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Nice tank results!

Allelopathy is very species specific and undependable for managing aquariums. I regret having duckweed in my tanks. Water Lettuce, Salvinia, Frogbit are so much bigger and easier to remove. Duckweed will block light to other plants, but being so small doesn't do nearly as much for water purification as a big strapping Water Lettuce.

Interesting that your fish nibble on plant roots. That's a new one for me!
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
The rosies are really something! And it's not for a lack of food! I end up giving them spirulina snacks to try to satisfy that plant eating urge. I think they are to blame for my occasional floating Elodea (considering it's weak rooting system).

I don't mind the duckweed in my 5 gallon shrimp tank because it's small and easy to clear out half of it using my net every week or two. Nor do I mind it in this 30 gallon tank, because it does take longer for it to cover, both tanks have strong lighting too.

I did put in salvinia minima in our 20 gallon, because it's easier to manage, slower growth rate. I do think it looks nicer, but after putting it in the 30 gallon, the rosies completely destroyed it's roots!

I'm considering putting salvinia in the 10 gallon, which is empty of fish right now (lots of snails though) because that one has more algae growth, due to the fact that it has less plants. It's the only tank that doesn't have dirt (does have substrate specific for plants though). The plan is to put in a couple of ottos in there first, see if how well they handle the algae before considering the salvinia minima in there. (Then maybe a Betta, but I'm worried about the roughness of the rocks in that tank, must do some research... topic for another thread!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
I'm always inspired by other people's journaling on their aquariums, but I never feel like there's much to report on mine. I have noticed that the pH went down a bit since I took out the hang on filter.

26 of Setember it was 8.2
9 of August it was 7.8
11 of Nov it was 7.4

Saturday I plan on doing the full battery of tests plus a ph reading in the morning, evening and night to see how much it changes during the day, it's hard for me to do that normally because of my working hours.

Due to this pH drop, when I did a water change last month, I decided to add a teaspoon (or maybe half? I regretfully did not write this information down) powdered eggshells as a calcium suplement, instead of the liquid calcium I have, to see how much it dissolves. When I did the water change last month, the gh and kh both dropped to a reading of 3. So I thought using the powered eggshells (I put a bunch of dried eggshells in my blender, it turned into a surprisingly fine powder) would be a fun experiment. Hoping it works out, it would be a much more ecological/economical solution for me.

I also redosed a half teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate after the water change.

In other news, my jungle val (the bigger one) sprouted a HUGE second runner, with flower buds which are starting to bloom and now an even bigger, thicker THIRD runner. I'm going to have to start trimming them, plus some leaves which are starting to want to jump out of the tank as well. :love:
 

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Discussion Starter · #47 · (Edited)
Hi everyone! Just felt like sharing a photo of how the plant growth is coming along-
I added a piece of wood that has java fern and moss on it. I had to take it out of the 10 gallon tank, it was taking up too much space. I like how it looks here!

I also added some chinese ivy plant (cardamine lirata) in the left corner, they were trimmings from the shrimp tank. Adds a delicate detail to this monster jungle!

Again, I managed to take a picture with no fish around, but here's a video of the rosies hanging out-
New video by Laisa Bellomo-Johnson


Plant Plant community Green Light Botany




Also a rare appearance of Batgirl from a few weeks ago.

Plant Leaf Terrestrial plant Vegetation Arecales
 

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Discussion Starter · #51 ·
Is it my imagination or does the cabomba and elodea eventually run out of steam in these heavily planted tanks?
The cabomba actually seem to be doing well, but they are spreading towards the front of the tank, away from the swords. I have trimmed them quite a few times as soon as a couple of their stems reach the surface.

The elodea on the other hand, I have tried to create a dense bunch of them, by trimming and replanting, but they are often found floating, so I gave up since the root system of the swords are clearly taking up space. Whenever they are floating or when I trim, I just throw it out. Aesthetically speaking, not my favorite plant anyways.


Terrific! This is the way a swordplant should grow.

What do you think turned this tank around?
I attribute the change to the two things you specifically advised me on, the water hardness and the oxygenation from the HOB filter.

I read someone say, and I have to say it has been my case, that sometimes it's easier to synthesize the information from your book properly after having first hand experiences! Having specific feedback from everyone during my learning curve has been invaluable!

My biggest learning curve was dealing with the water hardness, which I forgot to update you all, the eggshell dosing seems to have worked since after a few weeks the gh/kh readings went back up again after my big water change.

I have been able to successfully get my Naturally Planted shrimp tank going too after the rough beginning with the plant situation and since have been reading about how to deal with nutrient rich soils.

The conclusion of all this is that almost two months ago, my boyfriend and I set up our 4th tank with soil (that makes 3 out 4 with potting soil!) and from the get go we put in A TON of plants. Initial regular water changes to help rid the excess nutrients, and only put fish as soon as the plants got over their initial wilting (50% of the plants were from my other tanks but 50% were store bought so this time I wised up to their adaption phase.) The only "trouble" I ran into was that a couple of Planaria worms showed up but we were able to treat the tank before fish were put in there.

Here're before and after shots of this 4th tank, which is 20 gallons.

A few days after set up-

Plant Vertebrate Light Water Organism




Two weeks later: this is the first day we put in the fish. It was definitely still a shock to realize I didn't have to worry about "cycling the tank" considering the plants were already busy filtering things.

Water Plant Plant community Vertebrate Light



The tank today, we are still dealing with the intense tannins the wood released, which caused our carpet monte carlo to not do well in the long run, not to mention our Gourami really loves nipping at them, so half of them were found floating.

Water Plant Pet supply Grass Aquatic plant



Sorry for the gigantic post! But before people panic, some notes on this tank:

1. The hills were made with stones, so the soil was placed on top of it, not to risk anaerobic conditions.

2. The very middle of the tank doesn't have soil, only the terracota substrate. The initial "design' was to keep it as a clearing, but then on a whim we put the monte carlo there, but again, not a place we have to worry about going anaerobic since there's no soil.

3. We initially had floating plants, but took them out due to various reasons, like the HOB filter causing water movement (the one I took off my 30 gallon) and the tannins cutting down the light enough by itself.

4.Yes, we decided to reuse our HOB filter rather than buy another new piece of equipment, so I make sure the water level is always very high, creating a nice current with no splashing. The tetras love swimming against the current!

So yeah, I just consider this a planted tank, not a true " El Natural Method " tank because of the filter and, for example, having to clean the mulm buildup around the terracota substrate, since there's no soil there for it to recycle into. The plant growth is great, but I'm aware there's probably a healthy colony of bacteria in the filter, so it's nice not to have to be totally worried about the plants all the time. That said, the amonia and nitrate readings never spiked, probably thanks to the plants and I do dose the water with calcium and a little sodium bicarbonate to keep them happy. 😄
 

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Thanks for your reply and sharing your progress with us. I think you have acquired a very good understanding of aquarium ecology.

A little filtration and water circulation is fine. In some cases, it can be beneficial.

Very pretty tank!
 

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Discussion Starter · #53 ·
Hi everyone,

So the last few weeks my ammonia level went up slightly, not quite .25 but not exactly zero, and nitrites went up smidge as well, between .25-.50. I ended up doing a small water change, which helped but nitrite still giving a reading, now below .25

I decided to do a major plant trim, I thought maybe the plant growth might be stalling. Hopefully in a week the readings will be normalized.

It was fun trimming the dwarf sag, now I can actually see all my Corys again! They were always hidden away within, I couldn't find all of them for the life of me! I'll post a picture later of how nice it looks all trimmed.
 

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Hi everyone,

So the last few weeks my ammonia level went up slightly, not quite .25 but not exactly zero, and nitrites went up smidge as well, between .25-.50. I ended up doing a small water change, which helped but nitrite still giving a reading, now below .25

I decided to do a major plant trim, I thought maybe the plant growth might be stalling. Hopefully in a week the readings will be normalized.

It was fun trimming the dwarf sag, now I can actually see all my Corys again! They were always hidden away within, I couldn't find all of them for the life of me! I'll post a picture later of how nice it looks all trimmed.
That's a very important point to make. That it isn't necessarily how big or how lush your plants look, but the rate at which they are actually growing that counts.
 

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I would remove some of those rocks on left side of tank. They are taking up "floor space" that would be better devoted to plant growth. And be careful not to trim plants too much; that can result in algae. Based on your recent photo, your tank is a long way from being over-crowded with plants. Still, I'm glad you can see your Corys!
I would try to accommodate floating plants. You could make a circle with air-line tubing to float on surface, so plants don't get trapped under the filter. Or tie larger floating plants (Water Lettuce or Frogbit) to the driftwood. Remember that floating plants are much, much better than submerged plants in removing nitrite and ammonia from the water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #56 · (Edited)
I am considering if maybe the problem is over feeding, so I'm trying to be lighter with the food these days. My boyfriend thinks maybe there are too many snails? The trumpet snail population is positively booming. Another sign of over feeding?

Most of my heavy trimming was of the dwarf sag, which is taking up over half the floor space already, I purposely take out any sprouts near the rocks, I try to keep that cave clear. I cut off some of the biggest leaves of the amazon sword plants (there's still a bunch left though) and trimmed one of the biggest water sprites.

Speaking of the cave/rocks, I'm going to consider taking it out as a last option...all the fish love hiding behind and in it, especially the pleco...but really the main reason is that it would create such a mess, the rocks are totally imbedded in the soil!! I hope it doesn't come to that, but I understand.

There's a good amount of duckweed on the surface at the moment, and the jungle val has already bounced back from a heavy trim a couple weeks ago. I'll put in salvinia minima again, might be better than the duckweed...but the last time, the Rosies totally destroyed their roots.😕


Picture time (this is after the trimming)

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So, wait. You got rid of the driftwood? This looks like a totally different tank.
Personally, I wouldn't touch the trumpet snails. I was worried at first when I first introduced them to my tank (it started with just one!) but I really don't think they represent a huge bio-load. And, they really earn their keep by keeping the algae in check.

EDIT: My bad. It took me a while to figure out that the tank from ten days ago was the so-called, "4th tank" that you and your boyfriend have set up. It might be useful in the future to start a separate journal for different tanks. I'm getting old and it's not easy to remember which photos are from what tank a month later. :LOL:
 

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My bad. It took me a while to figure out that the tank from ten days ago was the so-called, "4th tank" that you and your boyfriend have set up. It might be useful in the future to start a separate journal for different tanks. I'm getting old and it's not easy to remember which photos are from what tank a month later. :LOL:
I agree totally. I'm probably older than johnwesley and my patience has not increased with age.

Also, 2 pictures (side and front) is enough. Scrolling through a bunch of similar pictures is irritating. Pick out and post the best two pictures that depict the problem, or hopefully, the solution.

My advice: To get the best answers, take your time when posting.
 
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