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Hello from Texas!

I have been reading the co-op’s blog and the C.A.R.E forum for quite a while now, but never felt knowledgeable enough to really participate until now. My name is Sarina and I’m originally from Washington state, but now reside in North Texas. I actually used to live a few miles from the co-op store and wandering into that place one day was how I got into fish keeping and plant cultivation. I’ve been in the hobby for around four years, however I did have to give up everything and completely restart due to the move. Currently I only have two operational “tanks” if you could call them that... I have a “porch pond” which is actually a 55 gallon clear tub, and a 2.3g cylinder that was given to me for free. 

The porch pond featuring the view from my apartment:


The porch pond shortly after setup, I keep meaning to take better photos of what it looks like now, but it’s low on my priority list:


The “jar” aquarium, currently a rehab tank for the sad epiphyte plants I got on major discount:


The tub is actually doing surprisingly well, considering it was an outdoor experiment. It’s been running for nearly 2 months and I now have a school of longfin zebra danios and some Flagfish for algae cleanup. Oh, and like... hundreds of ramshorn snails. No livestock in the jar aquarium other than some snails, I actually just put all those epiphyte plants in last night, plus some pennywort to hopefully decrease nitrates enough to avoid an algae bloom. There isn’t any artificial light on it, so I’m crossing my fingers that algae will stay away. 

My future projects include:

  • A foggy bog style plant propagation tank to grow emersed aquatic plants
  • Making my own root tabs and testing them against a few major brands 
  • DIY tissue cultures - “kitchen cultures” 

Plus many more, I’m sure. I will be writing about these experiments on my blog (nirvanaquatics.water.blog) but I’ll also be journaling about things here, as well. I hope everyone is safe and well, and I look forward to sharing my experiences with all of you. 

Stay lovely 🍀


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Oh man I totally was not expecting this many responses and I kinda dropped off for a bit there 😅 I am so excited to share my knowledge with everyone and I hope I can help some people out. I’m no expert, by any means, but this is by far my favorite hobby and I’m very much looking forward to sharing everything I learn along the way. If anyone wants to see more photos or follow me on other social media you can find me on pretty much every platform @nirvanaquatics

Things I’ve learned in the past few days: heavy rain in North Texas means high chlorine and chloramine levels in tap water, so definitely don’t do water changes after it rains. Learned that the hard way, but figured out the issue because of aquarium co-op test strips. I kind of scoffed at the chlorine test on the strips until I needed it, so a special thanks to Cory for the inclusion of that particular pad!

I’m currently experimenting with the PPS Pro estimated index fertilization method for my outdoor pond, since I have so many different varieties of plants in there and very light stocking. So far, I have only been doing it for a week and I’ve already seen a marked improvement in stem plant condition and growth. Whatever deficiencies I had before seem to be a nonissue now, but I will continue to report on my findings. I am dosing for medium light, so the dry salts break down to the following daily dose for 50 gallons:

K2SO4: 0.293g

KNO3: 0.326g

KH2PO4: 0.029g

MgSO4: 0.202g

Micromix: 0.143g

I may or may not have done a lot of math to just do dry dosing since I can’t stand the bottles that GLA sends with their fertilizers. I tried them, and I do not recommend them. If I could do it over again, I’d just do weekly measurements of the dry dosage and avoid mixing the full bottles entirely because I have really only been using the pre-mixed stuff for soaking new safe-t-sorb. If nothing else, I would definitely prefer at least an amber or cobalt bottle so that UV degradation wasn’t a risk. I think these ferts are fairly stable due to the EDTA+DTPA formulation, however an opaque or UV filtering container is always recommended for mixtures that have the potential to degrade with exposure to UV. I will note that measuring out dry ferts is a bit time consuming and you do have to have an incredibly accurate scale, but since I’m only dosing one tank at the moment it has simply become part of my daily routine. I may go back to doing a pre-mix once I have more tanks that I’m dosing, however at the moment I’m pretty happy with the results just doing the dry salts. Well, at least until I can get my hands on some UV resistant glass bottles. 

I will wait until I’ve been dosing for a few more weeks to do an independent post about my findings on the GLA PPS Pro system on my ultra low-tech pond, but those are my thoughts so far 😊 

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