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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Water Plant Vertebrate Green Nature


Decided to document my garage grow out/whatever tank. What started as a simple moss tank, evolved into me saying “eh I have the equipment” and now it’s a co2 enriched tank.

It’s been a while since I’ve been in the hobby so it’s been a nice way to remember stuff ngl.

Specs
  • Tank: ADA Mini L, don’t think they even make this tank anymore haha
  • Light: Chihiros WRGB2 45”, running at around 40% power and colors tuned toward a slightly more blue-ish to allow the greens to really pop.
  • Substrate: Amazonia v1
  • ATO: Tunze ATO
  • Heater: Aquael 100W
  • CO2: GLA CO2 Atomizer with DS Regulator from Harris, custom built from someone here on TPT years ago and recently serviced by @flowerfishs! Thanks!
  • Filter: Dennerle Scaper's Flow, modified with a ball valve, and a surface skimmer add on made by ISTA I had lying around.
Some Challenges:

  • Since my garage gets cold during winter and hot during summer, the tank has an overly powerful heater and a fan that I will see if it is enough to evaporatively cool the tank during the hot months. Guess I will see how that goes haha.

Initial Flora:
  • Monte Carlo
  • Anubias Nana Petite
  • Xmas Moss and another moss, and a dead one but it might be alive?
  • Rotala Green, Rotala Hra
  • Myriophyllum Mattogrossense
  • Bolbitus
  • Ludwigia "Super Red"
  • Cryptocoryne Parva
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Wanted to share my RO/DI setup:

Equipment Used:


This is where the RO filter is mounted to in the laundry room as it has good access to water, drain, and the garage.
Automotive lighting Cable Gas Electrical wiring Electricity



This is where the filtered water goes into the reservoir.
Electrical wiring Electricity Cable Gas Machine



This is the interface where I can either get water directly for making coffee or to pump into the main aquarium which is over 20 feet away. I wanted a submersible pump since I did not want an external one on the ground, and the hose is one of those collapsible ones for space savings, but it takes more head pressure to operate compared to braided vinyl.
Light Electricity Electrical wiring Line Cable


Inside the tank there is a float valve which triggers a pressure valve to stop the RO making process when the water level gets too high. Pump and Heater are at the bottom, union so that maintenance is easier later on if needed.
Lamp Street light Microphone Material property Tints and shades



Making water is simple as just going to the source water valve and opening it up. I can then go to sleep or whatever since the float valve should trigger and stop the water production automatically, but even if it doesnt, at least its in the garage and not the house.

Then pumping water out is as simple as flipping a switch and then opening valves to either get a little or a lot of water as desired.

Heater is dropped in to keep water warm so water changes don't cause temperature spikes since garage is cold.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Plant Water Plant community Vertebrate Blue

I must say, Monte Carlo grows fast af.

Changed the output nozzle to a V shaped thingy.

Oh and I found 20 shrimp in my filter! omg. One amano was trying to climb out when I opened the filter up haha. I was like "where are all the shrimp wtf, are they all just hiding??". Yes, in my ******* filter.

I did my best to shrimp proof my surface skimmer using a loofah haha. I legit spent an entire day trying to build something for the surface skimmer, but each iteration either impacted the performance of the skimming due to reduced flow, or the filter taking in air.

Then I stumbled across a post on UKAPS that suggested using a zip tie and a loofah, and 5 minutes later this was the result. Sigh, o well, things learned. Obviously it doesnt catch smaller shrimp but hopefully shrimplets just chill more in the plants and I minimize the number of shrimp that get sucked into the filter. Skimming is only slightly impacted, which is why I directed my nozzle up now to break the surface of the water to compensate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Green Azure Petal Aqua Grass


Noticed some BBA starting to form on the anubias and some decaying parts of the Monte Carlo. I also noticed a small part of the Monte Carlo melting a bit, so I plopped the pH probe back in and I noticed something changed such that I wasn't getting the same 1 point pH drop.

My guess is that I changed the atomizer to an identical clean one (so I can clean the dirty one) and perhaps it just operates a tad differently. Not sure but I bumped the CO2 up a little so I guess lets see how things go.

Otherwise, good news is I added in my ricefish that I have been quarantining for the last 2 weeks and the female had eggs on her! Never seen that before, I wish I snapped a pic of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I've been trying to deal with some BBA thats popping up. Trimming little bits off here and there. I think I've hit near my max of CO2 that I can safely support since I bumped it up a bit and definitely saw my fish going more to the surface of the water.

Im really wishing the rotala in the back to grow a bit faster since the Myriophylum is growing super aggressively. So I trimmed it back some

Plant Green Leaf Flower Botany
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Dealing with some BBA still, honestly I started spot dosing APT fix a little to push it back. I caved I guess haha, but it’s my first time trying this product and it definitely is effective against BBA.

When I came back from a week long trip a week ago, the tank was super overgrown but also there was way more BBA. I shouldve snapped a photo, but my mind was just too focused on cleaning stuff up I didnt. Next time, im sure itll be back at some point.

Anyways, I bumped my water changes up a bit and started to really vaccuum the carpet of MC. Ive also been playing around with flow, and I think my stems in the back don't get much flow so I actually directed the nozzle to the back of the tank, so that it flows first there and then around. Not sure if itll make a difference but we'll see.

BBA is still the name of the game though, I see it popping up in some other places. I also think I may be overfeeding a bit which could be contributing to some increased organic waste. (Don't pay attention to the tiny fish in the photo. Long story short, he was in quarantine for a lot longer since he wasnt eating much, and my roommate forgot to feed him for a week so I was like omg no way hes alive haha). Hes been eating a lot more now though, but hes still so skinny.

Plant Green Leaf Botany Vegetation
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Some pretty interesting and unexpected measurements for my light.

Lighting again is Chihiros WRGB2 45". Running at 30% intensity for R, G, and B.

Sensor is the Apogee MQ-510. What I didn't expect was just how much light I was running and how much the correction above and out of the water really is. Notice in the last 2 photos, im nearly at the same spot, just one is under the water, the other is above. Im not sure if the surface agitation does anything to impact this, but regardless I always have it so it's more realistic.

PAR at center near substrate is around: 112.
Plant Helmet Motor vehicle Tree Communication Device



Left is below the water, right is above.

Left: 140 PAR
Right: 217 PAR

Plant Plant community Green Pet supply Aquatic plant
Plant Green Grass Aquatic plant Leaf vegetable


What I guess is confusing me is, this rotala on the right is Rotala Blood Red, well supposedly. I got it emersed grown. Its definitely lookin more like regular rotundifolia since it's anything but red lmao.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Sad day.

I went to the garage just an hour ago and found one of my oto's stiff, colorless, and being swarmed by shrimp. I knew he was a goner. Sad to see one of em go.

It was only yesterday evening when I saw him and his buddy grazing on the anubias. So nothing ever seemed out of the ordinary. My guesses as to what it could have been:

1. CO2 poisoning. I have always noticed one oto being a lot more sensitive than the other. At least, I have always seen one breath quicker than the other. And I have a suspicion that I am near the upper limit since fish tend to hang around the top of the tank during the daytime, and during the evening, the airstone I run after CO2 helps degas the tank faster and I usually see a lot more activity from all the livestock then. I've never seen any gasping but an affinity towards the top of the tank is the best way I can describe it.

2. Starved. I hadn't fed any spinach for over a month now, which is something I usually feed the shrimp and otos since they seem to like it. I also noticed the oto's belly seemed less plump than normal, but im not sure if this is post mortem or not. Anyways, part of me doesnt think this is the reason since there should be a bunch of bio film and other stuff that I can't see.

Otherwise, the oto has been in the tank since the beginning, so he's not a new member or previously sick before I got him.

Thank you for your service buddy.

Fin Fish Aquarium Tail Wood
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I think there may be another reason...

I also forgot to mention in preparation for the summer heat, I attached my cooling fan to a timer and started running it. I figured since I oversized the heater to handle the cold winter months, it should be plenty to heat the aquarium to compensate.

I checked the temps before the fan on this morning, and the temp dropped down from the normal 74, to 71. I wonder since I ran the fan way into the night (again to prep for summer heat, I was just configuring things ahead of time) if since its still cold here, the tank cooled way too much. That falls more inline with the timeline of events to be honest since I had just started the fan 2 days prior.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
BBA battle is going well so far. Been a few months but after weeks of more frequent water changes and not really seeing the slowdown in BBA growth that I was hoping for, I reduced the light a tad and bumped the co2 a little as well.

I’ve been increasing the co2 slowly over the last month, and I think I can go higher still.

I want to believe that since I’ve bumped the co2 up a bit, the BBA growth really slowed down to the point I wasn’t using any APT fix to hit it back. Still not gone yet though.

Plant Plant community Green Nature Vegetation
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Tank still doing well, honestly better than ever. I stopped dosing APT Fix many months ago, and I feel like BBA has been significantly more under control.

Now I can't tell if its due to:
  • Not using chemicals for algae
  • Plants established more
  • Biome stabilized
  • No more fish waste

or some blend of the above, but the BBA on the leaves of buces is actually gone. Im sure theres still some somewhere, I can see a little on a rock on the left, but generally, it's way more under control. This is now my grow out tank, growing out some tulunadensis. That plant is crazy sensitive, so my bleach dip basically reduced it down to a stem, but its recovered!


Anyways, aside from some heater issues, nothing has really changed in this tank. Shrimp only now.


Plant Plant community Green Rectangle Lighting
 
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