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Mjenner's Juwel Rio 125 Planted Tank

mjenner

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17 Oct 2008
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Chessington, Surrey
Tank Update - A Couple of Weeks Along

Well, it's all up and running, I've been dosing CO2 enough to maintain a yellow dropchecker whilst the plants settle in, I've recieved the needle-valves for each diffuser and I've now been able to balance the flow better between them.

Algae has been relatively low until earlier last week, I experienced a bout of first Diatom on the sand, then a little BGA on the foreground plants and the HC, I did a couple of water changes but due to Wedding planning duties I haven't been able to give the tank quite as much care and attention as I would like, but it's been fertilised with TPN+ (6ml per day, then 8ml and more recently I've moved up to 10ml as the plants looked like they needed a little more and the plant mass has increased).

I've pruned the Ambulia Aquatica twice now as it's gone crazy, the first pruning allowed me to increase the size of the bush behind the wood and it looked pretty good but it's doubled in size again! I think I might have some cuttings for anyone who'd like them soon? The Micranthemum Umbrosum hasn't done so well, it's gone a little yellow and has a tendency to uproot, and fall apart, I kept replanting the stems regularly but they kept popping out again.

The Didiplis Diandra has metamorphosed into it's submerged form and it seems to have changed a LOT, it's now got needle-shaped leaves and the tips of each stem are a nice bright almost lime-green, I'm thinking of maybe trying to make a really large bush from this plant as it looks really nice, but it is a LOT slower growing than the other plants in the tank.

The Micranthemum Micranthemoides has done better than the Micranthemum Umbrosum, but it's been prone once again to uprooting and it's very fragile, it's really taken off too in the last couple of weeks and I need to cut it but it does seem prone to putting out masses of aerial roots.

The HC is taking it's time, I've had some problems with bits becoming uprooted, but it's not too bad. The substrate just doesn't seem too great for planting, when I push in to plant one errant strand another breaks free! (and that's with tweezers!) :?

I have only had one crisis which was actually fairly well timed, last tuesday, just as I'd been planning on heading off to work... the CO2 cylinder ran out! Arrrgh! I then did some thinking, without CO2, I couldn't keep the light on and risk getting an algae cess-pit over the space of the week, I also didn't want to keep fertilising for the same reasons... the tank had been getting a little algae problem so I thought... well now's as good a time as any to try a blackout.

I managed to get a replacement cylinder today and upon unwrapping the tank after 5 days, it looks pretty good, all the diatom algae has gone, along with the BGA, some green algae remains on the wood but it's much reduced and I've also got some very fat looking snails! :)

I've taken some shots of the tank prior to pruning, after I unwrapped it, I'll post them just after lunch which is just going on the table now! :)

Back in a bit,

Matt
 

mjenner

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Hi Guys, sorry about that... turned into a fun afternoon involving looking over a friend's personal statement and doing all manner bits and pieces, then I had to do another water change on the tank :)

As promised, here are the pics, the algae's better than it was, but there's a fair bit of yellowing, the HC looks ok but isn't pearling like it normally does and a few leaves are a little yellow, if it's still that way after a few days I'll worry a little more, but for now, I was expecting a little yellowing after a black out of such a long length of time.

(Click the links for original size pic)

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/jennerm/3456412907/sizes/o/

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/jennerm/3456416701/sizes/o/

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/jennerm/3457232526/sizes/o/

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/jennerm/3457236436/sizes/o/

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/jennerm/3457231414/sizes/o/

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/jennerm/3456420261/sizes/o/

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/jennerm/3456422283/sizes/o/

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/jennerm/3456423149/sizes/o/

I haven't tackled the mops of stems today, that's a task for this week, I think I'll have to uproot and get the new growth replanted as a lot of the original leaves near the base have rotted on the Didiplis Diandra and there's some rather manky stems on the Micranthemum Umbrosum, if the yellowing continues after I do this, I think I'll look at flow around the base of the stems but the CO2 bubbles do seem to whirl all over the tank.

Also still trying to get the HC growing quicker, but guess that'll be a bit of a longer wait! :)

Next weekend I'll try and remember to get a nitrite test kit to see if the tank's ready to reintroduce it's original occupants (12 Harlequin Rasboras) probably 2 at a time over the space of a week or two (reducing the CO2 to an animal-safe level beforehand) and try and do something about trimming the stem plants.

Cheers,

Matt
 

mjenner

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An Update

Well, it's been a while since I last updated the journal due to Wedding Prep the tank was a little neglected, I performed the water changes and that was about it, as a result I had a lot of growth of my stem-plants, so much so that I ended up with a massive knot of plant at the top of the tank (yes, I know, my own fault due to laziness).

The Rasboras went back in shortly after my last post and have been very happy in there since.

I sorted that out, had to throw most of it away unfortunately as it'd gone all leggy and straggly, but made enough fresh groups and replanted them, I also got a dosing pump and I started to dose DIY TPN+ mixed myself.

Everything seemed to be plodding along ok, I also took all the baby Java Fern and reattached it to the wood to make something I was happier with, the old leaves had gone black where the babies had grown and started to look tatty.

Then, we had a busy period at work, and then we had a last-minute chance to go on a holiday, this is when the problems happened...

Before I left, I cleaned the filter, did a water change, I checked the CO2 was ok (just about 50 bar), and that there was enough ferts in the dosing bottle (or so I thought). I'd arranged for a friend to pop in 3 times to check on the tank and off we went.

Upon my return I was greeted with the cesspool from hell... :wideyed: :(

The CO2 had run out in the space of a week! There seems to be no easy way to gauge when it's going to run out... I was having problems with CO2 fluctuations before this, maybe this should have been a sign. To top this off, the ferts had also run-dry and so I now instead of my nice tidy tank had spyrogira everywhere...

A little despondent (and knackered after the trip home) left it... (big mistake...) This state of affairs continued for a while as I got more and more fed-up. I didn't want to put the other CO2 bottle on as I thought I might have a leak in my system (I'd only put the cylinder on a 3-4 weeks before I left on holiday), and I didn't want to exacerbate the algae any more, so I didn't dose ferts (probably another newbie mistake).

The cause of my CO2 woes, I thought might have been my over-complicated CO2 system with two diffusers in each corner. Because there was only one supply, I had a Y connector, but it wasn't feeding equally to each diffuser, so there was a needle-valve above each corner of the tank with another hose leading down to the diffusers.

I ordered some new hose and simplified the system, there would be only one CO2 diffuser, one needle-valve would remain (as the valve on the reg doesn't have very fine control), but it would be right up close to the reg. I also planned to add the bubble-counter (as I'd forgotten to add it the first time I set it up).

About 3 weeks ago, I got my act together and cleared the tank out, using a wooden skewer, I pulled as much spyro out as I could, wrapping it on the stick like candy-floss, it looked NASTY. I pulled out about a full candyfloss full in about 8-10 attempts. I then did a 50% waterchange and cleaned the filter, I setup again and restarted the CO2, I also re-mixed some ferts and set the dosing pump again.

In order to try and get things stable, I've set the lights for only 6hrs (4-10pm) with a 1hr lit period in the morning to check the tank and feed the fish. I've also increased the time that the CO2 comes on before the lights, ferts are dosed at approximately 5:45am by the pump.

A week on from the cleanup, things look ok in there (lime-green dropchecker, good flow), but I'm not seeing any signs of recovery yet. I've had to do a couple more sessions clearing spyro (small clumps I missed and odd wisps) but it seems embedded in most plants. I've had to get rid of almost all the HC and the hairgrass, I've kept some of the stems but may have to get rid of them too. I'm thinking if I can't get rid of it I'll try a blackout, then failing that, I'll restart the tank and try some different plants (keeping the filter alive with the fish in a separate container) as it's very disheartening seeing this horrible wiry stuff everywhere when you look closely and I'm not too convinced with the look of the tank.

Anyway that's the latest, I'll try and post some pics of the current state of the tank when I get home tonight.

Bye for now,

Matt
 

mjenner

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Nope, old-style JBL cylinders, they're perfectly refillable, but most fire extinguisher places won't refill them I think? They cost £16 a time, I think they're just refilled by JBL and shipped out again.

I can't go to a fire extinguisher as I can't fit it in the cupboard and there will be even tighter in there soon as I've just purchased an EX-1200 to replace my Fluval 205 and increase flow in there (I don't want ANY reason for my next plants to fail, flow was a potential issue when I had more plants in the tank earlier on).

Thanks for the complement, I liked the look at the time, but I think I might go for a bit more variety next time, the Java Fern didn't look right up-close and the wood dominates the tank a bit and makes it difficult planting, and the tank didn't feel "balanced" to me for some reason.

I think I might have a think and replace the plants once I'm sure I've got everything stable and I've got a working "formula", who knows, the plants might recover enough for me to change my mind and keep them! :)
 

mjenner

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Well, those are the old pics, pre... "the incident"... :)

It's not looking as bad as it was, but it doesn't look as good as the pics earlier in this thread by any standards, I'm a little bit ashamed of it at the moment as it looks pretty horrible, now clean... but still horrible.

I've got a Juwel Hi-Lite lighting bar over it, so it's 2x28w T5's from memory I think?
 
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mjenner said:
Nope, old-style JBL cylinders, they're perfectly refillable, but most fire extinguisher places won't refill them I think? They cost £16 a time, I think they're just refilled by JBL and shipped out again.

£16 for 500g??
i found a fire extinguisher place near me recently to refill my FE, when i told him what i use it for he told me that they fill up the co2 canisters for the LFS, so some will!
cost £10 for a 2kg FE
 

mjenner

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Yup, it's a rip-off for sure... good old Maidenhead Aquatics.... :(

Where was it that you heard that they'd refill fishtank CO2 cylinders?

I live near Kingston, so anywhere within 30mins would be great, MAq in Weybridge is the only place around here that I know stocks "proper" CO2 equipment, everywhere else just has yeast kits if you're lucky and the odd disposable aerosol can kit. :(

I'm going to investigate this option again when this one runs out. Otherwise, my friend's parents run a company that makes high-pressure hose test equipment, it might be worthwhile getting a larger FE and decanting it if I can get the appropriate hose adaptor and advice from them, if that proves to be less expensive. Unfortunately, a larger cabinet and a proper FE isn't really an option. :)

Yep, I know it's not something to be messing about with, but I have worked with high-pressure gas before (filling and using dive cylinders) there are a few caveats with filling CO2, but I'll check with those in the know before attempting it myself (that's even if I can get the appropriate hose and fittings!)
 
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mjenner said:
Yup, it's a rip-off for sure... good old Maidenhead Aquatics.... :(

Where was it that you heard that they'd refill fishtank CO2 cylinders?

I live near Kingston, so anywhere within 30mins would be great, MAq in Weybridge is the only place around here that I know stocks "proper" CO2 equipment, everywhere else just has yeast kits if you're lucky and the odd disposable aerosol can kit. :(

it was A and E fire equipment, by staverton airport! they do co2 for aquatic habitat in shurdington.

http://www.ukaps.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=4612
this link may have something close to you
 

mjenner

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Yep, took a look on there last-time, there's one place out in Croydon, but it was too far away at the time to justify it, so I forgot to call and ask if they'd do it. Before I go I might get a third or fourth canister, then get all of them filled at the same time to make it worth my while heading over that way.

Definately have to be an occasional thing as any trip close to Croydon potentially leaves me open to my fiancée dragging me on an Ikea trip (for those not in the know, there's a massive Ikea at Purley Way in Croydon which serves most of South London) :rolleyes:

Now that's a fate worse than many, many things... particularly at the weekend! An afternoon of looking at amusingly named furniture, whilst dodging young families with barely controlled kids and being forced to have opinions on a particular colour of cushion... and then ending up spending a fortune all whilst trying to be convinced by your significant other that you've saved so much money, eugh! o_O :)
 

mjenner

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Mid-Week Update Algae 1 - Matt 1

Well, the title says it all really, it's a bit of a draw so far, I've grabbed out a shed-load of Spyro, now using a toothbrush as I read in Stu Worral's journal that he had a bit of an issue with Spyro and used a toothbrush for extraction.

Well, I promised some updated pics as well, so here we are:

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Before Tuesday's latest clearup (this is nowhere near as bad as it was after I got back from Crete a couple of months ago!). It's infested the stems on the right and it's all wound into the pogostemnon, and the remaining one clump of HC. All the hairgrass at the front-left has gone along with most of the HC (it was infested when I tried to pull the spyro out.

IMG_8062.jpg

More Algae, closeup on the stems. The stems are in a bit of a bad-way, they were heavily infested with algae and it's affected their growth which is straggly, I'm also having to brush them quite vigourously to get the spyro out, so I've weighted them for now as I'm forever uprooting them whilst trying to clean them. I''m hoping to get some nice growth offf these that I'll be able to plant and grow on.

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Yet more algae...

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HC infested.

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Pogo Spyro infestation. It's all tangled with the roots of these plants, again, brushing has helped, but it keeps uprooting them, so I have to be careful.

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Java Ferns - Now, these are a bit confusing, ends are going black and dropping off, there are nibbled bits (looks like snails) and some bits are going transparent, so all in all, for thse plants, not too good looking, anyone got any ideas on how to recover these?

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Nibbled Java Fern

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Nibbled Pogo - Now, I'm pretty sure it's my snails doing all this, they multiplied something silly whilst the algae was in the tank... however now, there's very little algae, so maybe they're attacking the plants now?

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Tided Tank - I replanted the stems and took another pic, looks a lot better, just got to stay on top of the Spyro now...

Edit: posted whilst half asleep and had duplicate images, corrected the URLs now :)
 

Stu Worrall

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a blackout will help with spiro. Its a real pain in the blahblahblahblah doing one but youve got to bite the bullet and seal the tank for 4 ish days. Helpded mine out no end plus putting a load of shrimps in and reducing the light for a couple of weeks.
 

mjenner

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Hey Stu,

Yep, that's the next plan of action, just trying to minimise the algae as much as I can first, so far I've done the following to try and stabilise the situation:

  • Reduce Lighting from 10hrs to 6hrs.
  • Refill ferts doser and confirm dosing correctly (40ml DIY TPN+)
  • Re-do CO2 hosing to simplify it and remove potentially leaking connector.
  • Add bubble-counter (to aid CO2 stability)
  • Comb the heck out of the plants to get rid of the spyro and unfortunately most of my foreground plants (they were infested and just brushing them pulled them up) :(

I want to get the situation stabilised (was previously not an ideal environment due to my laziness), CO2 and Ferts are now meeting or exceeding light requirements, and I'm beginning to see the plants growing again, little bit longer, then I'll do the black-out.

I've also just upgraded the filter from a Fluval 205 to a Tetratec EX 1200, this seems to be working great (rather pleased with this bargain, noticed it on eBay for £76.90 plus postage of £9.90, and noticed it was a shop selling it, rang the shop and asked them if they'd sell it direct to me for £70 (seeing as eBay take 10%). Next, their courier screwed up and it ended up going to ireland :crazy: yep, bonkers I know, so a journey of approx 100 miles took a week and went via Ireland!), as a result... the courier's refunding the delivery fee, so that's saving me another £12.95 on postage! (there was a small premium for delivery to London).

When I received the filter, there was a price sticker on it for £92.95! I love a bargain... when it works! :)

I transferred the contents of the old filter's media to the new filter's baskets so that I don't lose the filter bacteria. This has impeded flow a little, but with 1200l/h (less a bit) and the two koralia nano's it shouldn't matter for now.

After 4-6 weeks or so, I'll take the old media out and the new media should have enough bacteria to continue on with and I can put the old filter up on the for-sale area. Without the extra foam impeding flow, I should hopefully be able to remove the nano's so the tank'll look cleaner too! (although I'll assess that later).

I'll do a blackout soon, possibly this weekend and see how things go from there.

I think the thing I'm most worried about is the damage to my Java Fern, I know it does have a tendency to blacken in places when it grows plantlets, but a lot of the leaves seem to have damage but no new plantlets and some have gone transparent on the tips, I'm a little concerned that this might not recover too quickly as I know that Java Fern isn't that quick a growing plant.

Things I'm still thinking about:

I'm considering re-scaping a bit to start from a clean-slate so to speak, not too happy with how it looks now, there's something unbalanced about it...

I've got a shed-load of cherry shrimp in my nano-cube, but I'm loathe to put them in the main tank if I do decide to re-scape it (don't want to lose them if I have any drastic upheaval in there while replanting).
 
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