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Novice aquascaper - posting pictures of progress. Advice appreciated!

Discussion in 'General Aquascaping and Planted Tank Discussions' started by Sapdaddy, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. Sapdaddy

    Sapdaddy New Member

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    The reason is probably the substrate - I did not start with it fresh, it was about 5 months old by the time I began working on the tank's plantations. I know how stupid that sounds now but hey, tell it to past me.

    I'm using ADA step 3 fertilizer everyday but I have a feeling I need some kind of substrate revitalizer - I'll ask my LFS about it when I next see them. I should also note that I didn't start adding CO2 and fertilizers until you told me to - it hasn't even been a week since I started adding them. I hope the plant health should pick up soon enough - the plants at the back, for example, were planted for about a week or 2 before ferts or CO2 was added.

    Also, the problems with hardness levels in my tank might have contributed - after testing my water from all those months of abuse I saw a GH level of 37 and a KH of 0 (probably explained my algae problem). This week I've done a number of water changes with R/O water - I calculate the GH to have been reduced to about 15 by now. I am also adding alkaline/carbonate buffers to increase KH levels - the pH of the tank was around 6, so this probably wouldn't hurt.

    Anything else I can do? If plant health is the problem I need to repair the nutrient conditions of the tank - again, because I am a moron and just kept fish in a tank with the ADA substrate and no plants. Basically, once the catfish ate them all I kind of lost hope in the tank - I planned on taking the catfish back and re-doing the tank one day but I put it off for about 5 months. Buying new substrate, unfortunately, is not an option.

    By the way, the plants keep getting coated in debris and dead algae - probably a result of me re-doing the hardscape while underwater. I've been 'beating' the plants clean - lightly, of course, and directing the debris to the filter.

    I have moved the outlet to the front LH corner :)

    :This here is about as good as my grid is going to get, I have made the final rock reposition. I hope I don't have to do it again! I'm scared of that moss coming loose....
    PC010004[1].JPG
     

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  2. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    There is only one person I know who can help you and he is in Sydney.​

    Take a full water sample even a plant to him that will give him an idea of what is happing in your tank.​

    You will block you filter very quickly doing that, wave a net over the plants and pick it up that way.​

    When did you clean the filter last.​

    When I added all my plants I did two 30% water changes a week, plants love fresh water.​

    I hope you don't have carbon any where in your tank if so take it out NOW.​

    Keith:)
     
  3. Sapdaddy

    Sapdaddy New Member

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    Don't worry, there is no activated carbon :)

    I'll have a look at the filter and see if it needs cleaning, it might have been a while.

    I've been doing 25% water changes daily with R/O water - I'm sure the plants would love that too then!
     
  4. Sapdaddy

    Sapdaddy New Member

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    I just cleaned the filter...
    The horror...
    I was actually scared there would be mutant wildlife in there.
    I shall not allow laziness to overtake me again!

    UPDATE: Whaddya know, I cleaned the filter and within half an hour the plants looked much cleaner and were even releasing oxygen bubbles (didn't see that before) - I was planning on cleaning the filter at the end of the month as I thought you had to do it yearly; I'll be doing it every 3 months now.
     
  5. Sapdaddy

    Sapdaddy New Member

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    Current water parameters:

    GH: 9
    KH: 3-4
    pH - 7

    (Everything else remains fine, these were the figures that have been off for a while. Few more water changes and they should stabilise).
     
  6. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Who is giving you all this information are you hunting the Forums for it if you are its totally wrong.

    I run Eheim Pro3 on the 5ft 300+ actual and an Eheim Pro11 on the 100lt actual those filters are cleaned monthly regardless, I also do a 30% weekly water change.

    I strongly suggest you join an Australian Aquarium Forum, George will recommend one to you.

    Its extremely obvious you have been given or found a lot of misleading information and the further you go the more trouble you will get your self into.

    Keith:):)
     
  7. Sapdaddy

    Sapdaddy New Member

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    The information is pretty much what I learned some time ago that my brain seems to have manipulated into something else. I will admit to... not being sober very often in my final student years. I think I've learned everything I need to now to keep my aquascape running... at least I hope so.

    Anyway things are looking great at the moment, plants are growing well and are very healthy. Carpet plants are doubling by the day and the driftwood has stopped leeching tannins into the bathtub, thinking about adding it to the tank today with some needle java fern.

    A couple of female otos are getting rather fat, breeding might be a possibility.

    Added 5 more neons and 4 more harlequins to even up the schools. Also forgot to mention that 5 of the 20 tetras are green tetras, if that changes anything.

    Added some L.E.D lights to the top of the tank - I can now illuminate the tank any color or level of brightness I choose. Don't worry, it's waterproof.

    Adding some red plants today (can't remember the name) - there is a blank spot in the tank that could benefit from some red.
     
  8. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    I am still learning after 45+ years with fish tanks and Aquascaping.

    Just some thing for you to ponder over.

    Keith:):)
     
  9. Garuf

    Garuf Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, without co2 and keep adding light I think you're going to soon run into trouble dear. The thing with high light tanks is planning and maintenance have to be impeccable to get best results.

    Good luck but I think it'd be wise for you to perhaps do some research.
    The ukaps tutorials section is a good place to start.
    http://ukaps.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=34&t=1275

    I mean there's so much to learn, not stressing about parameters, the importance of co2 and flow. Understanding PAR and light. There's just so much to get your head round!
     
  10. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Well said Garuf, Sapdaddy I think its time you take a few steps back think about what your are doing and start by doing a lot of research and not look for answers you want to find.

    You have a lot to learn and it will take many years of hard work to get there.

    Keith:):)
     
  11. Sapdaddy

    Sapdaddy New Member

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    Driftwood is in - got it with some needle leaf java fern (90 bucks worth and it's still not enough. I dunno how you guys do it... I'll be propogating them) and another plant bunch to which I don't know the name. Picture comes in tonight!

    Keith - you will probably suggest more carpet plants but I have to wait for what is there to grow out, costs way too much to carpet the whole thing with purchased plants.
     
  12. Sapdaddy

    Sapdaddy New Member

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    I'm aware the height of a couple branches is a bit off but the wood is lined best against the 1/3rd grid I could do; it's buried pretty deep and won't go any further. I'm hoping it still works, I quite like the way it turned out.
    Untitled.png

    The plants are doing much better:

    PC060004.JPG PC060006.JPG

    My plan now is for the rest of the substrate to be covered over by carpeting plants, finishing off the greenery of the scape.

    Update: Just spent 2 hours picking up all those random pieces of stone/gravel around the sides of the tank with tweezers... worth it.
     

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  13. Sapdaddy

    Sapdaddy New Member

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    Just an update, I had to replace my carpet grass for hairgrass due to a lack of powder substrate. It should grow out pretty quickly
    Untitled.jpg
     
  14. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Sapdaddy

    There is something wrong with that tank it looks like most of the plants are either dead or in a very poor condition.

    Its one of four things.
    1 Lighting
    2 Substrate
    3 Fertiliser
    4 Water Parameters

    Keith:):)
     
  15. Sapdaddy

    Sapdaddy New Member

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    Yeah I was away for 2 months and left the tank in the care of my roomates, being inexperienced they could only do so much. They kept the fish alive, though.

    I think the tank looks yellow from tannins from the driftwood, they may not have done water changes as often as I had liked.

    They ran out of carbon dioxide for a while, the plants had gone without for a couple of weeks. I bought a CO2 injector and it is running at 3 bubbles/sec

    I bought Brighty-K when I got back to assist in fertiliser absorption, didn't know it was needed.

    Water testing revealed a slightly elevated phosphate level, I am currently doing frequent water changes.

    I have a full tank testing kit now so if you think any parameter is off please let me know and I'll test it.

    I also cleaned the filter, hopefully everything will get back to normal soon.
     
  16. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Nick

    Every bit of information helps.

    Keith:):)
     
  17. Sapdaddy

    Sapdaddy New Member

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    So keeping up the water changes, one per day. The water is still pretty yellow, I'm pretty lost as to why now..

    Also I'm a bit worried, I can't find one of my Bolivian Rams. I tried ruffling through all the plants and lifting the hardscapes but couldn't find a body, I'm pretty sure I would see it floating if it died... any explanations?
     
  18. Sapdaddy

    Sapdaddy New Member

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    Found the cause of the water discolouration - there was an acid drop so I compensated by adding buffers - however this was at the same time I bought Brighty-K for my plants! The buffer ended up doing nothing but reacting with the soil, causing it to disintegrate. Thanks to the addition of Brighty-K and some phosphate binders, the black hair algae is starting to recede.

    Anyway, things look a hell of a lot better right now - plants are releasing more oxygen bubbles than I have ever seen before (therefore photosynthesis is high, plants must be healthy)

    Trim final.jpg
    Thoughts?
     
  19. Sapdaddy

    Sapdaddy New Member

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    BTW: My brother finally sent me a picture of the aquascape I made him for Xmas

    This is what it looked like when I first made it:

    3500_10151144716671470_1282940082_n.jpg

    This is what it looks like now! He has absolutely no fishkeeping or aquascaping experience so I think I taught him how to maintain his tank pretty well! He does not know how to trim or propagate properly, though - I just gave him some instructions over the phone.

    Alex.jpg
     
  20. Garuf

    Garuf Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't have enough time to reply to all my forum duties or all that in depth but I will get back to you I just wanted to add note while it was fresh that pearling can still happen with sickly plants, making the assumption they're healthy is a fatal mistake and one many have made.

    Your brothers tank looks well the few algae issues and low biomass aside, it just needs trimming and topping up so the outlet isn't waterfalling at a glance.
     

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