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Consistency Deficiency

Im running a siesta period on the lights now as well, just for fun really. Its on for 4 hours, off for 3, and then on for 4 hours again. I was a bit naughty when I set it up and snuck the total time back up to 8 hours.
Lights are still running on only one bulb, but the spread is not great. I turned the front bulb off since the stems at the back need the light the most.

Im toying with the idea of setting up some cheapo DIY led lighting, since I would like the tank to be dimmer but with better light spread. Since it doesnt have to be bright, Im thinking I could get away with it, maybe.
It seems really wasteful and excessive to buy one or even two (for spread) expensive aquarium LED lights, only to run them at 10%, you know.
Does the noise increase when the air builds up? I noticed today that after a while that the filter became quite noisey. I turned it off and then the noise had gone. I will contact the seller tomorrow.
Im not sure, but I can hear the bubbles purging once or twice an hour from the other room. So that part is noisy. Shame about these design issues, I like the filter a lot otherwise. Right now I was advised to turn the output a little bit down, until they can send me an updated rotor part that they are starting production on ‍o_O
I do want to keep using this filter, only want the bubble issue sorted out.
Do you have the same noise as this? I've uploaded a video of the noise filter. I have turned it off for the night.


Reading through the other thread that you sent, I think it might be related to the impeller shaft as it does not touch the rubber.
Mine does not make your sound, that sounds very bad and I would not run the filter like that. Sounds almost like its running dry

I took it apart and then reassembled it. I couldn't visibly see anything wrong with it. Do you keep the inlet and outlet speed a similar value? I've never had a problem of inlet flow being higher than the outlet flow.
I took it apart and then reassembled it. I couldn't visibly see anything wrong with it. Do you keep the inlet and outlet speed a similar value? I've never had a problem of inlet flow being higher than the outlet flow.

I had been running both inlet and outlet flow at max, however, the lady at Aquael suggested to reduce output by a little bit as a temporary measure for the air bubbles. Im not sure if it had much effect for me, I havent listened closely over long term to see if the bubble frequency is less now than before.

This is the picture they sent as a guide for the temporary measure.

It seems your filter has a much bigger problem than mine, mine "runs" fine enough but it slowly builds up bubbles that then purge into the tank once or twice an hour. Your filter seems to not run fine at all based on the noise. Are you sure that you have primed the filter correctly, and that it is completely filled with water? The sound from the clip reminded me of the sound my Eheim makes when I havent primed it (filled with water) enough, and the impeller runs dry. It is very damaging to the impeller to run like this. If you have primed correctly, then I would advise you not to run the filter at all until they can help you.

The guy in the thread i linked above, posted a picture of a rotor cover with an air tube attached. According to the Aquael rep, my filter already has this rotor fix built in, but without the visible air tube. But there is still an issue with air building up in the filter. She said that they are starting production of a new rotor in about a weeks time, and that they will ship this new part out to me after that. So I gather that this filter has had not only one part update, but soon two, to fix air issues. Hopefully second time's the charm?

I want to put it down here that I have been very happy with the response I got from Aquael, they responded quickly to my email and have been very helpful trying to get this problem sorted.
Bit of an update on my tank, over a month has passed since I had to start doing daily water changes, and I am STILL DOING THEM :banghead: Im so tired of it. Water is still testing around 0,025 nitrite :arghh: Why is this taking so gosh darn long to resolve :shifty: I have tested the tap and it shows 0, for those wondering about false positives.

A more positive thing, I got some long anticipated plant additions in on tuesday :)
Hottonia palustris, Limnophila sessiliflora, Hygrophila costata (previously known as angustifolia), Rotala sp Green and Limnobium laevigatum (amazon frogbit). This last one grows bigger and more numerous roots than the salvinia, so I am hoping it will be more resistant to the gourami munching.

I have no idea why I thought it would be a good idea to add yet another rotala to my tank, this one is even rated medium difficulty. Maybe I just like to punish myself? :nailbiting: The Rotala rotundifolia is the 1. plant that struggles the most in the tank, despite its supposed easy rating. The Pogostemon helferi seems like a beginner plant in comparison :rolleyes:
It all points towards CO2 being the issue. Rotala grow fast and therefore they are the first to hit the brick wall of CO2 deficiency. It makes a lot of sense to me anyway.

The plants have been growing fairly well with daily water changes. Its almost as if the water change water is full of CO2 that the plants need :rolleyes::p
I get some thread algae, but not a ton. I didnt change water a weekend when I ran out of dechlorinator due to my poor planning, and lo and behold the thread algae almost tripled in amount. Fluctuating levels say What?

I just put in an order on some LED lights, these will be fully dimmable and I am looking forward to making my tank a dark and gloomy place! Just kidding :D But I will for sure turn the lights way down. This tank sorely needs to ease up on the speed pedal (light). I found a webshop that sells IP68 (fully waterproof) led lights at 18 GBP each, accessories not included. Great price and perfect for me since I want spread and not intensity. I dont fancy paying $$$$$ for something that I will be dimming to ~10-20% :D They are 6500K which is nice, and have a bunch of lumens but that doesnt really matter.
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At least with the Frogbit you'll be able negate any possible CO2 issues.

I get what youre saying, the frogbit wont be CO2 or light limited, so it will respond only to nutrient status, very useful plant in this way. It doesnt help the poor rotala and the other plants confined to under the water surface though :lol:
The new LED lights arrived today.
Looked pretty good quality, they are completely covered in clear silicone and have a nice aluminum backing. Had issues getting them up and running, turns out the metal on the connectors had rusted/oxidised (?) in storage on some of the parts, and the barrel plugs would only work if they were rotated just so and so. Alright, shot off a message to the shop, they would send out replacements next week. All seems good.
I disassemble my T8 lighting top to take out the T8 tubes, holders and reflectors, and attach the LED bars with some double sided tape. Its a temporary attachment until I make a DIY hood.
Get it on my tank, and I hate it :(:(:(
The 6500k LED is way colder than my 6500k tubes, very blue and not cozy warm white like I had it. And the shimmer. I never thought about shimmer until now, but I have discovered that I really dislike it.
I think I will have to return the lights :thumbdown:

Now Im really bummed out and wondering what to do.
Maybe I cant get LEDs at all, if they all shimmer like this?
Trying to figure out if T5/T8 will be a better option for me..

Link to my thread about shimmer below
Twinstar S model has a very nice warm 6500k light and a diffusing sheet panel over all the LED’s. Almost no shimmer.
Twinstar S model has a very nice warm 6500k light and a diffusing sheet panel over all the LED’s. Almost no shimmer.

Thanks for the tip Andrew :) I checked them out and they look to be around ~350 euro price range, is this correct? :eek: That is a fair bit out of my price range unfortunately :(

Before I discovered my dislike for shimmer and my need for low light, I wanted to get a Fluval 3.0 Plant.
Its still an option, maybe I should post a thread asking owners of this light how much shimmer it gives. And I might be able to make a homemade diffuser for it as well with window foil.. hmm..

Im also asking around about the price of a set of dimmable T5 bulb "holders", but I think with the dimmer it might climb up towards the price of the Fluval. (Yep, just got a message from "my dealer", its gonna be more expensive than the Fluval.)

Still hoping I can get low light on the cheap.
A third option would be to really DIY something from Ebay.

Fluval 3.0
Pro; Can adjust colors so I get it exactly the way I want, less heat, less power drain.
Con; Shimmer risk and the possibility of having to modify the light further, expensive, might have to get two for spread doubling the price.

Pro; I know I like the colors of the tubes I have, no shimmering.
Con; Heat, power drain, have to buy new tubes to get different colors, also expensive.

Pro; Cheap maybe, could get the kind of LED I wanted.
Con; Would have to learn what I need and do it all myself, getting the right LEDs and waterproofing and hooking it all up with all the accessories.

Oh and I forgot to mention, they all need to survive in a closed top with condensation.
My SO has vetoed open top aquariums. If I leave the lid off for just a few hours the room gets noticeably clammy and we already have mold issues, so I can understand it.
Some time has passed since my last update, and I had been doing daily 50% water changes for almost two months based on the nitrite readings. I was honestly getting -real- fed up with this routine. Towards the end of this period, some days slipped in between changes. First every other day, and then every 2 days without a water change.. But the test readings remained the same level. Veeery suspicious. What would be the odds that the nitrite problem would start to resolve exactly when I got fed up and exactly at the same rate of my water change "neglect"? Im guessing pretty low odds. At the start of the daily water change period I tested the tap water and got a clear reading of 0, so I assumed the test was working correctly and didnt cross reference with tap water any more after that. But now I tested the tap water and it also showed the same small reading for nitrite. So likely either tap water had nitrite in it (unlikely I should think), or the test has been lying to me. Grrr.

I had an unopened test at hand, cracked it open and what do you know, it showed 0 nitrite in my tank. God knows how long the water has been fine. Im a bit confused and have no idea what exactly has happened.
All I know is that I had a sick fish at one point, I lost a gourami very suddenly about a month back, and that I have no way to know for sure what levels where what when. But Im fairly confident that its okay now, anyway.
The nitrite test that turned unreliable was opened some time in august 2019. So it had not been open that long. Do they really go bad this fast?

This weekend I officially declared that I could finally start the low tech plan, and only change water when TDS rises too much. Very pleased about this. And yesterday, I came home to the very pleasant surprise of corydoras venezuelanus eggs. Their first spawn :thumbup: I found almost 50 eggs, and placed them in a breeding box. I suspect some have not been fertilized, they are a bit white. But not too strange that they muck it up a bit when its their first time. I hope to raise the fry to a size just big enough to not get eaten, and then release them back into the main tank to do the rest of their growing there. From my previous experiences with breeding corys, getting enough food into the newly hatched fry will be the most challenging aspect. Past that point it is pretty easy. I used to breed corydoras panda in my external filter :lol::clap: Every time I cleaned it I would find a few new individuals that I could introduce into the bright world of the main tank. But Im planning to keep the corys out of the filter this time around.


The new plant additions I wrote about last time has been a bit of a mixed bag.
The Limnophila sessiliflora didnt skip a beat and started growing right away. I dont think it even noticed it went from emersed to submerged. Then again, this plant is firmly in my category of "toilet bowl growers", so I wasnt very surprised.
The Hottonia palustris arrived with a few leaves jelly-like and melted, and has since shed all its leaves completely. Some stems seem to be slowly dying while a few others are putting out small, stunted looking new shoots. I thought this one was supposed to be easy? Im just letting it decide on its own what it wants to do, and leaving it to it.
Rotala sp Green arrived as a pot with plants that were more the size of what I'd expect an in vitro plant to be. It was very small and delicate and I suspect without much energy reserves in the plant. Its not looking great. It hasnt shed leaves like the hottonia but is barely growing. I was kinda prepared for this outcome, so this plant is also allowed to sort itself out without fussing from my side.
Hygrophila costata, the artist formerly known as angustifolia. Growing nicely. Still looking kinda emersed-y, will replant tops once I get more mass. No fuss, as expected from hygrophila.

The amazon frogbit is doing alright as well, it hasnt multiplied that much which leads me to think I dont have a lot of macros in the tank. This plant seems to tolerate much better the attention of the gourami. Maybe the roots look less like tasty worms. Plant looks healthy. A really good "canary" plant.

As a sort of hail mary towards the end of my daily water change regimen, I tried dosing only P, K and micros, to try to force the plants to take up the nitrite. Now I know the nitrite probably wasnt there any more, and the lack of N would mean plants growing slower (even relative to low tech), and frogbit not multiplying much. So Ive bunged a bit more N in now and will see how it goes.
Hopefully it will help the two plants that are struggling. It might have been hard for them to compete against the more established and aggressive plants when nutrients were scarce.

I got a pot of Myriophyllum mattogrossense today, I really wanted to get "Guyana" but have been unable to find it, but I can try my hand at this one and see how it does.

Shortly after my last post I ordered the Fluval Plant 3.0 Led light, and 3 weeks later it has still not been shipped. The german webshop I order from sometimes is notorious for shipping things in a leisurely pace, or maybe whenever they feel like it. Sometimes they will respond to your emails, but most often not :rolleyes: If they werent so cheap, I dont think anyone would buy anything from them. Maybe it will arrive before I die of old age :oldman: Its alright anyway, tank is ticking along as normal in the mean time.
Long time no see (again!)
Things have been ticking along at a very leisurely pace.

Ive been wanting to write a little disclaimer about the general vibe of my posts. I realised that I mainly write about the things that are a problem or are going wrong, and not so much about when things are going well. I hope this is not interpreted as negativity, I write about the problems the most because I find them most interesting. I feel like overcoming the problems is how you get better at plant and fishkeeping. So im not having a horrible time with everything fishkeeping and only struggling if it seems that way. Hope this makes sense :D

A fair few things have happened since last time.
Some of the eggs pictured in my last post are now small copies of their parents. Many were unfertilized, about 12 hatched from 40 or so eggs. 5 again survived long enough to be released into the main tank once they were a certain size. And now remains 3 (we think.)

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The TDS based minimal water change regime has had mixed results. I assume the plants should be firmly used to the low CO2 levels now 2 months in, but there hasnt been a drastic change in hair algae levels. Well not for the better anyway. Im also seeing more and more black beard algae. So something has likely changed in the water. The BBA is already coating several branches of the driftwood and will soon have taken over the rocks, out-competing the prettier green (spot?) algae. Id be pretty happy with BBA if it was a nicer green color, but its very reddish black and while the luscious locks flow prettily in the current, the plants are also suffering so im gonna try to get rid of it.

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I think I made a mistake when I let go of my insane water change regimen, because I also let the fertilization regime go completely out the window. At first it seemed okay, but slowly plants that were doing good were starting to struggle more and more. The blyxa started shedding a lot of leaves, the p. helferi slowed its growth, same with s. repens etc. Even hygrophila difformis took a big hit after I removed the tops and expected it to grow back the way it had done before. It actually hasnt picked up speed in its growth until now, 2 months later. That is ridiculous for a plant in the category "toilet bowl grower".

I think my tank just ran out of fuel basically.

It probably doesnt help that I now have a total of 5 very aggressively growing stem plants in there.
Hygrophila difformis, Heteranthera zosterifolia, Limnophila sessiliflora, Myriophyllum mattogrossense and Hygrophila angustifolia are all pretty weedy and hungry plants. H. z. and L. s. have been the clear winners in the competition for food during this time.

I dont think my fish load is very high, but im not entirely sure, id welcome some input. I feel like the tank has plenty of fish to look at but according to the plants they do not generate a lot of nitrates :p
20 corydoras venezuelanus + a few fry, 1 honey gourami and 7 otocinclus in 180 liters. They get fed a lot of food because of the cory fry. Well, I like feeding them a lot regardless but at least with the cory fry I have a convenient excuse :angelic: Oh and there are also two filter shrimp and a bunch of neos but im not sure if they count as fish really.

TDS has not increased much at all through 2 months, which further adds to my belief that the tank just needs more go-go juice. At 09.03.20 TDS was 113 and increased only to 166 by 24.04.20. After that I think I started adding more ferts and today 17.05.20 it measures 215 TDS. I think the bulk of this number is dissolved organics that are not usable to the plants.

So im gonna have to make some changes to the "just let it go" thing.
Im gonna add a moderate to reasonably high amount of fertilizer at regular intervals each week, and then each sunday change however much water needs changing to maintain the TDS. It feels like this is going to be a -lot- of ferts/nitrate but plants say nay.

The plants seem to be responding positively already to increased amounts of fertilizer. Blyxa has stopped mass shedding leaves and the H. difformis is finally growing. I picked off a lot of old yellowing leaves from the H. angustifolia that looked a lot like the pictures you see of nitrogen deficiency. This should allow it to focus on the growing tops.

Some pictures of the current state of the plants;
Please note my mediocre phone camera makes the tops of the plants look washed out and white, they are not like this in reality. They would be severely iron deficient if they actually looked like this :eek: There were beginnings of iron deficiency a few weeks ago, especially showing in the p. helferi. It resolved once I started adding more ferts overall including iron.

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Rotala sp Green has been thrown out completely. It never recovered, and while it wasnt dead it wasnt really living either. I decided to end its suffering. It was more algae than plant.
Rotala rotundifolia has been stunted and at a standstill for ages. One stem has unstunted and is growing again, the rest has been thrown away. I havent decided if I want to continue keeping rotalas, even when I can get them to grow I dont really adore the look of the very upright and kinda boring stems. Its fast approaching a point where if it doesnt like the soup im providing, it can get out of the kitchen :twisted:

Hottonia palustris I thought was going the way of the rotalas. But the one shoot that I have left has unstunted a bit with the added nitrates and ive placed it front and center in the flow, hoping to boost its recovery. Id like to keep it for its look if I can get it growing.

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To make a too long post even longer, I eventually got the nifty new Fluval light I had been waiting for. Its pretty nice, the shimmer was a little bit much for me at first. I said I would eventually make a homemade diffuser for it, but now I dont really notice it any more unless I look for it so I might just leave it the way it is. The sunrise and sunset features are really nice and the fish seem to like it a lot more than the sudden on/off. I can also get the hue just how I want it.

I now have 5 otocinclus cocama in addition to my remaining 2 regular otos. They are a really pretty fish ive had on my wishlist for years. Cost a bit but I found that closing ones eyes when you get to the cash register is a quick and easy way to make the price much more tolerable.

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Here they are eating some butternut squash. I swear these fish eat better than me. Sweet potato has been the definite favorite so far. Next up will be aubergine/eggplant or regular green squash. Thanks to this forum for food suggestions, they have been a big hit :D

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Ive been very very happy with the zebra otos. They are out and about all the time and I can almost always see all 5 of them. The 2 regular otos arent out as much, I was hoping they would come out and school together. I might get more regular otos later or rehome the two loners to a bigger school.

Also have aquired 2 nerites of some kind. I had 3 but one passed away recently after a small period of inactivity. Not sure why. Hopefully nothing big.

Finishing with a bonus picture of Miss Piggy. She was very disappointed my phone wasnt second dinner.

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