The 5 Month Update - 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 10-17-2020, 04:48 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The 5 Month Update

So following advice I received, I thought I'd post an update on how this tank is looking 5 months on. I'm now on month four without a WC. It appears cloudiness is going to be a permanent issue, but so far the plants are spreading well, I have little to no nitrate, and I've had zero fish deaths at all.

Thank you everyone!
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Old 10-17-2020, 07:20 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: The 5 Month Update

I really like the design of your tank!

The brownish color of the cloudiness makes me think it is caused by tannins from the wood. This will not harm anything, but if you want to get rid of it, you can do a series of large water changes, or temporarily use a filter with charcoal or Purigen.
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Old 10-17-2020, 09:29 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: The 5 Month Update

The scape looks amazing. I LOVE the way you layed out the wood-scape.
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Old 10-17-2020, 09:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Beautiful!
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Old 10-18-2020, 12:07 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael View Post
I really like the design of your tank!

The brownish color of the cloudiness makes me think it is caused by tannins from the wood. This will not harm anything, but if you want to get rid of it, you can do a series of large water changes, or temporarily use a filter with charcoal or Purigen.
I tried purigen once and it seemingly had no effect. I guess I'll give it one more shot and see.

It's definitely separate from tannins. There's tannins in there, but also a whitish haze.
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Old 10-18-2020, 04:48 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: The 5 Month Update

Tannins make the water brownish but clear. Cloudiness is mostly caused by suspended particles that could be microorganisms. Given your previous post, I'd bet that it's either algae, bacteria or both. If it is bacteria, they are feeding on organic matter present in the water, and that can be fixed by adding extra filtration material so that the organic matter gets consumed by fixed bacteria instead of free-living bacteria. The extra filtration material does not need to be any kind of commercial bs people usually try to sell, a good amount of sponge in a 1L do-it-yourself bottle filter should be more than enough -it's not meant to be a permanent solution after all, it's just for testing if bacteria is really the problem. If extra filtration fixes the problem within 15 days, then the root of the cloudiness was most likely the abundance of decomposing organic matter in your tank, and the definitive solution will be increasing your biological filtering capacity or reducing the bio-load. To reduce the bio-load you could just remove the driftwood, but you've got such a beautiful aquarium that I'd choose to increase filtration.
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Old 10-18-2020, 11:26 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default The 5 Month Update

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daz View Post
a good amount of sponge in a 1L do-it-yourself bottle filter.
Could you elaborate on this? Very curious...

Last edited by GadgetGirl; 10-18-2020 at 11:28 AM.. Reason: Typo
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Old 10-18-2020, 11:29 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: The 5 Month Update

Looks kinda like bacteria to me. A temporary UV sterilizer might do the trick and won’t harm anything.

Beautiful tank!
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Old 10-18-2020, 12:26 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GadgetGirl View Post
Could you elaborate on this? Very curious...
This is one option, just less stones and more regular filtration media; stones look cool and everything but this guy apparently ran some tests and regular filter media is good enough. If it is for testing purposes, it doesn't need to be good-looking, space-efficient nor easy to hide.
Yes, an UV filter will also solve the cloudy water symptom if its caused by either algae, bacteria or any life form that is floating around.
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Old 10-18-2020, 04:04 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: The 5 Month Update

Beautiful tank!

You have this tank fairly well balanced if you've gone for 4 months without a water change. If DOC (from soil and driftwood) is causing bacterial growth in the water, those bacteria are also generating CO2 for the plants. Apparently, bacterial growth in the tank is not so great as to deprive fish of oxygen, but it is enough to fuel plant growth with CO2. By fueling plant growth, plants produce more oxygen. That stimulates bacterial growth, more CO2, more plant growth and it goes round and round.

As long as plants are growing well and fish are not oxygen deprived, I'm not sure I would do anything. A water change or a UV sterilizer, maybe, but you could just sit back and enjoy what you've got.
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