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Everything deficiency - Thinking toxicity (Low tech)

dw1305

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Hi all,
The first time I saw the PH drop from 7.2 to 6.4 in 10 seconds I was somewhat concerned. The fish don't seem to even notice.
I'm not sure quite what has happened there, gypsum should be a neutral salt "......CaSO4·2H2O = Ca2+ + SO42- + 2H2O. It adds calcium ions (Ca++) and sulphate ions (SO4--), but does not add , or take away, hydrogen ions (H+).....".

I've never tried it in the aquarium (I have hard tap water and access to other soluble calcium compounds), but somebody else will have done.

cheers Darrel
 

Nick72

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Hi all, I'm not sure quite what has happened there, gypsum should be a neutral salt "......CaSO4·2H2O = Ca2+ + SO42- + 2H2O. It adds calcium ions (Ca++) and sulphate ions (SO4--), but does not add , or take away, hydrogen ions (H+).....".

I've never tried it in the aquarium (I have hard tap water and access to other soluble calcium compounds), but somebody else will have done.

cheers Darrel

Yes I was suprised the first time, and don't have a strong enough understanding of chemistry to question it.

I put the Gypsom in a 400ml beaker of tank water before putting it in the tank.

It goes goes cloudy almost like baby formula.

I assumed it was reacting with the carbonic acid in my tank water and giving off CO2 - but couldn't say why.

I get the PH drop every time and it takes several hours to recover, but as my CO2 injection does the same thing every day, and the fish don't miss a beat, I don't worry about it.

At one point I was also adding CaC03 in this method, which does the exact same thing - except it clouds the tank for several hours, where the Gypsom only clouds the tank for 30 mins.

Adding Gypsom for Ca (dGH)
Was adding CaC03 for carbonate (dKH), but have gone back to crushed coral.
 

Hufsa

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I promised pictures yesterday so I guess I better deliver :)
They didnt turn out the best but I was feeling achy from the massive replant yesterday and couldnt be a**** to retry :angelic:

This morning my tank looked super clear and fresh. I didnt realise it hadnt looked that way until I saw it today. Hard to describe the change.
Of course I immediately ruined it by scraping off some stray tufts of BBA from the glass that I had overlooked from the time of the BB-A-pocalypse :facepalm: Of course also before the pictures were taken :hungover:
Well, this journal has never been about the glossy look but more about all the warts and stuff so I think it fits the theme just fine.
It was pretty funny to see the BBA tufts floating around in the current for a while. Like little toupees just waiting for a tiny bare head to land on :wacky:


As you can see the tank looks pretty bare now :sorry: But I hope things grow back quickly.

Most of the little bits in the water are bubbles from the skimmer. Theres a slight surface film again which means I need to clean the skimmer sponge. It clogs up super fast, I think thanks to the fresh redmoor wood.
At least im getting my moneys worth! Skimmer has a full time job ;)

The strange white thing floating behind the spray bar is a sepia shell waiting to be waterlogged, for the benefit of shrimp and snails. Ill tuck it behind the inlet once it sinks.

1a.jpg


You can maybe see that I rotated one of the right hand pieces of redmoor a bit. This was pretty much as far as it would go. Im not so sure about keeping it actually, maybe the chunky piece can go on its own. I want the left side wood to be more dominant than the right side. I might be able to find a different complimentary piece if I look through "my stash".

2a.jpg
Rotala still growing. This is the Rotala genus' last chance in my tank for a good while, so it better keep going.

3a.jpg
Anubias nana petite recovering (slowly as they do) from the big BBA trim. I pulled off all the leaves that were fuzzy and it didnt leave much. I think this spot might be too bright long term, will try to move them into some shadier spots.

4a.jpg
Its started :arghh::arghh: Tiny nerite eggs. I knew this day was coming, but I was hoping it wouldnt be this soon :(
I found a picture that supposedly shows how to sex nerite snails. So I guess some snail sexual harassment and a lot of fiddling with a magnifying glass is coming up :hilarious: I was thinking i could rehome the female snails.

5a.jpg
Bush of Super Red doing some weird stuff with its tops after being replanted. The top in the upper left even has green and red change in the same leaf. A few of the tops are all green now. I dont know, it will sort itself out im sure. You do you little plant.

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Ammania senegalensis was moved behind the sorry tufts of Blyxa. Not seeing any colors on the Ammannia, if its gonna stay green then I will sell it, since I already have a lot of green plants.

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What remains of the Heteranthera zosterifolia. Tiny tops. Looking forward to it covering the back wall again. Just need to be more diligent with trimming this time.

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Nesaea crassicaulis, looking nice, still transforming to submerged form. Was not touched so now its looming above all the other plants.

9a.jpg
Tops of Hygrophila costata looking like some kind of foreground plant that got lost :p


Today I didnt have a reading for nitrite for the first time in a while, so that was very nice. Maybe it helped a lot to get all the crud and decaying plants out.
Skipped todays daily water change but will check again tomorrow of course.
Just so no one thinks I dont care about my fish, I have been doing daily 50% water changes and also treating with Prime which claims to bind to nitrites etc.
So doing everything I can until the system is back in balance :oops:
 

Hufsa

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Bolbitis grows just fine without CO2. Its a big 'un, and I heard it gets even bigger with CO2. Right now its been trimmed down and pruned to about half its size because it was getting a bit ridiculous.
Been growing Blyxa okay too in periods, havent achieved the size ive seen in some pictures but it has done okay. If you look through the journal im sure you can find some pictures of it from when it was doing better. Including one where its displaying very clear iron deficiency :)
 

Hufsa

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Argh! Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me :shifty:

So I mentioned ive been shuffling some filter media around and removing some here and there.

You may also remember my infuriating stint with daily water changes earlier this year, a whole two months of it. A fish got a fin infection and my test kit showed a reading for nitrite. Okay, I come from the fishkeeping side of the aquarium hobby where test kit results are law and you obey.
I was trying to be more sceptical and cross reference my results so at the beginning of the period I checked the tap water as well and got a negative result there.
So I tested and changed water, and tested and changed water, and so on.
Apparently im not particularly bright, because it took me two whole months to start suspecting foul play.
When I tested the tap water again I got a positive reading. This was very confusing to me and hard to process, so I kinda just went "Thats weird, maybe the test was out of date" and moved on without thinking too much about it, because it made my brain hurt.

Almost everyone on here was quite adamant about test kits being unreliable, especially NO3 because of reasons. Alright I thought, thats their opinion but im not gonna throw out my tests just like that.
How else would you know how things are doing?

Well, about a week and a half ago, I saw a cory with slightly shorter mustaches than the others. Had recently disturbed the filter media a bit, and what do you know, when I tested the water I got a nitrite reading. This was a new test kit mind you.
Huh, I thought, I didnt know filter bacteria were such little delicate flowers. "Well, here I go changing water again I guess" :sour:

JBL is the brand thats considered the best one commonly available here. I find their nitrite test to be very hard to read. The low readings never seem to be as bright as the color circles you are supposed to compare it to. I can only assume that youre supposed to go by hue and not intensity, as it is with all other tests I have come across. So despite results being a very light yellow, I have taken the slightly beige-ish hue to mean a nitrite reading, since its supposed to be an almost greenish light yellow for 0.

This time I also tested the tap water right away, and tap water with Prime in it. I also tried diluting the water to be tested with 50% demineralised water.

Well, tap water tested negative. Tap water with Prime tested negative. 50/50 aquarium water and demineralised water tested not quite what I would call half of 0.05, but close, maybe. I let my aquarium water sample sit over night before testing again in case the Prime was interfering somehow and giving a false positive. Still tested positive. I was scratching my head trying to make sense of it, but changed water none the less to err on the side of caution.

Anyway, just like last time I have been changing water and changing water. Until today, where I tested tap water again. Positive. Water change barrel with only GH powder, postitive. Water change barrel with both GH and Prime, positive.

I dont know its appropriate to swear on this forum, so I will try not to. But this might give a hint on how im feeling about the whole situation.

Does anyone know why this is happening?
Please dont just say "test kits are unreliable" and leave it at that. That might indeed be true but I need to know how and why. I would love to have a more in depth discussion about this.

This is a sort of fundamental pillar that is now crumbling and I need to ease into it a little bit so please be kind, this is a bit difficult. In fact I found this whole post very hard to write, so I hope it makes sense to read.

If I cant use nitrite test kits to check if there is a water quality issue, how should I check it?
 
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dw1305

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Hi all,
Almost everyone on here was quite adamant about test kits being unreliable, especially NO3 because of reasons. Alright I thought, thats their opinion but im not gonna throw out my tests just like that. How else would you know how things are doing?
You could invest in a <"nitrite ion (NO2-) selective electrode">. That is quite an expensive option, but would be likely to be fairly accurate.

If time and money are no object you definitely can test for all the parameters you want. Time and money are the only provisos.

As a general rule it is easier to use colorimetric tests for nitrite (NO2-), rather than nitrate (NO3-), because there are some coloured insoluble nitrite compounds, which mean that you have one less step in the sequence (you don't need <"cadmium reduction", your nitrite is already reduced">.)

I approach this in a different manner, using methods <"based on probability">, I understand that it doesn't give you an empirical value, but it is less reliant in any methodology that has a single point of failure.

If you start from the premise that :
  1. Oxygen is the <"prime metric in nitrification">,
  2. heavily planted tanks, with some plants with <"the aerial advantage">, are very efficient at reducing all forms of fixed nitrogen,
  3. and that <"plant/microbe biofiltration"> is potentially a lot more <"efficient, flexible and resilient"> than "microbe only" biofiltration (there is no "plant only" biofiltration).
Then the only question you have to ask yourself are, "have any of the above been compromised? " and "is that likely to have led to an increase in ammonia? "

If the answer to either question is"yes" you just keep on changing more water until you are back to a steady state.

cheers Darrel
 

Hufsa

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A long time has passed since the last update, this is about par for the course for me and my hobbies.
The interest comes and goes in waves, and its for the slow periods that I want to have an as simple to maintain tank as possible.
I havent become a good plantkeeper this time either.. (what a surprise!)

Tank has been pretty neglected unfortunately, its gotten a water change every two months in this time. And when im not changing water often, I dont feel comfortable adding much fertilizer.
Plants have not been very happy with this to say the least, but fish have seemed happy throughout and are breeding as usual.

Its not entirely easy to gauge the wellness status of a fish, what does a happy fish look like, really?
Can any of us say for sure? Their whiskers and fins are good looking and the fish are displaying natural behavior, and I guess this may be as close as we get.
Breeding doesnt really mean much as many fish will breed even in pretty shoddy conditions. Anyway back on topic 🙃

Ive found myself wanting to backtrack a little bit through my journal, to that stage where I was growing plants well-ish and also algae. It seems slightly better than growing plants poorly and algae well 😅😁

I think my main issue is being able to stay consistent. I can have the best most well planned out fertilizing and water change regime in the world, but if I cant stick to it for more than two weeks then its not gonna give me any good results.
My tendency to uproot plants and move them around every now and then probably doesnt help any struggling plants either.
Its not the water, its me :angelic:

So im giving -consistency- another go, for the 50th time or something. Try, fail, get back up, try again. I should be able to learn this skill some day, even if it takes me 60 years. I shall persevere! :lol: My apologies for the cheesyness.

This is the second time I have been able to basically kill plants with what I think maybe is a severe nitrate and/or iron deficiency.
Im thinking of calling it "Fertilizer staying in bottle disease".

Its especially visible with Pogostemon helferi, the poor "canary in the mines" plant.
Im not entirely sure its just iron deficiency, as I recognized the symptoms from last time and started adding iron about twice a week to fix it. But it still continued.
Growth gets paler and paler in the top as it gradually slows down to a halt, and then the bottom of the stem melts.
I saw the same thing with Hygrophila difformis and Hygrophila costata, although with less paling of new growth.
Limnophila sessiliflora, Heteranthera zosterifolia, Myriophyllum mattogrossense, and Hydrocotyle tripartita stopped growing but didnt show much stunting of tops or melting at the bottom.
And Rotala H'ra, Ludwigia Super Red, Nesaea Crassicaulis and Ammania senegalensis all stunted spectacularly but didnt melt.
I find it interesting, if nothing else, that the plants react so differently to poor conditions.

So I think Ive mentioned before that I am a fishkeeper first and a plantkeeper second.
This is still true, and a few weeks ago I got some rare thermometer knifefish (Gymnorhamphichthys rondoni)
To accomodate these wonderful weirdos, the temperature was raised from 22 to 26 degrees celcius and more sandy space was made in the tank.
These like to bury themselves completely in the sand, sometimes with their little noses sticking out.
They feed at night and are not aggressive feeders, so to allow the food to sit on the sand and not get immediately blown into the filter intake, the spray bar was taken out and I swapped to a simple spade shaped outlet pointed at the driftwood.

I threw out almost all of the dying stem plants, and all but one stem of P. helferi. This one stem escaped, and found its way to the intake strainer, shaded by driftwood and plants. Here it stopped melting and started growing fresh green top leaves once I started fertilizing again. I got around to fishing it out a week later and threw it away, because im cruel like that. But I was impressed by its ability to recover from such a sorry state.

I dont have any pictures of the bad times but I snapped some pictures now to show you the status per today. I always feel bad for writing too much and not having enough pictures.

Untitled.jpg
After my partial stem-o-cide I went out and got more pots of Bolbitis heudelotii 💞, some more Trident Java Fern and I would have gotten more Windelow but the store had another round of the mysterious java fern disease and their Windelow was all gnarly.
Got a new pot of Hygrophila difformis and Ludwigia Super Red as well.

Untitled2.jpgUntitled8.jpg
Nesaea crassicaulis unstunting with new tips. Not -that- bad looking growth for non CO2 imo.
Difformis behind behaving like its normal difformis-y self again.

Untitled4.jpgUntitled5.jpg
New stems of Super Red adjusting to my conditions. Time will tell if it can survive long term in my tank.
Hydrocotyle growing again and sending out new runners and leaves.

Untitled7.jpg
Some BBA from the bad times. In my experience so far this algae loves low to zero nutrients, flow, and the more light the better.

Snapped a really crappy picture of one of my detritus worms photobombing my pictures

Untitled6.jpg

I like these little critters, Im always very happy to see small white flea things in the plants and these worms are a super useful indicator.
The detritus worms mainly live in the bottom of my external filter, but when they start coming out the outflow I know theres a population boom and that its time to clean the filter. Lately with the knifefishes, feeding has been at an all time high and the need to clean the filter has increased.
I hope more of them will settle in the sand bottom, maybe they are trying to but get eaten by the corys before being able to get a good population going.
Having some sort of critter population in the sand would be super useful for feeding the knives.

Untitled3.jpg
To finish off heres a picture of todays production from the corys. Theyve been laying eggs 2-3 times a week for some months now.
Unfortunately they are quite bad at getting them properly fertilized, and also very happy to turn right around and eat the eggs as soon as they are laid.
Poor stupid things.
 

rebel

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Its not entirely easy to gauge the wellness status of a fish, what does a happy fish look like, really?
Survival of high percentage off spring will probably be a good indicator. Long Term survival of the adult fish is also an indicator. Short term, excellent coloration and aesthetics/ activity could be short term surrogate markers.
 

Hufsa

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either CO2 or light but most likely CO2.
Light has been unchanged and CO2 is the same as well (none), not sure how you reached this conclusion?
Could you elaborate a bit?
 

rebel

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Light has been unchanged and CO2 is the same as well (none), not sure how you reached this conclusion?
Could you elaborate a bit?
As plant mass grows it needs more CO2 and light.
 

Hufsa

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It didnt really do that much growing though, it was trimmed shortly before. The main change was fewer water changes and very little ferts.
I store and air my water change water overnight now, so the CO2 levels of the change waters should be low.
 

rebel

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It didnt really do that much growing though
Interesting. If you really want to find out, you should change one thing at a time and observe carefully. If more than one thing changes, then conclusions can't be drawn.
 

Ady34

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I always feel bad for writing too much and not having enough pictures.
Don’t, I’ve just enjoyed reading the write up, honest and interesting. Seems you have a handle on how to correct any failings and can choose how much you want to put in and get out which is great. I’m a firm believer in enjoying the hobby and it fitting within your lifestyle.
The tank looks great also.
Cheerio,
 

Hufsa

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The thermometer knifefish seem to be getting accustomed to life in captivity. Awaiting us for this evenings feeding were no less than three out of four black snoots sticking out of the sand. I think they are starting to learn that the bloodworm arrives around this time, and the snoots were anticipating it. I would like to say they looked positively eager but that may be anthropomorphizing them just a touch.

Usually they just have the noses poking out, but sometimes you get lucky and see the whole head, like this pic from earlier this week.
Untitledd1.jpg


Sometimes you just see a mouth buried deep in the sand..
Untitledd12.jpg
The sand is 0,2-0,7 mm grains for reference. Very small mouth.

While I was dispensing the bloodworms, I somewhat hurriedly asked my SO to take some photos of a knife while one was eating. It wasnt an easy job for sure, the tank is dark except for a headlight I wear that they dont seem to mind once they start feeding, and the glass is of course full of scratches, algae and watermarks as usual.
We got one decent-ish photo however and you can sorta see why they call them thermometer knifefish, with the long black line accompanied by faint black bars, as if marking the degrees celcius. This is one of the smallest knives and the blobs in the front of it is an otocinclus and a cory cat. They too greatly enjoy bloodworms 🙄
Untitledd12345.jpg


Of our group of four knives (affectionately referred to as the long bois), two are noticeably smaller. These two have an especially good appetite and have started to appear from the sand on their own at feeding time when they either feel my arm in the tank, or when the sand is disturbed a bit. Im hoping to eventually "train" all of them to come out this way. I use tweezers to carefully bury some bloodworms in the sand, so that food will be available throughout the night and not be hoovered up immediately by the corys. The largest knife also shows a preference for eating only buried worms, instead of the ones on top of the sand. The other three will eat from the top and then start digging if they cant find any more.
The knives are very docile fish and dont seem to be particularly distressed by being uncovered from the sand, so to ensure they are getting a little bit of food every day we have started to gently coax a few of them out at feeding time. Once they sense the bloodworms they start eating eagerly on their own. Although if you take them out of the sand in daytime or without bloodworms they just bury themselves again immediately.

Today I was very happy to see that the largest one (big boi) ate some worms and appears slightly more energetic than yesterday. We noticed a bleeding scrape on his side a few days ago and I have been near tears thinking he might fall ill and not make it. I feel very responsible for these guys, they have had such a long journey. Being fished up in a river in the amazon, transported all over the world probably costing the lives of many of them, and it seems like such a horribly cruel fate if they were to die due to lack of care in my hands. We're not entirely sure what he got himself injured on, but ive taken a dremel to most of the edges on the redmoor wood in hopes of preventing further injuries.

Lastly is a bonus picture I got earlier today from my SO.
Otos sure know how to find the goofiest resting positions, and I just love this expression :lol:
Untitledd123.jpg
 

Hufsa

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Just had the pleasure of seeing 3 knifefish out and poking around in the aquarium. According to them I am late with feeding time! How inconsiderate of me :lol:
Untitleedd12345.jpg

Im sorry for the horrendous picture quality. I would say something about the lighting and the speed of the fish but meh. A poor craftsman blames his tools 😁

I have added about 3 hours of "sunset time" to the end of my light period, to see if I can get them used to enough light so that we can see them feeding. The light is set to its lowest at 1% on the yellow white channel, and while that is fairly bright still in my opinion, the knives dont seem to mind it much apparently. They are definitely starting to expect food around this time. Im feeling a little bit lazy tonight however so they got a bit of granulate from TA Aquaculture as a snack, and then ill give them some bloodworms later tonight. Im neither disciplined or regular enough to always give them dinner at exactly 21:00, so they better get used to this :lol:

Honestly seeing them out unprompted like this is beyond what I could have hoped for, I have been fully prepared for these guys to be the kind of fish that you know that you have, but that you dont see, and that would have been perfectly fine. It is in their nature to be nocturnal. But I am also happy that my 'evil' plan is working so far :clap: Maybe I will be able to get them to feed from my hand? Now that would be asking a lot. But they are eating bloodworms out of the tweezers already so I guess never say never.

I have been thinking that this might be the wrong forum for these kinds of posts, forum being mostly about plants and aquascaping and such. But this is the only forum I use and Im too lazy to start up anywhere else, so I guess you all will just have to suffer it :wave:

I am a bit curious if the posts I write here will show up on google or not?
I found very little information about these guys when I did my pre-purchase research. Im sort of intentionally putting my experiences with them online, so that it may be of use to others.

On that topic I want to note that they have shown absolutely no aggression towards each other, and do not pay each other any mind. I havent seen them interacting other than accidentally trying to bury themselves in the same spot and partially uncovering a conspecific. They also seem to end up burying themselves in the same part of the tank, but if it is by accident, on purpose, or because of other conditions in the tank, I wouldnt be able to say. Their snouts are almost always pointed towards the flow though, which I find interesting. They dont mind the other bottom dwellers, and navigate around corydoras and otocinclus without acknowledging them. They do get a bit startled and bury themselves if a shrimp starts picking at their nose, but my Neocaridina are spoiled bullies that will fight full grown otos over a bit of food, so I dont blame them for avoiding them :lol:

Untitlrfeedd12345.jpg
 
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