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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Be Prepared for the wall of text to come! Pictures are on its way.

I've been managing this tank off and on for a couple years now, its been through some tough tough times, rescaped, replanted, lighting changes, co2, non co2, moved homes, kid messing with it etc. pretty much i'd get into it, then get lazy and the poor tank suffered. The fish always made out fine atleast.

Thats all changed now, im putting my foot down and gettin this tank stable so 1 day a week upkeep and daily dosing regime will make it easy. My goal is to get it balanced and i figure it was the lighting making it such a pain before. Plus my 2yo is in love with the tank and i owe it to him to show some responsibility with it.

For starters (updated dec 26th)

Tank: 29 gallon
Substrate: Tahitian Moon Sand
Lighting: 2 bulb sideways Twister CFLs, 21W 6500K 2 inches above the water.
Filtration: Rena XP1 (biowheels/crushed coral/course,fine,micro sponges/filter floss)
Decor: Drift wood x4 pieces ; Pebbles and a piece of slate. I tried to make it somewhat random looking.
Misc: heater set at 25.5

Plants:
Red Tiger Lotus (background)
windelov (driftwood right side)
java fern (middle driftwood)
Anubias nanas (right foreground)
Flame moss (left driftwood)
glosso (center foreground)
Crypt willisii (center-right)
Crypt wendtii (left back corner
Livestock:
6 black phantoms
5 cardinals
several dwarf otoc
1 Calico BN

Macros: standard ei
Micros: CSM+B - 5ml
Changes: 50% on monday

Co2: metricide dosing

Now onto the journal
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Progress:
Fail is an understatement at this point. To fight the BBA's growth i've reduced the lighting and then the light period. That didn't work so i tried Micro nutrients only, That made plants more lush but more BBA growth but not as rampant. next i went back into full EI dosing, macros and micros alternating. Dosing reduced a bit to limit growth rate. BBA went even faster. Which made me believe my DiY was too inconsistent, i was using a hagen canister changed weekly. Researched and found the Jello method and a 3L jug, Co2 is definately up to pace now, i might need to airstone the tank at night, will wait and watch the fishies, could just be the burst of getting it started. Now im at the wait and see (and pick out) for my BBA battle. If growth reduces, i'll excell treat, then wait and see some more.
The plants, i've pruned well, gutted the non recoverable (3 full handfuls of java moss included) and am generally depressed at the species i have left, but i deserve it since i never balanced the water chemistry well, and that is my primary goal now. The spaces are reserved for new plants, shuffled around driftwood (added a piece too).
The fishies will be introduced asap, the current stock are enjoying the water more now, being much more active during non feeding time. The lack of water upkeep led to a KH spike to 11 dKH, in two weeks i've changed 30%, 30%, 30% and now 50%. will test kh in a couple days.

I apologize for the wall of text, but i am long winded... pics to come
 

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Nice looking tank. The 29 will definitely give you more aquascaping oppurtunities.

Best Regards,

Stuart
 

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very beautiful tanks....
 

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Discussion Starter #8
heres updated pics!

Full shot


The largest BBA affected area


and my new 3L Jello Co2 Can


normally the shrimp are hard at work all over the tank, but for some reason they almost are non existent in all pics i took :/
 

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a suggestion about bba, And I have seen the results first hand... take the piece of wood out and spray the infected area with metricide at a 1 part M to 20 parts water. You can try the spray bottle method as this is most effective!

Do it every week when you do a wc, i know it can be alittle tedious but it works.

Just ask Alym.....

Other than that nice set up, and keep the pics coming.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Looks like my DiY co2 batch wasn't done ramping up, exceeded 35 ppm... A couple phantoms were swimming at odd angles gasping. Redirected spray bar so its slightly upwards, agitates surface, churned the crap out of the surface, pulled the line up so the co2 just goes straight to the surface rather then inside, turned lights on so plants use whats left, when the fish start acting normal, i'll put the co2 line back down, but keep the spray bar agitating the surface to degas a bit.... hope nothing dies...


update: most seem to be bouncing back to life, a couple though im not sure about. counted the bpm going to the surface, 78 BPM.. insane.

Update #2: They all survived and are acting normal. Drop checker is light green when lights come on, and a slightly darker green near lights off, the surface agitation keeps the whitish film on top thinner and with the spray bar slightly up, im getting much less build up of co2 inside of it, so the misting is way down :D Nice to know if supply ramps down a bit i can reduce the agitation a little to increase the co2
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
four days ago, i treated the really bad areas of Brush with h2o2, making sure i used less than 3ml per gallon. The algae turned rusty red right away, not its fading into a pinkish gray. Only issues i noticed with the treatment was the 2 shrimps who refused to vacate the treatment area despite me trying to pester them away after doing the dosing, they just wouldnt hide... 2 days later 2 dead shrimpies, other than that, everything else is fine. Just noticing a lack of a decent clean up crew to eat the dead BBA. Guess i'll have to starve the tank a bit to get the shrimpies eating it.

on a side note, DiY jello co2 goin strong still. Changed the method of delivery a bit, used an airstone partially buried under the intake, the pressure is enough to push through every few seconds with a stream of bubbles 2/3s of them being sucked in. Seems its a decent ratio since my drop checker has stayed light green steady. I keep checking the jug to make sure its not stressing under the pressure, plus the line coming out of it isn't sealed, just a smaller hole with the line forced through, i think this may act like a pressure relief if needed.

update: Parameters balancing out
PH: remains 7.0
KH is slowly balancing out, now at 8.4 dKH
Nitrates are perfect, just before dosing im sitting above 5ppm, afterwards 12 ppm
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Just in case some are wondering, im posting more text than usual in a tank journal simply because i use this as my tank log aswell. Way too many times i've kept it on paper only to have it go missing or ripped/coloured all over. So heres my updates on various issues.

Brush Algae: Since last posting i've done one more h202 treatment, and it shall be my last spot treatment. The brush is nearly eliminated, theres still a couple spots where its still going, but its relatively under control compared to before, almost completely gone from visible areas, and growth rate greatly reduced where its survived. Downside was I tested out 4ml / Gallon spot treatment, and lost two cardinal tetra's.
As i've eliminated the largest growth areas now, i'll likely under dose h202 every week before water change at 2mL / gallon for 30 minutes, until i can afford metricide. This read in a few places this works once you've beaten it down enough, so i'll update the Algae post to include tank treatment.

Surface film: We got a guppy since they feed on the stuff (makes the wife happy too). I changed water flow direction which ripples the surface and reduces stagnant area's where plant waste can decompose. Using as powerhead to siphon the surface aswell as low circulation area's helped a ton. Probably the largest reduction of it is from my altered feeding regime, it really limits flake food now. When i water changed last night there was no Surface film at all after a full week, so i deem this a success! Film Defeated!

Water Hardness: It has steadily declined through the weeks with water changes being kept up to date. It finally balanced out at 4.5 dKH / 5.6 dGH, so i'll need to replace the crushed coral in the filter as it should have balanced out at 6-7 kh/gh.

Light fixture: as posted in the DiY section, i remade my fixture so it's more safe and easier to move around for maintenance. Also constructed a new tank cover thats keeping the 2 y/o out :D The CFLs were replaced, and from the looks of it, they're more efficient than the last revision i bought, less power consumption and slightly brighter (still had the old revision new bulb to compare). My old bulbs were almost a year and a half old, so difference is insane.

Plants: I noticed my lotus propogated, and it was actually the mother plant + 4 plantlets around it. 2 of them were decent sized with atleast 4 decent sized leaves each, just lacked the light to get large. i moved these to the back middle and back right so they can mature nicely. The other 2 are pitiful, minature little things, so i moved them to the foreground so they'll not be out competed for light and nutrients as i have nothing in the foreground. I jobe spiked all the lotus's so they'll root nicely. My Windelov java ferns were getting to crowded so i thinned them out, and moved a little fern onto another piece of driftwood. I figured i might aswell try to increase the plant load rather than keep the spaces clear for new plants as i wont be able to afford them for quite some time.

Jello CO2 is going strong still after 1 month, drop checker is still in the green, went a bit darker green due to the increased intensity with the bulb change. Still quite a bit of jello left, and i've not had to redo the yeast yet.

so in a couple day's i'll likely take pics to show the very minor changes, but mainly to compare the brush infested area to the old pic :D
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
a few macro shots.

the wife's guppy

one of many amano

Bubba the shrimp, hard as hell to take a shot of him since he's always swimming around. He's as large as a 4 yo zebra danio. Think he's one of the surviving amanos from my 10 g. No one messes with bubba, not even the danios during feeding time.


my calico BN went into hiding.... why did i scape so many driftwood hiding places....
 

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WOW Neven, very impressive! You can definitely tell that all fish are thriving in there, all the colors are BRIGHT as heck on them! =) Good job~
 

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a few macro shots.

the wife's guppy

one of many amano

Bubba the shrimp, hard as hell to take a shot of him since he's always swimming around. He's as large as a 4 yo zebra danio. Think he's one of the surviving amanos from my 10 g. No one messes with bubba, not even the danios during feeding time.


my calico BN went into hiding.... why did i scape so many driftwood hiding places....
i assure you he will come out at feeding time every time.....lol
very nice looking setup and very clean..
do the anubia do well in the gravel?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I've spotted him a few times already, and i think he's already set on making on of the smaller driftwood pieces his home :p He can hide and watch everything from there. But for now he's perched on a suction cup, like the dwarf otoc is on the opposite side of the tank.

The substrate is tahitian moon sand, a lot of the finer particles were long ago sucked out by the filter, so it left me with a coarser grain. I just need to disturb it every few changes to make sure it doesn't compact and to loosen up debris. The anubias do great in it, just a pain to plant them in the first place. the substrate is too thin though, i need probably another sack of moon sand or even black florite
 
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