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Dr. Bonke
 
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Hi mughal113,

I don't mind the question very much, asking questions is the best way to learn something new and as I had a DIY system for a while I'll try to answer it.
Fermentation produces alcohol and it evaporates readily. Then it dissolves in water readily too. Shouldn't it create a problem for the fish? I lost four fish in a night when i introduced CO2 injection. I'm 90% sure it was a change in pH that did it but the question remains in my mind.


Yes, fermentation does indeed produce alcohol, but it will take time and the final concentration in the DIY bottle will not get terribly high. Anything more than 15% will surely kill off your yeast, and that will effectively stop the fermenting process. Furthermore, the amount of evaporating alcohol at those concentrations is really quite low and the small amount that actually does evaporate will end up in a much larger volume of tankwater. I'd say that on average an aquarium has a volume of 10-40 times that of a DIY bottle, now let's say that one tenth of the produced alcohol evaporates from your 2 liter bottle (I'm just naming an amount, I'm not sure how much actually does evaporate, but I'm quite sure it's a lot less). 15% of two liters makes 300 ml, one tenth of that is 30 ml. Say you have a 60 liter aquarium, that would make a final concentration of 0.05%. I don't know how much that would affect the fish, but I don't think it's very much and it would take a long time to get to that point. If you keep up regular water changes you would never get there.

Like I said, it's just an example and not based on actual data. As the mixture in a DIY bottle is under some pressure (caused by the CO2) and is an almost closed environment, I think the actual evaporation of alcohol is very low. What you encountered with the fish dying is indeed most likely related to a sudden shift in pH or some other factor. In one night you would not even have all that much alcohol production anyway.

If I'm making some critical thinking error, then I'd like to see that corrected, so anyone, feel free to comment.
Post InfoPosted 19-Jun-2006 13:28Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
mughal113
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ThankS a lot for clearing out the confusion. Yes, the percentage of alcohol by volume would be too small to incur any damage to the fish. pH change must have been the culprit.
Post InfoPosted 19-Jun-2006 18:39Profile MSN PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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Post InfoPosted 01-Jul-2006 17:57Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
mattyboombatty
 
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I think that .05% alchohol would give the fish a nice buzz...but they should probably give somebody else the keys. In all seriousness I never had any problems with fish while I was doing DIY.

I think once that front section fills in with the chain sword, the tank will look very nice again. The mid and background plants look excellent.



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Post InfoPosted 02-Jul-2006 03:28Profile Homepage PM Edit Delete Report 
LITTLE_FISH
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Dr.,

Yeah, the tank looks very nice and most improtantly you seem to have much less algae issues

One question: What happened to the Pearl Grass carpet towards the right? Was it too maintenance intensive to keep them in a lower shape?

So when you go on vacation you go from one Island in the Mediterranean to another?

Ingo


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Post InfoPosted 02-Jul-2006 12:04Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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Post InfoPosted 02-Jul-2006 12:58Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
LITTLE_FISH
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EditedEdited by LITTLE_FISH
Gee Dr.,

I got confused. I thought you are in Cyprus, but now I remember that this was Robby, I believe . Well, close enough

Yeah, I saw that you have some pearl gras remaining, I was just curious because I have quite a bit of it in my 125G and I was wondering how well the carpeting was working out in the long run. I think I got my answer

Ingo

EDIT: Oh - US East Cost - you will have to visit us


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Post InfoPosted 02-Jul-2006 13:18Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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EditedEdited by Dr. Bonke
In Ingo's thread I said that I had stopped with this log, I guess I lied The updates do become rarer and rarer, but occasionally I'll try to add a little progress report here with some photos.

During the summer months I haven't really paid too much attention to the tank. I've done some weeding every now and then and added two gallons of water every four days as I'm still running the temporary fans on top to keep the temperature down. Funny how things that are temporary can just stay and stay and stay. Over those three months surprisingly little changed, I stopped fertilizing almost altogether, as my nitrate solution had run out and I figured that dosing just the other stuff wouldn't be particularly good either. Besides, it was summer; I was traveling a lot and away for most weekends. Leaving the fertilizing to my inlaws was not an option, making them feed the fish and having them top off the tank once a week was pretty much all I could expect from them. So, there was no fertilization for nearly three months.

The result: an increase in beard algae, it grew on all anubias and on some of the older leaves of plants, mostly the old crypto leaves and the lower leaves of the Bacopa, but also the bogwood is now completely covered in the wavy stuff. Some small tufts of staghorn here and there, but not so much that it really bothers me at the moment. And slower plant growth, though the Reineckii actually seems to like it better this way. Oh and the sunset hygro is a lot more colorful than it was during the high dosage fertilization.

Then about three weeks ago, all vacations were over and I was getting a bit more time for maintaining the tank. I dis some more weeding, moved a few things around a little and started dosing a little bit of phosphate and some micros (I still don't have nitrate). I'm keeping the dosage low, just enough to halt the staghorn in it steps and I want to slowly see what works best in my tank. I have some photos of how the tank was two weeks ago (the 9th, two days after maintenance) and today (also two days after maintenance), you can compare them with the one of the beginning of July. Enjoy.

Oh, PS. I had to remove the chain swords. Someone, I suspect the yoyos, were eating all the new leaves, and they were looking dreadful. Also, yesterday I recruited six Otos to help me in my battle against algae, even though they don't eat beard algae, there is plenty of other stuff for them around.


1.7.06


9.9.06


24.9.06
Post InfoPosted 24-Sep-2006 22:20Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
LITTLE_FISH
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In Ingo's thread I said that I had stopped with this log, I guess I lied


Well Dr,

It is amazing how well your tank looks after it got so little attention for such a long time. Unlike me though, you are not really showing us the details at the bad stage .

How did you get rid of the BBA? Simply by trimming off all effected leaves?

About the Otos: don't think that you have now a sufficient platoon of algae eaters for future outbreaks. 6 of them is a nice group (have 6 in my 40G), but they will not really make a big difference. I simply find them cute and that is why I have them. Although, they were pretty good at eating the onset of diatoms when the tank was new.

Good to see that you do update your log once in a while, I would not like to see this log to simply vanish.

Have fun,

Ingo


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Post InfoPosted 25-Sep-2006 00:17Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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EditedEdited by Dr. Bonke
It is amazing how well your tank looks after it got so little attention for such a long time. Unlike me though, you are not really showing us the details at the bad stage.

Ah well, I had some nasty details on the previous page so I thought I'd spare those for now, I'm not really all that proud of them, you know


How did you get rid of the BBA? Simply by trimming off all effected leaves?

Pretty much yes, there's still quite a few leaves that are having a bunch of the stuff, but from a distance it doesn't look so bad. Maybe I'll take some photos of those during the week, if I'm home early enough to actually find the main lights still on.


About the Otos: don't think that you have now a sufficient platoon of algae eaters for future outbreaks. 6 of them is a nice group (have 6 in my 40G), but they will not really make a big difference. I simply find them cute and that is why I have them. Although, they were pretty good at eating the onset of diatoms when the tank was new.

Yeah I know, and since they don't really eat beard algae I don't really expect to see any difference either. I used to have a set of 5 Otos, but most of them passed away in the period when the tank was overheated. Only one remained, and I bought the six as company for that one. Besides, they -are- cute


Good to see that you do update your log once in a while, I would not like to see this log to simply vanish.

I'll try to keep it up to date, but I know that I have periods in which I am more active at these things, and then after a while I just can't seem to make myself take the time to update about the fight against algae
We'll see how long I manage this time.

Edit: I just noticed this was my 300th post
Post InfoPosted 25-Sep-2006 21:33Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
LITTLE_FISH
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after a while I just can't seem to make myself take the time to update about the fight against algae
Come on, that is what my log makes a living off

And congratulation on 300 posts , which is about as much as I post in a month

Ingo


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Post InfoPosted 26-Sep-2006 15:51Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
mattyboombatty
 
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EditedEdited by mattyboombatty
I agree with LF, the tank must have magically formed a beard algae black hole or something. All those plants are looking quite healthy. Good recovery from not taking care of it for so long, and nice colors. Gotta be doing something right. I like how the stargrass forms a bush in the second pic, rather than a column in the third. Other than that, I got's no complaints.

EDIT: Oh, and too bad about the chain swords. They might be my favorite plant. If someone started destroying them in my tank it'd be war!



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Post InfoPosted 26-Sep-2006 16:57Profile Homepage PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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the tank must have magically formed a beard algae black hole or something. All those plants are looking quite healthy.


That is true for the faster growing plants, yes. But although the tank looks pretty good from a distance, when you look up close, there are still many instances of the beard algae present. I still haven't removed the Anubias from the tank (I can't help but love Anubias and I keep hoping that some day I'll beat the algae and they will grow nicely for me). I thought I'd illustrate it by putting up a couple of close-up photos. First up is the Alternanthera reineckii, I'm actually really pleased with the way those are going, as I have come very close to discarding them at some point. For some time they just looked absolutely horrible, and kept attracting all kinds of algae, now they look mostly very clean.


the second group is Limnophila aromatica, They're currently a bit thin-ish, as they've just been re-planted and it usually takes a little while for them to recover from topping. Still, I really like these plants. They're fairly easy, grow relatively slow, but stay quite algae free.


This third group is a red Crypto, I used to have a group of those off to the left, and then this one popped up from a creeper some distance off from the group. It is amongst a group of Cryptocoryne willisii, which is now becoming quite shaded, I may have to remove either kind. The willisii always has been quite susceptible to beard algae, but lately it's been doing a little better. You can still see some in between and also some of the red crypt have beards.


Then the last group I want to show is a Lobelia cardinalis mixed in with some of the old Anubias. Both are slow growers, with maybe the lobelia being ever so slightly faster. Yet, the Aniubas leaves get overgrown with beards in just a few weeks, while Lobelia in general stays quite clean. In this photo the worst affected area of the tank is shown. I may do some weeding in there during this weekend.


There you have it, a set of large closeups of my tank. I'll try to get all my images organized and prepare a series of photos of the tank over the last two years.
Post InfoPosted 27-Sep-2006 19:01Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
LITTLE_FISH
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Yeah Dr.,

That's what I am talking about. I appreciate your willingness to show us the beauty of your black plants

And I agree, there is sure some algae left in the tank. At least it doesn't make me feel like I am the only one with this kind of issues.

And yes, go dig out the old pics, please

Ingo


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Post InfoPosted 27-Sep-2006 20:37Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
tetratech
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EditedEdited by tetratech
Very nice!

The colors alone are something to really appreciate. I particularly like the way the baby tears in the second pick go in front of the tall corner plants that frame the tank.

Anyway, BBA just about everyone has some. The co2 inconsistency definitely increases the growth rate of the BBA, that coupled with high organics IMO makes the BBA flourish. I see many very big waste producers in the tank. That is a difficult mix with a highlight planted tank. I see about 15 pretty good size fish not counting the rummys and whatever else you have in there. These fish simply create too much waste and their food requirements are larger too. They give you very little room for error. I also get BBA in my tank mostly on the hardscape and sometimes on the Blyxa because it doesn't get enough light to grow. IMO you have to push the co2 to the max to control BBA in a tank like yours or in that case most tanks that have a fairly large organics load.

BTW - When I first saw your Limnophila aromatica I thought it was stargrass. As you might know I have the same plant as the centerpiece of my scape. I usually replant the tops though. I guess it depends on the look you want. When you cut the top I usually get multiple headers coming out of the cut stem which results in a bushier look, but thinner stems and probably less colorful.

My Scapes
Post InfoPosted 27-Sep-2006 23:25Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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EditedEdited by Dr. Bonke
I see about 15 pretty good size fish not counting the rummys


I thought my fishload wasn't too horrible, though the explosion of black mollies have made it a bit high. I'm planning to get rid of some of those. Besides the rummies there's three Yoyos, six Tiger barbs, three medium sized black mollies (and a bunch of little ones), and then now the six Otos. Mhmmm... summing it all up like this does make it sound like a lot. I need to get rid of the Mollies.

Anyway, I've gone through some of my files and have come up with a series of photos that show off the tank quite well. I've resized them so they're all the same size, which made the first couple a bit blurry. Those were taken with a normal camera, and I don't quite recall where I put the originals, so these will have to do.

Here we go, it started with an empty tank, with only the background installed:


Then I filled it up with water and let the bogwood pieces soak, only two of those ended up in the tank. This was May, 2004


The first plants, I thought it looked awfully empty.


And about two weeks later it looked a lot better: June 2004. The first fish, a couple of Rummies were added to the tank (they still live).


In August I started running into some trouble, staghorn and cloudy waters, I hated my tank:


Some two and a half weeks later, the water issues were mostly solved, getting rid of the staghorn took longer.


Another week later I was slowly starting to like the tank again: September 2004


The end of October, 2004. The Angelfish have decided to become vegetarians and ripped many of the plants apart.


Januari, 2005. The angels are still eating the plants, but plant growth has picked up, first week one:


Then one week later:


And one month after that, right after a weeding session:


July, 2005. About a year after setup. The angels are doing great, laying eggs nearly every two weeks, but I've returned two of them to the petstore, there was too much aggression between them. The plants are not doing very well and the nesting often prevents me from maintenance as I don't want to scare the parents:


October, 2005. Bernard once said that I'm a heavy weeder. He's very right, I think I overdo it a bit.


February 2006, I've moved the Angels to a different tank and now have started a more consistent fertilization schedule. Plantgrowth is picking up beautifully:


Ten days of fertized growth:


The next day it was time for some heavy weeding. Too much? Yeah, you're probably right:


March 2006: A month later, plantgrowth is great, but so is algae growth. I hoped the fertilizing according to the EI schedule would prevent it, but the problems with consistent CO2 delivery probably pit a stick in the wheel.


July 2006: The tank is now up and running for two years. Summer is over and I'm trying another fresh start. This year new light have been installed and pretty soon I hope to have a hood which makes it easier to maintain the tank.


September 9, 2006: The hood is still under construction, but the tank is picking up under a somewhat better controlled fertilization and CO2 delivery, I have not quite given up hope yet.


September 24, 2006: The most recent photo up to date. Still some algae, but it's not too bad, coming weekend there's more time for maintenance. new photos will be made
Post InfoPosted 28-Sep-2006 22:09Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
LITTLE_FISH
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Awesome Dr.,

That sums it up nicely,visually and emotionally. 2 years of ups and downs, we are for sure in the same boat

Visually I like the "February 2006" shot the best, the tank seems to display the greatest depth at that stage.

I am wondering also, do you think your hand-made background was worth the effort (and the water displacement)? Most of the time it cannot even be seen in the pictures, except after some heavy weed whacking. I would also assume that the surface of it allows for algae populations to thrive as cleaning them off seems impossible to me.

Thanks for the summary, very nice,

Ingo


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Post InfoPosted 29-Sep-2006 10:03Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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I am wondering also, do you think your hand-made background was worth the effort (and the water displacement)? Most of the time it cannot even be seen in the pictures, except after some heavy weed whacking. I would also assume that the surface of it allows for algae populations to thrive as cleaning them off seems impossible to me.


The answer to that is simple: No

Over the past two years I've often thought that I made that thing way too thick, and as you say, in a heavily planted tank you just don't see it enough. I think that it would probably work very well in a cichlid tank with mostly rocks (though then in a color matching the natural rocks).

However, in a freshly weeded tank, I still like the look of it, and if I would start completely anew with a tank, I probably would still make some kind of background, I'd just keep it a whole lot thinner and probably would not put nearly as much effort in it as I have done for this one. The lower part could have been a quarter inch thick and totally flat, and you'd never know it once the tanks has grown in a little.
Post InfoPosted 29-Sep-2006 12:02Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
mattyboombatty
 
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Actually I really enjoyed that about your thread DR. Bonke. I still find the texture at the top very attractive compared to a flat peice of glass that is easily figured to be painted or backed with cardboard. I agree it would do the job thinner and the bottom half isn't visible, but I've always thought it would have been worth it.



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Post InfoPosted 29-Sep-2006 17:32Profile Homepage PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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Just a brief update of the tank as it was during the weekend. This photo was taken on the 6th. All in all I'm happy with the way it is progressing. the light fertilization seems to have helped with the plantgrowth and algae issues. a bit of phosphate keeps the front window quite clean and stops the staghorn from taking over the place. And the micros keep my plants pretty.

Here it is
Post InfoPosted 11-Oct-2006 00:11Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
LITTLE_FISH
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Very Very Nice,

And oh so colorful, looks really good. If there is anything that I would change then it would be to make the group in the back right (Ludwigia?) a little more dense. All other plants seem to grow in a tight group setting while this one seems more loosely organized.

But the rest is pure beauty, good job Dr.,

Ingo


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Post InfoPosted 11-Oct-2006 13:34Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
TW
 
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EditedEdited by TankWatcher
Green with envy over your tank. Such beautiful colours, pinks & what not.

I can't pick a favourite shot - I love them all.

Walks away, jealously grumbling about own tank - full of nothing but green.



Cheers
TW
Post InfoPosted 11-Oct-2006 15:45Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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Thanks for the compliments I'm quite happy with the way the tank is going. Some plants may not be quite as lush as they could be if I would dose more fertilizer, but the colors make up for it. Besides, the slower growth also means less work to maintain it.

If there is anything that I would change then it would be to make the group in the back right (Ludwigia?) a little more dense.


That group is Bacopa caroliniana, and yes, it could be a bit more dense. I've initiated that already by cutting off a couple of tops and replanting them, it shouldn't take too long I think. They tend to grow about 5 cm in a week.

It looks good, but I still feel the tank is a bit unbalanced, with most of the reds on the right side and the greens on the left. I have some of the red cryptos on the far left, but they're not really taking off over there. Probably the shade from the Hygrophila keeps them small. Maybe once I have the red tiger lotus back up in shape I'll move that to the left side (there's only a couple of really small ones left, one in the front-right center). I need to think on that.

Post InfoPosted 11-Oct-2006 15:58Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
LITTLE_FISH
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with most of the reds on the right side and the greens on the left
Well, I call this a theme, like "war of the colors" .

Bacopa, yeah - I guess I have to clean my glasses. Ups, forgot that I don't wear any. Well, maybe I should

Ingo


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Post InfoPosted 11-Oct-2006 20:21Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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EditedEdited by Dr. Bonke
Another update then, this one with a photo of the tank as it was this afternoon, two weeks after the previous photo. I'm very pleased with the way things are going in the tank. With an old measuring cup and a part of my old CO2 reactor, I've made an intake for the powerhead that I use to diffuse CO2 into the water. The new setup works much better then the piece of filter sponge that I used before. That would get full of debris within a few days, resulting in much slower waterflow. The new system has now been in place for four days and still gives me the same high waterflow, which means a much more stable CO2 distribution.

Since the previous post I think that the black beard algae has not increased at all! It really starts to look like I'm eradicating it from the tank. In fact, I have seen very little algae appear at all in those two weeks. Just a hint of spot algae on the front glass and on the slow growing plants, and a few strands of staghorn right next to the CO2 injector. Besides that, algae growth seems to have stopped completely *fingers crossed*.

Now before I go to the photos, I'll just hint at some work I'll be doing during the next few days/weeks. That will be the building on a new hood for the tank. I now have all the materials I need (I think) and it is just a matter of figuring out how to put it all together in a smart way which doesn't look totally horrible. Here's a very rough drawing of how it approximately will look. I'm planning to take photos of the intermediate steps, so stay tuned.



The tank on the 6th of October


And today, the 20th of October

I've started a trimming schedule that I've picked up from Amano's Articles in TFH, it should result in much denser groups of plants. Let's see how it turns out. I have also added two plants, one should be easy to spot: Cyperus helferi. The other is more difficult to find: Cryptocoryne molmanni. I'm still not sure on their respective places, but then again, I'm on the lookout for some new drifwood, and may do a complete makeover once the new hood is installed.
Post InfoPosted 20-Oct-2006 22:09Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
LITTLE_FISH
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Very Nice Dr.,

And glad to hear that the algae is not increasing. It is a wonder what regular maintenance and a few improvements can do for you

I think that propper diffusion and distribution of CO2 is really important, and the fact that your previous setup was clogging up in a few days may have had a lot to do with the algae.

So you are working on a new hood, interesting. Matty will truely enjoy the in-progress shots, as I - as an amateur - will admire your craftsmanship

The tank has become really full, very nice. I see the helferi, and I am surprised you bought only one. It will take some time to settle and then it will grow new leaves nicely. A word of caution though: I found it to be a plant that because of its rather slow growth tends to be one of the first to get algae. Also, it doesn't like shading.

Have fun,

Ingo


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Post InfoPosted 21-Oct-2006 14:04Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
mattyboombatty
 
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Good to hear about the eradication of algae...planted tankers everywhere rejoice!

That looks like a pretty sleek lookin' design you got for that new hood. What are you using for the wood?



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Post InfoPosted 21-Oct-2006 17:53Profile Homepage PM Edit Delete Report 
TW
 
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Very nice job with the plants. Keen to see the progress of the hood too. Very clever to be able to build it yourself.

Cheers
TW
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Dr. Bonke
 
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Dr.,

I know nothing about DIY projects, so all I can say is - Looks Nice

But about the Helferi: the plant tends to create side shoots that can be separated from the main plant, but that would pretty much require to dig it up as the shoots start at or below substrate level. Also it is mentioned that one can split the rhizome to propagate. Somehow, for me that seems to be the same.

Ingo


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Post InfoPosted 24-Oct-2006 14:28Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
mattyboombatty
 
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Wow, I'd never thought of using a plastic for a hood, though I've seen it before on tanks. Are you going to be painting the plastic to keep light in the hood and in the tank? I imagine with a reflector it wouldn't be too bad if you didn't paint it, but I don't know.



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Post InfoPosted 24-Oct-2006 15:08Profile Homepage PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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I guess I'll have to see how the Helferi does in the long run. I have a mild concern about a slight increase in some staghorn algae, which seem to be popping up across the tank, so I've upped my phosphate dosage a little bit. I hope that will do the trick.

Matty, I'm not planning to paint the plastic, as I don't think that would result in a very nice finish... though maybe spray painting would work, I'll keep that in mind if my primary idea doesn't work. And that primary idea is basically a huge sticker From the same strore where I bought the perspex, I bought a rather convincing roll of fake-wood sticky plastic... I'm not sure what the correct english word is for that stuff, but it's a bit like wall paper, only then plastic and self-adhesive. They had it in several kinds of "wood", and I was lucky enough to find the same beech color as the base of the old hood (which, btw, also is fake-wood).

So, once I have all the parts ready for assemby, and some after assembly, they will be wrapped in the self adhesive plasic and fitted together. I just hope it'll stick nicely... if not I'll have to use a bit of the two-component glue I have as backup. The lamps themselves are already fitted with high-polished aluminium reflectors, so making the hood white on the inside is not really necessary.

Tonight I think I'll make a second mockup, this time with the lid installed, to see how it all works. I may have some photos of it, later on.
Post InfoPosted 24-Oct-2006 16:15Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
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EditedEdited by coop
wanna let me in on what species the pinky coloured plant on the right is? and the red lilley looking thing?
so u dont have an algea eater im guessing, how come you dont get any algea on your plants but heaps on your DW and background?
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EditedEdited by TankWatcher
Thought I'd pop in and ask how is the DIY hood progressing?

Cheers
TW
Post InfoPosted 08-Nov-2006 00:03Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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wanna let me in on what species the pinky coloured plant on the right is? and the red lilley looking thing?
so u dont have an algea eater im guessing, how come you dont get any algea on your plants but heaps on your DW and background?


I think that the plants you mean are Alternanthera reineckii "roseafolia"(the pinky coloured plant on the right) and red tiger lotus (the red lilley looking thing). The tiger lotus is still very small and has been growing rather slowly since it came off its bulb.

I do have seven Otocinclus algae eaters, but algae eaters generally don't really make a dent on the algae in any tank. I sometimes observe them when they're rasping the algae off the front glass (there isn't much to begin with) but I can never really see a difference before and after they've grazed. The reason why I have not so much algae on the plants is because the plants "renew". Old, algae covered parts are removed when I trim them back to size. The background and wood on the other hand don't change, they're always on the same location and thus are continuously exposed to algae growth. What you see there has accumulated over the last two years.

Thought I'd pop in and ask how is the DIY hood progressing?


Rather slowly. During the weekend after my previous entry, when I was supposed to work on it, my wife has taken me out, looking for new curtains. Then there was a certain part that I had to glue. The problem was that the glue needed sunlight (UV to be specific) in order to get activated and harden. Mother nature decided that Finland needed some more rain and kept it completely overcast for nearly two weeks with rivers of rain and now snow. Last week I had the luck that one morning when I had to visit an eye-specialist later in the morning, the weather was actually good enough to do the glueing. Since then I've been slowly making some progress, and I think that this weekend I may actually give the whole thing a fitting on the tank. If I'm not too drained after the gym workout later today, I may still do a bit of work on it.

It'll be finished, one day
Post InfoPosted 08-Nov-2006 16:32Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
coop
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see i have a styrofoam background aswell. it is a root system style one. i think it would look a lot more natural with algea on it, but the BN keeps everything completely clear of algea.

my 55G has been all green and i've just decided add sum contrast. i'll be adding sum whorly rotala, a red echindoras of sum sort an sumthin pink, Alternanthera reineckii, thanx to you.
you sold your angels right?
well the zebra was one of the best looking ones ive seen in a while.
Post InfoPosted 09-Nov-2006 09:56Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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Abrief update on the hood construction, The basic frame is now ready and aligned. It took some time to get the corner connections right, but the final result is very pleasing with basically no space in between the connecting pieces. I've "sunk" the screws into the plastic, so the surface will be completely smooth. One thing I'm not yet quite sure of is whether I will indeed cover the new hood with the wood texture plastic. In a way I kinda like the glossy black. The only problem is that it shows fingerprints awfully easy.

Here's some pictures. The first one is just the frame, then the second one is with the lid loosely attached. I've already noticed a small problem with the alignment of the hinges That's going to take a while to figure out, but I think I'll get it right in the end. the last one is with the lid open, which shows how much elbow space I'll have when I'll be working in the tank it's about three times as much as I have right now.





Post InfoPosted 09-Nov-2006 17:07Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
mattyboombatty
 
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Wow, that's pretty dang sleek lookin' Dr. Bonke. You are right, that's a nice wide space to work with when open. Great job, it looks like you took everything into account. I can't wait to see it in action.

One thing I just thought of, are there any vent holes in the back or sides? I would think that it might be needed, unless you have a nice cool house most of the time.



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Post InfoPosted 09-Nov-2006 18:31Profile Homepage PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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Wow, that's pretty dang sleek lookin' Dr. Bonke. You are right, that's a nice wide space to work with when open. Great job, it looks like you took everything into account. I can't wait to see it in action.

One thing I just thought of, are there any vent holes in the back or sides? I would think that it might be needed, unless you have a nice cool house most of the time.


Thanks Matty, I'm quite curious myself to see how it'll turn out when it's in working order Right now there aren't any ventilation holes just yet, but there will be. I have already bought two "ultra-quiet" ball-bearing 6 cm fans that will be installed somewhere on the back of the hood. I need them as the T5 lamps that will be there generate enough heat to get the water temperature up to 33 Celsius. But before I make the holes, I want to see how the lamps will fit in there, so I can choose the best position for the fans based on that layout.

Hopefully I'll get to that stage during this weekend
Post InfoPosted 09-Nov-2006 19:35Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
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EditedEdited by TankWatcher
I like the hood & I like it black. That opening is great. I'm thinking if your lights will be screwed to the underside of the lid, you won't have to remove the hood for tank maintenance. That would be so good. It is a hassle finding somewhere to rest my hood (that the light cord will reach) while I work in the tank.

Now, if we weren't separated by sooo much ocean, I'd ask you to set up a little production factory in your basement & I'd buy 3 custom hoods from you. hehehe

Looking good.

Cheers
TW
Post InfoPosted 10-Nov-2006 00:17Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
LITTLE_FISH
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Dr,

I have to say that this is the sleekest design I have seen for any custom hood ever, very very lean. Love it!!!!

But, where exactly are the lights going? Into the part that flaps up? Will you add reflectors as well (you better, as I think you would loose loads of light otherwise )?

Ingo


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Post InfoPosted 10-Nov-2006 11:07Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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Now, if we weren't separated by sooo much ocean, I'd ask you to set up a little production factory in your basement & I'd buy 3 custom hoods from you. hehehe


Nah, you wouldn't, because I'm very expensive But really, this thing has become quite a lot pricier than I intended it to be. For the most part that is caused by the environment here in Finland, which is totally not geared towards DIY. Ten little M3 bolts, without the nuts, already cost about 4$ USD, I need about 30 of them just for the hinge I holland I probably could have gooten all need for just a few bucks. Oh well

Ingo, the lights will be installed with reflectors, so I'm not too worried about loss of light. Two 55 watts (50 cm each) T5 lamps go in the fixed part of the top (in the rear), then another two of those will be attached to the opening part of the lid, and I'm still considering whether I'll attach the current unit of two 38 watt T8 lamps in there, or just one of those. The current unit is rather unwieldy, and I may have to take it apart so I probably won't use it. I think I'll get ready for installing the lamps during this weekend, or the next weekend at the latest. It has to be finished by next weekend, as the weekend after that my parents are flying over and the appartment has to be squeeky clean by then, wife's orders
Post InfoPosted 10-Nov-2006 19:03Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
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after that my parents are flying over and the appartment has to be squeeky clean by then, wife's orders
Sounds familiar to me, wonder where I have heard such orders before? Ah, that's right, at home

Anyway, your hood being so sleek, how far above the water column would the foremost units be? Seems like they would almost be in the water. Also, will there be a glass top above the water?

Ingo


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Post InfoPosted 10-Nov-2006 19:36Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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Anyway, your hood being so sleek, how far above the water column would the foremost units be? Seems like they would almost be in the water. Also, will there be a glass top above the water?


Ah, actually, it'll be quite a goodly distance. The part that I'm building is somethhing that I'm adding to the existing structure. Here's an old photo of the entire tank (from when I just planted it, two years ago).


As you can see here, the hood consists of just a 7 cm high "wooden" structure (which is made of plastic). This canopy is covered by the light unit and two plastic flaps that can be opened, one in the back and one in the front. The part that I'm building right now is to replace the current light unit. It will basically sink about half a cm into the "wood" that you can see here. The "wood" itself is glued to the glass and I don't dare remove it (especially with a filled tank), so I'm just adding a little on top.
Post InfoPosted 10-Nov-2006 19:56Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
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Post InfoPosted 20-Nov-2006 00:04Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
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All seems to be going well with the new hood. I'm so glad you have a wise & trusted advisor, ensuring you do no wrong.

Cheers
TW
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Dr.,

A cat is your adviser? Be careful that the finished product is not some form of fish trap that provides a snack

Anyway, I looked at the pictures before reading the words, one shouldn't do if one is to avoid unnecessairy questions, like "that are some skinny bulbs there", . Nice photoshop work.

And overall, seems to come together really nicely.

Ingo


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Post InfoPosted 21-Nov-2006 00:22Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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Post InfoPosted 21-Nov-2006 00:45Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
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Looking very sharp and shiny, Dr.

Good job on getting it all together, but you have to work on the two mm,

Anway, yeah - having lights on the tank and being able to reach all areas inside the tank is a great thing. I have this on all my tanks when I remove the glass cover but keep the elevated unit in place.

Have a good sleep,

Ingo


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Post InfoPosted 21-Nov-2006 01:01Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
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Wow, that looks great Dr. Bonke. I would love one of those myself. Gotta love all that room to be able to mess with the tank without having to lift a fixture off the tank every time. I wish I'd have thought of that for my SW fixture. I have a feeling that I'm going to be making that one over again. I'll probably stay away from the plastic, but I might steal that hinge idea.



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Post InfoPosted 21-Nov-2006 01:30Profile Homepage PM Edit Delete Report 
tetratech
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Very Impressive, very sleek. One Issue with for example the coralife fixtures over a glass top is that the light shines on the glass top which highlights the dust and other smudges on the glass. When the light is completely contained inside the hood (as it is with your unit) the light only shines into the tank.



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Post InfoPosted 21-Nov-2006 16:58Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
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Impressive job. Let us know when 2mm has been taken care of

Cheers
TW
Post InfoPosted 21-Nov-2006 23:48Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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Today was a day off so I actually had some extra time to do a bit of work in the tank. A bit of trimming, waterchanges, etc. All in all I'm quite pleased though the stargrass looks rather thin atm due to the cutting. I cut away the tops and left the bottom parts in as an experiment to see if it'll slow down growth a bit or not (replanted tops reach the surface within a week since I started fertalizing with Nitrate again). Other news is that I've finally received the glass covering for the tank, evaporation issues should be covered now.

Anyway, I've taken some photos of the tank(s) after today's waterchange. Enjoy.

PS, the 2 mm still needs to be taken care off, it involves remving the whole hood and widening some of the drilling holes on top. Right now I just cant be bothered with it
.

first some whole tank shots:
20.10.06: Just over a month ago, before I changed the hood


30.11.06: A month later, new hood is installed and I've started dosing with nitrate again (before I dosed only with micros and a bit of phosphate


06-12-06: Today, right after a water change. Note that the increased amount of Nitrate causes quite a different color in the sunset hygro, instead of the deep pink, it's now a light rose.


Some other shots, first the bucnh of greedy tigerbarbs... these guys are ALWAYS hungry, and when they get food they eat so fast that almost every time a few of them swallow a lot of air and have major buoyancy problems after dinner:


A detail shot of the tiger lotus, it was tiny a few weeks ago, but it has grown a lot in the last two weeks and produces a new leaf every few days. I even managed to catch a couple of rummies in this shot:


Finally a shot of the other tank, I recently installed some new lamps and reflectors, since then plants are actually showing some growth again... next year I may get a similar T5 lighting system for that tank, it's just a little too dark for my liking.


Oh, and tomorrow I may actually be getting my tenth gold star.... if I don't break down in nerves that is
Post InfoPosted 06-Dec-2006 21:36Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
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Man! That is unreal! Only in my dreams I will have that!

Guess it just goes to show what knowledge, planning, hard work & determination can achieve!
Post InfoPosted 06-Dec-2006 22:04Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
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its beautiful.



wow.

GFG

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Post InfoPosted 06-Dec-2006 22:17Profile Homepage Yahoo PM Edit Delete Report 
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Simply beautiful. I'll interested to hear if cutting from the top slows down the stem growth. I'm growing weary of pulling out the stems each week for trimming - yes they reach the top in a week, same as yours.

BTW, you must get to work on that 2mm

Cheers
TW
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Very nice colors, the stargrass looks exceptionally healthy. I have a love/hate relationship with that plant in my tank and I keep reducing it's presence due to the maintenance involved. Cutting the tops might buy you alittle extra time, but probably not much.

I also have a recently acquired tiger lotus and it's growing new leaves quite rapidly. I'm told if a leaf makes it to the surface the plant will die.

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Post InfoPosted 07-Dec-2006 03:52Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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I also have a recently acquired tiger lotus and it's growing new leaves quite rapidly. I'm told if a leaf makes it to the surface the plant will die.


Nah, that's nonsense. The plant is just like a regular lilly and will keep on making new leaves, but they will then all go to the surface. At that point it will become harder to induce it to make the immersed leaves. So in general, as soon as you start seeing a leaf going to the surface, snip it off close to the bulb. Most of the time the next leaf will be immersed again.
Post InfoPosted 07-Dec-2006 08:47Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Wingsdlc
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EditedEdited by Wingsdlc
Very nice colors,
I also agree with Tetra on the colors. I must be running way too high of Nitrates in my high tech for my sunset to color up. It is almost always bright green.

In my 29G most of the stems are either pink or dark pink. In this tank I do hardly any dosing and I am running way less light (20W). The low nitrates must be the key to keeping this plant looking sharp.

What are you dosing for nitrates BTW?


55G Planted tank thread
19G Container Pond
[IMG]http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y118/Wingsdlc/Ric
Post InfoPosted 07-Dec-2006 15:16Profile AIM PM Edit Delete Report 
LITTLE_FISH
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EditedEdited by LITTLE_FISH
Very Nice Dr.,

I like the whole series of shots and each one of them shows a wonderful tank. You sure have a hand and eye for a good layout (albeit not Amano like ).

Also, I remember shots of your smaller tank being in really bad shape, all seems to have turned for the better there as well.

Ingo

PS: AND STILL NO 10TH STAR?????


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Post InfoPosted 07-Dec-2006 15:40Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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Thanks for all the supporting comments and praise Much appreciated, though I wouldn't mind some suggestions either (some, mind you! )

What are you dosing for nitrates BTW?

I have a stock solution of 200 mg/ml KNO3 of which I dose 5 ml twice a week. I'm still not sure if it helps, but I've started dosing in the evenings, with in the back of my mind that the plants then can use the first wave during the night and then get a bit of a headstart over algea, which won't do much during night time. But that's just a theory which isn't really based on actual data, I just read somewhere at some point that plants do most of their growing during night time and hence my theory.

albeit not Amano like

Yeah well... maybe some day
And the small tank is indeed doing a bit better, I think in part it had to do with the plants having to get used to low light and also lack of maintenance from my part. It doesn't take much to keep it the way it is now, as it's lowlight, non-CO2, so the plants grow really slow. But the waterchanges are still kinda necessary in order to keep cyanos away.

PS: AND STILL NO 10TH STAR?????

Like I said, maybe later today I keep on messing up on a couple particular questions, I think I've made the same stupid mistakes several times, for example: what kind of filtering is filter wool? I think I've answered "biological filtering" many times while the correct answer (according to the quiz) is mechanical filtering. I have been told on several occasions that the filter wool's main purpose was to create a surface for beneficial bacteria, that it also catches some of the larger debris was an added value. but now that I finally know the answer to that one, I think I can get that one right
Post InfoPosted 07-Dec-2006 16:28Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
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I have been told on several occasions that the filter wool's main purpose was to create a surface for beneficial bacteria
I can see where this is true, and false:

1) Every surface is good for beneficial bacteria, inside and outside of the tank, as long as the tankwater flows by.
2) Filter wool would be no exception
3) But - its overall surface area is actually rather limited to the individual strands of wool, and they are not packed realy dense. Other media offer on the same volume occupied a much larger surface.
4) Also, this gap between the individual strands is sooooo large that loads of water will flow by without ever hitting them. Larger particules, usually debris and such, are too big for these gaps and get stuck.

Makes sense?

Ingo


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Post InfoPosted 07-Dec-2006 16:39Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Wingsdlc
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I have a stock solution of 200 mg/ml KNO3 of which I dose 5 ml twice a week.
What does that work out to be in PPM? I don't know how much water you are mixing it into.

55G Planted tank thread
19G Container Pond
[IMG]http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y118/Wingsdlc/Ric
Post InfoPosted 08-Dec-2006 15:09Profile AIM PM Edit Delete Report 
LITTLE_FISH
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Congrats on the 10th Star Dr.



Ingo


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Post InfoPosted 08-Dec-2006 15:49Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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Post InfoPosted 08-Dec-2006 15:49Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
LITTLE_FISH
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(was it now so that in order to keep them you need to redo the test every two weeks?)

No, once you got them you will get the badge and that's it, all done. I hope they will never change that as I believe we all worked hard enough to get there (given that I am not getting paid for it).

And it must have been a little earlier that you got the star as I already congratulated you on it on the last page

Ingo


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Post InfoPosted 08-Dec-2006 16:42Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
FRANK
 
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Hi,
When I was using HOB filters 5 decades ago, we used "filter
floss" and we were told that you wanted to put enough in
to do the job, but not to cram it in as it would clog and
back up the filter to the point where it would over flow.
The carbon was supposed to be placed on top of the filter
floss with the floss the last part of the filter before the
water was returned to the tank. That made the charcoal
serve two purposes, mechanical and chemical filtration.

One would watch the filter to see if the water rose inside
the box and would change the whole mess before it over
flowed the box onto the floor. Eventually, given your
individual tank, you would learn that you had to change
the filter every X amount of time and it became a part of
your aquarium maintenance. I would use about an inch of
floss with about 3 inches of charcoal above it.

Frank


-->>> The Confidence of Amateurs, is the Envy of Professionals <<<--
Post InfoPosted 08-Dec-2006 17:16Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Wingsdlc
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So you are using 5ml of Nitrate 2x a week. That is giving you 5.6 ppm for the whole week. Right now I am giving mine 11 ppm 3x a week. Needless to say I am running my Nitrates way higher than you. I guess that is why I am not getting the color out of my Sunset.

Thanks for the info.

55G Planted tank thread
19G Container Pond
[IMG]http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y118/Wingsdlc/Ric
Post InfoPosted 11-Dec-2006 15:33Profile AIM PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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Post InfoPosted 17-May-2009 01:19Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Wingsdlc
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Doc - The tank is looking pretty good again. The plants for sure seem healthy. I think that a planted tank is hard to keep up when you don't have time to put into it. equipment issues only make things worse.

I just moved and rescaped my 55G if you want to come check it out.

55G Planted tank thread
19G Container Pond
[IMG]http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y118/Wingsdlc/Ric
Post InfoPosted 17-May-2009 13:44Profile AIM PM Edit Delete Report 
brandeeno
 
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I just went through and read all ten pages of your diary!

WOW your tank had an excellent start and many, MANY trials and tribulations throughout its growth and I honestly am glad you stuck with it as many times when a tank gives me that much grief I tear it down and start over. I must give you some props for sticking with it and still ending up with a brilliant tank!

you have done an amazing job, keep up with it, and keep us posted on how it is doing... there is nothing more rewarding than keeping an ecosystem stable and being rewarded with fry and the constant growth of plants.

-Brandon

\\\\\\\"an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure\\\\\\\"
Post InfoPosted 18-May-2009 00:39Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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EditedEdited by Dr. Bonke
Thanks for the kind comments. The only reason I never tore it down completely to start over was that I knew I would not have the time to keep up the maintenance after restarting, and I figured it would just be a waste of time, money, and effort. When we would get visitors I would spend an hour or two removing the worst of the algae and then basically try to avoid talking about the tank until they would leave

Yesterday I did some small maintenance and cleaned out the filter. By now the water is reasonably clear again (just a hint of cloudiness left) and I figured I could take a proper shot of the tank to show what it looks like right now. Here is the same shot from April 12 (last month) and then the one from 10 minutes ago (May 18).





What a difference one month makes, huh? I should add here that only once new plant was introduced during this time, a Anubias barteri, in the right back corner to hide my CO2 distributer (an old power head from a crappy filter I got with my small tank).

The Bacopa has recovered incredibly well, for nearly a year it pretty much did not grow at all, the tips were all thin with very small leaves, and it was making a lot of tiny purple flowers. The flowers were somewhat concerning, as plants make them either when the conditions are really good, or as a final resort when conditions are so bad that the plant is likely to die and only seeds seem to be a possible way to continue. I was pretty sure my conditions were far from optimal, so I figured the Bacopa was about to kick the bucket. By now the leaves from some stems are bigger than I've EVER seen on Bacopa, and the color is really quite pretty.

Since a month ago, also the crypts all have made wondrous recoveries and a couple of tiger lotuses have popped up. The only plant that is doing so so is the Alternanthera, some stems look very good, others have very curly leaves. I think that's a sign of some deficiency, but I'll have to look that up.
Post InfoPosted 18-May-2009 13:05Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
mattyboombatty
 
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Wow Dr. Bonke, looking great! I'm enjoying the bacopa tood. I don't see it used very often, and yours is showing a lot of color up top.



Critical Fertilator: The Micromanager of Macronutrients
Post InfoPosted 19-May-2009 02:44Profile Homepage PM Edit Delete Report 
FRANK
 
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Wow! Great to have you back posting again Doc!
Missed Ya!

The tank looks great.

CUL,
Frank


-->>> The Confidence of Amateurs, is the Envy of Professionals <<<--
Post InfoPosted 19-May-2009 05:18Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Wingsdlc
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The only plant that is doing so so is the Alternanthera, some stems look very good, others have very curly leaves.
Alternathera seems to be that way. I can't quite put my finger on it either as some of mine look great and others right next door do not. I am pretty sure I am not low on nutrients either as I am dosing EI.

55G Planted tank thread
19G Container Pond
[IMG]http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y118/Wingsdlc/Ric
Post InfoPosted 19-May-2009 12:14Profile AIM PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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EditedEdited by Dr. Bonke
Wow Dr. Bonke, looking great! I'm enjoying the bacopa too. I don't see it used very often, and yours is showing a lot of color up top.

It's one of my favourite plants these days, also when you trim the plants, they give quite a nice smell. Sometimes I wonder how they would taste in a salad

Alternathera seems to be that way. I can't quite put my finger on it either as some of mine look great and others right next door do not. I am pretty sure I am not low on nutrients either as I am dosing EI.


I just read that it may have something to do with high light, some people seem to have some trouble with growing it under high light conditions, and during the peak hours of the day I have about 300 watts of light over the tank (6 55W T5 lamps), and some of the better looking stems are a bit shaded by other plants. I'm going to keep my eyes out for some different red plants, or perhaps once the Limnophila aromatica grows out a bit more I'll use that to fill in those spots. Right now the number of plant species is a bit high, and although the different sections look very nice up close, I do find that the overall look is a bit messy in these photos. I'll be traveling the next couple of days, so I'll hope the tank lasts alright until Sunday. I may make some fertilizer batches for my inlaws to add while I'm gone.
Post InfoPosted 19-May-2009 13:14Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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Two weeks since the last entry. Not terribly much has changed and the tank lived through my 4 day absence quite well. I added some extra fertilization before I left and that resulted in some crazy amount of growth on the first couple of days. However, it seems that by the third day the plants ran out of nutrients. The Lymnophila is the best indicator, it got some really big leaves during my absence, but then the growth tips just all collapsed. By now most look as if someone cut off the tips and they are making new shoots at the end. Here are some shots of the tank, one whole view, and a couple of more detailed shots.



Here you can see some of the recovering tiger lotus, they're still small, but making leaves rather quickly. Keeping them in check once they get bigger may be a challenge


A close-up of the Anubias in the back, it actually is making a flower, that's the first time in the life of this tank that an Anubias is actually producing one. Just above and to the right you can see the outlet of the powerhead that mixes the CO2 into the water.


Finally a shot of the left side of the tank, here you can see the tips of the lymnophila that suffered (probably due to lack of nutrients).

Post InfoPosted 31-May-2009 17:21Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Wingsdlc
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Doc - The tank sure is looking great! The plants are much more full and green.

I wish you the best of luck with the lotus. I have a dwarf lily in my tank right now. It started as a bulb with one or two very small leaves. I came back from a week of vacation and it had 10+ leaves that were 4-6 inches in diameter. I took the mother plant and put it in my outdoor tub and left a small baby plant.

55G Planted tank thread
19G Container Pond
[IMG]http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y118/Wingsdlc/Ric
Post InfoPosted 23-Jun-2009 15:14Profile AIM PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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Long time no see. based on the limited amount of new posts since my last login I doubt there many people hanging around anymore, but I figured I could leave a message.

My tank has been up and running pretty much continuously for the last 8 years but had a major overhaul in the spring of this year (after a two year limited attention period). Since then I've been battling with all the kinds of algae you can think of, but now finally have sorted them all out.

The tank is fully high tech atm: pressurized CO2, pH measuring, EI fertilizing, and chemical balancing of the hardness of the water. Earlier this week I did another minor overhaul, added some new driftwood and got rid of most of the leftover BBA. The plants still need to do some filling in, but overall it's now slowly moving into the right direction.

here's the tank as it looked like earlier today:
Post InfoPosted 07-Dec-2012 22:11Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
FRANK
 
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EditedEdited 08-Dec-2012 06:58
Hi Doc!
Great to hear from you again, and truly a striking tank!
What are those fish? They are a really nice shade of lavender.

Like you, life gets in the way of play. I've retired for the third time and living full time in our home at 10,000ft elevation inside the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Susan is going through kidney failure (rejecting her second transplant, and we are in the process of building an addition to the house. With all that is going on and demanding my attention, I'm beginning to wonder what real retirement is like!

Frank

-->>> The Confidence of Amateurs, is the Envy of Professionals <<<--
Post InfoPosted 08-Dec-2012 06:57Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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Wow Frank, sorry to hear Susan is having so much trouble. I've seen what kidney failure can be like with my grandfather who needed dialysis twice a week. It always took him two days to recover from that. I hope things will work out for you so you can actually enjoy the retirement.

As for the tank, the fish are Congo Tetras, with the Grolux lights their amazing color comes out beautifully.
Post InfoPosted 08-Dec-2012 07:56Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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The tank is doing well, algae seems mostly a thing of the past and I only have to clean the glass a little once a week at the water change. The plants seem to stay totally clean of algae, only the wood and background gain a bit of color, which I actually don't mind so much.

As the tank has developed quite a bit over the past year, I figured it would be nice to add some progression pictures.

In February last year I restarted the tank after I lost 90% of my fish in a severe Ich attack following the introduction of some marbled hatchet fish.


Two weeks later the surviving fish were introduced:



Then came our trip three week trip to China, during which the CO2 ran out and my parents in law "took care" of the tank (i.e. fed the fish):


The algae problem was quite overwhelming, especially with little time on my hands due to learning how to be a good father, yet, slowly things got a little better:


and a little better still, May 26, 2012:


In June, the green hair algae was losing big time:



In July, the green hair algae was a thing of the past, but I was still fighting some staghorn, green dust algae, and black beard algae was beginning to be a problem:


During August, we were again away for vacations, and on return the black beard algae had covered almost everything except the very new parts of the plants. I began spot treatment with peroxide and got rid of my CO2 reactor, instead using a powerhead for CO2 injection. From that point on things slowly got better:


In November I did a slight rescape, removing some old wood, and adding a new piece:


On January 4th, most of the old, algae covered plant parts are now gone, and some modifications of plant positioning were done.


And as of today it is mostly a matter of plants growing into their proper positions and volume.


Things I did to get rid of the different algae issues I have had over the past year:
Green hair algae: reduce photoperiod to about 9 hours, increase CO2 and lowering amount of ferts (I use EI).
Green water: yes, I had some of that too. I installed a UV lamp
Staghorn: adjusted the amount of phosphate fertilizer.
Black beard algae: removed the apparently inefficient CO2 reactor and got a powerhead instead (see right side of the tank). Increased CO2 to about 4 bubbles per second. In addition I treated the tank on a weekly dose with Flourish Excel.

There you have it.
Post InfoPosted 12-Jan-2013 12:15Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
FRANK
 
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HI Doc!
"Learning to be a good father." CONGRATULATIONS!!

Replacing the reactor with a power head... is this a powerhead that as a reactor built into it, or, are you just plugging the CO2 line into the fitting that is mounted on the top of many powerheads where one attaches an air hose to it so it pulls atmospheric air into it and sprays out small bubbles, and in this case it sprays out tiny CO2 bubbles?

Frank

-->>> The Confidence of Amateurs, is the Envy of Professionals <<<--
Post InfoPosted 12-Jan-2013 19:36Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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Frank, thanks so much. The trip to China I had early last year that led to my tank being bright green on my return, was to adopt our son Daniel. He'll be two next week and is aboslutely fantastic.

As for the powerhead, it's a cheap one from ebay that has a barred intake at the bottom. I removed one of the bars and simply feed the CO2 hose into it. The bubbles are very fine and the pump is relatively strong, so by the time the bubbles get close to the surface, they meet the downwards current from my external filter on the other end. While CO2 is active, my tank almost looks slightly misty fom all the tiny bubbles (both CO2 and the oxygen produced by the plants).

The tank looks best late in the evening as CO2is off from one hour before lights go out.
Post InfoPosted 12-Jan-2013 22:56Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Babelfish
 
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Dr. Bonke congrats on the adoption
It's a 10 year waiting list here!

Even with the algae that's a stunning tank (geez those congos look great!).

Thanks for the notes and photos.

^_^

Post InfoPosted 15-Jan-2013 01:17Profile Homepage AIM MSN PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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Thanks Babel,

If I learned one thing over the past year it is how to deal with different kinds of algae

By updating this thread I hoped to do my small part in reviving the site a little, but if I'm totally honest I fear it is mostly falling on blind eyes. There really isn't much activity here anymore. As seems the case with most forums these days. I'm getting the feeling that forums are slowly becoming a thing of the past while the world moves on to different/faster social media.
Post InfoPosted 16-Jan-2013 10:59Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
superlion
 
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I still mostly lurk around here. I recently(ish) joined my local aquarium club, which has been awesome. They have a forum too, which is great to discuss fish stuff with people who have the same water, LFSes, and can trade with more easily. I expect to stick around here too though, for things like this

><>
Post InfoPosted 16-Jan-2013 21:40Profile Homepage PM Edit Delete Report 
DaMossMan
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Congrats on Fatherhood ! Also your tank is looking sweet. Still have the eye for plant placement too I see

The Amazon Nut...
Post InfoPosted 18-Feb-2013 13:48Profile Homepage PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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EditedEdited 19-Feb-2013 11:19
Thanks guys

This will likely be the last update for this setup of my tank. In three weeks from now I'll be moving house and will have to tear down the whole thing. I hope I won't suffer too many losses in life stock, but I'm fairly sure I'll be losing about 80% of my plants as they will need to be need to be transferred to a smaller tank for a couple of weeks, which has different lights. As the weeks following the move will be quite busy, I doubt I'll have the time to set up this tank any time soon.

It's a shame, as it has now really settled in nicely. Plants grow very well, and with the exception of a bit of green spot algae on older leaves and some random BBA on the wood, I don't have any trouble with algae at all.

Have a look at the final iterations. Here is the tank on the 28th of January, right before a major trimming:


And as of last night, just before lights-off:


I thought that after I added Congo tetras nearly a year ago, I would not see any young fry make it to adulthood anymore, but currently I have four nearly adult Black mollies that survived, and there's at least five growing sword-tails among the plants, which I expect will survive.
Post InfoPosted 19-Feb-2013 11:16Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Babelfish
 
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Stunning and sad

No one you know of that could plant-sit for you that's got the right type of tank setup?


Good luck with the move, hope all goes smoothly.


^_^

Post InfoPosted 22-Feb-2013 02:11Profile Homepage AIM MSN PM Edit Delete Report 
FRANK
 
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EditedEdited 24-Feb-2013 22:24
Hi Doc,
I hope the move goes well and that you can soon return
to your tanks.
Moving, even for happy occassions, is still, never fun.

Uprooting, and packing and dislocation are not necessarily "fun" words.
Hope all goes well...
Frank

-->>> The Confidence of Amateurs, is the Envy of Professionals <<<--
Post InfoPosted 24-Feb-2013 22:23Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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Babel, I'll be setting up my old 80 cm tank at the office for the moving period. Tomorrow I'll do the preparations for that. However, I haven't really tested the light for that one yet (the old fixture broke down some years ago), so it remains to be seen how well the plants will do in there. Also, the bioload will be quite heavy in that tank, considering that I already feel as if I'm somewhat overstocked in my 120 cm tank. But we'll see what happens.

For my main tank it will take a few weeks at least before I'll have the time to set it up, April is likely to be the earliest I'll have time for it. I'm planning to rip the old foam background out. It's now been in there for about 9 years and I've come to realize that I made it too thick and too out of place. The only real use I've had of it over a plastic cover on the outside is that it holds some anubias plants in place. Most of the time I can't actually see much of it at all. It's time to get that out and get all the space it occupies (5-7 cm) back.

Frank, I'm actually kind of looking forward to the move, ever since we decided to look for a new place, I have started noticing more and more little things that annoy me about our current apartment We'll actually have our own free standing house now, instead of a second floor 5-room apartment. Lots more space, no noisy neighbors and a big garden. We're very much looking forward to it.
Post InfoPosted 25-Feb-2013 12:38Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Babelfish
 
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Sounds like a good move to me, just a shame to have to tear down the tank but you will get to start over, with more room all around so I like it!
Plus now you'll have a garden to water with all your WC water.

Couldn't you use the 120 light fixture on the 80? It'll hang over a bit but at least you know it's functioning properly.

^_^

Post InfoPosted 27-Feb-2013 23:01Profile Homepage AIM MSN PM Edit Delete Report 
superlion
 
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Sounds like you'll have it pretty good in your new home, but a shame you'll have to tear down the tank when it looks so gorgeous!

><>
Post InfoPosted 06-Mar-2013 01:34Profile Homepage PM Edit Delete Report 
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I still lurk, occasionally. I mention fishprofiles whenever someone (at work) mentions a pond or aquaria at work. Frank, you are my U.S. point man on the site. So don't get mad if you get a few questions.

TTFN --->Ta-Ta-For-Now
Kelly ;o}
Post InfoPosted 18-Apr-2013 02:38Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
FRANK
 
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Hi Kelly,
I hope that everything is going well for you and your family. Miss the times in chat.

Winter is still holding on.. it was -2 this morning but with the cloudless sky, we are up to 17 now and the snow is melting. We have had, sometimes, two storm cells in a week passing by leaving 3-8 inches of snow with each. Down in the "flatlands" the spring flowers are starting to push through the soil. Here at 10,000 feet, the aspin trees are just starting to bud, so perhaps in a few weeks, spring will make itself known.
Meanwhile.. Welcome to Springtime in the Rockies!

Frank


-->>> The Confidence of Amateurs, is the Envy of Professionals <<<--
Post InfoPosted 18-Apr-2013 22:24Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Kellyjhw
 
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Same ole thing here in Michigan. We had 80 degree weather Thursday. Then a storm front rolled thru with horrible winds and the temp dropped over 30 degrees, in one day! It snowed the following day. I want Spring back!

In Michigan, if you wait 10 seconds the weather will change.

TTFN --->Ta-Ta-For-Now
Kelly ;o}
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DaMossMan
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How did your move go ? I hope smoothly. Totally understand the challenges of an apartment, a house would be sweet.

The Amazon Nut...
Post InfoPosted 19-Jun-2013 13:39Profile Homepage PM Edit Delete Report 
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The move itself went pretty good, but my main tank is still standing empty. After getting most of the house in order and having bought new white furniture, I painted some old furniture similarly glossy white. This turned out so good that I decided to paint the aquarium stand and frame white as well. So far though I haven't had the time for that, so it's standing empty here in the living room. I'll probably do the painting in the next few weeks as I'm now on holiday. After that it'll be coming up with the new layout and getting all the necessary plants and such. I may revive this journal at that point to show the intermediate steps.

have a nice summer all of you!
Post InfoPosted 02-Jul-2013 11:11Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
FRANK
 
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Hi Doc,
After viewing your "old" tank, we are all awaiting pictures of the new one as it evolves.

Frank

-->>> The Confidence of Amateurs, is the Envy of Professionals <<<--
Post InfoPosted 03-Jul-2013 05:11Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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The tank is about to go into revival mode. I've finished with spray painting the stand and the "wooden parts" (plastic) of the tank. It's now all high gloss white and came out very nice. I've also replaced the styrofoam background with a simple black foil that is stuck on the outside behind the glass.

Two days ago I ordered the new substrate from Germany, despite the high shipping costs it's still a lot cheaper than buying it here locally in Finland. I guess the market here is smaller, but a 50% difference in price seems a bit excessive and although I wouldn't mind supporting my local LFS, I'm not stupid (nor rich) either. Today I got the message it's all shipped, so I expect arrival early next week.

One thing Finland does have a lot of, and free as well, is rock. The whole country is basically granite and whenever new buildings are being built the constructors blow up huge chucks with dynamite. The interesting bit here is that these explosions leave interestingly shaped smaller pieces which normally just get loaded up and get disposed somewhere. I've found a site where I guess the money ran out, and it's been lying bare for quite a long time. A quick walk through left me with 20 kg of rock and after sorting through those, I think I'll go back another time to have a second look.

In any case, I expect to be able to start scaping next week and I'm very much looking forward to it. I think I'll keep it this time mostly to relatively low maintenance plans (i.e. very few stem plants) but right now I'm still not entirely sure. I'll post the updates once they come in.
Post InfoPosted 15-Aug-2013 11:00Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
FRANK
 
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Hi Doc,
Granite is a plutonic igneous rock that is mostly two types of feldspar, and quartz with two types of mica thrown in. Here, we have some really nice pink granite and it is just laying around all over the place. When it is fractured by the explosions or by smashing it with a hammer it will generally cleave (fracture) at 90 degrees leaving some nice square or rectangular pieces.

Now I'm really getting interested in those pictures!

Frank


-->>> The Confidence of Amateurs, is the Envy of Professionals <<<--
Post InfoPosted 16-Aug-2013 23:55Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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EditedEdited 27-Aug-2013 12:49
Well then,

The tank is back up and running, for the most part anyway. Last week the new substrate arrived and I did the layout during the weekend. I'm still not 100% sold on it as it is, but for a large part I think it's also because it is still so bare. From My office tank I managed to rescue a few, very sorry looking plants and I got a few new pots form the LFS. My guess is that it will take a few weeks/months before it's properly filled in, I just hope I can balance the ferts right so algae won't take control. Right now I'm still missing CO2 (have to refill the tank, which will be done tomorrow) and I have a couple of new lamps waiting for me at the post office. After that it's down to water changes and fert management.

Just to give an idea what happened, here is a photo of quite a few years ago, when the stand was still its original wood color:



This is a week ago, after painting and cleaning. BTW, the silicone on the rear glass has proven extremely difficult to be removed. I'm never going to glue in a background again.


here it is nearly filling time, the basic layout is now done (though I'm seriously considering to get a couple of really big rocks and adjust this layout.
Substrate: first a layer of JBL AquaBasis plus, then a layer of JBL Manado, and finally JBL Sansibar Black on top. The withe isn the middle is JBL Sansibar White.


Here is the first planted version, the morning after the plants went in. It'll be some time before it is anywhere near satisfying.
Post InfoPosted 27-Aug-2013 12:47Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
FRANK
 
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Hi Doc,
Wonderful, "A river runs through it." This should be an interesting set of pictures as it fills in and you may some changes along the way.
Frank

PS, I think you photo shopped the cat in the picture!



-->>> The Confidence of Amateurs, is the Envy of Professionals <<<--
Post InfoPosted 28-Aug-2013 18:04Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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Post InfoPosted 30-Aug-2013 08:25Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Dr. Bonke
 
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EditedEdited 04-Jan-2017 19:12
It's been a while.

Life's been busy, we adopted a second child and with all the extra work that comes with that the tank has been given a lot less attention. My CO2 tank ran empty about a year and a half ago and as it then needed to be pressure checked I decided to move to a lower maintenance setup. The new (led) light fixture I bought some time ago has a half light mode, so that only runs half the leds it normally would do, and my grolux T5 I only have on for a couple of hours in the evening.

It did mean that a lot of the plants slowly died off as their light requirements simply weren't met, but the added benefit was that I no longer had to struggle against algae. There are now a couple of species of javafern, cryptocoryne and bolbitus in the tank and I find it looks surprisingly pleasing. It also saves me on energy cost, the bills for CO2 every 3 months or so and the maintenance is super easy.

Attached Image:
Post InfoPosted 04-Jan-2017 19:00Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Theresa_M
 
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Really nice to see an update, tank looks great!

~~~~~~~~~~~~
There is water at the bottom of the ocean
Post InfoPosted 26-Jan-2017 18:26Profile Homepage PM Edit Delete Report 
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