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Everything posted by Jessica.

  1. Oh wow, thank you! What an unexpected surprise. I'm very grateful, can't wait to open it up. 🙂
  2. I love the piece of driftwood! Looking good so far. I'd mess around with moving the driftwood a little more off centered. I did some sloppy photoshopping to show you what I mean. The "rule of thirds" can be helpful for scaping. Current: With the driftwood moved:
  3. Got any clear rubbermaid tubs? Or a bucket? Submerged would be safer, less risk of drying out.I know I'd forget to top off the water on that, and I'd find some crispy moss at the end of the day. You could also put some plastic wrap over the top, to help with evaporation.
  4. Sunday maintenance day update! I did a big trim today and replant. I pulled out and trimmed val, replanted the hairgrass background plant to extend it further to the left, and removed some java fern and replaced it with stauro to extend that carpet. Before and afters: It took about 8 months for the val in this tank to start growing well, but now (1.5 years of being in this tank), the val gets huge, wide leaves. This is giant "americana" val.
  5. Hi Rudd! The tank is 120Gal. Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate it.
  6. Crypts are heavy root feeders. You probably need to add some root tabs. I know you said lots of mulm is there, but hearing they did well for 10 months then slowed sounds like the depleted the available nutrients in the substrate. Edit to add- assuming nothing else has changed in the tank, like if you changed your light, or increased the temp, or bought a fish that's started eating it.
  7. Looks like fungal/mold growth, new driftwood gets a similar thing when put in water. In my experience, when bulbs get this it means they're dead, rotting, and won't grow. You might want to take it out and give it a squeeze to see if it is rotting/dead - if it feels soft/spongy, it's probably rotten all through and never going to grow. If it is rotten, it was probably not viable when you got it, so it's nothing you did wrong. (not to say anything bad about the seller. Most sellers note that they don't guarantee the bulbs will sprout. If you bought this from co-op, I've no idea what their policy is) Some bulbs just don't make it through the dormancy period in the bag they're sold in, just like when you plant tulip bulbs, they don't always all grow come spring time. If it doesn't feel rotten (as in, it still feels firm when you squeeze it), I would give it a rinse and a scrub to get the mold growth off, then put it back in the tank and leave it alone for a few weeks.
  8. Hey Steve, welcome! I'm over on the other side of the state in the Pioneer Valley. Any good aquascapng stores out your way? I've been wanting to drive out and hit up some stores in Eastern Mass. Your tank looks great.
  9. Do you test nitrates? It would be good to know what the tank runs at, nitrate wise. Since your dosing easy green 2x per week, that would tell us if the plants are using it all up (f your ntirates test low). Some of the rotalas respond well to extra iron. If that were my tank, my next step would be adding easy iron and seeing if that perks it up. Easy green contains some iron, but not enough for iron demanding plants. It's also possible you got a particularly difficult/high light demanding rotala, like h'ra, and it's just not getting enough light. The UNS contrasoil is a nutrient rich substrate, and since you just set up the tank this year, I doubt you've depleted the nutrients in the substrate, so I don't think root tabs would solve this. Could we see a picture of the whole tank? Do you know the GH/KH of your water, and what temp is it running at? On a side note- That's a long time. I might cut that back to 8-9 hours, you might see a reduction in algae with a shorter light period.
  10. Hi Alan! What type of substrate are you using? That will affect what you need to dose for fertz and root tabs. Not necessarily! Hydrocotyle tripartita, marselia crenata, and staurogyne repens can all carpet low tech tanks. Even monte carlo can work in med light and up. Dwarf sag is also an option. Seachem equilbrium is a good choice, which the co-op sells. I personally use GH Booster from Nilocg, as it's a better value than seachem and I remineralize a few hundred gals a week (my well water is basically RO). You can also run crushed coral in your filter or use wonder shells. The powered equlibrium is my preference as it's easy to measure how much Gh you're adding. This is an algicide, the active ingredient is glutaraldehyde (any product you see as "liquid carbon" usually has this main ingredient, I can think of 4-5 different brands of it) . Seachem excel is a very similar product, also with glutaraldehyde in it. The amount of carbon it releases is debated, but it's somewhere between very little to none. I personally prefer not to use it in my aquariums, but I'm the sort of hippie type that also is scared of pesticides on my food. Cory talks about excel in this video (the excel is discussed at 54:30). I'm actually curious why he developed and sells it, after highlighting the issues of it back in 2016 in this video. But lots of people use it and like the algae inhibiting benefits. The iron is shrimp and fish safe. Copper is what you want to look out for with shrimp and other inverts. It's good to add some iron, your tiger lotus will appreciate it. Basically to make a liquid all in one like easy green (or any of the other all in one ferts out there), they can't add very much iron to the mix or it precipitates out. So, many people like to dose extra iron. Iron, light, and nitrate levels play a role in giving red plants their color.
  11. I'm not usually a swordtail person, but I saw this trio at the LFS and had to have them. Something about a solid red fish always gets me. One of the females recently dropped 60+ fry. These guys aren't colony breeders, though. They love slupring up their fry as quickly as possible. The parents in this video are hanging out in my guppy colony tank while the fry grow up in this tank.
  12. I've kept these for a little over a year and raised several dozen fry to adulthood. They are probably my favorite nano fish, and I think I'll always have a tank of them. Their behavior is so much more intelligent compared to a tetra. Your female looks super healthy and plump. I bet she's full of eggs. Mine like to spawn early in the morning, and they like to spawn in dense plant mass. A cup of moss or carpet plant works well for this. The female will swim around and scatter her eggs, and the males will swim behind her and fertilize. The males seem to do lots of "shimmy" dancing during this. If you want to raise up the fry, you could put moss in a breeder box and scoop the female and a male into it in the evening. In the morning they'll spawn, then you can out the parents back in the tank later that morning and wait for the eggs to hatch in the moss (about 48 hour after spawning is when I see fry). The parents will eat their eggs and the fry, so if you want to raise them up it's important to separate them. I notice when one of my females is laying eggs, almost every male in the tank is trying to chase her. The males do seem to chase the females, but I've never noticed them doing it enough to distress the ladies. The females seem to just ignore the male if they're busy picking at a leaf or doing other fish stuff. I try to keep them in female heavy groups, 2 females per male at least. I think I've got about 15 in a 75gal community tank right now. They spawn every morning but I rarely see fry. Occasionally I'll see one fry, but then can't find it a few days later. I'll try to see if I can spot one tonight and get a video of it. I've also got swordtail fry in this tank who are getting big, and I think they've started eating the CPD fry. Over the summer I put the CPDs in a greenhouse tank with green water, and they bred like crazy. I scooped out 40 at the end of the season. Mine spawn every morning for about two hours, around 8am (before my tank lights come on). Watch for the two that go behind the rock and "hug" 😉 at :04 for about 10 seconds. Then the male lingers to finish fertilizing the eggs that she dropped.
  13. @PennyWow, those tanks are gorgeous!! Beautiful work, love the drift wood centerpiece in each, and how they all work together as a set. The mossballs and the round rocks work well together. Very very nice. I wouldn't be able to resist stock them, I'd do one color of shrimp in each - like red, blue and yellow neos, with a matching colored beta in each. Your willpower to hold off for a few months is impressive.
  14. Based on your nitrite readings and the fact that they haven't dropped, you tank isn't cycled yet. It's probably well on it's way, but we'd need to see ammonia to test that. Do you have fish, or are you adding ammonia? It's helpful to have an ammonia source when cycling a tank. This could eve be just adding a pinch of fish food on day 1. Here's what you're looking for to tell you it's cycling- Have some kind of ammonia/bio load source (could be a fish, could be pure ammonia dropped in, could be fish food.) See ammonia decrease, then see nitrite levels increase. This shows you've growing the colonies of bacteria that will process ammonia into nitrite Next, see nitrite decrease and nitrates increase. This means you're growing the bacteria that process nitrites into nitrates. Finally, see a read of 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites, and some nitrates. This means all colonies of bacteria have reached grown a large enough population to process the waste in your tank. This is a "cycled" tank. A freshly cycled tank is vulnerable to crashed for the first few month. A note on the ammonia source. You need to continue to feed the ammonia comsuming bacteria throughout the whole process. If you dose liquid ammonia on day one but not again, you'll grow some bacteria to process it, but they will starve and die off when there no longer ammonia present. Fish product a constant source of waste for these bacteria, so if you want to cycle a tank without fish, you need to simulate the waste production of a fish. So, all that said, here what I see in your tests: GH/KH both fine. Any variations in these I'm chocking up to some test inaccuracy with color reading. PH fine. Looks like about 7.6. Maybe higher in the one tank, if you have seriyu stone in it that can raise PH, or maybe you have driftwood in a tank which can lower PH. Again, looks fine and nothing I'd pay much attention to besides saying, yup, that didn't crash (but you have 6KH so a PH crash is unlikely). Nirite is not decreasing, it's reading 5 every time. This is the biggest tell right now that your tanks are not cycled completely yet. A cycled tank should not have a nitrite reading. But I also see your tap has very high nitrites, so maybe your tank is very close to cycled and just needs a few more days to process that final bit of nitrite into nitrates. I'd keep monitoring and looking for this number to drop. Are you looking to add fish soon? I'd love to see pictures of the tanks 🙂
  15. That's kind of you, Daniel. It's funny you say that, because there would be many who would disagree or tell you my discus are unhappy. A popular plant seller ran some photos of my discus tanks in his videos & instagram, and got comments about how "Those fish don't have enough room to swim" or "The fish are sick, can't you see the stress bars on them." Everyone has an opinion, especially on the internet. We just need to filter out much of it. I think there are also lots of things happening for people that don't get communicated, unintentionally. For example, someone may tell you "You don't need root tabs. My plants grow beautifully without root tabs and have for 2 years. Root tabs are useless!" But, what that person may not know to tell you, or may not even know themselves, is that their well water is rich in minerals and micro nutrients, and the tank is stock heavily and they've never gravel vac'ed, so the fish poop providing all the needed ferts. So for them, no root tabs are not needed, but all the rest of us can benefit from them. I think if someone comes out and says "that's wrong, my way is better!" that's a red flag to perhaps question their advice. We all need to be open to learning. There really is 20 ways to do something and many will work. Some might work better, or differently, or be more labor intensive. Just look at filter options- canister, hang on back, undergravel, sponge, plants only, powerhead+plants, airstone only, internal filter.. they all work, yet people will tell you there's one best and all the rest are bad. We all just have to learn what works best for us.
  16. Not Pimafix, but here's a study on Melafix (different active ingredient, but same line of medications) which shows "...that Melafix® had no significant bactericidal or inhibitory effect on any of the pathogens tested." (PDF) Laboratory evaluation of safety and efficacy for MELAFIX® (melaleuca cajuputi extract) WWW.RESEARCHGATE.NET PDF | A study was performed at the North Carolina State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, to assess the safety and efficacy of Melafix®, an... | Find, read and cite all the research you need on... I've never had either one work for me.
  17. How about some hc cuba/dwarf baby tears? It'd be neat to see if any of the tanks can pull it off and grow it. Like, would the co2 release from the dirt give it the boost it needs? Looks like you'd have the light for it. I'd add stauro repens, but just because it's one of my favorite plants and it's your money I'm spending. 😉 Nice little foreground plant, develops good root systems quickly, can carpet or be an accent.
  18. Hey Butch, greetings! I'm out in Western Mass. Hello from a fellow MA fishkeeper. Nice looking tanks - love those angels! Moss looks like it's really taking off for you. How's the LFS selection out in your neck of the woods? I was in Boston a few months ago and wanted to hit up some local fish stores on my way out of the city, but couldn't find any that looked like they had a good freshwater/plant selection on my quick phone search.
  19. @IreneI can't recommend them enough, if you have the inclination and budget. I'd certainly enjoy any videos you made keeping them. I get so much enjoyment from this tank. They develop their own personalities, the beg for food incessantly when I'm around. There can be a learning curve, and I did lose a few when I first got them as 3" fish. But, watching them grow and bonding with them is so enjoyable for me. I often handfeed them for fun-
  20. A little update. This photo is an in progress shot (aren't aquariums always in progress? Feels that way), since taking it shows me a few things I want to change. Did some glass cleaning last night, and refreshed the white sand in the front. So future things to change: The val is taking over the back left more than I'd like, and has choked out some of the giant haigrass. Looking at the pic from 6 months ago, the hairgrass was almost double the width it is now. I think next water change, I'm going to pull out a bunch of the giant val and replace it with some giant hairgrass to grow in. I also added 3 crinum natans in the back left. They're growing in slowly but surely. I hope they'll one day be large enough to replace the val in this corner and drape across the top. They're very slow growing though, it'll probably be years until the get to be that big a size. And, I added some mini velvet buce on driftwood to the foreground. Just did this last week, so it needs time to grow in.
  21. Pothos is my go-to nitrate hog. But if you're already running frogbit & anacharis and still getting up to 120 ppm, you'll probably need a lot of pothos or whatever other nitrate sink plant. Also worth noting that some studies have shown high nitrate levels inhibit growth of select species of plants. (I'm not saying this is the case, I'm just pointing out it's been theorized and some studies support it in select species of plants, including salvinia which's growth was inhibited by 40% at 32ppm nitrates.) Another solution would be to dose a fert that doesn't have nitrates, or to buy some micro ferts and potassium phosphate. The seachem line could accomplish this, or nilocg sells convenient and cheap powdered ferts. I'm curious, what's causing the nitrates to get to 80-120? Seems wildly high to be coming from an all in one. Hope you'll keep us posted. It'd be great to know if one of these options fixes the issue for you.
  22. I'm sorry to hear about your troubles. Plants, too, must be disinfected. I usually do a potassium permanganate soak on new plants for several hours at high doses. First, have you reached out to the breeder you purchased from? Are they open to suggesting treatment for you, if needed? They would be a good source of advice for what products you can get in canada to help, if you have an issue. To me, your videos look like you have 6 healthy discus and I would not be medicating these. You might cause more stress & harm by medicating and water changing then help. BUT it's very possible to miss something in a video. In your videos, I see 6 discus who are inquisitive - picking at the filter intake shows they're hungry and active, two good things. Then they do a little bickering (also good, normal cichlid behavior). Does your tank have an airstone? They seem to be breathing slightly quickly. You may want to 1 or 2 air stones. Water at 84 doesn't hold as much oxygen. It's unlikely ich is the issue, discus rarely get it at their temps. Is this little squiggle of white underneath the fin what you're worried about? Looks like a little slime coat shedding, but nothing that would cause me to medicate. But, it's easy to miss something in videos. If your breeder won't/can't help, and you think there is definitely something wrong that I didn't see, here's an idea for a salt/heat treatment. remove all the plants, or move the fish to a hospital tank (because the next steps will kill the plants) Plants can live in a 5 gal bucket for a week. add airstones set temp to 88 add salt, 1 tablespoon per 5 gals. continue water changes as needed (daily, perhaps). Re-dose salt only to replace what is removed in a water change. This is what Discus Hans (the us Stendker importer) has recommended to me in the past for a juvenile who wouldn't eat, and I've seen him recommend it to others many times in the discus hans FB group. Heat is great for little discus, it gets their metabolisms going faster and makes them hungrier. But as we increase heat, we decrease the water's ability to hold gasses, so airstones are very critical if the temp is going to be raised. Here are some great resources for discus: The simply discus forum diseases and medications index: SimplyDiscus.com: Diseases and Medications WWW.SIMPLYDISCUS.COM Discus that have been exposed to diseases or that have been improperly cared for may fall victim to a number of problems. This portion of the library concentrates on disease diagnosis, treatment, and preventative... The Stendker handbook: (good info, but they are a breeder and biased towards their own fish): DISKUSZUCHT STENDKER GMBH & CO. KG - Diskusfische - Diskusfutter - Diskus- und Aquaristik-Informationen DISKUSZUCHT-STENDKER.DE
  23. Love this idea, and I can't wait to see the results. What's your plan for plant for plant stocking @Daniel? Hoping we'll see some root feeders. I'd have to reread Walstad to see what she recommends, but I like to mix raw red clay and aragonite in my dirt, then cap with 1" of sand. Maybe you should throw some iron nails in the dirt to make it a real throwback tank. 🤣 I've set up my last few dirted tanks using this (comes with an ammonia spike in the beginning, like amazonia, I wouldn't really recommend it to someone unless they knew they were immediately stocking with high plant load and ready to handle the algae bloom that the ammonia leaching will cause)- Bumper Crop Soil Builder - Coast of Maine Organic Products COASTOFMAINE.COM A blend of lobster shells, manure compost, worm castings, kelp, peat and aged bark. Inoculated with endo and ecto mycorrhizal fungi to improve root function. Everything your plants need in one bag! OMRI... And ps, I'd run ada amazonia on everything if I could afford it. Dirt wins out so I can buy more discus, buce and pay my mortgage. 😉
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