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A Tale of Two Roma's

John q

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Lancashire
“I’m going on an adventure!”

Well, not exactly an adventure but thought it was high time I started a journal, hopefully it will show others how our tanks progress and often morph from one path to another without us even realising it; failing that it will provide a useful place to document how my tanks evolve in the future and give me somewhere to deposit my photos.

This journal is slightly backwards, the tanks featured were set up around 14 & 15 months ago, at the time I didn't really document their progress, so have limited amounts of info and photos of this happening.

THE TANKS.

Both fluval roma 240's, in the two pics below they'd been running about 10 ~ 11 weeks, both were using stock fluval 307 filter and the stock fluval 14.5 w aquasky light, from memory I had the light set at about 75%.
Substrate was coarse gravel.
Ferts: seachem flourish and api leaf zone dosed as per bottle instructions and a healthy stock of fish.

Pictures from December 2020.

20210121_125607.jpg
20201213_141700.jpg


Will update the journal over the next couple of weeks to get it showing its current state.

Thanks for reading.
 

John q

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We're blessed in my part of Lancashire with soft water, some of it comes from our local reservoirs and some gets pumped to us from the lake district, tds from the tap averages 68ppm, it contains very little of anything. Is this of any importance? Probably not, just thought the information should be included to show there are some benefits to living up north.

I first got into fish keeping in the mid eighties after my brother left home and gave me his 4ft glass box; the inhabitants consisted of 3 silver dollars, 2 angel fish, a firemouth cichlid, 3 clown loach, a pictus catfish, a pleco, several tiger barbs, a couple of corydoras and a mass of Egeria densa.

Of course in them days we didn't have the world wide web to research things so we had to read books, along with the tank I was given two books, one was an a-z of aquarium fish, who's author I can't remember, the other one was this.
20220106_201954.jpg


This isn't the original copy. I bought it for pennies last year to remind me of where the seeds of my planted tank bug probably originated.

Anyways, I digress...

Photos taken in February.
20210213_160142.jpg


Plant health generally good but some issues starting to emerge, leaf tips on the cyperus helferi were turning yellow and attracting bba, was also getting some lower leaf melt on the siamensis 53b at the back of the tank. I swapped the positions of the hygrophila corymbosa from the left with the siamensis at the back, not sure why I did this....

Also added a jebao wm-5 wavemaker top right and doubled up the seachem flourish dose.

EBR from above tank.
20210213_181037.jpg


Tank B.
20210131_105851.jpg

Much more noticeable growth in this tank but having same issues with cyperus helferi and leaf melt. Added vallisneria spiralis tiger back right. Also added wavemaker.

Far right siamensis lower leaf loss.
20210207_120201.jpg


Keith the Ancistrus.
20210213_181731_01.jpg


Cheerio for now.
 

bazz

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24 Jan 2009
Messages
335
Location
Lincoln
That rings a distant bell. Wasn't Barry James the proprietor of Everglades Aquatics in Cirencester. I went there once (long way from Lincoln in Mk4 Cortina) around 1980.
Can't remember the front of shop just the huge heated greenhouse at the back with ponds and tubs all over the place full of plants.
Cheers!
 

John q

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Wasn't Barry James the proprietor of Everglades Aquatics in Cirencester.
Do know for sure but in the forward of the book it mentions he set up an aquatic nursery in the early 70's, so you could well be right.

Mk4 Cortina, proper motor 👌
 
Joined
17 Nov 2021
Messages
41
Location
London
We're blessed in my part of Lancashire with soft water, some of it comes from our local reservoirs and some gets pumped to us from the lake district, tds from the tap averages 68ppm, it contains very little of anything. Is this of any importance? Probably not, just thought the information should be included to show there are some benefits to living up north.

I first got into fish keeping in the mid eighties after my brother left home and gave me his 4ft glass box; the inhabitants consisted of 3 silver dollars, 2 angel fish, a firemouth cichlid, 3 clown loach, a pictus catfish, a pleco, several tiger barbs, a couple of corydoras and a mass of Egeria densa.

Of course in them days we didn't have the world wide web to research things so we had to read books, along with the tank I was given two books, one was an a-z of aquarium fish, who's author I can't remember, the other one was this.
View attachment 179440

This isn't the original copy. I bought it for pennies last year to remind me of where the seeds of my planted tank bug probably originated.

Anyways, I digress...

Photos taken in February.
View attachment 179443

Plant health generally good but some issues starting to emerge, leaf tips on the cyperus helferi were turning yellow and attracting bba, was also getting some lower leaf melt on the siamensis 53b at the back of the tank. I swapped the positions of the hygrophila corymbosa from the left with the siamensis at the back, not sure why I did this....

Also added a jebao wm-5 wavemaker top right and doubled up the seachem flourish dose.

EBR from above tank.
View attachment 179445

Tank B.
View attachment 179448
Much more noticeable growth in this tank but having same issues with cyperus helferi and leaf melt. Added vallisneria spiralis tiger back right. Also added wavemaker.

Far right siamensis lower leaf loss.
View attachment 179450

Keith the Ancistrus.
View attachment 179449

Cheerio for now.
Could only dream of TDS that low out of the tap living in London

Nice setups 👍
 

mort

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15 Nov 2015
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2,198
Our water here in norwich is only about 400ppm higher than yours then:)

Nice to see some more classic type tanks.

Unless Keith has had a shave this morning, or is just at the bumfluff stage, he might be a she.
 

John q

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Nice setups 👍
Thank you, both these tanks are the result of my 5 Yr old daughter asking daddy for a goldfish. 😁
Nice to see some more classic type tanks.

Unless Keith has had a shave this morning, or is just at the bumfluff stage, he might be a she.
Cheers mort. I too was convinced Keith was a she, he's probably 6 months old in that photo.
Fast forward to August and Keith suddenly needs a shave.
20210819_182829.jpg
 

Kave_art_man

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5 Jan 2021
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London
London definitely provides you with that hard hard water, would be interesting if I finally move what a difference it would make to the plants and just getting used to the different parameters
 

John q

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It's hard not to fall into the trap of seeing beautiful aquascapes and perfect plant growth and think "I want some of that" and I'm no different.
It's quite funny looking back, how instead of accepting the pictures we often see are the result of patience and more importantly experience we, or rather I, embarked on a series of changes that would give me the beauty I craved, it never occurred to me that it was my knowledge that was the weakest link.

I can't quite remember the exact timing of these changes, in the space of about six weeks I upgraded the 307 filters to 407's, added fluval aquasky 2 lights, started slowly removing the coarse gravel and replaced it with a fine gravel/clay mix, I also went down the ei route and started mixing my own ferts.

Picture below is how the two lights sit on the tank. Original aquasky to the right, set at 50%, aquasky 2 to the left, set at 25%. (~15w in total)
20220107_182004.jpg


No two tanks are the same, you'll often hear people say this, despite having virtually identical substrate, filtration and dosing regimes tank B seems to provide favourable conditions for plant growth. Pictures from April.

Tank A.
20210418_163935.jpg

Ph sits around 7.4, tds 165 ~ 220.

Tank B. (6 weeks younger than tank A)
20210401_185852.jpg

Ph 7.2, tds 160 ~ 190.

Critter pics around this time.

Bought as Brown otocinclus. Suspect they are Otothyropsis Piribebuy?
20210408_093340.jpg


Anomalochromis thomasi (African Butterfly Cichlid)
20210401_185558.jpg


Cheers.
 
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John q

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Looks like a hisonotus sp to me
Thanks for the heads up, will have to do some more digging. Any guesses as to which one of the possible 33 sp it is. This pic was taken in the tank at aqualife where I bought them.
FB_IMG_16180748441314310.jpg
 

John q

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Thanks @heliophyte , interesting video and more food for thought..

I think like @Conort2 suggests it's difficult to get a positive Id on these fish because they all look very similar. I think the only way I could rule in/out Piribebuy would be to try and get some incredibly detailed photos and see if they match the description from Scotcat. ScotCat Factsheets: February 2018: Otothyropsis piribebuy Calegari, Lehmann A. & Reis, 2011

Characteristics

Dorsal spines (total): 2; Dorsal soft rays (total): 7; Anal soft rays: 6; Vertebrae: 26 - 27. Distinguished from other species of the genus by having the following characters: middle series of lateral plates truncated two plates before the caudal fin; inner margin of the pectoral-fin spine smooth, with no serrae; distal margin of the accessory flange of the first ceratobranchial pointed; mid-dorsal lateral series with 17-18 plates and continuous; abdomen usually with unplated areas anteriorly in adults; and males with pre anal length 63.0-66.8% HL and 19-20 middle lateral plates.​

I'm going to aqualife this weekend, hopefully if Steve (the owner) is in i can try and pick his brains on the subject.
 
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John q

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"Sometimes we're thrown off our pathways"
Indeed Katie, nice lyric from a nice song ~ The Flood..

At the beginning of May I decided to push the button and convert one of the tanks to high tech. The tanks had been ticking along nicely up to this point and plant health was generally good, I just had this nagging thought in my head that adding "a bit" of co2 would help me reach nirvana.

So all the bits were gathered courtesy of CO2 Art and set up over a long bank holiday weekend. Big shout out to Clive who's numerous posts on the subject of dialing in C02 helped me no end.

Nirvana here we come, we'll not quite. Two weeks prior to me installing the gas the house was flooded. The downstairs toilet sink flexi hose split in the middle of the night resulting in the whole bottom floor of the house to be flooded, having concrete floors can be a blessing, unless you have a flood, if the water can't go down it tends to go up.

Long story short I'd assumed the water damage was minor, how wrong can you be. What followed was 3 months of turmoil that resulted in me having to move both my tanks into a different room and probably resulted in me not giving them the care that they'd been getting up to this point.

Sorry to babble. Picture time.

Co2 installed against a backdrop of partition wall drying out, industrial dehumidifier and fans had been running for two weeks at this point.
20210609_185445.jpg


July. Tank in its temp home in the kitchen, water changes were never missed but trimming wasn't being done on a regular basis. Was also starting to see early stages of bba, looking back I think the elevated temps we had in July didn't help keep co2 stable.

20210723_161623.jpg


Tank B close up, still low tech at this point.Ceratopteris thalictroides "siliquosa"
20210523_184626.jpg


And a couple of critter pics.
20210830_170659.jpg



20210830_170619.jpg


Cheers.
 
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John q

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With the house freshly decorated I could finally get the tanks back into the front room and devote a bit more time to them.
I'd slowly increased the light intensity on the tank running Co2 and now had the back light at 85% and the front light at 50%, this provides an eye watering 28w of light. 😆

I'd added a few (5) osmocote root tabs randomly scattered around the tank and was dosing 75% ei with extra phosphate, I'd increased the po4 amount in an attempt to halt some gsa that was appearing.

Picture from October.
20211003_121550.jpg


There's no rhyme or reason to how this tank is planted, it probably resembles an overgrown jungle rather than an aquascape.

Second tank is still running low tech, it's being fed with 25% ei.
20211003_121610.jpg


I managed to get hold of 4 Nannoptopoma sp 1 (Robocop otocinclus). I'd read and been told that these were difficult fish to keep and the chances of long-term survival were slim, sadly this turned out to be the case. I lost 2 in the first couple of weeks and within a month the remaining 2 had passed 😢. Sometimes lessons in life can be harsh.
20211016_171022.jpg


A few more pictures of the inhabitants in the tanks.
20211005_193228.jpg



20211004_184729.jpg



20211011_162846.jpg



20211022_192616.jpg



20211002_135159.jpg



Cheers.
 

John q

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Over the next couple of months I made a number of changes. I decided to bite the bullet and add Co2 to the low tech tank. For some reason growing plants in this tank always seemed easier. I've no idea why and not suggesting these were the reasons but the ph was always lower in this tank and the tds readings always sat about 50ppm lower.

When It came to injecting C02 these strange differences continued, the oldest tank requires around 10 bps split via two in tank diffusers, one of which is fed into the inlet, a 2kg fire extinguisher lasts 5 weeks. 1ph drop.
The newer tank which uses the same diffusers installed in similar positions only needs 5 bps, 2kg bottle lasts 10 weeks, 1ph drop.
Surface agitation seems similar in both tanks. 🤷‍♂️

Picture in December, C02 had been running about 8 weeks.
20211227_123350.jpg


The other major change was to add a maxspect jump to one of the tanks. I'd tried numerous ways of improving flow in this tank which always seemed to fail, so I thought sod it and splashed out on one. The flow on these devices is insane, it currently runs at 20% power, it also seems to be a firm favourite with the corydoras who regularly spawn on it. (No wrigglers have emerged yet)
ded8fbd2c72d5d5200fbf12003e2893d.0.jpg


Fts..
20211227_171726.jpg


December brought another change in me reducing my ei dosing, I reduced it down to 37.5% of ei. The reason I did this to see what would happen, the results were this within two weeks.
20211205_142002.jpg


You can read more about the gsa saga here phosphate with EI - higher than 3 ppm?

Finally a few critter pictures.
20211229_123222.jpg


20211029_182221.jpg


20211106_131855.jpg


Thanks for reading.
 

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