• You are viewing the forum as a Guest, please login (you can use your Facebook, Twitter, Google or Microsoft account to login) or register using this link: Log in or Sign Up
  • You can now follow UKAPS on Instagram.

In need of some extra eyes (&brains) on my tank

robbieVG78

New Member
Joined
30 Oct 2021
Messages
9
Location
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Fellow aquarians, please take a sec to to hear me out about my tank..



Three weeks ago I cleaned out my office tank – Fluval Flex 57L – which was very neglected since the summer holidays. Heavy cyanobacteria all over the place, removed that all, took out the hardscape, cleaning the tank thouroughly. My idea was to leave the soil, at least the lower part of the bottom, and re-use the filtermedia (biorings) for a part. Then adding some new lavafilterstones and use 50% of my home aquarium water. This to quickly get the tank up and running and reduce the cycle before adding any fish.

I removed the upper part of the soil, rescaped the tank with cleaned stone and driftwood. I added some new Amazonia soil for the upper part – adding cycled tankwater 50% + 50% fresh tapwater and 3 or 4 plants. All set to go, I thought.

As I told I re-used some of the bioring filtermedia – adding some new ones. On top off that I added some lavastones for filtering / bacteria buildup. Let it run for a week before adding a fish. After one week I added a fish to the tank.. and after a few hours it died. My guess was that the water was ok – measured it and no clear spike of nitrite. I think ammonia levels were too high due to messing up the existing soil? I accidentely killed my fish. After that I did a waterchange, testing the Ph of the water which seemed to be around 6.5/6.7 – added sera toxivin to clear out poisonous parameters.

From week two I added MicrobeLift Special Blend for activating and propagating the bacteria culture within my filtermedia.. adding a little after each waterchange of 50%. I noticed biofilm on my water, removed that and learned that this was caused by bacteria. Did I over do the bacteria? I don’t know. Guessed it wasn’t harmful to overdose a little on the bacteria.

Then, after two weeks I introduced some new plants, letting them float in the water for a few days to acclimate to the submersed form. I planted some little tops and stems and used Seachem Flourish and Trace, adding some every other day. After one week I noticed some grow on the little plants, so they seem to be fine for now. Some leafs are melting, but that is normal right?

During this period I constanly checked my water parameters – KH was low at the start, but by adding KH+ liquid that seems to pick up now. GH is ok after every WC – nitrate and nitrite levels are in the green zone. I use CO2 just on specific times of the day when I’m home. I don’t add co2 for the whole day, as my fish gets a little crazy after one or two hours of co2 injection.. I don’t want to kill this little guy this time.

Since a few days cyano bacteria is popping up on the edges of the tank and some spots on the soil.. I guess this will be caused by sunlight and maybe from the existing soil which is still on the bottom of my tank. I also think this cyano is popping up due fluctuating water parameters.. low nitrates? I use a bag of media which lowers/clears nitrates but my tests say I’m doing 18 on NO3 which is good, right?

I am a little confused right now – I want to stabilize this tank, have some healthy plant growth and thriving fish. But every time I try to fix one thing, another problem pops up and I don’t seem to manage water parameters well.

So.. after reading this journey, what do you recommend I should do? Do you have any advice on how to get this tank running? Thanks in advance!
 

Attachments

  • IMG_0975.jpeg
    IMG_0975.jpeg
    4.7 MB · Views: 187
  • IMG_1035.jpeg
    IMG_1035.jpeg
    222.4 KB · Views: 129
  • IMG_1041.jpeg
    IMG_1041.jpeg
    3.7 MB · Views: 124

Andy Pierce

Member
Joined
27 Nov 2020
Messages
313
Location
Cambridge, UK
I think you're trying to hard... stop checking your water parameters and trying to change the water chemistry and let the tank sort itself out. You can add plants at any time. The only parameter I would monitor is nitrite - that should be zero before you add any fish. Once nitrites are at zero you can add a few small fish at first and see how you go. It's hard for the tank to stabilize if you keep messing with it. ;)
 

John q

Member
Joined
6 Jan 2021
Messages
1,473
Location
Lancashire
Hi robbie, like Andy mentions stop worrying about the water parameters and try to focus on stability.
I use a bag of media which lowers/clears nitrates
You don't need this in a planted tank and I'd suggest you remove it.
I use CO2 just on specific times of the day when I’m home. I don’t add co2 for the whole day, as my fish gets a little crazy after one or two hours of co2 injection
This is something that you need to focus on. If you're adding C02 then it needs to be stable throughout the photo period, it's not something you can add sporadically. If the fish are gasping after two hours of injection then you are adding way to much. How are you monitoring the c02, do you have a drop checker, are you checking the ph drop?

Lastly I'd probably suggest you add some more plants, even if that's floating plants and start feeding them with a complete fertiliser.

Cheerio.
 
Last edited:

robbieVG78

New Member
Thread starter
Joined
30 Oct 2021
Messages
9
Location
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Thanks for your replies! I will leave the setup as it is for a while and wait for the tank to set itself. Guess you are right I'm trying too much :)

I have a CO2 drop checker, its between blue and green so I need to add a little co2 during the day. Removed the bag of Nitrate media - cleaned/removed the cyano and added two stems of elodea densa to have more easy growing plants. I will do a water change of 50% every week and add fertiliser every other day to help the plants grow and settle. I'll add an update again after a few weeks.
 

erwin123

Member
Joined
4 Mar 2021
Messages
1,067
Location
Singapore
I will do a water change of 50% every week and add fertiliser every other day to help the plants grow and settle. I'll add an update again after a few weeks.
50% is not a strict rule but a guide. For a 57l tank, 60% water change is only 5.7 more litres which isn't that much additional effort and may be helpful in lowering waste levels (more so than nitrate media)
 

PARAGUAY

Member
Joined
13 Nov 2013
Messages
2,902
Location
Lancashire
Maybe more waterchanges 3 or4 a week if possible and add a lot of fast growing stem plants . If the plants are thriving and look good in a couple of weeks then you will be fine and as been said floating plants
 

robbieVG78

New Member
Thread starter
Joined
30 Oct 2021
Messages
9
Location
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
IMG_1056.jpeg

guess my nitrite levels are ok for the moment. I'll wait another week or two before adding any fish though. planted some more stemplants yesterday, lets see if they will be happy for the coming weeks!

I am now adding co2 during the whole day on a low level - my Ph is around 7.5 ATM.

A big thank you to you guys helping me out here :)
 

erwin123

Member
Joined
4 Mar 2021
Messages
1,067
Location
Singapore
Will a 60% or more water change not affect the bacteria culture propagation in the filter? Or doing more frequent water changes per week?

There is some marketing by manufacturers that imply that you must replenish your aquarium with their magic blend of beneficial bacteria each time you do a water change because for some reason, water change is bad for the beneficial bacteria.

I do 60% water changes and don't add any magic bacteria after water change to either my low tech or high tech tank and nothing bad has happened so far.
 

robbieVG78

New Member
Thread starter
Joined
30 Oct 2021
Messages
9
Location
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
There is some marketing by manufacturers that imply that you must replenish your aquarium with their magic blend of beneficial bacteria each time you do a water change because for some reason, water change is bad for the beneficial bacteria.
I know! That's why I'm happy I found a forum like this one with real experienced aquarians :) I started using MicrobeLift Special Blend for this aquarium, hoping it does help me with good bacterial growth and stabilizing the tank. It smells really bad, but that disappears when its in the water. And for the near future when I'm rinsing/clean my filter material I will add some of this special blend to compensate for the loss of bacteria due to cleaning.
 

dw1305

Expert
UKAPS Team
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
14,583
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
After one week I added a fish to the tank.. and after a few hours it died. My guess was that the water was ok.........
I think ammonia levels were too high due to messing up the existing soil? I accidentely killed my fish.
I'd say almost certainly "not cycled". I'd guess we've almost <"all been there at some point">. I know it doesn't sound as scientific as testing the water, but I use a different approach, I plant the tank and I leave it until the plants have grown in. When you have a reasonable biomass of growing plants <"your tank is cycled">.
I am a little confused right now – I want to stabilize this tank, have some healthy plant growth and thriving fish. But every time I try to fix one thing, another problem pops up and I don’t seem to manage water parameters well.
I know this is going to sound strange, but the simple answer is just to try and stop <"managing your water parameters">.
added sera toxivin............MicrobeLift Special Blend ...... I also think this cyano is popping up due fluctuating water parameters.. low nitrates? I use a bag of media which lowers/clears nitrates but my tests say I’m doing 18 on NO3 which is good, right?..........
Everywhere there are people trying to <"sell you things"> and give you "advice" about what you must and mustn't do, but very few of the products and very little of the advice <"is of any use at all">.

Have a look at page 4. of <"Bedside Aquarium">, I have to apologise to the OP (@Miss-Pepper) at this point, because I went into full rant mode halfway down the page.

cheers Darrel
 

robbieVG78

New Member
Thread starter
Joined
30 Oct 2021
Messages
9
Location
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Thanks Darrel! All of your replies are a real eye opener for me.. I constantly try to find info, educating myself - including bullshit stories and advice - so for now I leave the tank settling itself and promote plant growth before adding any fish like you said. ;)
 

dw1305

Expert
UKAPS Team
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
14,583
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
All of your replies are a real eye opener for me.. I constantly try to find info, educating myself - including bullshit stories and advice
I'll be honest if I'd been a <"better fish-keeper">, when I was younger, I probably wouldn't ever really thought about what I was doing and why I was doing it.

Once I'd got past the trauma of regularly killing the fish I "cared" for it allowed me to look much more closely at what made fish keeping simpler and more enjoyable (for both me and the fish).

As well as <"joining this forum">, reading <"Ecology of the Planted Aquarium"> was a real eye opener for me.
I leave the tank settling itself and promote plant growth before adding any fish
<"Plants and time"> it is just the answer, the "problem" is that it doesn't <"make any money for anybody">.

cheers Darrel
 

dw1305

Expert
UKAPS Team
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
14,583
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
Darrel, what's your take on WC's and WC frequency during "cycling" ?
The same as normal, ~10% a day. I'm probably not quite as conscientious with water changes when I don't have any livestock, but basically everything is exactly the same whether the tank has fish or not.

cheers Darrel
 

Angus

Member
Joined
29 Aug 2008
Messages
654
Location
Vauxhall, London.
Hi all,

The same as normal, ~10% a day. I'm probably not quite as conscientious with water changes when I don't have any livestock, but basically everything is exactly the same whether the tank has fish or not.

cheers Darrel
Actually surprised me that Darrel, curious as to why only 10%? but everyday instead, i'm in the 40-50% weekly club even without dosing EI (low tech), london tap means i have to dose less ferts... i might increase that if i'm getting diatoms early in a setup or something.
 

PARAGUAY

Member
Joined
13 Nov 2013
Messages
2,902
Location
Lancashire
Ì would have to verify it but I thought Josh Sim , contest aquascaper said he kept his water change 20% as it keeps his tank in balance rather than the accepted 50% or more approach. I havent seen much about ADA in their approach after a new set up but they dont appear to have many early days of a set up issues.Although they will have behind the scenes a expert team of maintenance staff.
 

dw1305

Expert
UKAPS Team
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
14,583
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
Actually surprised me that Darrel, curious as to why only 10%?
I'd like to start by saying there is nothing scientific about it at all and it just grew out of using <"recycled six pint milk cartons"> for my water changes (and plant watering).

"Ten percent" just means <"two six pint cartons"> (6.8 litres) of rainwater per day in each standard 2' (60cm) tank. Smaller tanks get a six pint change, whatever size they are. I probably change a slightly higher volume of water in the summer, again not for any particular fish related reason, other than I like the watering water for the containers and houseplants to have gone through the fish tank first, rather than coming straight from the water butt.

Because I use sand as a substrate, and don't tend to buy many plants (I just recycle them from other tanks), I don't usually get much "melting" in new tanks.

I occasionally measure conductivity as well, but just to <"keep it somewhere around"> 120 microS. There isn't anything special about <"that value either">. If I'm away for a while I just change a bit more water, when I'm back home, until I get back into the conductivity datum range.

cheers Darrel
 
Top