I'm writing a book right now. So much to say, so little space to say it in reasonably...
Well, maintenance on this tanks has been infuriating today. None of the rotalas that I got at my LFS last week have sent down roots yet, so ALL of them decided to pop back out while I was draining the water, while I was trimming other plants, and while I was filling it back up. I still have a couple floaters... That's around thirty delicate little stems I've had to push back into the Flourite THREE TIMES today.
My tank has Flourite Dark capped with Flourite Black. The black is great stuff, it grips things nicely, looks nice, and overall has good performance in my book. Flourite Dark... sucks. It's grain is larger and it's hard to push things into it, then it fails to grip the plants. The cap is thinner in the back behind the driftwood, and guess where all those lovely rotalas were?
At the same time, my cat decided he wanted to get into EVERYTHING and knocked over about a half gallon of water on the floor. His butt ended up getting shut in a another room while I cleaned up his mess and fought with the stupid rotalas. I think I Hulk Smashed a couple of them.
And I still have a few that are floating around, destined for bleach when I feel like dealing with them.
I pulled out the Red Foxtail. It just wasn't working out. I'll replace it with something prettier here at one point.
Other than that, I redid two of my co2 bottles and tried to get it right this time. I'm still not used to treating the tap water before putting the yeast in. That would probably explain why I'm struggling with co2 right now.
Monitoring my plants all week, I'm still seeing a deficiency in them. The magnesium isn't doing much. So I studied up and tried to put the puzzle pieces together.
*My plants look
best after a water change.
*My plants look best on mirco fert days.
Those two are telling me that I have a micro nutrient problem.
*Many of the plants I have are iron
That's when the light bulb turned on. So I looked at the faster growing stems to confirm diagnoses...
*Pale leaves, between the vines, but the vines get lighter towards the end. The "L. Cuba" (which is the fastest growing thing in the tank right now) actually has some leaves that are very pale.
Now I'm beating my head against the wall. Geez, I'm stupid. It was all right there
in front of my face and didn't even see it. I figured my iron was good; I dose Plantex CSM+B (I had cut the dose in half for EI), I use pFertz root tabs (that have iron in them), and I dose 3ml of Seachem Iron on micro day. You'd think that would be enough iron. But between all the rotalas, ludwigias, and anubias, I guess not. So I'm dosing the Seachem Iron daily to see if that helps. I also started dosing the full amount suggested for EI, to cover the bases.
The hydra in this tank are making me mad. They are everywhere. I'm not buying the whole "they will starve if you don't overfeed" thing. I barely give enough food for everyone to be happy in this tank. I took my habrosus corys to the LFS because they couldn't seem to find enough food. And yet the hydra have gone bonkers. I would treat the whole tank right now with SafeGuard if I knew I wasn't going to just get more plants. But I seem to be getting hydra from my LFS, and they go through enough plants every week for me to know that they are getting them from their suppliers.
I'm going to curse the hydra, shoot them with Excel, and bide my time until I know I have the tank where I want it. Then BAM! SafeGuard treatment.
Last note; I'm keeping a close eye on my shrimp today. This is the first water change they've had to endure over here, the first time they've been exposed to fresh city tap. Granted, I treat each bucket with Prime before dumping it in the tank, and at the end it's a double dose (chloromine kicks the ammo reading on my test to 1.0 pmm), but I'm not sure how they will handle it.
Immediately after the change, most were still vibrant red, but a few had turned pale. I'm hoping it's just from the stress of 50% water changes which they aren't used to.
For the most part, they seem ok. I'm hoping to see some berried girls here within the next couple of weeks. I've witnessed some foreplay action from the males, so I know it's on their minds. The males seem to swim around more after the lights out; the Gertrudaes are "sleeping" at the top of the tank then. They've attempted numerous swimming excursions during the day period, and have often bumped head-first into the fish. The fish don't seem to care at all, but the shrimp don't seem to like touch the fish. It's funny to watch them go cruising for females, bump a fish, then flail backwards like their lives depended on it.
The female cherry that was injured via powerhead seems to be doing fine. She's back in her vibrant colors, adjusting to her lost leg, and the damage on her back seems to have scared over. I don't think she's molted yet, but I can still see her daily, picking around what seems to be a favorite spot under the blyxas with other larger females. I can usually see seven or eight large females hanging out there; I'll have to take a picture at one point.
Pictures to come once the tank clears up all the way
. Dealing with the rotalas, I ended up tearing up the substrate a little bit. It isn't bad by any means, I just want to post clear pictures. This tank is so much prettier in person than on my crappy Droid pictures...