getting back into the hobby - 14 inch cube - updated FTS on first page - Page 3 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #31 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-28-2019, 06:08 PM Thread Starter
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I have also been using distilled water from Walmart to do top offs - would that possibly be responsible for altering the water parameters over two weeks? if no tap water was being added?

Since doing the water change I can see a few shrimp out and scavenging which is a good sign - no one was really moving earlier.

would overdosing de-chlorinator have any effect? I think I may have been using way more than I needed to, feel stupid now.

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post #32 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-28-2019, 10:41 PM Thread Starter
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so five hours after the water change things are better - ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate are all now testing 0 ppm, pH is around 6.6, gH 9, and kH 2.

going to do another 30% water change tomorrow and then maybe again Monday - a bit nervous since I have to head away Monday until next Sunday, but hopefully, the tank stabilizes and then I can do a water change when I get home a week tomorrow. My wife will be here to do top offs - now wondering if I should be topping off with tap water instead of distilled.

Bump: so I figure it must be one or more of the rocks slowly increasing gH, which I can manage with water changes.

the drop in kH and pH though are a bit concerning - would the Tropica soil I have under the sand be responsible for dropping both, and then with kH so low the ammonia spike pushed the pH even lower?
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post #33 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-28-2019, 10:50 PM
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Yep, Tropica will absorb/bind kH and lower pH. I wouldn't try to fight it.

About the distilled water you're using... have you tested its parameters to be sure it's safe? ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, TDS, copper?
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post #34 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-29-2019, 12:52 PM Thread Starter
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Yep, Tropica will absorb/bind kH and lower pH. I wouldn't try to fight it.

About the distilled water you're using... have you tested its parameters to be sure it's safe? ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, TDS, copper?
thanks somewhatshocked - that's what I assumed after I thought about for a while and did the water change and new tests - happy to have someone confirm it.

I have not tested the distilled water and feel a little stupid for not thinking to. Will test it today before using it again.
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post #35 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-29-2019, 10:26 PM Thread Starter
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definitely going through another cycle - feel bad for my snails and shrimp, I hope they make it through.

woke this morning to the tank covered in white - assuming it is dead algae? could it be anything else?

tested the water this morning and ph was around 6 with kH of around 1 and gH of 9. Ammonia was around 0.25 ppm, but nitrites have spiked to 5+ ppm and nitrates around 5 ppm. did another water change, about 40%, and then retested the water about 7 hours later. ph was up slightly to around 6.4, kH and gH were holding steady around 1 and 9 so at least those parameters have stayed consistent over the last two days. Ammonia was down under 0.25 ppm, might be 0, struggling with the colour. Nitrites still at 5+ ppm and nitrates also at 5 ppm still. Really hope the bacteria can get the nitrites down overnight.

Now wondering if the tank ws ever cycled to begin with, or if the bioload increased too much the bacteria I had, or if something died that I can't see (haven't seen one of the snails for a couple of days), or if somehow the bacteria colony died off - maybe when I cleaned the filter and added the screening?

whatever it was I hope the tank stabilizes soon and I don't lose anyone else - feeling really guilty today for subjecting my shrimp and snails to this.
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post #36 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-30-2019, 02:54 PM
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definitely going through another cycle - feel bad for my snails and shrimp, I hope they make it through.

woke this morning to the tank covered in white - assuming it is dead algae? could it be anything else?

tested the water this morning and ph was around 6 with kH of around 1 and gH of 9. Ammonia was around 0.25 ppm, but nitrites have spiked to 5+ ppm and nitrates around 5 ppm. did another water change, about 40%, and then retested the water about 7 hours later. ph was up slightly to around 6.4, kH and gH were holding steady around 1 and 9 so at least those parameters have stayed consistent over the last two days. Ammonia was down under 0.25 ppm, might be 0, struggling with the colour. Nitrites still at 5+ ppm and nitrates also at 5 ppm still. Really hope the bacteria can get the nitrites down overnight.

Now wondering if the tank ws ever cycled to begin with, or if the bioload increased too much the bacteria I had, or if something died that I can't see (haven't seen one of the snails for a couple of days), or if somehow the bacteria colony died off - maybe when I cleaned the filter and added the screening?

whatever it was I hope the tank stabilizes soon and I don't lose anyone else - feeling really guilty today for subjecting my shrimp and snails to this.
This happened to me. It was "cycled" and tested through api testing. Using about 90% remineralized RO. I changed out about 95%(whatever I could get out) of the water. Added about 4ppm ammonia(which I did regularly with my fishless cycle) to challenge the BB. Next day Nitrites and Nitrates were way up. As far as I know, It's still cycling. I'm on about 7 or 8th week after setup. I dose Seachem Safe Daily and change out about 25% weekly now. I'm just going to let it do its thing. My plants are very happy though. I'll just do weekly testing to make sure everything's okay. Once my parameters are stabilized, I'll think about adding some Neocardina's.

Good luck to you. Hope your water stabilizes as well. Dose Prime or Safe daily to help your critters out.


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post #37 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-30-2019, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks @Econde - things are starting to improve I think. I have fritz guard and will add a little more each day.

Woke up and tested the water this morning pH at 6, gH and kH holding steady around 9 and 1. Ammonia was around 0.25 ppm and nitrites still high around 5 ppm. the purple colour was so vivid. Nitrates steady around 5ppm or less as well. As a general note, I often struggle with the colours at the low end, the ammonia two days ago and then the nitrites for the past two days it has been obvious that they are at a level that is not desirable.

did another big water change and retested just now, about 5 hours later. pH is a little higher around 6.4, ammonia is now close to 0 and there are still nitrites present but now closer to 0.5 ppm. Will test again tonight before leaving, hopefully neither has increased too much as I won't be back until Sunday. My wife is very much willing to feed, add fertilizer, and do top offs but is unlikely to do a water change so at this point I'm going to let things settle for the week and keep my fingers crossed that the worst has passed. Really hope the rest of the livestock makes it through.

when I'm back on Sunday I will do a water change and some maintenance and take some photos.
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post #38 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-09-2019, 01:57 AM Thread Starter
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bouncing back

Came home on Sunday after being away for a week and the immediately did a water change. Ammonia and nitrite were still present and did another water change yesterday. Ammonia and nitrite were both still present this afternoon but at much lower levels. Seems that the fight has turned in my favour. At this point, I am assuming that my tank did not have a well enough established bacteria colony to handle the additional bioload when I added the additional snails and blue dream neocaridinas and that a few died that I could not see and that exacerbated the problem. I am not sure what else it could have been. I did test the distilled water I had been using for top offs and it came back all 0's, retested tap water and still all 0's. The only other thing I can think of is if my bacteria additive went bad and was having the opposite effect on the tank, but not even sure if that's possible.

In any event today the water quality is close to ideal from an ammonia and nitrite perspective, but still some small amounts registering using liquid tests. Hoping for 0's across the board tomorrow! And the pH is holding steady at around 6.5 since the water change yesterday, instead of dropping to 6.0 or lower.

Through that mess, I am certain I lost a good portion of the blue dreams and the crypts went through a second melt. They all still have new growth and will bounce back. And I found one of my nerites under the couch on the opposite side of the room.

On a positive note, today the three amanos and a few blue dreams were out and about, I never saw more than four at the same time but hoping a few more than that survived. I added some food to the tank and those that found it went to town. The remaining four snails I added (3 nerites and a ramshorn) are happily roaming and eating. The Java Ferns are still growing like crazy, dwarf water lettuce is going bonkers (I've already removed some), the hydrocotyle is looking great and continuing to grow up as planned, the remaining anubias all have new growth, the hygrophylia and ludwigia are growing a little slower than I'd like but growing, the moss is lush and super green and as mentioned the crypts melted back again but are still sprouting new growth. And the biggest surprise, the root systems of the melted buce that I left in the tank have some tiny sprouts of green, so it seems they will bounce back too which is amazing. Never give up on a melted plant is the lesson if the roots are intact! I can't wait for the plants to grow in more and for the blue dreams to (hopefully) start breeding.

Current FTS:
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Amano not sharing the algae wafer
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Ramshorn looking awesome in the moss!
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post #39 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-09-2019, 01:38 PM
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Looking good. I really enjoy Ramshorns, mine are quirky. That's a cool shot of the amano and the blue dream!


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post #40 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-20-2019, 10:41 PM Thread Starter
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Time for an update!!

After first seeing the ammonia spike two weeks ago I think my tank has finally built up a large enough bacteria colony to process everything. Today was the second day in a row registering no ammonia or nitrites. Nitrates are low at 5 ppm and pH, gH, kH are all holding steady at around 7, 7, and 2 respectively.

I still feel guilty for rushing the addition of livestock - in the last week I have never seen more than four of the blue dreams at one time. I really hope more than 4 survived, but happy at least some did. Hopeful that I have a mix of males and females left. All three Amanos and the four snails I added all made it through which is awesome, along with some hitchhikers (I think pond snails, but could be a mix of pond and bladder).

Some of the plants also took a beating through the ammonia spike but everything is doing pretty well now. Trimmed the ludwigia and replanted in the to corners as well as one stem in the back somewhat out of sight. It's growing pretty fast and looks great - will eventually have a few dense clumps. The hygrophilia is doing well, not growing as fast as I would like but still growing and looks healthy. The crypts went through a second melt with the ammonia spike but are bouncing back again, I really can't wait for the crypt parva to spread a little more in the front and for the becktii to gain some height and fullness. I think the wendtii bronze plants may have died though, no leaves and no new growth poking through the substrate yet. And as mentioned before the buce all melted away but there are signs of new leaves on two of the root sections, fingers crossed they all bounce back. Java ferns, hydrocotyle, moss, and dwarf water lettuce are all growing like crazy and doing well.

FTS:
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Side:
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Shrimp!
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I leave tomorrow for a week for work, my wife is going to be in feeding and top up duty, then home for a week, and then on vacation for a week. That second trip I am contemplating shutting my filter off as I am worried about the evaporation being too much and the water level dropping below the skimmer - no one will be here to top it off. Alternatively, I could cover most of the tank with saran wrap or something else. I would love thoughts on this if you have any! not looking forward to how much algae grows while I am gone - I think I have a little of every type now lol.

Once I return from that second trip I am going to order a few more blue dreams and amanos and I think 6 otos. Also thinking of buying one cup/bunch of hairgrass and mixing it in with the crypt parva up front. Looking forward to it!
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post #41 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-21-2019, 02:10 AM
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Go the plastic wrap route. Shutting your filter off will just cost you bacteria. Not worth it.

Your tank is looking good. Every time I see it I realize that I should finally set up my 30cm/12in cube and use my Asta 20 on it.


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