a couple of hours, the plants (cabomba and ludwigia) were “pearling”! Nice!
HOT filter intake
I did freak out a bit about the DIY CO2 generation as documented on this other post. I resumed dosing after I got the crushed coral on March 31. The DIY CO2 is still dosing the tank 24/7, but the output has slowed to about 1 bubble every 10 seconds, or 6 bubbles per minute. The plants are still pearling, but not as vigorously as that first week. Though, I am interested to see how long the bottle will last, I’ll prolly change the solution next week just to avoid the pH swing with lack of CO2. And now that I can see into the tank again, I can see that the plants are due for another trimming already! Both the ludwigia and the cabomba are growing like crazy! It has to be the CO2. I might have to start to supplement trace elements soon.
May 17, 2004 - It's been a while! The tank fell in disrepair and neglect. The green and brown-spot algae was everywhere! All the plants were covered with it; the growth was stunted and regressing. The cabomba was falling apart and deteriorating, and the ludwigia was caked with the algae.
So drastic times required drastic measures: complete breakdown and rebuild of the tank. On Friday, pixelcrayon dropped off a 5-gallon bucket filled with cuttings from his tank – ludwigia, vals, anubia, broadleaf and a java fern. NICE! The amazing part about the complete tank breakdown is that one of the MTS survived! All along, I thought the MTS had all perished. Talk about resilient!
I removed most of the blue gravel – except for a little island in the middle of the tank. I filled the tank with the washed fluorite to a depth of about two inches. I used the island of blue gravel in the middle so that I wouldn’t have to use up that much fluorite. This is decision that I am already starting to regret. I then filled the tank 3/4 full with the water from the bucket. I reattached the filter and waited until the next morning for the tank to clear and for the dust to settle.
On Saturday morning, I then planted the plants haphazardly, and I moved the goldfish back into the tank. It was not until pixelcrayon came by later on Saturday that he “corrected” my improper plantings e.g. anubia buried too deep, foreground plants used in background and vice versa, etc.
Fast-forward to Sunday morning, and I wake up to find that the goldfish had also done a bit of redecorating; a number of plants had been uprooted! Darned fish! I replanted the plants, but only for a short time. I then decided to use plant weights to weigh the plants down so that it would be a bit harder for the goldfish to uproot the plants.
I woke up this Monday morning to find that the fish had done more redecorating and that I need more plant weights for the other plants that I did not weigh down the first time around.
Tank with new clippings
Note the floating uprooted plants
Red Lionhead hiding
June 14, 2004 - Growing tired of the constant uprooting of the plants, the goldfish were removed from the too-small-for-goldfish-anyways-tank. We got new fish - five neon tetras! The fish came from the PetSmart in Evanston. I also refreshed the DIY CO2 generator today! I remembered to start the new solution a couple of hours before I wanted to place it in the generator.
pixelcrayon came by and gave us cuttings of star grass and red ludwigia which I aquascaped into the tank after dinner. I culled the water sprite “forest” a bit to make room for the new cuttings. pixelcrayon also brought over some Plantex CSM + B which I made into a 118ml solution using 1 teaspoon of the CSM + B. I am planning on using 1 drop per day of the CSM + B solution. The stem plants are currently disintegrating; hopefully, the refresh of the CO2 and the addition of the supplements help reverse the trend.
Check out the size of that snail!
the five new neon tetras
June 14, 2004 - Ghosts in the tank! Picked up some ghosts … shrimp, that is. I got a half-dozen ghost shrimp for $2.00 and an Otto Cat for $2.99 from Aquatic World on Lincoln (between Southport and Ashland). As hoped, the ghost shrimp are cleaning up the flake food that the remaining 4 neon tetras do not consume.