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Journal Ottoloen Project

dw1305

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Hi all,
The readings were as follows...
day-21-tds-png.png

From that it looks like the Osmo is releasing round about 8/10ppm per day if left alone.
It looks OK. You only need a tiny amount of salts going into solution to raise the conductivity.

The 1000 microS (1 milliS) conductivity standard solution is
491 mg/L NaCl, so just ~5g of salt will raise the conductivity of 100 litres of water by 100 microS (~60ppm TDS).
The million dollar question has to be how much of this is Ammonia and is the tank mature enough to deal with this before adding the fish?
My suspicion would be that very little of it is ammonia.
The plant seems to have ditched most of its bigger leaves which went brown and I've spent most of my time picking these out to prevent them fouling the water. However, new growth and plantlets are growing but in a much smaller form. The plant seems to have re-invented itself as a smaller version of itself. I can only assume that's to do with lighting.
Light intensity would be my guess as well. The new leaves look fine.

cheers Darrel

 

AverageWhiteBloke

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Thanks Darrel, really appreciate your input. I also add a pinch of Magnesium and traces at WC so that could account for some. I would hazard a guess that Nitrite could be more of a worry at this point if anything. I've managed to temp stall the house move at this point as its a bad time of year for everyone moving but I suspect I will have to move the fish within the next week or so.
 

AverageWhiteBloke

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Day 23

If you have an adversity to test kits look away now :)

I ran a series of tests today pre water change so the results were....best guess anyway, depends at the angle you look at. Round glass tubes are worst IMO, they reflect light at strange angles making the colours change but...

TDS 194 pre change
Ammonia 0
Nitrate 40ppm
Nitrite 0.4 mgl
po4 2/3ppm
gh 4
kh 2
TDS 158 post water change (pinch of magnesium and traces)

I have to assume at this point even with a margin of error that I'm either over the cycling period or in final stages at least. Did a 30% WC, added some more Tetra Cycle and cleaned one of the sponges in tank water. I feel pretty confident that I could safely add livestock next weekend following another WC just before. Not too worried about the TDS as the fish are coming from a tank which is a lot higher, round about 250/300ppm. I might try adding a bit of extra magnesium just to narrow the gap but a long acclimatisation will still be needed. Nothing else I can do here other than let nature take its course. Hopefully the plants will have got a better foot hold, no doubt my sterbai will try and rip them up and I'll spend most my time replanting.

Not looking forward to stripping the other tank down, heart breaking, I really loved that tank. I think I broke my teeth on it and learned a lot. Goodbye my old friend.

IMG_20170726_2203320.jpg


 
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AverageWhiteBloke

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Ok handsup, I made a bit of a booboo today with my impatience. Decided to move a couple of fish over and went with my Blue Rams! Not the most logical idea being probably the most sensitive of fish I own but I reasoned that I didn't want to dump too many fish in in one go, the neons aren't coming and the rest Sterbai and Ottos are going to be very difficult to catch. I was going to catch these after I had gradually removed hardscape and let water clear to give me more of a chance. The amanos would probably have been best in first with their low foot print but I reasoned if they were in last and any fish took ill I have the option of copper based meds if needs be. So after spending 5 hours acclimatising the Rams I put them in, what I forgot was that they are cichlids, Doh! Even though these two have spent their entire lives together the first thing they have done is locked horns big time!

In all fairness the female is holding her own right now and the lights are going off shortly so I'll have to check how they are getting on tomorrow, planting isn't that dense and she doen't have many places to hide. Maybe I should add some of the neons to distract the male and give him something else to focus on but wasn't wanting to go down that route as they are potential fry eaters and ultimately I'm looking at this as a potential breeding tank at some point. Unless I grab a couple of Sterbai which should be fun.

rams1.jpg



rams2.jpg


Get the feeling she's looking at me as if to say what's your game?
 

alto

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Great tale so far :D

Can you lay that tall wood piece down creating a possible maze of crevices - they look like awful nice rams :)

Ram "pairs" are always subject to breakup
 

AverageWhiteBloke

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Can you lay that tall wood piece down creating a possible maze of crevices - they look like awful nice rams :)

Ram "pairs" are always subject to breakup

Hi @alto I don't think that's an option. I've worked with cat litter gravel many times and IME it's very light initially which seems to improve the longer its in the tank. Lifting and rearranging that large piece of wood is going to rip everything up and I'll end up with 50 ltrs of aquarium soup. That's why I'm holding out as long as possible with the corys. I've even uprooted plants just doing water changes as gentle as possible.

Yeah they are nice fish, they are the same ones rescued from <this thread> so looking at the date I guess I've had them around six months plus how old they were when I got them. Wish I knew about the Harkers treatment before, I've lost so many of these fish in the past through the same illness. These have a special place for me because they are the only pair I've managed to keep for a while. They spawned a lot when I first got them in my high tech tank but not so much lately. The good thing about that tank was it was that densely planted when they did fall out they good virtually not even bump into each other all day if they wanted and the male spent most of his time chasing other fish but in this situation they are in each others grill a bit. However, I've came in today and the lights just came on and they looked fairly settled. Female showing good colour and not looking too stressed. TDS has went up 15ppm since yesterday, slightly higher than usual so I'm just going to do a quick 1 gall changejust to keep on top. Other than that they are both pecking away at stuff looking for food and the male is digging gravel pits and trying to coax her over. I'll keep an eye on them later and maybe put 2 of my Sterbai in just for distraction if things get a bit heated.

From the old tank.

 

AverageWhiteBloke

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You know what I have done here, inadvertently set up what I would deem as a perfect breeding setup for the Rams! It's something I've wanted to do for about 15 years and if I was going to try this is probably how I would have went about it, sponge filters with plenty of plants and tannins, no other fish threatening so no reason to eat fry and the led has some blue only night lights I could leave on 24/7 so they could keep an eye the fry and not panic eat them and mature fish. No doubt they will spawn on the day I have to move other fish haha.
 

AverageWhiteBloke

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WC done, all looks good in the hood right now. Managed to get a couple of granules of prima each down their necks, the female walloped hers the male picked a bit. Hopefully if the female is well fed and acts a bit more accommodating Harvey Weinstein there will show her a bit more respect. Going to leave them be and monitor for a few days before adding anymore oxygen thieves. Might try three Sterbai mid week.

Also added a DC just for giggles to see if I get any co2 issues over night while adding fish. Can't see it but its something else to look at. Other than that I feel like I'm getting somewhere and now I have some co2 contributors.
dc.jpg



 

AverageWhiteBloke

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As suspected I think the GBR's are going to spawn, he's dug himself a pit in the back corner and trying to coax her over. She's been in a few times for an inspection and seems to get more willing daily. Toying with the idea of prepping up a brine shrimp hatcher just in case, looking at the JBL one which keeps things nice and simple other than I would need to put a heater in it to get up to temp, no chance of it happening in my lock up where it's about 11 degrees rising to 15 when I have the heating on. Seems a bit pricey though for something I could knock up myself but if I have to buy a sieve of some kind and an air pump I won't be far from the JBL price I guess for something fit for purpose. I have a small 25watt heater I could put in the jbl but obviously that involves leaving the lid off for the cable.

Anyone came across any alternatives to the JBL in UK? everything I find seems to originate from Asia and I wouldn't have time for delivery.
 

alto

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Of course now you need a different tank for the remaining fish so you can raise Ram babies - this pair is so nice they should be releasing prodigy upon the local fish world :D
 

AverageWhiteBloke

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Oh don't do this to me Alto, story of my life, I've tried breeding Rams unsuccessfully for years and always lost the fish or they've been in a tank with other fish or a filter that would eat young. This is the first time the sun, moon and all the planets are inline and accidently.

I've got to have a go though or I'll never live this down. I do have spare tanks if needs be and a mature filter on the old tank. The house I was renting temporary I did a deal with landlord so I didn't have a move on new years day and I'm paying pro rata weekly until I get out rather than a full month, essentially I'm renting a house just to keep my fish in right now as I'm not actually living there. And I thought this low tech scape was cheap running :D
 

AverageWhiteBloke

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Sorry guys, bottled it today. Came in and the Rams have fell out big time, she was showing signs of spilt fins and he was being very aggressive. Been fishing-not a nice experience! However I managed to catch some important fish now currently sat on my desk getting drip fed.

new inmates.jpg


I've got all the Ottos I think 4 of, 3 Sterbai and 2 Amanos, jeez those Amanos can shift! That just leaves three more Sterbai and any remaining Amano and the Tetras are going free to a good home. Also uprooted and planted my Echinodorus Reni. Not even going to attempt to catch the rest until full stripdown, I removed all the hradscape and 90% of the plants and it was still hard work catching fish, nothing short of an empty tank with just gravel will make that possible. Plan of attack is water change on new tank tomorrow then Saturday I'm going to rip out all the remaining plants from the old tank and leave it a few hours to settle and clear then see if I can catch the remainder. Do a 50% change to remove all the organics I've released then check Sunday and make sure nobody has slipped through the net followed by total knock off.

Looking at the plants they are showing some signs of melting again on certain leaves. Maybe adding that extra half hour of light was a step too far but either way I think now would be a good time to add extra co2 in the way of fish and give the Male Ram something else to think about other than getting his rocks off and leave the female a be. TDS also appears to be slightly declining as well.

Let the fun begin, I don't think the male is going to appreciate his new guests. You never know, maybe further down the line the Rams might have another go and the other fish aren't notorious egg or fry eaters. Eventually, if they live that long the Rams will be going in my tank at home when that eventually gets setup just leaving the cats, Amanos and Ottos in this tank and eventually through natural wastage just the Ottos remaining which was the initial plan for tank.
 

alto

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Unless you're keen on the Fishing, just set up a bottle trap (most any food plastic bottle, cut off top & then some, invert into bottle, hold in place with rubber band - you should have a wide opening that fish easily swim into, but difficult to get out as they'll edge swim & run into the "wall"), place some yummy food inside (I use frozen brine or bloodworms), scatter a tiny amount of food in the aquarium - just enough so everyone gets excited

Come back in 10 - 20min & collect fish from bottle, reset & wait

If left overnight, I find most fish just go back out again (they're slow not stoopid :D ) - but then I just use a plastic orange juice jug ;)

Cory's & dwarf chichlids are real suckers for these bottle traps, some otos too
I've not used this for shrimp

Shame about the Ram debacle
 

AverageWhiteBloke

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Thanks Alto, I think things are going to get a lot simpler now. I don't have much scape or plants left, a couple of Amazon's and some balansae and the MC carpet across the front. Going to pull the carpet out then just snip the rest down at the base as I'm binning the remaining plants. Once the dust settles from pulling the carpet I'm pretty much dealing with an empty tank other than substrate.

Could have actually did that today but I thought I'd added enough fish to the tank in one go for one day and didn't want to stress the remainder by swishing nets about for too long so it'll let them settle. Plus it left them some plant cover so they weren't stressing. I only have the 3 sterbai left to catch and the Amanos so at least the Sterbai have never been left solitary and in two small groups throughout. The tetras I reckon I could catch with my teeth They were ending up in the net by accident but I put them back as they are all going into a friends tanks.

Looked good when I left though, the Sterbai were ratching about in the new tank looking for food and appear calm and the Ottos were grazing nicely on the fresh soft green algae on the glass.

Nearly there

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AverageWhiteBloke

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Big day today, I think all's aboard that's going aboard. Only one fatality during the whole process. Unfortunately one of my Ottos took a leap, I found it on my desk on Friday morning :( Left the old tank running until tomorrow just to make sure nobody has got left behind. Lots of debris and old bits of leaves floating around so hard to tell if any more Amanos are hiding in there. So, failing finding any more the fauna list is...
1xpair GBR
6x Sterbai
3xOttocinclus
9xAmano Shrimp

Going to get another 3 Ottos when everything has had a chance to settle. Have to say I'm really impressed with the Ottos, 3 of them have polished the tank to a gloss finish in no time. I had a film on the glass and some brown diatoms on leaves which have all gone. They really earn their place in the aquarium, hopefully the cleaning of leaves has help with gas exchange. The Sterbai are scratting about normally on the gravel looking for food so they will help with the biological processes down there.

Shame I had to bin all the plants, I've started a facebook group round our way to see if I can find some scapers to exchange plants with and came across a group that is just for free fish. Handy to know for future. Once I get to know who's who on there and their level of experience it means I might be more inclined to setup temp scapes just for show. I have a 300x300 cube sitting winking at me at the moment-watch this space :D Might even treat myself to an Aquascaper stand but I think you have to buy the full kit, maybe they do just the cabinet, not sure. The cube is a Biotopia opti-white with light fitting I purchased last year on the closing down sale.

All's that's left to do is remove the gravel in old tank and get the tetras to a friends house. Going to try and salvage the Tropica Soil that's in there for a future project. I have a fine mesh bag from back in the day when I used to make homebrew wine. I'll see if I can put it in that and dry it out and stow for another day.

Now that's an MC carpet!

IMG_20180113_1354169.jpg


Heartbreaking but job Done!

IMG_20180113_1520279.jpg

Time to grow some plants.
 

alto

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If you haven't binned that MC carpet, just rinse out the soil (somewhat) & place in a shallow plastic bin with just enough water to almost cover the carpet, pop a lid on & it'll keep for a month easy with minimal light & maintenance
Then split & replant as usual

Commiserations on the Oto - always so sad to find a crispy fish :(

so hard to tell if any more Amanos are hiding in there.
I always find more shrimp as I'm in the last stages :oops: - mud only wiggles if there's a shrimp or a substrate diving goby coming back up for air :wideyed:
 

AverageWhiteBloke

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Unfortunately I binned the MC carpet mate, put it in the composter so not a total loss, something will benefit from it one day I suppose. I have some MC growing in the new tank which seems to be holding its own right now so hopefully I can keep it going, in fact, all the plants seem to have perked up lately with signs of new growth on them all even the stems! Maybe the addition of fish has give that little tweak of co2 they needed or could just be coincidence and the plants are just more used to their low co2 environment don't know.
Regarding the Otto I was wounded as well. This tank is quite a fair bit shallower than the old one so maybe it lost its sense of environment , they were quite jumpy when they first went in so maybe got spooked by lights going on or another fish. I'm going to lower the level of the water further once things are more stable, aware that 50ltrs of water isn't a large body and things can go wrong quick so I've kept it brimmed so as much volume as I can get but the top of that large piece of wood is crying out for some kind of emersed plant so going to lower water level until that piece is wood is just breaking surface. I salvaged a bit of moss out the old tank today and stuffed that in it for now but fancy something a bit more specific. From what I understand shallower tanks are better for co2 as well.

Other than that, I've ordered some lid clips, if I experience any more jumpers I'm going to stick a piece of glass on top, will also help with evaporation my office is like a Chinese laundry at the minute with it being cold in there.



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AverageWhiteBloke

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One Month Update

Things still going ok here give or take. Went to P@H for some rabbit food promising myself not to buy anything just yet until things settled down, anyway 4 Ottos and some plants later (resistance is futile) :) That now brings the total Ottos up to seven. As usual they looked a bit thin and pale but they seem to be getting a more natural colour now, cucumber for dinner tomorrow.

Noticed a few issues with the plants already in the tank, could be nothing or maybe a they're telling me something. Firstly, the Australis, some of the older leaves looked a bit white with holes in and the Nymph is showing more green colouration than it normally would.

Austarlis Def 2.jpg


I just trimmed off the affected leaves, could be mechanical damage on an already fragile plant they've managed to get their teeth into. I've added a pinch of magnesium being mostly old leaves that are affected. That's my best guess and adhoc solution for now. But then I noticed slight striping and holes where the "meat" seems to have came away from the Duck Weed and very slight "Tiger Striping" on most others.

DW Def.jpg

The DW is all gathered up in one corner mostly and doesn't get knocked about by water flow other than a slight splashing at WC time so I din't think it's filter damage. Starting to wonder if I've either over estimated the nutrients from the Osmocote or under estimated the plants ability to strip out nitrogen. Maybe @dw1305 could point me in the right direction being the DW expert? I've also been doing a fair number of water changes, either a gallon or so every 3 days. My tapwater also has nil nitrate so maybe I should reduce frequency? There was also a Balansae leaf that was turning yellow so I clipped that off at the base as well.

Anyway, new plants. I got some buce red and managed to wedge it between the two lumps of wood to break up the definite line between them which looked a bit unnatural for the two bits to have landed like that, and a piece on the top of the large bit just below water line with some Java moss to see if I can get these growing out of water as well as under. One bit looks like it already has a flower bud on.

Bucephalandra SP Red flower.jpg


IMG_20180123_1545203.jpg



Some Crypt Becketti Petchii, the tank looked a bit monochrome to me with all the plants looking the same shade of green. I think the crypts and buce provide a nice contrast with their darker foliage. (My scaping skills begin and end there) :D

crypt becketti Petchii planted.jpg


Also got some Hydrocotyle tripartita Japan, which I just stuffed at the back near the Australis. Didn't actually want it as there was no where to put it really but they had a deal on three plants so why not. They are all there as a holding pen for plant that I will be using in a 300 cube when I finally get round to it.

That's all I've got one month on. With all those plants in there I'm still resisting the urge to dribble some co2 in there. The gauges, FE and diffuser are just sitting there crying out to be used. Resist, resist :D As usual, any comments or advice greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
austarlis-def-2-jpg.jpg


I just trimmed off the affected leaves, could be mechanical damage on an already fragile plant they've managed to get their teeth into. I've added a pinch of magnesium being mostly old leaves that are affected. That's my best guess and adhoc solution for now. But then I noticed slight striping and holes where the "meat" seems to have came away from the Duck Weed and very slight "Tiger Striping" on most others.

dw-def-jpg.jpg

The DW is all gathered up in one corner mostly and doesn't get knocked about by water flow other than a slight splashing at WC time so I din't think it's filter damage
It looks like snail (or Otocinclus?) damage, probably the leaves were beginning to decay.

I'd try some potassium nitrate (KNO3) and see what happens. You should get a pretty quick response if it is nitrogen, or potassium, or both.

cheers Darrel
 

AverageWhiteBloke

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I'd try some potassium nitrate (KNO3) and see what happens. You should get a pretty quick response if it is nitrogen, or potassium, or both.

Yeah that was my first instinct Darrel was the ottos and a bit of a soft leaf. Didn't explain the hole and melting of the Duck Weed though. Is nitrogen what causes the striping on DW? Was going to try some KNO3 anyway, there is quite a lot of plant mass at this time and about third coverage of DW on the surface. Maybe I should harvest some DW as well just to help along.
 
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