Hello to my fellow Wet-Green-Thumbers,
First I have to share an update on my betta - he is still not here. I'm am quite worried. My transhipper did not send a tracking number (or ship him) until 8pm on Thursday, the 4th. Which means he has to sit in a warehouse somewhere all day tomorrow. I know these are tough little fish but he's already been traveling since Monday and I am pretty anxious. The good news is I have an awesome local delivery driver who is going to text me as soon as she sees the package in the morning so I can leave work on Monday and come get him ASAP. I hope he has a feisty fighting spirit to keep him going until he gets here!
Ok, moving on to the tank itself --
In somewhat boring news I've had some difficulty cycling this tank. Which is annoying because I'm quite good at this process normally, but I tried a new method, or rather a new product. Normally I cycle a tank by adding 50% of the filter media from an established tank and keep the stocking level light. Which is usually the last I have to think about it. But I haven't had fish in my larger tank for a year and the biofilter in it is sufficient for the large population of MTS but nothing more. So I didn't think there was much to be gained from my usual technique and I thought it was about time I tried these new-fangled bacteria in a bottle products in one of my own tanks. I like Seachem products so I bought some Stability and figured I would have a fully cycled tank in no time.
WELL, I got there in the end but there was a little nail biting in the middle.
I added some old shrimp food to get a little bit of ammonia in there to start. Once I had an ammonia reading (0.25ppm) I added the Stability. The instructions say to shake it, but after I took off the seal, with the cap screwed on tight, I got a Stability shower when I shook it, the cap is NOT liquid tight.
I added it 2 days in a row and there was no change in the ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate readings. Then it occured to me that my cursory shakes weren't vigorous enough, even though I was splashing Stability everywhere when I shook it. So I put some plastic wrap under the cap to provide a better seal and was able to shake without any leaks. I dosed again last night and this morning my ammonia is 0ppm and I have the s-l-i-g-h-t-e-s-t amount of nitrate. So it seems the first few doses had negligible amounts of bacterial spores. My faith in Seachem is restored, but I'm a little miffed about the leaky bottle.
I've added some mini catappa leaves to the tank. I'm not sure I'll always want to have a strong tannin look to the water but I think it will be a good health/recovery provision for my travel weary betta when he finally arrives 🍂
The most exciting news is that my lily pipes arrived!! I was so excited about them I forgot to take a picture of them in the box and installed them right away, so I only have a photo of them on the tank. Hope you're not mad
(You can also see my fantastically tiny heater in this shot
I was in a experimental mood early last week and with the idea of giving the new plants a little jump start I topped the tank off 3 days in a row with carbonated water from my sodastream - inspired of course by Takashi Amano's story of doing the same. It seems to have helped, there are fresh buds on the anchor moss, the anubias continues to unfurl new leaves, and there are the very beginnings of new leaves on the vesuvius. So not bad. I have decided to quit "experimenting" with the water now that I am so close to having an occupant. I'll decide what I want to do about CO2 on this tank once I have the new betta settled in and healthy.
I thought it might be nice to share a shot of the tank from a distance to provide some scale:
And a closer-up FTS: