Green Acres, 80 gal high tech - Page 20 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #286 of 363 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 03:03 AM
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Now we gotta stew going!
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post #287 of 363 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 03:22 AM
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Gumbo!
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Growing is not that difficult.
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post #288 of 363 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 03:41 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
My 80G frag is a bit more forgiving @ 16" deep, not much though.

Regrettably some stems take a while to reach full potential due to trimming.
Effected are limno aromatica (not mini), pogo kimberly and most other pogo species except erectus (it's in a class all it's own).
I'm pretty sure we're using the same tanks, my water column's a little over an inch below the rim due to the overflow. I'll get around to redoing the plumbing and get a riser for the overflow one of these days. With the smaller water column and 4" substrate at the rear I'm left with a fairly shallow growing zone. I'll be sharpening my scissors for sure!

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Phil, that’s siamensis 53B, initially got it from Burr.

The crypt is spiralis ‘red’ which I got from tissue culture, should have no problem growing in your rich substrate.
Thanks for the clarification, I couldn't remember the numerical designation. Ooooh, spiralis? That may be exactly what I need to help with contrast! Thankfully Crypts are one genus I've had a lot of success over the years. I'm looking forward to seeing how this one behaves in this tank. <3

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Now we gotta stew going!
Yes, a micronutrient stew from all the CSM+B I'm larding on. Colin was gracious enough to make me a dilute formulation to use so I can use up all the CSM I got earlier. I'm half tempted to call up my old prof and see if he'll let me sneak a few water samples in when he runs stuff on the ICP-MS and see what's going on in there with lean water column dosing. Wouldn't that be something?

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Gumbo!
There aren't any shrimp in there quite yet and I'm a bit afraid to toss andouie in there so soon after setting it up. The rice might be doable though.
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post #289 of 363 (permalink) Old 05-19-2019, 10:15 PM Thread Starter
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5.19.19-

The plants are starting to adjust. Some have died, some are melting, some are growing but not thriving, and others are doing really well. Thank you again to @Burr570, @Saxa Tilly, @Immortal1, @Maryland Guppy, and @vvDO! I hope I can do your generosity justice.

As you can see, there's still a significant sediment problem going on. Two and a half years into using Aquasolum is starting to see it break down a bit. I attribute the worst of it to smashing areas when placing hardscape in the past. The plan is still to let everything grow robust enough to pull, trim, and replant. When everything's pulled I'll do a major substrate cleaning and possibly hit is hard with a diatomaceous earth filter if I can get my hands on one. Given the tank's dimension, amount of stems, and required reduced flow, most of the stuff that gets kicked up doesn't stay suspended long enough to get sucked into the filter.

What's new? I've stopped adding nitrate and phosphate to the water column now that the Osmocote has started diffusing upwards, as seen in the diatoms on the substrate's surface. I'm still adding 1 tbsp Florin GH+ and 1/2 tsp baking soda at water changes and have bumped up CO2. I may need to start adding some Calcium pills around some groups since Osmocote doesn't have any. I don't want to put too much in the water to avoid issues with the Rotalas, but some of the other species may need it. For the first time in a long time there's pearling in one of my tanks, wooo!

The dying leaves aren't helping with water quality problems either. Various algae have started rearing their nasty heads on the plants, but there's not a whole lot to be done about that right now. The plants haven't rooted enough yet to not get pulled up and the dust gets kicked up so badly when I swish around the groups that it's not worth messing with things quite yet. To that end, and thanks to a care package from Brightwell, I've started adding Florin Bacter to help with things. This particular bunch of microbes is a blend of bugs that are pretty good at addressing particulate organics as opposed to MicroBacter 7 which is more of a dissolved organics blend. I hope to see some mitigation of issues and a legit cycling over the next couple of weeks as ammonia/ammonium makes its way into the water column. I need to do some digging around in the storage closet to see if I still have samples of resin blends I made at Cobalt. If I do, and I can find one of the CPR media reactors I'll start running an organic adsorbtion resin.

On to the pictures! I really need to figure out a good way to adjust the white balance. On the topic of lighting, do any of you know a good site that sells T5HO bulbs and accepts PayPal? It's time to replace these old guys.


































Thanks for watching!
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post #290 of 363 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 10:39 PM Thread Starter
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5.21.19- First Trim. The Pantanal finally reached the surface and got a good trimming. There are now 5 stems going. The leaves have gotten smaller and less red than the originals, but so far it's looking good to me. Some of the other Ludwigia and a couple of the R. macrandra stems will probably be getting hacked and replanted this weekend.

Algae continue to proliferate and some plants are still mid-adjustment, but things are looking pretty decent all things considered. I noticed a couple of the species were closing up 30-45 minutes before the lights went off so I cut the photoperiod by an hour and kept the CO2 going until about 15 min until lights-out. That should keep CO2 up high for the duration of the photoperiod and reduce illumination when the plants aren't really using it much.
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post #291 of 363 (permalink) Old 05-26-2019, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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5.26.19- What's Old is New Again (this is wordy, fair warning)

I'm thanking the Lord right now for giving me the habit of keeping old aquarium stuff. I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about how to improve circulation now that the tank's full of stems. The original return scheme was designed specifically with having a lot of wood in the midground, but it wasn't working well enough for an open format. I was able to get as much flow as I could want out of the return pump and hit the "magic numbers", but overall circulation wasn't good. The front 1/3 and left quarter got the lion's share of current while the midground and right 2/3 of the background weren't getting much. Needless to say this was horrible for nutrient and CO2 distribution as well as debris entrainment. With that in mind, the idea of adding a spray bar to handle discharge from the Cerge's along the back was getting increasingly appealing. However, spending the money to get the PVC, new tubing, and paint was a cost I couldn't justify these days.

Getting back to my hoarder habit; when Brightwell moved from Pennsylvania to Alabama I was the last one there and was tasked with sorting through all the crap in the old warehouse and storage unit. With Chris' blessing I got pick of the litter for my personal use and ended up with a box full of random Eheim parts that I've ended up dragging along with me in the chance that I decide to use canisters on a tank in the indeterminate future. While going through the boxes in storage looking for a media reactor I came across the Eheim box and 30 feet of 1/2 Python hose I'd squirreled away. Much to my surprise, it contained enough parts to put a spray bar along the entire length of the tank! Money saved and it's manufactured stuff to boot! Over time I've come to appreciate clean hardware design as part of the whole aquarium and messy DIY just isn't clean, at least when I do it to a running tank. You can blame too many hours surfing salt water forums and seeing all the cool stuff at trade shows for this conceit. Amano may have had something to do with it too.

With the box of parts and hose firmly in-hand and a dreams of sugarplum fairies in my head I set about putting everything together then disaster struck. The Eheim parts are all 16/22mm and the Cerge's is all 3/4 inch! I thought a trip or three (we all know how that goes) to Home Depot was again in my future. Lo, and behold, while searching the tool box I came across a few Python connectors; one of which was a 3/4 male threaded that is exactly what I needed to attach the 1/2 inch tubing to the 3/4 inch Cerge's. An hour and much mess-making later the spray bar was installed with hardly any disturbance! The second best thing is there's enough back pressure now that I can run the Cerge's wide open without any concern for microbubbles. While I was sitting back blessing my luck I realized that I hadn't put an anti-siphon hole in the downdraft. Somewhere in all the moves over the past couple of years I lost my drill and ended up wracking my brain for a way to get the hole made without having to buy a drill. Oh yes, the screws in the junk drawer, perfect! After much cursing trying to get the screw to bite into a wet hard plastic tube the hole was made and the danger of flooding a second-floor apartment with 80 gallons of water was averted. Someone was looking out for me today.

The best thing is it's let me remove the ugly (Phil DIY!) and problem-causing return in the front so now there's an empty and clean reservoir chamber in the front. Overall flow rate has been noticeably reduced, but circulation is much better and CO2 rich water is getting discharged along the bottom where it can reach all the plants. Not to mention flow is much more gentle so nothing is getting blown sideways. Leaves from back to front and bottom to top are all slowly waving in the current. Reducing discharge has had the benefit of reducing agitation in the overflow and sump input, which has quieted things down appreciably and should improve CO2 retention.

Ok Phil, that's all well and good, but what about the Old is New thing? My very first high-tech tank was a 90 gallon that ran an old-school siphon overflow into a small garbage can full of lava rock that I'd drilled a bunch of holes in. It sat in a 20 long with CO2 going directly into the return pump's intake that was discharged through a DIY spray bar along the kitty litter and play sand substrate. The hood was a clugey wood affair that had been made with a hand saw and screws housing 300+ of Compact Fluorescent retrofits. This thing was as ghetto as DIY gets, but it grew the hell out of plants as things were counted those days. Fast forward 19 years and I've got a system running a powerful T5HO fixture, a top of the line overflow that drains into a lovely acrylic sump, a CO2 reactor that can handle anything I care to throw at it, an Eheim brand spray bar discharging along the surface of an active soil substrate specifically intended for planted aquariums, and a lot of high end plants. Basically, it's a much more expensive version of that original 90 gallon that pushed me over the edge of the rabbit hole that got me where I am today. It's not quite as clean as I'd like it to be, but that's something to plan for when we move at some point.

All is not sunshine and strawberries though. Thanks to the loss of trees behind the apartment the tank's getting a good amount of morning sun which I think was a heavy contributor to the algae issues I'm having right now. I've turned CO2 on from 7 to 8:30 am to help offset that a bit. Going back to the problems with the original flow scheme, the proliferation of diatoms was causing dust to accumulate on everything. Swishing them off only served to kick up an unacceptable amount of dust which only made matters worse. On top of that, when cleaning off the rocks some small grains of something came off. It turns out the rock I used wasn't the stuff Cobalt had originally ordered and I tested, but it was labeled as what it should have been. Sure enough, these guys failed the vinegar test when I took them out (and kicked up an amazing amount of dust). This pushed me over the top and I ended up pulling all the plants out, rinsing them well, doing a full water change and refill, and removing the substrate by swishing it around in a colander before dumping it in a crate. I estimate 1.5 to 2 inches of fine silty-clay dust got removed. It was hard to tell as I had to do a couple drain-and-refills in the process. The tub was a mud hole when all was said and done, let me tell you! This will be the last time I use a commercial soil substrate in this tank. It's going to get a nice inert one in the future.

Armed with a bottle of apple cider vinegar and a sponge I went to town! The living room smelled like NC style coleslaw, but the glass was clean and I went to bed a satisfied man. The next morning I got to business laying down a layer of Osmocote on the glass and putting the substrate back in colander by colander, letting it drain before dumping it in the tank. In my excitement I forgot to add GH booster on the glass, but it should be ok in the long run. In order to make the water column a bit larger I only put in approx. 2 1/2 inches in the back rather than the almost five that was in the previously. Back in went the plants in only a vague semblance of decent arrangement. It pretty much went tall stems in the back and shorter ones in the front with the Crypts, Blyxa, Hygro somethingorother, and the lone remaining Downoi in the foreground.

All in all everything's worked out well. Some species aren't happy and may end up dying and there's still algae in there but I'm more confident that it'll establish quicker than it would have previously. Some of the stuff is growing gangbusters and has already needed to be selectively topped and replanted.

Pictures will come once the water clears up and I've cleaned everything a bit.

Thank you for reading this most recent novella!
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post #292 of 363 (permalink) Old 05-30-2019, 01:41 PM Thread Starter
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5.30.19- Order up!

Thanks to the generous folks who actually bought some of my plants and a little cash-back pot I didn't know I had on my card, I was able to put in a stock order for the tank, woooo! Coming soon to an aquarium near me:

12 Otocinclus
25 Amano shrimp
12 Asst. Nerites
12 Sparkling Gouramis
25 Cardinal Tetras
4 pots of H. pinnatifida
4 pots of H. corymbosa 'Kompact'
4 pots of L. cardinalis
3 Java Fern
1 pot of E. montevidensis "Giant Hairgrass"

I hadn't planned on getting that much; I only needed Ottos and shrimp to handle algae, but the supplier has a minimum dollar amount for an order and I was just able to squeak by. Because they're so cool (and don't want to waste time with dealing with a couple of DoA) they added the gouramis as preventative compensation. I had no plans on getting them and am not sure they'll work in the big tank so I may "have" to get the 12 gallon going sooner than I'd thought. One of my old coworkers has been trying to get me to set that tank up as a nano reef for a while and I've almost caved a few times but it may just have to wait. A little low-tech gourami tank sure would look nice here next to my desk.

I'm pretty sure the L. cardinalis is the original aquarium form and not the "small form" being passed around these days. It's the same stuff from the same farm I've used a lot in the past and will be interesting to see how it does compared to what I got from MG. I'm also curious to see if there's any difference in the two H. corymbosa over time. The Eliocharis was a lark. I'm not sure I want another hair grass again, but the tank needs something tall, dark, and handsome so in it goes. It may end up going in the 12, depending on how I feel tomorrow. It may end up getting split between the two tanks as well, we'll see. Same thing with the H. pinn. If there's enough for both tanks I'll split them, if not, it's all going in the big tank.

On plant news, the R. macrandra (?) @Saxa Tilly and L. repens @Immortal1 sent have been throwing up stems left, right, and center and have had to be selectively trimmed. Sadly, the P. helferi is nearly all gone. The last plant is just barely hanging on. Just about everything else in the tank has new growth starting to peek out so there's still some hope.

I know I've promised pictures, but they'll have to wait one more day so I can get shots before and after adding the stuff tomorrow.


On a personal note: I got a call from my soon-to-be boss saying I'll have to wait to come in until Monday because his wife just got a preliminary diagnosis of Lymphoma. A lot of you stood behind me during my trials with cancer and I ask that you please say a prayer for him and his family as they go through this terrifying and confusing time.
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post #293 of 363 (permalink) Old 05-31-2019, 08:33 PM Thread Starter
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5.31.19 In No Particular Order-

The clean up crew has their work cut out for them...





















Bump:



















Bump:













Bump:



















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post #294 of 363 (permalink) Old 05-31-2019, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
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For the first time ever I was able to see the clean patch left by an Amano shrimp. It was pretty cool in a depressing kind of way. How bad does the algae have to be to see what a shrimp has done? The answer is bad.
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post #295 of 363 (permalink) Old 05-31-2019, 08:52 PM
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5.31.19 In No Particular Order-

The clean up crew has their work cut out for them...
Ha! now it's starting to look like my tank
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post #296 of 363 (permalink) Old 05-31-2019, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
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Ha! now it's starting to look like my tank
I could be so lucky!
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post #297 of 363 (permalink) Old 06-02-2019, 12:05 PM Thread Starter
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Whelp,

I have no solid idea why, but the Amanos are doing the usual shrimp thing and dying off a few at a time each day. I haven't touched the water since doing a water change the day before they arrived. The snails and fish are all doing just fine; it's only the shrimp. I'm a bit boggled, to be honest. Before this the cherries did super well with water column supplementation and weekly water changes. This time there wasn't an immediate/quick mass death I would expect with some toxin in the water, like Copper or something.

I've got two guesses:

1-Temperature. There aren't any heaters in there and it gets hit full-on by the AC vent.

2- Ammonia. I laid down a good bit of Osmocote when redoing the substrate and a couple pellets have made their way to the surface. I pick a few out each day. But, there's not an immediate tank-wide response and I've been adding FlorinBacter every day. It's a legit bacteria product, I've made batches of the stuff myself in the past, and trust that it does what it's meant to do. Given the preponderance of diatoms, Ammonia's not something I can rule out though, even with the bacteria. I'm a bit skeptical though as there wasn't a fast mass-die off and again, the nerites and fish are doing just fine.


Thoughts? Advice? The only thing I'm good at with shrimp is killing them, so any words of wisdom are appreciated. If I'm being an idiot, call me out, it's all good. That's not carte blanche permission @Greggz, @Immortal1, @burr740, and @Maryland Guppy.

Last edited by Phil Edwards; 06-02-2019 at 01:59 PM. Reason: .
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post #298 of 363 (permalink) Old 06-02-2019, 03:58 PM
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Thoughts? Advice? The only thing I'm good at with shrimp is killing them, so any words of wisdom are appreciated. If I'm being an idiot, call me out, it's all good. That's not carte blanche permission @Greggz, @Immortal1, @burr740, and @Maryland Guppy.
Morning Phil
Went back to post #235 and did a re-read and haven't found a way to call you an idiot yet.

Some thoughts:
Temperature as you have already mentioned.
Sunlight from some window where trees were cut down?
CO2 levels, you are using a sump, correct? pH drop been monitored at all?

Some things I don't do:
Baking soda
Flourish Advance
Flora Spore Powder
Calcium ammonium nitrate
40 Gel caps
Brightwell Ferrion / "sodium" feredetate with CSM+B
Florin Bacter

Can't speak to these items but I can understand the ammonium nitrate one.
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post #299 of 363 (permalink) Old 06-02-2019, 05:25 PM Thread Starter
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Morning Phil
Went back to post #235 and did a re-read and haven't found a way to call you an idiot yet.

Some thoughts:
Temperature as you have already mentioned.
Sunlight from some window where trees were cut down?
CO2 levels, you are using a sump, correct? pH drop been monitored at all?

Some things I don't do:
Baking soda
Flourish Advance
Flora Spore Powder
Calcium ammonium nitrate
40 Gel caps
Brightwell Ferrion / "sodium" feredetate with CSM+B
Florin Bacter

Can't speak to these items but I can understand the ammonium nitrate one.
It could be pH, I can't rule that out. I don't have a pH test/probe, but I've been monitoring animal behavior closely since adding them. CO2 was definitely high when everything was first put in there so I reduced it to the point where everyone was behaving normally. pH could still be fluctuating more than I think it is since I can't say it's not. If that were the case though, wouldn't there be higher mortality than just a couple dead overnight? Inquiring minds want to know.

As for all the extra additives and such, I only added a couple tablespoons of GH booster and 1/2 tsp baking soda with the last two water changes and the bacteria each day since adding the animals. Those are the same amounts Kyle and I were adding to the tank when the cherries were in there and doing just fine. *boggle*

Has anyone else out there experienced a similar thing? A rapid and/or mass die-off of the shrimp and snails would be clear, but the low shrimp mortality and no issues with the snails has me confused. The Cardinals are wild-caught Project Piaba fish and I'd expect them to be sensitive to issues with water quality as well. I could be wrong though; they're the ones that survived all the stress of collection, shipping, holding, and all that.
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post #300 of 363 (permalink) Old 06-02-2019, 05:55 PM
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I personally find most shrimp to be more sensitive than fish and both more sensitive than most snails :/ maybe it's just some failed molts from moving to a new tank/parameters but could still be small amounts of ammonia? I dunno about nerites specifically but I'll just throw snails into a tank that's pretty "hot" and they'll still survive and help me get my tank cycled (and I always need more puffer food :/) Personally I feel like things have to get real bad (or I gotta jack up the co2 in a conscious attempt to kill them) for my snails to die off.

It's not uncommon for people's shrimp to slowly die off in less than ideal conditions.
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