Journal A nursery for my Carinotetraodon Travancoricus.

castle

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It’s quarantine for me, so I’ve got some time to create a replacement tank for the nano upstairs. After choosing Rotala Rotundifolia as the main plant of the tank, then reading that so many people having problems with it and that I’ve been lucky that Carinotetraodon travancoricus spawned in a nano I figured a journal could be a good thing.

This tank should be ‘something simple’ - well, 3 plants simple. I’m looking at having a very happy Rotala Rotundifolia known apparently as an easy weed, supported by a couple of Cryptocorynes to hopefully establish then long term I may slowly remove the Rotala, for more long term plants in the cryptocoryne family.

Tank:
45x30x45cm ADA 45H

Plant list:
Rotala Rotundifolia - Aquefleur
Cryptocoryne albida 'Brown' - Tropica
Cryptocoryne usteriana - Tropica
Limnobium laevigatum - Tropica

Extras:
Alder cones, branches and leaves.
Oak leaves.

Lighting:
Chihiros LED System Series A - I’ll be running this at about 50% power.

Filter:
Eheim liberty, multiple choice of sizes.

Heater:
Something internal.

Substrate (from top to bottom):
Sand
Gravel
Soil


So let me start with an artists impression:

45.png



My worries:

  • I may not run a filter - I can, and I have one ready, but the Carinotetraodon travancoricus do not like flow.
  • All of the plants I have are grown out of water, so I expect the Rotala to not do very well to begin with. Should I maintain a consistent light cycle here? I’ve got the Limnobium laevigatum to do as much work as they can while the tank is in an early stage.
  • Rotala looks like it could not be an easy plant, I could be a bit upset if that doesn’t go the way I want it too - I have no success growing plants outside of the cryptocoryne family.
  • Water is Cambridge, water is hard.The substrate should be good - how important is dosing in this kind of setup? - Rotala worries.
Anyway, starting it up one the final delivery comes - I currently don’t have enough sand. Hopefully we can learn some things together.
 

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castle

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Let's do this.

I've added the base layer:

substrate_spread.JPG


Not too deep...
substrate_depth.JPG


Then, I capped that with some gravel, I also added some left over Tropica Soil to ramp up the back left.

adding_sand.JPG


I left some space at the front so that I can just have sand there:

leavingroom.JPG


Adding some sand, this is a mix of DOOA River sand and ADA sand.

sand_unplanted.JPG


I made a mistake though, the sand didn't cover the gravel to well where it banked up, I've got some sand on order and I'll top the sand up as it sinks into the gravel:

sand_no_deep.JPG


Added some plants:
planted_view.JPG


Rotala Rotundifolia, Cryptocoryne albida 'Brown' - and Cryptocoryne Usteriana.

Rotala and C Usteriana is in the back left on the hill, with some C Albida in the foreground. As there is so little plant mass from the pots I got, I've covered the tank with cling film and it will be a `dry start` for a little while to establish the plant roots. Those big stones won't be staying.

I've got leaves and sticks ready too, but I won't add them until the tank is very established. Missus approved the look, so I won't change much... we'll see.
 

castle

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I've filled this, and ordered some Crytocoryne Lutea to bunch up across the mid left, to back right. Photos a little later. Unfortunately I got some algae from the dry start in the water parts, so I have got that to deal with, also added some moss on stones.

Puffers have spawned in the cube again as I can see a few eggs in gravel - plan now is to leave them in cube until another spawn and then move them into this tank. Also messaging a few dealers if they can identify male/females as I'd like ideally to get 4 more females with the logic that 2 of them are almost certainly male.

I've observed that they do not spawn with any flow, temperature needs to be at around 25, but not less than 24.5. A fresh water change seems to trigger it. They spawn into the deepest moss. The 45H needs more moss. Basically a stagnant pool.
 

mort

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I've heard a few people who have spawned them recently. Will be nice to see how this progresses as I'd quite like to give them a go.
 

castle

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@jameson_uk was kind enough to send me some Limnobium laevigatum and an assortment of baby snails - this is excellent news for me, I added them yesterday. I will take a photo tonight. I'm somewhat annoyed at myself for not sticking to the '3 plant rule' but as I'm not 100% sure the Rotala is going to make it, I'm going to add some more...
  • Rotala green
  • Hygrophila pinnatifida
  • Crytocoryne Lutea
I envision now, that all but the front right corner of the tank will be plants/sticks.

I didn't realise (new house) that the sun hits the tank between the hours of 4pm and 5pm. I'm getting algae.

This still is a tank dedicated to Carinotetraodon Travancoricus, and I think they'll like more plants. Trying to stay on an Indian theme, I really want to track down Cryptocoryne Sivadasanii. I've got some established cryptocoryne spiralis var. caudigera upstairs that will end up in this tank too, I'm sure. Probably replaying the Rotala.
 

castle

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Full tank shot, added the Lutea, and got some snails pottering about. You can see the algae kinda clearly in bottom left, and it's pretty thick on some of the Albida leaves. Rotala has grown :)

Pretty sure this may turn into a nice little tank, just needs some time.

Also, I added sticks (alder branches):

IMG_2357 copy.jpg


IMG_2361 copy.jpg
 

mort

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Looks great with sparse hardscape to allow the plants to take over. How dense does the planting need to be before you add the puffers? Just wondering because advice I've seen suggests they need plenty of breaks in line of site, plus cover, for them to coexist easier. Also how many are you planning to add in total? as advice on stocking density is all over the place and it's nice to hear from someone with personal hands on knowledge.
 

castle

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Thanks! The twigs are just for it to look a bit natural, missus says it looks like the edge of a loch, which is nice. The tank truly needs to be a jungle - I find line of sight breaks quite easy to create that way - they're explorers and don't necessarily sit in one area of the tank, they go down to the substrate but I think they like to be closer to the surface (they'll take insects from the surface, for example). I'll try for 50% of surface to be covered with floating plants.

They're nowhere near as nasty as some have said in my experience, but I did observe bullying from multiple fish towards one - I didn't like that. They chase for about 12-15cms, these fish are not fast, or energetic. Probabaly seems worse for people if they're keeping them in nanos.

The two I have can go into this tank in a month, I just want a bit more growth, though I know the main body of plants I have will take some time to get going. I think I would like 4, or 5 in this tank. Probably 4, but only if I get the sexes right. I have little issue with keeping them, fattening them up, and if they get to an age where the sex is obviously not in my favour I'll pass the fish along and try another hopefully female. 2 would be fine in the tank as it is now though.

I'll be torn about trying any other fish for a while as they're very personable fish, and I don't have room for more than one tank, really.
 

castle

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Algae is not getting any worse, or better, so I am adding 5 amano shrimp for the next few months - very nervous about that as the substrate hill may flatten a lot sooner with them rumbling through it! The tank is pretty stable and I had a filter running from another tank from day one, so I'm okay with water quality I think. Plant growth on Rotala looks good to me, I'll post a picture later so I can get some other opinions.

I will give away the shrimp to any local aquarist (Cambridge) when I move the puffers in :)
 

castle

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An update :)

fts.png


It's definitely starting to show growth.I've had to remove a handful of Limnobium laevigatum each week - I need to offer this up on here - which I think has grown so well, keeping most algae at bay but it blocked a lot of light from the Rotala. I think growth is clear, so I'm happy. It looks like it's filled in a bit, anyway.

closeup.png


I thought it might be nice to highlight a few of the things happening in the tank,

from top left: Rotala has a lot of new growth, and it's branching from low nodes at the bottom, another couple of inches and I'm going to cut the tops and replant, cutting them down to where it has branched.
left mid: There's a puffer! He's been naughty, so they've been split - female has lost a lot of weight - He has cleared the tank of snails, literally. I had to net out a handful of the bigger ones for my snail nursery.
bottom left: That's Hygrophila pinnatifida - it has melted a bit. Didn't come with much in the way of roots, difficult to plant out.
Right bottom/mid: Rotala really is putting out new healthy looking stems - I think they're healthy.
Right mid: Cryptocoryne spiralis var. caudigera, has been added throughout the back - lovely plant, but when I uprooted it, the roots were around 25cm, the plants are about 14cm... I feel bad.
Top right: Algae, it's slowly going but I am wiping down the glass with a sponge each water change. Having to push sponge down into substrate at front too (about 2 cm), which pains me to do, but to clear diatoms that far onto glass in sand.


Current care level:
50% water change twice a week, or every few days.
One squirt (1.2ml) of TNC complete every day, roughly - I definitely miss days.
Lights are on 80%, for 8 hours - the light really isn't that powerful.

Longer term, I suspect I will not replant Rotala tops, and just cut plants back to lower nodes as the substrate feels unsteady.

I lost 3 shrimp in the night, jumped.
 

castle

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I'll have another go at taking a picture one evening this week, with nights taking longer to come in, a sunny window, me being tired and of course having no curtains means photos of the tank are grainy, and poorly focused. Playing with the settings this is the best I can come up with in a Sunday morning room.

IMG_2264 copy.JPG


I think it's fair to say we're seeing growth throughout the tank, most notably the Cryptocoryne species have all produced new leaves, and they've grown some height. Hygrophila pinnatifida has stopped melting but it doesn't look like it's growing either. The Rotala is a mixed bag, in some places it is vibrant green, growing well with nice looking leaves, other stems are short with much smaller leaves and then other stems just look broken (small spaces between nodes, tiny stem, etc). I have almost cut away all ‘out of water’ growth, so I’m not seeing as many decaying leaves in the tank, which is good. I maintain two water changes a week, around 20L is taken from the tank each change which works out to about half. I still dose once a day, and the floaters are in excellent shape:

IMG_2415.JPG


They’re a bit unwieldy though, so I have a plan. I don't have access to a laser cutter at present due to lock down, but once I do I'm going to cut a piece of plastic to act as a barrier to keep floating plants in the front of the tank:

Screenshot 2020-06-07 at 11.13.28.png


This would just be 5mm thick acrylic, it would do the job but probably not be there forever and run across the tank keeping the floaters not over the main body of plants.

Puffer is in excellent health, having seen hundreds of these things, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in such good condition as he is. The female is improving and live foods have fattened her up, I’ll introduce her once she adds on about 5mm of growth. They both get one snail a week from the snail nursery:

IMG_2416.JPG


Plus a few blood worms twice a week.

I added some more Amanos to the 45H to help tackle the algae, but honestly the algae has somewhat gone now - just having to suck away any Cyanobacteria as and when it appears. So, the shrimp are now getting fed! Corners of the tank are getting covered each night.

There are a few cherries in the tank too, the puffer doesn’t take much interest and they have some buried females amongst them, so food! Additionally, there is a lot of life in this tank, but the water changes are certainly knocking it back, I couldn’t identify it all but I’ve observed six uniquely identifiable bugs, there must be more. Once it is stable I will add more alder cones, some dried leaves and all that, but not yet. Soon though, those shrimp like those leaves.

I can’t add moss yet to the stones, the Cyanobacteria grows in that with vengeance, it basically takes hold wherever there is unobstructed light. I will rub this of the Cryptocoryne Albida leaves each week.

The plan going forward is to keep the way it is. Ideally I’d like to add some of those hobbit Cryptocoryne, and I’d like to add more plant mass on the right, really, just more Rotala. I’ll be removing some of the filter extenders and adding a filter pad to the intake too. I do need to clean up the filter, as in bleach bath it, as it is a bed for the algae/Cyanobacteria as it is all over the intake and outflow. I’d add more alder branches too, but I am running out of space.
 

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castle

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At the furthest corner of the tank, Crytocoryne Usteriana has put out a runner.

20200615111749_IMG_2425_2.JPG



How that moss got there I don't know.
You can see diatoms, BGA and there's a strand of BBA slightly out of focus. Difficult corner for me to clean, also directly under filter intake.

Not too worried yet, but BBA could be a problem (starting to spot it in a few places now - on twigs and the slowest growing plants (old crypt leaves) - which does raise a teeny bit of concern. No matter how much water I remove, I never get more than 70% of sediment and that is with me sloshing all through the plants :rolleyes: High flow would help, but that is the opposite of what the puffer would prefer. I also don't have a fine grained filter pad in the filer which could be a mistake.

I might reduce ferts.
 

Ray

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Subscribed. It’s nice to see a 45H journal, and a lovely bio type designed for one fish, as there are not so many about... How hard would it be to get good flow in it and run a high tech tank in it?

What do you think is the root cause of the BGA - Is just new tank issues from the melting crypts and other organics or brought in with dirty old substrate or dirty already used filter?

Also did you make your floating plant divider?

Edit: PS - I always understood MORE nitrogen not less was best to stop BGA.
 

alto

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Nice tank :)

Re the Cyanobacteria, have you tried injecting Seachem Excel into the substrate
(as seen in this GA Client Tank Maintenance video)


Also note the different siphon tubes for substrate access
 

castle

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Hey @Ray the cause of BGA is almost certainly unknown, I moved home and the I got it. The established tank I brought with me got it within a week of the first water change - I dunno, probably coincidence but I moved from an 'eco' flat to a victorian terrace and well, the water does taste different. I adore this tank, the dimensions I find to be really quite good for the fish - getting good flow in the tank is pretty easy, but getting a gentle distributed flow probably isn't possible with the filter I'm using. I don't have any experience with high tech tanks, but I guess it wouldn't be any harder than what I'm doing now.

The place I go to laser cut things opens up soon, so I will be there asap. I think you're right in regards to dosing, it looks like the Rotala leaves are fading/yellowing when looking top down, I don't think it's a good idea to reduce the ferts, may be a case to increase to 2ml a day (2 pumps), I'll experiment with a double dose every other day.

@alto Thank you for the compliment, and thanks for the links :) I quite like Green Aqua videos. I had never come across injecting excel into substrate before, I suspect that must work, I'll need to do some googling.

What could I add to say 2l of water, to then put the floaters in, to kill/remove the BGA from their roots? Any idea there would be really helpful, floaters are getting culled.
 
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alto

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What could I add to say 2l of water, to then put the floaters in, to kill/remove the BGA from their roots? Any idea there would be really helpful, floaters are getting culled.
You can trim the roots drastically (I find it interesting how sometimes my frogbit will have minimal roots, other times extensive roots (even anchoring into substrate) to remove the BBA portions

Excel will also knock back the BBA on the roots - just use the higher Seachem dose (some will suggest up to 3X Excel dose, I prefer to start at lower doses as I don’t add Excel regularly)
 

alto

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Rotala leaves are fading/yellowing when looking top down
Rotala definitely looked happier before, it may be struggling a bit for light - the Chihiros has good depth penetration in a 30 cm tall tank, not so much in the 45 tall (especially if you’re still running at 50% intensity) - and the floaters will further reduce light (and available nutrients)
 

castle

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This tank was always meant to be low-tech, so to use easy carbo or similar puts me at odds, but I think I will have to apply easy carbo to BBA affected areas. It has slowed down in it's spreading, but I don't think I can remove already established strands.

The Crypts are thriving, and for a tank that's been running 2 months, I think it's doing OK, I'm a long way from unhappy about it.

I haven't got the balance right, that's for sure but I'm writing down what the changes I'm making are and I will reassess monthly. From today, that's light at 70% and 2ml of ferts. Growth hasn't slowed down on the tank, I just think there is more plant mass now between the last two updates meaning there are more issues :) - you're right though @alto, rotala was happier a month ago. I probably should have started dosing a little more earlier. The filter is running a little faster now too. All these changes are for the rotala, I could just slowly plant more crypts, reduce lighting a touch more, let the floaters take over add more twigs and moss and puffers would not be unhappy - but that wouldn't be very green.

if you can't tell - eventually, rotala is meant to be an in between 'weed' not the focus, but for now rotala please grow.

The floaters do a very good job of limiting algae, I removed them for a week and the tank did get a little messy.

I'm also planning on adding root tabs.
 
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