A tale of 3 tanks: My DIY project journal (10g planted/33g planted/55g) - Page 10
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Old 07-18-2014, 09:16 PM   #136
Plantedbliss
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the hitchhiker looks like a Orange-Banded Hillstream Catfish.
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Old 07-21-2014, 02:26 PM   #137
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dantrasy View Post
I used rodi water in all my tanks. after a wc i measure the tsd with a pen and if it's low (around 100) i'll bump it up to around 120 with equilibrium. after a week of daily fertz the water reaches around 150 tds. i don't need to bump it up every time as my weekly wc is only round 20%. I recommend shells/coral instead of bi-carb. place it in the filter and forget about it. measure kh and gh a day later, add more shell if need be. roughly (very roughly) I say you need a thumb nail sized bit of coral per 10L.
I'm starting to think there is something else in my tank affecting TDS, as I can't for the life of me get it under 150-200ish. My substrate (Eco Complete, mostly, with a cap of pool filter sand and Pacific Gravel) perhaps? Or the root tabs?? Even without ferts or GH booster. In the last week or so I've done half a dozen 50-60% PWCs with 000 TDS RO water, I've added Purigen to my filter and done a MASSIVE cleaning of all components/glass/plants/substrate/tubing, etc. I'm going to do one more (unscheduled) partial water change tonight and then just fall back into my normal weekly schedule... and hopefully start tweaking my fertilizer routine from there. I don't need a super-low TDS, where I'm only keeping cherry shrimp, but I just want to control as many variables as I can. On a positive note, all my new high-grade cherries have adapted well, I've seen molts and berried females already so I'm hopeful that I will finally colonize this darn tank. Fingers crossed!



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we all fall into a patten eventually. some will constantly measure and adjust everything and still find the hobby very enjoyable. others measure just a few things - any more and the hobby wouldn't be as enjoyable.
I definitely hate water testing. I test only during major tank changes or setup and that's about it. I don't think I've done a water test of any kind on my cichlid tank in almost 2 years and probably about the same on my community tank. This smaller, slightly more high-tech tank has been a different story, however. I'm looking forward to dialing in my routine so I can stop worrying over it!



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here are some good shrimp paras to follow:



http://www.aquariumlife.com.au/showt...-Feeding-added
Great information! Thanks so much for the link.



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Originally Posted by Plantedbliss View Post
the hitchhiker looks like a Orange-Banded Hillstream Catfish.
Pretty neat fish, whatever it is!
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Old 07-21-2014, 03:17 PM   #138
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Picture update from 21/07/2014:

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Old 07-22-2014, 01:15 PM   #139
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Another quick picture from this morning. This time with the backlight turned on.



I did, sadly, find one dead (berried) cherry shrimp in there last night. This worries me, as I've been slowly ramping my CO2 back up and was very shortly going to resume a modified EI regimine, but I really don't want to wipe out this whole colony (again).

The shrimp was found as it was dying. It had turned an obvious shade of dark blue/purple prior to death. Not entirely, but a very definite colour change around the edges of it's exoskeleton. What does this indicate?? My gut says it is asphhyxiation due to lack of oxygen, but I maintain good flow and surface movement and run an airline from lights off until an hour before lights on. CO2 is running at just over 1 BPS and drop checker is light green.

Thoughts/advice??
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Old 07-23-2014, 01:10 PM   #140
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No thoughts or exerience regarding red cherry shrimp turning a shade of dark blue/purple upon death? No deaths since, but it's not the first time I've seen it, so I'm curious if anyone else has seen this and/or knows the cause.
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Old 07-28-2014, 02:04 AM   #141
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Old 07-28-2014, 02:07 AM   #142
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Quote:
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No thoughts or exerience regarding red cherry shrimp turning a shade of dark blue/purple upon death? No deaths since, but it's not the first time I've seen it, so I'm curious if anyone else has seen this and/or knows the cause.
Happened to my shrimp once, legs white and body purple. Creepy!
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Old 07-28-2014, 01:26 PM   #143
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Well, I think I've just about had it with cherry shrimp. There's something not right about my 10 gallon (when it comes to inverts) and I just can't afford to keep trying to figure it out!

I've done 60%+ water changes with 000TDS RO water at least 7 or 8 times now in the past few weeks, so I can't imagine it being the water source. I've reduced my CO2 injection all the way down to one bubble every 3 seconds or so and stopped my fertilizers all together (for now). TDS is still up around 300 as I'm using Equilibrium to bring the hardness up (but I still can't get it below 150, even with daily PWC, so I'm thinking there's a clue there). I've had a significant increase in BBA, probably due to all of the changes in CO2 levels, and have been spot treating with Excel for the past few days, but only 10ml total with a few days in between, so I hope that's alright for shrimp. I've even gone so far as to remove and clean every single component, tube, and piece of equipment in/around the tank and also added purigen to the filer (a couple weeks back).

However, shrimp population is still dwindling and I'd be surprised if theres more than 4 left in there (I had a dozen just over a week ago). I find a dead shrimp just about every day but, at the same time, I'm seeing multiple molts each day which I assumed was potentially a good sign. The otos are fine, but the shrimp are mostly lethargic and slow and (eventually) just keel over and die (still intact, some with the afore-mentioned blue hue and some without). I'll feed using a acrylic dish and it remains mostly untouched, although there is plenty of natural mulm to feed off, so it never reall concerned me (but may be a clue?). No real obvious signs of cause of death and all water tests indicate ideal conditions for a shrimp colony.

I figure I'll just hope that somehow the remaining shrimp are better acclimated and start to reproduce, but I'd expect this will likely end like every other of my previous shrimp attempts. I now suspect either something in my substrate (unlikely) or possibly in the hardscape. It's all rocks found locally, which were well-cleaned and tested (as best I could) to be inert and safe. But I could easily be wrong.

I guess I'm just not going to get to have a booming shrimp colony like I'd always hoped. It's frustrating, but mostly because I hate not knowing the cause.
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Old 07-28-2014, 02:00 PM   #144
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Dont worry, I had 70-80% of my orig. stock die on me, and so I got another batch from another store for genetic diversity. Those died too. I was left with 8 from an original 20. However, these 8 were the most resilient and so their multiple offspring is very hardy now. I haven't had one shrimp death of all my orders
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Old 08-11-2014, 05:30 PM   #145
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Quick update: No further shrimp deaths (that I'm aware of), and all the survivors seem happy/healthy. I turned the CO2 bubble count waaay down and let my DIY CO2 slowly run out and stopped fertilizing all-together (just in the 10g), and it seems to have gotten the shrimp over the hump and I hope they'll start to colonize now. Lots of pretty females in there, but I haven't noticed any berried ones yet. I have a good feeling, though.

I recharged one of my DIY CO2 generators last night and have begun the process of slowly re-adding CO2 to the mix but, other than that, I'm just using 0 TDS RO water re-mineralized with Seachem Equilibrium (for GH) and Seachem Alkaline Buffer (for KH). My plants are starting to show some deficiencies, which sucks, but once I get a stable population I will start experimenting with dosing ferts again. The plants are still growing/spreading nicely, but not looking quite as healthy as they once were. One problem at a time.
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Old 08-14-2014, 05:57 PM   #146
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I noticed at least one berried female this morning, so I'm optimistic that I might have succeeded in starting a colony that will finally populate this tank. Fingers crossed for now, but even the plants are starting to acclimate to this new CO2-only setup. I'll post pictures later if anyone's interested!
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Old 08-25-2014, 07:08 PM   #147
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My plants all seem to have bounced back and adjusted to the lack of fertilizer dosing. I assume there is still lots of available nutrients in the substrate (Eco Complete capped w/ PFS and pacific gravel) due to root tabs that have been added at multiple intervals. Also, now that everything is mature and stable (it's been almost exactly a year since the big tear-down and rebuild of the 10g into it's current configuration), it seems to be dealing with the new CO2-only configuration quite happily. Plants are growing more slowing (kind of nice, really) and do look a little different, but have coloured up and filled in very nicely.

Shrimp are still surviving, though I haven't noticed any juveniles yet. I have noticed a few berried females, however, so hopefully they're in there. I'm confident I will finally get a healthy breeding colony out of this attempt. Hopefully.

I did, however, install some experimental upgrades to my DIY CO2 system that are currently in the test phases and seem to be doing well. Basically, I installed a solenoid valve to shut off CO2 production at night. Previously I have just been running an inline air pump which shoots bubbles out of my lily pipe outflow and gives lots of surface agitation while the lights are off. This worked well, but it splashes water around and makes it annoying to keep the water level right at the top. Not a big deal, but I wanted a new project and this was my first thought.

I ended up buying a cheap solenoid on eBay for $17 shipped. Problem being that it works on 220v only, so I also picked up a 110v to 220v converter for another $4 shipped.

I installed it inline right before my first needle valve and, after some adjustments, it seems to work great!

I drew up this quick schematic in paint (as it's easier than explaining it via text):



I have 2 yeast bottle generators (tan) being fed into a gas separator (light blue), then through the solenoid valve (red), one needle valve (green), the bubble counter, a second needle valve (green) and then on into the reactor (grey). Yellow represents brass check valves and blue are manual cut off valves for bottle replacement.

I've never been worried about popping a bottle, as I frequently shut my production down manually overnight to waste less CO2, but I just hate remembering to do it manually. Still, to be safe, I had to think of a alternate way to vent excess pressure at night. The easiest, most cost-effective way that I came up with was to add a 3rd needle valve and tubing fed out of one of the generators. From experience, I know that a single cheap chinese needle valve is not enough to cut the flow off entirely (hence why I use two in series... for finer control, but also allows me to shut it down by closing both) and it will leak, but only under maximum pressure.

I knew this would allow some pressure to escape at night, but in order to know how much, I also installed a bubble counter on this output for a visual reference. At night once the pressure builds up, I end up with a steady 1-1.5 BPS coming out of this safety valve and venting to the atmosphere. During the day I only get flow through the main bubble counter, not through my safety relief, so it seems to work like a charm.
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Old 09-08-2014, 01:16 PM   #148
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I had a very productive weekend with my tanks and I've got some big updates coming over the next couple of days!

Basically, I came across another hobbyist on a local forum who is switching his focus from freshwater to marine and wanted to get rid of a bunch of beautiful aquatic plants. He lives about an hours drive from me but, coincidentally, I had to travel up his way for my niece/nephew's birthday party on Friday and we ended up meeting up.

I brought only $40 CAN with me and just expected to pickup an assortment of clippings or maybe just a couple of small plants (he had/has some good stuff). By the time I left, I had 3 grocery bags stuffed full of very popular plants, a bag of at least a dozen assassin snails and (as it turns out) over 40 hitch-hiking juvenile cherry shrimp who survived the drive home in nothing but a moist bag full of uprooted plants! He said he'd rather it all goes to someone who will take care of them and enjoy them rather than just to make a profit, so he hooked me up with easily $4-500 worth of stuff for next to nothing! Wee!

I spent all day Saturday doing a major re-scape of my 33 gallon community tank and then Sunday was the 10 gallon (not as major, but still some awesome upgrades!).

This is a semi-complete list of what I picked up:

Riccia fluitans (Crystalwort)
Hemianthus callitrichoides (Dwarf Baby Tears)
Glossostigma Elatinoides
Rotala sp. mini (Rotala sp. Pearl)
Rotala macrandra (Giant Red Rotala)
Rotala rotundifolia
Heteranthera zosterifolia (Star Grass)
Pogostemon helferi (Downoi)

Plus a few other random stems and grasses. Some that found a spot in my aquascape, some that didn't. It was a tough process getting everything planted simply due to the amount of mature plants I had to use. I didn't just get small amounts of the plants above. I got a full grocery bag full of Star Grass, another full of various rotala (some over 24" tall), a big mat of HC, at least 20 stems of Downoi, etc.

I took every plant out of my tank, discarded any leaves/stems showing deficiencies or algae and added back in all nice, mature, healthy plants in a nice looking scape! It looks incredible, and I'm sure it will only look better once they settle in (hopefully).

I'll snap some new pictures tonight or tomorrow night. I just want to give things a few days to settle in and rebound from all of the hacking and replanting. So far so good, though!
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Old 09-08-2014, 06:57 PM   #149
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My updated flora list (33 gallon):

Downoi (Pogostemon helferi)
Cyperus Plant (Cyperus helferi)
Dwarf Sag (Sagittaria subulata)
Red Ludwigia (Ludwigia repens)
Water Wisteria (Hygrophila difformis)
Rotala sp. mini (Rotala sp. Pearl)
Star Grass (Heteranthera zosterifolia)
Rotala rotundifolia
Giant Hygro (Hygrophilia corymbosa)
Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus)
Java moss (Taxiphyllum barbieri)
Windelov Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus 'Windelov')
Anubias nana (Anubias barteri 'Petite')
Cryptocoryne undulata
Ludwigia Peruensis (Ludwigia glandulosa)
Dwarf Hygro (Hygrophilia polysperma)
Marimo Moss Ball

I still need to put together a list for my 10 gallon, but I'll be doing that sometime this week. Thanks for looking
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Old 09-09-2014, 12:58 AM   #150
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Not the best picture, but you get the idea!

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