Dr. Who meets Atlantis - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 66 (permalink) Old 11-12-2019, 02:13 AM Thread Starter
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Update: Cycle is not quite finished. Ammonia @2 ppm processes through in 24 hours, but nitrites does not quite hit zero (.25). So, a few more days.

As a side note, the API nitrates readings are really frustrating. Is it 40 or 80 ppm? Nitrates were still really high yesterday despite the water change, so it must have been 80 and not 40. I did a 50% water change again today and took the opportunity to move move the substrate around. I am going to add some sand areas in the front and back to make the tank more friendly to corys and loaches. Making the best of having to wait another week for fish.
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post #17 of 66 (permalink) Old 11-14-2019, 02:42 AM Thread Starter
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My black sand arrived today. Great timing--I was hoping to get it in the tank before we stocked any fish. My son helped create a little beach front property for nice viewing. We also scaped some sandy hideouts and filled in some lows spots. Overall, I am really happy with how it looks. The water is a little cloudy, but not too bad.

Since we were working on the tank, we also launched a baby java fern (they grow so fast!) onto a nearby log and planted the anacharis we salvaged from the Great Melt of October 12th, 2019.

Ammonia and nitrites are both at zero. I have a more muted "Yay" this time. I know I could have upset the balance a bit with the 'scaping adventure this evening.

Still hoping we may be ready for fish this weekend. Fingers crossed!
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post #18 of 66 (permalink) Old 11-14-2019, 04:13 AM
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Looking good! One thing Id like to point out is it appears you have a java fern buried in the second picture. Id advise you to unbury it and attach it to something, otherwise the whole plant will likely rot away.

Im loving the black sand, you and your kiddo did a bang up job!


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post #19 of 66 (permalink) Old 11-14-2019, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
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Looking good! One thing Id like to point out is it appears you have a java fern buried in the second picture. Id advise you to unbury it and attach it to something, otherwise the whole plant will likely rot away.

Im loving the black sand, you and your kiddo did a bang up job!


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Thanks, @varanidguy. Feel free to laugh at me, but I planted those based on the enclosed instructions not realizing they were generic for the entire plant kit I purchased rather than aimed at specific plants in the package.

I had been scared to stress them out since they survived the "Great Melt" and are now covered in plantlets. Would it be better to pull them out and let them float, or should I leave them until I find an appropriate hardscape to attach them?

*When I head to the LFS this week to buy fish, I can pick up a log and tie them there.
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post #20 of 66 (permalink) Old 11-14-2019, 02:17 PM
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Thanks, @varanidguy. Feel free to laugh at me, but I planted those based on the enclosed instructions not realizing they were generic for the entire plant kit I purchased rather than aimed at specific plants in the package.



I had been scared to stress them out since they survived the "Great Melt" and are now covered in plantlets. Would it be better to pull them out and let them float, or should I leave them until I find an appropriate hardscape to attach them?



*When I head to the LFS this week to buy fish, I can pick up a log and tie them there.


It would be best to expose the rhizome and let them float, it wont hurt the plants at all. Java ferns are pretty hardy.


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post #21 of 66 (permalink) Old 11-15-2019, 03:00 AM Thread Starter
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I was hoping today would be the day, but unfortunately, I still have nitrites.

Yesterday, ammonia and nitrites were both zero. I dosed ammonia last night after we finished our rescaping adventure with a pretty good expectation that we'd be good to go for fish on Friday. Today, ammonia is 0, but nitrites is 2. Feeling a bit deflated. The tank has hit 0 on both parameters twice this week, but the next day, the nitrites has a reading. The battle continues tomorrow.

I will free the java ferns tomorrow until I can get an appropriate anchor. Thanks for weighing in @varanidguy.
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post #22 of 66 (permalink) Old 11-15-2019, 03:16 AM
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I was hoping today would be the day, but unfortunately, I still have nitrites.



Yesterday, ammonia and nitrites were both zero. I dosed ammonia last night after we finished our rescaping adventure with a pretty good expectation that we'd be good to go for fish on Friday. Today, ammonia is 0, but nitrites is 2. Feeling a bit deflated. The tank has hit 0 on both parameters twice this week, but the next day, the nitrites has a reading. The battle continues tomorrow.



I will free the java ferns tomorrow until I can get an appropriate anchor. Thanks for weighing in @varanidguy.


Dont be deflated. The fact that youre getting 0 ammonia with some nitrites is awesome. The final step of reaching 0 on both is the longest one. Youre almost there!


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post #23 of 66 (permalink) Old 11-15-2019, 08:45 PM Thread Starter
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Today was my day off. I had hoped it would be fish day, but because the tank cycle continues, I had to find something else today after a seminar this morning. I decided to head over to the local Petsmart/Petcos to find an appropriate log so I can anchor the java ferns floating around the tank.

Good news! I found a beautiful piece of driftwood that should fit into the tank. Perfect size to tie off the larger java ferns and maybe even wrangle a few babies!

However (there is always a "but" right???), it is mopani. I absolutely love it, but I will not love the tea-colored tannins, so.....boiling and waiting to minimize the impact to the extent possible. Java Ferns will need to float awhile longer.

I see a lot of mixed experiences with Mopani in terms how long to soak/tank impacts, etc. I still have charcoal in my filter. Will charcoal really clear up the water? Anything I should know about it before I put it in the tank? I have time...at the very least it will be soaking for awhile. Hahaha.

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post #24 of 66 (permalink) Old 11-15-2019, 09:33 PM
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Today was my day off. I had hoped it would be fish day, but because the tank cycle continues, I had to find something else today after a seminar this morning. I decided to head over to the local Petsmart/Petcos to find an appropriate log so I can anchor the java ferns floating around the tank.

Good news! I found a beautiful piece of driftwood that should fit into the tank. Perfect size to tie off the larger java ferns and maybe even wrangle a few babies!

However (there is always a "but" right???), it is mopani. I absolutely love it, but I will not love the tea-colored tannins, so.....boiling and waiting to minimize the impact to the extent possible. Java Ferns will need to float awhile longer.

I see a lot of mixed experiences with Mopani in terms how long to soak/tank impacts, etc. I still have charcoal in my filter. Will charcoal really clear up the water? Anything I should know about it before I put it in the tank? I have time...at the very least it will be soaking for awhile. Hahaha.
I think you can boil a lot of the tannins out from your driftwood prior to adding it into your tank. Also Seachem purigen will pull tannins out as well.
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20g Long -Retired
10g Betta tank -Retired
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post #25 of 66 (permalink) Old 11-18-2019, 12:06 AM Thread Starter
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Today was the day! Cycle complete--just in time as we have a pretty packed schedule between now and Thanksgiving weekend.

I have been alternately boiling/soaking my Mopani wood since Friday, so when the tests all came up clear both Saturday and Sunday mornings, I did a little happy dance and managed to fit in tank maintenance, water change, and fish. My teen picked out his swordfish and we found a few other new inhabitants as well. Busy day, but wanted to get the requisite fish pictures before the work week starts. Note: no one really wants to hold still for a picture.

So happy to see these guys cruising around.

Our new inhabitants:

3 green swordtails
6 neon tetras
2 peppered corydoras
2 tiger nerites

They are all zooming around exploring. The swords and snails are munching on algae and the corys seem to be thrilled with plant debris. Not planning to feed them until tomorrow, but clearly they aren't going to be bothered.
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post #26 of 66 (permalink) Old 11-18-2019, 12:21 AM
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Awesome! Have you put any thought into a quarantine process?


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post #27 of 66 (permalink) Old 11-18-2019, 12:30 AM Thread Starter
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Awesome! Have you put any thought into a quarantine process?
Thought, yes. Practically speaking, no. I know I need to figure it out. I bought these fish all from the same place and they are inexpensive; however, I am playing with fire.

Will mull it over, research, and come up with something before I introduce new stock to this crew.

Probably need a quarantine tank. Most of my effort and time is sunk in the main tank. Is there a cost effective complete setup out there somewhere? Maybe a 10 gallon tank? I am open to suggestions.
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post #28 of 66 (permalink) Old 11-18-2019, 01:38 AM
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Thought, yes. Practically speaking, no. I know I need to figure it out. I bought these fish all from the same place and they are inexpensive; however, I am playing with fire.



Will mull it over, research, and come up with something before I introduce new stock to this crew.



Probably need a quarantine tank. Most of my effort and time is sunk in the main tank. Is there a cost effective complete setup out there somewhere? Maybe a 10 gallon tank? I am open to suggestions.


Well, there are a few options you have. You can set up something reasonable like a 10 or 20 gallon, cycle it, keep it cycled, and use it for a hospital tank or quarantine tank. I prefer doing this method, and its easy to keep cycled by simply adding a small group of cheap fish, like guppies, to keep things going. I also like having snails in there so I can overfeed and not worry about it crashing the cycle. Simple bare bottom would suffice with an oversized sponge filter or two, no light necessary (but I like having one to make viewing easier). I like to be able to observe fish from the side to get a good idea of condition.

Another option is to get a sponge filter and run it in your main tank, seeding it with bacteria, then removing it for use in a quarantine tank or even plastic tote/tub. Anything that will hold water and is inert would work, really. But with that youd have to sanitize the sponge filter every time before putting it back in your display to avoid cross contamination.

There are many methods you could employ. Id also strongly suggest getting a bottle of New Life Spectrum Hex Shield. It works very well and Ive incorporated it into my routine.


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post #29 of 66 (permalink) Old 11-21-2019, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
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Quick cell phone update: Worked through an unexpected PH crash. Lost some neons as a result, but tank appears stable at the moment.

Received and added the last batch of plants for awhile...time to sit back and let them grow.

The corkscrew vallisneria did not come in great condition--will see how that goes. Buce threw in a few extras with the leopard vallisneria, flame sword, and crptocoryne though...so overall happy with the delivery. In fact, I had a placement decion struggle with so many extra options!

A few fuzzy pics until I have time for a better post.

Also, @varanidguy, I am working on a QT.

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post #30 of 66 (permalink) Old 11-21-2019, 03:42 PM
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What do you suspect that caused the pH to crash?


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