My first planted aquarium Petco 6.6 Bookshelf Iwagumi (Full Tank Shot 09/27/2012) - Page 3
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Old 07-29-2012, 03:27 PM   #31
SaltyNC
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ooo look at those healthy root systems!!! Come to a conclusion on fish yet?
They are coming along nicely. Thanks. I believe so, PinkRasbora. Unless I discover something that changes my mind in the next couple of weeks, I'm going to go with Boraras brigittae (Chili Rasbora). I think their tiny size will work with my nano tank, and once the HG grows in, it should give them some nice hiding places that they should enjoy. Before I order them, I'm going to make sure I have on hand some of the Instant Baby Brine Shrimp product and a high quality food that I'll grind into small pieces.
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Old 08-08-2012, 03:25 AM   #32
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Default Week 7 - A bad week

I was out of town for a few days, so my son helped out and fertilized my tank while I was away. Since I have no fish or other animals in the tank there wasn't anything else to do. My lights and CO2 are on automatic timers.

The day before I left, my nano diffuser and drop checker finally arrived from Singapore. I replaced my temporary bamboo diffuser, and a fine mist of CO2 streamed out of the new diffuser. The plants were looking great with the addition of CO2, and I was looking forward to seeing how much the plants would grow while I was away.

When I returned, I was shocked by what I found. A large area of hairgrass in the center of my tank was dead and brown. Large areas of bare substrate were visible. A few clusters of hairgrass along the side were dead or dying as well. I couldn't believe it. I immediately trimmed the hairgrass back in those area to remove all of the dead blades of grass, and I did a 50% water change and dosed some fertilizer.

Here is the tank after the trimming of the dead hairgrass. It looks worse in person, as you can more clearly see the areas of bare substrate.


I don't know what caused the die-off, but I suspect it may be related to low-flow. Before I left town, I did a water change and turned down the flow to minimum on my HOB filter. I forgot to turn it back to full flow, so there was practically no water movement in the tank. When the tank was dosed, it's possible the fertz burned the grass or that simply the lack of movement caused the issue.

I am also experiencing some algae this week, and you can see some of that on the rocks in the image, above.

It's disappointing to lose so much of the hairgrass carpet, but hopefully it will recover quickly and send out new shoots. The other plants seem to be doing very well. The hemianthus glomeratus is loving the CO2, and the tops are twice as big as the bottoms. It will soon be time to trim and replant some of those stems to develop the thick bush effect behind the rocks.
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Old 08-12-2012, 01:46 AM   #33
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Default Week 8 - Recovery and Equipment Update

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.

Last edited by SaltyNC; 08-12-2012 at 02:12 AM.. Reason: Image
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Old 08-19-2012, 04:39 AM   #34
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Default Week 9 - Clean-up Crew Added, Algae Gone

This has been a busy week for my aquarium. I began raising my GH a few degrees over time and KH slightly, and I feel like I have my CO2 dialed in to the correct setting. To accomplish this, I purchased a Sera GH and KH kit to measure my current GH and KH, and I also purchased this TDS (total dissolved solids) meter. These things are amazing and cost next to nothing. I paid a little over $8 with free shipping included.


I also created some 4dKH water for my CO2 drop checker using a very accurate sub-gram scale and baking soda. I had gotten pretty close with a Taylor scale that I use for ultralight camping, but this scale is much more sensitive for small amounts in the tenths of grams. I purchased a calibration 100g weight, and it was 99.98 percent accurate without calibration. I'll also be using this scale when making up GH booster solution going forward.


So, that was the new equipment this week. The tank had some elevated nitrate levels from dosing heavily, so I did a number of water changes and brought the nitrates down to the 10 PPM range. I then added a clean-up crew to deal with algae. This population will be reduced soon and they will be divided up with my son's tank.

I added two zebra nerite snails. One hardly moves and sits in the hairgrass all day. The other has covered every rock and every bit of "glass" in my tank two times. You can also see in the background the next two members of my clean-up crew.


I added two Amano shrimp. The next morning, I checked on them, and one was lying dead in the dwarf hairgrass. I tweezered his lifeless pale body out. I was worried when I purchased him, because he seemed less active than the other Amano and looked paler in color. That evening, I looked on top of a rock, and there were two shrimp. What the heck! I looked in the trash, and then I realized what had happened. My pale Amano didn't die...it molted! Now, both Amanos have molted. They have been enjoying the algae, some flake fish food, and blanched zucchini.


The last members of the clean-up crew appeared to be starving when I purchased them, but they are fat and happy, now. They love rooting around in the hairgrass and cleaning the rocks and "glass". They are very active and love swimming the length of the tank at blinding-fast speeds. Here are my two otos camped out beside my nano diffuser.


Last but not least, here is the updated tank shot. The dwarf hairgrass continues to recover, and the hemianthus glomeratus continues to grow at a nice fast pace, and is being trimmed and replanted for a thick bush effect behind the rocks. You may notice the anubias are gone. I donated the remainder of my anubias nana 'petite' to my son's tank. The scale just didn't work for what I was trying to achieve. Next week, I have Boraras brigittae coming in. Woohoo! Can't wait.

Last edited by SaltyNC; 08-19-2012 at 04:46 AM.. Reason: spell
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Old 08-19-2012, 01:26 PM   #35
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This is beautiful! Very natural and serene!
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Old 08-19-2012, 04:08 PM   #36
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Thanks Xenxes. I'm a fan of your many tanks, as well. I hope to soon add to my collection with an ADA tank. This Petco has been a very rewarding and fun experiment. I've gotten the bug. In one of Frank's posts, he talks about how he comes to enjoy the experience of changing water, looking forward to it, looking forward to the maintenance. I am in that zone.
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Old 08-19-2012, 05:15 PM   #37
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I'm always a fan of long horizontal scapes, like the 6.6 Petco / 12L / 20L, large foot print though.

Lol I don't like changing water! I rarely do, root tabs seem sufficient for macro and fish food for micro. But I'm not doing CO2/high growth. Maybe some day!

Where did you get a TDS meter for $8 shipped? Is it accurate / accounts for temperature?
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Old 08-19-2012, 05:44 PM   #38
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Awesome! That looks great!
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Old 08-19-2012, 06:04 PM   #39
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Where did you get a TDS meter for $8 shipped? Is it accurate / accounts for temperature?
It is very accurate and does account for temperature. It has a thermometer, too, but it only reads in Celsius (may be able to set for F, but I haven't found a way).

If you go to E Bay and search for this ID (290742302278), they have them with free shipping. It was actually $8.99 instead of $8, but what's 99 cents among friends.

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Awesome! That looks great!
Thanks Moosenart!

Last edited by SaltyNC; 08-19-2012 at 06:13 PM.. Reason: Added ID
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Old 08-19-2012, 07:06 PM   #40
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I purchased some DHG for my 72 gallon fish tank about 2 weeks ago now and it turned yellow on me and many patches died. Did any of yours turn yellow or die on you when you planted them or added the water? Not sure if it is the lighting or what. Haven't had any algee growth either which either means I'm great at setting up tanks or I screwed something up and even it can't grow. Thanks. And your tank looks great! Hoping to have bountiful DHG carpet like yours one day.
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Old 08-19-2012, 08:42 PM   #41
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I also created some 4dKH water for my CO2 drop checker using a very accurate sub-gram scale and baking soda. I had gotten pretty close with a Taylor scale that I use for ultralight camping, but this scale is much more sensitive for small amounts in the tenths of grams. I purchased a calibration 100g weight, and it was 99.98 percent accurate without calibration. I'll also be using this scale when making up GH booster solution going forward.
I am pretty excited to hear there is another aquarium hobbyist that is into ultralight backpacking/camping! Ultralight backpacking is my first passion with aquariums being my second. I find that both tend to cost more than ever originally planned.
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Old 08-20-2012, 12:43 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by SaltyNC View Post
It is very accurate and does account for temperature. It has a thermometer, too, but it only reads in Celsius (may be able to set for F, but I haven't found a way).

If you go to E Bay and search for this ID (290742302278), they have them with free shipping. It was actually $8.99 instead of $8, but what's 99 cents among friends.



Thanks Moosenart!
Awesome thanks! I got mine on Amazon for ~$25. Just picked up a spare lol.
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Old 08-20-2012, 01:56 AM   #43
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I purchased some DHG for my 72 gallon fish tank about 2 weeks ago now and it turned yellow on me and many patches died. Did any of yours turn yellow or die on you when you planted them or added the water? Not sure if it is the lighting or what. Haven't had any algee growth either which either means I'm great at setting up tanks or I screwed something up and even it can't grow. Thanks. And your tank looks great! Hoping to have bountiful DHG carpet like yours one day.
CC, when I flooded the tank, it did seem to stunt the hairgrass for a little while. I dosed Seachem's Excel pretty heavily, and I think that helped. I also purposely trimmed back my hairgrass after it began to take root to force even more runners.

I just recently added CO2, and I had some unpleasant die-off, but it seems to be recovering now, and it is almost back to 100%. When I was growing DHG emerged, I found it very easy to grow and didn't experience any issues with it. But, I read where plenty of people do have issues with it dying. I'm not sure what the secret is.

Thank you for your kind words.
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Old 08-20-2012, 02:10 AM   #44
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I am pretty excited to hear there is another aquarium hobbyist that is into ultralight backpacking/camping! Ultralight backpacking is my first passion with aquariums being my second. I find that both tend to cost more than ever originally planned.
TS, I know that's right! We pay for every ounce shaved. It's amazing how quickly ultralight has evolved. Do you hammock camp? If not, you've got to search up YouTube for "Shug" and check it out. It's how I mostly camp these days. Shug lives in Minnesota, now, I think, but he is from NC. He's hilarious--does all these Sling Blade impressions. Good info in his entertaining videos on everything from hammock camping to stoves, etc. He introduced me to The BushBuddy--amazing ultralight stove handmade by a guy in the backcountry of Canada using a solar-powered spot welder.

Oops, I better start talking about fish! What kind of aquarium are you setting up? Are you aquascaping or only interested in keeping a planted tank? Any fish?

Last edited by SaltyNC; 08-20-2012 at 02:26 AM.. Reason: Cause I can never get it right the first time
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Old 08-20-2012, 02:15 AM   #45
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Awesome thanks! I got mine on Amazon for ~$25. Just picked up a spare lol.
Good deal. They used the same picture in their ad when I purchased one, but it actually looks like the one pictured in my blog with the deeper blue and has the temp button and came with the beautifully handcrafted "leatherette" pouch.
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