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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi everybody! It's been quite a while, like 8 years! I'm finally getting back into my tank now that my kids are a little older and I have some helpers. This intro will be a little long, with progress from mainly the last 5 weeks of setting my goal and changing the tank nearly every week. (March 5 2019)

Most up to date specs...
8 hr photoperiod 2x13w 5k led bulbs (desperately need an upgrade!)
Diy CO2 with nano diffuser
Dosing: <1/32 t. KH2PO4 <1/8 t. KNO3 <1/32 t. CSM+B 3x/week mixed in solution, 27.7 ml/dose

Flora:
Bacopa caroliniana
Anubias barteri 'Nana'
Echinodorus tenellus
Ludwigia repens x arcuata
Rotala rotundifolia
Unknown Vallisneria
Süßwassertang
Java Fern
Marimo moss balls
assorted mosses that came with said Java Fern (testing out on driftwood)

Most recent picture below, read on how I got here below!fullsizeoutput_5fdhttps://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

Eight years ago, I was content and amazed at what I had accomplished. All thanks to this forum and helpful members. (2011)


It was amazing. Then kids happened, my tank has been fun and all for them, but battles with BGA and irregular maintenance has made it an eyesore at times. Now I'm committed and going to make this tank be attractive again. This is what the tank looked like in September 2018 after I gutted it, rinsed the fluorite like mad and scrubbed the interior rid of BGA. I also painted the back black, construction paper was such a pain!. Sept 6 2018


I saw some B. Caroliniana at Petco and picked it up. Within a few days the danios were laying eggs! We raised 4 to keep in the tank, as some of the adults had jumped out via the hob waterfall. Sept 11 2018


Fast forward to January, I had another run in with BGA and did a black out/algicide and was left with this. The anubias was in the fry tank with the 2 younger babies at the time of this photo. This is when I decided enough was enough and didn't want an eyesore in the living room. Jan 30 2019


After a couple weeks of getting driftwood, new plants, and a couple fish (yes, I know heavily stocked) this is where I was at. I switched out the HOBs for a powerhead with a sponge filter. Feb 19 2019


I didn't like the layout of the tank, specifically the HUGE sponge. My attempt at covering it from view. The flow from the filter drastically reduced throughout the week because of filter floss in the uptake to reduce flow since this powerhead would destroy the Honey Gourami. Feb 28 2019


Got sick of the flow diminishing to nothing at the end of the week, so I put on a HOB of the rear side to keep up the flow. Picture is a little dark, sorry for such bad quality. I've noticed good growth and the Java Fern is starting a baby plant and a few new leaves. The Honey Gourami is wanting to breed as it is showing signs of a dark chin but no mate around so I'm not sure he'll get the full coloring. Mar 5 2019


The left piece of driftwood wasn't very stable so I rearranged... again! Also moved the L. repens so there will be red/orange on the left as well as the right of the tank. I'm waiting on some V. asiatica and R. rotundifolia from a family member soon, but weather has stopped them from visiting lately. Mar 6 2019
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Lighting upgrade? lol

I noticed today that my lights are complete crap. 13w cfl only 4000k! It's been difficult to find the right lights at stores, and I wasn't the last to purchase them. So I decided to try keeping as much light in the tank, doing a quick fix. Before, during and after pics to follow:


Put new aluminum foil and added some cardboard flaps.


It is easier to look at without all the light escaping. Still an eyesore, but I'm waiting to see if I get that new light I was hoping for my birthday before I build a real wood hood.

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Marimo balls!

I meant to get this update out a few days earlier... but working 34 hours in three days has put a stopper on my journal. I got three Marimo moss balls, I'm hoping they compete with the annoying BBA, and float from time to time. I also ordered a citric acid/baking soda co2 kit coming later this week. The gunk that builds up from the yeast mix on the diffuser has to be cleaned off every few days and I'm looking for a more reliable bubble rate. Here's 2 of the balls.
IMG_2244https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

Here's the L. repens starting to get some color.
IMG_2242https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

FTS
IMG_2231https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
I'm still waiting on the middle and right background plants, but the weather has been anything but cooperative.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Vinegar, Baking Soda co2 kit came today!

Yay!!! It's a shame my bubble counter and check valve won't come until Friday (along with 3 suction cups). I am using 1.25 liter bottles since there isn't space for two-2 liters. So far so good!
IMG_2283 https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

I'm impressed! Can't wait for those suction cups!
IMG_2281https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

Tomorrow my plants will come, so work then. Friday my check valve/bubble counter arrive, fun days ahead!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Background plants are here!

The weather has finally cooperated and I have my plants! I'm not sure this is corkscrew val, maybe spiralis? I'm sure I'll have to wait until they start growing as they were in a low light 50 gallon with no ferts/co2. Forgive the picture quality!
Rotala rotundifolia
IMG_2291https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

V. asiatia, V. spiralis, unknown Vallisneria
IMG_2293https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

FTS
IMG_2284https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Bubble counter and check valve came installed on Saturday! It's nice to have a consistent rate of CO2 injection. Now I just have to figure out the lighting schedule to control the algae. I've been turning on the co2 and lights before work, having my wife turn the lights off for 2 hours in the middle of the day. I barely get to see the tank lit up!
IMG_2295https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
weekly update, FTS

I'm pleased with everything so far, except for the algae. It's mainly affecting the slow growing plants, Java Fern and Anubias. I hope the bubble counter will help because of consistent co2 injection. Here's a FTS, sorry about the glare, I suck at taking pictures of this tank.
fullsizeoutput_5fd https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
 
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