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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-26-2010, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
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A Bad Week...

Heya Guys and Gals!
This week has really reflected the weather (rain...rain...rain...) aquarium wise. Well in all started on Tuesday when I noticed my foreground plants and one of my peace lilies doing badly. I hadn't fertilized lately so I threw some EI stuff into the tank thinking they where "hungery" and went on with my day. Later that week I looked at my dirty, ugly looking tank and decided to do a good cleaning. So I took everything out, planters, rafts, rocks and driftwood and began to scrape algae off the glass. After the tank was "Algae free" I started to move the pool filter sand around to make sure it hadn't gone anerobic on me. Everything was fine as I was rescaping until I notice that my center peice driftwood is rotting, and I mean rotting bad. Bummed, I throw it in the garbage and commence to rescape my tank, minus my center peice. Now let me tell you, it is a challenge rescaping a riparium when all but two of your plants are quite skimpy. Well, after refilling the tank (I had done a 40% WC), I began my rescaping which causes me to look down at my tank's glass. I realize that I had missed several algae streaks but after feeling these "streaks" with my hand I is apparent that it isn't algae, but some deep scratchs in the glass! I still don't know what did it. Well as I step back, look at my rescaped tank, and think, "Wow.... My tank looks horrid".
Unsatisfied, but glad I cleaned it, I spend the next day sleeping over at my friends house romping around their forest and getting muddy in the stream creek. When I came home, my fishianado instincts tell me something is wrong. I run upstairs and begin to look at my tank looking for the problem. I soon find it, the horror! A dead and bloated neon tetra stuck inbetween a rock and the aquarium glass. Which is a very tight fit. I quickly remove the dead fish and begin to inspect the rest of the fauna. All of which where accounted for and fine. Still panicky I sit down on my bed and grab for my Bible.... An older "Aquariums For Dummies". ( Just to get my fish mode on). Now guess what. Every good aquarist would immediatly after removing the dead fish reach for their test kits and test the heck out of their water. But I guess I am not a good aquarist.... I have no test kits!!! Over the next hours, (they seemed more like weeks) I did a small'ish water change and added an airstone. I have finally taken the tank off "RED ALERT" yesterday, but I still am bummed. I mean, in my book a "death" is like a big blotch on my record! I know what you guys and gals are thinking, "This is nothing!!! I lost a whole tank of fish and plants when whatevery happened!" But this is an all time low for me. Anyway I would really apreciate your opinion on a couple of things.

- What do I do about my plants?- (More fertilizers? Wait it out? Get new plants?)

- What do you think caused the death?-

FYI on the death, the neon was really caught, and if he had been free floating, he would have gone the other direction as my spray bar is pointing in that direction.
Also, the said plants have been going down hill for a while now.

Thanks for reading my gripes!


I had a whole large raft filled with Pilea sp. but they all disappeared!





BTW, this peace lily had a bloom that I cut off. All it's leaves now have this stuff.




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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-02-2010, 01:43 AM Thread Starter
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Bump. Everything is getting much worse. I have also noticed really small bugs on the DW and planters.

I almost feel like making this tank a normal aquarium...

"My next hobby is going to be tearing up $100 bills while simultaneously banging my head against a wall and flooding my basement."
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-02-2010, 01:52 AM
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How long are the lights on for? Also using any root tabs in the planters? What is the ratio of planter gravel to hydroton? I find hte best growth with 2/3rds hydroton to 1/3rd planter gravel as it gives the root plenty of space to breathe. As far as the little insects you could try a very mild soap mix and was hteh leaves off carefully and rinse them well should get rid of hte bugs. Your rotting wood may have been the culprit if the waters PH went to acidic the plants may not have liked it.

Craig

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-02-2010, 02:00 AM
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Hi. Felt badly for you after reading your posts. Sorry, can't help you with the ferts suggetions.
Fish losses are common. Don't take it too badly.
Could you have some type of mite sucking the juices out of your plants since you said you have seen small bugs?
Catch some, magnify and take a picture. Maybe you or someone can Id them for you.
And don't forget to look for that rainbow when the sun comes out!
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-02-2010, 04:25 PM
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Jake, I wouldn't feel too bad about this setback. A planted aquarium functions in many ways just like a real ecosystem out in nature, except at a much smaller scale, so change over time is natural and unavoidable.

I suspect that your rotting wood might have been the result of selecting a kind of driftwood that was too susceptible to rot. Most of the kinds of driftwood that one might encounter out in nature here in Wisconsin are unsuitable in this way for aquariums. Driftwoods that are sold specifically for aquariums, such as Malaysian driftwood, or manzanita, are much better choices.

Those plants don't seem to show excellent growth, but those are good close up shots and I don't see any signs of plant pest insect damage on them. I suspect that the bugs that you are seeing are more likely springtails, which might be unsightly if very numerous, but should not harm your plants at all. I think that you can expect to have a few springtails for as long as you have driftwood sticking up out of the water. If you really don't want to have them in there then you might consider a layout without any such driftwood coming out of the water.

If you are really dissatisfied with your plants then you could also consider a replanting. Those broad-leaved plants like peace lilies make a nice effect and they are easy, but I think that the most pleasant effects are made by using more grassy plants, such as Cyperus and Acorus, to fill most of the background.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-02-2010, 04:47 PM
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With all that granite in there it'll change the hardness of your water. Tropical plants typically dont like hard water.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-02-2010, 04:54 PM
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Granite is a very hard rock that is usually pretty inert in an aquarium. Being comprised mainly of quartz, it doesn't even contain very much percentage of hardness minerals.

A lot of the areas in Northern Wisconsin have primarily granitic bedrocks, and that is the reason that the lakes and streams up there tend to have softer water. Back when acid rain was more of a problem, area with lots of granite had much worse problems because the granite offered very little in the way of minerals to buffer the effects of the acid rain.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-02-2010, 05:19 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all very much for the comments, they are greatly appreciated! I did take all the rock out of the tank, so that is OK. I will also be getting a better driftwood soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craigthor View Post
How long are the lights on for? Also using any root tabs in the planters? What is the ratio of planter gravel to hydroton? I find hte best growth with 2/3rds hydroton to 1/3rd planter gravel as it gives the root plenty of space to breathe. As far as the little insects you could try a very mild soap mix and was hteh leaves off carefully and rinse them well should get rid of hte bugs. Your rotting wood may have been the culprit if the waters PH went to acidic the plants may not have liked it.

Craig
I have the lights on for about 10 hours, with an hour photo period. I don't have any root tabs, but I just got a paycheck and I will be buying some Rootmedic soon. As for hydroton, I have just a small layer on the very bottom of each planter. Replanting all plants is on my to do list, probably when the Rootmedic comes. I will order some hydroton to if I can swing it. The funny thing with the insects is that they don't go near the leaves, just on the planters, rafts, and driftwood. I hadn't thought of the driftwood being the cause of it all... Which is why I joined this forum! Thanks Craig!

Quote:
Originally Posted by comet View Post
Hi. Felt badly for you after reading your posts. Sorry, can't help you with the ferts suggetions.
Fish losses are common. Don't take it too badly.
Could you have some type of mite sucking the juices out of your plants since you said you have seen small bugs?
Catch some, magnify and take a picture. Maybe you or someone can Id them for you.
And don't forget to look for that rainbow when the sun comes out!
Thanks for the comment Comet. I was really over reakting when I posted this, and I apologize for being a pouter. I have attempted to take pictures with not success. With a discription everyones best guess is that they are Springtails, so nothing to bad. Thanks again, Comet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hydrophyte View Post
Jake, I wouldn't feel too bad about this setback. A planted aquarium functions in many ways just like a real ecosystem out in nature, except at a much smaller scale, so change over time is natural and unavoidable.

I suspect that your rotting wood might have been the result of selecting a kind of driftwood that was too susceptible to rot. Most of the kinds of driftwood that one might encounter out in nature here in Wisconsin are unsuitable in this way for aquariums. Driftwoods that are sold specifically for aquariums, such as Malaysian driftwood, or manzanita, are much better choices.

Those plants don't seem to show excellent growth, but those are good close up shots and I don't see any signs of plant pest insect damage on them. I suspect that the bugs that you are seeing are more likely springtails, which might be unsightly if very numerous, but should not harm your plants at all. I think that you can expect to have a few springtails for as long as you have driftwood sticking up out of the water. If you really don't want to have them in there then you might consider a layout without any such driftwood coming out of the water.

If you are really dissatisfied with your plants then you could also consider a replanting. Those broad-leaved plants like peace lilies make a nice effect and they are easy, but I think that the most pleasant effects are made by using more grassy plants, such as Cyperus and Acorus, to fill most of the background.
Devin, thanks for being hard on me, I deserve it! The driftwood I got is from Sollie7, who said it was driftwood/hard wood, but obviously it isn't. I would not really like to resort to manzanita, so I am attempting to work out a deal with Tharsis on getting some good pieces to replace mine. I am not really bothered by the springtails, I just though they may be the culprits in this whole thing, plant wise. I will be replanting, and, depending on my budget (new heater is needed along with root tabs) I will be getting new plants and replanting everything. The problem with the Acorus and Cyperus is that the ones I can obtain are not from S. America, which, in my opinion is essential. Again, thank for being hard on me, and there when I need you.


Quote:
Originally Posted by chad320 View Post
With all that granite in there it'll change the hardness of your water. Tropical plants typically dont like hard water.
Thanks for the comment Chad! I got rid of the granite and did a water change last night. I am crossing my fingers that that helps!

My "To Buy" List
Titanium heater
Driftwood
Prime
Excel
Plants
Hydroton

Thanks everyone for the comments!!!

"My next hobby is going to be tearing up $100 bills while simultaneously banging my head against a wall and flooding my basement."
"Ask not what the hobby can do for you, but what you can do the the hobby" - ScapeFu

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-02-2010, 06:20 PM
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I can't see granite being a problem. As Hydrophyte said, granite is a very hard rock that doesn't dissolve at all in water. Marble is another story, but granite is as safe a rock for an aquarium as you can get.

Bugs don't exist unless they can feed on something. That makes me think the bugs may be the problem.

I have to replace plants about every couple of months. Either they get too big, or they start getting too leggy, or they just give up and die. I don't mind that since I like trying new plants and this gives me the excuse to do so. I would rather fool around with plants than algae any day.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-02-2010, 06:35 PM
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I understand that granite is basically inert. Alot of granite in a little water is what can start to cause some problems if youre not careful with how often you do water changes. The glacial till left plenty of granite here also and I have learned these facts from personal experience. The point is not to discard the granite, but rather to keep a good water change schedule.

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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-03-2010, 12:44 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hydrophyte View Post
Granite is a very hard rock that is usually pretty inert in an aquarium. Being comprised mainly of quartz, it doesn't even contain very much percentage of hardness minerals.

A lot of the areas in Northern Wisconsin have primarily granitic bedrocks, and that is the reason that the lakes and streams up there tend to have softer water. Back when acid rain was more of a problem, area with lots of granite had much worse problems because the granite offered very little in the way of minerals to buffer the effects of the acid rain.
So it's probably granite? I wasn't sure. I even asked my dad, who is quite adept at this sort of thing and he said it was some sort of sedimentary rock. I will probably add a couple to take up a little space, but I really like the fact I can see the fish with no rocks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
I can't see granite being a problem. As Hydrophyte said, granite is a very hard rock that doesn't dissolve at all in water. Marble is another story, but granite is as safe a rock for an aquarium as you can get.

Bugs don't exist unless they can feed on something. That makes me think the bugs may be the problem.

I have to replace plants about every couple of months. Either they get too big, or they start getting too leggy, or they just give up and die. I don't mind that since I like trying new plants and this gives me the excuse to do so. I would rather fool around with plants than algae any day.
So it's probably a bug or cycle thing then? I needed an excuse parent wise to replace some of my plants so... Yeaaaaaa!!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by chad320 View Post
I understand that granite is basically inert. Alot of granite in a little water is what can start to cause some problems if youre not careful with how often you do water changes. The glacial till left plenty of granite here also and I have learned these facts from personal experience. The point is not to discard the granite, but rather to keep a good water change schedule.
Would a weekly 30% water change be enough? I like water changes, so I can bump it up if need be.



If the granite is ruled out, is has to either be my lack of fertilizing, bugs, or a cycle thing.

Again, thanks for the comments everybody!

"My next hobby is going to be tearing up $100 bills while simultaneously banging my head against a wall and flooding my basement."
"Ask not what the hobby can do for you, but what you can do the the hobby" - ScapeFu

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