Need advice. Finally have time to trim and clean my tank after only doing top offs. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-29-2018, 09:55 PM Thread Starter
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Need advice. Finally have time to trim and clean my tank after only doing top offs.

This is going to be kinda long so sorry and thanks in advance.

Insight:
My tank blew up the past 3 months. I bought some seeds online (I forgot the name) and just poured a bunch in my tank and it boomed a month or so later. These things are growing like crazy and donít know how to approach the issue. P.S: I donít recommend these seeds, theyíre messy and I honestly liked my tank better before I put these in but itís a shrimp paradise now.

This tank is established, roughly 15 gallons or more and is now officially my shrimp tank since I had to give my fishes away as it got too crowded. I now have a bunch of assorted baby shrimp and I will see a handful in the back filter area from time to time.

Also to note:
Whatever this plant is (that is covering 80% of the water), I believe it is fully aquatic and not terrestrial as the parts that reach the air shrivel up and die, which is why I have it covered with seram wrap to keep the ones out of the surface from drying out. Oh and to keep the cats from eating them hah.

My questions:
I would like to do a complete maintenance + water change. How should I go about doing this?

Starting with my filter and heater off, I usually take out the filter sponge to rinse off and leave in my other filter to vacuum over. Problem is there are babies in random places in my tank. How do I go about cleaning my tank - should I even vacuum?

I only have 5 small tetras that I couldnít catch and shrimps. Will scrubbing take food away from my baby shrimp? Iím going to pinch off all dying leaves but up to where do I trim (cut half off, just a wuarter, etc)?

Extra info:
I only had several shrimp die over the past 6 months, a flower shrimp (whom lived for a year) and maybe one or two ghost shrimps and one cherry shrimp. I have 4 different types of shrimp in there as far as I can tell. There are also a variety of plants not just the one that is seemingly everywhere.
Also, stems are growing into my filter intake and outtake, do I pull these ofd or leave them?


Pictures:

Whole tank view^


Top tank view^


Built-in filter intake part. (One baby shrimp in the pic with a string of poo)




Inside^


Stems finding their way into the back^
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-29-2018, 11:50 PM
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So what do you want to get when finished with the trimming? Plants that re growing well can take a lot of trimming without harming them so it gets down to what you want to see in the tank. If you want to clear the filter intake as well as any other part of the mechanical stuff, I would certainly do that. Then if you want more space and maybe that would fit what I like, I would just start trimming and stop to look once in a while. what some might call overgrown might be just what you and shrimp like, so do what feels right for you and as long as the plants are not pulled up or moved too much, they will likely grow back soon enough.
I might go with finding a part that you want out and follow it back to a joint with the main plant and snip it off there and repeat until I got enough out to fit what I like. If you have leaves which are dying/dead, I would remove them back to the stem as they will likely die anyway once they start and they just add to the debris which does add ammonia to the tank and that becomes nitrate. With the plant load, you may not have a nitrate problem to worry about, though. Vacuum if it feels right as it does reduce the debris/ammonia/ to nitrate buildup which many of us fight by doing frequent water changes.
But one word of caution that one should not make large changes all at once as it seems to be working and it is always better to rock the boat gently---not to tip it over!
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-30-2018, 01:02 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
So what do you want to get when finished with the trimming? Plants that re growing well can take a lot of trimming without harming them so it gets down to what you want to see in the tank. If you want to clear the filter intake as well as any other part of the mechanical stuff, I would certainly do that. Then if you want more space and maybe that would fit what I like, I would just start trimming and stop to look once in a while. what some might call overgrown might be just what you and shrimp like, so do what feels right for you and as long as the plants are not pulled up or moved too much, they will likely grow back soon enough.

I might go with finding a part that you want out and follow it back to a joint with the main plant and snip it off there and repeat until I got enough out to fit what I like. If you have leaves which are dying/dead, I would remove them back to the stem as they will likely die anyway once they start and they just add to the debris which does add ammonia to the tank and that becomes nitrate. With the plant load, you may not have a nitrate problem to worry about, though. Vacuum if it feels right as it does reduce the debris/ammonia/ to nitrate buildup which many of us fight by doing frequent water changes.

But one word of caution that one should not make large changes all at once as it seems to be working and it is always better to rock the boat gently---not to tip it over!
I did not know plants were likely to die when already fading below the tip, thanks for that. This explains a lot relating to past occurrences.

At this point I really just want my shrimp to thrive because it will be easier on my schedule and I enjoy the surprise of batches being realized after the fact.

For today, I will trim it all to a healthy level with a minor water change. With all the babies (around 10 as far as I know but I can hardly see much inside) in mind, I will just vacuum a pile of the left/center/right each.

Meanwhile I need to decide if I should keep the babies away from the filter or not. From my observation, they feed there until a certain size and then go back to the tank.

Thanks for the reply
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-30-2018, 03:31 AM
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A bit deeper thinking on plant leaves which die from the tips inward? There are a number of ways they might get damaged and die but a long term thing to know and watch is the way some nutrients are called "mobile" and the plant may pull the nutrient back from the existing leaves to use building new leaves! Nitrogen is one of those and it does make the older leaf tips begin to turn lighter and gradually die further and further back.
So if you see new leaves growing while the older seem to lose color and die back, it may be trying to tell you that you are short on nitrogen/nitrate!
So maybe that is something to look at when deciding how to go with the tank. you may have lots of plants growing, sucking up nitrate, which is good in some ways as many do fight excess nitrate by having to change water. But if you do not have a heavy fish load, that can make the ammonia to nitrite to nitrate come out less than the plants are using. You might want to add some nitrate fert Or if you want to keep it simple, trimming/removing some of the plant mass is also a way to "balance" the two points. Neither way is the "right" way but just how you want to see your tank and how involved you want to get!
There are a bunch of nutrient deficiency charts that might be worth looking at to see kind of how to "read" what the plants might be saying but this is one that I like for simple:
https://www.google.com/search?q=aqua...vLHBa-kHvPdoM:
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-30-2018, 03:45 AM Thread Starter
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Need advice. Finally have time to trim and clean my tank after only doing top offs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
A bit deeper thinking on plant leaves which die from the tips inward? There are a number of ways they might get damaged and die but a long term thing to know and watch is the way some nutrients are called "mobile" and the plant may pull the nutrient back from the existing leaves to use building new leaves! Nitrogen is one of those and it does make the older leaf tips begin to turn lighter and gradually die further and further back.

So if you see new leaves growing while the older seem to lose color and die back, it may be trying to tell you that you are short on nitrogen/nitrate!

So maybe that is something to look at when deciding how to go with the tank. you may have lots of plants growing, sucking up nitrate, which is good in some ways as many do fight excess nitrate by having to change water. But if you do not have a heavy fish load, that can make the ammonia to nitrite to nitrate come out less than the plants are using. You might want to add some nitrate fert Or if you want to keep it simple, trimming/removing some of the plant mass is also a way to "balance" the two points. Neither way is the "right" way but just how you want to see your tank and how involved you want to get!

There are a bunch of nutrient deficiency charts that might be worth looking at to see kind of how to "read" what the plants might be saying but this is one that I like for simple:

https://www.google.com/search?q=aqua...vLHBa-kHvPdoM:


Wow Iím glad I saw this before I started. So based on that chart, my plants either have potassium deficiency or nitrogen deficiency. Hard to tell exactly really.

I havenít bought a test kit since I had a reef tank but I just might have to buy one for my scenario. Iím going to make room this week to dedicate time to test parameters and then trim to my needs.

Once again thank you for the information!
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-30-2018, 02:15 PM
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That's where things can get really complex if we let it. We see something that we want to make green and lush and "HAVE" to do something! Guess that is what drives us at times but I have kind of wandered around and got to a spot where I may see something like algae but I don't let it bother me to the point that I have to do the study and work to make it better.
But for ferts and plant needs, I got around to liking dry ferts which I can store very long term and easy and then when I do get into doing something, I can measure out one item, mix my water and pour. So potassium nitrate might be the item I would first suggest if you wanted to get into adding a fert.
But it is also my view that you are not actually required to do it at all. If the weeds are growing, they obviously like something you are doing, so your choice on which way and how much to change things? This is the guide I use to decide how much:
Rotala Butterfly | Planted Aquarium Nutrient Dosing Calculator
IF you do want to go to ferts, I like this spot for service and price:
Dry Fertilizer | Aquarium Fertilizer
It looks like a real bite to order and ship the first batch but then it also is enough to last most of us for a year or more as we are not buying and shipping the water it is mixed in.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-30-2018, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
That's where things can get really complex if we let it. We see something that we want to make green and lush and "HAVE" to do something! Guess that is what drives us at times but I have kind of wandered around and got to a spot where I may see something like algae but I don't let it bother me to the point that I have to do the study and work to make it better.

But for ferts and plant needs, I got around to liking dry ferts which I can store very long term and easy and then when I do get into doing something, I can measure out one item, mix my water and pour. So potassium nitrate might be the item I would first suggest if you wanted to get into adding a fert.

But it is also my view that you are not actually required to do it at all. If the weeds are growing, they obviously like something you are doing, so your choice on which way and how much to change things? This is the guide I use to decide how much:

Rotala Butterfly | Planted Aquarium Nutrient Dosing Calculator

IF you do want to go to ferts, I like this spot for service and price:

Dry Fertilizer | Aquarium Fertilizer

It looks like a real bite to order and ship the first batch but then it also is enough to last most of us for a year or more as we are not buying and shipping the water it is mixed in.


I have some dry ferts from aquariumplants.com called Total Fertz I believe. I havenít used it in a really long time though. I honestly forgot I had ferts until you brought it up matter in fact. I got pretty carried away from the hobby, trying to bounce back here hah.

Iíll check out the sites after work
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