Things have been growing very well and were getting a bit out of hand. Here's a pic from 7/11/09 before I trimmed:
Here's a pic this morning before I changed the water, lightly vacuumed the substrate, and cleaned one of the 2 Eheim 2217's I have on this tank:
I am pretty pleased w/ how it is coming along. Added some Ludwigia Cuba to the left side. Thought I had removed all the lotus but as you can see I must have missed a few. I am very happy w/ how the needle leaf java fern is exploding on the right--however, Texgal was right that I would soon lose all sight of the large piece of DW I attached it too. Oh well--looks cool anyway IMO. . .
Also added a few runners of E. tennellus and a mat of flame moss from AFA in San Francisco on another recent business trip--that store is awesome!
Not sure what I want to do w/ the foreground yet. I would like to open it up a bit and maybe reduce it to 1-2 species. Not sure which I would keep as I really like them all (need to set up a grow out tank!). Really love the HM so maybe keep that w/ some of the tennellus mixed in. . . we'll see. . .
Also, I have still been battling BBA. Not sure how to get rid of this--anyone have any experience/ideas??? I have tried the upping the CO2 and nitrates thing but this doesn't seem to have helped. I can keep it under control w/ regular spot treatment w/ Excel but would like to see if I can get away from this. I don't have carbon in my filters anymore so I am testing the hypothesis that a buildup of organics may be causing the BBA (the tank definitely smells a lot more fishy than it used to when I was running a lot of carbon). During the filter clean today I added 2 x 100mL bags of Purigen to see if this can help.
Not much happening but things are growing well. Getting a little crowded but I like it.
The L. inclinata var. verticillata 'Cuba' is really looking stunning though so wanted to capture a few shots. All this started w/ 2 scraggly stems I picked up as a trial from my LFS for $3.
The purigen in my filter has really seemed to help as well (I added 2 x 100mL packets each in 'The Bag' to one of my Eheim 2217's during my last filter clean. The "fishy" smell is gone and the water seems much clearer. Also, the BBA hasn't been much of an issue but not sure if this is due to the purigen, my more regular tank vacuuming, or the excel I've been dosing. Nothing like a good controlled experiment. . .
Anyway--here are the shots: an FTS and then one closer up of the center.
Time for a trim and a minor rescape. Am hoping to redo the foreground and improve the open space in this area.
Here it is this am before the trim:
And after the trim/rescape:
Removed, trimmed, and replaced all of the stems on the LHS: rotala macranda's, Ludwigia Cuba, L. Aromatica, bacopa (moved this to the right side).
Moved and thinned out the HM from the foreground. Removed the glosso completely as well as the few remaining pieces of Alternanthera reineckii and the red lotus. I think these were the only 3 species I lost from this rescape. . .
Also, moved the blyxa japonica to the LHS and removed most of it. Spread the E. tenellus across the foreground and left some space in the area near the glass. Am hoping to get some downoi to add to the foreground. Another note on the foreground: I thought I planted the big crypts in the back but the ones in front seem to have grown the biggest. I have some large wendtii's in the back that are still quite small--hopefully with the lotus removed they will get more light and become more visible.
Also, moved the Crinum calamistratum to a clearer spot to hopefully get this more visible (and more light!).
I'm sure I did some more but can't recall right now. Will have to wait and see how things grow in. . .
Thanks for looking! Any comments/suggestions/etc. welcome.
Just a quick update to show the growth over 1 week:
Also, managed to get a few stems of pogostemon helferi (downoi) from AFA in San Francisco last week during a visit :whoo::
Seems to be doing well in my tank after the journey back to PA.
Also, added some root tabs around the crypts in the back center to hopefully get them up to speed. I have a number of wendtii's back there that I am hoping will grow and become visible at the back center. The crypts in the front have really taken off and grown much bigger than I had expected. Will have to see if a relocation is in order. . .
Not much to report on the plants now--just growing out in their current configuration.
I have been re-looking at my dosing regimen though lately as I continue to battle w/ BBA and also more GDA and GSA than usual.
I was dosing at the following levels (3-4 times per week) for the last ~2 months:
KNO3 - 3/4 tsp
KH2PO4 - 1/4 tsp
K2SO4 - 1/4 tsp
CSMB - 1/4 tsp
The EI recommendation for a 90g tank is: (I figured the extra K couldn't hurt)
KNO3 - 3/4 tsp
KH2PO4 - 1/4 tsp
K2SO4 - 0 tsp
CSMB - 1/4 tsp
I had been checking my N/P levels w/ my API test kits and they were both routinely high (>20ppm N, ~2-5ppm P) but I guess I just didn't trust them too much. The NO3 test is very difficult to read as the shades of red are so similar.
Recently I decided to modify my fertilization regime and to "reset" the tank so I performed a 50% water change two days in a row. After the second water change the levels were better (N ~10-20ppm, P ~1-2ppm) and the fish seemed much happier--the odessa barbs were out front in a big group swimming in the current produced by the Koralia pump! [I recently added back the Koralia 2 pump to help w/ circulation as my CO2 level at the opposite end of the tank was lower than usual according to my drop checker] They usually spend all of their time hiding in the plants and only come out at feeding time. I also lost an Angel recently which got my attention and caused me to want to look at my fertilization.
I also repeated a calibration of my N and P test kits. I prepared a 20ppm solution of NO3 (according to the test kit the level was 10-20 ppm--in between orange and red) and a 2ppm solution of PO4 (test kit reading was 0.5ppm! Will have to repeat this.).
What I plan is to follow a very reduced dosing regimen for a while and monitor the N/P levels w/ the goal of keeping them below 20ppm for N and 2ppm for P. And of course watch the plants! What I'm dosing now is:
KNO3 - 1/4 tsp
KH2PO4 - 0 tsp
K2SO4 - 1/4 tsp
Flourish comprehensive - 20mL
Also--I recently picked up a 25g cube tank which I plan to use as a grow out tank so I won't have to worry about "losing" plants I want to remove from the 90g. My plan is to reduce the number of species in the tank and create a more open look on the RHS and a "more scaped" tank in general. We'll see how that turns out. . . I made some drawings that I am excited about trying out.
Mostly just wanted to document my current efforts here so I wouldn't lose or have to hunt for them later. Any suggestions on my dosing plan or how to get rid of BBA are welcome.
Hey Roy! After scouring the forums, I found a lot of reference to BBA. The only surefire way to ensure its total destruction is increase and stabilize CO2. This is from Barr. My CO2 readings told me I had 30ppm and I still had BBA. I dropped my pH controller from 6.8 to 6.2 (tap pH of 7.8!) and it stopped in its tracks. I assume my initial CO2 readings were wrong - not sure why, but I also found I'm not the only one who had that issue. I'm now using a drop checker to monitor my CO2 levels, and keeping it light green.
After balancing the CO2, I applied a double dose of Excel (for my 90G it was 20ml/day) for about a week and a half. The water became cloudy, but it did not affect the fish. within a few days the BBA burned off (turned red and brittle) and disappeared. I've been BBA-free for a couple weeks now. I still have GSA showing up weekly on the glass, but it is in smaller quantity now.
In short, the problem = unstable CO2
Short term solution = double dose of Excel
Long term solution = increase and stabilize CO2
I think I have read those same posts and have spent time trying to stabilize my CO2--I think it is ok now as I am running it 24/7 at a bubble rate to keep my drop checker (4d kH) light green/yellow. I added the koralia to help w/ circulation which has helped but not solved the problem. I think my phosphates are too high as some of the fish food I use is high in this.
CO2 distribution may also be a problem so after reducing the phosphate level I will take another look at this.
Interested to see some of your results with the BBA. I just returned from a weeklong trip, no ferts during that time, and BBA returned in a bigger than expected way. My CO2 runs 24/7 and I keep my drop checker that is in the most CO2 deficient spot of the tank at a light green/yellow. I tested N and P and found N = ~10 and P = ~2-5. I've read all the same posts as well and although stabilizing my CO2 seemed to stabilize the growth of BBA, my recent experience seems to tell me that there is some kind of interaction with N, P, or both that stimulates BBA. More info to come.
Here's my current dosing levels: (every other day)
KNO3 - 1/2 tsp
KH2PO4 - 1/8 tsp
K2SO4 - 1/2 tsp
Flourish comprehensive - 20mL
Flouris Iron - 10mL (on alternate days from other dosing)
Just before changing the dosing I trimmed and replanted the macranda and it seems to be doing much better is more red.
Still having the issue w/ continual low-to-medium levels of BBA. I have returned my CO2 to timed w/ the lights as I was using up too much CO2 going 24/7 (my 20lb cylinder only lasted ~1.5 months). I have also increased the bubble rate significantly--I plan to keep increasing this to see if the BBA will decrease. Now I have been dosing XL to keep it in check.
My 25g cube growout tank is all set up and I have been stuffing it w/ plants from this tank. Have been running DIY CO2 using the "Niko diffusor" mod on my powerhead and it works great. I think I will tee in another bottle though to keep the level high. I also decided on which fish I am going to keep in this tank--heterandria formosa. Have been wanting to keep a species tank of livebearers and maintain a colony. We'll see how that works out. . . May have to start a journal for this one as well. . .
Thanks for looking! Any feedback/comments welcome.