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205 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, So I have been wanting to do this rescape for a while now. I have this 30g:

But I normally call it my 30g mistake because it is an experiment gone wrong. I used creek sediment in the substrate and I have been battling green water since I set this tank up in August. It normally looks like this:

This noob is not too impressed. I have tried everything except a UV sterilizer to rid this tank of the algae. Here are my current tank specs:

AGA 30g 36"x12"x16"

Water Parameters (as of the last time Euglenae was blooming...i really don't test parameters often):
Temp:78 F
NH3/NH4:0 (confusing, it though this was supposed to be high for green water. tests 0 with two different test kits)

AH Supply 55w 6700k PC & 20w 6700k Fluorescent

Rena XP1

Hydo 200w

Azoo regulator
5 lb aluminum cylinder
Rex Grigg style Reactor
3 bps
30-40 ppm CO2 according to my drop checker

creek sediment
50:40:10 mix of Eco-Complete/Fluorite/Laterite
PFS cap

EI dosing method
KNO3,KH2PO4,K2SO4 3x/week
Plantex CSM+B & MgSO4 x 7H2O 3x/week

Alternanthera reineckii 'rosaefolia'
Bacopa monnieri
Echinodorus tenellum
Elatine triandra
Heterantera zosterifolia
Hydrocotyle leucocephala
Hygrophilia corymbosa 'angustifolia'
Hygrophilia polysperma 'rosanervig'
Hygrophilia sp. 'tiger'
Limnophila aromatica
Lindernia rotundifolia 'variegated'
Ludwigia repens
Ludwigia repens x arcuata
Mayaca fluviatilis
Myriophyllum tuberculatum
Pogostemon erectum
Pogostemon stellatus
Rotala macrandra 'green narrow leaf'
Rotala sp. 'nanjeshan'
Sagittaria subulata

1 male Betta splendens (rehoming for a friend)
1 lonely Caridina japonica
4 Otocinclus sp.
7 Paracheirodon axelrodi

I know that is quite a large plant selection. I went on a noob collection spree:hihi:. I wanted to see which of my favorite plants I could grow. Some of these plants will stay in this tank and some will are growing out for my future 40g breeder that I should be setting up after the holidays.

So what are my plans for this tank for now and until I start the 40g?
1. Redo the substrate.
2. Incorporate some of the driftwood I have collecting dust in the garage.
3. Work on my pruning skills using this article in aquascaping world magazine as a guide.
4. Grow out plants for my future set-up.

205 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
perhaps i should have been a little more clear. the pictires are from the current set up, not the rescape. i am beginning the rescape today. i'm going to take picures of everything i do in an attempt to make a very thorough journal.

i have been slowly adding all the plants since august. 95% of them are from awesome members of this forum. some of these plants will stay and some are just growing out until i get everything i need for the 40g.

205 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Yeah, I think I may keep it a "dutchish" style tank. It does have a few fish in it...Plus that should be better for me since I just want to grow some of these plants out for a future scape while working on my planting and pruning technique.

So, right now I am just prepping my substrate. I have had success in my 16g with a mix of Miracle Gro Organic Choice Potting Soil and a 50:40:10 mix of Eco/Fluorite/Laterite so I'm going to do that with a PFS cap. I understand that many of you may already know this stuff. I'm posting it so that maybe newer members can learn something...

Rinsing the PFS

After about 30 min and some mixing on my part the water should run clear. this is how I know the rinsing is complete.

The PFS will be the cap for my nutritive base soil.For the base I am using Miracle Gro Organic Choice Potting soil and the Eco mix.

50:40:10 Eco/Fluorite/Laterite mix

Miracle Gro Organic Choice Potting Soil

The potting soil does have bark in twigs in it so I'm going to sift that out.

This is the debris.

This is the good stuff after sifting.

Now, to help remove some of the ammonia and tannins from the potting soil I need to boil it for about an hour. Honey......

205 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
In case anyone was wondering, there really is no good way to tell your wife you are going to boil soil in her pots on her stove.....I suggest asking for forgiveness rather than for permission. At any rate, the soil is boiling. (We really need to clean the cooktop:icon_redf)

Yummy, it's what's for dinner!
I'll do this for the next hour or so. I will remove some of the water periodically and replace it with fresh.

205 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
This is a way to sort of speed up the "mineralization" process. It may remove some of the ammonia and does remove tannins. Well, the soil I am using has tannins because of the fine organic content like peat. There are definitely other soil types that people use, such as Diana Walstad's method, that shouldn't require this step. IDK, it sounded like a good idea?

205 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Do you know what mineralization does to sediment?

What is the effects on say wood to high heat?
Wood is reduced organic carbon.
What happens when you oxidize(eg burn it)?

What do you think bacteria do with they oxidize (eg aerobic respiration) reduced forms to oxidized forms? They burn it for the energy in the reduced chemical bonds. So do we for that matter.

One is a biological slow process, however, heat does oxidize reduced carbon and heat is a standard method to measure % organic matter in sediment by loss of ignition.

And a sample protocol:

The organic fraction is converted into CO2.
That is what the bacteria are doing while they are mineralizing.
Heat does the same thing.

That is why we use it for measuring things like % organic matter.
It does not merely toast the dirt, it oxidizes it specifically.

Boiling is not nearly as hot, but accomplishes a similar process and both methods have been used for many years successfully.

Tom Barr
Well, actually this is the second time I have done this. Here is a pretty decent explanation of the method. I have never used just Eco, Fluorite or ADA Aquasoil so I have no experiences to draw such conclusions. Mind you, this is only my second attempt at a "high tech" set up. The first attempt resulted in green other set up where I have been successful using this particular soil is this low tech set up. I boiled the soil first for that one. I hope it works out the same this time. I think I will closely monitor my parameters and growth in this journal in case others wish to try it.

205 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Inevitably we will over complicate things. Don't be afraid of trial and error. Meet the basic need of the plants for light, CO2 and nutrients and the rest should fall into place. I really don't know if what I am doing will work. But I'm going to try it. That's my conclusion....

205 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)

Laying the substrate...

A dash of this...

Next my mix...

Add the cap...

and some plants...

And I'm done for the night.

I did not use all of the plants I had, but I did use most of them. I stuck the small piece of driftwood in there because I needed something to attach the Christmas moss I recently got from another forum member and it was all I had available at the moment. Now I'm just going to let things grow for a while....

205 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks for looking everyone!

I just couldn't look at the green water anymore. This tank is in my dining room. It would make me mad everytime we sat down to eat, lol. My plants were growing just fine though. I suspect it was decaying organisms in the creek sediment I used that was causing my problem, or some other unknown contaminant. There were some clams in there that I know of. The clams were dead when I pulled the substrate. The substrate smelled horribly like sulfur and was black as tar. Perhaps I should have mineralized it first. Good to know in case I try it again in the future. It was light brown when I laid it down. IDK.

Now I've just got to sit back and let this one grow for a while......

2,485 Posts
The rescape looks good, and I think that boiling the soil should help avert your green water problems. Back when I was experimenting with creek mud I didn't do anything to the soil, just put it straight into the tank. I was probably lucky I didn't have worse algae problems, but I believe I almost always had a fast growing hygrophilia species in the tank, that probably absorbed most of the nutrients in the tank. I also had some neat organisms like some kind of red worms and also freshwater clams that lived in the tank too. Looking forward to your progress!
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