RE: Update on 1 1/2 year tank - El Natural - Aquatic Plant Central

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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 09-17-2020, 03:46 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question RE: Update on 1 1/2 year tank

Hello all, I was told to come here with further questions since Diana is very busy and cannot answer every question I may have, I am going to start off with what I wrote to Diana.

"I was having trouble at home and had to move in somewhere else, so I wasn't able to keep maintenance on the plants, so they have over run the tank and I can't really do anything about it, however, testing the water the ammonia is basically 0 and so is the nitrite, nitrate is quite low, and the PH seems to be around 8.2ish if I recall correctly.

I have Trumpet Snails and some other snails that hitched a ride from the fish store, now I also have orange Cherry Shrimp that seem to be thriving.

Unfortunately my tank is nowhere near as gorgeous as your tanks or other peoples, but I think I remember you saying that looks aren't always reminiscent of fact(?). "

Now, just to clarify, looking at my photos I have linked the picture looks really bad but the water is actually more so clear with green tint.

https://imgur.com/a/PEC5Bun

Diana said
Quote:
"For keeping water clear, you need to have growing plants, not just stagnant plants. I would thin out about 20 of the plants in the foreground. Just snip off the top portion. This will encourage new growth. The rotting of dead roots in the substrate will generate CO2. A water change and the addition of a few new plant species wouldn't hurt."
So I'm going to do that. One more question, would my tank still be considered healthy? Even though it's really messy?

Last edited by Stace; 09-17-2020 at 06:42 AM.. Reason: Photo's weren't showing
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Old 09-17-2020, 06:15 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Update on 1 1/2 year tank

No photos showed up??

Welcome to APC, where we are lucky enough to have Diana Walstad as one of our members and moderators. Try again to post the photos and I'm sure you will get some opinions about how healthy your tank is.
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Old 09-17-2020, 06:43 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Update on 1 1/2 year tank

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Originally Posted by hoppycalif View Post
No photos showed up??

Welcome to APC, where we are lucky enough to have Diana Walstad as one of our members and moderators. Try again to post the photos and I'm sure you will get some opinions about how healthy your tank is.
Hmm, it seems it won't show up so I have to post it as a link, is that okay?
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Old 09-17-2020, 08:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Update on 1 1/2 year tank

Your original post now has a link to a couple of photos of the tank, so that problem is solved.
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Old 09-20-2020, 02:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Update on 1 1/2 year tank

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So I'm going to do that. One more question, would my tank still be considered healthy? Even though it's really messy?
Welcome to the forum! And thanks for posting here.

I'd say your tank is plenty healthy. There are some folks that would be very glad to have a tank where the fish, plants, snails, etc are doing well. No fish diseases, dying plants, contaminated water, etc.

All you need is a little tweaking to get rid of cloudy water. (If you have to get rid of it, a UV sterilizing filter will fix it in 24 hours.)

How long do you keep the lights on per day? You may just need to damp down the lighting. If you've got LED lights on 9-14 hours per day, it probably is too much. In my 2019/2020 revision, I provided some information on adjusting LED lighting and made some recommendations that should help control greenwater algae.

Photos of your tank are now up and running.

Last edited by dwalstad; 09-20-2020 at 02:09 PM.. Reason: can see his tank photo
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Old 10-02-2020, 03:30 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Update on 1 1/2 year tank

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Welcome to the forum! And thanks for posting here.

I'd say your tank is plenty healthy. There are some folks that would be very glad to have a tank where the fish, plants, snails, etc are doing well. No fish diseases, dying plants, contaminated water, etc.

All you need is a little tweaking to get rid of cloudy water. (If you have to get rid of it, a UV sterilizing filter will fix it in 24 hours.)

How long do you keep the lights on per day? You may just need to damp down the lighting. If you've got LED lights on 9-14 hours per day, it probably is too much. In my 2019/2020 revision, I provided some information on adjusting LED lighting and made some recommendations that should help control greenwater algae.

Photos of your tank are now up and running.
Hi Diana, I'm incredibly sorry for taking so long to respond, life is tough.

Anyway, I have done some "major" trimmings, recently, I might do more, what do you think?

Tank 1: https://imgur.com/a/MC36nUk

Tank 2: https://imgur.com/a/N88tmIh

If I recall correctly, you said that after I trim the plants some of them will rot? Which will clear the water? Or did you advise I should leave some of the trimmings in the tank? I have thrown most of them a way as there was a huge pile.

As you can see the first tank is overrun basically by Jungle Valve (I think that's the plant), I'm not sure how I am going to plant more species like you suggested in the email. The second take is a different story, as it hasn't been up for as long as the first tank. I have tried planting a carpet plant like Hair Grass, but it's proving to not be spreading, although it is alive as you can see in the pics.

Should I just keep trimming the plants in the fore ground in the first tank? How much more? I am a little afraid I'll disturb the life in there, as it is I have already accidently chopped a snail in half .

About the UV stuff, I don't have that, I do have LED lights though, 1 for the first tank and 2 for the second, they are on from 8:00 AM to 1:00PM, then turn back on from 5:00PM to 10:00PM. Should I change it? They are around 806 lumens if I am correct.

Thanks for responding Diana, I really appreciate it. I know my aquariums look ugly, but as long as I can keep everything healthy, I don't mind. Though I would like to keep things neater, although I'm unsure if it's possible with the first tank anymore.
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Old 10-11-2020, 03:53 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Question Re: Update on 1 1/2 year tank

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Old 10-11-2020, 07:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Update on 1 1/2 year tank

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Originally Posted by Stace View Post
If I recall correctly, you said that after I trim the plants some of them will rot? Which will clear the water? Or did you advise I should leave some of the trimmings in the tank? I have thrown most of them a way as there was a huge pile.
She said that, as a result of the trimming (and yes, toss out the trimmings as you did), some of the roots will begin to decompose, releasing CO2. The tops and roots of plants form a sort of balance, you could say.

Picture the grass in your yard: taller grass has longer roots under the soil. If you mow the grass really short, the living roots will be shallower (because the plant no longer needs* deep roots, nor can the short "tops" support growth of deep roots). If you keep the grass taller, it will have deeper roots, because the plant needs the extra root mass to feed the "tops", and the tops, in turn, foster more root development.

(*I say this cautiously...looking in the realm of an aquarium. Your yard grass DOES kinda' "need" deeper roots, to help it survive drought and such things. But that gets into another topic altogether.)

Regarding your tank with all the Vallisneria (if that's correct): If you want to make room for more species, to get a variety in there, you'd probably have to start hand-pulling to make sure you get all the runners. But you don't necessarily HAVE to (if you are satisfied with a mono-culture scape). It seems to be working for you. But yeah, cramming additional species amongst a healthy stand of Jungle Val isn't likely to work for those new plants.
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Old 10-13-2020, 05:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Update on 1 1/2 year tank

Not sure what to say. It seems like there's something in both tanks that's causing cloudy, tea-colored water. The second tank looks like you've got driftwood in it. Driftwood could cause the cloudiness problem and/or there's something weird about the substrate.

Do you have driftwood in both tanks? Did you use the same substrate in both tanks?

Usually cloudy water is due to green water algae or bacterial growth in new setups. In a 1 and 1/2 year-old- tank packed with Vallisneria, I would expect to see crystal clear water.
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Old 10-16-2020, 12:55 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Question Re: Update on 1 1/2 year tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by davemonkey View Post
She said that, as a result of the trimming (and yes, toss out the trimmings as you did), some of the roots will begin to decompose, releasing CO2. The tops and roots of plants form a sort of balance, you could say.

Picture the grass in your yard: taller grass has longer roots under the soil. If you mow the grass really short, the living roots will be shallower (because the plant no longer needs* deep roots, nor can the short "tops" support growth of deep roots). If you keep the grass taller, it will have deeper roots, because the plant needs the extra root mass to feed the "tops", and the tops, in turn, foster more root development.

(*I say this cautiously...looking in the realm of an aquarium. Your yard grass DOES kinda' "need" deeper roots, to help it survive drought and such things. But that gets into another topic altogether.)

Regarding your tank with all the Vallisneria (if that's correct): If you want to make room for more species, to get a variety in there, you'd probably have to start hand-pulling to make sure you get all the runners. But you don't necessarily HAVE to (if you are satisfied with a mono-culture scape). It seems to be working for you. But yeah, cramming additional species amongst a healthy stand of Jungle Val isn't likely to work for those new plants.
So my soil isn't deep enough? This is all starting to puzzle me

Would it be okay for me to go in there and "start pulling"? I mean, is it okay to disrupt everything like that? Everything seems really sturdy and completely rooted in there, it was hard enough getting some out of the 50 gal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dwalstad View Post
Not sure what to say. It seems like there's something in both tanks that's causing cloudy, tea-colored water. The second tank looks like you've got driftwood in it. Driftwood could cause the cloudiness problem and/or there's something weird about the substrate.

Do you have driftwood in both tanks? Did you use the same substrate in both tanks?

Usually cloudy water is due to green water algae or bacterial growth in new setups. In a 1 and 1/2 year-old- tank packed with Vallisneria, I would expect to see crystal clear water.
This is where I confess I made some miscalculations, the substrate I got was too small, and what ended up happening apparently is that the dirt from underneath actually came up to the top, I'm guessing this happened in the 50 gal as well. I used the same substrate in both tanks, this one to be exact: LINK.

The second tank has quite a lot of drift wood, my first one however, the smaller tank, has no driftwood. The water has a greenish tint.

Would it be okay for me to go ham in there and pull out roots and plant a more varied selection of plants? I'm thinking if worse comes to worse I could always try and start over. In the second tank, I don't know if you saw, but I tried planting dwarf hair grass, and while it seems to be alive, it just won't spread, so I'm kind of stuck for what to do.
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