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Miller's Journal


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I'll be honest, it took some time to decide if I wanted to start a journal. The most upfront reason was, what the heck are they and I've never journaled before? But as I thought about it, I remembered how some of the most beneficial help I ever received was from some obscure article, where some random guy, seemingly from nowhere, replied with the solution I needed. So, the purpose of my journal is to try to be that random guy, who randomly comments, and hopefully has the answer to your problem. But in the form of a journal!

You might ask, who is this guy? And I ask myself the same question all the time,<wink>and the only response I can honestly say is; I was a kid who loved fish tanks. So much so, that at age 12, I took my Schwinn bike and went to my local fish store and bought a 55 gallon aquarium. I put that darn thing in my lap and on top of the handle bars and rode 2 miles home. I then went back and under my 1 arm, carried every piece of equipment I needed, in multiple trips, for my first salt water fish tank. A few months later, I had a 20 gallon fresh water tank. I can honestly say. I did pretty well for being so young. I rarely had deaths, I grew some corals, I killed a lot of corals and my fish did pretty well. Without that experience, I would have never learned the single most important information I could have possibly learned and that is: everything I learned 30 years ago is completely irrelevant in todays fish keeping. And anyone one who says, "I've been keeping fish for 30 years" is suspect!

After several moves around the country and 30 years later, I found myself back in the hobby and here my journal starts. A buddy of mine, who has been in the hobby for 30 years <---- had the most amazing black water tank. I mean stunning. So he convinces me to start back up, and I did. "I need that sexy blackwater tank", I said, and I went out and bought a 75 gallon, a 40 gallon two 20 gallons and a 10 gallon. This is when I learned the second most important information I ever learned. More than 2 tanks is way too much work! So I sold the 10 and converted 1 of the 20 gallons to a QT tank. All those tank were black water, and boy did I love them. But something happened, something that changes everything! I bought a plant. And today, I have no black water tanks!

Here are some pics of those black water tanks.

 

Here is the main tank today.

 

 

 

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PXL_20211117_160640545~2.jpg

Edited by Mmiller2001
Updated 10/29/21
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Miller wants to go CO2, and wood no longer interests me and this is my last picture of the black water tanks. I want to mention. My goal with the blackwater tanks was to never do water changes. So I set out to do that and the tank above worked well. This tank is 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and 0 nitrates. I wish I had pictures of when the frog bit was insane. Frogbit, hands down the single most effective nitrate remover of all plants.

 

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Posted (edited)

So in my research of CO2 and nutrients, I settled on PPS Pro coupled with root tabs. It made sense, I have an inert substrate, dose heavy with tabs and lean water column dosing, has to be perfect, right? What a disaster. This is when I learned the 3rd single most important information. Root tabs are Hocus Pocus, Black Magic, problems waiting to ruin the unexpected aquarist. I can not tell you the level of algae I had. I called my blackwater buddy, "dude, I'm redoing everything". His response, the 30 year response, "dude, don't". "Just stop growing algae", was his exact response. I thought about his comment, what a "jackass", but it made it clear what I had to do. After all, he was the 30 year aquarist. And so, more research began. And you know what, I found the holy trinity, the one person who turns over every thing you learned. The person, who is so good at their task, that they invalidate 90 percent of everyone's regurgitated replies.

https://www.plantedtank.net/threads/greggz-120g-rainbow-fish-tank-scapecrunch-interview-1-18-2021.1020497/page-194#post-11406312

Do yourself a favor and read.

Zero root tabs, an inert substrate. He has recently gone over to an organic substrate, but proof is in the pudding.

I will have this tank some day? Greggz.jpg.bf1e571e9aa6b41103d47a353ad8d7d0.jpg

 

Edited by Mmiller2001
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Posted (edited)

You wanted to see my my algae farm? You sick individual, I will tell you, I deleted every picture I ever took of that mess. It was a nightmare. Every bit of advise lead nowhere, "just grow healthy plants", what a crock, but that one guy, seemingly out of random, came out of nowhere, posted this. 

I use this alot.

EI Dosing and common Algea.jpg

Edited by Mmiller2001
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Posted (edited)

And the day came. I was algae free, because I stopped root tabs, I stopped PPS Pro, and I set out to learn EI dosing. I was so scared. How could dumping more nutrients into my tanks solve so many of my problems. How could EI dosing apply to low tech tanks? Well, it's amazing. I learned the 4th most important information I would ever learn.

Way smarter people have already done the research and any possible question I could have has already been answered.

Here is the 75 post disaster 

Notice the UV sterilizers, yeah enter the green water. Ask me how I stopped staghorn and green water.IMG_20210119_104224.jpg.f5cc651461d7ac6d58a898b823efaaee.jpg

Edited by Mmiller2001
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Posted (edited)

So today, here are my tanks.

But before you scroll down. You must know I hate my tanks. I do, I learned I'm the worst aquascaper that lives. And I especially hate my 75. I want to burn it, but my 30 year aquarist friend says I can't.

I hate him.

And I want to tell you my my fifth most important information I ever learned. And I have a love/ hate relationship with this person. He has put me in the corner and publicly shamed me. But I need you to remember a previous comment. "Way smarter people have already done the research and any possible question I could have has already been answered."

MED TRIO

This statement is going to get me banned, wait.......woops, maybe not!

Set yourself up for success. Seriously, every fish is sick, regardless if they are not.

https://www.aquariumcoop.com/collections/fish-medicine/products/quarantine-meds-trio

I'm at a 95% fish survival rate at the moment. And I've modified my "Med Trio" and I'm batting 1000 as of my last QT with some seriously sick fish. Just ask me how, but "Med Trio" is a must...period.

 

Edited by Mmiller2001
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Posted (edited)

Here is the 40, Currently on EI dosing, absolutely no root tabs. CO2 injected.

Still growing in.

NO3-21.9ppm

P-5.16ppm

K-19.8ppm + 20ppm from Potassium carbonate via KH build in RO/DI water mineralization

Micros- 1/8 Teaspoon CSM+B

Pool filter sand and some Eco Complete on top of the pool filter sand.

 

PXL_20210412_010033066.jpg.9aa61b488b97eb2dd10b496035431b4c.jpg

Edited by Mmiller2001
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Posted (edited)

My QT tank, and I experiment on this tank too. This is low tech.

NO3-11.01ppm

P-2.58ppm

K-9.9ppm + 20ppm via RO/DI build

Dosed all at once after 50% water change

Micros-1/16 Teaspoon CSM+B on the next day

I need a black background and going to do the side as well. Too much ambient light from front door. Also breeding MTS in this tank, heavy fed with anything protein and 1 Assassin snail to control population.

I keep all algae in this tank. I want to learn how to clear it via parameter changes.

 

PXL_20210412_005729906.jpg

Edited by Mmiller2001
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Posted (edited)

As of now, it's let pants grow and maintain fertilizers. 

Today, I got home early and noticed my embers, in the 40 gallon, were at the top of the tank. I checked pH and it was 5.9, woops! I gassed them a bit. I adjusted down and going forward, I'm aiming for 6.2pH. 3 tanks are maintained at 4GH, 1.5KH. The shrimp tank is maintained at 200TDS water changes via SaltyShrimp. Next experiment, once SaltyShrimp is used up, to only use Ca and Mg in a 2:1 ratio. I want to maintain GH at 6 or 7 degrees. Shrimp mineral is a ripoff.

I'm working my courage up to 0KH for the injected tanks, yup Zero KH. Look at my inspiration. This is a ZERO KH tank.

I said that right. 0KH

 

 

50630553177_214f0bf34e_k.jpg

Edited by Mmiller2001
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Addressing a few problems this week and upcoming trip out of town.

Last weeks power outage coupled with 1 day of over feeding, BOOM, green water...again....6th round! I knew the second I dropped the food in that I had just made a mistake. I'll probably bust out the UV sterilizer, but I might just run a super lean feeding regiment and see if it clears itself. For those that may find themselves reading this. My stocking load is pretty high in the 75 gallon. I'm also pumping a decent amount of light into the tank. I run 2 Fluval 3.0's and it has been tricky keeping enough light on my carpeting plants at this high stocking.

The low tech tanks:

After water changes, I testing about 40+ppm Nitrates. So I'm only going to dose Potassium and CSM+B. 20ppm K and .69Fe via CSM+B. 

High tech tanks:

I noticed a bit of stunted growth. After 50% water changes Nitrates tested 40+. I'm also over dosing Potassium.

Going forward, I'm accounting for the Potassium Carbonate I use in my RO/DI water. That mixture contains 20ppm K. So after a 50% water change, say 7.5 to 10ppm of K? 

New targets for the 75 and 40 are

15ppm KNO3

3ppm K2HPO4

0ppm K2SO4

.69ppm Fe via CSM+B

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

I'm a day late on my update, sorry about that. 

The lower dosing is going well and growth exploded. Was I over dosing Potassium? Maybe? 

I'm going to continue the lower dosing, after my 50% water changes, Nitrates were 40ppm and Phosphates down to 5ppm; which was quicker than I expected. I did notice some green dust algae on the glass. I may increase phosphates, but I'll try that later down the road. Both the QT and shrimp tank tested much lower Nitrates and I will just dose trace for another week.

All QT fish made it and added to the 40 and 75. They are doing well.

Bought 6 Cherry Barbs for the shrimp tank. They look really bad. I'm not sure they are going to make it. Dosed Med Trio and orally dosing Kanaplex. I'm seeing some signs of Epistyles. These came from the same box store, so this makes sense.

Tanks trimmed and I bought a rare expensive plant. It came in near dead, but it popped and fingers crossed it continues to produce.

Up coming changes: the Rotala wall is going to be removed and replaced with something else. Also, all Hygropila Corymbosa is going to be removed, I don't like it and it always indicates potassium deficiencies with holes in the leaves. It's gone!

I'm taking suggestion for short growing plants. No more than 8 inches max. I've looked but not seeing much in the way of 8inches. Maybe Crypts?

Here are the tanks today.

 

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Edited by Mmiller2001
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