Post-ponics 55g tank- RIPARIUM RELOCATED-10/9/14
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Old 10-07-2013, 06:59 PM   #1
AquaAurora
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Post-ponics 55g tank- RIPARIUM RELOCATED-10/9/14


10/9/14
Finally everything is set up! Official start of the 55g riparium!
Filter: Eheim Professional 3 1200X (can we say overkill?)
Heater: Eheim Jagar 150 watt in diy pvc inline heater
Lights: 48" T5 6500k bulbs x2
Substrate: Black Diamond 'Sand'
Fauna: 2 Nerite snails
???# Pond, Ramshorn, and Malaysian trumpet snails
5 Otos (temporary)
12 Cherry barbs 4m:8f
1 Angelfish
1 Madagascar rainbowfish
Submerged Flora:
Crypt (wenditt?) green
Crypt Parva
Dwarf lily plant
Needle leaf Java fern
Dwarf lilly plant
Riparium Flora: Pothos
Fittonia albivenis
Tradescantia zebrine
Cyperus Umbrella Sedge
Aluminum plant
Ruellia brittoniana 'Katie'
Spathiphyllum
Spathiphyllum "domino'
Dwarf Palm Neanthe Bella
Syngonium
Riccia
Ferts:Seacehm Excel
Seacehm Flourish
Seacehm Iron
Seacehm Pottasium
Seacehm Phosphourus







9/17/14
photos of the prep






9/15/14
No photos yet but completely redoing tank, hope to have it functional again within 2 weeks. Pleco is gone and the aquaponic system has been removed.

4/30/14




INTRO
I've had this 55 gallon set up and running for a while now, the biggest issue with it is the amount of poop (and nitrates) my 9.5 inch Leopard Sailfin Pleco makes requires very frequent water changes. To deal with this I am going to be setting up an Aquapoics system..
What is aquaponics? Its a combination of aquaculture (raising fish for human consumption) and hydroponics (growing plants for human consumption using water rather than soil). Instead of soil/fertilizers, and liquid ferts as used in farms and hydroponics, the nitrogen cycle and broken down organics in the tank will give all the nutrients the plants need. I do not plan on eating my fish, and the veggies I like aren't conducive for the style of system that will be set up, but my family will be eating the produce.. produced by this ^^

THE PLAN!
My original plan changed so the new plan is to do a NFT system (nutrient film transfer) using 4 inch pvc piping and pvc "T"s to put planters full of grow media and a plant in. This method will allow fore more easy of adjustment (easily add/remove plants/"T"s, and increase distance between each as plants get bigger, or shorten if it stays compact).
I will be using the per-existing tank and canister filter, simply re-pluming the output to go into these pvc pipes with plants before re-entering the tank. The pvc grow area will be placed above the tank and most likely utilize simple shelving to hold it up. Since the tank is next to the staircase I will either hang over the stair's rail to "garden", or more like use a step stool to reach the plants.
Since the setup is in the basement and no natural sun will reach it I'll have to add some sun via T5 lights. Will start with 6500k for non blooming/"fruiting" plants, and get "warmer" spectrum bulb if I want non leafy veggies or herbs. The seeds have already been bought, I had my husband pick out what we try (what he'd eat/use). So we're going with Burpee organic: chives(/garlic), cilantro, oregano, spinach (Palco Hybrid), and lettuce (Valerie and Black Seeded Spimpson). Thinking of doing 1 each of the herbs and 2-3 of the leafy greens. I've already gotten 12 planter pots that fit perfectly for the pvc "T"s, got them for free from a nice little nursery nearby, nice people and plant selection there so will be going back to buy other things later (they had emersed form of some aquatic plants I might try in my other tanks.
I still need to decide on a media and buy it, I'm most likely going to go with an expanded clay or natural lava rock. Most nurseries around here aren't starting to sell stuff yet so I'll probably have to grab this item online.

All the finer details have not been set in stone yet but I am hopeful that my husband (going to be a big part of getting this set up and running!) and I hammer that out over the next week or two and start getting more supplies together.

I will update the first post and cram as much as I can in here as it's set up, then do updates via new posts in the thread after.

Photos!
Construction starts [3/7-9 weeked]
Seeds

uncut 4 inch "T"s (x6)

cut 4 inch "T"s (same 6)

Planter in cut "T" (x6)

4 inch cap (x2)

Pre assembling (4 inch diameter drainage piping between "T"s 3.5 inch lengths x7) + hose parts

Glue to bind pvc

Post glueing








Before....when it was just an aquarium: [pre 3/2014]
Most recent full tank photo:12/2/13
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Equipment:
"55" gallon Tetra tank (47.5 x 19.75 x 12) (Petco)
Cabinet stand (re-purposed)
Polycarbinate clear lids (HomeDepot)
Surge Suppressor and Light Timer (HomeDepot)
SunSun HW 304b 5-Stage External Canister Filter with 9watt UV steralizer and 525 GPH (amazon)
Marienland Double Bright LED lights 24 inch (x2) (amazon)
Eheim Jagar Aquarium Thermostat Heaster 150 Watt (amazon)
Whisper air pump and black 6 inch air stone from original 10 gallon tank
Small suction-cupped thermometer (re-purposed)

Hardscape/Substrate:
Specrtastone DeepRiver Gravel 25 lb bag (x2) (amazon)
1 medium-large driftwood (ebay)
2 small Malaysian driftwoods
Fauna: 9.5 inch Leopard Sailfin Pleco & 4 inch Madagascar Rainbowfish
Flora: Whatever anacharis the pleco has not eaten yet

See my other tanks
No-techs3 Gallon10 Gallon



Original post:
Starting up a new "55" gallon tank with my husband. Why is it in quotes? because internal measurements show its actually around 48.. lying s.o.b. manufacturer. Its been up for a little bit but I only just started proper cycling yesterday so I thought I'd keep a journal and add questions as I go. I wanted to try the pure ammonia fish-less way this time since last time I did a fish-in cycle.

Equipment:
"55" gallon Tetra tank (47.5 x 19.75 x 12) (Petco)
Cabinet stand (re-purposed)
Polycarbinate clear lids (HomeDepot)
Surge Suppressor and Light Timer (HomeDepot)
SunSun HW 304b 5-Stage External Canister Filter with 9watt UV steralizer and 525 GPH (amazon)

Marienland Double Bright LED lights 24 inch (x2) (amazon)
Eheim Jagar Aquarium Thermostat Heaster 150 Watt (amazon)
Tiny air-stone (hand-me-down)
Small suction-cupped thermometer (re-purposed)

Hardscape:
Specrtastone DeepRiver Gravel 25 lb bag (x2) (amazon)
1 medium-large driftwood (ebay)
1 medium driftwood (local woods)
1 tiny driftwood (Marimo ball covered)
1 large lava rock

Fauna:
Not until till cycled

Flora:
Anacharis (x8 small) (plantedaquariumscentral)
Hornwort (x2 small) (Petsmart)
Anubias barteri var. nana (x3 medium and small) (plantedaquariumscentral and Petco)
Java Fern (x? a lot medium and small) (Petsmart and plantedaquariumscentral)
Marimo covered driftwood (plantedaquariumscentral)

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Water Conditioner:
Tetra AquaSafe + (must find some SafeStart)

Starting Water Perimeters:
Temp:77 F
pH:74.7.6
Ammonia:0-0.25
Nitrite:0
Nitrate:10-20 (suspect from old tank media)


Goals:
Fully Cycled!
Add more fast growing low light plants (more anacharis and hornwort probably) and float all plants on surface
Add larger capacity air-stone/pump
Get a black background on back of tank to hide wires/hoses
Minor tweaks to larger wood piece and its surrounding gravel to be shelter for pleco
Remove smaller logs and all the anacharis/java (re-home in smaller tank once fish move)
Move Leopard Sailfin Pleco, Madagascar rainbow-fish, and Powder Blue Dwarf Gourami to "55"
Re-scape smaller tank with java, anubias, moss and maybe some new plants
Put dwarf gourami back in smaller tank
Add more Madagascar rainbow-fish to "55"

Ultimate goal:
Move Leopard Sailfin Pleco to much bigger custom built tank (working out details for it now, "55" is his stepping stone up towards final home)
Do capped soil substrate and a LOT more plants in the "55" once pleco is out
Add some more fish to "55".. maybe Angels


So far all the new equipment is working well. The tiny air stone won't be staying I just have it in there to humor me with adding a little more O2 during the cycling process.
I originally added old filter media and a large lava rock from my cycled smaller tank to the "55" but didn't have enough ammonia in the tank so I suspect all that BB died (whoops).
Got a hold of some pure ammonia yesterday -which is harder to find than you might think- at Ace Hardware store to begin a fish-less cycle.

Note on Plants:
They will not be staying like the first photo shows, its just to keep them spread out and well lit during cycling. The tiny anubias on the right of the large driftwood is whats left of mine from Petco, the roots were devoured by my pleco. That unsightly mess of swiss-cheesed java fern on the far right of the tank is whats left of my Petsmart purchase after my pleco got a hold of it... apparently he likes it more than lettuce =,= Some of teh rhyzomes have enw leaf growth so I am hoping they will bounce back from the beating they took.
The lush anubias with long roots, marimo covered smallest wood, short but healthy anacharis, and short lush java attached to the medium driftwood (which is mostly buried to keep it anchored) came from plantedaquariumcentral. Awesome seller, quick to answer questions, gave me extra anubias (with flower!!) java and a little extra anacharis from listed amounts, and all came in great condition.

Ultimately I will have a lot of fast growing floaters in the "55" so the pleco doesn't have anything to crash into and uproot. The only thing that will end up beign at the bottom (besides gravel obviously) is some peices of driftwood for him to hide in/behind/under.


Cycling log: (10/6-7)
Added about 5.5 ml of ammonia yesterday with pet medicine dropper to bring the levels in the "55" tank to around 3.5-3.75 ppm (using online calculator from fishkeep).
Color range on ammonia test (API test kit) today show between 2-4 ppm,...there's no '"3" on the reference. Not adding any ammonia today.
Will add a broken air-stone and mesh bag full of crushed lava rock currently sitting in cycled smaller tank to "55" once its built up more BB (going to give it a week or so to colonize before move).
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The "55" is across the room from my cycled tank and I could swear my pleco has been eying it since the large piece of wood was added as if to say in a whinny 3 year old voice "I wanna go overTTHHEERREE" He's been handing out in the corner of his tank closest to the new one (and farthest from his cave) a lot, but I'm probably just over personifying his actions.

Last edited by AquaAurora; 10-10-2014 at 02:41 AM.. Reason: riparium/tank detials update
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Old 10-07-2013, 11:54 PM   #2
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I got my black cover background from petdepot, petco also has them. Its one side blue and one side dark. 2.99 a feet i think. Also, that led light doesnt seem to be for plants. If i were you, i would return those and get a finnex ray 2 instead. Check out my journal if ya want.
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Old 10-08-2013, 06:41 PM   #3
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Cycling log: (10/8)
[cue mad scientist scene] *ahem*
IT LIIIIVEEESS
I love you beneficial bacteria!!! Apparently my original seed material didn't loose the bb on it like I thought, behold! NITRITES!
Ammonia: 1-2
Nitrties: 0.25-0.5
Nitrates: 40-80

Attachment 218681

Added 1.63 ml ammonia to bring levels in the tank up to around 2-3 ppm.

An a random note: I don't know if my reference color chart ran low on ink.. or does API test kits suck for making same colros cover a wide range of ppm? I mean look at that photo, 10-20 is same color for nitrates, so is 40-80, and 2-5 for nitrites too.
Updated previous post with photo of 2nd days test tube results in cycling log section.


Questions for today:
Any suggestions for low to medium light floating plants that (large breed) plecos aren't prone to eat? I have no clue how plecos are with frogbit, water lettuce, and simular type floaters.




Quote:
Originally Posted by zetvi View Post
I got my black cover background from petdepot, petco also has them. Its one side blue and one side dark. 2.99 a feet i think. Also, that led light doesnt seem to be for plants. If i were you, i would return those and get a finnex ray 2 instead. Check out my journal if ya want.

Thanks for the tip on the background. As for lighting, I based my choice on these threads:
Lighting an Aquarium with PAR instead of Watts
LED Lighting Compendium
Currently Plants are at the bottom, 20 inches from light at deepest point -putting it in the "low light" spectrum from the charts and data-which works fine for the plants I intend to keep in there. The anacharis has already shown new growth, the hornowrt keeps getting stick behind the filter spray bar (will have to tie it off closer to the light) so not a lot of noticeable growth there. I don't expect to miraculously see new growth on the anubias or java in the less than week that it has been in there, but none of it is dieing (not counting the already half dead java from my pleco making a salad of it).

Last edited by AquaAurora; 11-21-2013 at 09:08 PM..
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Old 10-08-2013, 07:23 PM   #4
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That little extra length of tank hanging off the dresser unsupported scares me....
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Old 10-08-2013, 07:54 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by howze01 View Post
That little extra length of tank hanging off the dresser unsupported scares me....
Doesnt scare me.
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Old 10-09-2013, 09:44 AM   #6
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Does your sock drawer ever get wet after a water change?
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Old 10-09-2013, 01:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by howze01 View Post
That little extra length of tank hanging off the dresser unsupported scares me....
Quote:
Originally Posted by carpalstunna View Post
Doesnt scare me.
Somehow between cleaning the inside and filling it the tank moved a 1/2 inch to the right. Will be doing a massive WC when tank is cycled to remove Nitrates, and can move it back then (no way in hell its budging while full).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tvadna View Post
Does your sock drawer ever get wet after a water change?
Its cabinetry not a dresser, no cloths in there to get wet. And so far nothing inside has had water damage from the initial tank fill.
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Old 10-09-2013, 03:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carpalstunna View Post
Doesnt scare me.
I have seen more than one tanks break from not being supported correctly, including a 55 of mine. Most of the time, it works fine. The few times it doesn't really suck...


Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaAurora View Post
Somehow between cleaning the inside and filling it the tank moved a 1/2 inch to the right. Will be doing a massive WC when tank is cycled to remove Nitrates, and can move it back then (no way in hell its budging while full).
Glad to hear it, would hate to have the same nightmare happen to you that happened to me!
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Old 10-09-2013, 04:40 PM   #9
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Default Cycling Log: (10/9)

Cycling Log: (10/9)
Not much to say today, the nitrite eating bacteria hasn't kicked in yet, but I shouldn't be expecting miracles.
Ammonia:2-4
Nitrites:2-5
Nitrates:40-80
Attachment 218993

Some close ups of the large driftwood:
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Must clean glass...

Questions for today:
I know ammonia can reach a level that's toxic for beneficial bacteria, what about nitrites?

Last edited by AquaAurora; 11-21-2013 at 09:08 PM..
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Old 10-12-2013, 09:30 PM   #10
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Default Cycling log: (10/10-12)

Cycling log: (10/10)
Ammonia: 1
Nitrite: 2-5
Nitrate: 40-80
Added 3.27 ml ammonia to bring ti back up to 3ppm

Cycling log: (10/11)
Ammonia: 2-4
Nitrite: 2-5
Nitrate: 40-80
No ammonia added. Bought a bunch (about 6 stems) of anacharis from Petco and letting it float in the "55" for now. Found 2 snails on that anacharis so far, one went into the cycled tank with gourami (suspect he'll eat it), the otehr is in the Evolve 4.
Also bought a Evolve 4 from Petsmart on clearance ($30) and will start a journal for that soon.

Cycling log: (10/12)
Ammonia: 0.5 (its eating it quicker now)
Nitrite: 2-5
Nitrate: 40-80
Added 4.1 ml ammonia to bring it back up to 3 ppm.
Removed tiny air-stone to use in Evolve cycling since "55" water level is low enough from the filter output that its getting decent aeration from the spray bar.

One of the anubias nana looks like it has some bubbles under a leaf that is exposed to the most light (its the plant that has flowers when it came).

Questions for today:
Whats up with the weird translucent shedding skin look on the rhizome? The rhizome has never been planted so it shouldn't be rot.

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Last edited by AquaAurora; 11-21-2013 at 09:09 PM.. Reason: typo
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Old 10-15-2013, 07:10 PM   #11
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Default Cycling Log: 10/13-15

So the "55" has be eating up ammonia like crazy, today it was at 0! but nitrite hasn't budged yet. I broke more of my API test tubes so I only have 4 left, enough to do an ammonia and nitrite test on both the "55" and Evolve (see signature for journal). I should be getting new tubes tomorrow hopefully and can keep track of nitrates again.
I don't think the plant mass in the "55" is eating up all the ammonia, could it? I have probably less than 30% plant mass in there... I wouldn't think it could munch that much ammonia in one day especially since over half of it is slow growers (java fern, anubias nana, and marimo moss)?

Anyways I am trying to prep some lava rock in my cycled tank to place into the two unfinished tanks soon. I bought some nylon stockings yesterday to place the lava rock in, turns out they're so tightly stitched together it locks air in.. it tried to float.. with rocks in it.. haha had to cut a small hole in each to push out air/let water in. I'm hoping once I add them to the cycling tanks that it will kick start the nitrite eating bacteria.

As a final note for the "55" today, I noticed some odd white film over the past few days in there, as first I thought it was from the nearly dead java fern I had in there, but I noticed the locally collected wood was covered in some nasty film today ew!! Removed the healthy java ferns from it and put them on some left over tubing from the canister filter that was cut. I scrubbed the wood under hot water and am going to try boiling the wood this evening after dinner to see if that gets rid of the film problem.

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As you can see from the photos, not too nice to look at...hopefully it doesn't have any adverse effect on the BB or java

Last edited by AquaAurora; 11-21-2013 at 09:10 PM.. Reason: typo
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Old 10-16-2013, 06:47 PM   #12
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Default Cycling log: 10/16

Cycling log: (10/16)
pH:7.4-7.6
Ammonia:0
Nitrite:2-5
Nirtate:10-20
GH:214.8
Kh:71.6

I feel like I'm doing the GH test wrong since it comes out so high... going from orange to green... well it takes several drops before it really turns orange.. but oh well, at least I never have to worry about my pH falling through the floor.
Accidentally added 0.1 ml too much ammonia when topping it off today so decided between that and the translucent slime/fungus left over from the wood that I'd do a 5 gallon wc. Came out eassily enough got a lot-but not all- of the nasty stuff from the wood. Grabbed about 5 gallons to dump back in and [censored][censored][censored][censored] forgot to de-chlorinate! Good thing no fish in there but I probably just killed off all my good ammonia munching BB. I realized less than a minute after putting the water in and dumped about 4x as much dE-cholinator as I needed in just to add to the stupidity.

Oh well it will give me an excuse to test out the tetra safestart formula I got along with my heater for the tiny tnak (see signature for journal), test tubes, and more de-chlorinator since my bottle was nearly (and now is) empty.
I'm waiting a few hours then will test ammonia again and add some as needed to bring it up to 3ppm and re-start the fishless cycle along with the tetra stuff.
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Old 10-16-2013, 07:08 PM   #13
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you do not have to dechorinate water before putting it in the tank. If you put your water in straight from the tap all you do is add enough dechorinator to treat the whole tank (55 gallons in your case.)

As for killing your bb yeah it will take a little more effort than that. BB has to be exposed to an extreme amount of chorine in order to die off that fast. Or be exposed to tap water for hours. Or drying out the media and/or substrate usually kills it off nice.

You actually can rinse biomedia off in tap water without doing any harm. Hot tap water will kill it. Not a big deal.

That being said I prefer to clean biomedia in tank water, I rinse it in tank water once every other week. I clean it off in a bucket of freshly dechlor water once a year. Why risk it if you dont have to. Dechlor is dirt cheap. I go through a gallon a year on my 55 and I double dose it (high chloramines in my area).

Point being you didnt kill any BB unless you left the tank with the chorinated water in it for hours.

If you prefer there is nothing wrong with adding the water straight from the tap to the aquarium then treating the entire volume of water.
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Old 10-16-2013, 07:26 PM   #14
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Default java babies!

I'm so glad I threw the chewed up java into the 55, its spitting out new babies all over, and those with intact rhizomes are making new leaves on there too. Here are a few shots of some of the new plantlets growing on damaged leaves:
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Only 2 plants died completely, but the pleco had literally eaten them down to nothing but a stem...no more java for you poop machine pleco!
Aaaand update photo for the tank (wtf green tube? read "Cycling Log: 10/13-15" about fungus-y driftwood, ps: driftwood was boiled and will be going back in tomorrow to hold the healthy java fern)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark546 View Post
you do not have to dechorinate water before putting it in the tank. If you put your water in straight from the tap all you do is add enough dechorinator to treat the whole tank (55 gallons in your case.)

As for killing your bb yeah it will take a little more effort than that. BB has to be exposed to an extreme amount of chorine in order to die off that fast. Or be exposed to tap water for hours. Or drying out the media and/or substrate usually kills it off nice.

You actually can rinse biomedia off in tap water without doing any harm. Hot tap water will kill it. Not a big deal.

That being said I prefer to clean biomedia in tank water, I rinse it in tank water once every other week. I clean it off in a bucket of freshly dechlor water once a year. Why risk it if you dont have to. Dechlor is dirt cheap. I go through a gallon a year on my 55 and I double dose it (high chloramines in my area).

Point being you didnt kill any BB unless you left the tank with the chorinated water in it for hours.

If you prefer there is nothing wrong with adding the water straight from the tap to the aquarium then treating the entire volume of water.

Well thats nice to hear ^^ I prefer to treat the volume being added before it goes in rather than treat a larger volume of the whole tank. Its the first wc I'd done on the 55 and between dragging the bucket out and grabbing the stool (the cabinet its on is higher than it looks) I forgot to grab the de-chlorinator.
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Old 10-21-2013, 05:23 PM   #15
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Default Cycling log: (10/21)

Cycling log: (10/21)
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 5
Nitrate: 10-20

Ammonia still gets eaten like crazy (keep adding several ml each day) but nitrites have not gone down yet. I've had some nitrates, but the plants seem to be eating it up so its not building up that much.
All the anacharis has been moved to my driftwood soaking bin along with one of the lights. I seem to have snails and they like to lay eggs exclusively on the anacharis so moving that out till I can give them a good 'clean' to get rid of those. I also moved about 1/2 the old java fern with plantlets growing to the Evolve, mainly smaller pieces that had a chance of getting sucked up into the filter. All remaining plants are on/around the large driftwood and under the remaining light.
All the healthy javas have new growth on the rhizomes, and I think one of the new anaubias nana even has a new leaf growing on it already O.o, the same one that was flowering (and still is).
I placed some pieces of a broken air stone I'd left sitting in my cycled tank for over a week into the "55" this morning when I did my daily pleco poop cleaning. I also added about (little more than) half a bottle of tetra safe start to the "55" the bottle says it works for up to 100 gallons. I don't know that it will work, I've heard reviews pointing both ways. But we'll see, if its eats my nitrites and keeps them down as I feed ammonia to the tank then I'll be a believer. If its a flop there's a money back guarantee so I'll just go that route and continue waiting for the nitrite eating bacteria to build up.

Still haven't gotten around to buying a background yet, I really need to. The green tubing makes the water look lime green (like the glass is covered in tiny algae) but its just an illusion from light bouncing off the green plastic.... seriously why green?
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3g bowl, 2g jar, & 0.5g Vase 3g 7g Cube 10g 20g long.. something 55g riparium
Coming Soon: 12g long journal (will make a journal.. someday..)
M.T.S.? ...Nahh
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