10 years of stumbling .. - Page 8 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #106 of 177 (permalink) Old 01-11-2019, 02:53 PM Thread Starter
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2019-01



Looks like trim time is in order. Wish me luck! This Burr Micro Mix is either a steroid, a serious catalyst, or a buckshot cure-all for what ailed this tank. The frogbit is trying to elicit movie references of giant mutated organisms. Rotala colorata is continuing to be the unexpected star of the show. It is coloring up way deeper and growing much faster than I ever expected. Go figure. All these years, I've been hunting down a red stem specifically for this purpose and one just decides to sneak in. Rotala macrandra is no longer petulant and has become even a little accommodating to my mistakes. This might mark the first cut of the alternanthera reineckii variegated. In the past, AR had been a bust for me too. Even crypt flamingo is getting in on the act and is pushing up some new leaves. Rotala ramosior Florida is the new canary of the month. I was able to see via its stalling growth that I was a little low on nitrates or macros. Nitrate test expired and can't confirm but a dose of macros perked it up within a day. Seems like I may be riding the nitrate limitation / lower macros train here. Boarding it wasn't intentional and was probably a result of my other meanderings, but as I'm seeing the results, I'm not sure I want to get off yet. As someone who has yearned and talked many years about trying to grow red (any shade!) plants, I'm just... Let's stay on for a little while and see where it goes.


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post #107 of 177 (permalink) Old 01-13-2019, 04:16 PM
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Beautiful...
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post #108 of 177 (permalink) Old 01-13-2019, 06:35 PM
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The progress you've made gives me hope for my tank. It's so inspiring that I went back to the beginning and read it again. Please update frequently.

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post #109 of 177 (permalink) Old 01-13-2019, 06:43 PM
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An underwater meadow. Beautiful!
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post #110 of 177 (permalink) Old 01-13-2019, 07:09 PM
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The colors are just Beautiful together. Keep up the good work
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post #111 of 177 (permalink) Old 01-14-2019, 01:56 AM
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Looking fantastic. The bushy look on the left corner seems to give the tank a nice depth.


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post #112 of 177 (permalink) Old 01-14-2019, 12:48 PM Thread Starter
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The progress you've made gives me hope for my tank. It's so inspiring that I went back to the beginning and read it again. Please update frequently.

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Welcome! Just keep at it and lean on us for help! You will get there! Would love to share your journey too so dont hesitate to post up a journal of your own!


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post #113 of 177 (permalink) Old 01-14-2019, 01:06 PM
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2019-01



Looks like trim time is in order. Wish me luck! This Burr Micro Mix is either a steroid, a serious catalyst, or a buckshot cure-all for what ailed this tank. The frogbit is trying to elicit movie references of giant mutated organisms. Rotala colorata is continuing to be the unexpected star of the show. It is coloring up way deeper and growing much faster than I ever expected. Go figure. All these years, I've been hunting down a red stem specifically for this purpose and one just decides to sneak in. Rotala macrandra is no longer petulant and has become even a little accommodating to my mistakes. This might mark the first cut of the alternanthera reineckii variegated. In the past, AR had been a bust for me too. Even crypt flamingo is getting in on the act and is pushing up some new leaves. Rotala ramosior Florida is the new canary of the month. I was able to see via its stalling growth that I was a little low on nitrates or macros. Nitrate test expired and can't confirm but a dose of macros perked it up within a day. Seems like I may be riding the nitrate limitation / lower macros train here. Boarding it wasn't intentional and was probably a result of my other meanderings, but as I'm seeing the results, I'm not sure I want to get off yet. As someone who has yearned and talked many years about trying to grow red (any shade!) plants, I'm just... Let's stay on for a little while and see where it goes.
That is absolutely stunning
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post #114 of 177 (permalink) Old 02-12-2019, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
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Continuing on from the last update about needing trimming, I noticed that upper left corner was the worst. It was just getting to be a mess and plants were jamming up the inflows. Here's a top view of that "giant" frogbit, tons of duckweed, and hydrocotyle japan. They overgrew the skimmer so bad that I noticed it wasn't really skimming anymore and a film was starting to form.



All had to go, so after a good amount of pulling and cutting, I end up with this:



I guess not that much cleaner overall, heh, but a much improved upper left. But, all is not well. Cleaning all that out magnified an issue that had crept up on the horizon. The flow from my fluval 206 filter has slowed considerably over the past months. I think I was in denial, but there's no denying now. Look at that glassy reflection off of the underside of the water surface.. .. barely a ripple. Alright, time to clean out that filter. Nope. No help. I guess filters get old. Alright, accept. The plants are doing well, fish are respiring well, CO2 is reacting pretty good. The issue continues to nags me for a couple weeks. I worry a bit about the surface agitation, but as a meek voice mentions the koralia water circulator I can add back into the tank, I steely stare down that suggestion. Then another week goes by before I think about the cerges reactor and its poret donuts for co2 bubble catching. ( This one: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...l#post10171090 ). Can it be? No. The donuts.. they're kind of dark. They're accumulating stuff... No. Can't be. But the donuts, look, one even sank to the bottom. It's gotta be gumming up the flow. I sigh in resignation. This is going to be a mission. The guys are right, the harder things are to maintain, the less you want to do it. Gotta move the whole tank and stand, that means it better be water change day when I drain half the tank, gotta find a way to unscrew the housing -- I don't even have a wrench filter! Grr.. I bet I'll tear this reactor off the stand trying to unscrew it. Dread fills me as I try to ignore it. Yet, it still bugs me. Some more time passes by.

Alright, I got a filter wrench. I sure hope its the right size. Water change day this time happens to land late into the night because of, as always, life(tm). I grit my teeth and mutter "Maximum Effort!" under my breath (This was not said aloud because, well, I doubt anyone wanted to hear an old guy quote cheesy lines from a pop culture antihero) as I engage the task. Water drained, check. Low dishpan, check. Lets scoot this whole stand and hope the whole thing doesn't come crashing down on me. Yes! Filter wrench fits! I manage to get the housing off with a little drama but its ok. I didn't tear up everything. A bit of water splashes out into places it shouldn't go but nothing a handy towel couldn't handle. So, in the dark night lit only by dim stars*, accompanied only by the sound of hushed crickets, I rinse out from the donuts, a rich, thick, equally dark mulm that accumulated over almost two years. It probably took about 4 rounds of rinsing. Some garden plants had to be pleased that night as they got to engorge themselves on the nectar of the Plantae gods. Reassemble, reprime, and egads! The flow, it's blasting! The 206 must have cried so THIS is what a clear nose feels like! The fish, having been accustomed to an outflow stream that they languished in, was suddenly subjected to a torrent. It was like an underwater hurricane.. Quickly, I pull the filter lever up as I restrict the flow to something more sane and now I'm once again in the zone of a happy ripple.

Well, now that the flow is good again for the past couple days, I've been reminded that the reactor does have a light trickle as the co2 gets mixed in. Guess it'll take a few more days to get used to the sound. Although, this incident has got me thinking again about the efficiency of back pressure. While it is true that I let it get out of hand, there was a sweet spot where the clogging had the proper back pressure to reduce the trickling while it wasn't too clogged to still provide a good current in the tank. Man, now I'll have to figure out how to put in that ball valve after all. I've read about it, recommended it to other people, but I guess it's time to shut up and put up too!


Aaand, it's trim time again.

2019-02


* some literary embellishment.


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Last edited by ipkiss; 02-14-2019 at 02:23 AM.
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post #115 of 177 (permalink) Old 02-16-2019, 02:35 PM Thread Starter
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quick morning update with a kinda .. freshly trimmed FTS



Here's a couple more localized shots







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post #116 of 177 (permalink) Old 02-16-2019, 02:40 PM
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Hi @ipkiss,

Looks like everything is flourishing very well! Nice job.
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75 Gallon, 2X55W AH Supply CF 8800K, 1XFluval F&P 2.0; 45 Gallon Tall, 96Watt AH Supply CF 6700K; 30 Gallon Long; Fluval F&P 2.0; 20 Gallon, 1X26W AH Supply LED; all with CO2 and (Calcined) Montmorillonite Clay
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post #117 of 177 (permalink) Old 02-16-2019, 04:13 PM
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I love the havoc but order of this tank. More natural than most tanks, species intertwined and fighting for prominence. Very nice indeed!
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post #118 of 177 (permalink) Old 02-16-2019, 08:21 PM
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Starting to look really nice with that trim job. I think the Lobelia growing in a bit more will really fill out the scape.
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post #119 of 177 (permalink) Old 02-18-2019, 03:17 PM Thread Starter
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Hi @ipkiss,

Looks like everything is flourishing very well! Nice job.
Thanks to guys like you and the others offering up help and inspiration!

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I love the havoc but order of this tank. More natural than most tanks, species intertwined and fighting for prominence. Very nice indeed!
"Finally! A rare individual who sees it my way!" --- is what I loved to have responded with. But alas, the reality is much more banal. It's merely the result of me lacking the willpower to just rip stuff out.

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Starting to look really nice with that trim job. I think the Lobelia growing in a bit more will really fill out the scape.
It does look a little scraggly doesn't it? Hm, didn't notice it until you pointed it out. Will have to top it off again. Thanks.
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post #120 of 177 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 03:35 PM Thread Starter
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So! Thanks to the "Brotherhood of the Traveling PAR Meter" (and majorly @Greggz), I now have some PAR data for this tank!
Lighting is 2x 24" Current Satellite Plus Pros with my chosen "daylight" setting of White:95 Red:100 Green:50 Blue:0

Mirroring what @Immortal1 saw in his Seneye Review Thread, the PUR seems pretty low for these units at high a W setting. I'm sure B at 0 doesn't help this cause and I forgot why I took off B at the time. I think it was @jeffkrol complaining about 'purple' tanks . B is present during my Sunrise and Sunset cycle times but that's another story. Regardless, bumping B to 100, due to the only 9 RGB LEDs vs 20 whites, results in a neglible PUR change at this level of PAR. This is definitely where @KZB's additional R/B LED bars or those Sunblaster toting guys @Quagulator, @Ken Keating1, are kicking up the PUR. To heck with purple tanks, I love it! There, I said it. I even love purple plants! Sorry, jeffkrol. I have fallen to the dark side.

First up: a full tank shot to show where things are:



It's no secret that right now, my prized plants are my cat like crypt flamingo (because it gives no care of what you want it to do) and my rotala ramosior florida so I start near there. Middle front. What's not presented in this picture is that the PAR is constantly fluctuating between this and 90 due to swaying whatevers (floaters,stems,filter ripples) above it. The sensor's location is well, I should've measured it, but I'm guessing around 14 inches deep given a 16 inch height of a 20G high. This sort of reflect somewhat closely to the claimed 100 PAR @ 12 inches on Current's site. As far front as the sensor is, I don't think the back unit is adding any significant light to this area. I learned that shading drastically reduces PAR from this endeavor.



Let's see what happens if I move the meter a little more in and nestled between my two plants. This position is being shaded by the relatively tall midground stuff behind it and a floater or two on the extreme left. Said midground stuff is probably also blocking the back unit from shining on this area. Reflecting what I said about shading affecting PAR, I lose almost 1/3 of my light here.



Alright, let's go over to the open carpet! No shade here! These montecarlos are getting everything the light has to offer. Probably even some wash from the back unit. The PAR reading reflects this. OR is it that I'm coming to the conclusion based on the PAR reading?




Fine, then the AR should be getting a good hit since it's closer to the surface? Oh, no, what a surprise. I think the rotala macrandra is shading it. Even in an area where it's supposed to benefit from both back and front units, I think missing the left leds and not having the right leds being near the end of the tank, is severely affecting it.



Okay, enough of this. What DOES having two units give me near the surface of the water? Here's what the top most stems get. Between the rotala colorata, rotala macrandra, a stem of rotala ramosior, they're really soaking up the rays. A nice fat, combined 300 PAR.



I took the sensor back to the middle over the hydrocotyle and I thought I had made a snap of that, but I guess not. It was hovering around the mere 120s I think and not the high 100s or low 200s that I expected. I thought about it and I suspect again, it's due to the surroundings. Big fat floaters on the left and the rotala stems on the right soaking up 300 PAR. At this point, I was pretty satisfied that I got a handle on what's happening in this tank and life was interrupting so I had to finish up. I was both surprised and a little disappointed. Surprised that I hit close to 100 on the first reading. Disappointed that I didn't get higher PUR and higher readings in other areas or closer to the surface. But not so disappointed, when I started to figure what was going on. For PUR, I guess that's the nature of the light and I suppose I already had a preview by Immortal1's readings. As for higher PAR readings, I've always been mindful of where I place some of my plants to get the better light (i.e. aware of my floaters), but I don't think I've thought about neighbor shading so much. It was definitely beneficial to have one of these seneyes around to confirm or remind me of things.

So what did I learn from all this?

I guess it's time for a trim!


to be continued ...


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