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Fractal

cbaum86

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Week 6

Lights have been upped to 65/65/55 RGB and increased the TNC Complete from 6ml to around 9ml daily.

Not much to report in terms of the scape itself. The Rotala had another trim as it had reached the surface on the right hand side. The left side was a little lacklustre after the hack attack 2 weeks ago. A few days ago I angled the lily pipe outflow slightly more towards that corner rather than directly along the front glass and did notice the stems started to shoot up, maybe was a bit of a dead spot in the flow so less co2. I'll keep an eye on it.

I think next weeks weekend maintenance may include a trim of the midground plants, apart from taking out the dead leaves they've been more or less left to their own devices.



Pre-trim you can see the difference in growth between the left and right sides:
IMG_20200614_110817.jpg

Also added 10 Clithon Corona who have done a great job of cleaning up the main stone and seem to have setup camp there. Hopefully they decide to don their explorer hats and see what delectables are elsewhere in the tank.

IMG_20200614_110926.jpg


I am having a constant battle with what I believe is a filamentous diamtoms - Synedra, possibly from doing some research. I had this before in another nano scape but that got shutdown after a few weeks so never saw it through. At the moment, twice a week I'm syphoning it all out or at least what I think is all until 10mins later I realise I've missed half of it. I'm using an old Hydor prime 10 filled with filter floss so I can just cycle the water and catch the algae, works very well and means I can take my time rather than only having until the water level drops. I'm hoping that it won't last too much longer 🤞.

IMG_20200614_110845.jpg


I've also been in dialog with Oase about the filter. I commend them on their swift responses although the actual content of the messages was not all that helpful. Ranging from 'our technical team say that's normal' to 'you've put the lid on wrong'. Explaining that leaking is not what I consider normal to showing them a video of me putting the head on I think they've now given up on me as it's been nearly 2 weeks since hearing from them. I don't blame them, I did buy it 2nd hand. I don't mind too much buying replacement parts, I was just hoping they could point me in the right direction so I wasn't wasting money. I'm thinking I may have to treat myself to a new head unit in the coming weeks.
 

cbaum86

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So I've realised it has been quite some time since I've updated this journal. Living and working on the scape day-in, day-out I really didn't think much had changed so didn't want to bore with the same update/photo over and over. However, looking back over some photos I realised that actually whilst there isn't a huge change there is definitely a development. I guess this is really what happens with most scapes, they evolve rather than necessarily change.

Anyway, here is a quick summary of the past 6ish months.

2 July 2020 - Death of the Diatoms
These were the first photos I took after going to town on filamentous diatoms in the previous post. As you can see something worked - whether it was constant manual removal, increased oxygen by lifting the filter over night and adding a surface skimmer or just plain old time I don't know, nor do I really care.

MVIMG_20200702_143806.jpg

MVIMG_20200702_143848.jpg


3 Aug 2020 - General Update
Things had really cleaned up at this point. This is the photo when, looking back from today I realised how much the scape had changed and when I really thought I ought to update this journal.

MVIMG_20200803_201329.jpg


28 Aug 2020 - General Update
Can't believe how spindly the Rotala was back then - suppose all things have to start somewhere.

IMG_20200828_153457.jpg


18 Sept 2020 - Lighting Change
I think this is when I really stepped up the lighting a bit, or at least its the first photo I took from making the change. As previously mentioned I'd been running around 65/65/55 RGB or something similar (maybe 5% higher in Aug) but I think things looked a little on the yellow side for me. I decided to ramp up the ratios of red and blue to green. I can't remember the exact values but I think I was more in the region of 80/55/70. I was quite surprised that the greens didn't lose the green but I really think it helped the Rotala, Ludwigia an Buce.

IMG_20200918_203702.jpg


2 Oct 2020 - Hose Cleaning
I think this was the first time I'd decided to do a full clean on the hoses. Normally I clean the glassware and occasionally the top half the hose where I disconnect them using the double taps - after all that's the bit I see. Whether it made quite the difference in flow I THINK it did or it was just a placebo it was a practice I was going to keep up and probably should have been doing more regularly anyway. Cleaning half the hoses and the filter but leaving these makes me think of 'a chain is only as strong as it's weakest link' kinda deal.

PXL_20201002_104157886.jpg


1 Nov 2020 - Dry Salts, EI Dosing
Well I came to my senses and decided to move over to using dry salts to mix my ferts. The rate I was going through TNC was costing an arm and a leg and for no other reason than costs I decided to make the switch. Sure you get the added benefit of tailoring the mix blah blah blah, I'm never going to do that - not any time soon anyway. I used Zeus's calc here on the forum with the comparisons to others EI mixes and away I went. One thing that is maybe a bug bear of mine is how many people (usually on social media, not on UKAPS) I see using the term EI to mean mixing your own ferts with dry chemicals. Unless I'm not understanding something it's a method of dosing which could be achieved with a commercial products, alternatively you could chose a different dosing method using the dry chemicals you've individually purchased. I don't suppose it really matters but I still get a little twinge when I see it.

PXL_20201101_091319504.jpg


8 Nov 2020 - Trim Update
Spend some time moving a few things around. I've tried to remove most of the rotala bonsai from the area just behind the carpet to behind the larger foreground rocks. For some reason I didn't expect it to be quite as fast growing as it was and it was absolutely taking over so it needed to be moved. It had rooted quite well so it was a bit of a pain trying to get it out of the mix with Hydrocotyle Verticillata and Ranunculus Inundatus. The Hydrocotyle is also a bit of a pain to keep tame, it just spreads runners everywhere constantly, it's probably the plant I trim the most and enjoy doing the least. At least the background Rotala are easy to just chop back.

I also ended up removing the Gratiola Viscidula in the left and right midground. I don't know why but it just wasn't doing well. I replaced it with Myriophyllum Guyana which as you can see in the photo has really taken off as it was planted as a tissue culture about 3 weeks prior to the photo.

I had also been battling with the Monte Carlo and Lilaeopsis Novae-Zelandiae flanking the Marsilea and swamping it. I tried to hold them back with trimming but I believe it's inevitable. They just grow so much faster and trying to pick them out of the Marsilea was, to me, more effort than it was worth. Plus I think it could look better with the MC and Lilaeopsis merged together so I'll let them do either own thing.

I'd also been battling with quite a lot of BBA on the carpet and rocks - mostly at the opposite end of the filter outlet for a few weeks. I wasn't quite sure what the cause was as co2 is consistent but I thought maybe it was something to do with the flow blasting the inline co2 across the front of the tank and it gathering in that bottom corner and then dissipating more quickly - actually no idea. But I decided to move the filter outlet back towards the middle and pull the skimmer right to the front and see how that goes.

PXL_20201108_185532650.jpg


14 Nov 2020 - Post Trim
Just a photo of the replanted Rotala tips getting some nice colour after the trim a week earlier. Only just noticed but this photo looks super janky with the software implemented blurring on the Pixel phone, no editing just the tap to set focus.

PXL_20201114_205507912.PORTRAIT-01.COVER.jpg


4 Dec 2020 - Growing in and hacking down
Nothing much to report but I've just letting things grow in. I think the right of the first shot highlights what I hate about the Hydrocotyle perfectly, just sending out runners that require constant pruning and actually planting into the soil.
During the trim I decided to pull the remnants of the Ludwigia Mini Super Red from the right mid ground. It looked a little sorry for itself in the shade of the main rock and the Rotala on the right seems to have a more red than that on the left so I think it balances with just the Ludwigia on the left.

I think it was at this point I also decided the path was to be no more. Every week I think I'd spend as much time trying to maintain the path as I would doing general maintenance. I tried it and it wasn't for me - part laziness, part mindset. I think after some of my own comments and the discussions in the thread on the IAPLC scandal I'd realised that whilst this obviously isn't a nature aquarium style I'd maybe gone for a look I wasn't intending. The path was a convoluted gesture for me trying to achieve something for the sake of it. As the Monte Carlo encroaches on the sand I think I prefer the look, rather than some winding path with grandiose mountains more akin to a diorama I was leaning towards a rocky outcrop. Ok it's till somewhat of a caricature but, at least to me, it feels more 'nature'.

PXL_20201204_205442132.MP.jpg
PXL_20201206_163503227.jpg


7 Dec 2020 - Algae is Pretty
So roughly a month on from making the changes to try avoid BBA at the front left of the tank it seems to be working. There is much less new growth and the bits that remain actually look quite pretty to me. Not that that means they're going to stay.

You can also see what is the start of some green hair/thread algae in the photo. This is about to be the bane of my existence for the foreseeable.

I also managed to pick up another 2nd hand Oase Biomaster 600 Thermo as the one I'd originally purchased 2nd hand was still dripping and I couldn't be bothered to work out why - Oase hadn't replied to my last emails so it was time to give up on it. This one I knew who it was coming from, it was only a few months old and a decent price so I felt safe this time. Thank fully it had no problems and runs like a dream. When I can be bothered I guess I'll try recoup some of the money from the first by selling the other as parts or with a slight leak - someone might be up for investigating.

PXL_20201207_140152897.jpg


29 Dec 2020 - General Update
As you can see the cardboard from Christmas deliveries came on handy. It's a real shame they never produced a shade for the Vivid 1 so until I can be bothered and there is easier access to supplies the cardboard will have to do. It makes such a difference to the viewing pleasure, the room is a nicer place to sit, more cosy and looking at the tank for more than 3mins no longer requires sunglasses.

PXL_20201230_165101030.jpg

PXL_20201229_213020070.jpg
PXL_20210101_152040613.jpg

5 Jan 2020 - Bane of my Life
So It's been about a month and the green thread/hair algae is still present but I didn't expect any less. I'd been extremely ad-hoc in trying to combat it with the run up to Christmas and insert generic excuse here. I took extreme prejudice over the next 3 days with manual removal and water changes. I was quite surprised just how much I'd removed, and duly upset with how much remained. I guess I just carry on with removal. I had tried a 3 day blackout just before Christmas but that made little to no difference, maybe next I need to do a full week.

I've no idea what caused this, I hadn't done much different. I did notice that I'm down a couple of Otos so presumably their bodies were decomposing in the tank which could have caused a little spike. I did also do a deeper than usual clean of the substrate at the beginning of December blowing quite a lot of much into the water column but I was pretty meticulous with the water change as I knew it could cause a problem.

PXL_20210103_210433079.jpg
PXL_20210111_194041908.jpg
PXL_20210111_194451972.jpg


11 Jan 2020 - Pretty in Pink
Despite the algae still remaining the Rotala marches on and after another manual removal of the green slime strands managed to get a fairly clean shot of the stems - at least the upper ones anyway.

PXL_20210111_173709310.MP~3.jpg


So that's everything now up-to-date with the tank coming up to 9 months planted. My misery is there for all to share.
Despite the troubles I am having with this algae I'm still overall happy with the scape. It is due a big trim at the weekend so we'll see how it looks and take stock for the next 3 months to see if I can get it where at want by it's first anniversary.
 
Last edited:

Djoko Sauza

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Loving the progress on this! Specially how it looks taken over by the plants when it is a bit overgrown.
+1 on the shade, I made one myself for the wrgb after bearing through the glare for almost 6 months and it makes a massive difference.
What rotala is that on the last pic? And how did you get it to get so red? Nitrate limitation? Just giving it time?
Best of luck with your battle against algae, good things come to those who wait.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Best of luck with your battle against algae, good things come to those who wait.
I wonder if the green algae is a <"Spirogyra spp">. They are <"famously difficult to control">, due to their <"physiological similarity to higher plants">.
........... but if you create ideal growing conditions for the plants you want, you also create ideal growing conditions for the ones you don't. All the green plants (those that possess chlorophyll a and chlorophyll b) are identical in terms of their basic photosynthetic physiology. They form a monophyletic clade (<"the Chlorobionta or Viridiplantae">), with a single common ancestor.

The "green plants" are all the plants we want to grow (mosses, ferns and higher plants), plus some we don't, and we call these ones "green algae".......

cheers Darrel
 

cbaum86

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Loving the progress on this! Specially how it looks taken over by the plants when it is a bit overgrown.
Thanks. I'm actually really enjoying the slightly overgrown look myself. I'd originally wanted a 'clean' look but it almost feels wrong somehow, so to that end I've recently added some small amounts of mosses. Only had a couple of off cuts but they should start to grow in and then I'll take some more trimmings. I think it should add to the, dare I say 'more natural' aesthetic.
I made one myself for the wrgb
What did you make it from. I was originally going aluminium as I believe that's what the light is but attaching will then need some kind of fixing. If I go with some other metal I'm thinking magnets may be an easier option. Maybe I'm over thinking it.
What rotala is that on the last pic? And how did you get it to get so red? Nitrate limitation? Just giving it time?
I'm honestly not sure. From the original planting I'd be fairly confident in saying Rotudafolia but I'm not sure if it gets that deep a pink. I know it will go towards it, but not sure how far you can take it. I also planted H'ra but in a different area, although when initially trimming I did replant the tops and they could have got mixed up early on. I'm not sure if H'ra would more typically be a deeper red, rather than pink. Where I planted it is actually quite shaded so it still looks a mucky green/rust colour - not well planned in hindsight.
Probably a bit of both for the colour. I used the IFC fert calc to create my micro mix but I've not tested the water so no idea what levels I'm at by the end of the day/week. According to the calculator it should add roughly 20ppm nitrate per week. I also think lighting plays a huge part both in intensity and spectrum.

I wonder if the green algae is a <"Spirogyra spp">. They are <"famously difficult to control">, due to their <"physiological similarity to higher plants">.
I had the same feeling and scoured several sources just in the hope of finding one that didn't make me want to cry. Never the less I'll keep battling on as it's not a scape I want to give up on. Plus the limited (or none) availability of plants at the moment means there is no hope of a fresh start any time soon.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
I'm actually really enjoying the slightly overgrown look myself. I'd originally wanted a 'clean' look but it almost feels wrong somehow, so to that end I've recently added some small amounts of mosses. Only had a couple of off cuts but they should start to grow in and then I'll take some more trimmings. I think it should add to the, dare I say 'more natural' aesthetic.
Yes, let it grow, it looks great. A larger plant mass might also help to control the green algae.
Never the less I'll keep battling on as it's not a scape I want to give up on.
Probably manual removal is your best hope.

cheers Darrel
 

Djoko Sauza

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What did you make it from. I was originally going aluminium as I believe that's what the light is but attaching will then need some kind of fixing. If I go with some other metal I'm thinking magnets may be an easier option. Maybe I'm over thinking it.
I made mine from pine wood and some 90° brackets. For sure most could have made something better but for now it's ok.

IMG-20210114-WA0003.jpg IMG-20210114-WA0004.jpg
 

cbaum86

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Bit of an instagram moment from the weekend but a night spent enjoying the tank before it was getting a hack the following morning. Whilst I am enjoying the fuller look its getting a bit out of hand. The rotala is spreading across the surface, the carpet is far too thick and the hydrocotyle is getting out of control. I'm still going to attempt to curate a more grown in feel but I don't think that needs to be exclusive to keeping the plants trimmed.

PXL_20210116_172631600.jpg


Also decided that as a stop gap I'd replace my amazon prime cardboard shade with something slightly more elegant. Roll on the black mount board - really stepping up in the world!

PXL_20210118_205710552.jpg
 

cbaum86

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Well in order to get into the maintenance mood I decided to don a present from the other half. Does this work like an RPG where I can gain +1 to scaping with the right attire - maybe I can get a 10% bonus to all stats if I get a matching set?
PXL_20210117_104539082.MP.jpg


I'm really struggling with the scape at the moment - more precisely struggling to enjoy it. The spirogyra is hitting the positive vibes hard and my attitude of "I'm going to beat this" is trailing off after several weeks now. I'm feeling the rescape vibes bad at the moment; I think the amount of post-christmas new scapes combined with the aforementioned devil algae is really adding to that. Whether luckily or not a rescape is just not feasible at the moment as plod on we must. To combat that a little I did treat myself to a few new plants in the hope that the grass style textures will add another element, more complexity to some of the flatter areas of the scape - will have to see how that turns out.
PXL_20210119_200935650.jpg


I moved over a few limnobium laevigatum from the nano tank into this one. For some reason they weren't growing very well in the nano, I think they kept getting pushed under the surface. After a week or so in the main tank they have started to grow but the leaves have become quite pale with these tiger stripes. I wasn't sure if it was lack of nutrients, unlikely as I'm following EI method or the high light that was causing it. Managed to find frogbit deficiency info here but I'm not sure there is a conclusion. For some reason, I've always struggled with floating plants in any tank I've tried them, they just seem to melt away.
PXL_20210118_093936712.jpg
 

cbaum86

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The sand path is now no more and completely covered by the monte carlo. This is where I decided to plant the eleocharis and hygrophila. The eleocharis along the fringes to try soften the edges where the monte carlo met the seiryu stone and the hygrophila more central to give a contrast in colour. Looking a bit regimental at the moment but once it starts growing in and with a bit of trimming I'm hoping things will soften and blend together more.
PXL_20210127_165439678.jpg


When planting these areas I also noticed something growing from one of the cracks in the stone. No idea what it is, presumably some stowaway from the stones natural location as this is the first tank I've had it in. The stone has now been in the scape for around 9 months so it's obviously an enormously slow grower or being hibernating - lets see how it goes.
PXL_20210127_165610353.jpg
 

cbaum86

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I might try a different chelator for iron. Have a look at @jameson_uk's threads linked from <"Is this amazon frogbit ?">.
Cheers as always Darrel.

I may have to do some additional googling to understand what all those abbreviations mean in the real world - and probably understand on a more fundamental level the chemistry of Iron.

I'm currently using Aqua Plants Care CSM+B for micro with dosing calculated using Zeus fert calculator to give me 0.1ppm dosed 3x per week. I guess looking at the plants though they are clearly lacking something. I do have a huge bottle of Seachem Flourish Iron stowed away in a deep dark cupboard somewhere so I might give that ago. Although from the linked threads it sounds like Glucate isn't the best form to use despite the Seachem marketing on their website which claims this is a far superior form. I can't comment either way because it's chemistry mumbo jumbo to me at the moment.
 

jameson_uk

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Cheers as always Darrel.

I may have to do some additional googling to understand what all those abbreviations mean in the real world - and probably understand on a more fundamental level the chemistry of Iron.

My limited understanding is that the iron in CSM+B (and most off the shelf ferts) becomes unavailable to plants pretty quickly at higher pH levels (which you get in hard water). You can get different types of iron which stay usable for longer. So although you are adding iron, the plants can't use it.

Sent from my Pixel 5 using Tapatalk[/QUOTE][/QUOTE]
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
and probably understand on a more fundamental level the chemistry of Iron.
Simple enough really, a lot <"of iron compounds are insoluble">, particularly in water above pH7.

If we add a soluble iron salt, like ferric chloride (FeCl3.6H2O), to hard, oxygenated water then the iron ions as almost immediately mopped up by <"phosphate (PO4--)">, bicarbonates (HCO3-), hydroxides (OH-) etc. to form a series of insoluble compounds.

The insoluble ferric iron compound most of us are familiar with is "rust": "Rust consists of hydrous iron(III) oxides (Fe2O3·nH2O) and iron(III) oxide-hydroxide (FeO(OH), Fe(OH)3)" and rust doesn't ever go back into solution as ions. Iron oxides/hydroxides form the <"red colour in lateritic soils and bricks">, the iron is still there, but it is totally unavailable to plants.

Because of these issues, we supply <"iron as a "chelate"">, where the iron ions (Fe++/+++) are complexed with an organic acid, this could be a weak bond such as that formed in <"iron citrate or iron gluconate">, or a much stronger bond in FeEDTA, FeDTPA, FeEDDHA etc.
Although from the linked threads it sounds like Glucate isn't the best form to use despite the Seachem marketing on their website which claims this is a far superior form.
<"Seachem's advertising"> unfortunately. Some chelating agents are <"more effective than others">, particularly in hard water which is why @Zeus. and @Craig Matthews <"are using FeEDDHA">.

cheers Darrel
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
I'll have a look at modifying the trace mixture and see what happens with the new leaves.
It is only likely to be iron (Fe) or manganese (Mn) that <"cause chlorosis issues"> with new leaves. This is because <"they aren't mobile within the plant"> and the plant can't shuffle them from old to new leaves in the way that it could with magnesium (Mg), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) or potassium (K).

<"Chempak Sequestered Iron"> may work. Because it takes a while for new green leaves to grow, if you are deficient in available iron the first sign you got might be <"green algae growth">.

............After 7-10 days between water changes my glass was spotlessly clean and never had to even wipe it off. After dosing some additional Iron (only about 2ml/day) my glass became green after 4 days. After 7 days I had to scrape it off as it looked disgusting. Now stopped dosing it again and my glass is clean again...........

Have a look through <"Rotala rotundifolia growth issues"> if you have time.

cheers Darrel
 
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