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El Natural Diana Walstad's low-maintenance, soil-based 'El Natural' method for keeping plants and fish.

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Old 07-30-2020, 07:53 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Karen in San Jose View Post
Do you have a UV filter? I had some really weird stuff show up in my tank after adding daphnia from a culture I bought that was obviously just collected from a nearby water source. Of course, you can always get weird stuff from purchased plants, anyway, but I won't ever add anything from a pond type source in my tank again.
Well, this may be naive of me but I’m not too worried about weird stuff from the pond. I figure any random organisms will either add to the natural ecology of the tank, die off when they run out of food as things balance out in the aquarium, or be eaten when I eventually get fish. We’ll see! I don’t have a UV filter but will look into it before getting fishies.

Today the ammonia is below 0.5, and nitrite is off the chart! So, things are happening at least. I suspect the substrate is still releasing a bunch of nitrogen. I didn’t get a chance to check nitrate but will do that tomorrow. EDIT: Nitrate is 5-10ppm. Ran nitrite again diluted 1:2 and still >5ppm. Might do a water change tonight..

A stem plant I also brought home from the pond is going crazy - it has doubled in height in 24 hours and is almost to the top of the water! I need to try to figure out what it is.
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Old 07-31-2020, 02:24 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Setting up a new 29gal NPT

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Originally Posted by chodovet View Post
Well, this may be naive of me but I’m not too worried about weird stuff from the pond. I figure any random organisms will either add to the natural ecology of the tank, die off when they run out of food as things balance out in the aquarium, or be eaten when I eventually get fish. We’ll see! I don’t have a UV filter but will look into it before getting fishies.

Today the ammonia is below 0.5, and nitrite is off the chart! So, things are happening at least. I suspect the substrate is still releasing a bunch of nitrogen. I didn’t get a chance to check nitrate but will do that tomorrow. EDIT: Nitrate is 5-10ppm. Ran nitrite again diluted 1:2 and still >5ppm. Might do a water change tonight..

A stem plant I also brought home from the pond is going crazy - it has doubled in height in 24 hours and is almost to the top of the water! I need to try to figure out what it is.
You're absolutely right. My tank has survived my foolish attempt at a daphnia culture lol. I thought they'd be great to add to the tank as a natural food source, but they die quickly if there isn't a ready source of algae in the water. Then, the separate culture tank I had kept crashing and then I noticed all kinds of weird other stuff... it's just something I wouldn't do again, but you're right that things should all balance out.

That plant is so familiar. I could swear I saw it on a Florida aquatic plant website for plant identification, but can't remember the name of it. Someone here should know. If not, I can see if I can find that website again for you.
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Old 08-12-2020, 01:54 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Setting up a new 29gal NPT

Well Karen, you were right! I had a plague of mosquitoes. Must have scooped up a mosquito egg raft or two with the duckweed. What a nightmare!! There were so many. I killed a bunch of adults (used the vacuum to suck them off the wall and ceiling), and scooped a bunch of pupae out of the tank. Even grabbed a couple of wild mosquitofish (Gambusia sp.) from our outside tank and threw them in there even though nitrites were still high. I moved some filter media from my established tank to help speed up the nitrite conversion. We were leaving for a few days on vacation so after killing as many adults and pupae as I could, I covered the open parts of the top in plastic wrap.

When we got back, no more mosquitoes, and the fish were (somewhat surprisingly) still alive! Also, the nitrites are now measuring at 0 and the plants exploded. Will add photos later. I need to do some plant trimming and re-arranging, things are getting crazy in there

What a mess - I guess I learned my lesson! I should really have known better, having spent the last 6 years studying vector-borne diseases..!
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Old 08-16-2020, 07:35 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Things seem to be going well and stable. I did some plant trimming and rearranging. Nitrates were under 5ppm, so I started getting impatient for fish (besides my one Gambusia mosquitofish friend - I put one back outside but couldn't catch the other), so I visited a local pet store (a chain but seems better fish than the big chain stores) yesterday and came home with 8 Black neon tetras and 2 small nerite snails. I acclimated them carefully and everyone seems to be doing well (except I can only find one nerite at the moment). I was prepared to remove the mosquitofish, but there haven't been any shows of aggression and it sometimes even schools with the neons, so I haven't yet.

Lots of bubbles coming up from the substrate, and I've been poking it with a wire to release more. They don't smell bad, so I think we're okay. The vals and sag are sending out lots of runners!

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Old 08-16-2020, 10:52 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Setting up a new 29gal NPT

I would be very happy if my tank looked like that! Congratulations!
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Old 08-16-2020, 07:07 PM   #16 (permalink)
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This tank is a pleasure to look at.
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Last edited by dwalstad; 08-17-2020 at 03:53 PM.. Reason: grammar
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Old 08-17-2020, 06:46 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: Setting up a new 29gal NPT

Thank you both! I admit I spent a lot on plants to make sure it was heavily planted right away. I'm really happy with it, though most of the stem plants are arranged pretty haphazardly until I can see what is going to make it long-term. Next I plan to get some Corydoras, but need to wait til the weather cools off a bit so I can have them safely shipped...
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Old 08-21-2020, 08:52 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: Setting up a new 29gal NPT

Quote:
Originally Posted by chodovet View Post
Well Karen, you were right! I had a plague of mosquitoes. Must have scooped up a mosquito egg raft or two with the duckweed. What a nightmare!! There were so many. I killed a bunch of adults (used the vacuum to suck them off the wall and ceiling), and scooped a bunch of pupae out of the tank. Even grabbed a couple of wild mosquitofish (Gambusia sp.) from our outside tank and threw them in there even though nitrites were still high. I moved some filter media from my established tank to help speed up the nitrite conversion. We were leaving for a few days on vacation so after killing as many adults and pupae as I could, I covered the open parts of the top in plastic wrap.

When we got back, no more mosquitoes, and the fish were (somewhat surprisingly) still alive! Also, the nitrites are now measuring at 0 and the plants exploded. Will add photos later. I need to do some plant trimming and re-arranging, things are getting crazy in there

What a mess - I guess I learned my lesson! I should really have known better, having spent the last 6 years studying vector-borne diseases..!
OMG! I've never been so sorry to be right in my entire life! What a nightmare! I'm laughing only because it sounds like a nightmare SNL skit, and because I actually paid for my mosquitos including crazy shipping, too, from a seller on Ebay, which is pretty funny in a dark comedy kind of way - actually paying for my mosquito nightmare. The saran wrap on the tank cracked me up - great idea. They were sitting ducks for your fish, so to speak. I'm not surprised your fish lived. They never had it so good.

To make you feel better - all of my mystery and sort of scary things like planaria have all disappeared, thanks to the wild cory cats I added to my tank, and I haven't had any problems, so odds are you will be fine, too. Those tetras are so pretty! I added a school of 26 cardinal tetras to my tank and they're gorgeous. I love the little schooling tetras - so pretty.

If I had to do it over again, I would not have added snails deliberately. They will eat your plants, no matter what people say, I've learned. Shrimp do a great job cleaning the tank and they don't eat the plants. I'd just add a bunch of shrimp instead of snails, if I had to do it over. For any algae problems, I have a UV filter. And I just pull out the hair algae that shows up. The snails won't eat the hair algae anyway. I never had shrimp before. They're really cool. My tetras are keeping the shrimplet population in check - ouch, poor shrimplets! But, they don't get them all. I was afraid of a shrimp explosion, but I'd rather have that than the snail explosion I got.
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Last edited by Karen in San Jose; 08-21-2020 at 09:03 PM..
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Old 09-09-2020, 03:10 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: Setting up a new 29gal NPT

I have non standard 48 / 50 gal and that I recently totally cleaned and replanted after nearly five years. When set it up originally, I did not use soil, I only use Seachem flourite for substrate and I planted the tank Crypto. Balensis, Microsorum pteropus, and Elecharis acicularis? I use regular Houston Tap Water, treated with SeaChem Prime. I had a 24" 36watt BeamsWork LED light with a 6500K color temp, and a Eheim 250 canister filter. I run the filter 24/7 the are on a time with 10 hour Photo period.

I have had good luck with this setup and I have made adjustments over the past 5 years.
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Old 09-09-2020, 03:44 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: Setting up a new 29gal NPT

Living in Texas, I doubt you need a heater in you Aquarium. Most people i know in my area keep their homes in a very narrow temperature range. Switching from heat, a/c and back in single day. I have had several heaters stick over the years. My current aquarium is generally 74 deg.F plus or minus 2 deg. Use City of Houston tap water and do 50% water changes weekly.

I am nearly 75 years old, and have kept aquariums for about 50 out of the last 65 years. I have breed/raised many species of fish.
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