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Old 04-28-2021, 01:02 PM   #41
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The high light plants look better than ever in their new home!

I could never fully clean the microswords but the corys and the pleco did wonders!!! The remaining string/hair algae in them was in easily removed clumps near the tops.

None of the plants have been disturbed or uprooted. The firemouth now has a private hiding place between the amazon sword and tall thin rock behind it.

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Old 04-29-2021, 11:56 AM   #42
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Have some some more study regarding CO2 use in aquariums and found some important things:

1) If the plants are using up the naturally available CO2 faster than it can be replaced during the day the ph will rise detectably and then go back down to normal at night as the CO2 is replinished. I now have three tests (I'm not dumping them) since a water change yesterday and the color is identical. Am anxiously awaiting the mid-afternoon test.

2) The CO2 enrichment thing largely started when high and suitable lighting became reasonable in price and hobby aquarists found they could reliably grow plants that were impossible before. Then they created small tanks with extremely heavy planting and found that the plants did poorly again but now due to a lack of CO2.

3) The notion that aeration "drives out" CO2 [seems] to be one of those things where the truth depends upon how you look at it. As we know it's the surface movement caused by aeration that oxygenates the water with the bubbles themselves contributing little or nothing. With a fair animal load the O2 level drops below its natural equilibrium point which allows more "room" in the water for other gases to certainly include the CO2 that the animals produce and the water can become somewhat supersaturated with CO2. Aeration replaces the "missing" oxygen thus "driving out" excess CO2. Unless I'm missing something what this means is that heavy aeration will help keep both O2 and CO2 at their normal saturation level--in other words it replenishes them both.

3) Using a high-quality ph controller it thus seems possible to supplement CO2 with little or no enrichment. If the plants are using a lot of CO2 and the ph begins to rise, the CO2 kicks but only to fully saturate (NOT supersaturate) the water with it.

4) As was mentioned before many? most? all? underwater plants can utilize carbon in the form of carbonates. This does however require more energy on the part of the plant so growth is slowed.

5) The key in my case is to find the right balance of lighting that allows the plants to live and grow at a reasonable rate while not promoting too much algae. Should I not be able to find that balance some CO2 supplementation may be necessary.
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Old 04-29-2021, 06:42 PM   #43
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Now have three side-by-side ph test vials taken at various times and the late afternoon test is the slightest shade darker blue with the rest identical. Less than half the variation between the colors on the API chart. Such speaks well for the relative accuracy of the test.
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Old 05-19-2021, 02:16 PM   #44
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About three weeks later and I've abandoned the four-leaf clover plants. They need high light and no reasonable number of fixtures could satisfy in the 24 inch (60 cm) deep tank. The microswords which also like higher lighting became infested with strand algae (again) and during the last cleaning, the original plants pulled away leaving the nicely rooted small pieces I had been scattering like hair transplants in the large tray. They're back in the conditioning tank along with some new background plants that are OK with moderate lighting.

The rest of the plants are all growing at a reasonable pace and seem very healthy. The anubius are spreading (moving might be a better word) from their containers to the adjacent highly porous dragon stone. This nursery area (it's where the catfish lay their clutches and guppy fry hide) should be beautiful in a year or so.

Am still trimming away original foliage as it eventually gets brittle, covered in dark algae and starts to melt.

They still require frequent maintenance and the ability to relocate or remove the containers is a fantastic aid in such.

Have nearly eliminated dosing as nitrates are staying around 30 ppm and with the pond soil and root tablets additional fertilizer just seems to encourage algae.

Determining the ideal number, size, position and hours of operation of the lights is an ongoing endeavor.
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Old 05-20-2021, 02:58 AM   #45
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About three weeks later and I've abandoned the four-leaf clover plants. They need high light and no reasonable number of fixtures could satisfy in the 24 inch (60 cm) deep tank. The microswords which also like higher lighting became infested with strand algae (again) and during the last cleaning, the original plants pulled away leaving the nicely rooted small pieces I had been scattering like hair transplants in the large tray. They're back in the conditioning tank along with some new background plants that are OK with moderate lighting.

The rest of the plants are all growing at a reasonable pace and seem very healthy. The anubius are spreading (moving might be a better word) from their containers to the adjacent highly porous dragon stone. This nursery area (it's where the catfish lay their clutches and guppy fry hide) should be beautiful in a year or so.

Am still trimming away original foliage as it eventually gets brittle, covered in dark algae and starts to melt.

They still require frequent maintenance and the ability to relocate or remove the containers is a fantastic aid in such.

Have nearly eliminated dosing as nitrates are staying around 30 ppm and with the pond soil and root tablets additional fertilizer just seems to encourage algae.

Determining the ideal number, size, position and hours of operation of the lights is an ongoing endeavor.

The algae is just something all tanks must endure for a period of a few months. Thereís no getting away from it. Usually a period of calm after setup lasting a few weeks to a month and then depending on your parameters, turmoil for a few months before the tank matures and begins to run clean. In another couple of months you will be hard pressed to find any algae.
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Old 05-20-2021, 12:20 PM   #46
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The algae is just something all tanks must endure for a period of a few months. Thereís no getting away from it. Usually a period of calm after setup lasting a few weeks to a month and then depending on your parameters, turmoil for a few months before the tank matures and begins to run clean. In another couple of months you will be hard pressed to find any algae.
Glad to hear that! The worst of it was in the conditioning tank but their well established permanent home is definitely adjusting to the change from plastic plantings. There was some initial algae growth on the swords but it has stopped and might be fading.

The string/strand algae is the worst and the only word to describe control is "diligent". That stuff is so strong it could be spun and woven! It obviously likes my home made very low copper chelated mineral mix in the dosing.
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Old 05-20-2021, 03:54 PM   #47
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Back to that awesome rain water collection system. Who sells them? You might've mentioned it somewhere in here but I got so engrossed in the details and spectacular results you've achieved, I missed it. Looks like a simple straightforward system. I'd like to look into purchasing one.
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Old 05-21-2021, 05:40 AM   #48
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Back to that awesome rain water collection system. Who sells them? You might've mentioned it somewhere in here but I got so engrossed in the details and spectacular results you've achieved, I missed it. Looks like a simple straightforward system. I'd like to look into purchasing one.
Made by a company called "Rain Reserve". www.rainreserve.com

I discovered online and bought on closeout at a Menard's store. Unfortunately the company seems to be out of businesses as they do not reply to email and the phone is out of service. The diverter that installs in the downspout is great.
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Old 06-24-2021, 02:40 PM   #49
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The algae is just something all tanks must endure for a period of a few months. Thereís no getting away from it. Usually a period of calm after setup lasting a few weeks to a month and then depending on your parameters, turmoil for a few months before the tank matures and begins to run clean. In another couple of months you will be hard pressed to find any algae.
A month later and the tank has done as you said. The plants seem to be "shedding" algae. The string/strand stuff is thankfully gone!

The vallisnaria I added shortly after the last update is growing wonderfully.

ph is still hovering a bit above neutral with 3 kh steady

The big (16", 40 cm) pleco discovered the anacharis and is uprooting, eating and tearing it Time to sell the thing.

The water hyacinth in the conditioning tank is finally growing well with one section nearly 10" ( 25 cm) tall and very full. The other sections died back almost completely and are shorter.
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Old 06-24-2021, 02:59 PM   #50
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Wow, really beautiful setup. Is that a jellyfish?
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Old 06-24-2021, 03:45 PM   #51
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A month later and the tank has done as you said. The plants seem to be "shedding" algae. The string/strand stuff is thankfully gone!



The vallisnaria I added shortly after the last update is growing wonderfully.



ph is still hovering a bit above neutral with 3 kh steady



The big (16", 40 cm) pleco discovered the anacharis and is uprooting, eating and tearing it Time to sell the thing.



The water hyacinth in the conditioning tank is finally growing well with one section nearly 10" ( 25 cm) tall and very full. The other sections died back almost completely and are shorter.

It will get even better algae disappearing is just the beginning. Spotless substrate, ultra clean water. Plants grow even better fish become almost bulletproof. The cycle becomes almost impossible to destroy. Ultra stability.
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Old 06-24-2021, 04:33 PM   #52
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Wow, really beautiful setup. Is that a jellyfish?
Thank you. It's one of three tank setups that size bought at a government auction for about $160--yes. It has the best of the stone from among them including that wild piece that looks like a koala bear.

It's a silicon jellyfish. It does though look and move rather convincingly.

The tank is set up as a community of sorts that now includes five adult blood red parrots, one adult firemouth cichlid, about thirty guppies of all ages, a growing school (how about 45) of neon tetras, an actively reproducing community of cory cats, the aforementioned overgrown pleco, one frog that I've only seen once since added more than a month ago and a newly added and very small lemon bristlenose pleco that I don't expect to see for a long time either.
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Old 06-24-2021, 05:36 PM   #53
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It will get even better algae disappearing is just the beginning. Spotless substrate, ultra clean water. Plants grow even better fish become almost bulletproof. The cycle becomes almost impossible to destroy. Ultra stability.
That's what I'm hoping for as absent covid we like to travel for a month or more at a time and I don't have an aquarist for a house sitter.

It's particularly good to see the anubius clearing off nicely. The older leaves were getting covered with near black algae and I was afraid it would kill them.

Once established as you say I intend to install a terrestrial habitat with a semi submerged base and access to the water over one third (2' x 2') of the tank. Not sure of the inhabitants but definitely a "tree" among the plants, a couple hermit crabs some sort of lizard(s)/amphibian(s).

Granted a 180-gallon isn't huge in the scheme of things but it certainly allows far more options than most tanks to include just the sort of relatively self-sustaining environment and community I've always wanted.
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Old 07-01-2021, 07:00 PM   #54
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Six months later

Finally put the water hyacinth into its' home.
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