Been in "total blackout" for 2 days, BGA is hurting. Looks like it's almost cleared up. Seeing a lot of new growth on my plants. Probably a combination of ferts and beating back the algea, as well as the DIY co2.
I initially had the air intake of my powerhead spewing bubbles to give the fish oxygen, but I removed it because it was probably sapping all the co2. Anyone know the actual physics of this? Though water movement was still good (170gph), a film was appearing on the surface due to the lack of agitation. I reinstalled the HOB I was initially using in tandem with the sponge/powerhead before I rebuilt the tank with black diamond.
My snails have been suffering, and I believe it's because a lack of calcium. Their shells look brittle. Before the black diamond, I had river rocks as a substrate which probably provided a host of minerals the black diamond is not. They thrived in the tank with rocks. Therefore, when I reinstalled the HOB i took out the filter medium and threw in the river rocks. This provides some surface agitation in addition to the movement provided by the powerhead, and will hopefully correct whatever deficiency is killing my snails.
I suspect that my lack of snails is throwing my pea puffer into kill mode, as it looks like a number of my fish have bites taken out of their fins (no blackness, whiteness, or moldiness, just round bite-looking chunks out of the edges and corners). My invertebrates have mysterious disappeared too (snails/shrimp). I think the water softness and the pea puffer basically did the snails in.
Ordered a bunch of needle valves and brass parts to do a serious DIY co2 experiment:
My plan is to put a ton of solution in a large cat litter container, with a 2 liter bottle as a co2 reservoir, check valve between them. The 2 liter will have water in the bottom and an airstone to filter the co2. Between the reservoir and the diffuser will be a 60psi safety valve, 60psi gauge to measure the pressure, and then two needle valve in series, one to turn the gas on and off, the second to fine tune it. I highly doubt I will be able to produce anywhere near this pressure, or that my seals won't fail before the pop off valve is triggered. We'll find out though. My next idea is to fill a Cornelius keg with co2, and then draw it off with this same rig rather than using a tank and regulator. I have tanks and regulators, but they get used for making tasty beverages! Curious how long a pressurized keg will last... easy enough to recharge too, and no risk of failure.