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Discussion Starter #22
Looks like you are getting somewhere now. You will enjoy the Dwyer once you get it set up. To me, much better than a bubble counter.

Curious did you get those Boesemani from a couple different sources??

I notice that most have a yellowish tail, but one is a really nice orange?

And the Roselines are a very nice addition.
Thanks, really enjoying the roseline interacting in the tank. I did use two different stores for the rainbows. The one where I got the bright orange one only had the one Male.

I am not sure on the sex of the others. Are they female, or low grade males mixed in? Will the colors come in more down the road?

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Thanks, really enjoying the roseline interacting in the tank. I did use two different stores for the rainbows. The one where I got the bright orange one only had the one Male.

I am not sure on the sex of the others. Are they female, or low grade males mixed in? Will the colors come in more down the road?

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Hard to tell from the pictures, but the more yellow ones look like two females/two males.

The colors will not change much. The yellowish ones will stay yellowish, the bright orange one will get even brighter orange. A good example of breeding, and the different strains that are available.

The more orange one is most likely the Lake Aytingo variety.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
Today the RMA-151 came in, so I decided to test it on the 29 gallon tank. I'll end up needing a bit of advice by the end of this.

Off the Aquatek regulator, I used a 1/8 NPT female coupling to a 1/8 NPT 1/8 ID barbed fitting (this will eventually T-off to two barbed fittings- need to test the whole setup). Then I run into the RMA-151, to a Clippard check valve ( MCV-1BB-V with two 10-32 to barbed fitting) and then into the diffuser in the tank. I used Everbuilt .170 ID tubing from Home Depot to connect everything. It's a fit, but possibly a little loose? Using bubbles (soapy water) I check for leaks, and everything is good, MINUS the Clippard check valve.

Now here comes where I might need advice. What could be causing the leak? My guess is that its the tubing that is .170 ID. Should I be using 1/8 ID (.125) tubing instead of this? What about this (https://www.amazon.com/ATP-Vinyl-Fl...id=1524079048&sr=8-3&keywords=1/8+id+tubing)?

Or could the issue be that the 10-32 barbed fitting only has one barb? I cannot imagine that is the issue, my guess would be more towards the ID of my current tubing is too big. Thoughts are appreciated on this one!
 

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Discussion Starter #26
In case anyone is curious, .170 ID tubing does NOT work with 1/8 ID brass barbs. CO2 turned on this morning and after 10 min the line on the barb off the regulator blew off. Thankfully I was in the room when it happened and shut CO2 down for the day, did an excel dose, and cut the lights to low. The 1/8 ID tubing should be here tomorrow (Home Depot and Lowes do not carry it besides bright orange fuel line). 100 ft for about $12 (see link above). I could have purchased the Clippard tubing at about $20 for 100 ft, even had it in my hand (oh hindsight) - I just hope the stuff from Amazon works, otherwise super expensive tubing lesson. Hopefully someone else can at least learn from my mistakes!
 

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Discussion Starter #27
Just a quick update tonight. I ended up redoing the hardscape, adding 5lbs of lava rock under the BDBS to make a tall slope, and try and aid in prevention of compacting sand. I again used my homemade substrate supports to try and keep everything in place nicely. Hopefully this works!

The water Sprite is just in there for now, probably not part of the long term play for the tank, and definitely not there, thought it might be good to start to have a fast growing plant like that to help balance.

I have also added the CO2 as of today. Created a DIY cerges style reactor as seen on other posts on TPT. So far seems pretty good. Have not yet had a dull day running it so, and figure it will take a bit of time to dial it in. Want to be conservative as not to cause any issues with an accidental overdose. Right now running 40PSI into it at about 20cc/min.

As far as plants, I'll most likely do some dwarf sagittaria foreground in the middle to left side. Thinking maybe s.repins between the rocks up high right? Or maybe that is too close to the light for them, and do something like montecarlo? Looking for suggestions there.

Right now in my 29 gallon I have the dwarf sagittaria converting from emersed form, as well as some new stems of rotala wallichii, ludwigia peruensis, and ludwigia broadleaf I grabbed yesterday from the lfs. Thinking the peruensis would be a good plant for this tank with its bigger size.


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Discussion Starter #28
Some updates to the tank, which is now far more planted, but not yet complete (are we ever 'complete'?). Note- I know there needs to be some maintenance done, as there is some slight algae. I think I am finishing up a diatoms phase right now, and just recently got some green hair algae (I think?). I attribute this to running the CO2 for a about a week or two with no real plant mass, and with that no dry dosing of ferts. Wanted to work on dialing in the CO2 level before the next step. That being said, I think I have found a good spot, where the flow meter is running about 14 cc/min at 40psi into the reactor. Getting the light green color I desire now, and have it on the same timer set-up as the 29 gallon.

I am still running a bag a carbon I put in a couple weeks ago to strip meds out. Also running 2 bags of purigen. This is the first time I am using it in the hobby, and first year of planted tanks, so we will see how I feel about it. Reading through other posts it seems people love it. @Greggz I saw you put the purigen back in as well in your journal, so I'll be sure to keep following along to learn more.

I have also been running the UV a little bit every week. My concern with running 100% is reading/seeing YouTube videos of the UV bulb actually eating away at the SunSun baskets. I don't want to run into that. I did have a little green water outbreak in the 29 gallon this week as the dwarf sag was melting as it transitioned to submerged form. Some of that translated over to the 55, but two days of UV and it seems to be under control. I'll keep it off for now, and probably run it for a day post every water change.

Side note, the 29 gallon is getting a SunSun 702 this week (with UV), so that is exciting to change to that from a HOB. Should help out a lot of things.

Here is what I am dosing currently in the pictures below. For some reason, I cannot seem to figure out how to make the pictures show up in the body of the post...

For plants, most everything was stated out in my 29 gallon to get it going, and has now been moved over (besides the monte carlo and crypt wendtii bronz which were planted right in the 55). Here is the plant list:

Current:
ludwigia peruensis
ludwigia ovalis
rotala wallichii
dwarf sagittaria
water sprite- will come out
crypt undulata red
crypt wendtii bronze
micranthemum monte carlo

To be added
staurogyne repens- growing out in 29 gallon
some other stems- not sure, will see what the LFS has, or the for sale/ RAOK section of the forum has.

Finally, for anyone who enjoys cameras (I am learning more about my DSLR every day) here is what I am using. Note, that pictures were taken during the day with lots of ambient light, and I am by no means a professional. Just used auto-focus this time.

Camera- Nikon D3300
Lens- AF-S NIKKOR 18-55mm
Filter- Vivitar CPL (helps with glare, really amazing and the reason I did not use my Galaxy S8 phone camera today)

I think that covers just about everything right now.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
So I moved most of the s.repins out of the 29 and into the 55, as well as a few blades of DHG. I figured I should get them used to this tank and going. I really want the s.repins to thrive an propagate, the DHG is more of a see what happens kind of thing.

I have a few posts out on Ca, Mg, and csmb trying to decide if I need to make any adjustments. Still undecided at this point, though I may up the micros per some feedback and just dose early in the morning like I do everything else to keep it simple. Not sure if I want to go daily or not yet. More reading to do!


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Discussion Starter #32
Update and some thoughts.

Some parameters of the tank today:

Ammonia 0

Nitrite 0

Nitrate 10

Phosphate 2

Kh 7

Gh 9

Ph 6.6

TDS 285

Some baseline measures:

Tap TDS 200

Tap ph 7.4

Calcium test is due to arrive on Saturday, at which point I'll do some testing and math to see what my tap water runs at, and then see what my Mg concentration is from the tap.

Plants are doing well so far. I think the dwarf sagittaria is still transitioning a bit. There are some taller leaves that are beginning to melt, and the new growth is actually starting to do what I wanted, that is stay relatively short and make a kind of carpet on the left of the tank around the rocks. No pictures right now.

The rotala wallichii new growth is looking great. Biggest issue I seem to be facing with it is a strong current blowing the stems to always lean to the right, which is funny because the only flow is from the SunSun 303 spray bar. The water is blowing towards the surface to create agitation. It goes all 4 ft of the tank, hits the left glass, goes down, and creates some rather strong current back to the right side of the tank below the surface. Not going to take any action at this point, but will keep and eye on it as the new growth continues.

MC transitioning, but I think I am seeing some small new growth pop up. Very exciting. I did have a few floating portions I replanted today on the left side of the tank. That side is further from the light, so it will be interesting to see if the 6 inches does much in terms of how it impacts growth.

All the crypts are doing the thing... growing slow! Wendtii bronze transitioning, and my guess is will be for a while.

S.repins looking good so far, and continuing to grow in this tank coming from my 29. Makes me happy!

All ludwigia species seem to be doing well and growing. Really enjoying the broadleaf on the right side of the tank, 5 stems there just looks so great to me.

I downloaded Aquarium Logger on my phone tonight. I am going to try and start logging better what I am doing. Daily ferts and TDS, then weekly on the other numbers. Figured actual TDS trend could be interesting. Being on the phone will be much easier for me tankncomputer.

I do need to dial in my ph better, but the pen I bought from Amazon I really struggled with so I returned it. It was about $12. I may try another one here in the future. The ph drops test kit is difficult to get accurate.

The CO2 is now running at 18cc/min at 40psi, no issues today. I did extend the photoperoid two hours to 9 hours (10am to 7pm). The CO2 is still turning off at 4pm, but I figure with the CO2 built up a bit in the reactor at this point in the day the concentration will stay high long enough to push the light longer. The drop checker id a nice green color. I want to get a 7pm ph reading. That will be my goal over the next few days. I really should get a working ph pen....

Only struggle right now is a bit of cloudy water. I am wondering if it is due to some of the plants that were emersed that are transitioning to submerged. I have two packets of purigen, 300ml carbon, and had been running UV for a couple days. Still a little cloudy. Water change coming soon, I'll see if that helps.

Also, there is some green algae still present on the glass and rocks. I have been letting it go a bit and will give a deep clean during the next water change.

Wondering if I should add some Ottos or some other smaller algae eaters. I have four ottos in my 29, and really enjoy them. The biggies issue is how fragile they are when you first get them home from the store. No matter what I usually lose 1 in 3. Strange, because the ones that make it have nice big stomachs and are happy and fun to watch.

All fish are looking good and happy, eating well and enjoying the plants.

This turned into a much longer update than I planned, so if you made it this far, tha is for reading and I'll work on pictures soon!

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Discussion Starter #34
Sometimes running the UV actually makes my water cloudy during the first 48 - 72 hours. I'm assuming it is because it is killing off something in the water. I typically run it after tank maintenance when I'm pulling up plants and lots of organics are pulled up with them.
Interesting. I'll see what happens, as last night I turned off UV. I'll see what it's like tomorrow morning, and will likely try for a water change in the next day or two.

It's also just a SunSun build in UV, so not the most powerful from what I have read, but I figured it could help with some smaller issues that happen.

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Discussion Starter #35
Decent update here including cleaning, water change, water testing, and some new plants (will need some ID help).

Did a massive tank cleaning to remove all (haha not all...) algae from the glass and rocks on Saturday morning. Water was crazy cloudy when cleaning, so now I of course see a few spots that I have missed, however the tank is looking much nicer now. TDS maxed out around 290 before the change, and after the water change was about 250-- this was after adding my macros and micros for the day (my tap seems to be about 200). This left me to the huge calcium in my water debate, which I have another thread for. The short of it is, after using an API Ca test kit, I have determined my tap contains about 40ppm Ca, giving me ~10ppm Mg. With this, I will keep with my Mg dosing of an additional 7ppm or so weekly.

I think I am at a place now where I want to keep things consistent and give the tank a few weeks, with only my regular maintenance, water changes, and ferts. For the time being I'll keep with 3 days of macros, and daily micros.

Then I did some work with the plants. Today I purchased three new ones from my LFS, and I am not sure what everything is, so help is appreciated. Name or question at the top of each picture:

hygrophila pinnatifida- one portion gave me 3 plants



Some kind of hygrophilia- not sure what type, ID if you can!



Cannot at all remember what this one is



Here is a shot from the right



And the FTS



Thinking I am at a good place with plants for now. The dwarf sag will need to keep being trimmed until all new submerged growth is at a lower height than what it there now. The cyrpts are still transitioning to submerged, but beginning to throw out a few new leaves, which is good! The rotala wallichii is a bit funky at the moment, but I think with some time will come around. The ludwigia peruensis seems to be a bit of a slow grower right now, but again, I think a lot of the plants are just getting used to the new environment. I am thinking this tank will be more of the nature type aquarium, minus any wood. I am really starting to like how the right side of the tank is filling in, and how the plants will hopefully have some overlapping happening.

Stocking has remained the same for now, the bows are doing well and seem to be enjoying the tank, and the corys are loving the spot under the ludwigia broadleaf.
 

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Discussion Starter #36
Checking out the tank on lunch, and one of the turquoise was displaying pretty nice to one of the female turquoise. It is amazing to me how vivid the stripe can get, and how he can turn it on and off so quickly. It's reminds me of watching discovery channel back in the day and one of the cuttlefish changing colors. Caught a short video too. The rainbows are still young, so I don't get to see a whole ton if this behavior yet. What a beautiful fish!

 

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Interesting. I'll see what happens, as last night I turned off UV. I'll see what it's like tomorrow morning, and will likely try for a water change in the next day or two.

It's also just a SunSun build in UV, so not the most powerful from what I have read, but I figured it could help with some smaller issues that happen.

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I bought a 7W SunSun standalone UV last year and it definitely helped clear up some persistent cloudy water. Water was crystal clear!

I also have the 304B ready for my new 75g, and I've seen the deteriorating plastic in videos. I've also decided not to use the UV unless absolutely necessary, but if the baskets did break down, I would probably just carve out the middle of the trays and use a piece of PVC.

It might be worth modifying the on/off switch on the UV filter so that it can be put on a timer and it only runs a couple days out of the week. I had some great success in that tank raising keyhole cichild fry and every single one was healthy, never a disease in that tank, possibly because of protection from the UV.

However, I did use the 7W UV filter 24/7 for the past 9 months and the bulb just recently burned out. I didn't see any damage to the plastic last time I looked.

---------------
Your tanks are looking great. How did the lava rock under the sand work out? I've been trying to figure out how to terrace with sand and I figured it would always just slide down and expose what was underneath.
 

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Discussion Starter #38
Your tanks are looking great. How did the lava rock under the sand work out? I've been trying to figure out how to terrace with sand and I figured it would always just slide down and expose what was underneath.
Thanks! So far it is working well for me. I did also keep with the substrate supports (corrugated plastic sign material) as well as the lava rock to hold things in place. The lava rock definitely helped me build higher, and the supports are placed such that I am not having issues with sand rolling down. Once the monte carlo gets rooted, I'm sure that will help also.

As for the built in UV, I have been trying to only run it one day a week, 24hrs after a water change. I figured I could add the PVC sleeve others on YouTube did if needed, but prefer to avoid that if possible. I don't want to destroy all the bio media from UV exposure before I catch any issues! I suppose I could be preventative and sleeve it before failure. I wonder if anyone on the forum has had that issue. Maybe I'll start a thread on it.

Someone locally to me is selling 36W coralife standaling UV pretty cheap, and I'm trying to control my impulses. That also seem like a massive amount of power, but is standalone. I wonder of that amount of power would kill off everything, including disease? I could easy put it on a timer too... :-X exercises impulse control...

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Discussion Starter #39
So a while ago on my 29 gallon tank, I added 12 total feet of Phillips Hue Gen 2 LED strips to bring in some color (6,500K on top of my Beasmswork DA FSPEC at 10,000K) and have been enjoying the look, plus the higher light range that is becomes (no idea on PAR with the Phillips Hue added). With that said, I happen to have 12 more feet 'laying' around the house, so how could I resist the urge to DIY something out of them for the 55 gallon.

The Beamswork DA FSPEC I have on it now does a decent job with pearling some plants, but leaves some shaded areas, and is not exactly giving me all the color I am looking for. So with some of the material I used for the substrate supports (corrugated plastic signs) I cut a 48 x 4 inch section, and placed the 2 6ft strips on it. Here is what it looks like from the underside and top.





Now here is a comparison of the colors (if you can tell... in person it is extremely evident!)

Only Beamswork DA FSPEC


All lights



I have no idea what the PAR values are, however I did use my phone as a Lux meter 1 inch under the light. Here were the readings:

DA FSPEC 48" LUX ~26,000
DIY Phillips LED LUX ~14,000

It 'seems' to me that it's not quite like adding a Beamswork DHL 6500K 1W that I have been thinking about (which would I believe more than double my current PAR), but this should add a decent amount of light. Maybe give me ~50% more par? All very rough. For what it is worth, my 29 gallon with the same set-up gives me the same LUX readings.

According to this thread (http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...-fspec-dhl-6500k-par-lux-kelvin-pur-data.html) at the substrate I should have ~50 PAR, so maybe up to around ~75 now?

Almost right away (water is saturated with CO2 already) I noticed a substantial increase in pearling of the plants. I'll have to keep an eye out for nutrient levels, TDS, and any other signs of imbalance, but already am pretty excited about this.

The coolest part about the Phillips Hue strips is they are completely controllable for kelvin tempature, dimming, and even RBG color (they are RBGW LED Strips). So now I have both tanks on a little ramp up and ramp down. Cool little DIY toy to play with.

Note: I would not recommend anyone go out and purchase these strips for this purpose. They cost ~$80 each, and I have no idea the PAR values. The ONLY reason I did this is I ended up getting these a couple years ago at an AMAZING deal and had some extras (most used for under-counter lighting purpose, which they work amazing for!). Just felt I should give that PSA! :wink2:

Also, another side note, the black backdrop has those water marks from the previous inhabitants of the tank (African Cichlids) and are battle scars of the splashing that would happen from the endless fights. Its just simple acrylic paint from the craft store, so easily scratched and shows water marks like none other. Should be fine once plants start growing in, I hope... :grin2:
 

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Discussion Starter #40
I waited nearly a week to post, but I have added six otocinclus catfish as of 5/23, and I am happy to report that all are doing well. They should be, as I have enough algae to support at least a dozen of them... Here is a pic of when they were first introduced:




Now as for day, I also did a little upgrading of my DIY phillips hue lights, they are now mounted to a 1x4 rather than a corrugated plastic sheet:laugh2:! Hopefully this will hold up better. Only issue is I somehow damaged a few of the white LED's, maybe six of them in one section, but life goes on.






Went through a did a water change and cleaning of the tank today, the whole holiday weekend thing threw stuff off. Did the normal scrape the algae off the glass, but didn't have time to get after the rocks as I only had about an hour for the two tanks. 55 gallon TDS was 350 pre, 285 post (and after a dose of macros) on tap water of 200. I did take some time to trim back melting leaves, any dwarf sag that was growing too tall, and also trimmed the monte carlo for the first time. The MC is showing some nice new growth and roots, so it was nice to take away some of the melting leaves. Still more to go. It is also very evident there is a lot of algae left on the rocks- just not enough time today to get at it. I didnt realize how much there was in person, it was the pictures that made me go oh wow! I am thinking this is spiking right now because of so many plants transition and having melting leaves. The EI dosing is staying the same for now, though after much reading I am considering front loading the macros and moving away from CSM+B and using custom micros. Still thinking and reading up on that, might make the change in a couple weeks if I do.



I did trim up the rotala wallichii, it was just growing awful strange to me. So here is to using hope as a strategy (for now) that they will grow in nicer and that they can reach the top before I trim them again.

I moved the hygrophila pinnatifida sections to a better place to get more light, flow, and space to grow. They are already showing new growth after only a week. I feel that I am going to be enjoying this plant.



Staurogyne repens growing well, though I cannot keep this algae off the leaves. Quite frustrating as I really want a nice lush carper of this.



Shot of the left side



This guy wanted to say hi!



And last but not least, the FTS- those rocks though... need to bust the toothbrush out. If anyone had feedback on something I might be missing for this algae, it is more than welcome!

 
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