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Discussion Starter #21
As far as the cycling goes- it hasn't happened often with me, but I've had similar experiences. I'd say it only happened about 3 or 4 times. Normally it takes about a month unless I also use hardscape, a small amount of substrate and a few plants from very mature tanks, then it takes about a week and a half. From your test results you're very well cycled and your plants are definitely eating up ferts quick. I'd say at this time it's most likely the lack of appropriate nutrients and abundance of light being a potential driver of your algae bloom. But, hey- you quick cycled your tank in record time- that must've been one very mature and well working filter!!
Plants from mature tanks help the cycling phase? That would explain a lot... About half of the plants in this tank come from my other tanks which are both over a year old by now.

Yes, I guess so.. This filter has been on my 20 gallon for about 6 months, at that time the 20 gallon already 6 months old though. It is a filter that consists of about 80% bio media and only the bare minimum in fine and coarse sponges. Maybe that helped?

If lack of nutrients are an issue, I'm adding about 5 ml of ferts a day but if they soak those up that quickly I'll increase it. Do you have any advice on that point? Should I up the dosage by 1 ml for x amount of time before adding more or should I immediately up the dosage to something like 10 ml per day and see what happens?

I just have a bit of trouble really believing the tank is fully cycled and I can start adding in fish.
 

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Considering you don't have access to the robust testing capabilities in home that some of us do it's going to be a bit harder for you to find balance, but it definitely can be done. How you have it planned to increase ferts is exactly how I would do it, giving it 3 or 4 days to a week in between to see what effect it is having. I've been playing this game with my tank recently because the lfs I go to hasn't been able to get iron, magnesium or phos tests recently.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
It's good that you say that, my initial response to this would be to quite possibly overdose the ferts. If the plants can soak up the nutrients I give them in a matter of hours, wouldn't it be best to drastically increase the nutrients to keep up with the plants.

However I can see that ending very badly as well. Perhaps I'll try a 2 ml increase initially and see what that does after a week. Before increasing or decreasing anything further.

The big problem I see right now is that I still
am planning to finish the water change routine I set out for myself. So if I increase the ferts and see a better reaction this week when I'm doing 50% every 2 days. It might turn bad the next week when I change out 50% every 3 days.
 

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I can see that, that's where being able to monitor and adjust with smaller water changes can help. It usually takes a few days to build up to have excess nutrients "show" themselves. You're going to have to closely monitor your livestock when you're adjusting fert levels because they are going to show you more than your plants will at first. I 100% feel for you through this, but if you're diligent and observant I'm 100% sure you can and well come through this. It's going to be a like science project experiment but if you take it slow and have ample patience and an inquisitive mind it could be way more rewarding when you're finally balanced. That's how I'm feeling about my 40b now that it's finally coming together, I've been doing it with only a master test kit and tweaking ferts with just a master test kit. It's a drawn out task.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
I can see that, that's where being able to monitor and adjust with smaller water changes can help. It usually takes a few days to build up to have excess nutrients "show" themselves. You're going to have to closely monitor your livestock when you're adjusting fert levels because they are going to show you more than your plants will at first. I 100% feel for you through this, but if you're diligent and observant I'm 100% sure you can and well come through this. It's going to be a like science project experiment but if you take it slow and have ample patience and an inquisitive mind it could be way more rewarding when you're finally balanced. That's how I'm feeling about my 40b now that it's finally coming together, I've been doing it with only a master test kit and tweaking ferts with just a master test kit. It's a drawn out task.
Yeah, definitely.. I'd buy all the tests again if I could but it's not really in the budget.

You're probably right, with diligence and patience I'll get it right after a while. Tom Barr also made the theory that to a certain degree you can overdose ferts as long as you do the 50% changes every week right? Hopefully I can use that as a "buffer" until I get to the right dosages.

I have to be really honest here, I don't really know how ferts have an effect on livestock. Does it stress them out or get them sick?

40b is a breeding tank right? What are you breeding right now? I've never been able to get anything to breed. Although I also never build a tank to fulfill breeding parameters.
 

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I'm currently not breeding anything in it. I used to breed apistos in it, then I propagated plants in it (took plants from emerged to submerged for selling), then I retired and turned it into a low tech planted community tank. I've just got schools of cardinals, rummy noses, spotted cories, an oto I can't catch to rehome, 2 nerite snails and a trio of renegade male inbred guppy endlers hybrids left over from an infestation. I plan on getting a pair or a trio of rams, probably in a couple weeks if my tank stays stable.
I started breeding betta because it's really easy. After selling on consignment in my local area with my clippings and betta fry in got the opportunity to learn the breeding business from a conservational scientist/ commercial breeder. Breeding in a hobby level is fully of happy little accidents, it's basically hit or miss, unless it's livebearers lol. Breeding on a commercial level is a lot of work and super expensive. The easiest way to have some happy little accidents is to research breeding parameters and habitation of the fish you're interested in breeding and creating a biotope, single species tank. Once you get started, though, it takes hold of your life lol.

Depends on the nutrients how or if livestock will be affected.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
I'm currently not breeding anything in it. I used to breed apistos in it, then I propagated plants in it (took plants from emerged to submerged for selling), then I retired and turned it into a low tech planted community tank. I've just got schools of cardinals, rummy noses, spotted cories, an oto I can't catch to rehome, 2 nerite snails and a trio of renegade male inbred guppy endlers hybrids left over from an infestation. I plan on getting a pair or a trio of rams, probably in a couple weeks if my tank stays stable.
I started breeding betta because it's really easy. After selling on consignment in my local area with my clippings and betta fry in got the opportunity to learn the breeding business from a conservational scientist/ commercial breeder. Breeding in a hobby level is fully of happy little accidents, it's basically hit or miss, unless it's livebearers lol. Breeding on a commercial level is a lot of work and super expensive. The easiest way to have some happy little accidents is to research breeding parameters and habitation of the fish you're interested in breeding and creating a biotope, single species tank. Once you get started, though, it takes hold of your life lol.
Ooh wow, you have quite the track record it seems! Apisto's are great, I still want a 50 gallon at some point with some agassizii in them. It's difficult to find a vendor here that knows and allow you to pick genders but I want to go for either 2 pair or a 3:1 harem.

Cardinals are always fun but I'm not a fan of Nerite snails. As I said before, I have them in my 20 gallon and it's just filled with unfertilized eggs. Breeding betta doesn't seem easy, don't they try to fight just about everything that's similar to them?

Lucky you though, that you got the chance to work and learn alongside a scientist/commercial breeder. That must have done wonders in your ability to properly keep fish! I don't think I want to go through the trouble of setting up specific breeding tanks or breeding in general. I don't have the space to keep fry and I just don't have the heart to sell them.. The majority of the people I've met here aren't all too concerned about the comfort of the fish. Betta's being kept in a "tank" that's the size of a drinking glass, black ghost knife fish in a 10 gallon etc etc. I'd just feel like giving the fish a death sentence.

I wanted to wait off on my response a bit to see if any changes come about in the tank. So far the algae is growing quite long and fast.. Although the parts on the substrate where I completely pull it out stay completely clean. I put 3 SAE in there for now but they don't eat the algae on the substrate or plants. They seem to be more preoccupied with cleaning the glass. Can it be that the algae is too long/thick for them eat?
 

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It might be too thick or unappealing to them- no algae eater is 100% just sae tend to grace on a lot of bushier stuff that others like oto won't touch. I know they will take care of some bba and some thread algae.

Betta are truly not what people think. It's more about having patience and finding a pair that are interested in each other. All they requires is 2 cups with with the male and female in them- hold them together so they can see each other. The female will get stripes as the male flashes at her if she's receptive, then it's just giving them a tank with no surface agitation, dimly lit, preferably with surface plants and hiding areas. The male will start making a bubble nest and usually within a month you'll have fry. Betta are not good parents, though, lol. The males especially, they eat their babies so you have to separate parents from fry.

When I bred apisto I was very lucky and the 3 proven pairs were given to me. Most people start with a harem and work their way from there.

The time I spent studying under my mentor was the best 4 years in fish keeping I've ever had. It taught me a lot about the difference between keeping fish alive for my entertainment and giving them a true habitat and watching them entertain themselves.

I get upset over the cups, it's just not enough. A heated walstad bowl (3.5 gallon) is actually better for a betta than a heated 10 gallon tank that's sparely decorated.

Lol, yea, breeding takes a lot of work when you are doing it to make a living and it takes the fun right out of it. Plus you lose a lot of up to date tank tech because of the physical and mental demands. When you've made tanks specifically for breeding that are pretty much hands off other than fry or parent transfer you don't get to experience the same level of thrill as when it happens by accident in your tank. You also don't get as attached to the fry because you're too worried about when they're going to grow enough to overwhelm your filtration and what happens if you don't sell all of them (if there's too many) or how am I going to fill all these orders (if there's not enough). It's not something I would ever suggest to people that aren't patient experiment buffs.

I have quite a history in aquatics, but I am way out of my element as a hobbyist now because of it. The understanding and technology of planted tanks has advanced so much now and my walstad/ NTP methods are pretty antiquated now so I'm trying to catch up with modern tech.
 

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Discussion Starter #29
Well, I'll see what they'll do for another week or so. Maybe they'll get appetite for it if the algae on glass is finished. Otherwise I guess I'll just have to remove it all manually, what I removed completely hasn't regrown in 3 days now. I'd just prefer to avoid that as it most likely always means uprooting practically every Repens in the tank.

The first fish I had was a betta but I couldn't really make it work... I placed him in a densely planted 20 gallon with a school of neons at first. That ended up in 4 dead neons overnight. I then tried to keep him with a school of cardinals, which had the opposite effects. The cardinals chased him into hiding whenever he came out in the open. I gave him back to the store after that.

The only had happy little accidents with shrimp but that's not much of an achievement. Why would you forfeit all lot of the newer or higher tech though? Also, what is NTP?
 

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NTP is "no tech planted". Requires using a capped dirt substrate, only supplemental lighting of needed and none/ very little filtration. That was the pretty much the only way to keep a lush planted tank in the old days. Never had the choices of plants that are available now, lighting, fertilizer, co2 injections readily available as installable units- none of this was available when I started so I haven't kept up. Walstad are basically no maintenance and worked well for my work, only high tech planted I had was a plant only tank to change emergent to submergent for selling purposes. Not at all conducive for animal life.
 
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