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A Tale of Two Roma's

John q

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Two weeks in and I think the tanks are back on an even keel.
The first port of call was lowering the the light intensity by 10%, then my main focus has been trying to keep things stable, water changes have been more frequent but at smaller volumes. The first week following the bba outbreak involved daily 15 ~ 20% changes for a week and a 30% change at the weekend. The second week I was changing 10 ~ 15% every other day followed by another 30% change yesterday. I've also been doing weekly filter cleans. I'll probably continue with 2x 15% and 1x 30% for a few more weeks and see how I get on.

Any badly effected leaves were removed and the remaining lesser infested ones got spot dosed with excel 6ml daily for the first week and every other day for the last week. The plan is to reduce this to once or twice a week and then hopefully stop it altogether.

Fertiliser wise the main changes have been ditching the urea and increasing the Po4. K, No3 and Mg have increased slightly and Fe reduced slightly.
New dosing levels are:
Added with the weekly water change 2.27ppm Ca & 1.85ppm Mg.
Then via macro - micro dosing p/w:
No3 11.6 ppm
Po4 2.91 ppm
K 8.52 ppm
Mg 0.89 ppm
Fe 0.31 ppm from csm+b
Fe 0.11 ppm Dtpa.

Still have a small amount of bba but its definitely reducing. Gsa is still present on some older leaves, new growth appears free of it. The plants in general are doing well and the new growth is no longer stunted or twisted.
I've no idea what caused these issues or what part of my new regime is curing it. I can only think stability is helping out to some extent.

Still struggling to take half decent fts pics but here they are.
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Last week I added 4 more horned nerite snails and 3 amano shrimp to each tank. Also spotted a couple more black otocinclus at aqualife in Leyland. I'd originally thought these were Otothyropsis Piribebuy but I'm now leaning towards Hisonotus notatus any thoughts appreciated @Conort2

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Not sure if the snails will eat the remnants of bba...
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Cryptocoryne spiralis red lost 2 leaves to melt when it first went in the tank but is now putting out new leaves, not sure if the green vein is normal in this plant but it looks stunning in the flesh. Photo doesn't do it justice.

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I should have done a before and after shot of the echinodorus, 2 weeks ago the edges of these leaves were covered in bba.

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Got a big bag of leaves and alder cones from @dw1305 last week and added a small amount to each tank yesterday, I usually scald any leaves that get added to the tank to stop them floating and getting sucked into the wave maker/gyre.
Was mightily impressed with the effect that 3 alder cones and 5 Hornbeam leaves (I think) made on the jug water after 40 mins. By contrast half a dozen catappa leaves would only add a slight tint to this water.
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Lastly and sadly it's not all good news. My dwarf snowball plec that had been struggling for some time died 2 weeks ago. I think their timid nature probably makes them less than suited to active fish tanks and maybe that's the reason it perished. I do however suspect my tinkering with this tank has in some way contributed to its demise and that's something that sits heavy on my conscience.

Ta for reading.
 
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John q

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Another big learning curve ~ Finshed work early today (which is unusual for me) to discover some of the fish gasping at the surface, shrimp high up in the water, the corys looking very lethargic and one of the glass cats struggling to stay buoyant.
A small ottolincus had managed to get sucked into the gyre and jammed it. This in itself is sad enough but the resulting reduction in surface agitation caused the co2 levels in the tank to spike.

Did a number of water exchanges and turned the gyre up to 50% (usually set at 20%) thankfully within an hour all the critters were back going about their normal business.

Whilst I was frantically changing the water I asked the wife to check the ph and take a picture of the dc. The ph had dropped to 6, ungassed ph is 7.4. Here's the dc pic.
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Reason for posting this is remind folks that injecting C02 in our tanks carries risks, and even if we're careful things can sometimes go wrong, expect the unexpected.
Also advice to anyone that has a gyre, use the mesh guards, they restrict flow a bit but can potentially be lifesavers.

Cheers.
 

John q

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With all the nonsense that's going on in the world right now I thought it appropriate to start the update with something light hearted; Don't worry, I'm here all week!!

Aaaanyways... Tanks are doing ok.
The BBA isn't fully eradicated but there's only small amounts and are being dealt with one off weekly spot doses of excel. (5ml at water change.) Gsa is also in fast decline.

Ferts wise I realised I'd messed up and wasn't adding what I thought via macro and micro dosing. Based with this knowledge I did what most sensible folk would do and contined dosing this level.,🙄 erm... it actually got me thinking 💡.

When I first set this tank up it ran for a good few months with small weekly doses of seachem flourish and api leaf zone. The fish were clearly providing something good so thought I'd try and tap into that resource. Based on this assumption I'm now dosing this.

Ca 2 ppm (added with water change)
Mg 1ppm (added with water change)

No3 7ppm
P04 2.27ppm
K 8.42ppm
Mg 1.35ppm
Fe 0.25ppm (from csm+b)
Fe 0.09ppm Dtpa


Fts still look a tad washed out, probably need to make myself a new pinhole camera.

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Moved some of the Blyxa from the middle and put it far left. Also added Cryptocoryne spiralis red and Cryptocoryne flamingo to the right. Courtesy of Konrad and Roland.

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Blobitis resuming its normal non twisted form.

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More Flamingo and spiralis added to this tank also.
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And finally a couple of critters.

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Cheerio.
 

John q

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@MichaelJ
Saturation and/or contrast. Will have a fiddle with the phone, I only recently found out I had I macro lens on the camera (I've only had it 2yrs) so complete numpty with tech.

Yes that fert level above gets added weekly, split into 3 doses. I had to add some potassium sulfate in with this weeks water change to get that level of K but will just add it to the mix going forward.

I've added more Potassium after a comment @JoshP12 made in the lean dosing thread, made me wonder if i'd benefit from adding a bit more. I figured it wouldn't do any harm, time will tell.
 

JoshP12

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I've added more Potassium after a comment @JoshP12 made in the lean dosing thread, made me wonder if i'd benefit from adding a bit more. I figured it wouldn't do any harm, time will tell.
It only will benefit with good substrate. It will help mobility/availability to help top up anything that isn’t meeting the demand (except co2).

It can have harm. If you have poor substrate, you are breaking mineral balance so calcium etc and causing extra stress. Could also drive demand from leisbig too high if substrate is poor or unavailable or if rhizosphere undeveloped and not dosing micro for example.

Also can have harm on livestock as sudden change in minerals and osmotic pressure. Some can be negligible and maybe not noticed unless breeding etc.
 

John q

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It only will benefit with good substrate.
Thanks Josh.

So do you see no benefits from me adding this new dose of 8.42ppm K, previous level of K was 6.39ppm.
Substrate is gravel with a SMALL amount of clay in it, but I haven't vacuumed gravel for about 8 months.

Interesting to hear your thoughts.
 

JoshP12

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Hi Josh, poor substrate in this context, do you mean substrate that is leaching (i.e. Calcium) ?

Cheers,
Michael
Sorry should be more clear.

Poor substrate - low CEC and low nutrient/depleted levels

When I say you are breaking the balance, I mean by just tossing in potassium it will break any balance that there was (30/16/10 for example Ca/K/Mg) —— unless rich substrate is there to be able to top up anything that was missing.

So it could exacerbate issues by making things even more messy than they already are if substrate can’t help top it up (and this is only the case if the plant is struggling to pull from substrate and/or actually needs potassium —> it might actually need a higher concentration to be acquired by the leaf - depends).
 

JoshP12

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Thanks Josh.

So do you see no benefits from me adding this new dose of 8.42ppm K, previous level of K was 6.39ppm.
Substrate is gravel with a SMALL amount of clay in it, but I haven't vacuumed gravel for about 8 months.

Interesting to hear your thoughts.
Don’t know.

:(.

Can try it and watch. It’s definitely a viable option acknowledging any existing algae will get worse since your feeding a very important nutrient but we shouldn’t have new algae if it was the fix.

Really depends on the history of the tank. I’ll take a look through the thread to get a scope of the tank.
 

John q

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Update time.

Haven't seen any overall benefit or detrement with the additional potassium that I added a couple of weeks ago and think reducing the No3 down to 7ppm might have been a step to far, probably will raise this a bit in the next day or so but haven't fully hamerd out the particulars yet.

With the holidays looming (yay Portugal here we come) I've to start prepping the daughter who will be the custodian of my tanks for 11 days. I've slowly started front loading the Macro's at wc day so that's one thing she doesn't need to worry about. Fish food will be pre packaged in 5ml jars to prevent any chance of overfeeding.
She's a smart girl, I'm sure she'll be fine 🤞

So fts, still struggling with these even after messing with the settings.

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Also thought I'd add a few side shots.

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Over the last 3 weeks I've slowly raised the light intensity on both tanks, nothing drastic and still fairly low levels in the scheme of things. Top tank ~ 34w bottom tank ~31w.

The Blyxa is starting to take over one of the tanks and needs a good thinning, I'm a bit apprehensive about this, suspect I just trim the stems and replant it?

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Spring is clearly in the air and a couple of the plants seem to be sensing it. The Aponogeton undulatus has finally decided to produce a bulb on one of its stalks, this is now planted in the other tank and appears to be doing well.

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Feeling left out one of the Echinodorus decided to put out an advantageous stem and isn't far off breaking the water line. I'd be surprised if this manages to flower due to me having a lid on the tank but one never knows.

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That's all folks.

Ta for reading.
 

MichaelJ

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Dang! your tanks and plants look healthy John! - except for that single sword leaf in picture #6 - what's up with that? are you dosing fertilizer? :lol:
 

John q

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Beautiful as always 😊
Cheers mate 😄

except for that single sword leaf in picture #6 - what's up with that? are you dosing fertilizer? :lol:

That my friend is the leader of a nasty guerrilla group called the Tooting Popular F... I affectionately call him Wolfie Smith.
Their whole purpose in life is to recruit other like minded anarchists who practice the dark art of transfiguration.
Here's a picture of him in his younger days with his close associate. Echinodorus "the hit man" Reni, they were overheard planning a protest against lean dosing 😄

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MichaelJ

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That my friend is the leader of a nasty guerrilla group called the Tooting Popular F... I affectionately call him Wolfie Smith.
Their whole purpose in life is to recruit other like minded anarchists who practice the dark art of transfiguration.
Here's a picture of him in his younger days with his close associate. Echinodorus "the hit man" Reni, they were overheard planning a protest against lean dosing 😄

Hilarious! :lol: ... I'll definitely start quoting this post when giving advice! No?

Echinodorus Reni... tsk... tsk.. I have no plant id skills.... Why am I thinking of Wolfenstein now?

Cheers,
Michael
 
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John q

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Currently on my jolly bobs in Portugal and its raining so perfect time for a bit of an update.

Ferts wise I'm currently adding 9ppm No3, 7ppm K and 3ppm P04. Fe comes in the form of 0.2 ppm via ukpf trace and 0.1 ppm Dtpa. I've also raised Mn levels to 0.1 ppm.

Tanks seem to ticking along nicely in general, still have some small amounts of hang over Bba & Gsa but I can live with it and haven't done any excel spot dosing for a good few weeks.

Slightly obscure angled fts.

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Hard to tell from the pictures but I've been ruthlessly trimming both these tanks. Not sure which direction I'll eventually take them in, suppose it's like tipping up at the hairdressers with an 80's mullet and saying can you tidy this up please.

The Aponogeton undulatus continues to reward me with with new plantlets, here we can see the beginning of a new leaf unfurling.

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A few days later and its basking in the light (top right.)

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Close up of the leaf bottom left showing a lovely pink hue.

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Vallisneria spiralis tiger aka "the triffids" still attempting world domination, here's how they spread for those that don't know.

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Cryptocoryne nurii "Rosen maiden" courtesy of hoggie doesn't seem to mind the relatively low light.

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Schismatoglottis prietoi has never really done anything in my tank other than attract bba and gsa. Having said that its now rewarded me with a flower.

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2 nd attempt at Mayaca red and things aren't going well, not only is it stunted it also looks like it's shrivelling up. 🙄

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Finally the echinodorus stalk broke the water line and found the underside of my light... the potential flower dried up and died. Just underneath the water level it threw out a new leaf... my echinodorus has had a baby..

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Thanks for reading.
 

John q

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Well back from the jolly bobs and pleased to say all the inhabitants are well, took me about 2 days to complete the head count but pretty sure there's none missing.

The tanks themselves were in much need of a good trimming, even by my standards. I'd already removed a few entangled vallisneria stems from the gyre and ceratopteris from the wave maker when I took these pictures.

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Both definitely in need of a serious bit of pruning..

In other news it appears I have an inclination as to what causes BBA, or at least what helps prevent it. Answer = regular maintenance 🙄.
Even though I've only been away 11 days it seems the lack of daily maintenance has given the dreaded algae the upper hand.
There's definitely a lot to be said for spending 20 mins a day observing the tanks, and dipping your hand in should you spy anything unterward.

So here's a couple of pics for the algae connoisseurs.

Blobitis seems to be the worst affected and have had to remove a fair amount of it.
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Old growth on the ludwigia looking shabby.

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Windelov also had a fair bit removed.

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Cryptocoryne providing lunch for the horned nerite. Also note the gsa on the glass.

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Haven't so much put this picture up for its bba credentials, although there is some on the echinodorus and vallisneria tips, to me its a good representation as to how overgrown and dense the far right of the tank is becoming.

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And a final token hardscape shot.

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I should at this point apologise to the Mods for posting so many pictures without shrinking them beforehand, hopefully it won't overload the servers 🙉

Jimmy Cricket was famous for saying "And there's more" and there is...

So I've obviously got my work cut out over the next few weeks and have already done quite a big trim, will be doing another one this weekend and hopefully that will restore the flow around the tank. For anybody wondering why I didn't just hack the lot back in one go its out of fear of spiking the co2 which has happened to me in the past, and almost gassed my fish.

On a brighter note the little echinodorus has now turned into a fully fledged plant. Its still currently attached to the mother plant via the stalk and will be separated soon, only thing is I don't have space for any more sword plants so my baby is probably going to go in the bin.

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The Mayaca red which I'd assumed was done for is actually starting to put out some new growth that doesn't look like a pipe cleaner 😜, nothing fantastic but it's not dead so that's a bonus in my book. You can see the old crippled rotting growth in this picture and the newer slightly better growth coming through.

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OK almost there, last few fish snaps.

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Cheerio folks.
 
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