Desert Pupfish's new 55g tank - Page 3 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #31 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 10:23 PM
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post #32 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 01:50 PM Thread Starter
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An update now that I'm back from my latest travel:

The green water has improved somewhat. I can now see into the middle of the tank. Not all the way to the back yet, but it's much better. Last week before leaving I shortened the light cycle to 5hrs/day, eliminated the blue actinic lights, and added 10 ghost shrimp to help eat plant dead plant material that I couldn't see, or couldn't clean up while away. And put in a couple of bunches of hornwort because I'd read somewhere that they have an alleopathic effect against algae. Something seems to have worked, because when I cleaned my filter yesterday there was virtually no gunk--just lots of baby bladder snails in the sponges.

Thanks to everyone who offered great suggestions on how to deal with the green water. Given my progress, I think I'll hold off on any chemical fixes (H2O2, erthromycin, Excel megadoses, etc) for now. I did pull the trigger and ordered 1000 moina--due to arrive on Friday. Will be interesting to see how they do, and if they clean up the green water.

Plant update: with the increased light, and presumably more available nutrients now that the green water is abating, the plants are looking happier. My jungle val has nearly doubled in size in a week. Still some black edges on the leaves--not sure if that's BBA, some nutrient deficiency, or what. Have some empty gel caps I'll use to make some Osmocote Plus tabs & stick those around the larger plants, and tuck some individual balls around the smaller plants. I'd left some stems floating, and discovered that there are a couple surviving mermaid weed stems I didn't recognized because they'd shed their emersed leaves. So once the green water is under control and I can clearly see the entire tank, I'll do some rescaping and replant those, the floating ludwigia, and stick some of the hornwort to fill in empty spaces while the other plants grow out. Hope to round out the plantings some anubias to attach to the cholla, a red sword or two, and maybe a red tiger lily. Would like to see if I can get some kind of carpet in front--though it's a deep tank so I'm not sure if I could get DHG to do well. Maybe a java moss matt, or subwassertang? Open to suggestions on that one.

Livestock update: Because of my bladder snail explosion, I set off for the LFS with a plan to buy some pea puffers to feast on all the snails, and some Endlers for color & motion. But the owner talked me out of the puffers--she said they were attacking the algae eaters in her plant tank, so my otos wouldn't be safe. Even though it sounds like they're real terrorists, would still love to get some pea puffers one day. Might try to reseal the leaky 7 gal hex that's been sitting in my garage for years and try them in there--harvesting the snails from the big tank to feed them. In the meantime, I ended up with one assassin snail, and guppies--a male & two females (one very pregnant) They still had some beautiful locally bred Peruvian "altum" angels (wild type scalares, actually) that I'd like to get in 6 wks when I'm back from my summer travels. So as much as I wanted Endlers, I figured the guppies were less likely to end up as lunch, and the fry would be a good live food source for the angels. We'll see how the lone assassin does keeping the snails under control. Might have to get a second if he can't keep up with the bladder snail explosion.

Will set up the new AquaClear 70 HOB filter today, and let it get seeded for a few weeks before taking that crappy broken Jebo filter back for credit. Hoping running both simultaneously won't be too much flow for my tank. Do they have ready-made sponge prefilters for the intake? Want to keep the baby bladder snails & ghost shrimp out, and the additional biofilter surface area is always a good thing,

That's it for now--sorry for the long read. Can't take pics during daylight, but will try to get some after dark when I've got some time.
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post #33 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-23-2019, 10:28 PM Thread Starter
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Weekend Update:

Green water is slowly improving--the operative word being slowly. At least I can see through the tank now. FYI, I did pull the trigger and get some moina last week. Put them in and nothing happened--zip, nada. Stupidly, I didn't put some of them in a gallon jar with some of the green tank water as a backup culture in case those in the tanks didn't make it. I had both filters going since I didn't want to shut off the old while while cycling the new one, so it was a maelstrom inside the tank--which I'm guessing the moina didn't like. Did a water change a couple of days later, and have left that bucket outside to see if any survived and do anything. Not likely, and it's heating back up to over 100 today, so that'll likely kill off any survivors if there were any. Expensive lesson learned that there are no easy biohacks. Lights still at 5hrs/day, and if I'm around to turn them off & on, am doing a 2-3 hr siesta. Continuing to dose Excel daily, and have ordered an additional 2 liters in case I need to up the dosage. From what I've been reading, in my low tech/medium light tank I'll probably need to keep using Excel as a crutch, unless I really dial down the light and only keep easy low light plants.

The old filter seems to have stopped working altogether. The bladder snail explosion continues, and I'm wondering if some got into the impeller. But with the new one running, and likely plenty of nitrifying bacteria in the STS substrate, plants, etc ammonia/nitrites/nitrates remain zero across the board. Have left the old filter sponges in the tank for now to help out the new filter, so it looks like a junkyard in there. Will try to see if I can get the old filter running again, and pack the chambers with filter floss since that seems to be collecting lots of gunk still. Not finding much dead plant life during my WC & attempts to vac--guess the ghost shrimp & snails are keeping on top of that.

Speaking of snails, they are no so many there's hardly any green dust algae on the walls, and I fear my otos won't get enough to eat. I've tried putting algae wafers & cucumber slices in, but the snails swarm them. And when I vacuum I'm sucking up lots of snail poop. Didn't realize they could create so much--probably not helping with the green water problem. So went back to the LFS and got two more larger assassin snails, and took a chance and bought two small pea puffers to eat all the baby snails in the hopes they'd be good citizens and just harass the snails. Gratifyingly, when I tipped them out of their bag one went straight to a snail on the glass-bit it on the head, and swam off. So far so good, and no sign that they're harassing the otos or guppies. Haven't seen them actually eat any since, but they're cruising around, playing nice, and look noticeably fatter already. They're tiny--not even 1/2". And speaking of tiny, I'm seeing some guppy fry hanging around the sponges, so they seem to be getting food there. Used one of the old sponges to cover the intake of the new HOB filter to prevent any casualties--have some new ones on order. And got some more biomax media for the HOB since they don't give you much, and I'm not planning to use the activated carbon long term. Though would that help remove dissolved organics to get rid of the green water? If so, that might be worth doing.

Making some 0 size Osmocote Plus gel caps with about half fine SafeTsorb left over from the initial scaping. Hoping they'll keep the dissolved Osmocote from leaching into the water column & exacerbating the algae. And that'll allow me to use more distributed throughout the plants root zone. Anyone ever tried this, or have any thoughts on whether this would be a good or bad idea? Will report back on how it works. Might try testing that vs some plain Osomocote balls on two different plants of the same species to see if there's a difference in plant growth. Probably won't be able to tell if there's any difference on if they get into the water column or not--seems the hornwort & all the algae is doing a good job of sucking everything up.

Today I'm planting some of the ludwigia, proserpinaca & H. difformis that I've let float around since their initial meltdown. They've put out some roots, so time to try putting them back into the substrate. And with that crappy sponge filter out of the way, my crypts should have more room to spread out--they kept getting battered every time I tried to move it, or it would fall on top of them when not working. The val is still going great guns, and now that the water is clearer I can see at least one new pup popping up. It's gonna get some of the Osmocote for sure. Leaving again in a week, so trying to get things more stable. It's a patience-testing process, but things are moving in the right direction, and I have a few more critters to watch.
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post #34 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 11:50 AM
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Im glad you are seeing some improvement.
If its bacterial- the daphnia wouldnt work- and your filter carbon wont help- and your filters will continue to get slime instead of gunk. Gunk=good, slime=bacteria.

Also remember, Excel is just a tool, determining the cause is the solution. Granted I run a low tech high light tank, and need Excel... but then I have many others that are medium light that I use Excel- but not to control algae-but rather to feed the plants. Excel overdose will kill your fish- double edged sword.

The one thing about bacteria blooms is they do hurt the fish and plants- they dont allow light to penetrate properly and that 'junk' can actually lace everything from snails shells, plant leaves to fish gills. Since your progress is so minimal, I would beg you to treat with Eir.

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post #35 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 01:26 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for this. From what I've been reading from you, BlueRidge, and elsewhere on here, it's doesn't sound like any of the descriptions of BGA. There's no slime--some brown gunk in the filter floss, but it's not slimy, nor is there any slime anywhere in the tank. Just green water. I'm not detecting the "old hiking boots" smell you describe, and I asked a non-olfactorily impaired friend who didn't think so either. Did some more reading on here about BGA--including this thread: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/2...obacteria.html The consensus there seemed to be Chemiclean for BGA/cyano. Any thoughts on that?

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@Desert PupfishTreatment is 3 days of erythromycin (you can get it from API in little packets). To treat it: Turn your lights off. Day 1 Dose the recommendation. Day 2 50% water change and dose again. Day 3 just dose it. Day 4- 50% water change after scraping off the glass (if there is anything still on the glass) and turn your lights back on. I have not had it negatively impact my biofilter to any degree (but you are getting a new filter anyways- so now is the time), nor my fish, nor my shrimp, snails and my plants started to bounce back once they could actually see the light! (literally) etc...
I looked up the dosing instructions on the API package, and this is what it says: For each 10 gallons of water, empty one packet directly into aquarium. Repeat dose after 24 hours. Wait another 24 hours then change 25% of the aquarium water. Repeat this treatment for a second time, for a total of 4 doses. Then make a final 25% water change and add fresh activated carbon or replace filter cartridge.

So you're saying I can get away with 3 doses instead of the recommended 4? That's still two packages of the API. Willing to give it a try as long as it's safe, since I haven't been able to clear it. I'm just leery of throwing good money after bad at this point.
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post #36 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 02:38 PM
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@Desert Pupfish,

Wow, sounds like you've had a rough couple of weeks. I've been fortunate enough to not ever have dealt with green water sooo, I'll defer to the advice that you've already been given. However, I think after this round of dosing, I also prescribe some patience here. As you've said, it's sort of clearing out already. So, stick with your less lighting -- like you said, 5 hours or less -- even on a $5 timer if you have to. $25 buys you a smart, internet connected one! ;D Keep things consistent. Plants like consistent things. Stop buying stuff. Do regular water changes to help your tank build its own balance. Pick a percentage and go twice a week and slowly settle on once a week? I would choose 50% even. This is triage.

See if things improve and slowly proceed from there. Dose excel if you have to but do try to keep this regular too. As for ferts, in theory, with your soil AND osmocote, I think you should be set. Someone with a dirted tank would be better to provide advice here. However, I feel regular water changes and good ole consistency should still apply.


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post #37 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 06:13 PM Thread Starter
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@Desert Pupfish,

Wow, sounds like you've had a rough couple of weeks. I've been fortunate enough to not ever have dealt with green water sooo, I'll defer to the advice that you've already been given. However, I think after this round of dosing, I also prescribe some patience here. As you've said, it's sort of clearing out already. So, stick with your less lighting -- like you said, 5 hours or less -- even on a $5 timer if you have to. $25 buys you a smart, internet connected one! ;D Keep things consistent. Plants like consistent things. Stop buying stuff. Do regular water changes to help your tank build its own balance. Pick a percentage and go twice a week and slowly settle on once a week? I would choose 50% even. This is triage.

See if things improve and slowly proceed from there. Dose excel if you have to but do try to keep this regular too. As for ferts, in theory, with your soil AND osmocote, I think you should be set. Someone with a dirted tank would be better to provide advice here. However, I feel regular water changes and good ole consistency should still apply.
Thanks. Was hoping that lowering the lights, regular cleaning & WCs, and dosing Excel daily would make the green water go away--and as of yesterday it was slowly improving. But I'm afraid BlueRidge was spot on when he diagnosed it as a combination of GWA and BGA/cyanobacteria--as today I noticed for the first time the dreaded "old hiking boot" smell he & livebearerlove were talking about. Seems I managed to get rid of the GWA, and I'm left with the BGA/cyano that I can now smell. So time for the antibiotics. Reserved the last package of API EM Erithromycin at Petsmart, and will have to order more to complete the treatment.

I do have a timer for my Beamswork light. The only downside is that it only has one off-on cycle for the two levels of light--so I can't program a midday siesta, unfortunately. But it's the overall time of lighting that matters, so I'll just keep it at 5 hrs or less (blackout for the next 3 days while I'm treating it) The plants are doing well considering, as are the fish. I had to do something about the snail explosion because I noticed during WC that I was sucking up massive amounts of snail poop. The biofilter & plants (and likely the algae) have been soaking up all the nutrients from it so ammonia/nitrites/nitrates are staying at zero. Cautiously added some Osmocote for the root feeders that may not be able to suck those nutrients out of the water column.

One challenge that I didn't foresee was how the depth of the tank (26") makes it really hard to do maintenance. I have to plunge my arm in up to my shoulder, so I can't really see what I'm doing at the substrate. Scaping tools aren't long enough, and I found out the hard way that Osmocote gel caps shoved into the substrate just pop right back up. So it's back to my fat fingers.

As for WC I'm shooting for 20%/wk, but can up that to 2x/wk easily enough. More than 20% at a time is unwieldy since the tank is in my living room and I have to use 5 gal buckets.

Yes, I am trying for consistency. That's the whole reason I went low tech--so I'm not always chasing EI fert levels or CO2 levels. I'm looking for a healthy planted tank for my fish. If I want to look at amazing high tech show tanks I can indulge that on here . But I do travel a lot--sometimes for up to a week at a time--so am aiming for a low tech, low to moderate light tank, with a fertilized substrate. I should get there eventually, but it's been a slow slog as you say.....
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post #38 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 07:07 PM
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eck. 5 gal buckets. that's no way to live. Time to get a big water barrel on a dolly or a python system. I, too, had to rethink my 5 gallon bucket problem when I started taking things a bit more serious. I kid myself, saying that the 5 gallon buckets were for cardio, but yea, it got tiresome real fast.

also, you might even be able to get away with less than 5 hours of light. forget about the siesta. I suspect your plants will appreciate better growing conditions more than more light at this point.

snail explosion? too much food? rotting plants?

BGA? look for dead spots of flow? just spitballing. you probably already checked for that.
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post #39 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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eck. 5 gal buckets. that's no way to live. Time to get a big water barrel on a dolly or a python system. I, too, had to rethink my 5 gallon bucket problem when I started taking things a bit more serious. I kid myself, saying that the 5 gallon buckets were for cardio, but yea, it got tiresome real fast.

also, you might even be able to get away with less than 5 hours of light. forget about the siesta. I suspect your plants will appreciate better growing conditions more than more light at this point.

snail explosion? too much food? rotting plants?

BGA? look for dead spots of flow? just spitballing. you probably already checked for that.
I'll have to look into the water barrel on a dolly. And the python would certainly help with the refilling. The buckets aren't bad--and my outdoor plants are loving the aquarium water. My zamias have really taken off in the last month now that it's getting regular fishwater/snail poop feedings.

After the treatment blackout, will try 4 hrs/day to start, and ease my way back up. And will leave the blue actinic lights off altogether since I've read that algae likes blue light. But I also like seeing my tank, so need to figure out a schedule that lets me enjoy the fruits of my labors.

The snails took off during the initial plant melt & algae boom--when I only had 4 otos and some ghost shrimp who were fending for themselves on the algae. I've since added 3 assassin snails and couple of tiny pea puffers to feast on baby snails. And a couple of guppies--who are the only ones getting fed (sparingly), and have already dropped some fry. So it's not like anybody's getting overfed & contributing to the bioload. I'm kind of amazed that the snails could do that so quickly.

I've always had strong flow--first from the Jebo filter (now turned off) and now from the Aquaclear HOB. So I don't think I have any totally dead spots. As it is the fish have trouble finding a quiet place to hang out.
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post #40 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 08:30 PM
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I'll have to look into the water barrel on a dolly. And the python would certainly help with the refilling. The buckets aren't bad--and my outdoor plants are loving the aquarium water. My zamias have really taken off in the last month now that it's getting regular fishwater/snail poop feedings.

After the treatment blackout, will try 4 hrs/day to start, and ease my way back up. And will leave the blue actinic lights off altogether since I've read that algae likes blue light. But I also like seeing my tank, so need to figure out a schedule that lets me enjoy the fruits of my labors.

The snails took off during the initial plant melt & algae boom--when I only had 4 otos and some ghost shrimp who were fending for themselves on the algae. I've since added 3 assassin snails and couple of tiny pea puffers to feast on baby snails. And a couple of guppies--who are the only ones getting fed (sparingly), and have already dropped some fry. So it's not like anybody's getting overfed & contributing to the bioload. I'm kind of amazed that the snails could do that so quickly.

I've always had strong flow--first from the Jebo filter (now turned off) and now from the Aquaclear HOB. So I don't think I have any totally dead spots. As it is the fish have trouble finding a quiet place to hang out.
Close by a window? I drain from a hose straight out the window onto a flowerbed/bushes. This could also just as well be another water barrel to store for later use as well.

And yes, you will be able to see your tank! Don't worry about that. When you get stuff stabilized, you'll find that you can do all sorts of things with lighting. A setting of 4 hours right now is by no means something you need to worry about being stuck with.


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post #41 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-25-2019, 04:04 AM Thread Starter
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Close by a window? I drain from a hose straight out the window onto a flowerbed/bushes. This could also just as well be another water barrel to store for later use as well.

And yes, you will be able to see your tank! Don't worry about that. When you get stuff stabilized, you'll find that you can do all sorts of things with lighting. A setting of 4 hours right now is by no means something you need to worry about being stuck with.
Nearest door goes out to the pool--which doesn't need any more algae either LOL. I could snake a drain hose down the hall to the breezeway, but it's all desert landscaping so I can't just drain lots water into it. I suppose I could devise a greywater cistern with pumps & filters to the drip system, but realistically that's not gonna happen. Buckets are cheap & easy to water what's needed. And as you say, a good workout.

I know I need to be patient with the lighting. Started dosing the erythromycin tonight. As the green water clears and I can see my plants better, I want see them grow, color up, and rearrange things now that I've got my filter sorted. Looking forward to being able to finally enjoy the results--and the angels I want to breed....
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post #42 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-25-2019, 02:54 PM
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Thanks. Was hoping that lowering the lights, regular cleaning & WCs, and dosing Excel daily would make the green water go away--and as of yesterday it was slowly improving. But I'm afraid BlueRidge was spot on when he diagnosed it as a combination of GWA and BGA/cyanobacteria--as today I noticed for the first time the dreaded "old hiking boot" smell he & livebearerlove were talking about. Seems I managed to get rid of the GWA, and I'm left with the BGA/cyano that I can now smell. So time for the antibiotics. Reserved the last package of API EM Erithromycin at Petsmart, and will have to order more to complete the treatment.
I hoped I was wrong- but after the slow improvement and tell tale signs.....a couple days of antibiotics and you will be straight on the path to clear water. It is always a battle- between plant, fish, invert and algae. I dont like I coined the 'old hiking boot' hahha. Erithromycin will do the trick.... as well as water changes (not until the medication has done its trick), appropriate feeding and lighting schedule. But its good to get back to a baseline.... then you can work forward- with visibility!

"Osmocote gel caps shoved into the substrate just pop right back up. So it's back to my fat fingers."

I agree with others on the 5 gal bucket- I do that... as I have 'nano' tanks all over the house (three floors). I consider it a workout and enjoy it.... until one of my larger tanks needs serious changes and I ruin my sunday carrying 5 gallons buckets of water up and down a flight of fancy stairs for 4 hours straight..... ugh.

I am not a fan of osmocote- I know many on the forum use it- but I dose the water column for that very reason.... water 'find a way'.... so in my opinion unless they are extremely deep rooted plants- no need. We all have differing opinions, so take it with a grain of salt.

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post #43 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-25-2019, 05:59 PM Thread Starter
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@Desert Pupfish Cyanobacteria treatment is 3 days of erythromycin (you can get it from API in little packets). To treat it: Turn your lights off. Day 1 Dose the recommendation. Day 2 50% water change and dose again. Day 3 just dose it. Day 4- 50% water change after scraping off the glass (if there is anything still on the glass) and turn your lights back on. I have not had it negatively impact my biofilter to any degree (but you are getting a new filter anyways- so now is the time), nor my fish, nor my shrimp, snails and my plants started to bounce back once they could actually see the light! (literally) etc...
Did my first dose last night, and have a question for you: The package directions say to dose on day 1, wait 24 hrs, then dose again (no water change) Wait 24 hrs, do a 25% WC, then repeat above 2 more times for a total of 4 doses, then do another 25% WC. Is there a reason you do a WC after first dose, and 50% instead of 25%? Wouldn't the additional WC dilute the erythromycin? Or do you have a rationale for doing it differently? Thanks

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I dont like I coined the 'old hiking boot' hahha. Erithromycin will do the trick.... as well as water changes (not until the medication has done its trick), appropriate feeding and lighting schedule. But its good to get back to a baseline.... then you can work forward- with visibility!

"Osmocote gel caps shoved into the substrate just pop right back up. So it's back to my fat fingers."

I am not a fan of osmocote- I know many on the forum use it- but I dose the water column for that very reason.... water 'find a way'.... so in my opinion unless they are extremely deep rooted plants- no need. We all have differing opinions, so take it with a grain of salt.
You came up with the old hiking boots metaphor--it's quite apt. And BlueRidge agreed. Gotta give credit where credit is due......

I'm sure water column dose is much more precise. But I need to go low tech because I'm not always around to dose regularly, and if I'm learning anything, it's that consistency is key. So gonna start low & slow with the Osmocote because it does seem to work well for so many, and see if I need to also dose the water column to keep things healthy. Will keep you posted on how that works for me. Who knows--by the time this is all over I may be pushing EI, high PAR & high CO2 LOL. All depends on how far down the rabbit hole I fall, and how OCD I become........
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post #44 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 07:30 PM
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Did my first dose last night, and have a question for you: The package directions say to dose on day 1, wait 24 hrs, then dose again (no water change) Wait 24 hrs, do a 25% WC, then repeat above 2 more times for a total of 4 doses, then do another 25% WC. Is there a reason you do a WC after first dose, and 50% instead of 25%? Wouldn't the additional WC dilute the erythromycin? Or do you have a rationale for doing it differently? Thanks

What is on the package could be perfectly correct... In my experience I do a water change to remove more of the 'culptrit' as im not dosing for the fish, but rather the water colmn.... so im my strange world, I bvelieve that after a heavy dose, and a water change, then next dose will be more sucessful because a good amount of bacteria had become weakend/died/removed.


You can follow the package directions, but I find it also harder on the fish.

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post #45 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 09:37 PM Thread Starter
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Posts: 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by livebearerlove View Post
What is on the package could be perfectly correct... In my experience I do a water change to remove more of the 'culptrit' as im not dosing for the fish, but rather the water colmn.... so im my strange world, I bvelieve that after a heavy dose, and a water change, then next dose will be more sucessful because a good amount of bacteria had become weakend/died/removed.

You can follow the package directions, but I find it also harder on the fish.
Thanks for this. I have noticed that 24 hrs after dosing the smell is much worse. Did you experience that, and could that be because of the bacteria dying off?

Hadn't heard back, so I followed the package directions and didn't do a WC before the second dose last night. But what you say makes sense, so will go ahead & do a 50% WC tonight before the 3rd dose. and again after the 4th & final dose. I'm not seeing a noticeable difference yet (other than the worsening old hiking boot smell), and ammonia/nitrites/nitrates are all still measuring zero. And the critters all seem happy. The shrimp are more active than ever, the puffers looking fat from the snails, and the guppies keep dropping more fry that seem to find enough to eat and are getting bigger by the day. And the snail population seems to be dropping--not seeing as many babies or eggs--likely the puffers at work. The assassin snails sank into the substrate like submarines when I first put them in, and I haven't seen them since. But I'm seeing a lot fewer of the larger snails--including the MTS.

Will take advantage of the 50% WC to do some rearranging--take out the old filter now that the new one has cycled, and move some plants into the empty space. I took the java fern out of its pot to tie to some lava stones (java lava?) . Should done that right off the bat, as there was more fern there than I expected, and the middle parts did die back some. But plenty of healthy material left that should do well on the lava. Will take a picture when it's dark enough so you can see what the water looks like before & after the WC. Fingers crossed this will clear up the nastiness--and that awful smell
Desert Pupfish is online now  
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