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Discussion Starter #41
Lot’s going on over here-

New Plants
New custom micro dosing
Cleaning
Purchased new light (waiting on delivery)
pH meter- separate thread

So to start with, I added some stems of hygrophila angustifolia, baby tears- Micranthemum micranthemoides, and ludwigia ovalis. Will update the first post with all plants in the tank, but at my count there are 16 different species. I think I need to stop for the time being, or at least if I get something new, pull something out to put into the 29 gallon (which is a disaster… yikes…)





After a lot of reading, research, and contemplating, I have decided that using CSM+B for micros is not the way that I want to go. Some of the trace elements are such small quantities there is no telling what my tank is getting every time I dose. I also wanted to use DPTA Fe vs the EDTA that is in the CSM+B. With that said, I reached out to @burr740 who has put together an amazing package that includes the 6 micros in reasonable quantities for an amazing price. I added on the DPTA Fe as well, so in the mail today came all 7 trace elements. The Fe will be the first element to run out on me, and I have at least 3 years’ worth. The NiSO4.5H2O I have over 19 years’ worth!! I feel like I got an incredible value, and at the same time saved some $$$ not buying large, unnecessary quantities of everything. I know there is a thread on this, and that people are already working together, but it is the way to go IMHO!

Now for the dosing. I am starting with that Burr recommended that people have been using which is the following:

Fe - .15 ppm
Mn - .075 ppm
B - .03 ppm
Zn - .055 ppm
Mo - .0015 ppm
Cu - .002 ppm
Ni - .0005 ppm

I added all of this (by the mg- using rotallabutterly.com) to a 16 oz bottle with a 1.25oz pump. I am not sure if it is 100% metered, however testing 8 pumps about 10 time, I came up with the same number of ml which was 10 (10/8 = 1.25). I then added 10 ml of distilled vinegar to 450 ml of distilled water, and added everything into the 16oz bottle. Capped it tight, and shook it like crazy. Everything looks dissolved, but as per recommended I am letting in sit for 24 hrs before my first dose. Right now I think I will stay with macros 3x and then micros 3x. Once things settle in a bit more I may experiment with front loading, but not ready to make that move yet.

On my latest cleaning and water change today, the tank has been showing noticeably less algae. I have been working on getting the CO2 to a high level (more on this next). The rocks seem to be what is collecting the most green algae, and are a lot of work to scrape off. I did most of them, but did leave a few rocks. Not sure if in time it will go away on its own, or if I have created myself a bigger issue. The only other thing I do see, is some of the rocks are getting a dark brown to black algae that is showing in little spots. Again, only on the rocks, and it did not scrub off. I am wondering, could this be BBA? I’ll keep an eye on it…



Now for the lighting. I could not resist, as I was able to find a Beamswork DHL 1W 6,500K for about $40 shipped from a certain website who shall not be named. It is set to be here on Wednesday. This should put me at 100+ PAR at the substrate according to the Beamswork thread measurements (including the DA FSPEC). I am really excited for this, and think I have my CO2 dialed in pretty good at this point.

Which brings me to the pH meter that I purchased from Amazon this week. I have a seperate thread on it here: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...-ph-drop-review-levels-co2-concentration.html

The short of it is I am getting, according to the pH meter and degassed tank water, a ~1.8pH drop. Seems pretty crazy to me, but there are absolutely no issues with the fish in the tank. I still have a hard time believing this drop, so I will keep checking. This is more for my education and discovery at this point. I know that if the plants are happy and pearling, and the livestock is happy and healthy then the actual number do not really matter. I think for me it is knowing things are going well before upping the lighting to double Beamswork fixtures.







 

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Discussion Starter #45
Tank is coming along nicely. Interested to see how the new micros work out
Thanks burr! I really am excited about the micros too. In the pre custom micros world it was amazing to see the new growth on the ludwigia ovalis starting to color up after just 3 days in the tank! It will be fun to see how things work out in this new world.
 

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Discussion Starter #46
Changing EI Dosing- Front load and up PO4

I will have more of an update later on lighting (added a Beamsworks DHL) but before WC day comes up, I wanted to gather some feedback on dosing. @Greggz I have put my dosing in your format to keep things simple for everyone (thanks for sharing your file!).

My thought is going to front loading all the macros. Take a look, and please feel free to provide feedback on this. The main change from what I am doing right now is nearly doubling the PO4 to 8ppm. I am getting some annoying green algae and I thought giving this a try might help. CO2 and lighting should be good.

Thanks for any feedback and discussion on this, much appreciated.

 

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Discussion Starter #47 (Edited)
This is a partial update again here. I'll give a real nice one when I get a few moments to organize it, but I wanted to share a trim and little rescape I did (waterchange will happen tomorrow morning, so forgive some algae on rocks and glass...)

I have removed the water sprite as it was just out of place and I never really wanted it to begin with. I also pulled out the rotala wallichii :-(. It was growing poorly and just seemed to be an algae magnet... out of 20 or so stems, there were maybe three nice ones. Oh well, moving on. Finally down to just one of each crypt. There were just too many before. Now my 29 is loaded with them, but that tank will get an overhaul sometime this month.

I did a massive trim on the ludwigia broadleaf, leaving the rooted parts and expanding the section, replanting the tops. Also the ludwigia ovalis was trimmed, replanted and expanded. Between them I replanted the baby tears and then gave it a good trim. My hope is this gets it growing well, as the store growth is pretty poor.

The hygrophila angustifolia section is now a little larger and in place of the watersprite. The baby tears former space is where my single pogostemon erectus stem is. It seems the main stem was abandoned when planting in my tank, but there is new growth that I am trying to encourage to take off. I would really like a few stems to come out of this for the tank. Will take time and patience it seems!

The monte carlo is growing well, though some older leaves are getting algae growth. I am thinking before water change time tomorrow I'll trim and siphon the MC.

Dwarf sag is doing well and growing runners everywhere. I'll let it go a bit more before pruning it. Also the hygrophila polysperma is being to really take off. Curious to see where this plant ends up.

The pinatifada is doing alright. I think it may be abandoning the old stem and focusing on new growth for each plant. Old leaves melting and falling, but starting to get some new shoots that seem to grow pretty quick.

Here is the before and after. Like it better, but still not there yet. The left side seems off to me.


 

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Discussion Starter #48
Did the cleaning on the tank this morning. Trimmed the monte carlo, and tried to remove the utricularia gibba that I found entwined within some of if. Quite irritating.... and hard to see...



I am still tossed up on keeping the algae on the rocks. In the pictured it looks way worse than in person, and it takes a tremendous amount of work to clean them. Last night I scrubbed one (you can tell in the picture in the post above), and did not do anymore today before the water change. Really torn on this one. I might have to give one good scrub with the stainless steel brush next week to get rid of any stubborn BBA spots that have formed, then let it go, only spot cleaning going forward.

I also cleaned out the pre-filter canister today, it was pretty dirty and may have been adding to some of the algae issues. I added in a 100 micron polishing pad on the top. We will see if this helps, and how long the pad lasts before needing cleaning. I just hope it can last a week without killing my flow!

The dosing is now the same from two posts above, front loaded macro for the week and upped the PO4 to 8ppm.

Also, I am now running dual Beamsworks fixtures: DS FSPEC and DHL 6500K 1W. Looks like substrate should be just around 100 PAR at this point in time. Really digging the look of the lights, and really enjoying the major amount of pearling that I am getting! Right now I am running the DHL at the back of the tank. It has a little more PAR, and is a bit yellow, so having the FSPEC up front seems to help balance the light. I am also hoping this will help the stems grow a little straighter, not trying to bend to the most powerful light. Now that the ludwigia stems are mainly growth from my tank, things should start to come in nicer.

Moved the drop checker to near the bottom of the tank, opposite the canister filters spray bar. Still getting the same yellow color as before, so it seems the CO2 dispersion and flow through the tank is good. All the pearling is a good sign too!

I also noticed my flowmeters dancing a bit with their flow rates, and would you believe it, I am out of CO2 (well down to ~550PSI, but that means only gas left). So I did find some time today to run to the beer store and grab a new cylinder. This time I opted for the 10lb tank. So according to my math, and this is very rough math to be taken with a grain of salt, the 10 lbs should last about 130 days, or just around 4 months (this is my 55 and 29, which use around 25 and 15 cc respectively. Added 5 cc/min to be conservative allowing for error and any CO2 loss in the line... no science there).





Also in are the pH calibration packets, so tomorrow I'll re-calibrate and keep some 4pH solution to keep the pen in when not being used. Hopefully I'll get some good readings now!
 

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just read through this.. very nice progress, like how the plants have taken off and filling in all the spots, looking forward to the update!
 

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Discussion Starter #51
just read through this.. very nice progress, like how the plants have taken off and filling in all the spots, looking forward to the update!
Thank you- I have been enjoying working on this and learning, and at the same time documenting this to recall my progress! It is starting to fill in a bit better.

A sea of green... Where's the colour? :)
Oh, I am with you on this one, and those pictures make it even more green. The ludwigia peruensis is just not yet dominant enough, and I am getting algae growth on the old leaves, so only the top 5 or so look red.

The ludwigia ovalis is really starting to get a nice pink'ish color to it right now, but not there yet, and also is right next to the peruensis and the broadleaf, who is having the same issues as the peruensis.

Might try to get a full tank shot tonight when there is not so much glare everywhere.

I am thinking some AR Mini would be nice, or maybe even just full on AR. What else could bring some nice color into the tank?

 

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Discussion Starter #54
Well the Bows sure do have a lot of color!

Looking good!
Thanks, I am really enjoying them. So happy I decided to go this route from the african cichlids. They are a ton of fun, beautiful, and peaceful.

Side note, I have been feeding them flakes and frozen blood worms. Fed once a day, and the blood worms maybe 2-3 times a week. Anything that you would recommend being a keeper of bows for many years?
 

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This is super helpful Greggz! Thanks for sharing. Is there a particular routine you follow / recommend? I currently have 4 type of food (blood worms, frozen shrimp, flakes, pallets) that I cycle through - i.e., the fish get each of these four once every 4 days. I want to make sure I learn from your tried and tested (and successful!) practices.
 

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Personally New Life Spectrum pellets are my staple food. I feed one tsp per day, lightly dropped on the surface in small pinches. Only enough each time that it is mostly all eaten on the way down. Loaches get whatever makes it to the bottom. After that they get a couple of pinches or cubes of one of the others shown above. I feed five times a week and only once a day.

If I have really small ones growing out, I might add a dash of NLS flakes, Tubiflex, blood worms, or black worms to anything else, as they are smaller and easier for the small ones to get. I want to make sure they are eating, which can be tricky with a bunch of very fast moving large Bows in there.

I don't feed any frozen foods, as I found a correlation between frozen foods and algae. When I cut them out, I noticed an immediate change. I use all dry/freeze dried foods. Other than the pellets, I soak the others in a cup for maybe 20 minutes before I toss them in.

In general, I feed a lot less than most might imagine with a fully stocked tank of mostly mature Bows. I'd rather err on the side of too little than too much. It takes a bit of self control, as Rainbows are always hungry, and you could feed four or five times per day, and they would eat. Problem is that is not really good for the Bows or the tank in general, so best to resist the urge.

Hope that helps. In general, if your Bows and plants are healthy and growing, then I am sure you are doing just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #58
@Greggz thanks for sharing your experience and advice on feeding. I will have to try the pellets. Good to know about soaking freeze dried before feeding too. I have always hated using freeze dried because of how it just kind of floats and sticks in the tank. I'll give it a try.

I have been using frozen blood worms, but maybe at some point I'll try cutting them and see if I notice anything. I feel like there are many things contributing to my algae right now!
 

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Discussion Starter #59
Micro Mishap, perhaps?

So I was just looking through my math on the Micros, and realized that I used the ZnSO4.7H2O for my calculations on rotalabutterly vs. using Zinc Sulfate Monohydrate 35.5%. So this give me 1.65 grams added vs. the 1.04 that should have been added to my 450 mL of water. If I do the math on the calculator, adding 1.65 grams of Zinc Sulfate Monohydrate to my 450 mL actually gave me 0.09 ppm of Zn vs. the 0.055 recommended.

I am still far too new to this to know, but anyone have thought to the effect this can have? I have been dosing this just about two weeks at this point, and things are surely looking better than with CSM+B. Algae seems to be slowing (not stopped), colors seems to be coming in. I also started front loading macros at the same time, so a few changes happening.

Thoughts on the Zn?
 

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In general, I feed a lot less than most might imagine with a fully stocked tank of mostly mature Bows. I'd rather err on the side of too little than too much. It takes a bit of self control, as Rainbows are always hungry, and you could feed four or five times per day, and they would eat. Problem is that is not really good for the Bows or the tank in general, so best to resist the urge.

Hope that helps. In general, if your Bows and plants are healthy and growing, then I am sure you are doing just fine.

I wish I could resist the temptation, but I've been trying to maximize the growth of my Keyhole Cichlids. This is why I admire your tank so much Greggz, amazing plants and big fish. Hopefully when mine are grown I can cut back on the feedings.

Over the past year I've experimented with different things, CO2, fertz, lighting, and the only thing that seems to *really* make a difference in algae is prodigious maintenance and cleaning, frequent trims, treating problem areas as they arise, and cleaning the canister on a bi weekly basis. Over filtration is probably the key.

Algea is like grafitti. Once there is some grafitti, there will soon be ALOT of grafitti. You have to stay on top of it. Clean up all the trash. Clean it off the walls, and hopefully the neighborhood will stay nice. I don't know if the pro tanks are so nice because they are constantly working on them, or because they have reached stasis.
 
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