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Crystal Iwagumi - The Story of an Inspired Scape

Whitebeard

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Thread starter
Joined
14 Aug 2015
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Bangalore, India
Hello Folks,

I hope all of you are taking the necessary precautions to stay safe and keep the Covid Virus at bay.

It has been 11 weeks since I started this scape and 3rd week since flooding.
Last week, the scape was almost taken over by slimy thread algae. So I did the following:
  1. Suctioned majority of the algae from the scape and plants with a thin RO inlet pipe - this helped to take out more stuff with less water being suctioned
  2. Used a toothbrush to loosen up whatever was attached to the stones and plants
  3. Removed dead and rotten plants as much as possible
  4. Did a 50% water change with RO water
  5. Added another 2 liters of ADA BioRio to the filter - total of 4 liters in the Eheim 2217
  6. The surface skimmer was pushing the background plants as they grew, so moved it to the center left of the tank
I could not spend so much effort on the tank, so I started with Excel regimen as mentioned on the bottle. I dose about 1 cap daily.
ADA Brighty K and ADA Brighty Mineral once in two days, thrice a week, with saturday rest, water changed on Sunday.

The whole tank is getting to be absolutely fantastic with algae disappearing by the day :cool:. Since I have changed a lot of things, not sure on whether it is the Excel, water change, change in the surface skimmer or the ADA Bio Rio. :rolleyes:

Not a big fan of adding chemicals to the tank (Except for the ferts of course), so Excel treatment is just to not have my back broken before the plants grow to their full potential. Ordered 10 Amano and 10 Fire red shrimps and added them to the tank. They along with one black cap military snail will be my cleaning crew. I will carry on with Excel for one more week and then leave it to the cleaning crew to help me out.

Some after hour pics of the tank

Front tank shot - notice how the background plants have grown in the last one week (compare to the 1st and 2nd pics from previous post). The Montecarlo in the front half of the tank looks like gone case... so planted some in vitro eleocharis parvula.. just in case.
TS-1-220421.jpg


Close up effort for the background plants (Rotala H'ra, Limnophilla Vientnam Green), right sideground (Ludwigia SP. hi-red) and midground (s. repens, H. Pinnatifida)
TS-2-220421.jpg


Blue Green Algae!!!! - there are totally 3 patches in the tank.. need to spot treat this Saturday
TS-3-220421.jpg


Bad haircut day - Had a cup of this moss - Callicostella Prabaktiana waiting to see how this flora turns out
TS-4-220421.jpg

Black military cap dude..
TS-5-220421.jpg


Fire Red Ballarina
TS-7-220421.jpg


... and the Amano Shrimp...
TS-6-220421.jpg


Sometime I feel that aquascaping and stock market trading have pretty similar basic principles. In Stock market trading, let go of your fear and greed. In Aquascaping, let go of your fear and impatience - fear of algae and impatience to see good results.

Lesson Learnt - level head, thinking rationally, letting cause and effect take place in the time that it takes, consistency and patience give you the stepping stones to a successful aquascape.

Take care and be safe!
 

Whitebeard

New Member
Thread starter
Joined
14 Aug 2015
Messages
24
Location
Bangalore, India
Hello Everyone!

It has been 12 weeks since I setup the scape and end of 4th week after flooding.
As you might have noticed, the story has gone out of the window and there are no more chapters that tell the story of mother nature and the dragons! :lol: While I wanted this to be a narrative based journey... life got busy and had barely the time to write the story let alone "Keep the lights on" with this scape. Such is life..😇

The journey over the last 12 weeks has been good - meaning to say that the scape has been going on without much intervention from me. Took the time yesterday to clean and trim the scape and also re-adjusted planting to make it more lookable :).

Some photos of the scape after trimming and adjustments:

Trimmed Rotala H'ra, moved all limnophilia Vietnam to the right of the background, added Rotala Green to the left of Rotala H'ra, trimmed and moved the Ludwigia Hi-red to in between rocks on the right so that they have a defined space in the scape
TS-1-030521.jpg

I had a In Vitro cup of Micranthemum Micranthemoides. Planted these in the right midground
TS-2-030521.jpg

Partial decimation of Monte carlo due to H2o2 Treatment for Bluegreen Algae - The Chernobyl of my aquascape...
TS-3-030521.jpg

Had two Alternanthera Reineckii Mini in another tank that were just getting by. Added them to the midground left of the crystal scape just to balance the reds on both sides
TS-4-030521.jpg


The background after trim and rearrangement - Rotala Green, Rotala H'ra followed by Linophilia Vietnam
TS-5-030521.jpg

Fire Red Shrimp!
TS-6-030521.jpg


Some other updates and observations
  • Rotala H'ra is a medium growth plan in my tank.. leaves are still not red yet, but are orangish
  • Linophilia Vietnam is almost like a weed.. grows all over the place with plantlets growing from nodes on slightest bent stems
  • Do not use H2o2 in the vicinity of Monte Carlo.. they will melt
  • The Monte Carlo is not carpeting to my liking very good at the back.. but very bad in the foreground
  • Algae is at a minimal.. I think the Amanos, Fire Reds and the black military cap snail are keeping them in control
  • No changes made to any parameters - light, fertilization or CO2. will continue like this till there is a need to change
Hope you liked the updates!
 

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PARAGUAY

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Lancashire
Looking like everythings coming along nicely🙂interesting to see any advice for the monte carlo
 

Whitebeard

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Joined
14 Aug 2015
Messages
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Location
Bangalore, India
This is looking great @Whitebeard - really nice job. Are any of your shrimp breeding yet?
Thank you for the compliments. As for the shrimps they are not breeding yet. I hope they do ;). At this point, the focus is on the plants, growth and balance.. shrimps come next...

Looks like you have overcome the hardest of obstacles. I'm sure you'll find the balance to keep your carpet from melting.
Clean up crew look to be doing a good job, now your dosing measures are over.
Thanks! Yes. the clean up crew are a god send since I think they were the main reason for me to keep my efforts away from Algae, and my back straight :)
The monte carlo carpet melt was more of a function of bombing that area with Hydrogen Peroxide, since there was a patch and a long streak of BGA on the carpet. I had targeted the BGA, but the carpet became collateral damage :(. Should have known better than to do this. Learning Learning...
Just 4 weeks after flooding.. not sure whether all the obstacles have been overcome.. but surely hope the ride to be smooth from now on...
 

Whitebeard

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Thread starter
Joined
14 Aug 2015
Messages
24
Location
Bangalore, India
Looking like everythings coming along nicely🙂interesting to see any advice for the monte carlo
Thanks! This scape and tank in general has been much better than any of my previous ones. Must be the changes I made in my system for this scape or might even be the pressure to deliver a good scape on this forum :D.

As for Monte Carlo this is the first time that I am using it successfully, hence would not be able to provide advice per se. But will definitely share the experiments and observations from those experiments. Pardon my long post...

Experiment 1 - Small ADA Cube - I brought one in-vitro cup of Monte Carlo and planted in a ADA 30C (I think). The soil is Contro soil, with a SunSun ADE light and small Sun Sun filter with lava rocks. Water is RO, and I dose dry ferts (KNO3, K2So4, KH2Po4 and a Micromix that i brought on Amazon, alternate days). 6 hours of light and Co2. This tank was mature, in the sense it had gone through all the trial and tribulations over 4 months, before I planted the MonteCarlo. I split the cup 30/70 with the 70 in the ADA, and the 30 going to Experiment 2. Now it is about 4 months in the ADA Tank, and is doing well.

All in all - as per Experiment 1, a mature tank and substrate will help grow MonteCarlo carpet without problems. Give it time, consistent fertilization, light and Co2. There was no melting whatsoever in this tank. The Monte Carlo has not been trimmed since planting 4 months back. Picture for your reference.
20210503_181938.jpg


Experiment 2 - Growing it Dry (Emersed) - from the same cup as above, I planted Montecarlo in a Dry Start type of setup in another tank with a bunch of Glosso I was experimenting with. Tropica powder soil, 8 hours of light everyday, water till the brim of the substrate, good cover to increase humidity. Also this is another small tank with a generic Chinese LED light with white and blue LEDs. Grew better than the Glosso and is going strong. I did this first, before I went for a Dry start in the Crystal Iwagumi to test out the dry start success.

All in all - as per Experiment 2, good substrate, light, humidity can grow a Monte Carlo carpet Emersed. Picture for your reference. Please ignore the glosso on the right.. they are d(r)ying out
20210503_181959.jpg


Armed with this knowledge, I went ahead and did a dry start with Montecarlo in the Crystal Iwagumi. 8 weeks of dry start with two Chihiros lights running at 70% intensity at 6500K for 12 hours a day to let them spread and root properly. Worked well. Then I flooded the tank, reduced to the Chihiros lights to 50% each for the first week. Got algae in the second week, so further reduced to one light running at 60% for 6 hours a day with ADA Ferts dosed at 50% recommended strength from week 3 to now. What I observed was that MonteCarlo on the higher mounds of substrate in the aquarium were carpeting well, and the ones on the lower slopes are growing slowly - very slowly. This is consistent with Experiment 1 and Experiment 2, where the light intensity was good and evenly spread across the entire carpet.

So. for a good carpet of MonteCarlo - here are my conclusions as of now (for the tank parameters that I have):
  • In-vitro MonteCarlo has worked better than Emersed grown MonteCarlo for me.
  • Dry Start method allows MonteCarlo to establish well, reducing issues during the initial days of flooding
  • As soon as you flood, at least for the first 2 weeks, blast the Co2 to help the plant transition better. Reduce the Co2 to optimum levels over time and before you introduce livestock.
  • Established tank and substrates help grow MonteCarlo well, If you are not going with Dry Start. Suggest running the tank for 2-3 months with other plants like stems and mid grounds, and then planting the MonteCarlo. This was as in case with Experiment 1
  • Type / Brand of substrate does not matter - Experiment 1 was Controsoil, Experiment 2 was Tropica Powder Soil, and Crystal Iwagumi is ADA Amazonia 2.
  • RO Water works well to grow MonteCarlo. I had a patch in my previous aquascape, where I was using Tap water, and they simply melted away. All the other parameters were the same as this one, with just the water being with a TDS of about 350.
  • Consistent Co2 and good light intensity, with a good flow across the carpet. Brand of the light does not matter - Experiment 1 is with Sunsun ADE, Experiment 2 is a Generic Chinese LED and Crystal Iwagumi is on Chihiros WRGB 2.
  • DO NOT use Hydrogen Peroxide anywhere in the vicinity of the MonteCarlo Carpet - you will surely kill the patch :D
Still a long way for me to go to get some more experiments and learning to get a full carpet in the Crystal Iwagumi.

I hope this will be useful....
 
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