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BigAL's 60cm mountain peak scape

Discussion in 'Aquascaping Journals' started by BigAL777, Apr 13, 2016.

  1. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    BigAL

    Other than the large rock on the LH side I think the remaining rocks will be hidden with your plant growth.

    The darkened room photo looks nice.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
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  2. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    To help get through this stage, you really need more plants. Algae and diatoms are just going to be part of the process without a lot more plants.

    Getting those things doesn't mean you need to scrap it, but you have to persevere through it and keep up a good maintenance routine. Getting the CO2 right will be critical.

    If you like pops of red you could add A. reneckii mini to the left corner AND behind the upper right stone. You will need it in both places to balance out the strong color and not draw the eye to one spot in the corner. Otherwise I recommend some Blyxxa japonica.

    That bright yellow drop checker isn't ideal. I know folks say blast CO2 all you want without critters in there, however I think people fail to consider the impact the drop in pH has on the biofilter and general health of the systems microbiome. It looks also like you are not using the skimmer function. If you choose to not do that, I'd recommend aerating at night. You need to oxygenate the water.
     
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  3. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    BigAL

    More plants would certainly help your tank considerably.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
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  4. BigAL777

    BigAL777 Aspiring Aquascaper

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    So it's been at least a week since I posted a photo. Not doing so good, there's a blanket of Brown all over everything. I'm gonna have to redo the entire scape...
     

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  5. lucasgg

    lucasgg Active Aquascaper

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    Absolutely 100% correct. Buy the plants, then fill. If you have filled and don't have many plants, feel free to half the lighting or do a black out every time algae shows up.
     
  6. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    BigAL

    Before you do that what have you tried to remove it?

    Apparently it's not uncommon in newly set up tanks.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  7. BigAL777

    BigAL777 Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I took out the LED light and hooked up my CFL bulbs again, that's what worked the first scape (even though I only had Monte Carlo instead of HC Cuba).
    I cut the co2 back to like 1.5 bps. I added an inexpensive new plant a couple of days ago, just to see if I have stable water for plant growth (then I know I've fixed the problem) or if I wasted $3.
    This stuff is all over my plants and gravel and rocks, I even see it pearl lol.
    I just ordered two more pots of HC Cuba. So I'll probably keep the filter running for awhile and try to dry start the new pots. I was going to remove the top layer of gravel to really get that Brown crud out of my tank. I was thinking of getting black decorative sand to sprinkle on as a lighter top layer for roots to grab on to, is there a better nutrient-rich sand that would work better?
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2016
  8. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Slow down Al,

    This is a diatom bloom. Normal and not uncommon, particularly when you have such low plant density. You need more plants, not to redo everything. You also need to stop tweaking CO2 and lighting. You create instability for your plants and give algae an advantage. Run the light you started with at 6 hrs per day. Do frequent water changes. Add more plants..lots more HC. You have to ride this out. Once the tank and substrate is cycled you can add some shrimp and otos to start eating the diatoms. They will go away...but only if you give things time to establish and grow.
     
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  9. BigAL777

    BigAL777 Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Ok. I've kept the co2 at about 1bps but the drop checker was turning a blueish green so I turned it up a hair. I already order two more pots of HC Cuba. I'm not sure if the HC Cuba in the tank is getting enough light now that it is covered in diatoms.
    I have been changing out about 30% water every 3 days or so, maybe I'll just change a gallon per day. And I've been keeping steady with the ferts.
    Should I take out the mostly dead plants, or hold out for regrowth?
     
  10. J Art

    J Art Aspiring Aquascaper

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    It's really easy to fall into a trap of over-fixing and actually causing more issues. I'd say crank up your CO2 a little more and keep it steady. Lighting for 6 hours and just keep everything the same for a couple weeks. Change the water often and let the plants adjust and start to grow. Remember that plants take time to adjust. Die off is normal and so is diatoms. Let them do their thing and add more plants if you can. See it through, don't give up on it.
     
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  11. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    BigAL

    I fully agree I would like to add stop tweaking immediately if not the only way you will save your tank will have to be a full reconstruction.

    What to do next.
    1 Listen to all the advice given by experienced members.
    2 More water changes a minimum of twice a week.
    3 Plants buy and plant them immediately, I would also get the cheap leafy Water Wisteria common name (Water Sprite) and, let it float its perfect for that job it will also help all your other plants.
    4 Finally keep us up to date on your tanks progress remembering it will be a slow process but it will start to slowly improve.

    Keith :cat::cat:
     
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  12. BigAL777

    BigAL777 Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Wow, thanks everyonefor the help. I actually bought two Xmas moss covered rocks online at the same time as the HC Cuba to help with the plant "bioload". I can go back to my LFS and get some more micanthromum umbrosom to stick in the back left corner. Also my water is kind of warm, like 80 degrees F, the LED light really keeps the water hot.
     
  13. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    It could be a combination of the heater, and your lighting or even a faulty thermometer.

    If its a floating thermometer push it into the substrate to get a lower water level temperature.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  14. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    80 is a bit warm. IME, some algae does better in the warmer water. Also, some mosses do not do well in warm water. I like 72-76 F.

    The moss won't really help with biomass. Its a slow grower with little demand. I liked keiths idea of floating some wisteria or water sprite. That is easily done and could be removed later.

    Just to let you know, my HC only Iwagumi still has some algae issues as it fills in. I'm not too worried as once I'm able to give it a really good trim and have a thick established carpet, I won't see it anymore. Unfortunately, this is just how its going to go with the low plant mass and high light in these style of scapes.

    Is the HC growing? do you see roots extending into the substrate? It is challenging to brush off the diatoms without uprooting the HC.
     
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  15. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Also, I'd add some skimming or overnight aeration. You have a thick film on the top of the tank...this isn't ideal.

    This is what I use along with a timer to aerate my 90 cm at night.

    I also use a skimmer set to low.
     
  16. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    A very interesting little unit.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  17. BigAL777

    BigAL777 Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Ok update, the plant I added has really been helping, as has the reduced light cycle. I am still awaiting the HC Cuba pots and Xmas moss to come. I added a couple of tiny snails to start the snail breeding take over to help with my diatoms clean up.
    About an hour or two after the light cycle ends I angle the outflow pipe to circulate the surface, after about 10 minutes of running it in that angle the surface is clear and looks good. I run it at that angle during the whole night cycle.
    The reason I have two different angles for the outflow is to make sure the plants in the front left are getting co2. I've noticed the fine mist of co2 in the water doesn't settle down there. The ultimate solution would be to move the outflow pipe to the opposite side of the tank so the water flow goes down with the slope.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2016
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  18. BigAL777

    BigAL777 Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Plants just came in! The Xmas moss is still missing, I'm going to put them in the center-left background. Everything looks pretty good so far, hopefully it's enough to stop the diatoms.
     

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  19. lucasgg

    lucasgg Active Aquascaper

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    You need more for sure.
     
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  20. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Big Al

    I would say a lot more is required.

    Is your filter powerful enough to give you a good flow?

    It could be slowing down if the media is dirty or too much of the fine filter pads that is if you are using them.

    Also clean all the hoses and the impeller.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
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