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post #16 of 114 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
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That's a bummer re the cories. Don't really feel the STS is sharp edged per se but I guess is somewhat abrasive on its face - like 2000 grit emory cloth. Did some searching here and found mixed opinions on cories and STS. Like anything else though I guess. What I did come across while searching the above is a pretty much unanimous experience of STS absorbing kH and with a kH of 0-1 out of my tap, thinking this is concerning. Mixed reviews of STS sucking up gH. I too subscribe to Phil's "work with the water you have" mantra, but you gotta do what you gotta do? What should I do? My gH test bottle expired some time ago and though my kH test is still within date, got them together so have replaced them both and will get some more comfortably valid data before and after today's water change.

Along with not being terribly comfortable with the stability of this tank, there's another issue I need to address before adding livestock. The hot water in the plant is not hooked up to my office though do have cold water. Thinking it will be easier to pump heated water from a 55 gallon barrel to the tank than to plumb in hot water. This will also allow me to potentially treat the barrel water as needed. If it does come down to it, any thoughts on target kh and gh values?
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post #17 of 114 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 02:29 PM
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If the barrel solution works for you, go for it, lots of folks use that method. As for the KH/GH thing, try dosing after water change and then again midway through the week if you need to. I haven't added GH booster to actually get to a GH target in nearly 20 years. It's more useful to me as a way to supplement Ca, Mg, and often, K. It may be helpful to think of it like that too given your situation. As far as KH, if you're looking for CO2 consistency then you'll need to add a KH booster daily to make up for what's lost, or dose after water changes and call it good (what I do)...or not use one at all.
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post #18 of 114 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 09:38 PM Thread Starter
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06.09.19 Week 6 post water change:



Not a lot to report from week 5 to week 6. Still fighting diatoms. Pulled/trimmed/split/replanted the R. wallichii, L. cardinalis, and H. tripartita and deep vacuumed around the left side. Stirred up diatoms on and around plants on the right side. Thinking now I spent too much of the water change siphoning directly on the wood. Think next water change I'll simply rub it and swish plants and substrate and just siphon the water column generally. May do this mid week/tomorrow. Guess all in all am seeing some moderate growth.

Added twentyfive grams NilocG gH booster to add Ca and Mg which resulted in 2-3 degrees gH. Added eleven grams sodium bicarbonate bringing the kH to two degrees. There must have been a little kH in the tank pre WC as four grams NaCO3 gave me >1 degree and it took seven additional grams added one gram at a time to get >2 degrees. The next day, however, kH was <1 degree. Guess the Saf T Sorb is still sucking up kH. I really want to add fish but thinking it's more important to get kH stabilized. Am leery of putting a lot of sodium in the tank. Am thinking I might should roll my own gH booster with MgSO4, CaCo3, and KHCO3 to speed up saturating the STS without adding all that sodium. Thoughts?

And been working on dialing in CO2. Tap pH = 7.3. Off gased tank pH = 7.2 (24 hrs). Lights on pH = 6.5. Peak pH = 6.1 (from approx. two hours after lights on (CO2 on for three hours) to at least three hours after lights off. Not sure what the pH level is right before CO2 starts. Gotta get to work earlier tomorrow. Thinking it's only in the upper six range. Have a little bit of surface oil slick. Seems to me there's quite a bit of surface agitation from the filters but... Guess I need to divert more flow to the Cerges reactor. Also shut off CO2 earlier and possibly decrease CO2 volume?

Also have been increasing my understanding of fert dosing. Thank you @Greggz for your shared spreadsheet. It has been most helpful. Am not quite ready to post it though as there are still some blank fields and some other values I need to hone.

Ok, time to sit back and enjoy the last minutes of tank light and ponder all that I want to do before calling it a day.
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post #19 of 114 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 12:31 AM Thread Starter
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06.15.19 Week 7 post water change:



Diatoms may be a little better/less this week. Certainly post water change as I really stirred up the gravel as well as sponged the glass, rubbed down the wood, and brushed off the plants (multiple times). Installed an Aquaclear 70 during wc and left it on an hour after refilling before cranking the canisters back up. Then just left it running for now.

Finally see some wisteria growth. Thought and kinda hoped this would be the one I'd have to trim weekly. And some growth anyway on the other stems. Assembled all the vertical stems of what I'm thinking is Ludwigia palustrus (wild gathered)and moved to the left side of tank in front of the E. peruensis. Speaking of which, both have put out shoots with 5-6 plantlets. Guess I just cut these off?

And changed my GH booster to also boost kH as my STS substrate continues to suck up the little kH that's in my tap. Attaching a copy of GreggZ shared dosing worksheet. Again, most helpful. Thank you @Greggz:



First mixed five grams each KHCO3, CaCO3, and MgSO4 in a pint squeeze bottle to dissolve then squirted in tank. I guess the appropriate description would be chalky. I'm talking white water tank. Was a little concerned for a bit but water did clear up in fifteen-twenty minutes. So I did it again with five more grams of each. After that fully dissolved kH measured 3-4 and GH 4-5. Won't know 'til Monday if the Saf T Sorb sorbed all the kH again but suspect it will.

All in all, all's good. Wish my phone images weren't so washed out. Need to figure something out there. Also need to learn how to make the image a thumbnail that one can click and bring up the full size image. Could certainly use some help there. And if anyone notices anything questionable or even downright crazy especially regarding my dosing please chime in. Not at all confident and want to learn.

Cheers
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post #20 of 114 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 01:30 AM
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Originally Posted by schooldazed View Post
Again, most helpful. Thank you @Greggz:
Glad to see the spreadsheet helped.

Good record keeping is underestimated. I rely on it to help point me in the right direction.

And very nice start to a tank, really coming along nicely.

Will be following and looking forward to seeing where it goes from here. Subscribed.


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post #21 of 114 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 11:51 AM Thread Starter
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07.11.19 almost week 10 pre water change:



Things are settling in and seeing good growth and almost no algae. A very little bit of what I think is staghorn but really only singular antler-like black threads limited mostly to the swords. Had been picking them off as I saw them but they are tough and am not sure that hasn't aided in them spreading somewhat so quit that. It looks like it might be lessening the last couple of days now. Added a water skimmer timed to come on for a couple of hours right after lights out. Works pretty good as a skimmer but really think the aeration has helped both plants and fish.

That's right! Added first fish - twenty rummy nose, eight corydoras trilineatus, ten cherry barbs. The cherry barbs were somewhat of an impulse buy (another twelve bucks to save forty in shipping) but I really like them. Now for the bad: am down to 12 rummies, 6 cherries, and two cories. One cory came in injured/ulcer and did not last long. Another cory died overnight along with two rummynose. Noticed that cory and then another the next morning had white noses and necrotic barbels. Lost one, two, or three fish a day for about a week. From what I researched looked like columnaris. Could have been accute ammonia poisoning but seems some stress induced opportunistic bacteria is more likely. Had ordered five otos from another source which I put in while losing the others and they have done fine/no losses. Thinking they had easier travels. But four days now without loss so hoping that's over. Will replenish the losses as soon as I find another source for the rummies.

In researching this plague the one contributing factor which may have been my fault was a low GH? My tap is not far off from RO water it seems. Just over one dGH and dKH - TDS of 54. Have brought the GH to about five and the KH to just over two. From what I understand low KH is fine, even good for plants? I increased it by using CaCO3 (along with MgSO4) to raise GH without adding so much K from the GH booster. Why does Gh booster generally have so much potasium?

Trimmed the r. wallichii and h. difformis during yesterday's water change. Should probably have trimmed more of them and some of most everything else needs to be cut back. The b. caroliniana esp. is starting to darken and thin towards the gravel. But alas, I'm still very slow at it and didn't want to stress the fish too much.

So gonna let things settle in a little bit more. Replace lost fish when available. Then... The angels.
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post #22 of 114 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 01:10 PM
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That's looking really good! It's come a long way.
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post #23 of 114 (permalink) Old 07-20-2019, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the continued encouragement, Phil. Much appreciated.





Did a more thorough pruning during yesterday's water change. Yanked both clumps of L. palustrus, the L. peruensis, R. walichii, and B. caroliniana; trimmed and replanted tops. Topped and replanted pearl weed. Trimmed the H. tripartita and H. pinnatifida. Thinned some S. subulata. Didn't play with the wisteria but probably should have even though had thinned some last week - next week. Some cuttings went into a ten gallon I have going with a few red cherry shrimp and snails. But after that some went to the bin - *gasp*. All's still a little precious to me as it's well within my memory that "these plants may never grow."

No fish loss this week! Have ordered replacement cories from the original dealer I had consulted and should have gone with initially. Have been witnessing the cherry barbs courting and actually saw one drop an egg earlier in the week. Figured if I saw one, there are likely many. Guess it's possible a fry or two could make it in this tank. Am a little worried about the rummies. See a few ick-like white spots on some fins but they're behaving normal. And there's nothing on any of the other species. Don't know if I should treat?

Considering dosing CaCO3 in small amounts through the week probably on micros days. KH was down to just under one at time of wc so did 50% at 2.7 dKH resulting in 1.8 dKH. Figure if KH was closer to two at end of week, I could use more CaCO3 without harming fish (and MgSO4) thus less GH booster - potassium. I feel I've read on these pages some use MgNO3 instead of KNO3? Have searched for magnesium nitrate and what I've found contains magnesium oxide as well. Is that what is used in the hobby?

Feeding time - Cheers
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post #24 of 114 (permalink) Old 07-25-2019, 11:46 PM
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Have searched for magnesium nitrate and what I've found contains magnesium oxide as well. Is that what is used in the hobby?
Regular Magnesium Nitrate Mg(NO3)2 should only be that. It tends to absorb water from the air (hygroscopic) and when it comes into contact with water it forms some Magnesium Oxide, Nitrogen Oxide, and Oxygen. The grade you find and how well it's been kept from humidity will determine how much of the product is still the Mg(NO3)2 vs. decomposition products and other impurities. To be honest, you're better off getting Epsom Salts from the pharmacy if you're looking to supplement Magnesium specifically. USP (Pharma) grade is the best we can get before getting into laboratory reagent grade stuff and you know the Epsom Salt will remain stable in its bag.

Still liking the look of this. Let me know before you thin out that Sag again. I may be up for taking some off your hands.

Keep it up!
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post #25 of 114 (permalink) Old 08-10-2019, 07:45 PM Thread Starter
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The above photo is from Thurs 08/08. Pulled, topped and replanted the L. palustrus and R wallichii during yesterday's water change as well as some selective pruning. Neglected to take a photo tho.

And my apologies @Phil Edwards. I really thought I had responded to your post above. Would gladly get you some sag sub next time I thin or just let me know anytime and I'll pull some. The interest in Mg(NO3)2 was as a substitute for KNO3. I was concerned I was already adding a lot of potassium from the GH booster.

A fair amount has happened in the last two weeks. For starters the ich got to the point where it had to be treated. Eight days if Ich-X with daily 25 gallon water changes did the trick. A chore for sure but didn't lose any fish.

Gave the lone surviving cory eight friends earlier in the week. Also, angels - ordered three each black velvet and platinum and received four of each:



May have to rehome a couple if they all make it to young adulthood. The blacks are nickle size and the plats more like dime size. Have them in a ten gallon for growout with pool filter sand and a single stem of wisteria. Am thinking now it might have been better to have left the tank bare bottomed as I try to fatten them up with many feedings a day. Easier to clean. The ramshorns I put in there seem to have difficulty traversing the sand. Anyone observe similar? Yesterday, I noticed one of the blacks wasn't eating. Might need to deworm/generally treat for parasites but would have thought the breeder would have. Maybe just constipated. Will be watching that very closely.

As for the plants, no algae atm. At the early stage of considering making some changes as the tank is getting pretty jungle-like. May soon try a few different species and move and remove a few. And thinking I might have some kind of nutrient deficiency but I've no experience or knowledge on the subject. The R. wallichii is generally healthy and grows about 8-10" per week but a couple of stems (two to the right of image) seem to get ratty tops periodically:



And one stem of L. peruensis (left side of image) is particularly curly leaved with noticable white veining. It's the only stem of the bunch like this and has been for some time:



Any thoughts/help would be greatly appreciated.
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post #26 of 114 (permalink) Old 08-11-2019, 03:24 AM
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I don't have any advice for you because I only know how to do low tech tanks but I think your tank is lovely! I bet you're glad you finally jumped in and tried a planted tank rather than just dreaming about it
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post #27 of 114 (permalink) Old 08-11-2019, 11:06 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the good words Bon MotMot. You are right of course. Dreaming was nice but actually doing has been great fun!
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post #28 of 114 (permalink) Old 08-11-2019, 03:20 PM
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Your tank is great and your plants have grown in nicely.

But I want to focus on your stand. It's so clean and modern! I want it.

Have you decided to stain or paint it at all?
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post #29 of 114 (permalink) Old 08-11-2019, 03:31 PM
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The 3 month progression of this tank is telling that you have a knack for this. Kudos!
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post #30 of 114 (permalink) Old 08-12-2019, 08:03 PM Thread Starter
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Your tank is great and your plants have grown in nicely.

But I want to focus on your stand. It's so clean and modern! I want it.

Have you decided to stain or paint it at all?

Well hello there somwhatshocked. Thanks for visiting and your kind comment. The stand is actually constructed very similarly to the plywood clad two by four type often used here. I edge glued the vertical posts. Then glued and screwed the horizontal internal rails to the inside of the posts. And finally face glued and screwed (from the inside) the exposed horizontal rails you see. The internal rails on the bottom were shelf thickness less wide then the exposed rails so the shelf just drops in and the top is a solid glued up board attached with some z-clips to allow for expansion. Hopefully this pic better describes:





This tank is in my office which is within a manufacturing facility where we make wood frames and other wood components for upholstered seating. Not bragging but consequently I have a set of tools available to me that would put Spicoli's dad's to shame. Here is my belt sander for example:





The wood is a grade of soft maple described as WHND (worm holes not defect) and is our basic frame stock bought by the truckload (~18,000 board feet) surfaced two sides to 1 1/8" thick. Some woodworkers here might recognize it as "ambrosia." The wormholes are structurally sound and I really like the blue/green/grey/tan/brown mineral streaks eminating from each. It is still in a raw wood state as I was rushed but would have liked to have clear coated it which really brings out the colors. Hope to yet. My wife thinks I need to add doors to hide the gear underneath. May do that as well.

Would gladly answer any other questions regarding. Still limited on my planted tank knowledge but do know my woodworking. Thanks again

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The 3 month progression of this tank is telling that you have a knack for this. Kudos!

And a hearty hello to you, ipkiss. Thank you. I have read (all fourteen pages of) your journal here which is as thoughtful and informative as I've found your demeanor throughout the forum. - Cheers
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