Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tank Diary: Week 4

Week 4

Well I've finally detected nitrate on day 24. Ammonia is still detectable in a very small amount, but I haven't detected any nitrite readings at all. I figure the plants are just sucking it all up before I can detect it. The tank can't be far from being fully cycled but I'll give it some more time before adding significantly to the fish load.

I picked up two oto's on day 24 to supplement the SAEs as I've noticed some minor algae on the glass and anubias. I know a school would have been better, but at $10 each and from an LFS tank store that wasn't the healthiest I'm a bit dubious having never kept them before and knowing their sensitivity over the first few weeks. 

Still debating what fish to put in here. I'll add to the school of neons at the wife's request and also reckon a school of cory's would look great. Not sure about the bigger inhabitants. Given the neons, I won't go with angelfish, perhaps pearl gouramis and a couple of Rams?
Day 24
7.4 (pH), 0.125 ppm (NH3/NH4), 0 ppm (NO2), 2.5 ppm (NO3), 3 (KH), 4 (GH)

My broad leaved chain swords
Assorted anubias

What looks like hair algae on my driftwood

I've noticed a tiny bit of thread and hair algae on one of the bits of driftwood. Not too worried about this yet, but I won't crank up the photoperiod just yet. I won't feed as heavily and expect the SAE's and oto's to clean it up.

I also had my first casualty today with a dead neon in the filter. This one looked liked it had a swollen abdomen, so I'm hoping it's just an internal issue. Oto's are going great. I'm pretty sure I have a male and female given the size and belly difference. Male is a lot more active. Have noticed that the SAEs bicker amongst themselves a bit, but nothing too serious.

Getting close to emergent growth on the hygro which is great. Bacopa is really struggling and most of the val has melted. I wonder if the soft water is the culprit? I trimmed a few dead leaves this week and removed a lot of the mulm from the val and bacopa.

Day 26

Friday, March 23, 2012

Tank Diary: Week 3

Week 3 

I've noticed some pond snails which must have come in on the water lettuce which I'm a bit disappointed in. The perils of buying plants from a garden centre! At least they'll help to fast-track the decomposition of dead plants.
Day 15
Another major water change (60%) on day 17 which has improved the clarity once again. Unfortunately my Bacopa is starting to melt halfway up the stems, even though there appears to be new growth at the tops. Chain swords, Hygro, water sprite are the standouts in terms of growth. Can't see any new growth on the large amazons which I would have expected by now.
Day 17 (post 60% water change)
7.4 (pH), 0.125 ppm (NH3/NH4), 0 ppm (NO2), 0 ppm (NO3), 3 (KH), 3.5 (GH)

Water parameters holding up, so I went to look for some algae control fish today. Picked up 2 SAE's and couldn't resist adding some neons (23 of them, which was nice for a $20 special!). No oto's so I'll need to search further afield for these.

The Bacopa and Val are still melting. One bunch of the bacopa is a lot worse than the other.
Day 21
7.4 (pH), 0.125 ppm (NH3/NH4), 0 ppm (NO2), 0 ppm (NO3), 3 (KH), 4 (GH)
I've put together a sequence of shots showing the tank after 50% water changes over the first 3 weeks. Cloudiness is progressively getting better. Still not perfect, but not bad enough for the tank to look horrible.

Week1, Week 2 and Week 3 (after water changes)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Tank Diary: Week 2

Week 2

The cloudiness has subsided a bit this week and I'm getting nice growth on most of the plants. The val is the exception which seems to be melting majorly. The lilaeopsis also isn't doing much but I wouldn't say it's dying, just holding its own.
Day 8
With the unexpected failure in the val, I don't have as much plant biomass as I had hoped. I picked up a couple of water lettuce at a garden store today to ensure I have some emergent growth to suck up any excess nutrients. I've also added some more flow, courtesy of an internal powerhead. 

Day 12 (50% water change)

Day 13
7.4 (pH), 0.125 ppm (NH3/NH4), 0 ppm (NO2), 0 ppm (NO3), 2.5 (KH), 3 (GH) 

Still no major changes to water parameters and ammonia seems to have reduced slightly which is a bit unexpected. I wonder whether this is due to the soil substrate, plant mass or bacteria causing the cloudiness?? The cloudiness has definitely improved, but the water is definitely a long way from clear.

Very tempted to add some fish given the stable parameters, but will hold off for a bit longer.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Tank Diary: Week 1

Week 1

The day after establishment. I'm happy with the aquascaping arrangement, but a bit disappointed in the corkscrew val which was cut to about 4 inches long when it arrived. I have heard that it frequently melts though so this may be a good thing in the end, but at the moment the left hand side looks pretty empty.

Water has clouded up a little bit. Haven't turned on the filtration yet as I was up until midnight planting it out last night after the plants arrived in the post. I've just flicked on the eheim 2215 after taking this pic.

Day 2
 7.4 (pH), 0.25 ppm (NH3/NH4), 0 ppm (NO2), 0 ppm (NO3), 2.5 (KH), 3 (GH)
Major cloudiness has set in on day 3. I suspect that this is due to the pool filter sand, or eheim filter material not being rinsed thoroughly enough.

Day 3
The cloudiness is getting worse, which I'm putting down to excess nutrients and a bacterial outbreak. I can no longer see the end of the aquarium looking in from the sides. I'm prepared though! Everything I've read suggests that the tank will be very unstable for the first month or so.

Day 4
On day 5, I've performed a 50% water change and added a single neon tetra to kick start my cycling. I know neons aren't the best for this, but he/she was all alone in my Jebo that I will dismantle shortly. 

Day 5 (50% water change)
7.4 (pH), 0.25 ppm (NH3/NH4), 0 ppm (NO2), 0 ppm (NO3), 2.5 (KH), 3 (GH)

Day 6
7.4 (pH), 0.25 ppm (NH3/NH4), 0 ppm (NO2), 0 ppm (NO3), 2.5 (KH), 3 (GH)

Day 7 (50% water change)

After 7 days and no major algae outbreaks, I've upped the photoperiod from 6 to 7 hours. Water parameters over the first week have remained constant, with no ammonia spikes. I've noticed new growth on the hygro, water sprite, chain swords and bacopa. All going well with the exception of the major cloudiness which seems to be progressively setting in after water changes. Theres also some white fungus on the driftwood, but I reckon this will settle down. 

Cloudiness has improved since the latest water change, so I'm hoping it will get better over the next few days!