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Old 01-03-2013, 03:32 PM   #61
callisto9
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The gudgeons/gobies are not aggressive at all. Everyone in the tank is pretty peaceful for the most part. The gourami will dart at fish every now and again, but from all I can tell, mostly keeps to himself.

The snails are in a 1.5 gallon jar right now. I'm going to keep them in there. Add a heater..filter. Something. They just get picked on too much with fish in the tank. The female Japan blue guppies picked at them relentlessly.
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:11 PM   #62
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Hey Erin!

I found my copy of Ecology of the Planted Aquarium about the dirt/sand low-tech method of planted tanks. It's the method I used for my other tanks, and the school aquariums (a 10g and a 75g) at my daughters' elementary school. It's super easy to maintain, I did water changes once a month and water top offs, with no ferts or co2 and they did really well with little algae.

If you like, I can mail you the book.
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:12 PM   #63
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Hey Erin!

I found my copy of Ecology of the Planted Aquarium about the dirt/sand low-tech method of planted tanks. It's the method I used for my other tanks, and the school aquariums (a 10g and a 75g) at my daughters' elementary school. It's super easy to maintain, I did water changes once a month and water top offs, with no ferts or co2 and they did really well with little algae.

If you like, I can mail you the book.
Yes, PLEASE! Let me send you a few $$$. I am having horrible luck with my plants... so much crud everywhere.
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:24 PM   #64
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Yes, PLEASE! Let me send you a few $$$. I am having horrible luck with my plants... so much crud everywhere.
No need to send $, just send the book back when you're finished. Send me a pm or message me on FB the address.

Sorry to hear your plants are not doing well. The high tech method has been a steep learning curve for me... although the plants are thriving, so is the algae and I've accidentially killed some fish/shrimps with bad co2 equipment. It's been an expensive journey! I do like the lush ground cover, but am considering a larger low-tech tank again.
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Old 03-04-2013, 12:43 AM   #65
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I just bought some ferts and planned on doing some PPS dosing, but I've just been lazy. I think I'm overfeeding, but don't see how that's possible. All I know is that I have gunk EVERYWHERE. I do 50% WCs every week and feed one little pinch of food each day. I just don't get it.
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Old 03-04-2013, 01:47 AM   #66
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I'm sorry you're having such a hard time, especially since it's your first time with the hobby. If I hadn't started a planted aquarium using her method, I think I would have become disheartened and given up pretty quickly. The more pieces of the ecosystem that you have to control/keep balanced, the easier it is for things to go out of balance.

imho, the substrate and lighting are the determining factors as to how much you have to supplement co2 and nutrients.

With the Walstad method, as I understand it, the soil acts as a mechanism to turn the fish food and waste into nutrients for the plants. It's actually better to "overfeed" the fish as she calls it "feeding the plants". The plants help to clean the water and remove co2. However, you have to low-light (1-2 wpg) and a good amount of plants for it to work in an aquarium, and be sure to not overstock fish. She says at one point "it's better to over stock in plants, than to over stock in fish".

The worst thing that ever occurred using her method was during the first month of setting up the 75g at school. One day out of nowhere the entire tank was green, the water was green I mean, so much that you couldn't see anything inside. I left the lights off for a couple of days and on the third day, the entire tank was clear water again... just like that.

It really was much easier, and cheaper. You do have to have the right expectations... like you won't be able to grow lush groundcovers like hc, imho. But, I enjoyed the tanks I had and the plants thrived, the fish were happy and it just worked. (In hindsight, I'm not sure how much Boulder's city water may have contributed to the success. It was really clean and pure, compared to many other places. Our in-laws always enjoyed our coffee, saying the water made the difference.)

Another consideration is if you try this method, you'd have to revamp the substrate. It would be a redo. Maybe try reading the book while giving the ferts a go (since you have them) and then decide later. (the majority of the book is mostly the science behind why each component of the tank works, complete with her experiments and data tables. If you're like me, I just skipped to the 'how' at the end and followed the instructions. )

You could also setup a second tank using the Walstad method, transfer in a small bio load of fish, and slowly transfer over the other fish until it's empty then sell the initial setup.

Woah... sorry that was so long! But, I hope it's somewhat helpful. Let me know if you want the book and I'll get it out to you.
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Old 03-05-2013, 04:44 AM   #67
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Sorry to hear your plants aren't doing well.

So what do you mean by "gunk"? Is it algae or rotting plants?

If you haven't added any fertilizers yet I would guess that's your problem. My plants are doing much better after a meltdown last October, by adding Leaf Zone which provides I and K, and CO2 Booster as directed. The rest of the micros are provided by the fish food, as suggested by Diana here on the forum. Easy, no fuss, and not that expensive for a 20H. I assumed the fish waste would fertilize the tank, I was wrong.

Remove all rotting vegetation, it will lead to more problems. I know you don't like Corys, but I'm a firm believer in bottom dwellers to stir things up down there. I love my Peppered Corys, they don't swim around frantically and don't bump into things. They just calmly poke around on the plants and bottom looking for food, I don't know what was up with your albinos. Maybe they can't see very well.

I always wondered if your light was bright enough, but your pictures are similar in brightness to mine, so I'd try fertilizers first.

I also added a cheap HOB 10g filter for the other side of the tank from the 20g one a while back, I didn't feel I had enough water circulation, and gave me peace of mind for my bacteria colonies. I alternate changing the filter pads so I always have a colony to take care of the ammonia and nitrites.

Our paths have been similar so far, I hope what I learned helps.
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Old 03-05-2013, 05:34 AM   #68
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I assumed the fish waste would fertilize the tank, I was wrong.
It depends on the type of plant & setup. Here's some folks growing basil in a hydroponics system.

If you're just beginning, it's really most important to pick a method that suits what you'd like to accomplish, and follow the specs as closely as possible: from the right substrate type and depth, the amount & type of lighting, and following the feeding/maintenance schedule.

As you get more experience, you can tweak things based on your conditions and as your expectations/wants change.

There's some good folks here though that do just about every type/method of tank out there in the world of planted aquariums... so hopefully you'll find what you need.
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Old 03-05-2013, 07:57 AM   #69
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It depends on the type of plant & setup. Here's some folks growing basil in a hydroponics system.

If you're just beginning, it's really most important to pick a method that suits what you'd like to accomplish, and follow the specs as closely as possible: from the right substrate type and depth, the amount & type of lighting, and following the feeding/maintenance schedule.

As you get more experience, you can tweak things based on your conditions and as your expectations/wants change.

There's some good folks here though that do just about every type/method of tank out there in the world of planted aquariums... so hopefully you'll find what you need.
I think I'm good in my tank, thank you though. I was just trying to give Erin another option for her tank instead of starting completely over with new substrate. It truly does start with lighting as you say, but her's is rather low I believe, and she shouldn't need a ton of ferts. I can't really say anymore until she responds on whether she has added any fertilizers or not, and I guess what "gunk" is.
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Old 03-05-2013, 01:18 PM   #70
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Yes truly a lovely pic from the beginning.
Your light looks very low. I am seeing some shadows. Have you thought of upgrading your light?

Cheapest light upgrade would be a T5HO hanging as Hyzer did for his 29G. Then there is the SolarMax T5 NO with which Jacob had over his 20G high. They can be bought at Pet Blvd.
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Old 03-05-2013, 01:33 PM   #71
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Woah... sorry that was so long! But, I hope it's somewhat helpful. Let me know if you want the book and I'll get it out to you.
You've been EXTREMELY helpful Sherry. I appreciate all the advice, time and effort you've put into helping me.

I *do* want low tech, low light... low maintenance. I never got into this for it to be complex or time-consuming. I wanted a simple tank, some plants and some fish. As it stands now, I've invested over $600 and I have a tank filled with crud, plants that don't thrive/survive and more conflicting information than I know what to do with. It is *the* source of my frustration.

While I love the look of the high-tech tanks, I don't want to put that kind of effort in.

My plans for right now? I'm just going to read and listen for the next few days. I have $50 of nutrients I bought that are still sitting on my kitchen table that I'm not wanting to deal with. It's just... too complex.
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Old 03-05-2013, 01:49 PM   #72
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Originally Posted by Wannaberooted View Post
Sorry to hear your plants aren't doing well.

So what do you mean by "gunk"? Is it algae or rotting plants?

If you haven't added any fertilizers yet I would guess that's your problem. My plants are doing much better after a meltdown last October, by adding Leaf Zone which provides I and K, and CO2 Booster as directed. The rest of the micros are provided by the fish food, as suggested by Diana here on the forum. Easy, no fuss, and not that expensive for a 20H. I assumed the fish waste would fertilize the tank, I was wrong.

Remove all rotting vegetation, it will lead to more problems. I know you don't like Corys, but I'm a firm believer in bottom dwellers to stir things up down there. I love my Peppered Corys, they don't swim around frantically and don't bump into things. They just calmly poke around on the plants and bottom looking for food, I don't know what was up with your albinos. Maybe they can't see very well.

I always wondered if your light was bright enough, but your pictures are similar in brightness to mine, so I'd try fertilizers first.

I also added a cheap HOB 10g filter for the other side of the tank from the 20g one a while back, I didn't feel I had enough water circulation, and gave me peace of mind for my bacteria colonies. I alternate changing the filter pads so I always have a colony to take care of the ammonia and nitrites.

Our paths have been similar so far, I hope what I learned helps.
The gunk is poo, un-eaten food (I think?) and... well, it just looks like brown fluff. I'm not entirely sure WHAT it is, to be honest. It's everywhere. The substrate, the plants, the driftwood....

I am dosing (very infrequently) with Excel Comprehensive. I had a member on another forum talk me into this: http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...e-pps-pro.html

I'm not sold on it simply because it's way more complex than I ever wanted to get in to. I don't doubt that it works, but it's just way more effort than I wanted to put into this hobby.

I have root tabs in, but other than that, I don't do much. My plants have never thrived and I'd say about half of the plants I've purchased have died. I've lost well over $100 in plants. Some nice, stuff too. They either die or just don't thrive.

I would be willing to try cories again (esp since my stock is reduced from fish deaths), but I don't know how much food even reaches the bottom... The remaining fish pretty much gobble it all up at the surface. One of my peacock gudgeons died the other day (she was really really thin) and I wonder if it's from her not getting enough food. They are bottom dwellers and never really come to the surface, even at feeding time.

Thanks so much for your input! I really appreciate it.
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Old 03-05-2013, 01:51 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by Hilde View Post
Yes truly a lovely pic from the beginning.
Your light looks very low. I am seeing some shadows. Have you thought of upgrading your light?

Cheapest light upgrade would be a T5HO hanging as Hyzer did for his 29G. Then there is the SolarMax T5 NO with which Jacob had over his 20G high. They can be bought at Pet Blvd.
I have one 15W 8000K full spectrum bulb. When I was dealing with diatoms and other crud, everyone told me to keep the light on 6-8 hours a day, so I reduced it down from 12. I think it's on from 2:30 - 10:30, so eight hours right now.

I don't want to upgrade my lighting at this point. I want to work with what I have and if that means covering my tank with anubias, so be it. They are the only plant that's done well in there! LOL
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Old 03-05-2013, 01:55 PM   #74
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Here's a pic of the "gunk" in question.
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Old 03-05-2013, 03:01 PM   #75
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Happy to help! I don't think your tank is far off from stabilizing. You've had a bit of a rough start and getting a lot of mixed advice (I think I used recipe metaphor on the other site, but it's really more closely related to something like vegetable gardening. I think what you're looking for is like an organic garden with some composting )

Imho, the substrate being disrupted when you refill the tank, and moving objects around is probably causing debris into the water which is then settling on things around the tank. That's what it looks like in this pic at least. Marimo balls collect debris a lot (and are a favorite of shrimps because of it), so to clean them it's easy to pull one out after a water change and gently squeeze them in the removed tank water.

Use the airline hose trick to suck out the excess debris and do the water change suggested on the other board. I bet after you lose the debris and stop kicking up new substrate, the ammonia level will drop back to 0. Your nitrates are good still.

I'm not sure what happened to your plants before, but its possible not all of them were low-light type plants, however, some plants do experience a "melting" when first transplanted. They don't die entirely, but do die back and then return healthy.

I think you're doing the right thing by stepping back to research more about the different methods available and decide what you want to do. Some people do just fine with low light plants under low light and occasional dosing of ferts with your substrate. (I believe root tabs can work in this situation)

You might consider posting a fts with a list of plants you currently have to get some feedback on whether they're good for your setup and suggestions. There are many low-light plant options.

btw, 15w for a 20g is less than 1 watt per gallon, but you do have the a good light spectrum. Low light tanks typically have between 1-2 wpg. Reducing the photoperiod, imho, was not the right direction to go with such a low light to begin with. When we know more about what plants you have now, it will help.
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