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Confused by water in my 55 gallon semi Walstad tank


KittenFishMom
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Happy New Year's Eve to all !

My 55 gallon semi Walstad tank has been up and running for a month or so. I put organic potting soil in under a black sand cap. I planted it and let it run, then added fish and then added 2 "Unsinkable Molly Brown" of driftwood. The Ammonia has been steadily 0. The nitrite has been steadily 0. The nitrates have worked their way up to around 10. The pH is about 7.5. 

After I added the wood, the water got darker and cloudy. Which seemed reasonable. I had a 10-20 gallon HOB to encourage water circulation and a sponge filter. I added a 35-45 gallon HOB on the left end, away from the other HOB and near the sponge filter. I also have 2 extra air stones.

The fish seem very happy and the corys are spawning. I know I was over feeding some because the snail population got larger, so I have cut back on the food some.

The strange thing is I am cleaning a lot of crud out of the HOBs mechanical media (no charcoal, just reusable filter sponge) every night. I didn't expect this with all the plants. I've increased and decreased the flow of the HOBs a few times, but it didn't seem to change the way the water or filters looked. I did a water change, being careful not to disturb the sand. The water stayed dark and cloudy. I keep cleaning the filters and will do another water change tonight when the RO water has warmed up to tank temp (about 75). According to Aqadvisor.com, I'm at about 85% of capacity. It assume all the fish are adults. I have an adult male plakat betta, 9 adult neon tetras, 2 adult female corys and 7 young corys, 6 kuhli loach who might be adults, and 2 young female flagfish, and a bunch of snails. 

I'm sure the water has tannins from the wood and the IALs. The water doesn't look green. I used turbo 700 when I started the tank and a added few dashes as it was getting settled. I'm not seeing any spiking in any of the water parms. I can't figure out where the cloudiness and the amount of crud in the mechanical filter media is coming from.

(I'm waiting for the new lights from ACO, so I cobbled together the current lighting. The red dwarf aquarium lily has put up a lot of floating leaves on the left, so I added three plant light bulbs below the water line in front of and at the end of the tank. There are 2 large twisted branched pieces of driftwood in the tank.)

3 photos below.

What do you think is going on in my tank?

1698654434_12312022As.jpg.c05dae03221e1c631c10823761d1edb1.jpg

 178815769_12312022Bs.jpg.de1490071c764f59405d2179e8a41abd.jpg

1820189805_12312022Cs.jpg.af126368bfbbf6ca60a7eef8bf3e2a6e.jpg

 

 

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My corys are enjoying New Years Eve.

When I did the water change this time, I carefully heated and aerated 20 gallons of RO water with Seachem Equilibrium to make sure it wouldn't trigger a spawning the way the last water change did.

As I was wiping down the drops on the outside of the tank, what should I spy? Fresh Cory eggs!

I was hoping some of my eggs from the last spawn on Wednesday might be hatching today, but no such luck. I did collect more on Thursday, so I won't give up all hope yet. I don't know if they look like they will hatch. They all look the same to me, not fuzzy, darker than they were, but not showing movement. I bought 30 Ultra Blue Dream shrimp to start a shrimp tank, and put 4 in the HOB breeder box with some java moss with cory eggs attached. The 4 shrimp are tending the eggs and rolling them around a bit, except for the eggs attached to the moss or leaves.

Either way, Happy New Year !

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Did you pre-soak the wood at all? I got two wood arches and soaked them for 4 weeks in a tub of water and the amount of disgusting crud, goop, bacterial growth, and wood particles that came off was insane. It didn't just turn brown like tea like I had expected. The water was foamy, goopy, and very coudy.

My guess is it's the wood and you'll either need to take it out and soak it elsewhere, or wait it out.

Edited by Miranda Marie
Typo of wrong number
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@Miranda Marie I didn't soak the driftwood. It washed ashore last spring and sat in the sun out front all summer. I looked like it had been in the lake a very long time. I don't have anything anywhere big enough to soak the wood in, short of the bathtub. I would really miss showering for 4 weeks. I changed 20 gallons last night and the water looks better today. I will clean the filter again tonight and see how they are doing.

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On 12/31/2022 at 6:59 PM, KittenFishMom said:

The fish seem very happy and the corys are spawning. I know I was over feeding some because the snail population got larger, so I have cut back on the food some.

The strange thing is I am cleaning a lot of crud out of the HOBs mechanical media (no charcoal, just reusable filter sponge) every night. I didn't expect this with all the plants. I've increased and decreased the flow of the HOBs a few times, but it didn't seem to change the way the water or filters looked. I did a water change, being careful not to disturb the sand. The water stayed dark and cloudy. I keep cleaning the filters and will do another water change tonight when the RO water has warmed up to tank temp (about 75). According to Aqadvisor.com, I'm at about 85% of capacity. It assume all the fish are adults. I have an adult male plakat betta, 9 adult neon tetras, 2 adult female corys and 7 young corys, 6 kuhli loach who might be adults, and 2 young female flagfish, and a bunch of snails. 

I'm sure the water has tannins from the wood and the IALs. The water doesn't look green. I used turbo 700 when I started the tank and a added few dashes as it was getting settled. I'm not seeing any spiking in any of the water parms. I can't figure out where the cloudiness and the amount of crud in the mechanical filter media is coming from.

(I'm waiting for the new lights from ACO, so I cobbled together the current lighting. The red dwarf aquarium lily has put up a lot of floating leaves on the left, so I added three plant light bulbs below the water line in front of and at the end of the tank. There are 2 large twisted branched pieces of driftwood in the tank.)

3 photos below.

What do you think is going on in my tank?

Sounds like my tank.  I'll have to get some photos and stuff together for you and explain what's going on with mine.  One tank is literally crystal clear, the other is a cloudy mess and has been for some time.

When you say "capped it with black sand"  what kind?

 

On 1/1/2023 at 6:00 PM, Rube_Goldfish said:

Though I have no first hand experience with them, I've heard good things about API Accu-clear for fine particulates and Seachem Purigen for tannins (mainly through MD Fishtanks, I think). If water changes alone aren't doing it, or aren't doing it fast enough, they might be worth looking into.

I've used seachem clarity, works fine.  I've had the same bottle for a long time.  Only ever use it on new tanks.  works just fine....

for tanninns I use carbon / water changes.  purigen is kind of a hassle for me.

 

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On 1/2/2023 at 3:53 AM, nabokovfan87 said:

for tanninns I use carbon / water changes.  purigen is kind of a hassle for me.

 

Oh yeah, I forgot that carbon would do it, too.  I kind of remember that Purigen is reusable or rechargeable, where carbon gets "used up"? Like I said, I've never used Purigen.

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On 1/2/2023 at 6:36 AM, Rube_Goldfish said:

Oh yeah, I forgot that carbon would do it, too.  I kind of remember that Purigen is reusable or rechargeable, where carbon gets "used up"? Like I said, I've never used Purigen.

Yeah, Zenzo talks about it on some of his videos where he had some customers that flat out just didn't want to recharge it, would pay for a new one each time.

I get it, and after doing that for a few times you'll have enough to always have some on hand.  It's unfortunate... it takes a lot of time to soak / recharge and there's not really an indication when you're doing anything right or wrong.  That was always my struggle.  I would have it in the tank with tannins, so it turned a color, which might or might not mean it's "full".  So then I would recharge it and drop a new one in.  Then I had issues with the filter box design and how easily it floats.  Chemical media usually is the last link in the chain, which means it just does not work for most HoBs.  Which then means it's not in the right section.

So then you recharge it, let it sit for a day in bleach water and it changes back to normal.  then you soak it in dechlor to be safe / dry it out and then go ahead and re-use it when you need to.  After 36-48 hours it's stained again, probably not full, but that's the cycle.  Constant doubt. 

Or.... you get that carbon pack you never use from your filter purchase and put it in the filter.  Then you just go "yep it's been a certain amount of time and the tank looks really clear".  Night and day. 😂

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On 1/2/2023 at 9:54 AM, KittenFishMom said:

It is a Petco brand sand "Imagitarium" larger pieces than a lot of other sand.

Alright cool.  That's perfect.

I am working on editing this video.  My phone isn't letting me remove the audio and it's a 4k file so difficult to edit quickly.  Hopefully I'll have something for you in a little bit.

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@nabokovfan87 and everyone, My tank is getting clearer. I think it was the driftwood that was causing problems.

When I try to take photos, they tend to be covered with reflection. Where can I find info so the photos don't look so bad. I took about 20 this evening, and this is the only one that is close to looking ok. In most you either see the hand holding the phone, or other reflections wash out the image to the point you can't see the fish.

I can avoid the reflection if I hold the phone against the glass. but that scares the fish away. If I want to photo the tank, I can't be against the glass.

I like the way this shows more of the curves of the driftwood. That is my betta, front and center. I wish it was more in focus and had less reflection. It looks so much better in person. .

574659837_driftwood01032022s.jpg.41361117440cd880e973f81ff1b8d54d.jpg

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On 1/3/2023 at 6:05 PM, KittenFishMom said:

@nabokovfan87 and everyone, My tank is getting clearer. I think it was the driftwood that was causing problems.

When I try to take photos, they tend to be covered with reflection. Where can I find info so the photos don't look so bad. I took about 20 this evening, and this is the only one that is close to looking ok. In most you either see the hand holding the phone, or other reflections wash out the image to the point you can't see the fish.

I can avoid the reflection if I hold the phone against the glass. but that scares the fish away. If I want to photo the tank, I can't be against the glass.

I like the way this shows more of the curves of the driftwood. That is my betta, front and center. I wish it was more in focus and had less reflection. It looks so much better in person. .

574659837_driftwood01032022s.jpg.41361117440cd880e973f81ff1b8d54d.jpg

To get rid of reflection, wait until nighttime and turn off all lights other than the tank light. Then take a photo. That's always worked for me.

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