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Mitch Norton

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About Mitch Norton

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    Happy Camper
  • Birthday June 16

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  1. Algae on the glass lid is common. Especially with a sponge filter. I have to clean the algae off my lid at least once a month. When I notice the algae I turn off the filters, pull the lids and scrap them into my changed tank water with my algae scrubber. It’s one more thing to do, but the only way to slow it down would be to lower the water level. I hate the look of a water line at the top of the tank. I would rather clean the algae than see the water line. On the yellowing leaves, this graphics should help.
  2. Swords grow in a circular pattern. New growth starts in the center and the older leaves are toward the outside. When you need to trim off a damaged leaf you cut the stem of that leaf as close to the base of the plant as possible. Glad to hear that you are seeing new growth! They really love a lot of nutrients. Keep those root tabs handy. When you see any deficiencies, quickly add another. After a few months you should know how many your plants needs each month and ore-load them into the substrate. The plant on the piece of wood is an Anubias. It is one of my favorite slow growing plants. It will mostly feed from fertilizer that you add to the water. It is a lowlight and slow growing plant. It is very rewarding to see new growth form. If your lights are bright it prefers a little shade.
  3. @Isaac M I think it is possible. I lay the strip on the rim of my tank. If anything bled over I would think it would be nitrite bleeding into nitrate. I have good news. Looks like someone broke into my home and put frogbit in my tank... Seriously, I haven’t added anything but a couple of snails in months (other than two Crypt Parva from the Co-Op), and today I noticed what I assume is frogbit in my Water Sprite!?
  4. I am working on it. Nitrates have stayed lower this week. They haven’t gotten over 25 ppm. I dosed Easy Green yesterday morning. Nitrites are still showing high on AC-O test strips. I hit 1 ppm on the strips yesterday. I tested the water with two separate bottles of API Master Test Kit Nitrite and both read zero. It’s crazy. I dosed Prime just in case, but I knew I couldn’t do the water change last night. I am about to test on my break and if it is still elevated I will dose Prime again. I think I’m changing water this evening. Which will be one week from the last water change. I did order some Pothos to try in the tank. I’ve been trying to decide what to put above the aquarium anyway. I have also been in contact with a livebearer breeder who has been walking me through some corrections to battle the illnesses I’ve experienced this year with my Mollies. We are taking a deep dive into my tank and looking at ways for me to improve their environment. He suggested that I turn my lights on even longer and do the weekly fertilizer. He said most fertilizers (and he suspects it could be true for Easy Green) contain some algae prohibiting components and that regular dosing will 100% help. He encouraged me to keep learning from my mistakes. The “Starve the algae” plan was one of my biggest in my opinion Thanks for asking for an update! I planned on sharing info after work, but I couldn’t resist replying to your comments! 🤣
  5. I have used Prime with Ich-X with no issues. I spent days researching because of the ingredients. Online I found people saying they wouldn’t use them together because of the ingredients, but more people saying they use them together with no problems. I did a lot of looking into what is in Prime. People say it is sultanate based, but Seachem doesn’t say that. It includes “complexed hydrosulfite salts”. As far as I can tell it is not the same thing. I think most people smell the sulfur and assume it is sulfate based Anyway, Seachem is never going to tell you it is ok to mix their product with any other treatment. I’m pretty sure most meds say not to mix them either, but many of us use the Co-Op med trio because it has been found to be safe together. I had one guy tell me that he asked someone who works at a prominent fish store and they said they have always used Prime and Ich-X together with no issues. This store uses the trio to quarantine fish and they use Prime to treat water. I won’t say who it was because the info was second hand. Ultimately, I couldn’t change my water conditioner to something that wasn’t approved by Ich-X and enough people told me it was fine that I tried it. No problems. I won’t tell you that it’s safe for everyone, but I haven’t seen anyone who said they had a problem. Ich-X says it can be used with Ultimate which they can say because the same company makes it and they have formulated them to work together.
  6. It does help @Isaac M! I do understand what you have been saying about the bio load. I do believe you are right that right now my bio load is greater than my filtration capacity. I believe that changed after I killed off so many of my plants trying to starve the algae. I’m not really trying to grow plants super fast, I just want to strike a balance. I will be removing the Mollies when they get a little larger. My local store prefers them at 3/4” I have some that large, but I also had to treat for livebearers disease and I don’t want to spread that in my community until I’ve had a chance to watch it. Because I turned the intensity of my light down I’ve just been curious if I should try to bump it up. I am hoping that will allow my plants to increase their nutrient consumption. But if they will consume the same amount of nutrients at 70% as they will at 35% then there is no need in adjusting. 35% definitely produced less algae, but it also killed most of my stem plants. Haha. Thank you and everyone else for your help. I’m thankful to have experienced hobbyists along for the ride. An update: I changed 50% of the water yesterday because my test strips read greater than 5 ppm nitrite. I checked with two separate API Master Test Kit nitrite tests and had zero. Either way nitrate were up to 50 so I wanted to change it anyway. I also cleaned my canister. Nothing too intensive. I just squeezed out the sponges. It was curiously dirtier than normal. I tested using the strips this morning. Nitrates and nitrites were lower. I’ll test after work, and if I’m still seeing nitrites at 1 ppm I’ll change water again.
  7. Thank you @Isaac M! I do believe the tank is heavily stocked and I need some fast growing plants. I believe the Pogostemon Stellatus Octopus and Water Sprite just need some time to catch up. They were both damaged in the starving of my tank. Hopefully others can learn from my lesson. I did starve off all of the GSA and most of the BBA, but it did not lead to balance. I do have the Water Sprite concentrated over my lowlight plants. The past couple of weeks I have had to clean out a lot of dying Water Sprite. I’m sure that is fueling some of the nitrogen. I decided to do a water change and canister cleaning yesterday. All I did was rinse out my media in the water I removed from the tank and clean the propeller. I also removed the floss and added two more sponges. Although they are fine sponges. I did not need to pull out any damaged Water Sprite. Great thoughts on the feeding. I did skip feeding yesterday, and I’ll be sure to feed sparingly until I see the nitrates go down. I have an abundance of fry right now, and I will try to resist over feeding. Would you turn up the lighting? I already did, but that is my main concern right now. Will increasing the light intensity help the pogo and water sprite process more nutrients? Or do you think I’ll sabotage the tank with so many nutrients in it and grow more algae I understand too much and too little will both fuel algae if not balanced should I focus on nutrients first? And then light? Or could more light be key to fixing things at THIS point?
  8. Good observation on the gravel, but the larger gravel is only on the top in certain areas. The majority of the substrate is regular sized gravel (Top Fin 25 lb bags) and maybe 1/3 sand on one side. I bought the larger gravel to be decorative around larger rock and wood. It’s just in the front and on top of smaller gravel. The NICREW Plus Planted advertises 70 PAR 12” in air. I believe I’ve read that it is around 35 - 40 PAR at 18” in water. But I’d have to research. I remember seeing it when I was shopping a year ago. The strange thing about the GSA is that my phosphates are at 2 at all times. Ive been trying to make changes slowly and watch to see how it helps. What aim trying to determine is what my next step should be. I felt that turning my light intensity up could be the next step, but I was hoping to confirm that by talking with others since all three of you have said the lights are to low I believe that will be my next step. Thanks again for the help, everyone
  9. Thanks for your response @Duke Silver The test strips are showing high nitrites, but when I test with the liquid test kit I am not seeing any nitrites. I’ve emailed the Co-Op for advice on that. I did experience a hiccup in my cycle after dosing levamisole almost a month ago, but it corrected quickly. I did check ammonia today since the strips were showing nitrites and ammonia was a definite zero on the strip. As for the dead BBA being a source of fuel for the nitrates, that is entirely possible. There wasn’t a lot of BBA, and I caught tank inhabitants eating it when it would turn brown. That doesn’t mean some didn’t make it into the filtration. The canister filter was last serviced on February 28th and I had planned on cleaning it the first water change of this month (which is looking like it could be tonight. Haha). Oh, and I also have a medium sponge stacked on one of the large. It was my seeded sponge from when I moved everything over from my previous 25 gallon planted tank. I’ve just never removed it. Figured it could cycle a tank someday. Haha. Water source is tap. I’ll have to look at my log under my tank, but the nitrates register on my tap, but under 5 ppm on the API Master Test Kit. I haven’t checked it recently, it has been a few months. When I say dose to 20 ppm I was basing that off of checking my tank’s nitrates and dosing to that. But that was just to get back to normal after “starving” the tank for a few weeks. Before this I was dosing 7 - 8 pumps each week. With the full light intensity I started seeing BBA and GSA. Again, this was after I added a Tiger lotus, which I no longer have. Thanks again for the help!
  10. Thanks for the suggestions and advice. I’ll try to answer some of your questions. Sorry that there wasn’t enough info, but this tank has been going a year and a I’ve been trying to find balance in for a few months now. I added a Tiger Lotus and then everything went crazy. Before that I wasn’t struggling with algaes. As for my goal, it’s a balanced tank free of Black Beard algae and as little Green Spit algae as possible. I’m not trying to crank out plants or anything. I just want to balance things. I lowered the intensity on the light because I was seeing a lot of green spot algae on my Anubis and Crypts. I searched this forum and found a lot of people finding success with dialing their lights back to 35%. When I did this I also experienced a reduction in green spot algae growth. I have increased the light intensity some to see if it would increase the use of nutrients to help balance things, but that is part of my question. Will increasing my light bring about a positive or negative result? I gave nitrate readings as an indicator because I know that most people ask where they are whenever someone asks about plant growth and algae growth. I did shake the dickens out of the bottle. I also tested using Aquarium Co-Op’s new test strips and had a similar reading. The tank is quite full of plants, but I’m more than willing to try to find room for a few more. Haha. Part of my problem when I tried to starve off the algae was that I melted my stem plants and removed them. I wish I hadn’t tried that, but you live and learn. I have a cheap source for them and would be willing to add stems if it would help. The only problem is that they like the higher light and my Anubias prefers the light to be lower. I’ve had the chain swords for a long time (three years or so) they aren’t doing as well as I would like, but I am not sure how far to turn up the light at this point to promote their growth and not to create more green spot algae on my Anubias. I’ve had this Anubis for years and hate to see it covered in GSA. Sorry that it wasn’t clear. My goal isn’t fast growth. I just want balance. I’m fine with everything growing slow and steady, I am just trying to feed these plants and feed less algae. You are right about the root tabs. I botched that explanation. I am putting extra tabs under my Amazon swords every month, but I am putting the 30 tabs in ever 3 - 4 months. Depending on how my crypts are doing. I think that might match the recommendations on the package. Similarly with the Easy Green I didn’t mean that I pour Easy Green into the tank to hit 20ppm. I was doing weekly dosing for a while, but hen I starved off the GSA and Black Beard by not dosing for a while. My nitrates fell below 5 ppm. When I decided to abandon this “method” I slowly added Easy Green until I reached 20 ppm. I did this over a week. I did 8 pumps the first day. A couple of days later I did 4 pumps and so on until I read 20 ppm again. I have not dosed again in two weeks and after one water change I am back to above 20 ppm (around 50+ ppm at this point). I am more than willing to do the water changes, but I have read that frequent water changes can lead to BBA, and although I have found where people say just about anything leads to BBA I feel that Ali have actually experienced this in my tank. That was why I had hoped to include less frequent water changes, but it is likely my tank is too stocked to do that. I hope that offers a better idea of what I am trying to accomplish, and where I am at in the process I’ve kept an aquarium for almost 10 years at this point about three years ago I started trying to keep plants it was bumpy in the beginning, but I did eventually get things going pretty well for a while. thanks again for your insight and time
  11. I know nothing about GBRs. I only stopped in to say that Anubias is living its best life! Well done.
  12. I’ve been trying to balance my 75 gallon, and I’m constantly unsure what I should be doing. I’m going to share my parameters and I hope someone more advanced might be able to help me along. Tank is a 75 gallon. Light: 48” NICREW Plus Planted. Currently set at 40% light. Comes on with a 30 min sunrise and 30 minute sunset. Total time on is 9 hrs. Fertilizer: Easy Tabs about 30 every 3-4 months plus an additional 6 every month for three Amazon Swords. I dose Easy Green. I was dosing every week, but I stopped that when someone recommended that I stop dosing liquid fertilizer because the majority of my plants were root feeders. I recently dosed to get to 20 ppm (slowly over 7-10 day), but it has been two weeks since I dosed and nitrates are rising instead of being used. The tank is heavily stocked. I have livebearers in the tank and there are fry everywhere. I also have Otocinclus, Neon Tetras, Rasboras, snails, and Cherry Shrimp. As for plants I have the Amazon Swords, crypts (lots of crypts), Crypt Parva, Dwarf Chain Swords, Pogostemon Stellatus Octopus, Anubias, Anubias Nano Petite, Water Sprite, and some Java Moss. Here is a recent update that I posted in my journal that provides an update on where my tank is and the decisions that I am trying to make to create balance in this tank.
  13. Nitrites are still reading on test strips, but I am getting zero on master test kit. I reached out to the Co-Op this morning for any insight. Meanwhile my nitrates continue to climb. I am not seeing any new nitrates except from some green spot algae on my anubias. Which is frustrating. I am hoping someone might be able to suggest my next move. Most of my plants are root feeders so I’m not sure that I should keep my nitrates elevated. I do have some floating Water Sprite and Pogostemon Stellatus Octopus that is rebounding quite well from the nitrate fast to kill off the BBA. Should I increase my light intensity or duration to promote the use of the nitrates? Or will this just fuel the green spot algae on the anubias? Nitrates are around 50 ppm right now. Should I keep the lights where they are and perform a water change? I’ve been trying to limit my water changes to keep from fluctuating everything and promoting black beard. Hopefully some of you balancing experts can help me decide whether to hold steady, adjust lighting, or water change... or a fourth option that I haven’t considered. Thanks everyone.
  14. After work I tested again. The nitrites looked like they were nearing 1 ppm again. So O decided to verify before I changed any more water today. I grabbed my liquid kit and it reads 0 nitrites. I’ll have more time tonight to test and see what is going on. I was relieved to see 0 on the API liquid test. I’ll be sure to update this weekend with any updates.
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