It's been awhile since I updated my 55 gallon tank journal. As the title suggestions, I originally started my tank journal in the Low Tech Forum Section. However since I now employ a pressurized co2 system, I decided to move this journal here. If you want to catch up on the pics and details you can go back to this original thread.
Basically at the end of that thread, I was disappointed by the slow growth of my plants. I expected slow growth due to the low tech method, but after having been patient for over 1 year, I thought enough was enough.
I finally decided to invest in a pressurized co2 system. I got a Sumo regulator, a used 10 gallon co2 tank from a local welding supply store and a generic diffuser off ebay from a seller in china. After it arrived, I thought, now I'm set! Nirvana baby!
I hooked it all up and expected a miracle to occur in my tank. Uh...not quite. The 1st thing that happened was an algae bloom. Hahahahaha!
Behold the dreaded green water algae!
I also got a nice thick mat of hair algae on the front bottom of the tank. The hair algae was so thick it was smothering the sagitaria subulata and preventing it from spreading across the front. Anyways, I did some research on combating the green water.
I first did the 5 day complete black out. I took black garbage bags and taped the whole tank up. 5 days later, the green water was still there.
I tried 75% water changes twice a week, reduced my photoperiod, and tinkered with my ferts. It would just dilute the green water and after 1 week it would come back full force.
I went back and reread the chapter in Ecology of the Planted Aquarium by Diana Walstad about green water algae. I tried putting in fresh activated charcoal into my HOB filter to remove the dissolved organic compounds that supposedly must be feeding the algae. The algae laughed at me. I tried planting fast growing stem plants to out compete the algae. Nope, still there.
I tried just giving it time. I thought that the ecosystem in my tank just needed time to balance out. *twiddles thumbs* Nope still there!
I had enough. I read that UV sterilizers would help combat the green water algae so I decided to find the cheapest one I could get. Lo and behold Petsmart has this cheapo UV sterilizer that fits inside of your tank for about $60.
Now most UV sterilizers are designed to be fitted inline with your under the tank canister type filters. Since I use a Marineland Magnum hang on the back filter, this was not an option. When I first designed this tank, I wanted to keep the plumbing to a minimum to not have to worry about leaks. By keeping my equipment either hanging off the bank or actually inside the tank, I could keep things simple and hopefully avoid a leak/spill. Anyways I ordered the device with a bit of pessimism. This green water algae was a powerful and tenacious adversary . It had overcome everything I had thrown at it and was not budging. @#$%@%$%@#$!!!! Was this $60 UV sterilizer from Petsmart going to fix my problem?????
Waaaah-Lah! One week later my tank looked like this! Holly smokes! It actually worked! You can see the UV sterilizer on the far right side of the tank. After about 2 weeks my water was sparkling crystal clear. Simply amazing! I have not had any trace of green water since then. I still have the thick mat of hair algae but I have some plans to tackle that later.
Here are some recent full tank shots.
1/11/2010 - Did a minor trim. I cleared up alot of the water lettuce and red lotus leaves at the surface so more light could get down.
Here are some new shots of the current inhabitants.
1) Veil tailed Angel.
2) Featherfin Rainbowfish
3) Pink Danio. I got a school of 5. They usually zip back and forth right under the surface of the water.
4) School of little Tiger Barbs. They are so cute. Very playful and they like to school with the Rummy Nosed Tetras and Red lined Torpedo Barbs. They are pretty fiesty little guys. I sometimes see them fin nipping the much large Angelfish.
5) My other Angelfish.
So there you have it. My tank is still going. I finally feel that I have reached a level of stability with the tank and that things are growing. However now when I look at the tank, I am not satisfied with the scape. (Are we ever?!!) Especially when I see pics all of your guys' awesome tanks. LOL. I am currently planning to rescape the tank soon and am crusing the swap and shop for sales. In particular I am looking to get my hands on some Sunset Hygro. I have had it before in my tank before adding pressurized co2. It eventually melted away. I want to get it back so if any of you guys have some trimmings you want to sell me, please by all means send me a PM.