Technically my third tank, I guess

LondonDragon

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I don't know why the tap water reads 0 ppm when the given value (from Cambridge Water) is ~38 ppm. @alto might have some ideas?
Could it be the testing method or what is being used to test is not up to scratch?
 

Karmicnull

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I'm suspicious that there might be driver error involved. I'll retest again tonight.

I retested, and again got a very low reading - perhaps 2-3. So something's happening between the water as reported by Cambridge Water, and the water as it comes out of my tap! Hey ho.
 

Karmicnull

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Algae Update.
Yes. The algae have arrived. Primarily brown diatoms and filamentous diatoms. Extensive perusal of the ukaps archives and the internet beyond has revealed slightly conflicting advice:
Reduce ferts! Don't Reduce ferts! Less light! More light! Take all your plants and rocks out and clean them! Introduce a clean up crew! Don't introduce fauna - it handcuffs you! Use this fantastic algae killer chemical! Don't bother with chemical treatment; it attacks the symptom not the cause! etc.

I concluded that this is a new tank and the algae I'm seeing are to be expected. It's also a low tech tank so I'm going for a low tech solution. I've bought a toothbrush.

In fairness I did also drop my sunset/sunrise from 30 mins to 15 mins. I'm also slightly concerned that because of the spray bar position (which I have little choice about) half the tank is in a raging torrent, and the other half is a quiet backwater. Curiously the filter intake which I thought would generate some of the biggest current seems relatively quiet. The brown diatoms are only growing where the flow is gentle, so I'm experimenting with positioning of an airstone to change the hydrodynamics and get more of a flow at the quiet end. And I found a fabulous quote on a "what eats algae" web page at practicalfishkeeping.co.uk: "Though some fish (like Otocinclus) will eat it, the paradox is that brown algae will almost always indicate a tank too immature to keep them. Clean and wait, and eventually the algae will go."

In the marginally longer term I'm considering the first invited occupants (to join the uninvited Ramshorn snails, Planaria and Cyclops Copepods). I'm thinking shrimp. Cherry or Amano.

Amano: Pros - resilient. Cons. I would be carrying out mass child genocide through inaction were they to spawn,
Cherry: Pros - beautiful; will multiply to match available food. Cons. Not so resilient, small and therefore compatible with fewer fish.

I think on balance next weekend might be Amano weekend.


Sept 17- Filamentous diatoms_IMGP6519.jpg
Sept 17- Filamentous diatoms_IMGP6522.jpg


13-Sept Brown Algae, I think_IMGP6510.jpg
 

Karmicnull

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Plant update.
The Vals, the Hygrophila Siamanesis on the right next to the heater and the Spiky Moss are definitely growing. The Java fern is starting to look indefinably happier, albeit not growing. But the star of the show is the water lettuce.

Sept 19- Full Tank_IMGP6526.jpg


Sept 19- Water Lettuce_IMGP6531.jpg


Sept 19- Water Lettuce_IMGP6537.jpg
 

castle

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If you'd like some Limnobium laevigatum @Karmicnull - I have a pot (tropica) unopenned, and needing a home. I'm in central Cambridge, if you're not too far away I can deliver to your doorstep.

As for Cambridge water; it's hard. The only (2) aquarists I've met have reported having problems with algae, and now using 50% RO.
 

Karmicnull

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If you'd like some Limnobium laevigatum @Karmicnull - I have a pot (tropica) unopenned, and needing a home. I'm in central Cambridge, if you're not too far away I can deliver to your doorstep.

As for Cambridge water; it's hard. The only (2) aquarists I've met have reported having problems with algae, and now using 50% RO.

Offer gladly accepted! I'll DM you with details.
 

Karmicnull

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Tank update.
I've been surfing the journals and looking at all the amazing tanks people have created. I have been in equal parts filled with envy and inspired. It's worth observing that I haven't got an artistic bone in my body. When I was a kid I drew a picture of a house and my art teacher thought it was a portrait of my mum. So I am never going to be a proto-Amano. But I did conclude that my tank was lacking in height. I had this leftover piece of driftwood that didn't fit because I'd been thinking in terms of length not height. I tried it for size; it was great but a bit unstable. Needed a few rocks to shore it up. Also in my battle against algae I have decided to supplement the toothbrush with more plants to help outcompete the filamentous diatoms.

So I popped over to Aquarium Gardens - whom I'd discovered were just round the corner, relatively speaking - where I peppered the extremely patient staff with noob questions, bought a plant or two and a couple of rocks to stabilize my piece of wood. And was further inspired by the spectacular set of tanks they run.

Back home I added the rocks and wood, shuffled a couple of things around and added the new plants. All the new plants were chosen to grow on wood or stone (is there a technical name for this?)

Picture of the updated tank below. As always I'm doing things back to front. It was only after I'd glued down all the Hygrophyla Pinnatifida that I read Tony Swinney's observation that it really doesn't like being glued. So I may have a lot of melting Pinnatifida in the next couple of weeks. I tried to attach the ones with stronger light requirement higher up the tree; we'll see how that works. And I had a go at that thing I've seen where moss lies along branches. Although that didn't work so well. I've ended up with large blobs of white superglue attached to the branch with the odd strand of moss hanging off them. Aesthetically not quite what I was aiming for.

Do other people struggle with superglue? By the time I'd finished I had superglue all over my hands, the tweezers, the tank glass, and even on my elbow.

Also when I kicked this off towards the end of August, I dutifully bought a ton of stuff that was recommended in many places. Most of which I've used, but I have a bottle of 'Fluval Biological Aquarium cleaner' that is still untouched. Largely because I have no idea what it does and the internet seems unable to tell me. There are lots of sites that wave around platitudes but no that have any real detail.

Anyhow, here it is.

September 25 Full Tank_IMGP6546.jpg


Tomorrow is cherry shrimp day. I moved away from Amano based purely on their awesomeness when I saw them in proper tanks yesterday.
 

Karmicnull

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Shrimp update.
The tank has it's first invited denizens (to add to the uninvited ones)! A baker's dozen of cherry shrimp courtesy of aquarium gardens. I used the drip method to acclimatise them and then in they went. I assumed they'd all vanish for the first few hours to recover from the trauma, but they were out, about and exploring within minutes. The guy at aquarium gardens suggest I don't feed them for a couple of weeks, and let them get on with tidying up the tank. So that's what they've been doing for the last few days. Between them and the latest round of planting they seem to have stopped, or at least massively slowed down, the encroachment of diatoms.

To date I've done everything backwards. Taken some action and then read up on what I should have done afterwards. This is no exception. Having got the cherrys, I started looking at what will go with them and discovered that, aside from corys and otos, the answer is nothing really. However this plenty of anecdotal evidence of cherrys surviving and even thriving in heavily planted tanks with lots of nooks and crannies, if they are allowed to establish their colony before potential predators are introduced. So I'm going to leave them to do just that, whilst the plants (hopefully) grow to the point where the tank is reasonably heavily planted.

27th September- Anubias nana Bonsai_IMGP6607.jpg
27th September- Anubias nana Bonsai_IMGP6601.jpg


27th September- Java Moss_IMGP6605.jpg
27th September- Hydrocotyle Tripartita and Spiky Moss_IMGP6600.jpg


27th September- View into the murky backwaters_IMGP6599.jpg
27th September- Tip of the mountain_IMGP6589.jpg



27th September- Base of the driftwood_IMGP6587.jpg
27th September- The new residents_IMGP6608.jpg
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
All the new plants were chosen to grow on wood or stone (is there a technical name for this?)
<"Epiphytic">, technically if they grow on rock they are "Epilithic", but they are usually all referred to as "Epiphytes".
Do other people struggle with superglue? By the time I'd finished I had superglue all over my hands, the tweezers, the tank glass, and even on my elbow.
Sounds familiar, it always happens to me. When everything is damp it just cures instantly. It is easier with the gel formulations.
Picture of the updated tank below.
Plant growth looks pretty good.
but I have a bottle of 'Fluval Biological Aquarium cleaner' that is still untouched. Largely because I have no idea what it does
I suspect that Fluval don't know either, but I'm willing to bet it is a cheap product that <"magically increases in price"> when you bottle it.

<"This"> says a "Proprietary Blends of beneficial bacteria ", so it is probably a <"sludge buster type product">, and it might provide a sticking plaster for people who keep their fish in very unsanitary conditions.

cheers Darrel
 

Karmicnull

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General update:

This tank has already evolved beyond anything I'd imagined. And it hasn't event got any fish in it yet. In a fit of noob-enthusiasm I am now the proud possessor of what is possibly a lifetime supply of EDDHA chelated iron (that's the one that copes with hard water, if you're trying to remember which set of initials is which). Various wiser heads have intimated that it's highly likely to be unnecessary given my low-tech approach, but I haven't done any chemistry since I left school and I couldn't resist.

The snails have had babies, and my population has doubled overnight to around 12, which is, I think, a good thing. Shrimp are settling in nicely. I never see more than 6 at a time, but there are in particular these three females who have favourite resting places - one sits on an Anubias leaf, one on a Hygrophila, and one on the flat stone in the middle. They spend a lot of time sitting around laughing at the frantic antics of the males. I cubed, blanched and froze a courgette large courgette marrow from the garden, which gives me a year's supply of rather bland shrimp food. I tried one cube dangled on a thread for a few hours, and it got a few nibbles, but I wouldn't call it a ringing endorsement. I think I'll go and wrestle with the nettle patch at the end of the garden.

I'm also thinking of turning my flow down a bit. Whilst it's great to know that I'm getting nutrients to all corners of the tank, the addition of the mountain range on the right has created a mill race that reminds me a bit of those underwater videos of the corryvreckan whirlpool. Every now and then a hapless shrimp ventures too close to the spray bar and gets tossed helplessly over the mountrain range, down the front of the tank, and wooshed along to the left, before regaining control and pretending, catlike, that the move had been intended all along.

Courtesy of @castle the pond lettuce has been joined by Amazon frogbit, which is looking very happy.

With regard to Fluval Biological Aquarium cleaner'
I suspect that Fluval don't know either, but I'm willing to bet it is a cheap product that <"magically increases in price"> when you bottle it.
That made me laugh! I'll put it at the back of the cupboard, and then bring it out occasionally and marvel at the power of marketing.

With regard to fish choice,
Thank you! I have bookmarked that along with a couple of other intersecting charts. I'm compiling an unnecessarily large spreadsheet of fish, and Cherry-friendly is now a column in that spreadsheet. Other columns include temperature, minimum number and water hardness. There's a lot of interesting debate about keeping soft water fish in hard water, and there are good arguments for why you don't need to worry too much about hardness, but in the end I've decided to only look at fish who are happy with >=268ppm, which is a little lower than my water (~290ppm) but not by too much. That rules out a ton of fish I really fancied (Harlequin Rasbora, Otos, German Blue Rams, etc) but I stil have a shortlist of 44 who can cope with harder water, will be reasonably low risk with neocaridina, not nip fins, and generally rub along well together. I shall continue to research...

Chelated Iron_IMGP6687.jpg
04 October Full Tank_IMGP6679.jpg
04-OctWelcome to the jungle!_IMGP6684.jpg
 

Big G

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Good journal !
Unless your completely wedded to the idea I would give the neos a few weeks to figure out the flow and adjust if they're your concern. Can only speak from my own early experiences but you would be amazed at how well they soon plot their way around and across strong flow points to get around to parts of the tank they want to. Of course if they're getting pinned to a tank wall then of course but you know, they seem very robust imho.


Hard not to anthropomorphise them isn't it? Charismatic little critters. Remind me of The Tweedlebugs from Sesame Street or perhaps The Doozers from Fraggle Rock (yes, I'm quite old) I even started naming some of my first, distinctive original intake and can still just about pick a few of those out but once the females start getting saddled and berried it seems to be the beginning of an impossible task. For me they're the stars of the whole show to the point where I'm struggling to imagine actually keeping any fish whatsoever. Sooner or later hopefully you'll get to witness a molt which I found knocked sci fi CGI into a cocked hat.

Good luck

Bg
 

Emma.Wakefield

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I am thoroughly enjoying this journal; and what an amazing journey! Your tank looks so different from the beginning to where you are now. Looking forward to seeing more!

Emma
 

Karmicnull

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Shrimp update.
I have six more shrimp. And a Zebra Nerite snail. I decided I needed genetic diversity if this colony is to be successful, so the initial Aquarium Gardens colonists were joined by 6 from Maidenhead Aquatics in Coton. At some future point they will be joined by 6 more from Maidenhead Aquatics in Huntingdon.

Various sites say occasionally feed shrimp protein if you want them to breed. I thought I would try bloodworms. I wasn't entirely sure how a stash of bloodworms suddenly appearing in the freezer between the pizzas and the oven chips would go down, so I decided to avoid finding out and went freeze-dried. When the bloodworms arrived, I took a tiny pinch and carefully soaked them as recommended to ensure they sink ok. After about ten minutes, I dropped them into the tank, where they were sucked into the spray-bar maelstrom and tossed around for several minutes above the mountain range before being spat out. At which point they all floated gently up to the surface and became entangled in the roots of the pond lettuce. They were still there the next day. I hope the pond lettuce likes protein.

For my next attempt at feeding the shrimp, I was planning to gather some nettles from the end of the garden, but it got a bit rainy and the end of the garden suddenly seemed a long way away. In a moment of inspiration, I foraged in the freezer, and found some frozen broccoli, which seemed like a perfectly reasonable substitute for nettles. So I defrosted a thumb-size floret, blanched it and dangled that in the tank on the end of a thread for a couple of hours. Then I completely forgot about it. The following morning I forgot about it again. When I finally did remember, and tried to reel it in, it disintegrated. The two biggest lumps wedged themselves at the base of the the mountain range. Aesthetically this didn't work for me, so I decided to use my fishnet to retrieve them. It became rapidly obvious that the mountain range itself was at far more risk than the broccoli. Accepting that I was going to get wet, I got the pincettes out and flailed around trying to grab broccoli lumps. The problem was even when I successfully got hold of one, about half way back up to the surface it would disintegrate further as it was wrenched out of my tweezery grasp by the fickle mountaintop currents. Eventually, with the help of copious swearing, I managed to retrieve about a quarter of the floret. The shrimp all sat on their various leaves and watched the whole episode in complete bemusement. One even swam up and gave my pincettes a prod, just to demonstrate who had mastery of the whole underwater environment, and who clearly didn't.
 

Karmicnull

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On the whole current thing:
Unless your completely wedded to the idea I would give the neos a few weeks to figure out the flow and adjust if they're your concern.

I have to confess a big part of my motivation is that my current external filter (A Tetratec EX1200) is sitting in a washbowl beside the aquarium stand. One important thing I've learned about my new hobby is that you need to measure the space in your stand before you buy the stuff to go in it. I spent some time trying to recover the situation by trawling ebay for a cheap oak or oak-effect cabinet slightly larger than an EX1200, before realising that I was about to spend more money on a box to put around my existing oversized filter than I would if I was to purchase a new filter that actually fit my aquarium stand. So I'm now targeting the Aquael Ultramax 1000, which is (a) cheaper than an oak cabinet, (b) less than 42cm high and (c) not entirely slated in other threads on this forum. I'm planning to make this swap before I get any fish, which may well delay the fish purchase, as I will have spent my fish money solving the "filter in a washbowl not really working with the living room decor" problem.

Also
I am thoroughly enjoying this journal

Thank you! I spend much of my day job writing dry, painstakingly accurate documents. I'm thoroughly enjoying being able to deploy adjectives (or weasel words, as they are referred to at work) with guiltless abandon.

- Simon
 

Raekz

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So far, the tank is looking really good, well done! I read your remark about the spraybar; ' I'm also slightly concerned that because of the spray bar position (which I have little choice about) half the tank is in a raging torrent, and the other half is a quiet backwater. ', did you consider slapping the spraybar to the right (short side of the tank)? I've had a low-tech (journal) too, had the same issue with a bad flow which caused dead spots. After moving the spraybar, things changed for the better. If that isn't a option, maybe you can extend the length of the spraybar, so you'll get some motion throughout the tank?
 

Karmicnull

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did you consider slapping the spraybar to the right (short side of the tank)?
I'm definitely holding that in my back pocket as an option (don't know what it will do to my water lettuce and frogbit to be bombarded)! I've seen that most tanks where the spraybar is 'end-on' have the intake under it, so the water flows along the top, down the opposite side and then back at ground level. I think I'd try the same if I were to do that. I have no concrete evidence in the tank that I'm worrying with any justification, so I'll leave it for now. I'm operating from a position of almost total ignorance so I've been trawling youtube to see what other people's flow is like, and visually my tank appears to be within the 95%.
 

Karmicnull

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Yak shaving. I was introduced to it by MIT media lab PhD students. The idea is that as you go about your PhD you have some requirement that has a dependency on getting something else done. And that something else has its own dependency, and so on and so on shaggy dog style. The result of which in order to get your PhD done you are sitting there shaving a Yak. And as I sat there last weekend reading a paper on the use of peppers in Salmon diet as a supplement to enhance their red colour, I realised that I had met my first aquarium Yak. It's not as bizarre as it sounds - it's all because my partner grows chillis and I turn them into chilli sauces. Those of you familiar with the art (science?) of chilli sauce making will know that you need to make sure that they are below pH 4.6 to suppress the growth of C. botulinum. This will otherwise have a far more severe effect on your chilli sauce consumer's health than even the hottest of Carolina Reapers*. I'm paranoid so I like mine to be be below pH 2. I have a pH meter that I use to test my sauces which is way more accurate than my API test strips or my ICA NT lab test kit. So having trawled the scientific literature I ended up with this paper on the effect of chilli peppers on salmon colouration. Happily it concluded that whilst other stuff in the peppers is beneficial for colouring, the capsaicin (the 'hot' bit in chillis) has no effect on Salmon. I've extrapolated from Salmon to all fish, which means that I'm good to go for testing my tank with a decent PH tester without having to worry about getting a supply of yoghurt in for the residents to cool off their gills if there is cross-contamination. I can check my PH freed from the concerns of exactly how fast I'm using up expensive test kits. Reading other UKAPS threads I've realised I need to test consistently at two points in the day - once before lights off and once before lights on, which will get me the tank's operating range and let me track like-for-like deltas week over week.

Good luck with the scape!
Thank you! I will gratefully accept all the luck going - I'm going to need it at some point.


*And believe me these are not fun to eat unprocessed. As I discovered when my children chopped one up onto my pizza one evening. How they chortled as I was doubled over in agony by the sink running my tongue under the cold water tap. Kids, eh?
 

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