Hey everyone, I'm so excited to finally be starting this. A huge thanks to everyone that has contributed to this wonderful community - I've learned so much from you guys! A special thanks to @burr740
for his micro thread as I probably wouldn't have started this without Joe giving me that extra push to do a journal.
First, a little bit about me, and then to the fun stuff - the tanks
I currently live in the Portland area with my wife and two little kids who seem to be sick more often than they are not. I work as an Information Security Architect which keeps me pretty busy, and the rest of our time is spent volunteering for our church, supporting our foster care families, and other services within our community. If you happen to live in the area and are passionate about making an impact in our community, hit me up with a PM! Also, I'm always ready to give away plants to anyone that happens to be in the area
On to the tank(s)... I currently have 6 active tanks, down from 9 over the summer, and I'm working on shutting down a couple more by the end of the year as we get more involved in other things. Hopefully that means I can focus more time and energy on the 29g in our bedroom. Other than that, I have a 20 long, a 10 gallon rimless, 2x 6 gallon Marineland Portraits in the garage and a Spec V at work. The Spec V and 10 gallon rimless will get a few highlights here and there in this thread, but the main focus will be the 29.
A quick list of details and history on the tank:
I set this up during the summer of 2017 to replace a 20 long that had a seam that looked like it could fail at any minute. The equipment that was brought over is as follows:
Lights: 1x Finnex 24/7 Planted Plus (original) for 8 hours per day
Filter: Eheim 2215 with the media it comes with plus Seachem Purigen
Substrate: Black Magic Blasting Sand
CO2: Aquatek Mini on a 24oz Paintball Tank with a DIY Griggs Reactor
Heater: DIY Inkbird ITC-1000 Temperature Controller keeping temps at 74F
Fertilizers: EI Package from Nilocg along with my own GH booster made from CaSO4, MgSO4, and K2SO4
The first couple of months seemed to be going OK, but everything kind of slowly started not doing well. I chased a lot of things like CO2 where I jumped to a 1.4 pH drop, changed out the DIY Griggs for an inline atomizer as I hit it's limit, doubled up on ferts to almost 2x normal EI, and increased micro's as well. I even switched to RO for a couple of months all of which seemed to only slow down the losses but not really fix anything. In the end, the solution was adding more light...
After about 9 months, I was finally on to something! I now run this tank with 2x Finnex 24/7 Planted Plus since the original one's IR blaster burned out and left me with a light that could only run on max. My wife missed the 24/7 feature, so we picked up one more and leave that running in the 24/7 mode while the second one is 100% brightness for 8 hours per day. Everything has been looking mostly good, and I've been slowly fine tuning the fertilizers ever since. I still had several plants that looked pale to me, and it kept bugging me that something wasn't quite right. Finally, I had a terrible mix of CSM+B that was the last straw - it's like it had no Fe in it at all.
That's where this journal is going to start. I will work on editing this post to show photos starting when I contacted Joe to get custom micros going as I feel that changing to DTPA Fe alone made a pretty noticeable difference. I dosed just DTPA Fe for a couple of weeks until I got my milligram scale, and then after that switched to my mix which I'll post with the pictures.
And yes, lots of weird projects going on in there. I'll be cleaning some of those up soon