Blacktetra's 20 Long - The Planted Tank Forum
 51Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 76 (permalink) Old 10-17-2018, 01:52 AM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Blacktetra's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 656
Blacktetra's 20 Long

I got tired of trying to figure out how to post pictures of my tank in my profile, so I thought I'd just post a few here with my thoughts on where I hope to take things in the next few months.

But first a touch of history.
Here is where I started:


Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_20151028_113722334.jpg
Views:	102
Size:	205.6 KB
ID:	870729


This was about 3 years ago, maybe 4.
I received this 20 long from a friend who was moving, along with the light and filter. They've served me well and I thank her.
I learned a lot about light levels, fertilizer, and substrate.

Here is the latest photo I have from a few weeks back:
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_20180904_212243_2.jpg
Views:	99
Size:	283.6 KB
ID:	870731  


Christian, husband, brother, friend, hobbyist.
Blacktetra is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 76 (permalink) Old 10-24-2018, 02:14 AM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Blacktetra's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 656
I've purchased a CO2 Regulator as of about a month ago. I purchased some CSM+B just this evening, along with K2SO4. One step closer to moving higher tech. Another month or so and I hope I'll have saved enough for the regulator post-body kit. After that I'll need to save up for a CO2 tank. Slow and steady gets there eventually.

Meanwhile I bought some Bucephalandra Theia blue, and a Bucephalandra Catharinea. Thanks to @Maryland Guppy for such a generous portion of the Theia. It's already covered in algae however, and it's only been 48 hours since it entered the tank. We'll see what kind of algae it is, and how to handle it when it's more visible, right now it's just a very slight fuzz. Blackbeard? Either way I'm sure things will sort themselves out. It's hard on plants to change from high CO2 to a CO2 limited environment. A bit of a shame it will be done adjusting to the low tech conditions by the time I finally get my own CO2 up and running. Oh well.
Maryland Guppy likes this.

Christian, husband, brother, friend, hobbyist.

Last edited by Blacktetra; 11-02-2018 at 12:59 AM. Reason: edit
Blacktetra is offline  
post #3 of 76 (permalink) Old 11-02-2018, 02:03 AM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Blacktetra's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 656
Time for an update on things.
For starters, my Italian Valisneria had gotten very ingrown, so I pulled it all out and replanted some of the slightly smaller plants with enough space between to allow them to throw runners. I think it looks pretty awful by comparison, but sometimes you just need to trim things up. Knowing, val, it'll grow back in over the next 4 weeks or so.
I've also shown the whole tank here. The left half of my tank is basically being used to store plants I don't have a lot of room for, or that aren't doing well, or weren't doing well when I got them.
There's still some dwarf saggitaria floating as it came up with the val and is difficult to plant due to the thin depth of my substrate. Plus, with my CO2 levels being relatively low, these sometimes struggle to root well. (after typing that I just went and raised my light a bit higher, I might not have algae, but my dwarf sag will likely be much happier with reduced lighting to better match the natural CO2 level in my low-tech tank.

Attachment 871715


Here's a quick shot from above of the various plants on the left, with the buce theia blue. It's got some good color and whatever the fuzz was that grew on it has since subsided. The new growth is beginning to come in, and it's very small by comparison, again, low natural CO2 levels. I angled my cannister outflow towards the top of the tank to hopefully help bring some of the surface water to the bottom of the tank in the hopes it might increase CO2 a touch. (Or it'll just off-gas the CO2 generated by my fish and bacteria, hard to know.)

Attachment 871713

Lastly, here is a small vase I have. It's growing some giant duckweed, frogbit, dwarf water lettuce, and that dark green spot is a leaf from an anubias nana down below everything. There's also some mystery moss that was labeled "Christmas moss" but until I get CO2 and higher lighting on it, it's the same as every moss I've had, including java, it's just a bit thicker stranded and branching a bit more.

Attachment 871709
Maryland Guppy and Quagulator like this.

Christian, husband, brother, friend, hobbyist.

Last edited by Blacktetra; 02-21-2019 at 01:14 AM.
Blacktetra is offline  
 
post #4 of 76 (permalink) Old 01-15-2019, 01:51 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Blacktetra's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 656
The last few weeks have been busy and very productive.

I spoke with a friend who suggested I was hurting myself by continually lowering my light levels due to low CO2. He recommended I put them much higher and cut my photoperiods instead. That really did the trick, and I started to see improvements for about two or three weeks.

Then I finally got my CO2 system assembled and running. It's only been 2 days or so, and I'm only running things at about 1 bubble per 5 seconds, but I'm already seeing a difference.

I'll take some pictures later, but the buce theia blue is much bluer, and both buce species have grown a ton of roots from some various nodes, almost over night.

Knowing my CO2 level is higher, I removed the film from my LED strip (had to cut PAR by about 20% to prevent algae) so it's now running at full medium light.

I'm really looking forward to the next few weeks of balancing CO2 input and fertilizers. More than that, I'm looking forward to having the best problem we have in this hobby: too much plant mass.

My nitrate levels have been high though (50-70 maybe? API kit is only so accurate) and thanks to a few people here in the forums, I'll be using more potassium sulfate in my dosing, and cutting down on my KNO3 as my corydoras produce more nitrate than I'd expected when I got them.

Lastly, a good friend gave me a tiger lotus bulb right before I changed my lighting and CO2. It's first four or five leaves were about 1.5-2 inches long, but since the lighting changes and CO2 addition it's shot out leaves at least twice as large and is already growing 2 additional plantlets.

Im pretty excited. 🙂
tredford likes this.

Christian, husband, brother, friend, hobbyist.
Blacktetra is offline  
post #5 of 76 (permalink) Old 01-15-2019, 08:36 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Greggz's Avatar
 
PTrader: (2/100%)
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Novi, MI
Posts: 4,002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blacktetra View Post
Then I finally got my CO2 system assembled and running. It's only been 2 days or so, and I'm only running things at about 1 bubble per 5 seconds, but I'm already seeing a difference.
Bubbles are a poor way to measure CO2 injection, but 1 bubble per 5 seconds is pretty much nothing. Are you familiar with measuring pH drop from CO2 injection? It sounds like you want to get more lush growth, and if so it would be a much better way of controlling CO2.

And it's best to do so with a calibrated pH probe if at all possible. In the long run it's a much better methodology.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blacktetra View Post
My nitrate levels have been high though (50-70 maybe? API kit is only so accurate) and thanks to a few people here in the forums, I'll be using more potassium sulfate in my dosing, and cutting down on my KNO3 as my corydoras produce more nitrate than I'd expected when I got them.
How stocked is your tank? From the pictures doesn't look too heavy. If so, 50-70 nitrates seems very high just from fish load. Usually would indicate over feeding/dirty filters or in general dirty conditions.

Have you tested a calibrated sample solution? Could also be your reading is not correct. In my journal I tested a calibrated 25ppm solution, and with the API it looked easily 40+ ppm. Just saying I would not be making too many decisions based on the test reading until you know it's correct.

And now that you have added more light and CO2, you might find you need more not less KNO3 dosing. I haven't seen a tank here with lush growth that relies only on fish waste for nitrates.

Have you seen any tanks here you want to emulate? The journal section is a great resource. Find tanks that demonstrate and document success with similar goals to yours. Then study their methods. Trust me this is the fastest way to success.

Good luck and I look forward to seeing where things go from here.
lamyers3 likes this.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
------------------
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Greggz is online now  
post #6 of 76 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 01:11 AM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Blacktetra's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 656
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
Bubbles are a poor way to measure CO2 injection, but 1 bubble per 5 seconds is pretty much nothing. Are you familiar with measuring pH drop from CO2 injection? It sounds like you want to get more lush growth, and if so it would be a much better way of controlling CO2.

And it's best to do so with a calibrated pH probe if at all possible. In the long run it's a much better methodology.

How stocked is your tank? From the pictures doesn't look too heavy. If so, 50-70 nitrates seems very high just from fish load. Usually would indicate over feeding/dirty filters or in general dirty conditions.

Have you tested a calibrated sample solution? Could also be your reading is not correct.

And now that you have added more light and CO2, you might find you need more not less KNO3 dosing. I haven't seen a tank here with lush growth that relies only on fish waste for nitrates.

Have you seen any tanks here you want to emulate? The journal section is a great resource. Find tanks that demonstrate and document success with similar goals to yours. Then study their methods. Trust me this is the fastest way to success.

Good luck and I look forward to seeing where things go from here.
Thank you Greggz, I wanted to give a more thorough response, but I'm having some technical difficulty at the moment.

In brief, I'm saving up for a pH pen at the moment for just this reason. I know my current rate is basically nothing in most cases, but I'm in a battle with surface film (also saving for a skimmer) which I know reduces off-gassing. And I have only just introduced it, and will slowly increase it. My tank is only at about 40 PAR, and is around 20 gallons, so I'm moving slowly to be careful, as my only measurement method right now is my API test kit, which as you've pointed out, is quite a poor tool. Not to mention it may be out of date, which could explain the nitrate readings.

Right now my only goals for the tank are keeping things healthy and growing so I can sell trimmings, to help save up for some things. Like the tools mentioned above.

I don't intend to remove KNO3 entirely, as I wouldn't want to slow or stunt things. I was mostly curious. I'm also aware that my dosing is only contributing a few PPM not 30. I've got a lot of adjustments to make rebalancing things, I'm sure that's what my next few weeks or months will be spent on.

I always appreciate your input, thanks.
Greggz likes this.

Christian, husband, brother, friend, hobbyist.
Blacktetra is offline  
post #7 of 76 (permalink) Old 01-17-2019, 01:51 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Blacktetra's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 656
Time to examine my thoughts on paper, so to speak:
I ran another test with my API test kit. I've nearly exhausted the nitrate bottles, so at least they were worth buying.
I registered in the 40-80 range again, and it could be a problem with the kit, though I'm not certain of it.

I've changed to feeding my fish only 3 times a week. I find it a challenge to get food to all three areas: top water, mid water, substrate. I have 5 phoenix rasboras that feed slowly from the surface, so they are easily fed. 6 Celestial Pearl Danios that generally only feed mid-water, and behave like it's their last meal. And I have 6 smaller corydoras. The food that sinks is mostly eaten by the CPD's, what isn't is quickly nabbed by the two amano shrimp (who now spend nearly no time bothering with algae) and 10 to 15 minutes later the corys wake up because they smell food, and spend another 5 minutes sniffing around until they find a piece.
I'm considering feeding a tiny piece of sinking wafer at night when the CPD's won't notice, to feed the corys, so I can cut the amount I feed during the light cycle.

In total this puts me at about 17 inches of fish for my tank, which I know is less than 20 gallons by at least a gallon or two. So in the "one inch of fish per gallon" rule I'm pretty much at max.

I'm not looking at my dosing sheet, but I believe (using rotala butterfly calculator) that I'm dosing about 6-8ppm Nitrate each week.

Having just increased lighting, and increased CO2 availability (now up to more than 1 bubble per 4 seconds and rising) I anticipate nutrient deficiencies.
My intention for now is to combat any K deficiencies with potassium sulfate, and to keep a close eye for Ca/Mg deficiencies and dose additional Equilibrium as needed.
I'll continue to dose a small amount of CSM+B a few times a week as well to help with iron in particular.

Hopefully this will help balance things better. If I was closer to the end of my Equilibrium bottle I'd be looking into mixing my own gh booster, as I'm pretty confident my tap water has more than enough Ca and I really don't need to dose it. As it stands, I'm already cutting my tap with 50% RO to keep the gh under 15, so I'm clearly not deficient in certain minerals, but I've seen deficiencies when not using enough Equilibrium, which I suspect is the result of not enough Mg.

Every time I examine my dosing via Rotala I realize just how little fertilizer I dose. But that has always been my method. I've learned a lot watching the plants for deficiencies, and I think that experience is far more valuable than what I would have gained from dosing 3X's EI each week, and never worrying about deficiencies. This doesn't mean my plants are constantly struggling, but it does mean I can learn to be a bit more generous and not fear that I'm harming things, at least not with Equilibrium and KNO3/KH2PO4/K2SO4. I still dose CSM+B sparingly and am trying to learn how my plants respond, as I've only had about 1 months experience with it.
Greggz likes this.

Christian, husband, brother, friend, hobbyist.
Blacktetra is offline  
post #8 of 76 (permalink) Old 01-17-2019, 03:24 PM
RCB
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 89
Greetings Blacktetra. I learned awhile ago that when using the API test kit for Nitrate...its absolutely mandatory to shake the living daylights out of the second bottle solution. In other words, shake it,tap it on a solid surface and then do your test. If its not shaken enough, the reading will be off the charts.

P.S. if you currently shake bottle # 2 until your dental fillings fall out...ignore what I said. 8)
RCB is offline  
post #9 of 76 (permalink) Old 01-18-2019, 12:42 AM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Blacktetra's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 656
Hello RCB! I believe I shook the contents thoroughly enough, but given how the bottle is nearing empty, it may still be causing bad readings.

Christian, husband, brother, friend, hobbyist.
Blacktetra is offline  
post #10 of 76 (permalink) Old 01-23-2019, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Blacktetra's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 656
Looked like I MIGHT have some kind of deficiency this morning. Now begins the process of finding out how much I need of the various things. Nitrate levels still read high. I overdose phosphate to provide enough K since I reduce my nitrate dosing, so that's likely not it.
I'm not even 100% sure I have a deficiency, but... The stem on my rotala has turned very, very dark since adding CO2. And while the old growth was very poor, and the new growth is very healthy, it's still a bit smaller than usual. This could be due to the floaters and Italian valisneria shadowing it. I don't know if anyone will check this journal, but feel free to comment on the photos. Nothing is "off" enough to worry me yet. Everything stem-like has begun to drop roots. My bucephalandra species and anubias too. The CO2 has sped things up significantly, it's amazing to see. Part of me is hooked and wants to buy a second light to push things even faster. Maybe some day I will. But the light in currently providing is already growing some green algae on my hardscape. I'll keep things lower if I ever get the chance to do an Iwagumi tank.
I'm pushing close to 1bps now. No signs of fish stress and things pearl slowly. There's always bubbles coming up from the substrate (from the roots) and bubbles on the underside of my anubias leaves.
I just hope I start to see growth from what little hair grass I have left. I kept my light levels too low after planting and they all slowly died off.
irishspy likes this.

Christian, husband, brother, friend, hobbyist.

Last edited by Blacktetra; 02-21-2019 at 01:14 AM.
Blacktetra is offline  
post #11 of 76 (permalink) Old 01-29-2019, 06:05 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Blacktetra's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 656
I determined my deficiency was iron. I've begun to increase my CSM+B dosing, and in a day or two all new growth was more green and less yellow. I've also spotted a bit of Mg deficiency at one point. I'll be increasing my Equilibrium dosing a bit. Then I'll compare with the EI method recommended dose and adjust it based on my use of Equilibrium. Should provide a better starting amount for dosing micros. As it is I'm dosing about 1/120th of a teaspoon each morning.

I suspect the sudden onset of root growth among all my plants may point to needing to increase Nitrate dosing, along with the loss of a few older leaves. I knew I'd reach that point eventually when the excess was consumed. Looks like I've reached that point. I'll post some comparison pictures soon. Things are doing much better with the CO2. I'm at about 1.25bps and everything pearls.
irishspy and Greggz like this.

Christian, husband, brother, friend, hobbyist.
Blacktetra is offline  
post #12 of 76 (permalink) Old 02-13-2019, 01:12 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Blacktetra's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 656
Some pictures.
The black line in the middle is the temperature probe to my inexpensive thermometer. So far, the best $5 I've spent, still running after 5 years and seems to line up pretty closely with the temperature reading my fancy meat thermometer reads.
If I'd noticed, I would have removed it for the picture, but I don't really see my tank as especially beauty-shot worthy at this point.

The second shot is slightly more yellow than it looked to the naked eye, but it does show the iron deficiency I spoke about. If you look very closely you can also see the darker green lines on a few of the Ludwigia leaves that helped me notice the magnesium deficiency. Things are growing pretty well. I've sold off one of the dwarf tiger lotus plants, and the bulb has created another plant of a similar size over the last two weeks.
Greggz likes this.

Christian, husband, brother, friend, hobbyist.

Last edited by Blacktetra; 02-21-2019 at 01:28 AM.
Blacktetra is offline  
post #13 of 76 (permalink) Old 02-21-2019, 01:34 AM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Blacktetra's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 656
Pictures!

I spent a few hours rearranging everything, trimming, and organizing so all the plants could get better lighting and better flow. We'll see how long that lasts. I've also come down with clado and BBA. Not good.

Attachment 877821

Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_20190217_200329_01.jpg
Views:	31
Size:	285.0 KB
ID:	877823

Attachment 877825

Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_8253.jpg
Views:	26
Size:	256.2 KB
ID:	877827

Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_8268.jpg
Views:	32
Size:	286.7 KB
ID:	877829
Greggz likes this.

Christian, husband, brother, friend, hobbyist.

Last edited by Blacktetra; 05-29-2019 at 02:13 AM.
Blacktetra is offline  
post #14 of 76 (permalink) Old 03-09-2019, 02:00 AM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Blacktetra's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 656
The clado and BBA Tufts are beginning to be held in check with Metricide and better CO2/light management, but I've got some soft brown algae on my largest anubias' leaves. I'm not sure how to treat it or what it may indicate about my conditions. I'd suspect lighting was too high, but the algae is actually on the more shaded section of leaves. I've seen tracks in it from the ramshorn, so it's fairly soft, but can't easily be wiped off like diatoms.

Christian, husband, brother, friend, hobbyist.

Last edited by Blacktetra; 05-06-2019 at 04:07 PM.
Blacktetra is offline  
post #15 of 76 (permalink) Old 03-16-2019, 02:38 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Blacktetra's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 656
My research into this soft brown algae is leading nowhere particularly helpful. It's not covered in most algae guides. I'm beginning to see spots of it show up on other anubias species. Thankfully spot treatment with Metricide clears it up thoroughly and it's very slow growing.

I have other advancements however. I've completely skimped on Nitrate dosing, and tested my tap water. My tap reads 0 (which it always has, and indicates my test is at least partially functional) and my tank reads 40-60ppm. This, along with my algae, seems to indicate I'm overfeeding and have high organics. I have 18 fish in this tank, so it's not at all unlikely. All food I provide is gone within 3-4 minutes, and I've been feeding about 3 times a week, so it's not as serious as for most who are new to fish keeping.

I've had it suggested I'm feeding far too much, and while it's easy to assume that is the case, there are other factors at play:
1) My lighting is pretty low, so plant uptake is low to match. I only have around 30-50 PAR.
2) My substrate is dirt, and the majority of the cap is now mixed in with the soil due to replanting and corydora activity. This has critters living in it. I see the corys find things to eat on occasion and have spotted a tiny worm or two against the glass. I have NO idea how much this soil is feeding to my corys, but from their size I assume very, very little.
3) To get any food at all to the corys has proven challenging, resulting in over feeding. I've found no means to feed them that has not also resulted in over feeding the other critters, so I've fed a bit heavy.

I'm frustrated with my fish selection now. It's been a pretty great community tank, and I don't mind doing the 50% WC every week to help limit nitrate and organics. But I DO mind if my feeding results in algae issues.

I'm also seeing a limitation in Mg uptake by my Ludwigia despite higher Equilibrium dosing. I'm beginning to wonder if I have excessive K contributing to that problem. I may cut my Equilibrium dose and see what happens. I wish I had a full line of dry ferts so I could control Ca and Mg separately, but that will have to wait for now.

Lastly, CO2 is getting closer to being optimized.
I'm really pouring it in heavy now (6 maybe 7bps?), I'd prefer to use a lot less, but in general it's much easier to have CO2 levels where I want them when having my CO2 on gives immediate results. To get the pH drop I would want with a slow trickle would require turning on my CO2 like 2 or 3 hours before lights on, in part because it takes some time for my rex griggs reactor to fill with enough gas that it's dissolving at maximum rates.
Greggz likes this.

Christian, husband, brother, friend, hobbyist.
Blacktetra is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
12G Club: Got a 12 GalloN RimlesS or wanna get 1? PoSt/SeE HeRe! MsNemoShrimp Tank Journals 1924 02-13-2019 01:18 AM
Plant help Scotty16 Plants 14 06-12-2014 06:18 PM
In search of 33 gallon long or 40 gallon long aquarium briscoe Pennsylvania 3 05-06-2014 02:43 PM
30 gallon longs and 33/55 gallon stand Long Island gordonrichards New York 12 05-04-2012 01:50 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome