Took a trip to Maspeth and went to Awisco
welding supply today. Spent $16 to refill the 5lb co2 tank after the leaks that I had been experiencing from the improperly installed brass fittings I connected to the solenoid. A while ago I had traded the aluminum tank that I used to own for one of their steel ones. I'm glad I did. The entire process is very easy and simply cost effective for a tank that will last me a long time (if installed correctly). I go there and swap out their empty tank with one of their filled ones. No bother having to get the tank tested and I like the weight of the steel tanks. I was having some difficulty getting a tight seal when attaching the regulator to the tank today and opted to take a risk and add a little Teflon tape to the fitting. Not necessary as the tank and regulator should have a tight seal with the rubber gasket, but I was still getting leaks when I did the soap test. So I made a trip to the hardware store and picked up a 12" adjustable wrench, which really gave me some nice leverage attaching the regulator. This is the style of wrench I purchased:
Really cranked the regulator on tight. And ta-da, no leaks from the regulator connection.
I reduced the water flow in the tank yesterday. After observing the white clouds for some time, I noticed that the increase in current seamed to create more aggression from the dominate male in the group. I'm not sure if more current encourages spawning behavior, but with the current full blast, the fish seemed very agitated with each other. Just a quick note, it's not that they appeared stressed from the fast current before, it was mainly their tempo in the small tank that was stressing me out. Decreasing the current has really made a difference. I still have enough flow to spread the co2 around, and it also seems like just enough flow to encourage some nice schooling.
With my DIY bubble counter, I've reduced the co2 bps to 1 every 5 seconds (inside the larger cylinder). The DIY counter is great, however, the way that I built mine, you actually get two very different rates of bubbles: one from the check valve cylinder (as the starting point), and another from the main cylinder where the bubbles from the check valve cylinder release into the water column in the larger syringe cylinder before they make their way to the diffuser.
The otolincus is doing a wonderful job on the glass, and just started cleaning the rock. I am missing one white cloud (a jumper even with the glass lid on) however, I have no idea where it is in my apartment. I imagine that one of my cats ate it. So I currently have 6 white clouds and three cherry shrimp and one otocinclus. I am still battling diatoms on the plants, which has seemed to stunt the initial rapid growth of the HC, however, the majority of the HC is deeply rooted and many many new, tinier shoots are appearing. I dosed 2ml seachem nitrogen during a 30% water change yesterday and am feeding the white clouds 3 small flakes of food a day. When I test nitrates, they are still at zero, but hopefully the nitrate levels will increase with the recent addition of the white clouds. Thanks to all who have been following this thread. I get a lot of enjoyment from this nano tank and enjoy looking at scapes that others here have made. Once the diatoms clear I'll snap some photos of the fish...maybe even take a video. best, el g