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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Week 0
Day 1
10/21/2020

Hello everyone, this is the start of my journal for my 20 gallon planted aquarium. The tank was started around a week ago, but today is when all the plants are in.
First off let me tell you this: this tank was unplanned. My old tank was shut down and I had to move all the fish to this one. It was I think 40 some gallons. Did I want
white sand? No, I much prefer black sand, but this is all I had on hand. I had to get something going.

I'm currently trying to dial in the co2 to make it optimal, which is proving to be a boring and long process. The lights are for sure not the best, as I'm running a
crappy old finnex made for a longer tank, and a flood light. See? Not the best.

Stocking:
1x Angelfish
9x Danio
12x Neon tetras

Are these the exact numbers? No, probably not, but I tried.

Plants:
Rotala wallichii
Rotala rotundifolia blood red
Rotala Mexicana Goais
Pearlweed
Red tiger lotus
Dwarf hairgrass
Bacopa caroliniana
Ludwigia ovalis

I'm really curious as to what plants do well and what plants do not do well. So far my theory is that all of the rotala and ludwigia will suffer, the rest will do decent-ish.
I'll be honest with you; I do not have high expectations for this tank. Will I be happy if everything turns out well? Yeah I will, who wouldn't be?! Thing is, anything
can happen, and this tank was not planned. That's just how it is sometimes.

This tank is dirted with the same method I used in my last tank. There are some osmocote pellets in the substrate as well spread out. For now I'm doing 50% water changes
daily to remove the tannins and extra nutrients in the water column (ammonia and such). I'm hoping the plants will use a lot of it as well, but they are just getting
used to the tank for now. I'll be posting weekly updates (hopefully) and taking daily pictures so I can put it all in a timelapsed video later on. Cheers.


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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Day 32

Plants are doing pretty good as you can see! Everything is growing, but I have noticed that the bacopa, wallichii, and dwarf hairgrass are slow. My parameters seem to be within their ranges and co2 is doing good. I grew bacopa and hairgrass in lower light before so I am a bit confused as to what is going on with those, same substrate as well.

Most fish have been moved to another tank along with the canister filter, some neons are left behind that I am having trouble catching.

There is some algae that I have been trying to get rid of, and ever since I removed the canister filter, the water has gotten foggier. Bacterial bloom or algae bloom, what do you think?

Nitrates are 5ppm.

Sorry for lack of updates, I have forgotten to post.


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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Day 50

12/15/2020

Tank doing well. Rotala wallichii and bacopa caroliniana still not growing too much. Looking to upgrade light.

Bacterial bloom gone. Moved some plants around. Cleaned out co2 checker and put in new reagent, showed that I was adding too much co2 (no wonder it went down so fast!). Filled up co2 tank.

Trimming everything and replanting besides bacopa, that stuff barely grows. It did so well in my last tank, I just had a different LED. Getting a new one soon though!!

Stupid rotala rotund blood red is still growing horizontally, making me want to pull my hair out.

Saturday I do a 50% water change, dose 2 pumps of thrive+ and 2ml of kent marine's iron manganese.

Might need to dose 2x a week. What do you all think? Attaching pics of all plants. Getting a pic of the wallichii behind the pearlweed was really hard, sorry!


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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Long time no see. Anyone know what the best water parameters are for bacopa caroliniana and rotala wallichii? I'm running:

KH - 7dKH / 125.4ppm
GH - 9 dGH / 161.1ppm
Nitrates - 0ppm

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Day 65
12/29/2020

Merry Christmas everyone. I got a new light, the sbreef 18" freshwater LED.

I have the channels set on 55% and 25%. Day 1 my plants looked really red now they don't anymore, so I think the new light is causing them to use more nutrients.

I upped my dosing 2x. Here is what my maintenance/dosing looks like now:

Saturday:
50% w/c
Dose 4ml iron.
Dose 2 pump thrive+
Dose 3.5ml excel

Tuesday:
2 pump thrive+ and 4ml iron.

The "iron" is Kent Marine's Iron Manganese. Thrive+ is Nilocg's Thrive+.

I ordered some KNO3 as my nitrates are 0ppm and I know that can contribute to problems with rotala stunting. My co2 is yellow at end of photoperiod and greed mid-photoperiod. I even overdosed co2 before and that did not change the rotala, so this is what I have left:

NO3 being too low at 0ppm. I have GSA (green spot algae) which hints a bit at phosphates being too low, no?

Anyway, I moved my rotala mexicana goias to under the wavemaker/diffuser. Starting to trim dwarf hairgrass now.

Lighting (check)
Co2 (check)
Nutrients (nope)

My KH is also a bit high so I am going to mix in some RODI next water change and check out my levels then.

Wish me luck, and happy holidays yet again!


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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Day 71

Normally I would take a photo AFTER co2 has gone off, but my potassium nitrate just arrived in the mail ready for me to dose.

Took some tests today, shocking. Last water change, in an attempt to lower KH, 25% of my water change water was 0TDS RODI.

The test results for my tank water today had no changes, but staghorn algae appeared (usually an indicator of parameter fluctuation if I am correct). I will test again after co2 has gone off.

Doing 1/4 TSP KNO3 initial dosage, seeing what that boosts me to after 2 days (today is Tuesday, so I will test NO3 again on Thursday).

My dosing schedule now looks like this:

Saturday:
3 pumps thrive+
4ml iron and manganese
3.5ml excel

Tuesday:
2 pumps thrive+
4ml iron and manganese
1/4 TSP KNO3


I may add KNO3 to Saturday if it gets used up too fast, I just really want to test it for now.


In terms of maintenance, this Saturday I cut down my pearlweed to the base to make sure the center doesn't die from lack of light or flow.


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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Looks like it's time to dose more iron. Chlorosis been appearing on rotala, just got in iron test kit today and it says under 0.1ppm. Pretty crazy seeing that I dose 8ml a week of Kent Marine's iron & manganese (according to their directions, that's for an 80 gallon tank for 1 week. Mine is 20 gallons). Nitrates do not seem to have lowered at all in 1 day, so it seems I won't have to dose that very often. Good, I guess? I wonder how that will work out with water changes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hello journal, long time no see. Tank has been doing well. Photos are not edited, unless lowering camera brightness is editing.

I plan on doing a trim soon. It is out of hand.


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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
What the hell happened to my tank?

I did a big trim. Removed pretty much all of the plants and replanted the new growth. Did a water change on the no-water change tank to remove all the detritus.

I added a filter as well, as it was filterless.

This ruined my tank. I've tried to up the co2, that did nothing. I'm dosing 3x co2 currently and now the container is out.

Before and after photos shown. What the hell should I do? What went wrong? I tried dosing. That did nothing.


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Cutting back the plants mass and upping the ferts may have overdosed you. Adding a filter can possibly cause an algae bloom as well (certain algae will spread with circulation, other algae will shrink back with circulation- go figure). Does it smell bad? Another question is are you using dirt, aquasoil or inert?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Cutting back the plants mass and upping the ferts may have overdosed you. Adding a filter can possibly cause an algae bloom as well (certain algae will spread with circulation, other algae will shrink back with circulation- go figure). Does it smell bad? Another question is are you using dirt, aquasoil or inert?
Thanks for the reply. Dirt and sand. Thinking about removing the filter, but I feel like there's not enough plant mass currently to absorb the waste that the fish produce. I upped the dose only a few days ago. The plants have grown a bit, but none of the new trimmings, just some old stems that were buried deep within the sand.

It does not smell bad.
 
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