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33L Yellow Cube

robinj

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9 Aug 2018
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Europe
Hi, this will be a journal of my aquarium renewal. I came back to hobby after a few years, when I had 60L tank and full of novice mistakes. So, I decided to try what is somehow mainstream - qood looking small tank, lots of plants, good tech, CO2 etc.
I am not into hardscape and nature aquariums, cause my designs would suck, and when you do hardscape, it only looks good when you scale the plants to it - only small leafed looks good.
My first try didnt go well, so I decied to start again with learning from mistakes:
- in small tank with CO2, ferts etc you need to do water changes, I will do something like 30% twice a week after tank will be well runned.
- you need to know you water parameters...
- better to use powder type of soil in a small tank, and in my experience planting into japan soils sucks... I hope it will be better with Powder type.

My previous try is on barrreport: https://barrreport.com/threads/hi-guys-high-nitrates-issue.15415/

Tech -specs - OLD NEW
- 33L low-iron glass tank (30 x 30 x 35 cm)
- LED relector 15W 1450lm 6500K 10W 800lm 6000K
- Eheim classic 250 2213 (440L-hour), spraybar
[1L Seachem de*Nitrate, 250ml Seachem Matrix, some sponges up and down]
- Eheim Jager 50W heater
- Platinum Soil Black Powder substrate (cheaper kind of ADA Amazonia - tested in Polish here
- gravel sand
- no hardscape - root and black stones
- CO2 set, inline diffuser

Ferst/Chemistry
- Tropica Plant Growth Specialised Fertiliser
- liquid carbo each day?
- 30-40% waterchange twice a week
- Tetra Aquasafe
- Seachem Stability

Fish

- 1 Betta splendens Super Delta Blue/Red jumped out
- 20 Rasboras hengeli

Plants
Eleocharis parvulus
Rotala wallichii
Rotala russila
Limnophila sessiliflora
Pogostemon helferi
Echinodorus Rubin Narrow Leaf

Pistia stratiotes

Tap Water
Fe 0,03 mg/l
pH 7,44
Hardness 2,94 2-3,5 mmol/l
NH4+ ionts < 0,01 mg/l
NO3- 35,78 mg/l
NO2− < 0,00 mg/l
Chlorides 19,77 mg/l
Organic carbon 2,31 mg/l
Free Cl 0,04 mg/l
 
Last edited:

Edvet

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After a quick read of your previous journal : do you still feel high nitrates causes algae?
We tend to add large amounts of Nitrate, Phosphate and Mg/K, these don't cause algea in or beliefs ( and as proven in multiple instances)
High light, slow or absent maintenance, poor flow, these do cause algae.
 

alto

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24 Dec 2014
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ADA method embraces limited water column (nutrient) dosing, including nitrates - in combination with a nutrient rich substrate

Both approaches can lead to successful planted tanks :)
 

robinj

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9 Aug 2018
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Europe
After a quick read of your previous journal : do you still feel high nitrates causes algae?
We tend to add large amounts of Nitrate, Phosphate and Mg/K, these don't cause algea in or beliefs ( and as proven in multiple instances)
High light, slow or absent maintenance, poor flow, these do cause algae.

Thank you for your time - reading my older journal.
Regarding nitrates, I think that higher level of nitrates may cause algae issues, at least Walstad claims, but can be easily (hopefully) reduced by heavily planted tank.
Well, I am planning to focus definitely more on maintenance and also secondary, more things will be "in order" this time - during the tank life I changed the filter for a canister one, I replaced DIY CO2 for professional set, these were huge interventions into the previous setup.
And, considering flow, I plan to put back a spray-bar. I was using spraybar, but I somehow thought that it creates more than need flow ( I have rather oversized filter). After I read some threads, I realized that bigger flow is better.
I cleaned yesterday the tank with water and vinegar solution, looks good.

1sthFgj.jpg



ADA method embraces limited water column (nutrient) dosing, including nitrates - in combination with a nutrient rich substrate

Both approaches can lead to successful planted tanks :)

We will see. But at least nitrates will not be low... Even I decided to try de*Nitrate filter media, some people had positive results.
 

robinj

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9 Aug 2018
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Europe
Hi, it's me again.
The plants were delivered at Tuesday, I planted them immediately. I planned Blyxa originally, but bought Echinodorus Rubin narrow leaf instead. Well, I am somehow prepared that it can grow huge. The seller told me, that if I plant the two next to each other, they will compete for nutrients and remain smaller. Hope so.
So, this is today photo:
uV0vtPM.jpg


Some others in albums on Google:
1st Day
3rd Day
5th Day - today

I have changed water several times, dosing Liquid Carbon every day, also dosing Seachem Stability everyday or so.
 

paul_j

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20 Jun 2017
Messages
49
Location
Netherlands
Looks good. Good idea to learn how to grow plants (first).I use the same filter with the spraybar on a 50 liter tank. The flow will be too strong for a betta.
You can always drill extra holes and make the existing holes bigger, I did the same.
I think the filter inlet should be lower, but not sure if it will cause problems this way..
 

robinj

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Europe
Looks good. Good idea to learn how to grow plants (first).I use the same filter with the spraybar on a 50 liter tank. The flow will be too strong for a betta.
You can always drill extra holes and make the existing holes bigger, I did the same.
I think the filter inlet should be lower, but not sure if it will cause problems this way..
That about betta and flow didnt come to my mind. I will see, the betta is in temporary tank because of rescape and I will wait at least month before I put him back.
Unfortunately, I cut the inlet before as I had more soil in the back of the tank and new eheim green inlet pipe costs about 8 Euro, I would rather buy the lily pipes for 30E. But in the plastic coloured pipes, the algae is not visible, much better than cleaning pipes every month or so.
 

robinj

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Hey there.
I didn't post for long time.
I have been struggling with Cyanobacteria aka blue-green algae up to now and I am still.
I decided to rescape it completely, also, I like Blackwater tanks a lot recently so I was also aiming at that possibility. Instead of soil full of nitrogen I cant control, as I also have hard water with lot of nitrates, I decided to try just gravel sand, 2.5mm in size. I forgot how easy is planting into sand compared with soil.
I got BGA quite early after establishing last year, dont remember if putting of spraybar was posssible reason or too much light compared with not so much nutritients.
I read recently this forum and Algae subforum a lot and made some notions.
I still have BGA even after rescape. Which sucks, but after reading I decided to:
  • fertilize regulary and more - I still have Tropica ferts, the NPK and NPKless one. I'll finish them, then maybe go for EI dosing.
  • reduce light - from 15W/6500K/1450 lumens to 10W/6000K/800 lumens LED light Hard to say, but at that level of light, almost 50 lm/l which is considered high by Tropica website, is hard to fullfill nutritiens
  • flow - I put back my EHEIM spraybar, which I mounted on my fancy stainless steel jet pipe. Lame, but effective. I got better flow, I think the flow is definitely not so high as canister is full of matrix media, and better surface agiation thus higher oxygenation. I think I did have neither oxygen, as surface tend to be oily, nor proper flow.
I still dose CO2. I change the light and spraybar just today, so results will be visible in some time.
GALLERY here: https://imgur.com/a/hhXDeLn
Y6rKpe5.jpg
 

dw1305

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nr Bath
Hi all,
I'd give the Eleocharis a good trim, just to take the flowers off. They will just decay under-water (they only flower when they aren't submerged).

cheers Darrel
 

robinj

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9 Aug 2018
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Hi all,
I'd give the Eleocharis a good trim, just to take the flowers off. They will just decay under-water (they only flower when they aren't submerged).

cheers Darrel
Thanks for advice. The eleocharis leafes are mostly dead, a few are new, so, I'll try!
 

robinj

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Trimmed Elecoharis, also a lot of dead leafs from Cryptos. Tamed the Limnophila lil bit. There is still small amount of decomposing stuff from plants, will have to suck it asap again.
 

robinj

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9 Aug 2018
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Made regular maintenance, twice a week. Rescaped and replanted lil bit - moved Cryptos to the root, replaced river stones with their black counterparts. Somehow, they didn't look there.
Trimmed stem plants, mainly Ludwigia and make place for her in back. Myriophyllum is doing good, Limnophilla sessiflora grows ugly as usual, when the aquarium is more stable, I might change it with maybe Limnophila aquatica.

I will dose daily 1squirt of Tropica Premium - K+Micros. and another squirt of Specialised - NPK+Micros.


Why older leafs are dying? They never look good for long, only the tips looks good and healthy. Bottom leafs are algae covered, not greenish. Why?
 
Last edited:

robinj

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On Monday, I cleaned the filter media, took away 2/3 of Secheam Matrix and replace it with eheim sponges I had. There is 3 layer of sponges, layer of seachem matrix, and another 2 sponges. I also took away Sera peat and filter wool. It was there for two weeks and it was already ready to throw away.

Since that, it was impossible to get rid of air bubbles in filter, flow was still weak and what's worse, annoying grinding noise from impeller was hearable. Shaking filter didnt work.
So today, I bought hose cleaner, silicone vaseline, sponge prefilter and cleaned those hoses from such a layer of dirt. Even the 2 months old transparent hoses were brown only after those 2 months. I have never cleaned hoses before. I also cleaned the filter pipes. Used a thick layer of vaseline on impeller and sealing.Put the sponge on the inlet in the tank.

Voila, the filter outflow is like new and crazy strong. I had to reduce the inlet valve cause it was like whirlwind there. In love with my Eheim again, although I was cursing whole day and night for that annoying sound. I will not touch for long time. The whole journey for higher flow took me like 6 hours.
 

Andrew T

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9 Apr 2019
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Seattle, WA
High flow with surface agitation drives CO2 out of the tank.
High light with improper/variable CO2 causes algae.
It could be a combination of things with your tank but first try lowering your light intensity or raising it higher; you probably have way more than you need ; your plant mass is minimal so plants don’t have the ability to outcompete algae. If Co2 is not on par, even worse.
Keep up the water changes, lower light, don’t dose high amounts of nutrients cuz there’s barely anything to absorb them and they have to go somewhere.
I also don’t think your soil was doing any damage in your tank. If anything, it would have helped plants grow compared to the current substrate.
I’d also throw away those floaters. They just suck up your nutrients faster than any other rooted plant can.If you really like them, keep only a couple.

Either way, I wish you the best and hopefully you’ll be able to get to the bottom of this.
 
Last edited:

dw1305

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Hi all,
High light
I know that photographs can be misleading, but it doesn't look like high light, if anything it looks the opposite. The tannin staining (which I like) will attenuate the light further.
I’d also throw away those floaters. They just suck up your nutrients faster than any other rooted plant can
They are <"great nutrient sponges">, but I don't think that is an issue in any tank. I'm floating plant fan, mainly because they aren't CO2 (or light) limited and <"can give you a good idea of the nutrient status of the tank".

Which brings on the the million dollar question. @rjugas what does your Pistia stratiotes (Water Lettuce) look like?

cheers Darrel
 

robinj

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9 Aug 2018
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Europe
High flow with surface agitation drives CO2 out of the tank.
High light with improper/variable CO2 causes algae.
It could be a combination of things with your tank but first try lowering your light intensity or raising it higher; you probably have way more than you need ; your plant mass is minimal so plants don’t have the ability to outcompete algae. If Co2 is not on par, even worse.

Hi, thanks for analysis.
So far, I stepped down from 15W LED reflector to 10W, also I have 6W AquaEl LEDDY Sunny light, but I consider that one weak. What I observe now is slower, but steady growth of plants. Anytime I can put back my 15W or 6W, but 1450 lumens were quite high and demanding for satisfy with nutrients. Also, stem plants had to be trimmed every week...
My dropchecker is yellow now, but I cant count on it as I add tannins and reduced my pH so it is not fully correct. But I increased the bubble count too.
I read few times at ukaps that poor oxygenation and poor water flow can lead to cyanobacteria so I focused on that by spraybar and cleaning the whole filtration. Plus finally I don't have oily surface.


I also don’t think your soil was doing any damage in your tank. If anything, it would have helped plants grow compared to the current substrate.
Yeah, I saw an experiment here http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/33-plants/876457-so-called-heavy-root-feeders-fact-fiction.html comparing gravel with and without ferts for plants and I decided I'll try gravel this time.
Maybe, I panicked as high N is stated for cyanobacteria on many other places...
I got root tablets NPK+micros so I can put them into gravel.

Hi all, I know that photographs can be misleading, but it doesn't look like high light, if anything it looks the opposite. The tannin staining (which I like) will attenuate the light further. They are <"great nutrient sponges">, but I don't think that is an issue in any tank. I'm floating plant fan, mainly because they aren't CO2 (or light) limited and <"can give you a good idea of the nutrient status of the tank".
Hi Darrel,
thanks again for stopping by. Water is not so yellow anymore, I will add lesser amount of tannins and it dissaperead after water changes.
Also, that one was rather strong one light. I know people are using even more but that with more demanding plants and high dosage of CO2 and ferts.

Which brings on the the million dollar question. @rjugas what does your Pistia stratiotes (Water Lettuce) look like?
cheers Darrel
Yeah I read more posts of you pointing that out haha. Right now, I think that higher flow does not suit to my Pistia. It looks glossy. Other than that, I was throwing away surpluses almost always.
 
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