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Old 11-29-2012, 02:27 PM   #166
Francis Xavier
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Did you reuse your aqua soil from your last HC layout?
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Old 11-29-2012, 03:51 PM   #167
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Francis Xavier View Post
Did you reuse your aqua soil from your last HC layout?
hey frank,

A while back I had gutted the tank. Removed more than half the aquasoil and replaced it with some new aquasoil. Unearthed a few sections of powersand in the process, so you can see some of the powersand on the top of the substrate towards the front. But there is a mixture of old soil and new. The new soil is probably three months old. I have some substrate root fertilizers I could add.

I think Tom is right about the light. It has a high intensity. And I don't think I've been able to catch up with it. I've always had an imbalance with this tank. The interesting thing is that when my HC was growing the best, and when my tank really looked the best was when I was pretty much doing nothing. And that was in the very beginning. I wasn't really fertilizing the water column at all. And I had poor co2 distribution. This tank was thriving for about the first 4 months. But I was getting a lot of green spot algae. Especially on the rock and top of glass. But once I started tinkering with the tank- improving co2 distribution by creating an external reactor, then I started having problems. BUT- I don't' think this was what caused the issue. It was rather a benchmark in my progress when I started to notice things were going south.

I think things are turning around again. I think that I have more control over the tank then I ever did before and have a better understanding of the environment inside the aquarium a lot better. Those first four months with this tank in the beginning (almost 2 years ago), I was blind. Yet the tank was super forgiving...Maybe there is something in the aquasoil.

But algae has been one of my greatest learning tools with this tank. On the day I decided to first re-aquascape the tank I had naively disturbed a ton of substrate in the process. And what followed (probably a week later) was staghorn. I believe it was from an ammonia spike that I had created in the process.

But now, even after cleaning the filters; revamping the scape; adding new aquasoil (basically starting from scratch) do I find the same staghorn issue reappearing. I've tested the water. No Ammonia. I've tested the tap water- no ammonia. I have not disturbed any of the substrate, but yet it appears (not rampant) but on some of the glosso leaves. Very easy for me to remove, but a sign that there is an imbalance. I've got the co2 dialed fairly high (not so high that I am killing my shrimp) but about (1 - 1.2 bps). About as high as I am comfortable with. I have started fertilizing more aggressively using EI. The plants pearl within an hour of lights up. And everything looks good. The glosso has started to send out runners instead of growing vertical. But still, there is an occasional strand of staghorn on a handful of leaves each day. It grows on the older ones. And there is still a good amount of green spot algae on certain sections of the glass. I really think I am having the most issues because of the light intensity and my trying to find a way to catch up to it.

I'm going to use a lower wattage bulb and see where that takes me. After addressing all the issues with this tank, I've never addressed the lighting. I'm going to start from there and see what happens.

best, walter
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Old 11-29-2012, 05:39 PM   #168
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I'd say that first thing with this aquarium is that part of the slower growth is probably due to having re-used some of the old aqua soil - Aqua soil is great going over the long-term in a single layout, since it naturally starts to stabilize growth versus sustaining a grown in layout, but there's nothing quite like that burst of awesome growth from 100% fresh stuff.

Usually when a layout is redone it's best to get 100% new soil and use that for the punch that it gives. That's not a specific Aqua Soil trait, just with any nutrient rich substrate you'll encounter that. Kind of like how when a farm goes through a cycle process of crops during seasons, they leave one field fallow with a new top layer of soil to rejuvenate it.

I wouldn't mess with using a light other than the 27w ADA bulb in the Solar Mini fixture, since that's basically optimal for all the plants you want to use. I'd say your recurring staghorn issue is from an infection that took place at one point and it's just seeded in the aquarium now. That'll happen with those more pesky algae's - once you get them, they're in the system, and you can keep it under control once you balance the tank out, but it's still going to pop up from time to time.

Sometimes it's just really, really difficult to turn a tank around that's struggled from the start. Great learning experience, and you can pull it around with enough experience and get better and better at it, which is the ultimate goal there, but sometimes the best solution is to start with a clean slate and sanitize everything.

Just the nature of the game - we're dealing with a live ecosystem here, and if anything, the nature aquarium should teach us first hand how delicate these things are out in the real world - where it's not as easy as sanitize and restart.

On the upside - when you get an aquarium established to a certain point, the aquarium basically takes care of itself (now, this might take years and require a larger water volume for stabilization) but there is a median point that the system reaches that requires very, very little maintenance on your behalf.

Let's use Amano's tank at home for example. I had the opportunity to ask him questions first hand about the maintenance of the aquarium - and when asked about the maintenance and trimming routine, he basically said that at this stage of the aquariums life, all it requires is a water change and basic service about once a month. The rest just takes care of itself and the water stays crystal clear. No algae occuring on the glass, no major outbreaks of problems, just clean and stable.

Bear in mind though that that took some years to pull off and get to that point.
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Old 12-02-2012, 05:38 AM   #169
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Thanks for your input Frank. I bet it was quite a treat to pick Amano's brain.

I have to disagree about replacing 100% of the aquasoil before rescaping. Aquasoil is a great substrate, but I think with a healthy dosing of macro and micros ferts in the water column, the nutrients that may have been depleted in the aquasoil over time, can be replenished, or rather replaced through this method. Also, it has started to make complete sense to me why my hc in the initial months of this aquarium took off, then staggered. The aquasoil combined with the powersand, along with a heavy handed dose of co2 gave this tank a kickstart. But after 3 to 4 months, the HC depleted a good amount of nutrients in the soil after its rapid growth, and my dosing routine at that time was sub sub par. I wasn't adding adequate nutrients, and my plant growth stunted, and being still way too green behind the ears, thought the problem elsewhere. But really, it was my ignorance that got in the way. My knowledge of lighting and soils and co2 diffusion was rough to say the least, and only when I started to dig deeper into the hobby, trying to get a better grip of what goes on behind the scenes...the science...the tests that those have done on soils and light output and algae and macrophytes et al., did I begin to really unearth and dissect my "aquatic dilemmas."

I am going in the other direction in regards to the lighting. I strongly believe that light intensity is the driving force of energy into the aquarium. The 27w pc is a little too much muscle for me. I feel that reducing the intensity will have a positive effect. It will decrease the high demand of co2 and ferts and create a more placative and forgiving environment, especially for fauna.

As of today, I've removed all of the shrimp to another tank (low light and no co2). I tinkered a little with the scape, cleaned the filter, and added some more substrate to get a better sense of slope/depth. Bleached the pipes; cleaned the tubes; scrubbed the rocks. I am going to be doing a few more water changes than usual because of the additional soil and possible NH3 leaching. Getting the 18w bulb sometime this week. 18watts over 5.5 (more like < 5g with the rocks and dirt) tank sounds about right to me. I have to say, delving deeper and asking the magic question "why?" has given me a greater reach into the hobby. And I want to keep reaching for a better understanding on a factual level, rather than building on blind faith as I have done in the past.

all the best, walter
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:37 AM   #170
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it's looks real good. can't wait to read more of the journal.
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Old 12-02-2012, 10:05 PM   #171
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thanks fishyjoe. looking forward to it as well.

photo after remodeling. only inhabitants are pond snails. I'm playing it safe with my fauna for now. picked up a 32oz plastic nalgene from the container store today. Am going to make a richer macro solution instead of dosing from three separate bottles. Any suggestions out there for what levels to target for EI dosing. This calculator is awesome: http://calc.petalphile.com/ Should I make the daily dose 5ml total or 15ml when combining these macros into one solution KNO3, K2SO4 and KH2PO4? Chemistry is not my strong suit. best, walter
ps. It is way way easier to maintain a slope when you take the shrimp out. The amanos were pure excavators and steam rollers all smashed into one. I enjoy this scape so much more. Hoping to get my act together.
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:53 PM   #172
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What's your source water like? That's what I base my normal dosing on since my tap has a good amount of NO3 in it already (I double up on K2SO4, extra potassium never hurt anything anyway).
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Old 12-03-2012, 01:46 AM   #173
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hi freph,

my source water only had trace amounts of phosphates...and occasionally some nitrates. Just trace amounts, and not very reliable. I'm using distilled water for my solution.

w
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Old 12-03-2012, 07:27 PM   #174
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Default new macro mix

Decided to consolidate my macro nutrients into a 32oz widemouth container I picked up from the Container Store

I used this online fert calculator http://calc.petalphile.com/

Plugged the following in:

tank size 5g
diy mix
solution container 970 ml
each dose being 5ml
for estimative index:

KNO3
To reach the target of 7.5 ppm NO3 I added 44.90 g KNO3 to the 970.0 mL dosing container.
KH2PO4
To reach the target of 1.3 ppm PO4 I added 6.84 g KH2PO4 to the 970.0 mL dosing container.
KNO3
To reach the target of 7.5 ppm K I added 61.37 g K2SO4 to the 970.0 mL dosing container.

mixed it all together in the nalgene and dose 5ml every other day with the macro solution and dose roughly 2-3ml seachem flourish on the off days.

much thanks to the barrreport for helping me tackle fertilizing in aquaria.



new bulb comes tomorrow.
parting shot.



best, walter
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Old 12-04-2012, 03:37 AM   #175
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I'm really liking your dosing solutions. I'm definitely going to have to try this out myself. The ADA fert bottles dispense 1mL per pump anyway...perfect for reusing.

Tank is looking better already with the fert change. The lower light is probably a good idea since you aren't using CO2. Did you put any Excel in the fert bottles? Some of the stuff is prone to mold.
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Old 12-04-2012, 04:08 AM   #176
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Thanks Freph. I actually am running co2. I'm running it inline with a gla diffuser so it's not in view.
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:48 AM   #177
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I agree on the swap to glosso. looks great in small tank when it fills in.
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Old 12-05-2012, 05:27 PM   #178
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Default day 1 new light 18w

New bulb came today. 18w dual 6700k and 10000K pc. Looks good. To be honest, I do not notice any significant difference in brightness. Even though I know there is a reduction in output. The color looks nice. Purchased it from drFosterandSmith online. $15. Less expensive than the 27 watt panasonia bulb I had purchased before for a replacement which was $25. All plants are pearling after 30minutes of lights up. Trimmed any leaflet where I noticed staghorn. Only the older leaves had it. I assume the older leaves had some sort of nutrient deficiency which attributed to the growth. Hope to eradicate this algae now that I've made a change with the light intensity and have started to hone in on a good EI dosing regiment.

Stumbled upon this article/site today which I think is a must read for anyone in the hobby.

http://aquariumalgae.blogspot.nl/

Here are some pics. Am I correct to assume that the whiter bulb would be the 10,000K?

best, walter




surface agitation for better gas exchange. Keeping the top open now that I have nothing in the tank that will jump.

parting shot. Full tank photos seem to come out clearer now with my iphone.
I'm not sure if that is attributed to the new bulb or a less shaky hand this morning.
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Old 12-05-2012, 05:32 PM   #179
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Looking good. Hopefully you get a reduction in light. It will make life easier. I know the fixture was designed for the tank but it seems like it's at the upper point of lighting as many people seem to have tanks that with a minor slip up, it becomes a major problem. I know for myself that reducing light output, even just a little bit, makes life so much easier.

Good luck and looking good.
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Old 12-05-2012, 05:39 PM   #180
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That surface agitation was from the lily pipe itself? wow
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