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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-16-2014, 10:20 PM Thread Starter
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Talking Messy Situation

Hi everyone,

Just a little bit of background:

I am a college student recently just started a 10g planted tank in my dorm. I started it about 2 weeks before I had to go to winter break. What I decided to do was keep it a bare-bottom tank so it'll be easier to clean and move back home when summer comes. I keep the plants in red solo cups with flourite substrate to help them grow.

Well here is where the problems began:

The 2nd day after I put planted the tank, the plants started to melt. I did a little research and found that this is common due to different water chemistry and transportation. As I was observing the tank, I noticed something moving, a snail. I tried to get the snail out with a pair of tweezers but I kept on losing grip because it was too small. Right before I went to break, I noticed that algae started growing on the glass of the tank. So I decided to deal with it all after break because I had to focus all my time on finals.

This is what the tank looked like before I left for break:

http://i381.photobucket.com/albums/o...psh50onswf.jpg

The dirt on the bottom of the tank came from dust and debris from the flourite substrate because I didn't wash it before putting it in the tank. Same reason why it is cloudy. I thought this was no big deal because in a way it's part of the substrate and I can only see it because it was bare-bottom. I decided not to take out any rotting leaves because I found that my water had no nitrate so I thought that the plants aren't getting enough nutrients and rot. From my understanding of the nitrogen cycle, I know that nitrate is the end result of decaying matter. Since I didn't have any fish in there anyway because I brought my betta home, I thought that there should be no harm in keeping rotting plants matter in there because I'm going to end up changing the water right when I come back from break anyway.

My break was 5 weeks long but I was too anxious to see how my tank turned out so I decided to come and visit for a tank maintenance after 3 weeks of break.

This is what my tank looks like after 3 weeks of neglect:

http://i381.photobucket.com/albums/o...psubdhwjjz.jpg

I know what you're thinking. I'm a terrible tank owner with all the neglecting. But that's why I'm here, to learn and get better. I was expecting a big algae bloom but instead found a snail baby bloom instead. As you can see from my picture, the second plant completely disintegrated when I was hoping it would make a comeback from the melt. Most of my plants were thinned out as well due to rotting away. But my java fern, flame moss, and my red lotus seem to be growing quite impressively.

Here is another problem that I found upon returning (hope this vid works!):

http://s381.photobucket.com/user/sup...c2jhb.mp4.html

I thought snails eat plants so I thought it would starved to death because most of the plants were rotting thinking that snails will be the least of my problem. Ironically, I recently did some more research and found out snails don't eat HEALTHY plants but tend to eat it when it's weak... like when it's about to ROT... Boy did I messed up...

There are also these things that I found in the tank. After researching more, I think they might be seed shrimps and copepods. I also found this really thin worm that is about 1cm long and looks like a piece of tan thread. I only noticed it because it started thrashing about trying to swim. I had a hard time capturing it on video because it was so small.

So here are some questions:

1. From researching, I heard that seed shrimps and copepods only appear if the water condition is great. How is that possible if there's so many rotting things in the water?

2. How did they get in there in there in the first place?

3. Because of the snail, I don't have an algae problem but now I have a snail problem. If I get an assassin snail, will they lay eggs by themselves? Because I find eggs on driftwood and glass to be hard to look at. (I have a nerite snail in a tank at home and it laid eggs everywhere and it looks disgusting).

4. Some of my plants are losing color but not actually dying. I think I just need to fertilize it because I haven't in 3 weeks. (Algae might have come from the first time that I used fertilizer). Should I keep those plants in there to see if they make a comeback or should I throw them out and try other easier species?

5. I heard that seed shrimps and copepods are good snacks for fish. Will my betta eat them? Also what other fish can I put in my 10g tank to control the population without overcrowding?

6. Water changed problem will get rid of some of the seed shrimps and copepods, But it they're a sign of good water, do I want to get rid of them (especially if they can be snacks for fish)?

7. Because of the unidentified worm in the tank, will it be safe to add fish? I'm afraid of parasites.

8. Can anyone also confirm if those are seed shrimp and maybe have any ideas of what the worm could be?

I know this is a long thread but thanks for giving me your time and guidance!
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-17-2014, 05:29 AM
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wow I actually read all of that.
1. I don't know anything about seed shrimps and copepods

2. probably from the plants...

3. dont know anything about assassin snails

4. I'm pretty sure you need fertilizer. You mentioned that you have zero nitrates. You need around 10-20ppm of nitrate, BUT that is not the only thing. you also have to think about Phosphate, Potassium, and other nutrients too.

what kind of light fixture are you using? do you know your PAR??

5. I think he will. Live food is a great addition to his diet.

6. I would not for above reason. HOWEVER, you have to consider that the "parasite" might get transfer over to your betta's tank when you attempt to feed your betta the seed shrimp and copepods

7. Need some kind of photo or better description to you help ID it, but I don't think its a parasite because most parasites cannot survive for too long without a host. THere are no fish in that tank, correct?

8. Lets hope someone knowledgeable can answer this question good luck
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-17-2014, 06:00 AM Thread Starter
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I was using t8 15watt GE Aqua Rays but recently switched to Zoo Med Ultra Sun because I used the Aqua Rays for about 2 years before I got into live plants. Nonetheless, the Aqua Rays did a decent job because the java fern, flame moss, and red lotus all grew like crazy. I don't know the PAR though as I am fairly new to this hobby.

I did use some fertilizer before I left for break but that was about 4 weeks ago. I stopped using it for a bit because of algae growth. (I mentioned it in number 4).

I honestly don't think it is a parasite either because there's no fish in that tank for about 3 weeks. I did a 75% water change today and I think I might have gotten the worm and I actually took out most of the seed shrimps as well.

Thanks for the quick reply!
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-17-2014, 06:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ButterFingers View Post
1. From researching, I heard that seed shrimps and copepods only appear if the water condition is great. How is that possible if there's so many rotting things in the water?
A lot of these types of creatures do not need pristine water conditions. I have all sorts of critters like this in a live food breeding tank which is pretty mucky and they multiply quite well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ButterFingers View Post
2. How did they get in there in there in the first place?
Definitely with the plants. Dozens of tiny creatures hitch rides on plants and in aquatic soil. This is one of the reasons why importing live plants or soil from other countries is not allowed without the plants being tissue cultured in sterile gel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ButterFingers View Post
3. Because of the snail, I don't have an algae problem but now I have a snail problem. If I get an assassin snail, will they lay eggs by themselves? Because I find eggs on driftwood and glass to be hard to look at. (I have a nerite snail in a tank at home and it laid eggs everywhere and it looks disgusting).
Assassin snails need a relatively thick substrate for the young to burrow in and grow so I do not think they would breed very well for you. Nerites do tend to lay eggs on everything in the tank, the good news is they will not hatch since they need salt water to breed. Also, the snail is not keeping your algae at bay, they don't eat enough algae to really make a difference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ButterFingers View Post
4. Some of my plants are losing color but not actually dying. I think I just need to fertilize it because I haven't in 3 weeks. (Algae might have come from the first time that I used fertilizer). Should I keep those plants in there to see if they make a comeback or should I throw them out and try other easier species?
They will make a comeback if you return the conditions to normal. Fertilizers are a must. The species you are keeping are actually considered very difficult to keep. It looks like you are keeping Nesaea sp. 'red', (formally Nesaea praetermissa). Here is more info on the plant: http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...ails.php?id=97

There isn't enough detail in the photos you posted to tell you what nutrient is missing from your tank by looking at the plant damage. It looks like nitrogen deficiency since the new growth looks smaller and pale. Are the old leaves deteriorating? Can you post close up, focused, high detail pictures of the new tips and the old growth?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ButterFingers View Post
5. I heard that seed shrimps and copepods are good snacks for fish. Will my betta eat them? Also what other fish can I put in my 10g tank to control the population without overcrowding?
Yes the betta will likely eat them. One fish will clear the tank given a few days. You don't need many fish in there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ButterFingers View Post
6. Water changed problem will get rid of some of the seed shrimps and copepods, But it they're a sign of good water, do I want to get rid of them (especially if they can be snacks for fish)?
I wouldn't worry about getting rid of them, they don't do any harm and as you already mentioned they are good snacks for fish.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ButterFingers View Post
7. Because of the unidentified worm in the tank, will it be safe to add fish? I'm afraid of parasites.
The worm sounds like a blood worm. They are great food for fish, and tend to live in the substrate and filters in most tanks. They are also not parasitic.

You are seeing all of these creepy crawlies because you have no fish in the tank. Fish love to eat them, and so the critters learn to hide, so you never see them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ButterFingers View Post
8. Can anyone also confirm if those are seed shrimp and maybe have any ideas of what the worm could be?
Unfortunately I cannot confirm the species of critter you have in the tank. Identifying small animals is not my specialty, I am more into plant deficiencies/toxicities. There is a guy on the forum called entomologist (I think) that seems to know his stuff when it comes to IDing larvae, bugs, and other little things in the tank, perhaps he will post his opinion or maybe you can send him a message and ask.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-17-2014, 06:31 AM Thread Starter
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I stumbled upon a thread asking about parasites and someone replied saying it's a detritus worm. That's probably what is in my tank too. Makes sense because of the amount of mulm I had due to neglect and the second plant totally disintegrated. :P

zapins thanks for the advice. very helpful and informative.

About the snails. This is good because I don't want to breed them (don't have room to get more tanks at home). Simply just want one to kill other snails.

As for the plants. I actually meant to order another specie but the colors in the website looked too similar so I ordered the wrong ones. I actually forgot to bring my fertilizer with me back to college... Totally beats the point of going back a week early...

Don't worry about ID'ing the stuff. I just wanted to make sure they're not harmful to fish.

Thanks again!

Last edited by Darkblade48; 01-17-2014 at 10:59 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-17-2014, 07:03 AM
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No problem. If you want help figuring out how to get the plants looking healthy again post those close ups and I'll help you figure it out.

Also, usually most colleges allow aquariums up to 10g. You might be able to take it with you (even if it is bigger, they won't know the difference ).
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-17-2014, 07:23 AM Thread Starter
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The 10g is at college. I have a 26g bow shape at home and I'm currently still on break :P I meant to say that I went back to college a week early so I can tend this tank. I just forgot the fertilizer at home when I visit my college for the night that's all (it's one hour away so I can make the transit). I'm back at home right now because I have to work so I will have to neglect the tank for one more week sadly . Classes start next week so I'll keep you posted.

Idk what the maximum size for the aquarium at my college is. I know a guy who has a 30g tank in his room.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-17-2014, 07:30 AM
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Ahhh ok, I had the locations mixed up.

Heh yes, that was me as well when I was in college, with a 38 gallon discus tank in my room

I actually ended up colonizing the school's admissions office with 3 of my fish tanks, a 125g, and 2x 55g tanks on each floor of the place. All planted display tanks.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-17-2014, 07:44 AM Thread Starter
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haha nice.

Well I'll get back to you in a week. Planning on ordering Seachem Flourish Excel and Trace Elements as soon as I go back to school. Thanks again.

I'll prob pm you. That'll prob be easier

Last edited by ButterFingers; 01-17-2014 at 07:44 AM. Reason: Clarify
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-17-2014, 07:51 AM
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I'll prob pm you. That'll prob be easier
Either way I'm subscribed to this thread so I'll see the update here or in a PM.
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