*Note if you have a 65G tank (24" tall, 36" long, 18" wide) consider at least the first post what not to do*
After a year of being less than pleased with my progress, I have decided to redo most of the tank, and despite using Aquarimate I seem to not know too much of what is going on in may tanks, so I am hoping to keep track of my progress here. Any helpful insight would be welcome.
I had a serious malm buildup, which I had never in my 30ish years of fishkeeping experienced before, and I mistook it for diatoms building up from using play sand over a dirt substrate. About 6 months ago I pulled everything out, replaced the dirt and this time used pool filter sand, and soon noticed a similar buildup but was far too busy with life to figure things out. The tank was ugly, but the fish were fine and I didn't seem to be losing plants.
In the beginning of August I was struck by a car while riding my bike, resulting in a broken neck (thankfully spinal cord is sound) and much time off work.
I got my circulation pumps working and the malm (properly diagnosed) started leaving the tank. After a week of moving the pumps 1 or 2 times a day, the stuff was mostly gone. I did a couple of filter cleanings and things were looking up, but I may have damaged my BB as I had a milky haze for a day.
Seemingly overnight I developed hair algae, and I mean a lot of it. I started dosing with Excel but stopped after 2 days when I was losing fish. I had a school of 10 Serpae tetras, all of which died, as well as 2 marbled hatchfish and 2 silver hatchetfish. After much research I don't think the Excel was to blame and I resumed dosing, which did damage the hair algae while my remaining fish are doing well.
Since I have a major cleaning to do to get rid of all the algae I have decided to take this opportunity to completely redo the tank above the sand level.
I had mostly dwarf sag which took over the tank. I had purchased expensive plants from youtube gurus but this one parent plant from petsmart rules the tank, covering about 90% of it. I do move plants to my 90 from time to time. The 90 has silver dollars and is in a holding pattern until they die (theyre about 6 years old now) and I can plant it right. I keep hoping they will get tired of the sag and let it grow but they don't. Anyway I moved several sag and a large piece of driftwood there, with some anubias and windelov ferns.
Back to the 65, it has a new light, a 36" Finnex Planted+ 24/7 SE, to go with the Dustin's Fishtanks 36" standard single. Speaking of hardware:
Filtration is an Eheim 2217 with filter floss and bio media
I have two topfin circulation pumps, a PT 400 and a PT 700 on a timer
Lights are mentioned above.
I just added CO2 via an Aquatek paintball setup and ceramic diffuser.
I just ordered new plants. I am going to cut the sag back to one parent plant, I still have a red lotus and some water wisteria. I am adding some Java moss, Crinum Calamistratum, Cabomba Aquatica, Barclaya Longifolia, Anubias Barteri, Bacopa Caroliniana red and Alternanthera Bettzickiana.
I need to get some Manzanita wood before they arrive, then I will pull the remaining plants, move the keepers, add more sand to cover the dirt that will be pulled up, and plant the new arrivals in a hopefully pleasing manner.
I had no real dosing regimen before. I have purchased the Green Leaf Aquatics dry kit with macros and micros bottles. I added about 5ml (1 ml per 10 gallons) per day, of both, however I would miss days and even weeks at times.
My current plan is to dose between 8-10 ML of macros 3x a week, and the same for micros. Since my tap water is softer than a babies butt, I am adding 5 tsp of baking soda after water changes. Currently my readings for KH are 0, GH is maybe 3, maybe 2, depending on the light I do my test in. I will be testing and adjusting based on consistency and observation going forward.
I have been for the most part diligent with water changes, mostly 50%every three days. I am adopting a modified EI schedule with 80% water changes once a week on the odd no dose days (Saturday) I am planning on abstaining from Excell going forward, well see how it goes.
My current timelines
Finnex 24/7 SE is in 24/7 mode about 30 minutes behind the clock.
0800 the circulation pumps turn on
1000 the CO2 kicks on
1200 the other LED turns on
1700 the other LED turns off
1800 the co turns off
2000 the circulation pumps shut down.
I am thinking about adding another PT700 for daytime circulation, and moving the PT400 along with an airstone to be on overnight, between 2000 and 0800.
Current stocking is a breeding pair of angels, 3 marbled hatchet fish, an African butterfly fish, a red platy born in the tank long ago, a glo tetra from my kid's tank, 3 speckeled or bronze cories, an L135 pleco, a school of 9 neons with 2 black neons from my mom's tank, and an gang of 5ish ottos. I have what were labeled as 3 "assorted apistogramma" fry, I have not been able to ID them as apistos or not. I also have 2 adult mystery snails and babies. I would like to add several Amano shrimp and eventually replace the Serpae school with them or something similar. This tank gets fed flake, Repashy soilent green, meat pie and community gels, frozen blood worms and frozen brine shrimp, and some fruit flies for the hatchet and butterfly fish.
Posting pics for honesty and to see how far I (hopefully) progress from now...and I plan to update later this week when plants arrive...
Waiting for rescape: