Last week I discovered my hairgrass was dying after being away a few short days. I do believe most of this was a result of low flow from the filter and the transition from Seachem Excel carbon to gaseous CO2 at the same time. I'm also going to up my GH a little per Somewhatshocked's suggestion to see if that will make my plants more healthy.
I've been taking water parameters daily, sometimes twice daily, to see how my bacteria are doing. Over the last week, I've added excess ammonia and watched as ammonia rose, then nitrites rose, and then by the next morning, everything was back to zero ppm. My tank is fully cycled. Everything except nitrates always zeros out. I am noticing that after dosing fertz, my nitrates are rising too high, so I'm going to be cutting my dosage in half going forward, and I'll be closely monitoring that for the next week or so.
Because of my tinkering with the CO2, I've caused some fluctuations, and that caused some algae. I cleaned up some of it manually, and I added two otos to help things along. After purchasing the otos, I began a 1 drip per second acclimation process, and after about 5 hours, I transferred them to my tank. When I purchased them, they were pale grey, almost translucent. Now, they are dark brown with deep black banding. They began feeding almost immediately. Both of these otos won't remain in my tank. It's just too small. One will likely remain and the other transferred to my son's tank or to a future tank after the heavy cleanup has occurred. They do seem to like to stay together, at least in this early stage of being transferred to new surroundings. You can see one on the right hand corner of my tank, below.
The hairgrass is recovering somewhat, but still experience some die-off in other sections. Now that everything is stabilizing in the tank, especially the CO2, I'm hoping for a full recovery and lush carpeting from here out. I trimmed some of the new growth on the hemianthus glomeratus and planted it more heavily behind the rocks for what I hope will become a very thick bush effect. Most of that planting is hidden from view at the moment, but will soon rise above the rock. I removed one crypt behind the right main rock.
In week 6, I showed the homemade bamboo diffuser I constructed. It worked amazingly well. Just before leaving town, I constructed a homemade bubble counter. I thought it did a great job, as well. This bubble counter is made from a Paul Prudhomme's Blackened Redfish Seasoning bottle. I drilled two small holes in the lid and stretched some airline into the holes. No sealant was required.
Since returning, I setup all of the glassware I had ordered from e Bay. I installed some mini airline tubing to my nano diffuser and made a curved hook out of rigid airline tubing by heating the rigid tubing with a hair dryer and shaping it around a dowel. This prevents kinking of the airline as it wraps over the top edge of the aquarium.
Here is the new glass check valve and bubble counter. It barely fits on the side of my shallow tank. I had just performed a water change, so the water is a little cloudy.
My CO2 tank is a 5 LB tank from Amazon. When it arrived, it was labeled as a Kegco tank. I might polish my tank and remove that lettering. I'm using an Aquatek CO2 regulator with this, and have found it to be very reliable and the needle valve easily adjustable and it stays in the position I set. I am currently running CO2 at 1 BPS.
Here is the most recent shot of the tank. You can see the nano diffuser on the left and if you look closely, you can see my glass drop checker on the right. I have the glass globe above the water line to reduce its presence in my tank, since my tank is so small. Only the mouth of the drop checker rests below the water line. One oto is eating algae in the bottom right corner of the tank.
After some additional growth from the HG and the GH adjustment, I will order some Boraras brigittae.