Marineland 60 Gal Cube - First High"er" tech tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-08-2016, 05:58 AM Thread Starter
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Marineland 60 Gal Cube - First High"er" tech tank

It was mentioned in another post that maybe I should attempt a tank journal. It dawned on me that may be a great idea. I found that there was an abundant amount of information out there but it was difficult to decipher for a novice such as myself.

My background was not extensive. My first aquarium was when I was about 10 years old. I know it contained a couple Angle fish, some glass catfish, a small school of neon tetras, and what I believe was a dojo loach. That was 30 years ago, my parents did all the work, I don't ever recall a water change but I do remember a complete cleaning every few weeks, that included a bleach bath of all the rocks, filter equipment, tank, filter media, ect. I remember fish dying regularly (can't imagine why) ....after a couple years the aquarium was disassembled.

Fast forward 30 years. I bought a 30 gal cube for my 8 year old daughter. She loved it. I did some minor research and learned about the nitrogen cycle, water changes, filtration, water parameters, community fish, substrate and finally some easy plants.

I set that tank up and it has been going for over a year without a major hitch. It had a flourite base with pea gravel cap, planted with some easy crypts, java fern, anubias, and java moss. The fish are some bolivian rams, guppys, neon tetras, khuli loaches, corydoras, otocinculus, and some zebra danios.

I love this tank. I enjoyed everything about it. I most enjoyed teaching my daughters about the tank and the symbiosis of the species. I even enjoyed the weekly maintenance. I found my hobby.

My loving wife saw that I enjoyed the hobby and allowed me to expand. I bought a 60 gallon Marineland cube tank. I had to order it from my LFS. It arrived less than a week later.

I determined that I would use Flourite as the only substrate. I bought out my local petsmart and had to order more from a prominent online retailer. I also wanted a planted tank as I was more interested in the plant aspect than that of the fauna. I did my research and determined that I wanted a Fluval 406 with a carbondoser regulator. Both were ordered and arrived.

I also determined I wanted an atomic CO2 diffuser from GLA. I ordered that as well. Note: The carbondoser reg is not compatible with the GLA atomic diffuser. The regulator is low pressure. The atomic diffuser requires a high pressure to work properly. OOPS....too late. Ultimately, i ended up also ordering the carbondoser ext 5000 from aquariumplants.com.

I also wanted Manzanita wood. That was ordered and arrived. I was pleased with the selection sent. I soaked the wood for around 3 weeks. Keep in mind the aquarium was set up and was just waiting to be filled, stocked, and scaped. The wood was leaching tannins like crazy. I spent 4 days boiling the wood for about 4-5 hours per day. That seemed to help quite a bit.

Attachment 616769

Fill test..it passed

Attachment 616777

Fit test with the substrate, wood, and granite

Attachment 616785

Water, heater and Fluval 406 added.

The tank ran like this for a couple of weeks. I did not do any water changes. I did add some water to compensate for evaporation.

It should also be noted that I live in Central Illinois. My water here is absolutely straight liquid rock. Out of the tap my dkH is 24 with a gH of about 24. The pH is 8.5. I also found that my local water supply is treated with chloramine not chlorine.

I bought a RODI system from Bulk Reef Supply. I was buying distilled water for water changes. The addition of the 60 gal made this impractical. Ultimately, I also added a second utility sink and set up the RODI unit in my sump pump closet. It is still slightly under construction.

Attachment 616793

RODI system about 20 feet from tank

The tank was plumbed and a Milwaukee ph controller was added along with the CO2 reactor. I should note that while I am not a "handy man", I can usually figure stuff out. The reactor came with all relevant hardware, I also ordered an inline CO2 probe holder. Well, word to the wise, the reactor does not come "pre-assembled" ready to go. It needed nylon tape added and fitted properly to stop leaks. Needless to say, if you are using wrenches and torque plastic parts too hard....they break. I was not able to install the inline CO2 holder because...well....I snapped it in half.

Attachment 616809

This is the current plumbing. I found that I am really not good a cord maintenance.

The plants arrived shortly after.

Rotala Rotundifolia
Proserpinaca Pauulustris
Bolbitis Heudeloti (african water fern)
Pennywort
Bacopa monneri
Moneywort
Ludwigia Repens
Staurogene repens
Dwarf baby tears
Java fern
Flame Moss
Fissidens Nobilis
Golden Lloydiella
Lobelia Cardinalis
Hemianthus micranthemoides

Attachment 616817

First plant.

The water was a 90% RODI and 10% tap. The pH was 7.5, kH 4-5, gH 4-5. Using a pH, kH, CO2 chart I determined I needed to shoot for a pH of 6.6 to get a CO2 level of about 30.

I planned on using the Seachem liquid ferts to do EI dosing.

Attachment 616825
04/02/16

I had to add a second Marineland Aquatic Plant LED. The light spread from one was not enough. I also added 3 zebra danios and an Aquaclear 70.

It appeared that I was having a bacterial bloom. The driftwood was showing a white fuzz and the water was turning whiteish. The addition of the Aquaclear helped the water condition but the fuzz of the wood remained.

Attachment 616833

HC on 04/02

The HC seems to have taken hold and seems to be growing.

Attachment 616841

Flame Moss on 04/02

I found that the HC was not pearling and I thought I may be getting some algae growing. I took a chance a turned up the pH controller allowing more CO2. I have so far been able to reduce the pH to 6.0 according to the pH meter. According to the chart this would put my CO2 levels well over 100. I have added some danios. They don't seem to be bothered in the least. The temp is about 77f.

On about 4/5/16 the ammonia level was zero, no nitrite, and less than 20 ppm nitrate. I had previously added three danios and a horned nerite snail. The snail quit moving within 24 hours.

After the zero reading for ammonia and nitrite I added 4 otocinculus and 5 ghost shrimp on 04/06/16.

Attachment 616849

Picture on 04/07/16

This morning I found that the ghost shrimp were making a meal of the downed horned nerite. It didnt survive. I also found that two of otos had expired. The other two seem fine along with the shrimp and two of the danios. I lost one danio previously.

I checked to ammonia level and found that there had been a slight elevation. It is not longer zero.

The plants are doing well, except for the Bolbitis and H. Micranthemoides. The Bolbitis is melting into oblivion. The HM just is not thriving.

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On the plus side the white fuzz on the Manzanita seems to be breaking loose, it is however, making a mess.
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irishspy, irishspy, x0769 and 3 others like this.

The only dumb question is probably the one I just asked.....so you're good.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-08-2016, 06:09 AM Thread Starter
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Well, apparently my attachment ability is not great. Sorry bout that.

The only dumb question is probably the one I just asked.....so you're good.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-13-2016, 03:32 AM
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Nice looking setup. Good luck getting the early hiccups under control, seems like you're on your way. I just got the same tank and am planning my approach, so it's nice to see how others have done it. Surprisingly little information about cubes that I've been finding. Seems much more popular as a reef tank than planted, but I think it should be great.


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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-13-2016, 04:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rakaal View Post
It was mentioned in another post that maybe I should attempt a tank journal. It dawned on me that may be a great idea. I found that there was an abundant amount of information out there but it was difficult to decipher for a novice such as myself.

My background was not extensive. My first aquarium was when I was about 10 years old. I know it contained a couple Angle fish, some glass catfish, a small school of neon tetras, and what I believe was a dojo loach. That was 30 years ago, my parents did all the work, I don't ever recall a water change but I do remember a complete cleaning every few weeks, that included a bleach bath of all the rocks, filter equipment, tank, filter media, ect. I remember fish dying regularly (can't imagine why) ....after a couple years the aquarium was disassembled.

Fast forward 30 years. I bought a 30 gal cube for my 8 year old daughter. She loved it. I did some minor research and learned about the nitrogen cycle, water changes, filtration, water parameters, community fish, substrate and finally some easy plants.

I set that tank up and it has been going for over a year without a major hitch. It had a flourite base with pea gravel cap, planted with some easy crypts, java fern, anubias, and java moss. The fish are some bolivian rams, guppys, neon tetras, khuli loaches, corydoras, otocinculus, and some zebra danios.

I love this tank. I enjoyed everything about it. I most enjoyed teaching my daughters about the tank and the symbiosis of the species. I even enjoyed the weekly maintenance. I found my hobby.

My loving wife saw that I enjoyed the hobby and allowed me to expand. I bought a 60 gallon Marineland cube tank. I had to order it from my LFS. It arrived less than a week later.

I determined that I would use Flourite as the only substrate. I bought out my local petsmart and had to order more from a prominent online retailer. I also wanted a planted tank as I was more interested in the plant aspect than that of the fauna. I did my research and determined that I wanted a Fluval 406 with a carbondoser regulator. Both were ordered and arrived.

I also determined I wanted an atomic CO2 diffuser from GLA. I ordered that as well. Note: The carbondoser reg is not compatible with the GLA atomic diffuser. The regulator is low pressure. The atomic diffuser requires a high pressure to work properly. OOPS....too late. Ultimately, i ended up also ordering the carbondoser ext 5000 from aquariumplants.com.

I also wanted Manzanita wood. That was ordered and arrived. I was pleased with the selection sent. I soaked the wood for around 3 weeks. Keep in mind the aquarium was set up and was just waiting to be filled, stocked, and scaped. The wood was leaching tannins like crazy. I spent 4 days boiling the wood for about 4-5 hours per day. That seemed to help quite a bit.

[iurl="https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=616769"]616769[/iurl]

Fill test..it passed

[iurl="https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=616777"]616777[/iurl]

Fit test with the substrate, wood, and granite

[iurl="https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=616785"]616785[/iurl]

Water, heater and Fluval 406 added.

The tank ran like this for a couple of weeks. I did not do any water changes. I did add some water to compensate for evaporation.

It should also be noted that I live in Central Illinois. My water here is absolutely straight liquid rock. Out of the tap my dkH is 24 with a gH of about 24. The pH is 8.5. I also found that my local water supply is treated with chloramine not chlorine.

I bought a RODI system from Bulk Reef Supply. I was buying distilled water for water changes. The addition of the 60 gal made this impractical. Ultimately, I also added a second utility sink and set up the RODI unit in my sump pump closet. It is still slightly under construction.

[iurl="https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=616793"]616793[/iurl]

RODI system about 20 feet from tank

The tank was plumbed and a Milwaukee ph controller was added along with the CO2 reactor. I should note that while I am not a "handy man", I can usually figure stuff out. The reactor came with all relevant hardware, I also ordered an inline CO2 probe holder. Well, word to the wise, the reactor does not come "pre-assembled" ready to go. It needed nylon tape added and fitted properly to stop leaks. Needless to say, if you are using wrenches and torque plastic parts too hard....they break. I was not able to install the inline CO2 holder because...well....I snapped it in half.

[iurl="https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=616809"]616809[/iurl]

This is the current plumbing. I found that I am really not good a cord maintenance.

The plants arrived shortly after.

Rotala Rotundifolia
Proserpinaca Pauulustris
Bolbitis Heudeloti (african water fern)
Pennywort
Bacopa monneri
Moneywort
Ludwigia Repens
Staurogene repens
Dwarf baby tears
Java fern
Flame Moss
Fissidens Nobilis
Golden Lloydiella
Lobelia Cardinalis
Hemianthus micranthemoides

[iurl="https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=616817"]616817[/iurl]

First plant.

The water was a 90% RODI and 10% tap. The pH was 7.5, kH 4-5, gH 4-5. Using a pH, kH, CO2 chart I determined I needed to shoot for a pH of 6.6 to get a CO2 level of about 30.

I planned on using the Seachem liquid ferts to do EI dosing.

[iurl="https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=616825"]616825[/iurl]
04/02/16

I had to add a second Marineland Aquatic Plant LED. The light spread from one was not enough. I also added 3 zebra danios and an Aquaclear 70.

It appeared that I was having a bacterial bloom. The driftwood was showing a white fuzz and the water was turning whiteish. The addition of the Aquaclear helped the water condition but the fuzz of the wood remained.

[iurl="https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=616833"]616833[/iurl]

HC on 04/02

The HC seems to have taken hold and seems to be growing.

[iurl="https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=616841"]616841[/iurl]

Flame Moss on 04/02

I found that the HC was not pearling and I thought I may be getting some algae growing. I took a chance a turned up the pH controller allowing more CO2. I have so far been able to reduce the pH to 6.0 according to the pH meter. According to the chart this would put my CO2 levels well over 100. I have added some danios. They don't seem to be bothered in the least. The temp is about 77f.

On about 4/5/16 the ammonia level was zero, no nitrite, and less than 20 ppm nitrate. I had previously added three danios and a horned nerite snail. The snail quit moving within 24 hours.

After the zero reading for ammonia and nitrite I added 4 otocinculus and 5 ghost shrimp on 04/06/16.

[iurl="https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=616849"]616849[/iurl]

Picture on 04/07/16

This morning I found that the ghost shrimp were making a meal of the downed horned nerite. It didnt survive. I also found that two of otos had expired. The other two seem fine along with the shrimp and two of the danios. I lost one danio previously.

I checked to ammonia level and found that there had been a slight elevation. It is not longer zero.

The plants are doing well, except for the Bolbitis and H. Micranthemoides. The Bolbitis is melting into oblivion. The HM just is not thriving.

[iurl="https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=616857&d=1460095537"][/iurl]

[iurl="https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=616865&d=1460095549"][/iurl]

On the plus side the white fuzz on the Manzanita seems to be breaking loose, it is however, making a mess.
So it sounds like your tank never cycled, or it cycled and adding the livestock started a mini cycle. Cycling the way you did it will require you to add livestock very minimally, and over a long period of time to avoid recurring mini cycles. I'll try to search for a link where Diana explains how to cycle a tank properly. You could try using some of the mulm from The filter media of your daughters tank, drip it right into your filter since the substrate is already down. That will help the filter media establish the right kind of bacteria alot quicker. I'm not sure about adding mulm to the water after the substrate is down. Maybe someone with more experience could weigh in on that. Typically, you would drip the mulm straight to the aquarium bottom then add the substrate to help establish the bacteria there.

The white fuzz is a fungus caused by the driftwood leaching organics. The brown fuzz is Diatoms. Both are a natural part of starting a new tank using driftwood. I went through the same experience a few months back.

Good job on the scaping. I like how you used the driftwood. I would hold off on adding any fish you plan on keeping long term till you know for sure your tank is properly cycled. I will get right on searching for that link.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-13-2016, 04:42 AM
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-16-2016, 02:40 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replys. I have no intention of rushing things. I know the tank is still cycling. On 04/14/16 the parameters are kH 4, ammonia a little less than .25, 0 nitrite, and around 5 nitrate. It still has a ways to go before its safe to add any other fauna.

I still have 2 danios and one otocincuclus. I'm feeling rather guilty as the oto has very red gills and due to the ammonia level I'm sure it is well past uncomfortable. It is still hanging in there.

I also found that my moneywort was infested was bladder snails (pond snails). I have killed about 15 small snails crawling up the glass. On 04/13/16, I pulled the moneywort, Ludwigia, Rotala, and Paulistris. The moneywort had multiple egg sacks (slime balls) attached to the lower leaves. I took them all out and chopped them, using only the top three inches on the replant. I did this with all of the plants. Hopefully this helps but alas I am now infested. It has been 48 hours and I have not seen another snail but I am sure I soon will.

The "yuck" on my driftwood seems to be breaking up. It is certainly not gone, but seems to be dissipating. All of the plants seem to be doing well with the exception of the Bolbitis (African Water Fern), and the Hemianthus Micranthemoides. The Bolbitis has completely melted away with only the Rhizomes remaining. On the plus side I do believe I see a couple of small green growths extending, so I have not given up hope.

The baby tears (HM) while not melting, just does not seem to be thriving. I guess the best way to describe it is ...it hasnt changed at all since I planted it. The Fissidens Nobilis is in the same boat. I understand Fissdens Nobilis to be slow growing so I am hoping it snaps out of it.

The other plants, including the flame moss are doing very well. The moneywort and the ludwigia doubled in size since my last post, I chopped both and replanted, hopefully I didnt kill it.

I also found that my water is not typical. While I maintain a kH of 4, the pH, kH, CO2 chart seems to be of little consequence. The same can be said for my drop checker, it is showing solid yellow indicating an over abundance of CO2. I have been able to slowly crank down my pH controller to a pH of currently 5.7. My starting pH was 7.5. I am not seeing any O2 effects from the danios or the oto.

I am currently using the Seachem Flourish line of fertilizers, including Excel. As of today, I have not noticed any algae issues, and my plants (excluding the before mentioned) , including my HC seem to "pearl" regularly.

I was able to complete my aquarium closet. I built a 2x4 shelf and moved my RODI unit into the closet. I also added a pond pump to my RODI water reservoir (Brute garbage can). The pump, pumps my RODI to my tank, very handy. I completed this task with the help of my local Lowes.

Click image for larger version

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Above is my current closet. It also houses my sump pump and ejector pit.

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This is an overview of the tank

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This is a little closer up pic.

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This is the back of the tank.

Please give any feedback. I am still learning from everyone here and appreciate any comments.

Thanks,
Rak

The only dumb question is probably the one I just asked.....so you're good.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-20-2016, 07:15 PM Thread Starter
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I have started noticing some film on the glass. If i look at an angle is seems to have a green tint. I'm fairly certain that I am beginning to get some Green Dust Algae. Also, looking at the rocks and driftwood I am seeing some green spots beginning to form. I have also noticed a grey hair like stuff in my HC......Oh Boy!...Here we go.

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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-20-2016, 07:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rakaal View Post
I have started noticing some film on the glass. If i look at an angle is seems to have a green tint. I'm fairly certain that I am beginning to get some Green Dust Algae. Also, looking at the rocks and driftwood I am seeing some green spots beginning to form. I have also noticed a grey hair like stuff in my HC......Oh Boy!...Here we go.
If its green dot algae, get your phosphates up. And get a glass scrapper. I really like the Flipper magnet cleaner. Has a scrubby pad and a scrapper. I have the regular sized for my 34 gal. You could probably get the Flipper Max. They have them on Amazon. Watch some youtube videos about it. I love not having to get my hands wet and I can get everywhere in my tank.

I love reading about your tank. It's hard to scape a cube as I've found out. We have all this height that just looks empty. But you have that driftwood in the back to help. I'm excited to see everything grow out.

How do you like the cerges reactor? I have mine built, but had to send my regulator in to get fixed and just got it back and haven't had time to make the switch. I'm so over the soda water. haha


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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-20-2016, 08:27 PM Thread Starter
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I'm switching to gla dry ferts tomorrow. I'm thinking the seachem dosing I'm using keeps stuff pretty lean, I'm hoping that helps with both po4 and no3.
I really like the carbondoser reactor, I have no doubt one very similar to it could be diyed. The only challenge with it has been a vapor lock with a large water change (change big enough to drop tank water level below intake). I think I've worked it out..but who knows.

I think I'm going to just let the "glass algae" build up, to see if it's gda or just diatoms. It brushes away easily.

I have been wanting a good magnetic scraper...the sponge on a stick works but it messy...thanks for the line.

I have soda water..but it is mostly due to the aquaclear hob I still have...I have also noticed it gets considerably worse about an hour after lights on...

I have not noticed any bubbles ejecting from my outflow.

Thanks for the kind words...

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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-23-2016, 03:54 AM Thread Starter
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I did the 50% water change on 04/20. I used the sponge on a stick and wiped all the glass of the the "dust" algae. It wiped away very easily. I scrubbed one of the granite rocks with a toothbrush. The green "spots" did not come up so easily. I also gave the HC a haircut, trying to cut out the "grey fuzz" like stuff that I am certain is some type of algae. I did the scrubbing and cutting the same time I was sucking out water with the gravel vac hanging near.

On 4/19/16, I had added 4 otos' and 3 horned nerites. Two of the otos did not make it through the night and all three nerites dropped to the substrate overnight. I checked the water parameters and found (on 04/19) that I was at 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and had around 10 nitrate, per the API Master Test Kit.

I had previously assumed that my lost otos were due to ammonia poisoning, however this did not seem to be the case. I know the pH at the local petsmart is about 8.3. My tank has a "static" pH of about of 7.5. A significant drop (not adding the pH drop due to CO2). I wondered if the oto and snail deaths were poor acclimation. My current pH due to CO2 injection was between 5.7 and 5.8. My now (3) otos and 2 danios did not seem to be bothered, all three moved around and were not gasping or hanging at the bottom. They did not seem lethargic ( again, I am a noob.)

To test whether it was a CO2 issue I began ramping down my CO2. After achieving a pH of 6, I noticed a significant behavior difference in the danios, and the otos. They were more active. The otos became eating machines. As of today, 04/22, one of the horned nerites has began to climb the glass and seems to be well. I fear I suffocated the other two. They have yet to move.

My drop checker is back to green. Almost the same color as the reference solution. It appears that I have found my bottom out CO2 level. I am currently at pH 6.3, and all seems well.

After the 50% water change I also switched to dry ferts using EI dosing. It is just more economical and far more researched and commented on than using the entire Seachem Flourish Line. At this stage, I have no interest in reinventing the wheel. Ill leave that to Mr. Barr, and I will certainly listen.

In addition to a possible green dust algae issue, I certainly have found some green hair/thread algae. It was growing in my flame moss and java fern closest to the top of the tank (coincidentally, closest to the light source). So it appears that I am now battling at least three different algae types ( diatom or gda, thread or hair on my HC, and green hair or thread on my flame moss and java fern). I am currently truly an algae grower.

I still can't figure out what is going on with my Stag. repens. It is growing, but some of the leaves seem to have a "rust" or some type of disease on the outer edges. I don't think its likely at CO2 issue as I obviously had my CO2 up to high and I was dosing excel. Im wondering if it could be a K problem or a disease issue. I switched fert regiments, so I guess we will see on that too.

After the wc on 4/20 the "glass algae" has not come back as prevalent as it had been. It is not near as bad, so I am wondering if it is more likely a diatom outbreak. Time will tell.

I am hesitant to overdose excel as I fear the excel may have been severely inhibiting my Fissidens Nobilis. I am going to let my CO2 and dry ferts run for a bit and see how it goes.

I have 10 Amano Shrimp and 5 tiger nerite snails on order. We will see what happens with that.

Good news is that it has been three days and I have not seen a pond snail. I also see several small green nubs extruding from all 4 of my Bolbitis rhizomes. It also appears that the baby tears (HM) may be greening up a bit, cant tell for sure yet. All of the stem plants that I chopped are doing very well, new growth on all of them. The moneywort has again doubled in size. The Creeping Jenny is also splitting and growing. I had to prune the Rotala and Pennywort again, it is growing very well. My cardinal plants have multiple small leaves growing from underneath. Overall, I'm pretty pleased and I am certainly enjoying the journey.

The only dumb question is probably the one I just asked.....so you're good.
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-23-2016, 06:54 AM
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Well done as 60g cubes are not the easiest to scape or to keep running (I got one). You might want to position your lights in the opposite direction, at least I'm not used to seeing the lights' butts. Don't feel too bad about ottos: they can be hit or miss until you get a good batch and they also do much better in older, established tanks.

Never trust your drop checker - your fish is the best indicator. In cubes, especially the larger ones, good surface agitation is one of the major keys to a healthy tank. Maybe point your power head more towards the surface.

With this tank you have the luxury of trying taller plants. I personally like the taller vals, Tyger lotus, larger crypts, Ambulia, water sprite, to name a few.

Good job, enjoy!

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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-29-2016, 07:04 AM Thread Starter
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As of today, I have three otos that seem to be doing quite well. I am happy to report that I did not lose the second horned nerite. It perked up and started doing what horned nerites do.

I tested my parameters earlier in the week and discovered that I was having an ammonia spike >.25, 0 nitrite, 40+ nitrate. The "white fuzz" on the driftwood had been significantly breaking up and was creating a mess. I did a 50% wc and cleaned the HOB filter. The sponge and filter floss was nasty. It turned a clear 5 gal bucket of old aquarium water an opaque brown. I'm sure this is the cause of my ammonia spike.

I also read that API stress coat as water conditioner may add "extra" phosphates. This is the conditioner that i was using. I switched to Prime.

It also appears that the formula I was using for EI, may have been adding way to much nitrate. I cut the KNO3 dose in half and started adding K2SO4 to get the Potassium. I'm still working out the proper EI dose. The only test I have is for nitrate, obviously I need a PO4 test kit.

I definitely have green hair algae. It is growing in my flame moss closest to the light source. It is also growing in the roots of the java fern, also near the light source. The granite rocks are beginning to get covered in some type of green algae. Many of the plants leaves are getting brown diatom algae. I am also seeing some type of algae on the glass. I cannot tell if it is GDA or GSA, or both. Some of it wipes off easily, some does not.

I was having alot of fuzz growing in my HC. After switching to dry ferts this seems to be dissipating a bit. I was also noticing a greenish algae growing in the front of the tank right at the substrate on the glass. I was thinking it may be the start of BGA. I added some Nerite snails today, in addition to, some Amano shrimp. I saw earlier two of the new nerites making a snack of some of this algae, which leads me to believe its not BGA.

I also believe that all of my Fissidens Nobilis is probably dead. I was holding out hope that the green "stems" I was seeing beginning to form was the Fissidens making a come back. I'm pretty sure I nuked it with the Excel I was using. I'm now thinking it might be staghorn. I'll keep watching it and post some pics soon.

On the plus side, after I did my water change today, all, and I mean all, of the plants were pearling machines. I was starting to worry that my Staugreyne Repens was starting to melt away. I can see today that it has put down a significant root system ( can see the roots through the glass), which is encouraging. The baby tears is doing much better and the bolbitis is definitely shooting out some growth.

The only dumb question is probably the one I just asked.....so you're good.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-29-2016, 07:52 AM
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Your fish closet is awesome! You're doing this in a high quality way, once you settle into a rhythm your tanks will run like clockwork.

A few thoughts:

I'm pretty sure every planted tank needs to have the glass scraped every week or two, so don't feel too bad about that. I've been running mostly successful high tech tanks for 7-8 years and that's been my experience. Also brown diatom algae comes with all new tanks, that breaks up even easier than dust algae, almost waving the water. Just flush it off your plants and wait.

Ditto with snails, I wouldn't worry about a handful of pond snails. if you get a huge population explosion, keep an eye on filter maintenance and dying organic material in the tank.

You look like you're getting some good growth, I was never able to get HC going, Be patient, it can take a few months for things to kick in.

For me, lowering the temperature to your minimum for fish and plants and raising the lights has been a successful approach at keeping algae under control. This will reduce your growth rate a bit, but that will make your maintenance much easier. I still have to trim my main tank once a week to keep HM in line at 75 degrees. Also a good algae cleaning crew. That algae at the substrate line is tough, I hit it with a credit card (actually do all my glass that way, although I'm looking into magnetic scrapers). If you keep at manual removal and get your tank balanced, algae will be minimized. With your equipment and attention to detail you'll be fine.

Not to burst your bubble, but pearling after water changes doesn't really count. For some reason it tends to make everything pearl. On the plus side, I've tanks for many years that never pearled and had plenty-good growth.

For CO2, my approach has been to bump it up gradually a little turn every day over a few weeks until you see a negative reaction with your fish, then back off a bit. That's your optimum CO2 level.

Another critical thing, and you've got a reactor so you're doing well here, is getting CO2 across all parts of your tank, usually by increasing flow. CO2 reactors seem to really help here. Make sure all areas of your tank, especially those with high need plants, are getting a semi active water flow.

Hope some of this is helpful, and sorry if any of it is too basic for you - just got on a roll. Looking forward to seeing your tank grow in. I just flooded my Marineland 60g tonight, after collecting various things for it for a few months. Still probably rushing a bit more than I should. Maybe I'll put together a tank journal and we can compare notes.

Carl


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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-29-2016, 03:13 PM Thread Starter
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I have to admit...That did burst my bubble a bit..LOL. Its still a good heads up. I forgot to mention that I have not seen a pond snail since last week, keeping my fingers crossed.

Picture of the Overall Tank

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Not sure if this is BGA or not.

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This is the sad looking Fissidens Nobilis. Im waiting to see if the fresh green growth is Fissidens or Staghorn or something else. If someone knows, dont be shy.

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This is the "fuzz" that was attaching to the flame moss and started on the HC. It seems to be disappearing from the HC.

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Front left corner of tank. Note the algae on the granite rock. Not sure what kind of algae it is.

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A view of the left side. The HM is filling in. I dont know how tall to let it get, so its still a work in progress. At least it seems to be growing.

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A view of the right side of the S. repens and the Flourite. I think the algae growing on the Flourite is the same that is growing on the granite rock, still dont know what it is.

I was a little worried that the S. repens was dying off. It seemed to be doing some melting. I saw earlier today that it had been putting down some deep roots in the substrate. I can see them through the glass, so that seems like a good thing.

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The only dumb question is probably the one I just asked.....so you're good.
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-13-2016, 06:25 AM Thread Starter
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The plants are doing well. The HM is now growing like weeds. I chopped about 3 inches off today. The HC is on the way to full carpet mode. My pennywort is growing so well that it is starting to shadow much of my Ludwigia. I had to do a major trim today on almost everything.

Most of my Fissdens is gone . There is still some under a hair net that may still be alive, still waiting....What i thought might be a Fissdens comeback was certainly an algae. Im pretty sure its staghorn. Its been pretty easy to remove.

I am still battling a little bit of GSA on the glass. Its been pretty manageable using a sponge on a stick.

My newest problem/challenge has been white cloudy water. It is not opaque, it looks more like someone poured a full glass of milk in the tank. It kind of bellows around like smoke. Water changes make it go away for a short while but it comes back.

I thought that it may have been a bacterial bloom but it has persisted for a couple weeks. My next thought was an ammonia spike, but I am still reading zero. I added a purigen bag, that didn't help.

I had reduced my KNO3 does by half as my nitrate at the end of the week was pretty high. To make up for the K loss I started adding K2SO4. I thought maybe the Iron from the plantex may be reacting with the K, even though I dont dose micros and macros on the same day.

Today I did the weekly water change. After the change, per my usual I dose macros. I noticed the water was still cloudy. On a whim, i redirected the outflow of my filter, and pointed the korilia toward the surface, creating a bit more agitation. After about 4 hours the water seems to be getting clearer. Maybe is was bacteria after all.....

The only dumb question is probably the one I just asked.....so you're good.
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