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Everything deficiency - Thinking toxicity (Low tech)


Thread starter
22 Aug 2019
Took some pictures of the tank and plants today, a bit late but better late than never? :angelic:
I would like to say that 95% of them came out blurry because we have an infestation of little gnomes that come at night and smear vaseline on my camera lens, instead of my arms not being quite right these days and being too shaky, but that would be very dishonest of me.

I tried picking out the best ones but some are a bit out of focus. You may have to squint a bit :sick:

In all its potted glory. It looks about as far from a natural creek filled with leaf litter as you can get at the moment :inpain: But im telling myself its temporary. Also the fish dont seem to care one bit. Well, not about the aesthetics of it anyway. If fish want a shady spot they dont care if its an amazingly natural bit of wood, a meticulously scaped plant or a fake plastic bridge. As long as they feel safe in there its all the same to them. So most of my fish are entirely indifferent to potscape, except the Rineloricaria who are still mad about the lack of wood and caves. Ill try to make them some PVC caves of suitable length within a weeks time, so they can get jiggy with it again. That should make them happy. The clay caves I had I think were too short so the eggs ended up partly outside.

Hemianthus wilting / melting a bit I think. Not much I can do about it so im just waiting and seeing how it does.
Blyxa looking really good so far.

Tripartita still recovering from being thrown around, but putting out new shoots and generally doing alright.

Pinnatifida still growing! :thumbup: Even despite me accidentally breaking off a few tips :shh:
I think this speaks more to the resilience and will to live of this particular plant rather than my impressive skills.
This plant looked like it needed to be in the ICU, and my tank is more like the dumpster behind the ICU, that is also sometimes on fire.

20210117_205410.jpg 20210117_205656.jpg
These are my susswassertang nuggets. I imagine they will look like strange alien eggs for quite a while to come, until they grow out into a more natural poof of tang.

H. polysperma looking nice and green. I think one of the stick fish has thrashed around in one pot as I found a few bits floating around one morning.

Proserpinaca took the Ultra Strong PP dip the hardest, a lot of the leaves and the tips had melted but theres new growing tips and it is putting out roots.

Nesaea in the back left looks a bit confused. Hasnt grown a lot but we'll see.
L. super red infront of it hasnt been here as long but has rotated towards the light at least.
Everything happens so slowly in low tech, which is great when you just want things to run themselves for a while, but torture when youre wanting results by the hour on adjustments you make.
Both the Myrios have taken the dip well and are growing nicely, the green one probably the most which makes sense.

Here is the infamous Limnophila satanicus var. 'Floaty', which is probably (if im being real) L. aquatica or at least sessiliflora on steroids.

One of the tiny limpets, looking super innocent because they kinda are.

The Corydoras pygmaeus have been so busy laying eggs they barely have time to eat.
I was wondering why I wasnt seeing any eggs but they are just really good at hiding them and lay only one at a time. Ive spotted a few now, they seem happy with all the new plant options for egg laying. Some happy Najas out of focus around it.

Thats all for today. Most of this plant growth wasnt done by me but its useful to have a baseline to compare growth to, I should think.
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Thread starter
22 Aug 2019
A week has passed since everything got planted, and I figure it is time for an update. I thought it had been more like two weeks but apparently not 😅
I gotta say, theres been a good amount of growing (in my uneducated opinion) for such low light levels and no CO2.
Algae growth has also been at an all time low :thumbup::thumbup:

I didnt mention it but shortly before the last post I discovered what horrible spread the Fluval 3.0 had on my tank when it was sitting so close to the waters surface.
The prompt for me to notice this was the very long stems of red Myrio.
They were completely unlit as they were approaching the surface at the back of the tank.
Since I was wanting to give everything a real good chance, I concluded that this had to change.
Fortunately for me I had another Fluval 3.0 sitting around in the hallway waiting on being used for the 250 liter upgrade tank, since that one is wider.
The first light was just attached to the underside of the hood with some double sided tape. But unfortunately, the hood is too narrow to fit two light bars.
After some hemming, hawing, and a fair bit of DIY, starring some aluminium floor trim cuttings and a puzzled hardware store employee, I had a sliding mount system for the old tank and could use both lights.


Since I had just effectively doubled my light output again, I set both light bars to 5%, and thats the intensity thats been running all week.

Ive had some adventures with copper overdosing thanks to Esha Gastropex in the week thats passed (see seperate thread if youre curious), so I will be understanding if any plants feel like sulking a little bit forward.
So far only the floaters have shown any obvious signs. And when I say signs I mean ~30% of the floaters have melted.
Yes ladies and gentlemen, if anyone should be able to melt floaters it would of course be yours truly.
Im just guessing that its the copper that did them in, it could be something else.
I fished out most of the rotted bits today. It looks to me like there may be more die-off though, some of the leaves on the remaining floaters look a bit iffy.


There is still a colony of good looking frogbit and salvinia in the shrimp tank, and I fished out my few dwarf lettuce plants from the main tank and put them in there as well to ensure their species' survival.

Hygrophila polysperma has put on some mass and is sending roots down in the pot.

Nesaea crassicaulis in the middle looks to have recovered from the extra strong PP dip and has grown quite a few new sets of leaves.
They have been in slightly varying shades of greenish yellow, yellow, and pink, but I think this is because the plant needs to settle down still.
H. difformis to the left was some really abused stems when I put it in a pot, so im happy to see a little bit of growth on it as well.

Myrio mattogrossense I think has grown the most, it looks very happy and im happy to see what looks like short internode distances.

Proserpinaca has been shedding old leaves but is putting out new growth too.
Had to take the picture from above, otherwise the tips look white like this:
I read almost everywhere that you should pinch off suffering leaves because then the plant will only use energy on new growth.
But when I do this it feels like the plant grows worse than before.
I did hear someone (Cory from Co-op) on youtube say the opposite, that in low tech plants should be allowed to keep all their leaves until they let them go themselves.
Maybe theres a difference between low and high tech here?
Similar to Jurjis cryptocoryne tip of cutting off all the emersed leaves, that this can work in high tech but is a bad idea for low tech.
Since im a bit curious about this I pinched the bad leaves off two of the Proserpinaca stems, but left them on the others. Maybe ill be able to tell a difference.

Limnophila aquatica(?) again lots of growth.
Its getting prettier and less monstrous as it grows out in my conditions. The old leaves have turned a bit yellowed and shabby. I hate it slightly less now.
At the bottom you can see the two hideous PVC caves I made for my homeless Rineloricaria. They hate them. I dont know if its the size (32 mm diameter), the look of it or that its open on both sides, but they havent given them as much as a passing glance. All the other fish have checked them out, and decided that they are only good for resting on top of. Ill take them out later and try something else I guess 🙄

The plant I think I am most excited about right now, Blyxa :thumbup:
Just look at that, so green and not-dying looking 😁 I feel like its put on a fair bit of weight since last week.

Hemianthus still putting out round leaves, some old leaves wilting. I think it needs some more time to adapt and settle.
But it has put out lots of "air" roots that are a bit hard to see in the picture, and is creeping sideways. So far im just happy to see it alive :happy:

Limnophila sessiliflora. This one looked pale at the tops in the store, and the LFS said the shipment had come in cold and the plants looked a bit sorry.
Since planting the old tops hadnt done anything, but each stem had grown a new top at the side. I pinched off the old tops to let the new ones have more light and room.

My eternal nemesis, Ludwigia super red. Im not so sure about this one. Its doing.. something. It is the real test for sure.
Once I can grow this plant nicely, AND replant it without it dying, I shall consider my plant growing skills truly leveled up, and may put up my feet for a bit and be happy about what ive accomplised so far.

Some sad 'Narrow' leaf Java fern I could have sworn used to have more BBA on it.
I have not trimmed off any leaves on this plant. The BBA almost looks a bit reddish grey and unhappy (Could it be!?) :woot:
Above the tuft of BBA on the lower right, it looks like the BBA has been munched off.
I think my goblins (Sturisoma / brown fishsticks) have eaten it.
I have had an Eheim autofeeder set up and feeding the fish since christmas.
Strangely enough the Eheim feeder is a much more conservative feeder than me, and keeps the portions nice and small.

The goblins have grudgingly resorted to eating some algae between feedings.


Thread starter
22 Aug 2019
Quick little update this morning while I wait for the tank lights to come on.
Theres a mini feeling of christmas morning when I get up early and can catch the lights in the tank come on and see the fish eating the first meal of the day.
They are so happy and cheerful and it makes me happy in turn. Its a good start to the day.
Theres not a lot of people I could explain this feeling to without sounding crazy but I know you guys will understand 😊

Finally got around to fishing out the PVC caves yesterday, first one was empty but I found the second one had an occupant and he was guarding eggs. So I guess my caves were acceptable after all ;)

I have skipped over this news but if you are reading between the lines of my posts then it will probably not be a surprise.
The last knifefish didnt make it over christmas sadly.
I tried my absolute best but such is life, sometimes things just dont work out.

I am quite happy with my current stock so I will stick with them and see if I cant get some fry growing up soon.
I havent seen any pygmaeus fry lately despite them continually laying eggs. Some eggs have looked unfertilized but im still a bit puzzled as to why I cant see any hatchlings around.
It might be an effect of the copper fiascos or maybe something else. Theres not a lot of hiding places or excess food right now either.

I have increased food amounts a bit, Sturisoma were a little bit on the slender side for my comfort, and I was concerned the Rineloricaria were not getting much food at all.
They are quite slow to come out to eat, unlike the Sturisoma.
Its hard to describe how it looks when a stick is speedwalking but the Sturisoma really hustle along once they smell the food.
Their bodies are so rigid, they look ridiculous and adorable.
Its probably still a good thing to start out low on food and then increase as needed, instead of the other way around.
I doubled the amount the feeder is dispensing per meal, and they are still getting 3 meals spread over the day.
If this doubling is a bit much I can reduce the lunch or remove it completely.
Even doubled its still a fairly moderate amount compared to what tends to happen when I feed manually.

Plant growth is still pretty good, will take pictures once I have lights.
I think the Hemianthus is not glomeratus/micranthemoides, its not developing any oblong leaves at all and really wants to creep. It could be M. umbrosum or something similar?
There was some confusion at the fish store when I bought it, they had ordered H. micranthemoides but a lot of their plant order didnt arrive, and the pots in question were unlabelled so we were just guessing they might be the plant I was after.
Im not looking to keep any of the "traditional" carpeting plants, im a bit brutish in this area and dont like little fiddly plants with a million pieces.
I feel like carpet plants are needy little things that take away too much bottom surface from my fish.
So if I can get a positive ID on these I might throw them out. Could put them in the holiday colony I guess for the shrimp to hide in.
Although I doubt the plant will like it there if its not thriving in the main tank.

There are still limpet snails in the tank and ive had some hard talks with myself. I cant really defend continuing to dose various chemicals into the tank risking all my fish over and over just to kill off a few little snails. I dont like how they look but thats just my own personal vanity and isnt more important than the safety of the fish. Flubendazole hasnt worked, NoPlanaria hasnt worked, not to mention any of the medications before christmas. And Copper is just a bad freakin idea with the wildly different toxicity levels. 1/8 dose of Gastropex might in theory be safe for my tank but there would be only one way to find out, and I am worried about permanently injuring my fish from all these treatments.
So the limpets win for now.
I am already culturing the malaysian trumpet snail population in the holiday tank, so there will be snails in the tank anyway.


Thread starter
22 Aug 2019
Gratuitous plant pictures inbound.
Im sure you are all positively chomping at the bit to see the two and a half leaves I have grown since last week :hilarious:
I was chiding myself over the pointlessness of the plant updates but I think they can actually be useful in a way.
When I doubled my macros a few weeks ago and eagerly sat down to watch the plants grow, it struck me that I didnt really know what sort of growth speed I could expect from low tech.
30 ppm CO2 is said to be "turned up to eleven", plants will grow 2 cm just when you turn your back, that kind of deal.
But what about low tech? I didnt even have a ballpark because I havent watched closely before.
And so now being able to look back on the growth I have had each week gives me something to go by.

Im gonna start out with the Blyxa because I just like this plant a lot.
It has a great color, the shrimp love it and people say it doesnt grow well without CO2 so I want to prove them wrong.
What more do you need 😁
Limnophila thicket behind got the first trim since planting, replanted the tops and discarded the bottoms to get ahead of 1000 tiny old leaves dropping off and floating around the tank.
Since I dont have Pogostemon helferi at the moment (the best iron deficiency canary plant imo), the tops of the Blyxa will let me know things are good for iron.
If you get pinkish white straw looking shoots then you know what to do.
H. tripartita still looks a bit scruffy. Its got a lot of old leaves of various colors and the old stems have BBA on them so I guess I cant hold that against it.
The new shoots look green enough so I guess I will just have to be patient. Not a strong side of mine.

Hemianthus / Micranthemoides sp what ? Grateful if someone can ID this. If not I can post for a plant ID seperately.

All top down shots are taken with tank filter turned off temporarily. Otherwise it would be impossible to see clearly through the surface agitation.
I find the top down shots a lot easier to get into focus and showing more accurate colors so I quite like them for that.

Hygrophila polysperma seems to have some veining thing going on, I didnt notice this until I looked at the photos. Maybe a little bit of Rosanervig in them?
They are a lighter green than the H. difformis, not sure if thats species related or just that the polysperma shoots were very small and maybe dont have as much green built up yet?
Hygrophila pinnatifida is still not a raging beast on their little pebbles :shy: Between me accidentally knocking off a few shoots and the Sturisoma knocking off a lot more, theres just a few shoots left. And I think the plant is running out of reserves. The stems and roots are very mushy. Will probably be pushing up daisies soon.

Nesaea looking decent. behind it Ludwigia super red hidden partly in the glare is not looking as great, more brown tops than last time I had it. That may be down to the lowered light.

Proserpinaca palustris has shed most of the old leaves now.

The boraras seem to be thriving these days and have colored up a lot. I tried to get a picture of one but even the best one isnt exactly great. Looks like it was taken from orbit around the earth and zoomed in.
Even if I cant properly show it I am happy to see them look more at home. The males have started to claim small temporary territories around the tank.
I am wondering if the group I have is very light on females as I cant clearly identify any. But not all the fish are taking territories either.
They should be even happier once I have the tank more filled out with plants and hardscape that go into the upper areas of the tank.

Right after the photos I got out some of my Peasant TM kitchen scissors and went to town on all the java ferns.
They had a lot of crusty old leaves in various states of decay. Unlike stem plants, I have noticed a clear benefit to pruning off crappy leaves from java fern.
As long as youre fertilising plenty then pruning will let new shoots get light and room and the plant will hurry up a bit to grow them out.
It makes them look much nicer much faster than if the plant does it on its own.

I also discovered where the pygmy corys have been putting the results of their continous egglaying activities.
The java ferns are apparently a highly favored egg laying spot.
Which was kinda inconvenient for me right now. Its not like I could have left the plants alone for a week and let all the eggs hatch out either, because they lay every single day so they would likely just replace the hatched eggs with new ones. They also lay only one at a time so I had a heck of a time trying to find most of them and put them back in the tank.
I think I managed to find most of the about ~20 eggs, not a bad production from these little guys. I just dropped them back into the tank this time around.

Im more interested in survival of fry in the main tank as a measure of general tank health than I am of maximising pygmy cory production.
Now if they were C. hastatus or even oto eggs things would be very different. Breeding my zebra otos is one of my pipe dreams. Maybe one day ill be able to 🤤


28 Jan 2019
South west
I think you may have ended up with Micranthemum Umbrosum instead of Hemianthus micranthemoides. I found this video while trying to identify which species was the smaller leaved. However, if you look at tropicas website they state that Micranthemum Umbrosum is easier to grow but from what I've seen in peoples tanks Hemianthus micranthemoides is easy to grow. As the information was conflicting everywhere I looked when I was thinking of getting this plant, I gave up. I really like the look of the smaller leaved variety and if it is easy to grow I'd like some but until I see some for sell on here or in person I think I'll give it a miss.
The flowgrow.de website have another couple of species named, of those I think Hemianthus glomeratus is what I (and possibly you) were actually looking for. Below are links to the species listed on flowgrow.de:

Micranthemum Umbrosum
Hemianthus micranthemoides
Hemianthus glomeratus
Hemianthus sp. "Amano Pearl Grass"
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Thread starter
22 Aug 2019
I think you may have ended up with Micranthemum Umbrosum instead of Hemianthus micranthemoides.
Yeah this is my working theory as well

I missed a couple of plants in yesterdays update, so I grabbed photos of them today to have on record.

Thread algae has picked up a little bit in growth, its no longer quite as minimal as I had hoped it would be.
The level of algae that a person can tolerate while still being happy with their tank obviously varies greatly from person to person, and two weeks ago it was where I had it at acceptable levels.
Now it is slightly above what I like, which is a bummer. I think the thread algae just needed time to increase in size, and the reason I had less two weeks ago was mostly because I removed most while replanting everything. Less light means plants grow slower but would also mean green algae grows slower. Makes sense to me at least.
So its not likely that I have solved the underlying green thread algae problem, only slowed the growth down.

Most of it is located in the Hydrocotyle tripartita. Theres a fair bit of old unhealthy growth on this plant and there was a ton of thread algae in it when I replanted it, so it makes sense to me that this is where the GTA would reappear. I tried to get most of it out when replanting but it was very difficult work and I was getting tired so I only got about 80%.
But, I dont really want to fight algae, I want my tank to fight algae and for algae to decide to live somewhere else ;)
So I could be spot dosing and meticulously pulling out every thread I see every day, but im not gonna do that. I wanna get the cause, mostly because of laziness.

I could replant just the new fresh bits of H. tripartita. Would mean throwing out most of the plant but hmm.

In the back of the photo is Myriophyllum tuberculatum, its not super happy. Shedding a lot of leaves and not growing much. Tips look small and weird.
Could be light is too low for it, or something else. Im not hell-bent on keeping this plant long term so its not a big deal either way.

L. Super Red has wavy leaf margins, which I think it has always had with me. Searching for this symptom yields results from anything between lack of calcium, excess this'n that, to lack of flying pigs.
So I dont really have a clue what causes it. According to some experts its supposed to have flat leaves. You can see the emersed grown leaves are flat which aligns with those statements.
My Najas is also growing leaves with strongly wavy margins which im 90% sure its not supposed to do either. I didnt think it was possible to make Najas unhappy, with its reputation.

I wanna see if I can get them to stop growing like this, and im thinking of reducing my iron+trace dosing to be more in line with Tropica levels.
Why Tropica specifically? Well, almost everyone knows theres a whole jungle out there of different ferts, all claiming to be the bees knees.
But I figure since Tropica has quite literally grown and provided the absolute majority of the plants in my tank, theirs will be a good place to start.
I also want to change macro ratio from EI to double Tropica, but for the sake of experimentation I will only change traces first and see how it does for some weeks.
Question is if I should go for standard dose Tropica trace levels 0.08 Fe, or double dose 0.17 to keep it in line with the planned macro change.
I think ill likely do the latter unless someone tells me otherwise.

Green myrio still happy like before, has grown even more. This one is next to need trimming.
Im a bit torn, you can see a male boraras chilling in the plant being pleased with his little territory, and if I trim it down too much that will disappear.
Maybe I can trim it just a bit without taking too much.
This is starting to remind me why I threw out most of my stems a while back, partly because id halfway killed them (nevermind that :angelic:), but the other part is that they take so much work.
Theyre always way too short, or perfect length for just one week, and then too long and start shading other plants.
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Thread starter
22 Aug 2019
The sunday plant growth update is a little bit delayed, for no good reason really. I keep saying to myself ill take pictures once the sun goes down and the reflections from the windows are less prominent, but then I procrastinate too much and suddenly the tank lights are off and all the plants have closed up for the night. This may or may not have happened several times 🤭
So instead of plant pictures I will ramble on about some random things.

08/02/21 I halved the micro dose because im impatient and havent changed something in what feels like forever :angelic:
After a lot of headscratching, deciphering of incomplete notes and some help from the spiffy new IFC calculator, I figured out what my old dosing was including the traces.
Old dose was a total of 0.532 Fe, which I think is excessively excessive for low tech.
0.35 of it was Fe DTPA. The rest is AquaPlantsCare UK EDTA chelated traces, which contained;
Fe 0.182
Mn 0.047
B 0.033
Zn 0.009
Cu 0.002
Mo 0.0014

I dont know what copper levels my tap has, and ive been grumbling a lot about it.
Copper may be a red herring, but im still annoyed by the issues I have with the shrimp.
When I first moved them to the holiday colony I had deaths all the time but gradually they slowed and now there have been no deaths for several weeks.
Up until this sunday I had only topped up the shrimp tank when needed, with a bucket of water with no remineraliser and plenty of Prime.
Ideally they would get topped up with demineralised store water but there is a lot of evaporation and im a bit stingy.. :sorry:
So I hadnt purposefully taken any water out of their tank until now.

But they got a 30% water change on sunday, and like clockwork next morning there was a dead adult shrimp waiting for me. It was a really lovely deep blue colored female as well :sour:
I want to test this further, really get to the bottom of it.
Next sunday I will do another 30% change, but with demineralised water reconstituted to be exactly the same KH and GH of my normal tap waterchange water. That should tell me something about if there are problematic parts of my tapwater. And if that doesnt do it, sunday after that I will try tap water as normal but dripping it in very slowly.
If that one works then the problems are more likely to be TDS based.
I dont want this last one to work. If the last one works I will either have to live with weekly shrimp deaths of my prime breeding stock, or start doing drip water changes on the main tank, which will be a huge pain in the ass. I dont know how long it takes to do a 50% waterchange on a 180-250 liter tank when refilling 2 drops a second, but I dont imagine it will be extremely swift.
The plants will start drying out and ugh it will just be a pain. Has to be some other way surely.

Maybe if I can reduce the TDS swing further between tank water and change water I can still do it the quick and dirty way 🤔
KH and GH is identical now that I remineralise in the blue barrel, but maybe the ferts..
EI is all about excess of course. So we intentionally want to overshoot the target. But, lets say my plants need 1, and im providing them with 2. If I could slowly shave the dosing down to 1.2, then it will still be excess, just slightly less overkill. And maybe less TDS swings.

A second thing I have been thinking about completely seperately from the shrimp issue, is frontloading some macros on waterchange.
I was thinking about it to avoid having so little in the water at the start of the week but it could work in the shrimps favor as well.
If I dose these in the blue barrel then I could further reduce the TDS swing. But the swing is only from about 160 to 120.

This picture is how I imagine I look right now.
But I want to get past the shrimp problem and go back to breeding and selling hundreds of the little boogers to fund all my other aquarium stuff 🦐💸

So yeah, micro dose is half now, but im gathering the salts to be able to make a custom mix, partly for freedom of experimentation and partly because I kinda like all this stuff.
I want to go down to total 0.1 Fe weekly, maybe even less. I could start even lower and go up with overall traces when I start to see chlorosis, it would probably be faster than going down from excess.

I want to experiment with the macros as well, but I need to wait until I see what the L. Super Red does on this dosing of macros. I gotta see if it still stunts on replanting.
If it still does it then it really has to be a lack of carbon for rebuilding that gets it so upset when its disturbed.
Im just trying to work around the CO2 because im stubborn and I want to do things my way even if all evidence points to it being the absolutely hardest way.
Maybe ill never get this plant figured out with low tech, and I should just give up. But wheres the fun in that?

On my way home from a meeting today I accidentally found myself in a petstore, and what did my little greedy paws find;
Finally, real Hemianthus glomeratus :woot: This one was not umbrosum, it had done some growing in the store and there was no mistake.
It came home with me together with a very sad little buce I found in a forgotten corner.
The little plastic tab was so coated in algae the store clerk had to scratch the algae off to see which variety it was.
Sp 'Red' from Tropica, looking kinda sorry. But, it was fully converted to growing underwater after being forgotten for so long, and I felt sympathy for it, so I decided to bring it home as well.
Ive wanted to try Buce for a while, but I only want to buy propagated plants and not wild caught due to ethical concerns.
Its probably also a good idea to start with a cheap and common one incase it implodes.
Before my fishkeeping hiatus, buce was not a thing here, so imagine my surprise when I came back to the hobby and saw all these weird plants.

I didnt want to do a PP dip on the Pearlweed nor the anubias cousin known for melting, so as a sort of halfway quarantine they were added to the holiday colony.
I figure if the plants bring in something bad I can fish out the shrimp and treat the tank.

I couldnt see any pests other than some Physella / Bladder snails.
Since I lost the battle with the limpet snails, I have decided I might as well have some pest snails.
The bladder snails are the pest snail I like the best, well, after the MTS.
Maybe if im lucky they will outcompete the limpets. I hope they will also help the shrimp keep things clean.
Before I added the Bladder snails to the tanks, I put them all in a little cup with no food and a cory egg. Their morals had to be tested before final asylum could be granted.
I returned later to check on the subjects, only to find them making their way down the kitchen countertop in search of some grub. The cory egg was untouched.
I added them to the main tank, hoping that I wont regret it. They can get to work eating dead leaves while the shrimp are away.
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Thread starter
22 Aug 2019
Snapped some quick and dirty (blurry and watermarked) plant pics today ;)
Skipped sundays waterchange, I wasnt feeling great and I think the tank will be just fine.
Nitrates have been sitting at a fairly steady ~15 ppm ** before waterchanges lately, so skipping one should only build to about 30 ppm, which is within my personal tolerance level. **Readings were taken with a test kit so all usual disclaimers apply. TDS has been very stable and minimal as well.

Have had some necrosis on some of the java ferns, so much for me saying trimming them is fine lol.
I dont know for sure it was the trim that has caused it but the timing lines up exactly.
Its been gradual and not all at once, worst affected is the trident, then windelow. Dont think ive seen any on the narrow leaf.
The ferns have been practicing social distancing since mid-week incase it was contagious melt, but it hasnt slowed it.

This is something very different to when the ferns decide to get rid of old leaves which happens very slowly over a few weeks.
When they do that they start at the tips and the leaf gradually loses the green as the plants withdraw all the useful stuff from it.
The resulting dead leaf is opaque and warm brown or yellow.

Whats going on now is much faster than that, almost overnight.
It doesnt necessarily start at the tips and results in translucent greyish-brown leaves, sometimes with green patches still on the leaf.

The red myrio was slowly starting to put out new tips when it got a bit wrecked overnight. I suspect one of the Sturisoma got into the pot and trashed around a bit breaking some stems. I replanted the whole bunch.
As you will see some of the pots have changed locations.
I like the ability to do this without replanting things, so that part of planting in pots is really nice.
Perhaps if I could camouflage them more they would look less tacky.
Some of the soil has started to come up already, Im really not in love with soil at all. I mean it has its uses, it just looks like that use is not in my tanks.
I have been unable to tell any difference in plant growth with or without soil. I suspect it doesnt matter if youre not doing a lean water column fertilization.

Group shot with Hygrophila difformis, Hygrophila polysperma, Limnophila sessiliflora and Hemianthus glomeratus / Pearlweed.
The difformis is slowly recovering, its not full difformis size yet, and a few of the tops are making solid (non-pinnate?) leaves. I dont know what that is about, all I know is that its done it before. I think ive only seen it when its experiencing change or is trying to recover, so maybe its just a bit confused.

In the two polysperma pots many of the tops started showing Rosanervig-like variegation, which is not what I want. I wanted this plant so I could replace the very large growing difformis, and I wanted a plain green leaf plant that would show deficiencies well and grow fast. I pulled out all the visibly variegated tops and threw them in the shrimp tank. Theres not many left and I see some more are gonna have to be removed too. Looks like I will have to repurchase this plant to get polysperma green / not rosanervig.
So annoying when I ask for a plant, ask to make sure its not the kind I dont want, and yet still end up with the wrong plant. Ugh.

Sessiliflora finally starting to take off after its slow start. Cant fault it for a bad journey, it just needed some time.

The pearlweed got its own pot as well, it floated in the shrimp tank for a few days before I planted it in this pot of only sand.
I was too lazy to wash some of the coarser sand so I just grabbed some from the tank 😅 Too early to say how it does.

Myrio green got the tallest tops cut off and replanted in the pot a little while ago. The tops that didnt get touched are almost at the water surface already so will need a new trim soon. I might make it into two pots to get some height in the tank and to please the Boraras.

The spraybar all along the back of the tank has returned. Using the left side mounted spray bar meant that I had to throttle the filter too much, and I noticed a change in the consistency of the brown gunk in the canister when doing maintenance. The gunk was longer, stringier and a bit more slimy. I dont really want to throttle the flow through the filter at all. I drilled extra holes in parts of the spraybar, and the filter is now running on max without blasting my fish. But I think I also need to drill more holes in the remaining part now that I have the leaf litter in the tank. Its blowing the leaves up and towards the back, so they settle in the plants instead of lying on the bottom. A decrease in flow might not be ideal for the stems in the back, but fortunately for me this is a fishtank with plants and not a planttank with fish :twisted:

I have no doubts that a full length back spray bar is the best way to get even flow in a dutch style tank or a tank with minimal hardscape.
Once a lot of hardscape enters into the equation you can throw out the rulebook. In those cases I really think you need to see what works for the individual setup.

Nesaea growing slowly but surely. Its letting go of some of the older leaves but not at an alarming rate.
Proserpinaca mostly the same, a few of the stems have been melting at the bottom and floating around the tank, and I have shoved them back in the pot again.
My plan is to let it hit the water surface before I replant it, to avoid removing too much of the plantmass.

Super red has been doing better, theres some red in the dominant tops, and the leaves are not too curly and weird.
It has started to let a lot of its older leaves go, but I find that it always does this a few weeks after planting in my tank. Usually this prompts me to replant the nicer non shedding tops, and then it stunts immediately. So I will grin and bear the pink leaves all over my tank, and try to let it grow larger before disturbing it this time.

Blyxa still seems happy, I didnt feel like it had visibly grown as much this week, but looking back at the last picture it has put on some mass.
The left pot is the one with soil and the right pot is a smaller disposable plastic cup with only coarse sand.
The left pot is the only one pushed into the sand which is why it looks shorter.
Im still completely unable to tell any difference between the one growing in soil and the one growing in only inert substrate.
Both of them are growing tons of roots that I can see when I lift up the pots. In fact the Blyxas have the most roots of all my current plants.
I managed to crack the plastic pot while moving things around, and need to transfer the Blyxa to a glass pot.
Im very reluctant to do this as I really dont want to mess with all the roots the plant has worked so hard on making, and also because I dont want to influence the experiment. Im putting it off as long as I can. So thats why its sitting on top of the sand, because it would break further if I try to push it in while cracked.

I havent seen any BBA in my tank yet, time will tell if any shows up as the java ferns get larger and older, but so far so good!
There has been no increase in cleaning or maintenance apart from the big replant and the trim of old fern leaves.
So I would say for me and this tank, dissolved organics or whatever doesnt seem to have anything to do with BBA.
Suffering leaves and unhappy plants seem to have a lot to do with it.

You may notice I have added some oak leaves. The Rineloricaria fry hatched a while back, and I see they are not able to find much food.
So if I want fry to survive unaided I need more surfaces and more edible matter in my tank. The fish have been super excited about the leaves and are grazing on them all day.
Today I even saw a pygmaeus fry on the sand, which was a very welcome sight :thumbup:
So my main focus now is making my tank ""dirtier"" without overdoing it and having it turn anoxic.
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Thread starter
22 Aug 2019
Sitting down with a hot cup of cocoa after a lovely day out with my SO. We went for a walk in the forest and I picked leaves and twigs while he watched the birds.
I was after beech leaves, after reading they break down even slower than oak and also dont stain the water too much. Its not the ideal season for it, but I found some younger trees that had the leaves on them still, so I could pick off clean leaves that hadnt started to decompose. They were a bit thin and curly, and after adding them to the tank I think next time I will go for the leaves off the older trees. These young ones dont have the same thickness and Im guessing will break down faster than the more solid older leaves would have. I was also rather rudely hit in the face with a branch while I was unattentive on the trail. The branch turned out to be alder with some cones still attached, so I grabbed a few twigs off the offending branch to add to my collection.
A portion of both were soaked in boiling water for some minutes before cooled down and added to the tank, and the inhabitants were immediately intrigued.
The litter hasnt entirely settled yet, but that hasnt stopped anyone from checking them out anyway. I havent seen this many otos out in a good while.

If anyone reading this is in doubt wether or not they want to add some leaf litter to their tank, do it!
Im not projecting when I say my fish really love it.
The shrimp hide amongst and pick on leaves and sticks, otos and sturisoma graze eagerly and the reserved Rineloricaria enjoy resting under the piles, having just their faces peeking out. Individual pygmy corys like to sneak off from the always spawning group to rest wedged between some leaves and recover for a bit.


Please ignore the hideous PVC cave, its not exactly the most natural look. I have some different sizes in there to figure out which ones my fish prefer, and im planning to cover them in sand matching the substrate soon-ventually.

I have some new arrivals as well, they have been with me for a bit over a week. I was nervous to aquire them and didnt want to write about them online straight away. Im still mourning the loss of the thermometer knives, and I wanted to make sure these guys were stable before introduction to the journal.
The shrimp and snails moved to the main tank and the new babies took over the kitchen tank to complete their quarantine and deworming course.

20210222_195010.jpg 20210222_195317.jpg
They are three young Loricaria simillima
A really cool species that likes to sift the sand using their impressive looking whiskers.
They are very docile fish, relying on camouflage (even though I think they would look quite at home in a goth clothing store), and walk leisurely along the bottom using their pelvic fins.
As I was moving the shrimp out I discovered I have been accidentally culturing a lot of detritus worms in their tank, and with no fish to eat them before the worms had become plentiful. The simillima had an absolute field day rooting them all out from the sand and eating them, and I had a lot of fun watching them.
They quite methodically pat down the sand using their mustaches and once just the tip of a whisker senses something, they quickly scarf down the sand, shooting it out their gills like a snowblower until they find the tasty critter and gobble it up.

I have diagnosed myself with Fishstick collectoritis.
Both these and the Sturisoma will grow to about 18 cm, which might be a bit big in the long run.
When it comes to stocking tanks, I dont like to be able to see too many fish at once, and I prefer the size of the fish to be harmonious to the size of the tank.
I dont really use guidelines or calculators to decide how much is too much, I like to do it by feel.
(@Karmicnull you dont even want to know how overstocked I am on Aqadvisor when its calculating the full grown size of these guys :lol:)

That said all my fishsticks are still quite young, so I have time to see which ones I like the best, and also reduce the groups numbers as they become sexually mature.
I have already decided the Rineloricaria will not stay on for the long run, but I would like to use their regular spawning to practice my fry rearing skills.
I think this can be valuable experience for when I try to breed the Sturisoma and Loricaria later on.

As illustrated by my helpful Sturisomas here, the sand has changed a bit. And the amount of it.
Its no longer up to the edge of the metal frame, and it makes the fish a bit harder to photograph.

When I added the MTS and bladder snails to the main tank, I didnt expect them to die.
They were becoming increasingly lethargic and the MTS were just lying motionless on the surface of the sand.
I remembered that this happened last time I tried adding a few MTS to my tank, and finally I figured out why this keeps happening.
Well, I have a strong suspicion anyway.
The sand must have retained some of the various snail treatments it has been present for during its lifetime.
I have read many accounts on the internet of people claiming they are unable to add back snails to tanks that are otherwise medicine free.
Water changed countless times, carbon ran in filter, doesnt help.
And they say that changing out the old substrate for new stuff fixes it (in most cases).
After I finally put two and two together I decided that I had had enough of this sand, and it had to go.
So a normal waterchange quickly spiraled out of control into a whole day snail rescue operation.
All the snails were removed from the tank, some have very definitely died but those that started crawling around in clean water were added to the kitchen tank for some R&R.
A light coating of brand new sand was put in to replace the old one.
This sand is a different kind than the one I had before, its 0.1 - 0.5 mm grains and a nice uniform light beige.
This is the sand im planning to put in the 250 liter, so this gives me a chance to give it a test run and see how it performs.
I am nervous about compaction with such a fine grain size, and that the plants will not like it.
But it is super lovely to sift through and bury in for the fish, which is why I wanted to try it.

Otherwise not much has changed, plant health is fairly stable, except for the Limnophila sp x, which seemingly got insulted when I replanted it last time, and melted a bit and did some weird thing with the tops. Sometimes I wonder if im just unlucky and got the most drama queen plants in the whole factory. Beside a skipped waterchange everything else has stayed constant, so I dont know exactly whats going on (as usual) 😁

The remaining Hygrophila polysperma seems to have decided to stay green. Maybe watching its variegated comrades disappear has helped.

I love this little shady spot. The buce is still alive and has been adorned by the pygmys with an egg.

Suddenly had a lot of Bolbitis once the clumps from the holiday colony joined.
This thick bush is loved by most of the fish, and I look forward to placing it on some driftwood later on.
I want most of my tank to have this thick bushy feel.

Lastly the floaters staying behind in the holiday colony, to look after the new babies and the water quality.
All the ones in the main tank died of copper, but this bunch is going strong.
Im making sure the tank doesnt run out of macros, I noticed a distinct increase in leaf size when I bumped the levels up a bit.
When the quarantine tank is no longer in use I hope to be able to transplant these to the main tank, and not kill them.
The duckweed index really is helpful. A great tool to have in one's toolkit.


6 Sep 2020
Sue and Ash were reading your latest post over my shoulder.
"Soon-ventually," said Sue. That word was invented to describe anything you do."
Thanks Sue.
"What are those?" said Ash, pointing at the Loricaria simillima, "They are awesome! You have to buy some immediately. They look like pointy sharks."
Léonie arrived. "Who's Husfa?" she said
"A Norwegian Moomin," said Ash.

Witness how you've encouraged intellectual discourse in my household. Mind you Léonie then went on to make me a Mad Dog Margarita, so all is not lost.


Thread starter
22 Aug 2019
Im not entirely sure who is who out of all these names, but im amused to hear my journal is enjoyed as a family activity 😄
Soon-ventually is a great word, it covers your intention of getting it done soon, but includes the more likely outcome that it will be postponed and procrastinated upon indefinitely. Exactly what I need :lol:
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