In The World of Smooch - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 156 (permalink) Old 06-14-2016, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
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In The World of Smooch

This is not a tank journal or anything like that. It's just a place to plunk fish pics and such. When it comes time to buy the 40, I'll add that stuff here too.

Let's start this thread off right. One grumpy fish that has no reason to be grumpy. LOL This is one of the three rams I 'rescued' from Pet Co. The other 2 are in the 29 whipping everybody into shape. I love these little guys more and more as I get to know them better.
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post #2 of 156 (permalink) Old 06-15-2016, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
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Took me a hour to get a picture I liked. It was worth it.
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post #3 of 156 (permalink) Old 06-16-2016, 10:01 AM Thread Starter
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This is going to be a ramble-y post. If you're not interested, feel free to skip it. I'll post pictures later today.

Yesterday I went out and bought some of this Gila 4 ft. x 6.5 ft. Frosted Privacy Window Film-PFW486 - The Home Depot for the backs of my tanks. I've always used the standard backgrounds sold at pet stores which is fine, but the tanks look like they are lost in a black hole at night and I got tired of it.

I didn't apply the film as suggested. Instead I cut it down to size and used tape to hold it in place. I didn't have any problems, however, as to be expected, my Bleeding Heart Tetras freaked out and knocked their noggins off of the tank lids a few times. All of them are fine, nobody hurt their little melons.

Since I had more than half of the roll left when I was done, I decided to do some 'problem solving' with the rest.

The 10-gallon has a table lamp sitting next to it with a LED bulb which I think is contributing to my minor diatom problem. The film doesn't block the light on that side of the tank, but it does knock it down quite a bit. Along those same lines, I did the same with the nano, but not for the same reason.

The little female ram (first pic in this thread) can see out into the hallway from where her tank is. I don't know how far she can see, but she knows when my son goes into his room as it is right next to my office which leads to flaring. She doesn't like my son ( or hubby) anyway, but I got tired of the endless attitude, so I stuck a piece of film on that side of her tank which seems to be helping. Only time will tell if my fix sticks or not.

And finally, my office gets lots of morning sunlight which means I've been leaving my office blinds closed more than I would like. Since my office is the second smallest room in the house with only 2 windows, I decided to use up the film and apply to it the windows.

I did actually install it for that and I'm not going to lie, it was a total pain in the butt. That said, the sunlight is now diffused in a way that I don't have to leave blinds closed if I don't want to. Other benefits include no longer having to look at the ugly house across the street and denies the prying eyeballs of my other neighbors. I don't know what they expect to see, but every time they drive by the house they literally gawk at my house which they see everyday. Creeps.

Who knew that a single roll of privacy film could solve so many issues.

In other news, I've been window shopping for things I'll need for the 40 gallon that I want. I called Pet Smart the other day to ask about this stand. Top Finģ Center Shelf Aquarium Stand | Aquarium Stands | PetSmart. The manager I spoke with told me I had to order it as they didn't carry it in the store. If you click the link, it says this particular stand is not sold online. *facepalm*

After going to Home Depot to get the privacy film, I took a trip around the Pet Smart I called to see if they had said tank stands. Not only did they have one, but they had 2.

I don't expect a manager of a pet store or any store for that matter to know what exactly they have in their inventory in their heads at all times. However, I don't think it would have hurt said manager to go check to see if they actually carried said stand instead of completely blowing me off. I honestly don't think such reasoning is that unreasonable. Also, said stand is more expensive in the store which i found interesting.

I'm sure when the time comes Pet Smart is not going to refuse my money, so going out of their way for less than a minute while on the phone shouldn't have been a big deal. Gotta love big chain pet stores....
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post #4 of 156 (permalink) Old 06-16-2016, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
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I overexposed this a bit in Lightroom. It seems like if I don't overexpose, they appear underexposed when I post. I dunno. Maybe it's just my imagination.

If you want to know if you have crud on your glass or not, use a macro or zoom lens. LOL I can see some diatoms on the lower left side of this picture. I know it's because I changed the substrate and it will go away, but they are there...lurking.
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post #5 of 156 (permalink) Old 06-16-2016, 07:07 PM Thread Starter
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Not spamming my own thread. This is a FYI for anybody that may be considering using the privacy film I bought for the back of my tanks.

For reasons unknown to me, the film gives off a green hue which makes your tank look like it is going through some weird algae bloom. To the naked eye, you don't see it. In pictures, it is really bad.

First picture is unedited, the second is color corrected.

I'm not going to remove the film as I like the plainness of it, but if a person dreads photo editing and or struggles with it, you may want to consider using something else.
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post #6 of 156 (permalink) Old 06-17-2016, 12:38 PM Thread Starter
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This is not the best picture I've taken and it is edited.

Aside from getting rid of the green as mentioned above, I also removed the filter intake from the right side as the photo bombing rainbow is distracting enough. Yeah, I could have removed her (?) as well, but this is typical. When the 'Blues Brothers' as hubby calls them are sparing and doing their thing, the rainbows always want to see what is going on.

I've spent a lot of time reading / learning about these guys. One You Tuber went as far as to say that if you buy a ram, they are on their death bed so don't anticipate having them for very long.

I'm no expert in dwarf cichlids and have only had them for going on a couple of weeks, but I haven't found them to be nearly as fragile as people say they are. They're also not on their death beds. They're curious, have healthy appetites, don't put up with any nonsense and are fun to watch.

Maybe they're not dying because I have baby soft water and or it's because I keep clean tanks. Whatever the reason, I'm glad I didn't let the mentioned You Tuber sway me from having them.

Have a good weekend all. I will be spending mine gardening. I have two gardens that need to be pulled apart and redone.
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post #7 of 156 (permalink) Old 06-18-2016, 07:01 PM Thread Starter
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My goal was to post a pic of the little monster in the tank to my left. She disappeared into her log and wouldn't come out until the camera was put away. Guess little monster pictures will have to wait. LOL

While I had the camera out, I decided to see if I could correct the green issue with the camera instead of doing everything Photoshop. Not that I mind playing in Photoshop, but I tend to lose track of time when doing so. I digress. I found a fix.

Instead of using the white balance setting to match the light, I put the camera in auto. This worked, but it still needed further tweeking, so I changed the aperture priority down one stop.

I don't know what the fix would be for something like cell phone pictures as I don't have one. The camera I use is a first generation Canon Rebel XTI. The ISO only goes up to 1600, that's how old it is.
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post #8 of 156 (permalink) Old 06-20-2016, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
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The spots on the leaves on the anubia on the left are from when I had issues with GSA in the 29. They're not raised, however, the leaves are stained. Not sure what to do about it, so I've opted to wait until there is enough new growth so the spotted leaves can be trimmed.
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post #9 of 156 (permalink) Old 06-23-2016, 02:58 PM
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Nice pictures . So weird no one has commented - but you have a fan
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post #10 of 156 (permalink) Old 06-23-2016, 03:02 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LovesPlants247 View Post
Nice pictures . So weird no one has commented - but you have a fan
Thanks!

LOL! Comments are welcome if anybody has something on their mind.
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post #11 of 156 (permalink) Old 06-23-2016, 03:29 PM Thread Starter
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This is what I've been working on lately.

It's very green and jungle-like. I'm not really a fan, but Miss Grumpy Pants loves it. This tank needs color, but I have the 10 and 29 pulled apart right now. I'm trying some new plants, adding color, ect...

I'm over the water sprite, but I'm waiting to see if the frog bit and salvinia minima take off. I've had the frog bit for about 2 months, the salvinia minima came in yesterday. I added some to all three tanks ( just like the frog bit) to see if it grows better in one tank over another. If the salvinia minima is anything like the frog bit, it will grow the same in all tanks.

The little square patch in the middle of the tank is christmas moss. I live in MA, so it takes less than 24 hours to get plants from Hans. Despite that, it is looking a little rough because of the hot weather, so I'm going to leave it alone and see what happens. I have another square of christmas moss in the 10 gallon.

I didn't bother ordering some for the 29 and after this morning, I'm glad I didn't. I asked the cashier at Pet Co when their next Dollar Per Gallon sale is and was told it will be next Sunday. I tend to believe it as they had 40 gallon breeders everywhere.

I plan on saving the 40 gallon for a fall project. Before I do anything I want to paint my office first. Waiting will give me a few months to plan and gather stuff. Maybe by then I'll have a frog bit and salvinia minima growth explosion so I can use it to cycle the new tank with it. That'd work for me.
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post #12 of 156 (permalink) Old 06-24-2016, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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This isn't the most interesting picture to look at. The fact that the plants are completely washed out due to them being about 1.5 inches from the light doesn't help. However, this picture does serve a purpose. This is the part of top of the 5.5 gallon if that matters to anybody.

I'm seeing new roots on all of the salvinia minima I added the other day. After doing a water change on the 5.5 ( Miss Grumpy is getting brave. She came out of hiding to check out the siphon) I tested the 10 and 29 gallon for phosphates.

Plants need some phosphates, but I'd like to see the levels reduce some after dosing. My hope is the salvinia minima will be the phosphate sponge that I've been looking for. I'm not having any issues with algae, just want the excess absorbed.

I can't tell at this time if I'm seeing a actual reduction or not, so I'll test both tanks again next week and see if all this new growth means something or not.

FYI: salvinia minima is considered a noxious weed in TX and CA. If you do have it, dispose of it responsibly when you no longer want it in your tank (s).
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post #13 of 156 (permalink) Old 06-25-2016, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, as much as I complain about API test kits I'm using one for this test. I haven't had a reason to place a Amazon order and I'm not paying shipping for a single kit.

Phosphates anybody? Left side is the 10 gallon, right side is the 29. I didn't include the 5.5 as it is getting 3 water changes per week.

I'll dose as I have been for the next week and see what happens with the salvinia minima in the tank. If I don't see any change, I'm going to play around with my dosing regime, again.

I'm off to do tank maintenance. I wanted to post this before water changes, not that it matters as the blue doesn't change much even with 50% of the water being replaced. For shiz and giggles I tested my tap water. There is no phosphates in it.
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post #14 of 156 (permalink) Old 06-25-2016, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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The Blues Brothers are becoming less camera shy. Was able to catch this picture with the 50mm instead of using the telephoto lens.
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post #15 of 156 (permalink) Old 06-25-2016, 09:41 PM Thread Starter
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Yup, this phosphate thing is still buggin' me but I found the problem.

Test tubes left to right:

7 days worth of PPS-Pro Macro. I used a 5 gallon bucket, so it was one drop per gallon x 7 days.

Middle tube is the 5.5 gallon after a 50% water change this morning.

Last tube: This should look familiar. It is another sample from the 29 gallon after a 50% water change this morning.

I used to use Seachem pH Regulator. I knew it was phosphate based, but figured the issue would clear itself after I switched from that to crushed coral in the filter. NOPE! The crap gets into porous surfaces and just continues to leech phosphates into the water even with water changes.

The reason I haven't had a algae problem is because I don't let nitrates get out of control. If I didn't do all the cleaning I do, I'd every kind of algae and probably lots of it.

I've got Phoguard in the 10 and 29 gallon. The reason I'm not having this problem in the 5.5 is because I never used pH Regulator in that tank. By the time I set that tank up, I had switched to crushed coral.

Now I get to wait and see how long it takes to get phosphate levels down to where they should be which is about 0.7 ppm. Not 8, 10 and beyond. Bruh! Do not use that crap, ever! Learn from my stupidity!
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