The Planted Tank Forum banner

1 - 20 of 35 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,062 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Welcome to the Snail Glades journal, an UW zen garden for inverts with the superficially pretentious name. When a teenager spontaneously bursts out with such a description, however, you run with it, no questions asked. :) Constructive criticism is truly appreciated. Pics are coming soon.

This is a 7.5g planted invert tank bursting with life and struggling toward some semblance of beauty. We have multiple types of beautiful nerites, a very active mystery snail for comic relief, a why-arent-they-breeding colony of Bloody Mary neocaridina shrimp, and several green babaulti caridinas, who may get around to breeding on their own time. Conditions aren't quite yet right for the third shrimp species, OEBT, caridinas that won't crossbreed with the babaulti.

Originally this was going to mostly a moss, rock, and sand tank, but I decided to try a monte carlo carpet and so upgraded the light. Now the monte carlo's gone and I have added mayaca, cyperus helferi, and - most importantly - amazon frogbit to the tank to bring the lighting under control. It's only 28-30 mMol of PAR at the substrate, considered at the higher end of low lighting, but that's still enough to cause the mayaca to pearl on occasion. That's something I'd never expected to see in a low tech, no CO2, no Excel tank.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,062 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
This started off as a tapwater tank but is transitioning to tiger parameters using distilled water (DI) and Salty Shrimp GH/KH+ This switch coincidentally led me into some serious issues with a whitewater bacteria bloom, followed by a greenwater bloom, none of which responded as I'd expected from my previous experience in aquarium keeping several years ago. Thanks to @DaveKS the issue is almost resolved.

The tank in distress:
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,062 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Here are current shots of the tank. I've replaced most of the old cyperus helferi and somehow wound up with considerably more than intended. I think I'll move the smallest to that center position and take the ones there to the left side to create the illusion of a wider field of view.

Still looking for black rubber bands for the filter guards.

The process of lowering the GH for the tigers continues slowly. A knot in the airline tubing I'm using to slowly drip the lower GH water into the spraybar flow loosened unexpectedly, resulting in a bit of osmotic shock to the shrimp. The babaulti swam around frenetically while some of the Bloody Marys spontaneously molted but all survived. A couple of small horned nerites did not over the following days.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,062 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Current issues:
- lowering the GH further (under control)
- stunting of the mayaca (under observation)
- thread algae in the mayaca and, to a lesser extent, in the mini-pellia (under observation).
- PO4 was ~2.0 after last WC (0.5g) while NO3 was only ~3.0 (I removed the melting cyperus, added a small amount of Flourish to the water column, and added Flourish root tabs for the mayaca and CH.)

I'd expected the shrimp and snails to deal with the thread algae.

If I'm unable to solve the stunting issue, I intend to replace it with vallisnera or rotala rotundifolia.

Bump: @Streetwise it's a Supreme Ovation 210 https://www.dannermfg.com/supreme-ovation-power-jet-filters
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,062 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
@somewhatshocked, once I have the OEBT safely housed, I'd like to add more snail species, though I'm increasingly constrained by tank factors and parameters. Thanks to the Flourish tabs, burrowing snails suddenly seem like a bad idea; otherwise, I'd love to have pagoda or chopstick snails, for example. KH and pH values for a tiger tank mean that the sun thorn nerites and marbled limpets that I'd especially like to keep would be pretty stressed at best, dead too likely.

That leaves the Zamboanga snail as the next candidate, along with other nerites.

Of course the big question is how many snails and shrimp can I keep safely in a nano tank without catastrophe.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,062 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
The process of adapting the water parameters for the blue tigers continues...with unexpected results.

I'm currently replacing WC water with distilled water (DI) remineralized using Salty Shrimp GH/KH+ to half-strength in an effort to reduced the overly high GH from an apparently mislabeled reactive stone that I removed a couple of weeks ago. It's a slow process to acclimate the snails and shrimp.

The goal*:
GH: 4.3-5
KH: 2.1-2.5
TDS: 171-200

* Doesn't include fertilizer dosing, still TBD. The values above are based on easily derived measurements for the SS GH/KH+, which itself is GH 6, KH3 @ normal strength.

Today's readings:
GH: 8
KH: 2
TDS: 215
NO3: ~3 ppm
PO4: ~1.0 ppm

The GH remains persistently high. Whether there's another undetected reactive stone or this is a function of the fertilizers in Flourish Comp or perhaps a Flourish root tab leaching into the water column, I'm unsure. I'm guessing the first but they all look similar.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,062 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Today's readings:
GH: 8
KH: 3
TDS: 205
NO3: 10 ppm
PO4: 0.1 or 2.0 ppm*

* This results from something I really dislike about the Sera kit: the use of dry chemical reagent. The directions call for a heaping measuring spoon of the reagent, but that leaves a great deal of leeway, as seen above. Either it's almost devoid of PO4 or it's rising toward saturation. Two of three tests indicated it was very low, so I added roughly 1/4 of 1/32 tsp (ie 1/128th tsp) to insure a safe minimum level.

Perhaps the thread algae problem was caused by an undetected PO4 deficiency. We'll see in a week or so. If that doesn't resolve it, the mayaca may be replaced by vallisnera nana, from which it's much easier to remove thread algae.

The floater canopy is proving too much for the cyperus helferi. I'm considering replacing it with golden and/or variegated anubias nana, though I'm not a fan of typical low-light plants.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,062 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Meet Jason the nerite. Yeah, that's the wrong side of the glass.

IMG_20191203_073226.jpg

Nerites have a reputation for going walkabout but Jason takes it to extremes. First thing every morning, even before turning on the coffeemaker, we check to see where the free spirit has wound up this time. Waldo might have been a better name...

IMG_20191207_083243.jpg

This isn't going to end well, buddy.

IMG_20191128_103709 (1).jpg

He was content to hang out there for over eight hours until I blinked and returned him to the tank just before lights-on. I wonder how long he would have stayed out if it hadn't been for that.

Unlike one other early inhabitant, he isn't suicidal - he always remains near the tank or just wanders all around the edges. The other one made a beeline for the basement stairs and wasn't found until far too late.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Today's readings:
GH: 8
KH: 3
TDS: 205
NO3: 10 ppm
PO4: 0.1 or 2.0 ppm*

* This results from something I really dislike about the Sera kit: the use of dry chemical reagent. The directions call for a heaping measuring spoon of the reagent, but that leaves a great deal of leeway, as seen above. Either it's almost devoid of PO4 or it's rising toward saturation. Two of three tests indicated it was very low, so I added roughly 1/4 of 1/32 tsp (ie 1/128th tsp) to insure a safe minimum level.

Perhaps the thread algae problem was caused by an undetected PO4 deficiency. We'll see in a week or so. If that doesn't resolve it, the mayaca may be replaced by vallisnera nana, from which it's much easier to remove thread algae.

The floater canopy is proving too much for the cyperus helferi. I'm considering replacing it with golden and/or variegated anubias nana, though I'm not a fan of typical low-light plants.
The correct measuring spoon usage (at least how I use it), for clean, dry (without lumps) reagent is just how much it keeps on the spoon if you dig it in the reagent up to the end of that U-shaped notch. Reagent will lay on it with a heap, as shown on picture. Do not shake that heap from the measuring spoon. Make sure you have shaken measuring glass well enough so all the cristals have dissolved (about 15-30 seconds). And only then start to count 5 minutes (although I did not notice any noticable change in color if the test were left on the table for more time).

At least that method gives me same readings as the JBL's PO4 test, so called sensitive. However, JBL test has more finely calibrated color table, with different colours for each 0.1-0.2 mg/l, which helps to distinct 0.1 from 0.2 clearly (depends on user's color perception). And the measuring spoon there is way better, same shape as in Sera's nitrate test (but obviously different size).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,062 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for posting that, @C_Spawn. I ran the test again, this time with a PO4 reading of around 2.0 ppm. So much for the theory about low PO4 causing the thread algae issue. I can't rule out some micro shortage but I suspect excess lighting is the issue.

One issue for me with the Sera test is the use of a white plastic spoon with a white powder reagent can make it difficult to see where the U-shape ends. My reagent may have been exposed to humidity because it will pile up on the cylindrical part of the handle and may also pile higher than normal on the spoon part itself, which may explain the odd readings last time.

Contrast that with the red plastic spoon in the Sera Nitrate test, which is easy to read and has always led to consistent readings. I guess it's a good thing PO4 isn't toxic at these levels.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,062 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Update

Fauna: We're up to a dozen snails, including one mystery snail. He's very active, especially compared to the nerites, and very hungry; as entertaining as his parasnailing antics can be, I can't see adding another mystery snail to the mix. Next up: a Zamboanga, a cappucino spike, and a red lip nerite, which should max out the snail zoo.

Shrimp: several of the Bloody Marys are berried, so that population should take off soon. The green babaultis are very active in comparison, zipping here and there, but seem more like adolescents than adults ready to breed. Still fine-tuning the water parameters before ordering any OEBT but we're getting close.

Flora: The mayaca is looking a bit ratty and may be replaced soon (see below), while the moss and mini-pellia are full and green. The amazon frogbit population exploded and I've given a high proportion of it away. A word of caution to anyone considering keeping Red Root Floaters with Amazon Frogbit: keep the RRF in a floater ring so it can't be overridden by the AF and eventually melted.


The thread algae issue in the mayaca hasn't gone away and the shrimp still aren't attacking it as they're often claimed to do. Again, it's probably the lighting, but I can't yet be sure it's not a micro deficiency.

For anyone keeping a planted snail tank: keep an eye on your PO4. Even with the Salty Shrimp and feeding almost daily, the PO4 can bottom out while the NO3 stays at 10 ppm. I've been supplementing with KH2PO4 to avoid adding more NO3 via Flourish Comp, but realized I've probably been letting micros crash by doing so, unless the Salty Shrimp adds enough itself. Now I'm wondering whether I should ditch the Comp and move to Flourish Trace instead.

Snail pics next time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,412 Posts
The thread algae issue in the mayaca hasn't gone away and the shrimp still aren't attacking it as they're often claimed to do. Again, it's probably the lighting, but I can't yet be sure it's not a micro deficiency.

For anyone keeping a planted snail tank: keep an eye on your PO4. Even with the Salty Shrimp and feeding almost daily, the PO4 can bottom out while the NO3 stays at 10 ppm. I've been supplementing with KH2PO4 to avoid adding more NO3 via Flourish Comp, but realized I've probably been letting micros crash by doing so, unless the Salty Shrimp adds enough itself. Now I'm wondering whether I should ditch the Comp and move to Flourish Trace instead.

Snail pics next time.
I've never seen Neocaridina do anything besides graze in hair algae. They don't eat the hair algae, just pick through what it's collecting. I've got Neo breeding tanks with a bunch of hair algae in it that I've just let go. They seem content to pick through it, and it killed the moss...so...
Supposedly, Amano will eat hair algae, but Amano also won't hesitate to snack on baby Neo's. If you hit the algae with some H2O2 and weaken/kill it, it will likely become a food source for everyone.

PO4 bottoming out is only an issue if you're seeing deficiency. Plants will sponge up and store PO4 for use as needed, so just because the tank reading is low doesn't mean the plants are starving. I'd continue using Flourish Comprehensive vs Trace, and use as normal. The amount of NO3 is very, very little, and it's a pretty good source of necessary micros. If plants are showing clear PO4 deficiency, then I'd just do as you're doing and add a bit of KH2PO4.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,062 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for inducing me to have a closer look, @mgeorges; it's all falling into place. There's chlorosis on lower shoots, slow growth overall, and steadily decreasing size of the stem tips; all indicative from what I've read of phosphorous deficiency, possibly a secondary micro deficiency as well. I've replanted the mayaca after trimming and mechanically removing the algae infestation and will commit to the Flourish dosing regime - we'll see how it goes after a couple weeks.

In other news, I spotted the tank's first shrimplet tonight. It's probably a baby Bloody Mary but I recently discovered a berried green babaulti, so who knows?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,062 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
It appears the issue with thread algae in the mayaca isn't going away: I've ruled out fertilizer depletion as a cause and I'm stymied by the inability to effectively utilize H2O2 for spot treatments because of the shrimplets. I'd really like to have myrio/ambulia/cabomba instead but those would be even more difficult to keep clean.

So I'm actively seeking suggestions on replacements. I need something that would fill up the back wall of the tank (remember, it's peninsula-shaped, so this would be the short side where the filter is) as a screen to minimize the view of the filter. It also needs to be robust enough that the algae can be removed manually without damaging the plant, but not with large leaves, which would make the rest of the tank appear disproportionately smaller. Rotala rotundifolia, vallisnera, and Creeping Golden Jenny (CGJ) immediately come to mind. I like using CGJ in aquascapes but the color wouldn't work that well here, especially if I add golden anubias nana later; the rotala is a good choice but something offbeat would be more interesting, i think; while vallisnera is the most robust and can work well with the floaters to reduce the excess lighting.

Any others?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,062 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Originally this tank was going to be nothing but sand, rocks, and mosses, sort of a small oasis on an underwater desert. For one reason or another, we're up to nine plant species and are looking to add more. I'm concerned about losing the sense of scale, that the rocks will be lost among all the plants, but I'm not very happy with the current setup either. Here's what we're considering:

Primary Wall_2.jpg

American shoreweed would go in the sandy area on the left front and ambulia on the right wall, replacing the low mayaca currently there. @DaveKS suggested a reddish or bronze crypt for the center of the tank.

Front Wall.jpg
Vallisnera nana would replace the moss on the left front of this pic; shoreweed on the right.

Secondary Wall.jpg
That's the emersed from of rotala indica (rotundafolia) in front of the filter. It's quite buoyant, so very difficult to plant in sand and keep that way. I'm considering replacing it with willow hygro for the streaming effect of its leaves in front of the spraybar

Back Wall.jpg
Ambulia on the left; willow hygro on the center and right; variegated anubias under the filter. Currently it's mayaca and the rotala.

Anubias wrestling.jpg
The anubias was originally placed in the void under the large rock. These knuckleheads are in the process of moving where they think it should go.

Everyone's a critic...
 
1 - 20 of 35 Posts
Top