Planted Tank Enthusiast
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Palm Springs, CA
Green water is slowly improving--the operative word being slowly. At least I can see through the tank now. FYI, I did pull the trigger and get some moina last week. Put them in and nothing happened--zip, nada. Stupidly, I didn't put some of them in a gallon jar with some of the green tank water as a backup culture in case those in the tanks didn't make it. I had both filters going since I didn't want to shut off the old while while cycling the new one, so it was a maelstrom inside the tank--which I'm guessing the moina didn't like. Did a water change a couple of days later, and have left that bucket outside to see if any survived and do anything. Not likely, and it's heating back up to over 100 today, so that'll likely kill off any survivors if there were any. Expensive lesson learned that there are no easy biohacks. Lights still at 5hrs/day, and if I'm around to turn them off & on, am doing a 2-3 hr siesta. Continuing to dose Excel daily, and have ordered an additional 2 liters in case I need to up the dosage. From what I've been reading, in my low tech/medium light tank I'll probably need to keep using Excel as a crutch, unless I really dial down the light and only keep easy low light plants.
The old filter seems to have stopped working altogether. The bladder snail explosion continues, and I'm wondering if some got into the impeller. But with the new one running, and likely plenty of nitrifying bacteria in the STS substrate, plants, etc ammonia/nitrites/nitrates remain zero across the board. Have left the old filter sponges in the tank for now to help out the new filter, so it looks like a junkyard in there. Will try to see if I can get the old filter running again, and pack the chambers with filter floss since that seems to be collecting lots of gunk still. Not finding much dead plant life during my WC & attempts to vac--guess the ghost shrimp & snails are keeping on top of that.
Speaking of snails, they are no so many there's hardly any green dust algae on the walls, and I fear my otos won't get enough to eat. I've tried putting algae wafers & cucumber slices in, but the snails swarm them. And when I vacuum I'm sucking up lots of snail poop. Didn't realize they could create so much--probably not helping with the green water problem. So went back to the LFS and got two more larger assassin snails, and took a chance and bought two small pea puffers to eat all the baby snails in the hopes they'd be good citizens and just harass the snails. Gratifyingly, when I tipped them out of their bag one went straight to a snail on the glass-bit it on the head, and swam off. So far so good, and no sign that they're harassing the otos or guppies. Haven't seen them actually eat any since, but they're cruising around, playing nice, and look noticeably fatter already. They're tiny--not even 1/2". And speaking of tiny, I'm seeing some guppy fry hanging around the sponges, so they seem to be getting food there. Used one of the old sponges to cover the intake of the new HOB filter to prevent any casualties--have some new ones on order. And got some more biomax media for the HOB since they don't give you much, and I'm not planning to use the activated carbon long term. Though would that help remove dissolved organics to get rid of the green water? If so, that might be worth doing.
Making some 0 size Osmocote Plus gel caps with about half fine SafeTsorb left over from the initial scaping. Hoping they'll keep the dissolved Osmocote from leaching into the water column & exacerbating the algae. And that'll allow me to use more distributed throughout the plants root zone. Anyone ever tried this, or have any thoughts on whether this would be a good or bad idea? Will report back on how it works. Might try testing that vs some plain Osomocote balls on two different plants of the same species to see if there's a difference in plant growth. Probably won't be able to tell if there's any difference on if they get into the water column or not--seems the hornwort & all the algae is doing a good job of sucking everything up.
Today I'm planting some of the ludwigia, proserpinaca & H. difformis that I've let float around since their initial meltdown. They've put out some roots, so time to try putting them back into the substrate. And with that crappy sponge filter out of the way, my crypts should have more room to spread out--they kept getting battered every time I tried to move it, or it would fall on top of them when not working. The val is still going great guns, and now that the water is clearer I can see at least one new pup popping up. It's gonna get some of the Osmocote for sure. Leaving again in a week, so trying to get things more stable. It's a patience-testing process, but things are moving in the right direction, and I have a few more critters to watch.