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Discussion Starter · #61 ·
It's been about six weeks since I started this tank over so thought I'd post another update. Things are going much better this time around. Good plant growth and all the residents seem to be doing fine. I've been removing the water lettuce as it continually takes over and carpets the top. Thinking it's about time to remove it completely so I don't have to keep scooping it out. I do have some hair algae, especially on the Anubias and some green algae on the glass but I'm not too concerned, just letting things do their things. ;) The slime mold has mostly gone away but I still see a little every now and then. I haven't done any major water changes for a while, just topping off as the water evaporates. I'll do some trimming in the next few days and see how things shape up.
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Beautiful!

I would not change anything that you are doing. Keep scooping out the Water Lettuce, but don't remove it entirely. Be grateful for the Water Lettuce; it is protecting your fish from contaminants and your plants from algae.

What a pleasure to see your tank photos this morning!
 

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Discussion Starter · #64 ·
Parameters?
Honestly I haven't tested the water in quite some time. Last time I did it was for hardness and ammonia. Hardness was up to acceptable levels (can't remember what they were) considering my Pacific Northwest water is very soft out of the faucet. A thin layer of crushed oyster shell added to the dirt and the occasional Wonder Shell have helped increase hardness. Ammonia was at zero. I do have a pH monitor which was left over from the days when I injected CO2 so I see that every day. Currently it's right around 8 but varies slightly up and down as the CO2 levels increase and decrease throughout the day. The thing I've found with testing is that it can lead down some deep, dark rabbit holes. What I've learned from this forum is that the flora and fauna are the best indicators of water parameters and if something gets out of whack nature will usually correct it with time and patience. I've been spending my time watching and enjoying my tank instead of stressing out about algae, parameters, weird things like slime mold, etc.

Beautiful!

I would not change anything that you are doing. Keep scooping out the Water Lettuce, but don't remove it entirely. Be grateful for the Water Lettuce; it is protecting your fish from contaminants and your plants from algae.

What a pleasure to see your tank photos this morning!
Thank you Diana! It's been a long, strange trip to finally get to a tank with good growth and I sincerely appreciate all the advice you and others here have given me. I'll keep the Water Lettuce per your suggestion.
 

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What I've learned from this forum is that the flora and fauna are the best indicators of water parameters and if something gets out of whack nature will usually correct it with time and patience. I've been spending my time watching and enjoying my tank instead of stressing out about algae, parameters, weird things like slime mold, etc.
I thought I was the only one who felt this way. So, what makes you think you need a partial water change?
 

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Discussion Starter · #66 ·
I thought I was the only one who felt this way. So, what makes you think you need a partial water change?
From my update above..."I haven't done any major water changes for a while, just topping off as the water evaporates."
I probably won't do another water change for another month or so...just depends on what the tank is doing and how things are progressing. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #69 ·
Time for another update, but this time I need some advice. As you can see from the photos, BBA (I think) is slowly spreading. Aside from trimming the affected leaves, I'm not sure how to prevent it from coming back or why it's there in the first place. One thing I'm considering is removing the drift wood and Anubias. I'm wondering if there's just not enough overall plant mass in the tank to utilize all the nutrients released by the soil. I'm thinking that space would be better used by planting with S. Repens, Montecarlo or some other midground or foreground plants? Water Lettuce is still abundant and has once again formed a mat on the surface so I'll be scooping that out again.
Any advice on plant selection or other solutions is greatly appreciated!

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Start trimming the algae off the plants. A water change will reduce the nutrients in the water. Maybe reduce the lights too. It looks like it's getting a bit too much sun from the window. I think the CO2 generated from the soil had dropped off as well, so the balance is off.

I did an experiment where I took the BBA-affected plants out of a nutrient rich tank and into a no nutrient tank, the BBA died off after a long period of time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #71 ·
Start trimming the algae off the plants. A water change will reduce the nutrients in the water. Maybe reduce the lights too. It looks like it's getting a bit too much sun from the window. I think the CO2 generated from the soil had dropped off as well, so the balance is off.

I did an experiment where I took the BBA-affected plants out of a nutrient rich tank and into a no nutrient tank, the BBA died off after a long period of time.
Thanks mistergreen. The brightness is actually quite a bit less than what you see in the photos. I adjusted the exposure a little to get more detail in the photos so the window is really blown out, looking brighter than it really is. The window has a shade on it that cuts the light quite a bit but not completely. I can put up a curtain so the siesta period is darker.
Regarding reducing the amount of light, that seems counterintuitive to a lot of what I've read here. Plants need light to process CO2 and grow, hopefully leaving little left over for algae. That's the reason for the siesta...to replenish CO2 levels during the siesta and provide another "dose" so plants can outcompete algae when the lights come back on. Based on all of that it seems to me that reducing the amount of light will make it easier for algae to have access to CO2 thus improving its chances of surviving. Anyone else have any thoughts on this?

Thanks!
 

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Regarding reducing the amount of light, that seems counterintuitive to a lot of what I've read here. Plants need light to process CO2 and grow, hopefully leaving little left over for algae.
I don't think excess CO2 is a common problem in Walstad tanks. The same siesta period that suspends photosynthesis in an aquarium's plants suspends it in algae too. The way I understand it, however, the effect on algae is greater.
 

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CO2 generation from the dirt doesn't last forever whether you give it a siesta or not. You'll have to find a new procedure going forward, finding a balance of light, nutrients, and CO2. Algae don't need as much of the stuff that plants do, very little.
 
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