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Old 11-25-2014, 01:31 PM   #1
Kyaryo Ysoyav
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Kyaryo's First Tank - 90 Gal Freshwater


So this isn't technically my first tank, but it might as well be. I begged my parents for a fish tank and got a 5 gallon hex for my 15th birthday, but never really took care of it.

My wife and I moved to Taiwan (applying to graduate schools here) last year and a coworker at my first job was a big fish keeper. His enthusiasm quickly rubbed off on me, and I purchased my first tank.

A year later, I've had a lot of fun with it, and run into a lot of problems. I'd say my biggest issue was just not knowing what I wanted. I initially started with a low-tech tank, but really wanted to grow a lush green carpet of dwarf baby tears. So over the past year I have upgraded just about everything but the tank.

One of these days I'll pull up pictures of the original tank.

This is the third iteration of this tank, and I am very happy with it. I had to start the tank over after I got overrun by basically every algae out there. I have regularly read articles on this forum for help and decided to do a tank journal in the hopes that everyone's advice and encouragement can really help me to get this right.

So I have a canister filter (DoPhin, think it is a local brand) that is rated at 10x the capacity of the tank, injected CO2 via an inline reactor, 2 x 2 T5HO bulbs and a 48w LED that was made for planted tanks.

Because in Taiwan all the plants are sold under their Chinese names, I don't know what all of them are, but maybe you all can help me identify them?

I definitely have dwarf baby tears and red camboba. The rest I am not really sure about. I'm busy with grad school applications or I would look up the scientific names by the Chinese ones.

Anyways, here is the tank on Day 1:







Bump: I didn't want to run this all in one crazy long post, so this is my first update.

I have been dosing with ferts recommended by my lfs. I have a store brand macronutrient mix (I think, again, yay Chinese!), and an iron supplement as well are Flourish Comprehensive. I plan on doing EI dosing with dry ferts when I finish this stuff up.

I have been doing the full dose daily (I basically just did the recommended weekly does, assuming two doses per week for flourish, and divided by 7) for the past 4 days since I set up the tank.

The taller plants pearl almost immediately when the lights come on (9 hrs a day, from 11:15 to 8:15) and everything follows within a few hours with everything going really well by dinnertime.

I have been watching closely for algae and today noticed this:


It would appear to be blue-green algae (I do know it is a bacteria).

I'm guessing I should back off on the ferts and do more frequent water changes?

On the upside, my baby tears are really rooting well. They used to pop-up if they got looked at hard, now they resisted the pulling when I tried to get the algae off.

What do you all think?

I would also like to note that after the tank is safe for additions (I currently have a ph between 6 and 6.5 (it is between those colors on my test) after CO2, .25mg NH4, 0 nitrite, 15mg nitrate) I am going to add shrimp first, yellow cherry shrimp and then crystal shrimp and allow them to build up a good population. I will also be adding nerite snails.

I have my old filter media, but rinsed it pretty good, so I will probably end up doing a cycle again, which I don't mind.

Once things are up and running I will add otos and a school of cardinal tetras. If one of my lfs's still has black emperor tetra around I may add a small school of those too.

Last edited by Kyaryo Ysoyav; 11-26-2014 at 02:21 AM.. Reason: Posted photo twice
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Old 11-26-2014, 02:18 AM   #2
Kyaryo Ysoyav
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So today I did a 50% water change and dosed a little extra liquid carbon. I also cut the ferts back by a third to try to hit the algae before it gets out of hand.

Any other suggestions?
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Old 11-26-2014, 04:58 AM   #3
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Nice planting! I really like the way the vals look behind the rock wall.

BGA, aka cyanobacteria, is only encouraged by low nutrient levels but with a brand new tank without much plant mass it is likely just fine. I'd get an airline to siphon out that spot carefully [and the one just behind to the left?] and watch for more. You could get lucky and prevent a real problem.

You could try more water movement in that area, move a powerhead or the filter intake some. I had a spot of cyano give up when I did that one time.
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Old 11-26-2014, 05:24 AM   #4
Kyaryo Ysoyav
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Thanks for the tip Kathy!

I noticed yesterday that I had no water movement at the surface of my tank and the out line from my CO2 reactor had a big kink in it. Once I fixed it, the flow rate shot back up. Maybe that will help. The spray bar blows right into the front glass wall and hooks back right over the HC. Hopefully that will fix the problem.
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Old 11-26-2014, 05:25 AM   #5
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Nice tank
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Old 11-26-2014, 05:35 AM   #6
Kyaryo Ysoyav
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Sorry for the double post, but if GBA stems from low nutrients, would you recommend I continue to dose recommended fert levels? Or should I just keep it scaled back for a while?

Thanks!
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Old 11-26-2014, 06:14 AM   #7
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If you have water tests then keep nitrates at 15-30 and phosphate at 2 or so. It is more the plants MUST have NPK+micros than CB dies if it is present. Since hobby tests aren't exactly precise go for a bit more than the lowest possible reading. More nutrients won't cause algae but is a waste. Healthy growing plants either outcompete algae or outshine algae and without the fertilizer they won't be healthy.

A kink in the CO2 line? Ouch, good that you checked all that. Maybe that will do it.
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Old 11-26-2014, 06:19 AM   #8
Kyaryo Ysoyav
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It was actually a kink in the water line, but it had slowed everything down a ton. I'd say the flow rate was down to 1/3 of max. It was enough to stop all water movement at the surface of the tank.
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Old 12-04-2014, 05:02 AM   #9
Kyaryo Ysoyav
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So I've got a few more questions for everyone. My plants are doing weird things. I'm guessing it's nutrient or light based, but for some reason when I plant stem plants, they always end up changing. Here are a few pictures. The size/shape of leaves has changed. Is this normal?

It is most apparent with this plant:

Here is the other mutant:



I just started doing ei dosing as I have no idea what is in the ferts I got from my lfs. I am doing for a 100 gallon tank, as 90 is between 80 and 100 and I have a lot of plants.

I'm hoping that will start to improve things.

Also, is it normal for HC to just no do much of anything? I have read a lot of stories of people really having a hard time growing it, but figured I had plenty of light and CO2.

Thanks again for the tips!
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Old 12-04-2014, 05:28 AM   #10
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That looks normal. It looks like the plants are transitioning from emmersed growth to submersed growth. The old leaves will probably die off in time, so you can leave them as is until then, or trim the stem at the transition point and plant just the new submersed growth to get a uniform look.

I found with HC that it settles in for a bit to the new environment before starting to spread. I've never had mine immediately start taking off.
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Old 12-04-2014, 06:30 PM   #11
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That's completely normal. That rotala is transitioning to its submersed form. The result under that high light and co2 will be a nice stunning red color. Enjoy.

EDIT: Make sure you have enough ferts to back up this growth. You don't want new growth looking too yellow or white. Might need to add iron and/or NO2
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Old 12-05-2014, 09:20 AM   #12
Kyaryo Ysoyav
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Thanks for the encouragement. I'm glad to hear that it is normal.

I've just switched to ei dosing with dry ferts and Flourish. I have an iron suppliment I will add for now. May add chelated iron later. Any experience with that?

Also, is it normal for plants to pearl like mad when you first plant them and then stagnate? I haven't seen them pearl with the filter on for about a week, though when I first planted them they would pearl very quickly with the filter on.

Could it be nutrient related? CO2 level is fine according to my drop checker.

Thanks!
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Old 12-07-2014, 03:40 AM   #13
Kyaryo Ysoyav
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In addition to my question about pearling above, I have another quick question.

I'm getting a pretty bad algae outbreak as my tank cycles. I'm near the end of the cycle, no ammonia but high nitrites (coming down).

Is there anything I can do to curb it? It is mostly large amounts of brown (diatoms) and crazy long stringy stuff that is coming off of the plants that aren't doing well.

Could it be the plants not picking up all the ei nutrients yet?

I just changed by CO2 tank today as the other one was getting low and I was worried that maybe it was fluctuating.

Any tips would be great thanks!
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Old 12-07-2014, 04:12 AM   #14
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Dimming the lights is the way to go. Plants cannot use all that energy yet and algae is taking advantage. Move the lights up or put something between lights and water like window screening or cut back the light a bit. I wouldn't cut the light lower than 5-6 hours though, would rather shade the tank.

I've read on the web that old leaves and plants that aren't doing well leak nutrients through the leaves and stems. If you see dying leaves clip them off and pull and trim stems that aren't healthy. Some say some stringy algae can be whirled on an old toothbrush to remove it, could try that. If the nitrogen cycle is complete then shrimps, otos or bristlenose can be put into the tank. I'd put in snails as well.

The first photo of strange stems is showing the stems adjusting to underwater but the leaves are pale. I don't know if the stems in the second photo are supposed to look like that or not, I think there is a Rotala that are supposed to curl up but seems like you would know if this was it as it is quite special. I'd say too much light and not enough NPK+micros but also could be low GH and they need a bit more Ca and/or Mg. Rotala also will lean over if the tank is really bright. If you can use that to your advantage a good thing but it usually is just annoying.
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