Indigo's 75 Gallon AGA [56K] - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 264 (permalink) Old 12-01-2008, 01:56 AM Thread Starter
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Arrow Indigo's 75 Gallon AGA [56K]


02/09/2009 - Semi-current photo, will be updated occasionally.

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008 I suffered a catastrophic loss of livestock due to CO2 poisoning. As I will be essentially beginning from scratch in those terms I have decided to start a journal to chronicle the 'rebirth' of my aquarium.

The aquarium is a 75 gallon All Glass and became home to the first fish in March 2007 when the plants and animals were moved from my 25 gallon. I have never been much of an aquascaper, I tend to simply plop plants into the gravel here and there instead. I hope as time passes I'll have a tank to be proud of.

Lighting
Current USA 4x65 watt Orbit fixture with one bank of GE 9325K and another of Current 'Dual Daylight' 6700,10000K lamps. The GE 9325K lamps come on first at 1:00PM, followed by the Dual Daylight lamps at 3:00PM. At 7:00PM the Dual Daylight lamps shut off, followed at 9:00PM by the 9325K for lights out.

Filtration
Eheim 2028 Pro II with a Hydor 300 watt inline heater. Eheim 2217 Classic with 25 watt Current USA UV sterilizer and 1.5" diameter PVC CO2 reactor. Intake through Eheim Installation kit and return through shepherd's crook style outflow for both filters. Intake and outflow are setup for cross flow, with an intake from one filter and an outflow from another on each side. The UV sterilizer is rarely used.

Fertilization
5lb cylinder with Cornelius CO2 regulator and Swagelok needle/metering valve on timer with solenoid active between 12:00PM and 8:00PM.

Full strength Flourish Comprehensive is dosed via APT Instruments peristaltic pump daily at a rated for .65ml per minute for 15 minutes. Actual rate is approximately .5ml per minute. A solution of 55g KNO3 and 15g KH2PO4 is mixed with RODI water to make 250ml and dosed at the same rate via peristaltic pump daily within fifteen minutes of lights on.

Timers
Lights and CO2 are on Coralife digital timer strips. The CO2 solenoid and peristaltic pumps are on inexpensive analog timers.

Water Parameters and Changes
Water is changed at a rate of 50% weekly. Water parameters are altered by adding 1 teaspoon of GH Builder at each water change. GH is approximately 3 degrees. KH is less than 1 degree. TDS is between 130ppm and 150ppm.

Flora
Too many to list, really. I'm a full-on collector.

Fauna
Two adult blue three-spot gouramis, nine sterbai cories, one unidentified cory, five oto catfish, eight head & tail light tetras, four orange guppies. I have a pair of cockatoo apistos and sixteen furcata rainbows in separate quarantine tanks.


11/29/2008 - Start of Journal (left for historical purposes)

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Last edited by imeridian; 03-30-2009 at 05:59 AM. Reason: comprehensive update
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post #2 of 264 (permalink) Old 12-01-2008, 01:57 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Death and Algae

...almost as certain as death and taxes.

I had not been able to find all of the bodies from the CO2 incident and this appears to have ignited a flare up of hair/thread algae. I was expecting this, even though I still hoped it wouldn't happen. Ammonia was not detected in a water test, but I put little faith in hobby test kits.

I have begun to trim away effected plants and have also started the 3X daily dose of Flourish Excel.

I've also taken a more bold step and added 160ml of H2O2 to the tank this evening.

I want to hit the algae as hard as possible in order to avoid a full outbreak. I had a severe algae outbreak mid-last-year and I do not particularly look forward to trench warfare.

I'm unsure if I should reduce the light in half at this point or not.

I had recently removed a significant portion of moss in an effort to get the aesthetics back into line and also suffered from a timer failure which allowed a bank of lights to be on for many more hours than it should have. All of these factors combined with unrecovered dead fish bring me to fighting algae again.

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post #3 of 264 (permalink) Old 12-01-2008, 01:15 PM
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Lots of lush plants growing! I agree that with some rearranging, you can have a great scape. You definitely can grow plants!

I think the main thing you need is some definition between plants. Adding hardscape that's not covered with plants (dw and/or rocks), trimming the mid-ground plants so the background plants can be seen, and adding some color variety, such as red and/or yellow plants, would make a huge difference.

As far as the hair algae battle, I'd definitely cut the lights. The only time I had hair algae was when I left bright lights on my little nano while not dosing anything or doing water changes. Not a good mix. I fully believe that raised lighting is the very last thing to do when starting a new tank and the first thing to cut when any tank starts having algae issues. Unless you have a ton of plants that require very bright light, cutting it back won't hurt anything and will slow down the growth of algae which helps the fight in killing it out.

This is a great time to kill out the algae while rescaping the tank. You can pull up plants and spray them with Excel, then replant. So if you move any plants around, be sure to spray them before replanting.

Tidy the plants up a bit and posts some more pictures. If you find tanks with scapes you like, post a link so we can see what kind of design you'd like. I was completely lost until Ingg helped me with my scape. Once you get the basic scape in mind, it's easy from there.

Vicki —Rena Filstar pimp #142 (four XP4s/three XP2s/one XP1) • Eheim pimp #301 (Pro II 2128) • Victor pimp #27 (VTS-253B-320)

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post #4 of 264 (permalink) Old 12-01-2008, 01:52 PM
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risen from the dead... welcome back!!! Good to see your still at it!


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post #5 of 264 (permalink) Old 12-01-2008, 09:04 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Complexity View Post
I think the main thing you need is some definition between plants. Adding hardscape that's not covered with plants (dw and/or rocks), trimming the mid-ground plants so the background plants can be seen, and adding some color variety, such as red and/or yellow plants, would make a huge difference.
I agree, those are basically the things I want to work toward. Over time the moss has completely covered all of my hardscaping. I do have a box full of fantastic petrified wood I had bought for hardscaping an ADA 60p, but I never got around to it.

I did turn off the second bank of lights last night, so today has been the first day of 50% lighting.

The H2O2 treatment seems to have been initially successful. A good majority of the algae has turned white, but not all. I decided to go ahead and hit it again, though using only 80ml this time. If I had a fully stocked aquarium I'd not be so cavalier about it, but having lost so much I really don't feel I have much left to lose.

I did lower the working pressure on the CO2 regulator to around 10 PSI, in theory it'll allow more room for error in needle valve adjustment. I need to fine-tune the bubble rate again though as a result of that. I also find myself somewhat regretting the purchase of the Swagelok when I could have bought the Ideal instead.

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post #6 of 264 (permalink) Old 12-02-2008, 02:02 PM
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Hey, I have Milwaukee brand! Works fine for me. I rely a lot on my pH controller. Maybe too much. If it goes out, I very well may OD my fish.

Sounds like you're on a good start with killing out the hair algae. Of all the algae there is to get, I think hair algae is one of the easiest to kill and easiest to correct environmentally.

Killing out the algae, trimming up the plants and then adding your rocks should make a huge difference.

Be sure to take lots of pictures as you go. It'll be fun to watch the transformation!

Vicki —Rena Filstar pimp #142 (four XP4s/three XP2s/one XP1) • Eheim pimp #301 (Pro II 2128) • Victor pimp #27 (VTS-253B-320)

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post #7 of 264 (permalink) Old 12-02-2008, 02:20 PM
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Overall I like the plants you have, but I agree with Complexity on the trimming. Keep the middle plants trimmed at most about 1/2 the height of the tank to allow the background plants to shine. A few pieces of driftwood and maybe a few rocks would also help.
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post #8 of 264 (permalink) Old 12-02-2008, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
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Here's a shot of the equipment side of the tank stand.



The blue peristaltic pump is currently unused, but is still connected in-line with the CO2 reactor. The fertilizer pumps had previously been connected in that way also, but several months ago I noticed the check valves were clogging, so they now simply drip into the aquarium from above. You can still see the Flourish splatter from the 'explosion' that lead to that discovery.

Someday I need to put different connectors on the UVS and CO2 reactor, all those elbows are, without doubt, bad for flow rate.

In other news, my two Gouramis, now that they've had time undisturbed, have made babies. The male's bubble nest activity has been unparalleled since the CO2 incident. I saw eggs flying around Sunday when I did the water change (which lead to a D'oh moment), but this evening I noticed the near microscopic fry. The mother did gobble up a few while I was watching too, heh.

I mentioned previously that I was redoing the drop checker, etc. It turns out that my 4 degree reference water evaporated a bit... it's now more like perhaps 6 degrees... the two different brands of tests don't seem to agree, one says 5, the other 7. Granted, I made it per the math, not a cheapie KH test. I was wondering why presumably the right bubble count (not that it's really countable) wasn't turning the indicator a lighter green, well, now I know why. It looks like I'll be making some more reference water soon. In a way I kind of like it, 30ish ppm is a nice bold green color -- judging based on the pH/KH chart, which has always worked for me.

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post #9 of 264 (permalink) Old 12-03-2008, 03:00 AM Thread Starter
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I found this photo from February 2007, it shows some of the driftwood that is now hidden by moss and plants. It isn't arranged in that way presently, though without tearing everything apart I couldn't say how it is now anyway. When I bought that driftwood on Ebay I was under the impression it was quite a bit larger.


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post #10 of 264 (permalink) Old 12-03-2008, 03:05 AM
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Good luck with the rebirth.

Good to have you back BTW.


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post #11 of 264 (permalink) Old 12-03-2008, 04:07 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jinx© View Post
Good to have you back BTW.
Thanks.

So here's a photo of the larger pieces of petrified wood. I realized as soon as I went to resize the photo that I provided no reference for size, d'oh. My camera locked the shutter release due to low battery immediately after I took that photo, so a size reference will have to wait. The two pieces in the back are fairly large though, the left one being 8" long and 7" tall, the right being 7" long and about 6" tall. Each being about as wide as they are long.




I really wish I could get my glosso to grow quicker... I tore out the glosso and sag a while back trying to make it look a bit less... intertwined, but the glosso has been stubborn to grow ever since. Maybe I should put one of those substrate fertilizer nuggets under it?

I'm trying to imagine some of those pieces of petrified wood sort of holding back the driftwood with the glosso in the crevices and riccia as the foreground.

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Last edited by imeridian; 12-03-2008 at 08:18 AM. Reason: added photos with rulers
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post #12 of 264 (permalink) Old 12-03-2008, 03:07 PM
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Wow, your petrified wood is gorgeous! I really wish I had some for my tanks. It has such character and the perfect color. Where did you get it?

I have to admit, I'm not that nuts about the wood. As you already said, it's just too small for the tank. Maybe if you prop it up, but what I find is that a lot of rocks and driftwood gets hidden behind the plants. Your petrified wood is definitely large enough to not get hidden, but I don't know about the driftwood. I guess I'll have to see how you do it.

Your auto ferts intrigues me. Do you have any idea about how much you spent to set it all up (excluding price of ferts). It would be great to have a tank automatically fertilized, but I've never found anything that would work the way I want without being overly expensive.

Where did you get your petrified wood? So pretty!

Vicki —Rena Filstar pimp #142 (four XP4s/three XP2s/one XP1) • Eheim pimp #301 (Pro II 2128) • Victor pimp #27 (VTS-253B-320)

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post #13 of 264 (permalink) Old 12-03-2008, 04:47 PM Thread Starter
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If there was confusion, the driftwood is in there already... while not particularly showy, it does work well to anchor moss and provide nooks and crannies for fish to call home. I think the angle of the photo makes it all look even smaller than it is, though it is still disappointingly small for how much it cost.

I bought the petrified wood on ebay, I'm definitely quite fond of it. As I mentioned before it was originally meant for an ADA 60P, I had some intention of an iwagumi type layout. I suppose I decided that one tank was enough to worry about... after buying everything except the ADA stuff. In any case it was quite reasonable, much more so than the driftwood.

As for the autodosing system, here's the link to where I posted about it:
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/di...ystem-56k.html

The pumps are around $80 or so each, so those plus timers (I'm currently using a $5 '15 minute interval' analog cheapie from Target), a couple bottles of peroxide and the various fittings and tubings. I wasted a good bit of money ($60) on Grasslin timers which appear to be wholly incompatible with the pumps -- they would constantly reset. I say in that thread I've never added it up, heh, still haven't.

I will say that the autodosing system made an incredible improvement, as my sleep schedule constantly varies doing it manually resulted in extremely inconsistent fertilizing.


Blah... nasty algae and melting crypt.

The algae is now also in my riccia, which I dare not squirt Excel onto of course. The heavy hit of the H2O2 does seem to have helped elsewhere, so I'll probably repeat that again tonight, again not at the riccia though.

I'm also going to give putting my CO2 on a separate timer a shot. It's always been on the same timer as the first bank of lights, but since I have a spare timer I figured I'd try turning it on an hour before the lights, turning it off an hour before lights out.

There are quite a few Gourami fry swimming around, much to my surprise.

I'm hesitant to disturb the aquarium by pulling out the stem plants for rearrangement. I think I'll probably wait until I feel I have the algae better under control, though I might get antsy about that this weekend.

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post #14 of 264 (permalink) Old 12-03-2008, 05:11 PM
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good luck man, I'm fighting BBA at the moment myself. But with the tank of fish I have in there I could only do it the natural way. Trying to out plant the algae and using SAEs.

awesome looking petrified wood btw.

billy

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post #15 of 264 (permalink) Old 12-06-2008, 12:47 AM Thread Starter
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Today's interesting development is that I have some brown diatom algae forming on the gravel. I've not seen diatoms since I've first set the tank up. The hair algae is still forming, though slowly. I've been adding 20ml Excel daily and plant growth is quite good, especially when considering I'm only running half the lighting. I'll need to do a trim this weekend.

The CO2 adjustment has been odd though. I made new 4 degree KH solution the other night, very carefully using my .00 gram scale and graduated cylinder. It's still taking more CO2 to shift the color toward the lighter green than I expected. I suppose this could be an artifact of the aquarium having so few fish. I could have also botched the KH solution, though it tests at 4 degrees and I took great care in the process. It's also possible that I made a mistake way back when I made the first KH solution and ever since I had been injecting less CO2 than I thought.

The concern comes in because according to the KH/pH chart I'm injecting significantly more than 30ppm. The chart has always agreed with the drop checker in the past. It's entirely possible that the biological processes due to the deaths are effecting the pH. It still feels like I'm fumbling in the dark, since nothing seems to agree, not even the two KH tests. I am only making slight adjustments each day as a precaution. I can't really do the 'fish gasping at the surface' test, as Gourami do that anyway, heh. The three mollies seem fine, whenever I can see them. I have not seen the two cories in a couple of days though.

I've scooped some water out and will let it sit for 24 hours to do a baseline test. Hopefully that will help narrow down where the possible error is.

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