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10 year 60cm tank... did some maintenance

erwin123

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Plants
Weekly update. The A. Senegelansis is a big plant and I think the first plant that is standing tall next to the Lily Pipe outflow right behind it. So its doing a good job in helping to obscure the Lily Pipe, usb pump, and Twinstar Nano in the left rear corner. Everything else I've tried gets 'bent' by the water flow. Of course I dread having to uproot it to trim it - wonder how big a root system it has already - to withstand that water flow.

The one in the middle is turning more red than the ones at the side. The Pantanal appear to have revived after stunting when I reduced the dosing to 10ppm NO3.
I had the trim the nice sideshoot of the A. Pedicatella as it grew too tall, but the new growth appears wrinkled. I got the plant submersed from another hobbyist and I suspect that the tank conditions are very different from where it was raised. Submersed to submersed adaptation may actually be more difficult that emersed to submersed adaptation. I'll keep on trying but I might consider looking for emersed Pedicatella to see if there is any difference.
Another difficult submersed to submersed transition is A. Gracilis which had very rich pink leaves. The new growth is quite pale but I'm hoping that it will adjust and turn more red.
The Macrandra has to be trimmed and replanted - I'm surprised how extensive its root system is. Hoping it will complete its conversion from emersed to submersed soon.

Starxcote
I believe I'm at week 5 of my weekly Starxcote/Osmocote dosing. No change in NO3 test colour or TDS profile (i.e. if Starxcote is leaking nutrients, TDS should be rising compared to pre-Starxcote TDS levels). I continue to add Starxcote every week before water change. I'm hoping that the calcium inside can help the R. Floridas grow a bit better. For now, the Floridas are just acting as my CO2 alert system - anything wrong with CO2, they will be the first to go...

CO2
My CO2 is still not stable - I was in the midst of tuning and daily profililng to hit target 1.2 but the past few days I had to go to office, so I left the CO2 'untuned' but on the 'safe' side which meant less CO2 than optimal (i.e. as I haven't dialled in a stable 1.2 yet, and I don't want to gas my shrimp by overshooting the target while I'm at work). So there is still a little BBA which I will deal with once CO2 is dialled in.

Light
I shouldn't be increasing light without diallng in CO2 properly, but I have added a little bit to the rear light since there's no algae problem (algae yes, problem no :p) at the back of the tank, I've bumped up the rear light power a bit.
For reference, tank water surface to substrate is 33cm
Front WRGB2: 56%
(average of R+G+B levels )
Rear WRGB2: 65%
I'm probably on the verge of some major tank crash with this light setting, but until the Wallichii turns pink, I'll keep on going! 🌞🌞🌞

Ferts
Maintaining my "10ppm NO3 dosing" with 1.5ml of APT-EI daily (which was a reduced dose as a precaution in case Starxcote starting leaking into the water column). As mentioned earlier, I added 0.1ppm EDDHA-Fe via ice cubes into the substrate which seemed to go ok. If you notice the Hygrophila Araguia - its new leaves are quite red - internet says it is one of those that turns reddish with less nitrates
 
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erwin123

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I haven't posted many updates on my desktop low tech tank as its been neglected - I'm working in office more so the low tech tank has been left to its own devices (i don't turn on the desk lamp when I'm not around) with some window light.
The shrimp still seem happy but most of the growing is coming from the emersed growth which I suspect is probably 'stealing' most of the nutrients from the water column. The Monstera is still doing ok, with progressively larger new leaves
 

erwin123

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Just sharing an example of a bad pH profile to show that Tuning CO2 is not easy (at least for me). So whenever someone says they have algae or unhealthy plants but their CO2 is 'good', I'm wondering whether their CO2 is really 'good' - as I do find it a challenge (but an enjoyable one, I get to learn how to use Excel to create time graphs :))

While I found it relatively straightforward to tune in a 1.1 pH drop with about a 0.1pH variance, aiming for ph 6.25-6.20 which represents a 1.2-1.25 pH drop takes more effort.

I'm resorting to identifying the "overshoot" period where CO2 drops more than 1.25 (thats pH 6.2, the lower red line) and using the timer to turn off the CO2 for say, 15 minutes in the hopes that it will smoothen out the curves.

My tuning over the past few days was disrupted by a few things:
(1) I had to replace my main CO2 tank - I was tuning CO2 with a rapidly emptying tank, not a good idea - even if my regulator was dual stage, the amount of CO2 being pushed out the diffuser was apparently less notwithstanding that the bubble counter suggested everything was normal
(2) My 3-monthly clean of my Qanvee diffuser took place - it looks like if I want pH consistency, I will need to be cleaning the diffuser every month (maybe I'll just buy spares so I can do a 1-1 swap of the diffuser every month, and take my time to clean the dirty one.

Finally, I don't know what happened, but after Co2 turned off, the pH dropped a lot . I measured in 5 minute intervals after detecting the drop to verify that it did drop. I'll measure again tomorrow to see if this is repeatable. My understanding if there is an big dump of CO2 stuck in the diffuser, most of it is wasted and won't drop pH that much.
 

erwin123

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Weekly update.

Ferts
Reducing water column by 10% from 1.5ml to 1.3ml of APT EI daily
Continued weekly addition of Starxcote and EDDHA-Fe ice cubes to substrate.

Plants
Had to trim the A. Sengelansis on the left... several attempts needed to replant them as they kept on floating away.
I had an A. Pedicatella sideshoot growing fine, but after it got too tall and I had to trim and replant, the new leaves started to wrinkle up. But recently, it showed signs of improving. I'm cutting water column dosing by 10% and we'll see how it goes. My L. Pantanals still seem ok.
R Macandra ('narrow leaf') - has been a few weeks since I planted their emersed form. When I pulled them out to replant they had extensive root systems and have been branching, just that the colours and lower leaves are not the best. Will have to monitor. The video of my drop checker has a better view of the Macandra's issues.

Lights
Continued increasing the lighting in 1% increments. Now at:
Front - 59%
Back - 70%

CO2
After tweaking CO2 for several days and causing stunting and BBA due to CO2 instablility, I'm leaving as it is relatively stable and bottoms out at a max 1.29pH drop. Drop checker is green so it all likelihood my degassed water (which was degassed outdoors in the warm sun for 24 hours) contains only 2ppm CO2, and 1.3pH drop translates to 39.9ppm CO2. Will slowly spot dose the BBA with APT Fix.
 

erwin123

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I tweaked my 11 year old camera colour balance. I think its so old its colour balance sensor is being fooled by the WRGB2's RBG LEDs? Was planning change my camera to a Sony mk IV but its local release appears to have been delayed :)

Interesting to see the growth of Ammannia Senegalensis and Gracilis in a week. Would Starxcote have anything to do with it? (after all I reduced water column dosing) Did a major trim and replant of the L. Senegalensis. Speaking of ridiculously fast growth, the R. Blood Reds have been growing like crazy as shown in this weeks' photo compared to previous weeks. I have kept to my usual maintenance routine for them but its not enough... I have to let them overgrow or shorten the maintenance intervals. I'm not sure what caused them to grow faster (more light? [I always feel like a heretic when I say 'more light' in UKAPS? 😅] I also dumped some spare cuttings on the left side to see if they can help hide the Lily pipe and maybe provide additional background colour. There are a couple of other journals growing A. Pedicatella (i.e. "Golden") - closely following them to get more tips on how to help it 'unstunt' in my tank.

Ferts
Maintaining my 10% reduced dosing of APT EI at 1.3ml a day with no apparent ill effect despite increasing light at the same time. I will reduce it further to 1.2ml a day for the coming week and monitor. If successful, I might even go for 1ml a day.... it will help my bottle of APT EI (aka 'dilute water') to last longer.. though there's always the risk that Pantanal will stunt in protest at less plant food...

Water Circulation
The advantage of having a crowded tank is that I can install an additional usb pump at substrate level (on the right-rear amongst the Syngonanthus, water flow pointing forward to the front of the tank) and can hide the wire easily... (good work by those Blood Reds!) Flow is king and maybe can help mitigate the effects of pumping up the light....

My light levels are now:
WRGB2 Front: 63%
WRGB2 Back: 71%
Inching towards a crash, 1% at a time. Where's my pink Wallichii? 😁
 
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erwin123

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Weekly update

Plants
Had to remove the A. Senegalensis on the right as it was growing too big and I was running short of space. It ended up shading one of the Pantanal which was not happy and I think has started to stunt. This will also make space for the Pedicatella.

Took a photo of my R Macandra Narrow leaf for reference. To the left is my Buce 'Wavy Green' which for some reason never sprouted the sort of dark green leaves I see in photos. It's always been this way even when I was dosing a lot more APT EI. Oh well, at least its leaves are not rotting away. The Buce behind the Wavy Green is called 'Red Serenade' which is actually a rather accurate name as its new leaves are quite red.

Ferts
Current dose is 1.2ml APT EI a day. For next week, I'm moving to 1.1ml a day. Hoping that A. Pedicatella will continue unstunting. Currently not very pretty, but good to have a photo as a baseline to see if there is any improvement (whats the point of taking a photo only when everything is perfect?) 😅 Will compensate with more Starxcote and root tabs into the substrate....

Shrimp
Cheap (aka lower grade) Bee Shrimp (the one with the black stripe) appeared in my LFS. As these are the same species but generally hardier than CRS, I decided to get some to see if they would survive and breed in a CO2 injected tank. My tank is GH6, TDS 130 which is within the range. The temp is a bit high at 25-26 degrees but local breeders are likely to breed them in warmer waters than in colder countries.


Light levels - I only increased by 1-2% over the last week
WRGB2 Front: 65%
WRGB2 Back: 72%
 

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