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Old 03-25-2012, 12:05 AM   #211
Francis Xavier
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There's a lot of biased opinions on the 'cycle' products, and I was curious on your take. Thanks. So you let the bacteria establish on its own and just supply it with Green Bacter as food? Makes sense to me.
This is correct. That being said - many of those products (Bio Spira I have first hand experience with) do work for non-planted tanks. The problem is the concentration of ammonia in Aqua Soil, so there's no "quick fix."

The best method involves Bacter 100 (dormant bacteria) + Filter media from established tank + Green Bacter for food. Quickest bang for buck.

For reference, in this aquarium I'm using no pre-established filter media.
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Old 03-25-2012, 12:16 AM   #212
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Someone asked how to tell if the liquid additives are expired...

I got a bottle of something (I think Phyton-Git) that was given to me some years ago and it had sat it a garage. It had fluffy precipitate in it. Expired.


Frank, can Phyton-Git be painted on Bucephalandra leaves? I am having an algae problem now. My CO2 is at 1 bubble every four to five seconds from the mini polen diffuser (I don't have a bubble counter because I have a mist tank and it's not really practical) and this started after I added special lights.

Can you alternate special lights and shade?


Is Phyton-git useful for GDA? Also,my tourmaline In the filter is several years old. When do I add more? Or are its electrical properties I intrinsic so it is never exhausted?

I as also wondering, if you have pret soft water, why can't you add a tiny bit of Penac-P at water changes?
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Old 03-25-2012, 12:24 AM   #213
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Someone asked how to tell if the liquid additives are expired...

I got a bottle of something (I think Phyton-Git) that was given to me some years ago and it had sat it a garage. It had fluffy precipitate in it. Expired.


Frank, can Phyton-Git be painted on Bucephalandra leaves? I am having an algae problem now. My CO2 is at 1 bubble every four to five seconds from the mini polen diffuser (I don't have a bubble counter because I have a mist tank and it's not really practical) and this started after I added special lights.

Can you alternate special lights and shade?


Is Phyton-git useful for GDA? Also,my tourmaline In the filter is several years old. When do I add more? Or are its electrical properties I intrinsic so it is never exhausted?

I as also wondering, if you have pret soft water, why can't you add a tiny bit of Penac-P at water changes?
Penac P is only recommended for being under the substrate - using Penac W is the way to go for adjusting water hardness a bit (as I used it today for this purpose, I want kH up a notch over 1 (between 2-3 is good).

Phyton Git when dosed will help some with GDA, but primarily to get rid of GDA have oto cats (2 for Mini M), and do a weekly algae pad to the tank.

I would recommend swapping out the Tourmaline F given the amount of time you've used it for. I am not sure of it's effectiveness past 1 year, but it is quite significantly more long-lived than carbon.

Phyton Git can be painted on leaves of Anubias because of the hard cuticle. You can test this on Bucephelandra (a plant i've only grown once) to see how it reacts, start with only one leaf.

Bump your co2 up a notch or so. You'll be slowly adjusting as the tank gets adjusted.

FYI your super jet pump is on it's way from Japan right now. ETA 1.5 weeks.
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Old 03-25-2012, 03:45 AM   #214
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Hey, I notice a bit of improvement since taking your advice on adding more K to my HC Cuba carpet, thanks.

Do you trim off the yellow parts? How aggressive do you trim to promote a thicker carpet?

Also, with your tank being 5.5 gallon (I think) what kind of livestock are you going to add?
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Old 03-25-2012, 06:48 PM   #215
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Not much for the Day 8 update, just a top off (in this tank the no water change days are basically 20% water changes)( day 9 water change is full 70%)

You can see the residue of some Penac W which will go away over time:



Yesterday you may remember me testing kH and having a value of 1, with the addition of Penac I rose this value to 2: right where I want it.

The only other thing I did was continue to remove dead, yellow or old leaves.



Here I'm using spring curve type scissors, which are easier to maneuver with in tanks of this size since you grip them with your palm and can access areas that are harder to otherwise.

I'm pruning off the old e. tenellus and micro sword leaves as well as bits of yellow HC.

Of all the plants I have in here, surprisingly the tenellus and the moss are doing the best, followed by the hair grass, which is doing the invasive growth hair grass thing.

Very pleased with the bronze tenellus growth: ridiculously happy in fact. This will provide the contrast im looking for. The riccia I have more being shipped in to see if it's a different sp.

For riccia I want an sp that isn't so broad, so hopefully the stuff I'm getting from a hobbyist is the right type. At least from his pics it appears that way.
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Old 03-25-2012, 06:50 PM   #216
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Hey, I notice a bit of improvement since taking your advice on adding more K to my HC Cuba carpet, thanks.

Do you trim off the yellow parts? How aggressive do you trim to promote a thicker carpet?

Also, with your tank being 5.5 gallon (I think) what kind of livestock are you going to add?
I go very aggressive with removing yellow and old leaves: especially once roots are established.

I'm very glad you're seeing an improvement. You may also consider adding more iron.

I will add a small tetra or borates sp. have about 5-7 Amano shrimp and 1-2 o cats.
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Old 03-25-2012, 07:23 PM   #217
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Originally Posted by FlyingHellFish View Post
Hey, I notice a bit of improvement since taking your advice on adding more K to my HC Cuba carpet, thanks.

Do you trim off the yellow parts? How aggressive do you trim to promote a thicker carpet?

Also, with your tank being 5.5 gallon (I think) what kind of livestock are you going to add?
Aggressive trimming would be trimming down to the bottom most layer of leaves/stem structures. You don't want to trim completely away, but you want to think of it as trimming away the top layer and exposing the underlying infrastructure. Here's a picture from a thread Tom did a while back about trimming.

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Old 03-26-2012, 06:00 AM   #218
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Alright, Day 9:



I'm at a stage in the planted tank growth period where there isn't a whole lot you can do except sit tight and keep doing what you're doing.

As you develop good habits, an odd thing happens: you are so happy with the process involved with your tank that you always want to be doing something with it.

However, when appropriate, the best thing you can do is sit tight and wait things out.

For example here I've got two algae's starting to appear: one which is a hitchhiker from the riccia I got from a local pet store ( which I am eagerly awaiting to replace with some from a different source ), while removal and replanting is typically not something you can do, with riccia it grows quick enough to not have a major impact this early in the game: plus it doesn't root, so there is minimal disturbance.

Aside from that:

Hair grass is doing its viral thing already as this picture illustrates:



By this time next week I'll be trimming away all of the old emerged growth which is largely useless even now to the plant since it has rooted healthily.

I'm still very happy with the way e tennellus and the moss are coming in: much quicker and healthier than I thought they would, which is great.

Micro sword might find itself removed though, the more I look at it right now the more it isn't fitting the feel I want.

That being said: Day 9 had a full water change, Green Bacter x6 drops, brighty k x1 squirt and green brighty step 1 1x squirt.

Ammonia and nitrites are of course still to high to add shrimp (which will quickly eliminate the small green algae growing, which is great to see since its a very easy algae to eliminate).
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Old 03-26-2012, 06:34 AM   #219
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Looking spiffy. I'm really liking how the Riccia pops out...such a fast grower too. Also, reading back I notice that you use 100% powder types in terms of soil...how do you feel about this vs say 3L normal and 1.5L of powder? Any issue associated with it? I read on the website that too much powder type can cause issues with dustiness when moving plants and decreased water circulation...however I really love the fine look of the powder type and the size ratio is has with the Mini M. Also, happen to catch my second email?
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Old 03-26-2012, 09:34 AM   #220
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How do you stop the DHG from spreading too much? Do you put dividers in the substrate?
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Old 03-26-2012, 03:23 PM   #221
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Looking spiffy. I'm really liking how the Riccia pops out...such a fast grower too. Also, reading back I notice that you use 100% powder types in terms of soil...how do you feel about this vs say 3L normal and 1.5L of powder? Any issue associated with it? I read on the website that too much powder type can cause issues with dustiness when moving plants and decreased water circulation...however I really love the fine look of the powder type and the size ratio is has with the Mini M. Also, happen to catch my second email?
In a Mini S and Mini M 100% Powder is just fine (Amano will even just use the additives + powder in a Mini S/M). Once you start breaching Mini L size (8 gallons or so) and up you should use normal + powder.

Generally speaking you don't want to have to move plants around much after you've planted them, but you'll still be all right with 100% powder.


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How do you stop the DHG from spreading too much? Do you put dividers in the substrate?
When Hairgrass is trimmed it kind of triggers it to send out more runners. In this case, I'm holding off trimming off all the old emmersed growth (which could have been done on Day 8), to let it keep going vertical for a bit before trimming it away probably next week.

There are no dividers, it's just about trimming it back at the runner if it spreads where you absolutely don't want it, and otherwise just planting much, much, much less DHG than you do everything else.
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Old 03-26-2012, 07:07 PM   #222
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There are no dividers, it's just about trimming it back at the runner if it spreads where you absolutely don't want it, and otherwise just planting much, much, much less DHG than you do everything else.
I've kept hair grass but never actively restrained it, could you elaborate on how to "train" it like this? are you just cutting the runners down to the substrate level?
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Old 03-26-2012, 07:51 PM   #223
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I've kept hair grass but never actively restrained it, could you elaborate on how to "train" it like this? are you just cutting the runners down to the substrate level?
You can create "barriers" of other plants by planting around the hair grass. While it's viral, it has a great deal of difficulty overcoming other plants in the way of it.

I discovered this in my first iwagumi by mistake. Where I had already mostly grown an HC carpet, and when I wanted to add hair grass, it never seemed to grow. The reason was because the HC essentially had blocked out it's growth in all but a small area. When faced with this challenge Hair grass does one of a few predictable things:

1. Stops growing
2. Grows underneath the substrate
3. Shoots runners over the plant hedges (easy to cut)

I reinforced this mistake by doing it in my Mini S and Mini L in Seattle - where hair grass absolutely would not grow past the hedge of HC, if you look at the double tank shot on page one, notice the Mini S (Front left tank), where there is absolutely hair grass in the tank, but it's almost imperceptable because the HC blocked out the growth of the hair grass.

You can manipulate the growing points of other plants this way as well. In this particular layout I have a few artificial barriers:

1. Wall of moss stones. Hair grass will grow underneath the stones and prop itself up in spots not covered by moss if allowed.

2. E. Tenellus. This will through out underground runners and does not grow as thick and dense as Hair grass initially, so it will cover more ground and is a larger plant, so the roots will block growth inevitably.

3. HC and stones on the right. This will create the hedge on the right side that blocks hair grass from penetrating to the other side of the layout.

Techniques to stymie growth in the beginning:

1. Not trimming it as early as usual. I'm letting the emmersed growth stay for at least another week. This will drain the plant of 'energy,' while it focuses on growing out and trying to keep the old plant matter alive. This also will ensure that the fresh new green growth will grow vertical.

Trimming hair grass will encourage it to send out runners in a massive dash for survival. So by not trimming, we signal the plant that it's in a good spot and can just grow up, not out.

So by stacking the odds in favor of the other plants, and with practice I can manipulate exactly how much hair grass will be in the layout.

Essentially a ratio of 5:1 other plants to hair grass will help keep the odds balanced.

This is why learning the growth patterns of each plant is essential to a mixed carpet.
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Old 03-26-2012, 07:56 PM   #224
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Hey Frank, don't know if this has been discussed in the thread, but it might be interesting to know how long you plan on keeping this setup and why?
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Old 03-26-2012, 08:14 PM   #225
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Hey Frank, don't know if this has been discussed in the thread, but it might be interesting to know how long you plan on keeping this setup and why?

I have a precisely in-precise answer to that question:

I plan on keeping this setup for as long as it entertains me. I figure at least 6 mo's to a year. It all really depends and here's why: There are some layouts you do, which once you achieve the final result you absolutely love them and keep them going as long as you want. Others, you get the final result and decide you want to do something new, or are inspired to challenge yourself in a new way.

I would recommend with any layout to at least keep it going for enough time to enjoy fish in the aquarium and relax.
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