View Full Version : Doug's 75g FW planted

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doug z
08-22-2008, 10:01 PM
75g Perfecto Aquarium with stand

Filter: Eheim 2217 x 2

Light: Current USA Nova Extreme 48" 2x54W T-5 10,000K x 2 = 220W,or 3.9wpg

Heater: 250W Visi-Therm Stealth + 50W Hydor cable heater withthermostat.

Air pump: Tetra Whisper 100 Air Pump) with airstone.

Thermometer: Pinpoint remote

C02 set-up: 20lbs cylinder, regulator, solenoid, needle valve, Rex Grigg reactor (on route), Pinpoint pH controller (on route)

20g QT/Hospital tank w/heater, sponge filter, air pimp. **Coming Soon**


(Cable heater)
20lbs of Caribsea Tahitian Moon Sand
25lbs of bagged laterite
80lbs of Eco complete

Looks like so:


Pink= laterite Black= Eco-Complete Grey= Moonsand, Cable heater

I chose the Eco-Complete because I had heard so many good things about it. Power Sand or Aquasoil from ADA will probably go into my next tank..

I probably won't use laterite again, because you have to really be careful, or you can contaminate your whole tank with pink cloudiness.. But more on that llater.. In any future tanks I'll just use plenty of tab ferts, rather than laterite, or at least get the granular form of laterite, rather than the pure stuff:



Anubias barteri var. Nana (driftwood, rocks)

A. reineckii (background)

H. Zosterfolia (midground)

Echinodorus tennelus (foreground)

Cabomba caroliniana (background)

Amazon Frogbit , Limnobium laevigatum (floating plant)

thinking about Blyxa Japonia

FISH **coming soon!!**

25 Cardinal Tetra

8-10 Panda Corydoras

1 Bristlenose Plecostomus (L-144)

1 male dwarf cichlid (cocaktoo), 2 females

6 otocinclus



NLS h2o stablewafer

AND Big Al's Sinking Spirulina Tablets, and frozen blood worms

Plecostomus and otos:

NLS h2o stablewafer

AND Big Al's Sinking Spirulina Tablets, AND Veggies

Cardinals and dwarf gourami:

NLS small fish formula

AND frozen/live Daphnia

Freeze-dried tubifex worms (soaked in Selco, Selcon or Kent Zoe, highly unsaturated fatty acids) ?? Have to source this.


Seachem's Garlic Guard

doug z
08-22-2008, 10:02 PM
Setting Up

It's been a LONG time coming, but I finally got all my equipment together, went on my trip, and am back and finally got started!!

Here's some pics of my equipment, setting up:





For the background, I purchased a glossy black aquarium background from the lfs, and applied it to the back of the tank with this solution:

http://www.petsandponds.com/securest...6926913.2.html (http://www.petsandponds.com/securestore/c377953444p16926913.2.html)

It's aquarium safe, and once you push out all the bubbles, it is a much darker black than you could get from just taping it on.

doug z
08-22-2008, 10:02 PM



doug z
08-22-2008, 10:03 PM

If you are going to get Eco-Complete, make sure it looks like the bag on the LEFT, not the right..


And make sure there are no leaks..

At this point I added the water with my Python, and added my plants, which I paid a pretty penny for!! ($350 for 35 plants):




doug z
08-22-2008, 10:04 PM

H. ZOSTERFOLIA, A. Reineckii, Bolbitus heudolotii

Attaching the Anubias to a rock.


Thinking I needed to get the water a certain pH and hardness..

Plants really only care about water temperature, and only then that it's not too cold.. But I ran around, back and forth to the store to get bottles and bottles of demineralized water (lack of prep on my part), and didn't get my heater in my main tank till later.. So the plants were in pretty rough shape by the time I got organized.. My poor B. heudolotii looks the worse for wear.. Hopefully it'll recover..

Not being as careful as I should have filling tank

I put a plate over the substrate so the flow was deflected, but even then little rivulets made a hole down to the laterite under the Eco and I got some pink water as a result..

So make sure your water flow to the tank is super so, at least until you have about 6" in the tank..

If you don't have irritants like laterite to worry about, ok.. But even if you don't you can cut the initial cloudiness of your tank right down..

Not getting my aquascape in place before filling the tank

Because I don't have much of an imagination, and because I waited till THE day the plants arrived to put my eco-complete in (dumb.. should have done this weeks before, but I had some strange notion that this would dewater the Eco-complete too much, and it would screw up it's "bacterial properties", somehow), I had to make up an aquascape on the fly..

Not the best idea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here's what my aquascape looked like after the first day:


Very cloudy.. I'm guessing due to that laterite cloud that got into the water when I filled it..

The first day it was set up the temperature was 90 degrees outside, and the tank temp was around 86F at one point.. I was concerned, and was inclined to add ziplock bags filled with ice to bring the temp closer to set-point (77F). That helped a little. Even now with the outside temperature down in the 70s I haven't even had the main heater kick in.. The cable heater, set at 79F, has been all that's needed. I set the cable heater at 79, and the main heater at 77 so that the temp difference would create a current that would help keep the plant roots anaerobic.. That's the theory behind the cable heaters, anyways..

doug z
08-22-2008, 10:06 PM
On to the filter problems I've been having..

I have 2 Eheim 2217 cannisters:




Each cannister is rated for 159g aquariums.

I bought 2, following the advice of Dave66, among others, in that you cannot have too MUCH filtration.. And having 2 filters helps when doing cannister maintenence, as when you are clean one filter (unvaryingly reducing the amount of nitrifying bacteria in your sponge, etc.), you have a back-up at full strength, and there's less chance of an ammonia spike.. You clean one filter every 1-2 months, then clean the other one the next time, switch back and forth..


There IS such thing as too much filtration!!

Bigger means higher flow rate!

Higher flow rate means your plants are going to get blown about!!

What I should have done was gotten 2 filters, both rated for 75g.. So I would have double the filtering capacity, and have the back-up filter, and the flow rate wouldn't be so extreme..

As it stands I'm having trouble coming up with a spraybar configuration that provides water good flow but doesn't wreak havoc with my plants..

I've tried widening the holes in the spraybar:


But this only helps so much..

doug z
08-22-2008, 10:07 PM
So back to playing with the positioning..
Another problem, I was worried about the hoses coming off, so I added clamps:




If you feel the need to put clamps on, do NOT over-tighten them!!

My connectors have all developed hairline leaks and I've had to jury-rig them while trying to finagle replacements out of Big Al's..

Anyways, here is the tank after 7 days..

'scuse the mess..

It'll look better once I figure out how best to hide my intake and outtake hoses, get the water cleared out, add some more cabomba, stargrass, and temple plants from cuttings, and trim the roots of the frogbit..

That driftwood in the center is temporary, till I figure out where I want the Java moss that's on it.


I like how the stargrass is coming in, even with all the murkiness.. Almost time for another trim!

The murkiness has not gone away, and I don't know if it's a bloom of some sort, or it's the laterite still floating about (added another big dose of it when I forgot to put the end cap on the Eheim cannister spray bar, after sucking on it to prime it.. Water shot straight down into the tank and drove right into the laterite, spraying quite a bit into the water)..

I've bought a diatom filter:


And hope to get the water crystal clear one way or the other!!

Will also be using Boyd's Chemi-pure in the cannister, to keep the dissolved organics down.. Should have done it from the start, but I got cold feet..

I'm also going to be adding peat to the filter, to bring down the hardness of my water (GH 8):


The pH will also be affected, all to the good, as my tap pH is 7.8.

But the pH will also come down when I get the CO2 system online.

Just waiting on the Rex Grigg reactor, and the pH controller..

I am cycling using Dave66's brown sugar method for planted tanks. Basically you take a pinch of DARK, dark brown sugar, and add it to the tank every day for a month.. After that you test your water, and you should have no ammonia, no nitrates, and a very small ppm of nitrates.. Hope it works!!!!!!

All I have been doing for dosing so far is Seachem's Flourish Excel, which is a C02 substitute, until I can get the C02 online.

After about 3 weeks I'll start dosing with Flourish.

After a month I hope to be able to add my 1st batch of fish (BN and panda cories).

doug z
08-24-2008, 02:05 AM
Aug 23/08

Here is the tank today, after 8 (or 9?) days. Aug 23/08

Getting clearer..

Definately thinking the stargrass needs to be cut down again (I cut it in half when I 1st put it in).

Only 1 tennelus plant has put out a runner so far, but it's a start..

Again, that driftwood in the center is only there to keep that java moss I have rooted down.. I plan to let it grow and if my riccia ends up dying, I'll replace it with java moss..




here's what I was thinking about, spraybar-wise..

I'll see if it works..


Noticing quite a bit of mulm, etc in the front of the tank, and in the cabomba.. I keep waving my hand around so it gets into the waterflow and hopefully taken into the filter..

This will bear watching..

08-24-2008, 02:15 AM
Doug, that is looking awesome so far!:19:

Mustang Boy
08-24-2008, 03:31 AM
the tank is looking great

and that is alot of money in plants i recently ordered some plants for my 10gal and i got lucky cause he already had Echinodorus tennelus and hadnt sold any and had had it awhile and they was sprouting runners so i got 5 bunches of it(one of which had 4 runners off of it and the rest had one) and i got them for $.49 each and he only charged me for 4 cause of the inconvenience his plant supplier has caused by not giving them the plants he ordered for me and he also got some riccia in that i was gonna order but decided to wait so i bought it(it was only like 3 bucks for a good size like 3in by 4in bunch) anyway cause he didnt know anything about it(in his defense he admitted he doesnt know much about plants)

doug z
08-24-2008, 03:40 AM
and i got them for $.49 each and he only charged me for 4


Lucky stiff!! :(

I am thinking of adding some more stargrass here:


Or will that look too symmetrical and un-natural?


08-24-2008, 03:47 AM
i would add it there. tank looks clear!

doug z
08-24-2008, 03:56 AM

I'll give it a few more weeks, then put some there from the cuttings..

08-24-2008, 03:58 AM
lol, dont trust my opinion though, every planted tank ive had the plants just flew out of the soil and floated. personally i would add it there though

08-24-2008, 07:10 AM
Wow, Doug! It's coming together very nicely! Congratulations! And don't worry about the mistakes you've made, you've learned something at every step of the way which we all of have done.

doug z
08-24-2008, 12:26 PM
you've learned something at every step of the way

Yes.. There's that.. :)

Definately having more fun, now that the intitial panic has wore off, and I can just sit back and watch, rather than actively make mistakes.. LOL

08-24-2008, 12:28 PM
Looking good your fish will love it.

08-24-2008, 12:30 PM
Speaking of fish, when is the first batch of fish going in?

doug z
08-24-2008, 12:32 PM
I'm thinking the 8th..

That's when my guy is getting back from Vancouver with the fish, and I should be well cycled by then..

08-24-2008, 01:34 PM
I like the whole thread Doug.You did a great job explaining everything and it will be a great resource for people wanting a planted tank!

08-24-2008, 04:29 PM
This is a great thread, one that I think people will use as a reference. If I ever set up a planted tank someday, I'll be sure to come back to this thread for sure.

Thanks for sharing with us.

08-24-2008, 05:04 PM
Your tank is looking great Doug.

08-24-2008, 05:10 PM
Very nice and informative thread, Doug. Appreciate it.

08-24-2008, 05:47 PM
looking good:19: :19: :19:

08-24-2008, 11:56 PM
The tank looks really nice :)

Lady Hobbs
08-25-2008, 12:05 AM
Yes it does. Great job so far. So......what kinda fish ya gettin'?

doug z
08-25-2008, 01:18 AM
what kinda fish ya gettin'?

I'm going to start with 6 pandas and a BN.

Then after 4 weeks I'll add 2 more pandas, and 1 male dwarf cockatoo cichlid, and 2 females.

Then 6 ottos,

then 10 cardinals, then 10 more, then 5 more.

This is a great thread, one that I think people will use as a reference.

Well, I'm hoping William and the other mods will let us all do the same in our own "Tank Journal" section, and those that want to can do the same thing.. Hopefully mine won't be the only one! :)

08-25-2008, 01:51 AM
Very nice!

doug z
08-25-2008, 05:10 AM
My frogbit is still losing leaves.. They look burned.. Black spots..

But it's only been a day, so I'll move them out from the light and keep the covers open, and if that still doesn't help after a week, I'll lower the water level and move them back under the light..

Some more tennelus plants have put out runners.. The cabomba and A. reineckii doesn't seem to be growing as fast as I thought they would.. Maybe when I get the C02 online..

Wiped the sides of the tank.. Pretty slimy.. Wonder if I should get ottos first, rather than a month after the first batch?

Mind you, I'll be getting the BN first off.. We'll see how he/she does..

doug z
08-25-2008, 05:33 AM
Am I screwing with the cycle by wiping the sides of the tank with an algae mitt?

08-25-2008, 08:03 AM
You'll be fine, the nitrifying bacteria don't eat algae so you'll be good - and its always nice to be able to see into your nice new tank :)

It's looking great so far though, mate, made me think that I need some new taller plants now as my Swords cover the lower parts nicely but since I moved house and didn't put back in all my plants, the upper half of the tank looks bare ... any suggestions for tall ones?

08-25-2008, 09:23 AM
awsome i love the way u made the thread man good job with the tank aswell

Commodore 64
08-25-2008, 01:10 PM
My frogbit is still losing leaves.. They look burned.. Black spots..

But it's only been a day, so I'll move them out from the light and keep the covers open, and if that still doesn't help after a week, I'll lower the water level and move them back under the light..

It's not the light. It's nutrient deficiency. Are you dosing ferts yet?

doug z
08-25-2008, 05:21 PM
any suggestions for tall ones?

Valisnaria is always nice..

It's not the light. It's nutrient deficiency. Are you dosing ferts yet?

Hmm.. Didn't consider that..

No, no dosing except for Flourish Excel to make up partially for the lack of CO2..

I thought you weren't supposed to dose for the first couple weeks, as the plants aren't established, and you're only feeding the algae?

doug z
08-25-2008, 06:19 PM

Why's my cabomba doing this?

There's no current bending it over..


08-25-2008, 07:44 PM
I lost all of my Cabomba plants to a combination of a hungry pleco with a taste for it and MOSTLY to what I think you might be experiencing ... lack of enough CO2.

I would recommend getting going on the CO2 asap. It can only help.


doug z
08-25-2008, 07:46 PM
Another possibility is the cabomba on that side of the tank is exposed to the indirect light from a window..

Could be reaching for the light..

I'll see about starting my lights up earlier (currently set for 10am), and shutting the window blinds..

doug z
08-25-2008, 07:49 PM
Just checked the tank (1pm) and they've straightened right out..

It was the light they were reaching for after all..

I'll start my lights earlier in the day.. :)

08-25-2008, 07:52 PM
Another possibility is the cabomba on that side of the tank is exposed to the indirect light from a window..

Could be reaching for the light..

I'll see about starting my lights up earlier (currently set for 10am), and shutting the window blinds..

Right in one, Doug. The Cabomba is hunting for light and bending toward the window for it. Site it very close to right under your lights to keep it growing straight up.
You can see the space between the nodes is starting to stretch, and that's because of a lack of a sufficient amount of light.
Have 300 watts full spectrum over my 75 with three species of Cabomba in it.


doug z
08-25-2008, 08:00 PM
and that's because of a lack of a sufficient amount of light.


Well, I don't think I want to add more light..

220W or 3.9 wpg should be good enough! LOL

doug z
08-25-2008, 08:09 PM
My floss for my cannisters (http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2753170) are getting pretty disgusting (start-up garbage)..

Can I replace those without affecting the cycle?

I'm going to wait a couple more weeks till I open up the cannisters anyways, to add the peat for the fish, but..

Do they house any nitrifying bacteria?

08-25-2008, 08:32 PM
Every solid surface where nutrients are plentiful house the bacteria, so they are indeed on the floss.
Oh and I have 260 watts PC and 40 watts T8 over the 75.


doug z
08-25-2008, 08:35 PM
Ok, I'll wait till my tank is well stocked before replacing any of the floss, thanks..

Fish Tail
08-25-2008, 08:41 PM
What a great tank!

doug z
08-25-2008, 08:42 PM
What a great tank!

Thanks everyone..

It's getting there.. :)

08-26-2008, 03:03 PM
That looks GREAT! Keep up with the pics, can't wait to see more as things move along.

08-26-2008, 03:20 PM
WOW. It looks like you set that all up in three days, lol. Your aquascape looks better each time I look at it.

Commodore 64
08-26-2008, 06:20 PM
yeah that aquascape is amazing, I think....especially becasue it looks like it is establish and is a product of having "grown-in". And yet, it probably hasn't even acclimated to your tank and started growing yet!

Really nice job.

doug z
08-26-2008, 08:34 PM
Day 13: 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 0 nitrates.

What kind of algae is this?

Will otos and/or BNs eat it?

I've just been waving my hand over it, hoping the filter will pick it up once it's air-borne..



08-26-2008, 08:38 PM
Looks like mould to me... could the brown sugar be going mouldy in the water?

doug z
08-26-2008, 08:44 PM
could the brown sugar be going mouldy in the water?

Dunno.. I'm asking Dave, as well.. Maybe I'm adding too much?

08-26-2008, 08:47 PM
Could be... sorry I have no experience with the brown sugar method at all. I have had white mould like that on wood before...

08-26-2008, 08:48 PM
Day 13: 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 0 nitrates.

What kind of algae is this?

Will otos and/or BNs eat it?

I've just been waving my hand over it, hoping the filter will pick it up once it's air-borne..



It isn't alage from my experience it is mold. I get it all the time because I usually don't presoak my wood before placing it in a tank so it will break out like mad but let the tank settle it all goes away. Brown sugar or organics in the substrate could be causing it.

doug z
08-26-2008, 08:50 PM
Ok, thanks..

It IS breaking out where the brown sugar is settling when I drop it in the tank..

08-26-2008, 09:29 PM
I guess my suspision was correct then... check with dave the amount that should be used... I read up about brown sugar cycling and it has not worked for a lot of people...not sure if they have been doing it correctly though

doug z
08-26-2008, 11:05 PM
It's only supposed to be "a pinch"..

I guess my pinches have been a bit bigger than they should.. :)

Dave said it's ok if you add a bit more, and that it would just mean "more copepods and perhaps nematode worms than you otherwise would see"..

Whatever those things are.. LOL

This is the dark brown sugar I'm using:


doug z
08-30-2008, 12:04 AM
After 2 weeks:


The riccia is starting to establish itself a bit, which is gratifying:



doug z
08-30-2008, 12:05 AM
BUT But my with my cabomba the space between the nodes is starting to stretch:


And that's bugging me, as I'm not prepared to add MORE than 3.9 WPG..

Could it just be the film on the surface of the water refracting a whole bunch of light?


Also, getting a whole bunch of roots shooting out the sides of my A. reineckii:


What's up with that!!?


08-30-2008, 12:07 AM
Looks good though, any way of hiding the equipment?

doug z
08-30-2008, 12:13 AM
Yeah, I'm procrastinating on that..

Looking at maybe lily tubes..

Also thinking of ditching the driftood with the Bolbitus in the middle..

I took it out to put ANOTHER one on, and I looked at the tank, and it really defined that negative space, the "U" that I'm going for, that much more..

So I'll see if I can sell it or something..

08-30-2008, 12:14 AM
looks awesome!

a tip for hiding equipment is tie java moss to it with fishing line, and with filter intakes, trim the moss so it doesnt get sucked in

doug z
08-30-2008, 12:15 AM
If I end up not going with lily tubes I'll just stick them behind the 2 plant bunches at either end..

Just been putting it off for some reason..

Should do that either today and tommorow.. :)

doug z
08-30-2008, 06:00 AM
Ok, still not happy with the spraybar combo, but:


08-30-2008, 06:05 AM
looks good to me, the tubes are alot less visible and the green camo's with the plants. once the plants fill in more, they will be unnoticeable

08-30-2008, 06:19 AM
That looks unbelievably good! WOW!

doug z
08-30-2008, 06:21 AM
This is how I have it, now..

Like I say, not terribly happy with it, flow wise..


I'm thinking this would work better, and look better, if I can get lily tubes (no spraybars):



08-30-2008, 07:39 AM
The lily pipes work perfectly, and are MUCH easier to hide. Your flow pattern in your second graphic is good.


doug z
08-30-2008, 03:18 PM
Ok, I'll see what I can do..

There's a guy that makes acrylic ones for a fraction of the cost of the ADA ones:


doug z
08-30-2008, 08:08 PM
No ideas as to why the A. Reieckii is doing the roots above the substrate thing?

Why is my cabomba asking for more light and growing longer nodes?

(see p. 6 pics for both)

Isn't 3.9 wpg enough?

I notice the bottoms of the plants are getting yellow..

Do I have them bunched too close together??

doug z
09-02-2008, 11:43 PM
Still plugging away with the pinch a day of dark brown sugar, 1 capful of Excel, one of iron.

Still getting that cyanobacteria in spots at the bottom of the tank..

A couple snails were attached to that Java Moss I bought, and now I have to remove about 3 a day from the tank.. >:(

Weeded out the cabaomba a bit, as the bottoms were getting really yellow..

Will they green up again?

STILL waiting on the C02 reactor from Grigg.. I emailed and asked about it a week ago, casually.. Still hasn't replied.. I know the guy's ornery, but there's being ornery, and there's being an jerk, especially when you've paid money to someone..

Hopefully he's just too busy building my reactor.. :)

09-03-2008, 12:04 AM
have you decided on the lily pipes yet? Although i like the idea you might want to wait a while unless you really want to spend the extra money.

Ideally i would think you could put a intake and output in each of the back corners. Have the water shooting towards the front but at a slight angle so when it hits the front it'll travel along the front. The two streams would then meet in the middle and go back towards the intake. Picture of what i'm talking about.
Only bad thing i can think of would be your tall plants would get pushed by the flow wanting to go by them. But maybe that's okay so it'll help keep algae off them and movement.

Commodore 64
09-03-2008, 10:45 AM
STILL waiting on the C02 reactor from Grigg.. I emailed and asked about it a week ago, casually.. Still hasn't replied.. I know the guy's ornery, but there's being ornery, and there's being an jerk, especially when you've paid money to someone..

Hopefully he's just too busy building my reactor.. :)

Oh No! He's already turned your money into beer and cigars!

On a side note, I paypalled him last week for the dry fert combo pack. I'll let you know when/if it comes ;)

On another side note, doug, have you looked into this type of reactor? (http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/diy-aquarium-projects/44053-tiny-super-efficient-co2-reactor.html) It seems pretty intriguing.

I might try to do injected CO2 on the cheap (http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/diy-aquarium-projects/55027-pressurized-co2-cheap.html) as I have several paintball CO2 cans and I haven't played paintball in about 3 years.

doug z
09-03-2008, 01:15 PM
The lily pipes that the guy makes, like I say, are pretty cheap (if I can get him to make them.. He's busy with school now, so I dunno)..

I'll try your idea, Vette, and see what happens..

doug z
09-04-2008, 12:55 PM
Speaking of algae.. :(

Looks like my plants aren't keeping up....

I hope the BN and otto eat this kind!!

Maybe I should be adding them first?

I think I'm going to cut the light hours back, and start having them come off for an hour in the afternoon..



Commodore 64
09-04-2008, 01:07 PM
Doug, I'm getting the same kind of algae.

I've only got 2 otos in my 55g. I see them working on it, but I don't think they can keep up. Minor Algae is normal in a planted tank, but I don't want it to get out of control.

One thing I'm lacking is CO2 injection, although I think I'm in low-moderate range of lighting. At this point I am dosing Seachem ferts on the Seachem plan, with Excel being my only external source of bioavailable carbon.

I can't afford direct injection right now, but I am thinking of doing DIY yeast fermentation just to get a little more CO2 into the water column.

doug z
09-04-2008, 01:20 PM
One thing I'm lacking is CO2 injection

Me too..

All 'cause of this damn reactor! :(

doug z
09-05-2008, 05:13 PM
OK, starting to freak out now!!!!!!!!!!!!!

21 days in with the brown sugar method has yielded 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 0 nitrates.. :(

doug z
09-07-2008, 06:27 PM
After 3 weeks


My cabomba's at the surface again..

Do I cut it, and replace the whole plant with the healthy cutting, to replace the yellow, stunted bottoms?

It's been about a week since I weeded out some of the cabomba so they're spaced out more evenly.. How long till the yellow stems perk up again, or will they?



Algae is even getting on the anubias, now.. :(

Will otos or BNs eat this type of algae?


Hopefully this week my reactor or diffuser gets here!!

09-07-2008, 06:37 PM
Otos will eat the majority of algae types.

09-07-2008, 06:40 PM
I believe ottos will. Not sure about BNs. The algae is expected on anubias as it is so is so slow growing.

Cut the stem back that has reached the surface.

doug z
09-07-2008, 06:54 PM
Cut the stem back that has reached the surface

Would you take out the whole plant, that is all gangly and yellow at the bottom, and replace it with the cutting, if you were me?

09-07-2008, 07:01 PM
yeah i'd replace it with the cutting but still cut the top though.

doug z
09-07-2008, 07:04 PM
Yeah, that's what I mean.. Replace the plant with what I cut from the top.. :)

09-07-2008, 07:09 PM
I know but still cut a a bit off the very top. As that promotes better growth.

09-07-2008, 07:35 PM
Doug, you can do both. The idea is you want that plant to thicken up and by clipping the stem you encourage the plant to put out more stems and thicken up. For example, when I had my Rotalla roundifollia, I would clip off the tall shoots and replant them in the substrate in front of the original plant. That way, the spindelly part was covered up and then the original plant would shoot out 2 or 3 stems from where the plant had clipped. That is how you achieve that thick bush look from your stem plants. You then have to cover up the lower parts of those plants so that they cannot be seen. Once you have the plant lookling the way you want it you then have to prune from the bottom. Trust me, that will take a little while. It took about 4-6 months for me to get the plants looking exactly the way I wanted them.

doug z
09-07-2008, 08:43 PM
Okay, thanks guys..

I did just that..

Pulled out quite a few outright, too..

The worst of the long-noded yellow stemmed ones..

Hope my algae doesn't increase as a result..

Maybe I should cut the light hours back for a while?

Commodore 64
09-08-2008, 04:51 PM
Doug, I'm running into the same algae issues! If you shake the plant around does some of it come off? It's almost powdery on my plants.

I bought 2 more otos last week, so now I have 4, but I really need to get some CO2 running, I think.

My hornwort is getting it pretty badly, but I threw a big nasty sprig into my 20g shrimp tank and about 50 cherry shrimp (literally...I counted them) flocked to it and cleaned it up sparkling clean. I swapped out another portion this morning. I realize this only works for plants like hornwort that don't root, but the shrimp LOVE it.

doug z
09-09-2008, 01:14 AM
If you shake the plant around does some of it come off?


It's pretty bad, today.. :(

I think I'm going to want some ottos in there soon, too..

doug z
09-10-2008, 06:36 AM
Found out what happened to Rex Grigg..

Been laid up in the hospital for the past 2 weeks..

And sounds like it'll be a while before he's strong enough to get the the backlog of orders.. :(

Good thing I ordered that diffuser from Geen Leaf.. :(

My fish are in, except for the female dwarf Cockatoo cichlids..

So I'm going to add the L-144 pleco first, with maybe 3-4 otos..

Wait 2 weeks, then add the pandas..

Wanted to add the pandas with the pleco, but this algae problem is bugging me, and I want to see if the otos will help..


I'll pick up the fish next time I'm in PG.. The 15th, probably.. I'll have been doing the brown sugar thing for 1 month and 3 days, by then..

Hopefully everything will be cycled..

Dave says I won't read any ammonia or nitrites.. Just nitrates, but I'm not even reading any nitrates..

Gotta have faith, I guess.. :)

09-10-2008, 07:44 AM
I am hoping and praying this brown sugar cycling has worked for you...

It is completely normal for a cycling tank to go through an algae 'stage' I have rarely seen a tank that cycles from scratch without algae in the first few months.... once the tank matures and settles the algae usually goes by itself

09-10-2008, 04:16 PM
Only get 3-4 ottos? You should get 6 they groups.

doug z
09-10-2008, 04:34 PM
I have rarely seen a tank that cycles from scratch without algae in the first few months..

I feel better, then.. :)

I think I've been leaving the lights on too long (10-11 hours).

And I didn't plant heavily enough..

You should get 6 they like groups

Yeah, I'll add another 3-4 in the next batch, 2 weeks later..

But I don't want to push it adding too many fish at once..

Especially when I don't know if this brown sugar method worked at cycling the tank..

doug z
09-10-2008, 11:46 PM
Yup, I think I'll pick up my first batch of fish on the 15th..

I'll have been adding the brown sugar for a month and a day, at that point, which is when Dave says you can start adding fish, slowly..

I'll ask Dave whether he thinks I'll hurt anything by adding some Seachem Stability along with them, just to be safe.. :)

Would adding all 6 otos at once be ok, if they're small (1" or less), along with a 2-3" BN?

09-11-2008, 12:04 AM
do you have enough algae for them to eat? Have you already done the algae rocks to feed them? Do you have cucumbers? I would just be worried that they have enough to eat in the first few weeks. I don't know the answer but arent plecos better off being added to well established tanks?

Mustang Boy
09-11-2008, 01:42 AM
the tank is really coming along i cant wait to see it with fish in it and fully stocked cause it is gonna look amazing

and i hope the brown sugar cycling works for you

09-11-2008, 02:12 AM
wow your tank looks so good! I love it. :)

doug z
09-11-2008, 12:47 PM
do you have enough algae for them to eat?

I would think so..

But I'll be supplementing with veggies, in any case..

09-11-2008, 05:12 PM
You can always have some of my algae...

doug z
09-11-2008, 05:14 PM

There's some kind of larvae or some other kind of invertebrate in my tank, now..

From what???


They are most noticeable on the front glass, but they are also floating all over the tank..

At first I thought they were inanimate, but then as I looked closer I noticed they were little worms..

What are they? How did they get in there?

How do I get rid of them??

09-11-2008, 05:29 PM
Could they be planaria? Generally from excess food etc...

doug z
09-11-2008, 06:20 PM
Excess plant food?

Cause that's all I've been putting into the tank..


There ARE little snails in there, that hitched a ride on some java moss..

Now I have to take out or squish about 3-4 a day..

Mustang Boy
09-11-2008, 06:23 PM
looks like you might be in the market for an assassin snail if the snail problem persists

and sorry i dont know what the little worm things are

doug z
09-11-2008, 06:26 PM
Assassin snail, eh?

How are they with plants?

Mustang Boy
09-11-2008, 07:25 PM
from everything i have read on them they dont touch your plants the only eat other snails but wont eat their own kind and i also read that once there are no more pest snails left they will eat algae but they wont reproduce if they dont have live meals to eat i also dont know how good algae is for them since they are mainly predators but i have heard of people supplementing frozen blood worms and other protein rich foods if there are no more snails left or you could always just get some MTS and let them breed for a little while before you get some assassins and then the assassins should do their own thing or you could buy MTS or pond snails from people over the net periodically

doug z
09-11-2008, 07:58 PM

First I'd have to get the assassin snail, and I've never even heard of them..

Wonder if it's even possible to get one..

I heard back from Dave..

The worms are indeed nematods, and they got there from my adding too much brown sugar.. :)

They will go away once I start adding fish.. Corys, to be exact..

Mustang Boy
09-11-2008, 11:33 PM
you could definitely get ahold of them i know Sounguru keeps them and has successfully bred them so he might be interested in selling a few

doug z
09-11-2008, 11:37 PM
Cross the border shipping, though.. :(

Mustang Boy
09-12-2008, 12:26 AM
oohh yea i didnt notice the location

doug z
09-12-2008, 01:17 PM
Yup.. Sucks to be us..


Canada RULES!!

('cept when you need to buy something)


09-12-2008, 02:13 PM
Yup.. Sucks to be us..


Canada RULES!!

('cept when you need to buy something)


lol, complete opposite for me! ive found alot of stuff cheaper here than there

doug z
09-12-2008, 06:26 PM

Me, not one bleedin' thing! :(

Mustang Boy
09-12-2008, 07:42 PM
here is a lot of 3 assassin snails for $10 plus $15 for shipping


doug z
09-12-2008, 09:35 PM

I'll have a look..

Was hoping my CO2 diffuser would show up today, so I could get it online in time for the fish (lowering the pH for them).. :(

Hopefully next week..

09-15-2008, 01:33 AM
Yup.. Sucks to be us..
Canada RULES!!
('cept when you need to buy something)

Sounds like Wester Australia - about 15 years behind everywhere else on the planet and you can't even get aquarium plants posted from the Eastern States of Australia due to tighter than tight quarantine regulations !!

Oh yes, and everything and it's dog has to be imported so consequently everythings costs more !!

Still, on the plus side we do get a lot of sun, there is a distinct lack of anyone shooting each other for an iPod or the latest pair of running shoes, and we haven't yet got metal detectors installed at school entrances :)

Still, it would be nice to get a few more plants !!

doug z
09-15-2008, 03:38 AM
Be careful what you wish for.. :)

Mine are kicking my ass.. :(

Major algae string algae..

Dunno what I'm doing wrong.. One guy says lights are on too long, other guy says not on long enough..

D'ohhhh.. :(

09-15-2008, 05:43 AM
I have to say that I think I cycled without plants and then added them after - I even think I left the lights on 24 hours a day. I do remember having a lot of algae problems when the tank was setup at the old house though. I decreased the lighting (and now have it coming on and off twice a day) and now I have throttled back the feeding things are nice and clean. But you do have tons more plants than me (I've only a dozen Swords) so I guess none of this will work for you - though I'd have thought the plants would have used up most of the excess nutrients and left little or nothing for the algae to live on. Too much sugar maybe ...

In the end I gave up fishless cycling and used 6 Zebras ... they turned out to be indestructable and I've used the same little guys to cycle three more tanks since then !!

It seems that either densely planted tanks are are lot of hard work and swearing, or else the sugar method is a bit hit or miss with how much you are supposed to add to get the balnce just right.

I think you got one thing right though: D'oh !!

My prayers are with you at this most difficult time though as people on this site are often heard to say ...

Commodore 64
09-15-2008, 02:49 PM
Be careful what you wish for.. :)

Mine are kicking my ass.. :(

Major algae string algae..

Dunno what I'm doing wrong.. One guy says lights are on too long, other guy says not on long enough..

D'ohhhh.. :(

Are you running CO2 yet? High Lighting and no CO2 is a recipe for algae.

doug z
09-16-2008, 07:49 AM
No CO2 yet.. Still waiting on the diffuser..

And hopefully you're wrong about the CO2..

I'd really be kicking myself, then.. :(

I've been using Flourich Excel in the interim..

First I ordered that aqua medic CO2 reactor that was ready to go when I set up the tank..

I returned it because the input and output connectors were the same size as the hose for my cannister filter..

I learned a few days later that all I had to do is stoop them in boiling water for a bit and I could have gotten them on by pushing really hard.. :)

I ordered a diffuser from Rex Grigg at the same time, only to have him get sick, and unable to get to any orders (I learned this after waiting 3 weeks already)..

So I ordered a diffuser from Green Leaf Aquariums, and that should be arriving SOON!!

But man, what an rigmarole!!!

Here's a look at this algae I'm dealing with after 4 weeks:


It's affecting the A. reineckii most of all..

What do I do? Get a UV sterilizer? Turn the lights off and block all sources of light till they die off? Will the otos or any other kind of fish eat this stuff?

Dave66 says he kills it off with a capful of flourish Excel a day to kill this kind of algae..

But I've already been putting in a cap and a half a day (75g)..


doug z
09-22-2008, 12:27 AM
Here's the tank after 5 weeks:

Finally have the CO2 going, after my diffuser arrived!


CO2 solenoid and Pinpoint pH controller seem to be working just fine..

pH is at set-point (6.8, with a .2 variance up or down), and the drop checker is green.


I'm surprised how little effect all that driftwood I had in there had on the pH.

When I first added the pH controller probe before turning on the CO2 the pH was reading 7.8, which is basically what my tap water is.. (what's odd is I had added a bunch of R/O water as well, which should have lowered the pH)..


The solenoid closes when the pH gets to set point, and opens when it goes higher than 7.0.

I think I might set it so that 6.6 is the set-point, and the variance is 6.4-6.8..

I also put some peat granules to the filter (about 1/2 a loaf of bred's worth), to lower the water hardness (9-10 GH!!):


But it hasn't had any effect, so far (a couple days)..

When should I start to worry?

The fish I'm adding (BN, Cardinals, corys, cockatoo cichlids, otos) like hardness around 2-4, only! :(

I added some Boyd's Chemi-pure Excel in the filters, too.

I will pick up the 1 BN and 4-6 pandas on Monday!!

Can't wait!!

Sir Tristen
09-22-2008, 04:23 AM
Good choice on the pandas. They'll look really sharp in that aquarium. It's coming along nicely. I'm a little envious.:c3:

doug z
09-22-2008, 04:26 AM
Here's the pinpoint controller:


The probe:


The cylinder, regulator, solenoid, needle valve, bubble counter set-up:



doug z
09-22-2008, 06:34 AM
Had a light go off..

Was wondering how I was going to keep the air stone and the pH controller from fighting each other (the airstone going on at night, and the pH controller starting up at the same time trying to reverse the resulting pH rise)..

I'll just hook up the controller to turn on with the lights in the morning, and have the airstone run on a different timer, for 4-5 hours at night, from 4am to 9am, say..

That will:

A) keep the CO2 from turning on at night and possibly killing the fish.

B) keep my C02 usage down.

C) Keep the fish nice and O2 full during the night, and the plants C02 happy in the day.. :)

Dunno why that was so hard to get through my thick skull.. LOL

09-22-2008, 06:50 AM
[QUOTE=SkinnyChicken]Sounds like Wester Australia - about 15 years behind everywhere else on the planet and you can't even get aquarium plants posted from the Eastern States of Australia due to tighter than tight quarantine regulations !!

Oh yes, and everything and it's dog has to be imported so consequently everythings costs more !!

Still, on the plus side we do get a lot of sun, there is a distinct lack of anyone shooting each other for an iPod or the latest pair of running shoes, and we haven't yet got metal detectors installed at school entrances :)

Still, it would be nice to get a few more plants !![/QUOt

ET TU BRUTUS???...hehe...I be in AFrica...and everything is banned/illegal/etc....except of course mugging raping and pillaging....:hmm3grin2orange: and if u want to hit it big in politics?? make sure you go to jail first..instant fix for a great political career....

anyway...I got the same gripe regarding plants...the variety here just sucks..

doug z
09-22-2008, 04:10 PM
Oh, did I mention those nemotid (sp?)worms are gone?

Dunno where they all went, but I can't see any of them at all, now..

doug z
09-23-2008, 08:26 AM
Just got back from my 2h trip, and the fish seem to be doing fine after a 2.5 hour drip acclimatization..

I officially have fish!!! :19:

1 BN, 6 otos in the main tank.

6 corys in the QT tank.. They are all barely .75" long..

That's why I figured I'd be ok adding more than just 1 BN to the main..

Cute little guys!!!!

09-23-2008, 08:33 AM
Cool-o, Doug! :). Know you're pumped lol


doug z
09-23-2008, 08:36 AM
Sorry I didn't listen to your "1 BN to start" advice.. :)

But I figured you thought he/she was going to be bigger..

He/she's barely .75", though, as are the otos..

My lil' babies.. :11:

09-23-2008, 08:39 AM
Check the Otocinclus stomaches in the morning, Doug, make sure they look fed. Drop like flies if they ain't.
Know you'll do readings tomorrow afternoon . . .
Got cucumber?


doug z
09-23-2008, 08:45 AM
Yup, will do..

It's late (1:40 am), so I just threw in some NLS H20 wafers for tonight..

Goodness knows there's enough algae...

But tomorrow I'll see how they like garlic-infused seedless cucumber and zucchini.. :)

Bloodworms for the corys? Garlic-soaked tubifex?

09-23-2008, 09:34 AM
Corys also like Hikari sinking wafers and the occassional bloodworms. As bloodworms and tubifex are high in fat, many fish keepers use them more for treats than staple food.

Hang on a minute...You have fish? You have fish finally? And you haven't posted pictures? What's wrong here? LOL

09-23-2008, 09:48 AM
Yup, will do..

It's late (1:40 am), so I just threw in some NLS H20 wafers for tonight..

Goodness knows there's enough algae...

But tomorrow I'll see how they like garlic-infused seedless cucumber and zucchini.. :)

Bloodworms for the corys? Garlic-soaked tubifex?

I emulsify the freeze-dried tubifex in the fresh garlic juice, or Kent Zoe, or Super Selcon. After six weeks of the garlic boogie, try the Zoe (liquid vitamins, Spirulina) when you do the freeze-dried, as fish dig it. Selcon costs an arm and a leg, but 400mg/l HUFAS make it worth it to me.
The wife zoned on the tank yet?


doug z
09-23-2008, 04:26 PM

I just impaled some garlic-soaked tubifex worms on a fork for the corys..

Been 10 minutes..

They don't even seem to recognize it as food..

Still too stressed from the move and the new surroundings to eat?

They are moving around together, and appear to be scavenging..

How long should I leave it in there before I take it away?

I'll get some pics and vids when they settle in a bit more..

QT tank: 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and 0 nitrates..

09-23-2008, 04:48 PM
leave it for 15-25 minutes. its normal for new fish not to eat

doug z
09-23-2008, 05:15 PM
Well, I took out the big hunks (I put too much in - 2 cubes)..
The rest I'll leave in there to sink to the bottom..

Looks like they're eating it now, though they could just be moving it around as they pass over it.. :)

doug z
09-23-2008, 11:19 PM

Been 24 hours, and the pleco and otos STILL haven't touched those H20 sinking wafers..

So I took them out and put in a slice of cucumber and zucchini..

I didn't blanch them, though..

Won't the water soften them up enough?

Doesn't sticking them in boiling water get rid of some of the vitamins?

They haven't touched that, either, and it's been about 3 hours..

They're just sucking the glass..

09-23-2008, 11:32 PM
It can take days, sometimes a week, for fish to settle in and start seeking food. Try not to worry.
You should blanch the zucchini two or three minutes to soften it to 'al dente' since the Otocinclus don't have the 'tooth' to dig into it otherwise. BN will be able to scrape it, just not get into the flesh of the plant.
Just leave the veggies in 24 hours. You may be able to tell if they've gnawed on them in the morning. Just take out what's left that night, and put in fresh after lights out.
Patience, grasshopper.


doug z
09-24-2008, 02:03 AM
Here are the best shots I could get with my dumb camera.. :(

Fishalicious I am NOT!!



And here's a video:

http://i285.photobucket.com/albums/ll54/dougzdanivsky/th_panda.jpg (http://s285.photobucket.com/albums/ll54/dougzdanivsky/?action=view&current=panda.flv)

09-24-2008, 02:06 AM
Yea, it can take a while. It took about 3 days for my cories to start assaulting wafers I dropped in. At least yours are schooling though! Mine all just do their own thing, same with my otos! lol!

09-24-2008, 03:25 AM
I like how the tanks coming...our cories were eating shortly after being acclimated, and they haven't stopped since, actually all of are fish have been that way, maybe its something in the water here...lol

doug z
09-24-2008, 03:28 AM
They were eating up the worms a bit..

Haven't touched the wafer, though..

doug z
09-25-2008, 06:31 AM

When the lights turned off my BN noticed and started nibbling at both the sinking wafer and the cucumber and zucchini I put in there tonight (didn't touch the one I put in yesterday)..

Otos are still oblivious..

Might have to turn down the air on my air stone with a gang valve..

There was dirt in the top leaves of all my plants this morning!!

The snails are getting out of control now..

I officially need a snail exterminator..

Will see if I can burrow one from somebody, but may have to buy one..

What's a good snail killer that's also a lone wolf (doesn't need to hang with a pack, but not cranky and nippy) and doesn't get too big?

I can't think of one fish that is all that..

So like I say, might have to get a loach on loan..

09-25-2008, 06:55 AM
Snails are easy to trap out, Doug, you just have to be smarter than the snails. You just put a few shrimp pellets in something the snails can get into, but the fish can't. Some folks use small diameter PVC pipe with cotton stuffed in one end, some use the pellets under a plate propped up a tiny bit. There are hundreds of methods, but all concern something the snails like to eat, like shrimp pellets, a place where they collect, and a container that the snails can get into and the fish can't.
You just put in the trap before lights out and harvest every morning. Take about a week and you'll be nearly snail-free.
Nothing wrong with snails, anyway, since they are little janitors.


doug z
09-25-2008, 12:37 PM
Ok, thanks, Dave, I'll see if I can manage that, if I can't get a loan of a loach.. :)

I just really dislike all these "dots" on the front glass..

doug z
09-26-2008, 08:48 PM
Ok, I'm adding 2 yo-yo loaches that I got from the lfs to my main tank..

I know I should quarantine them first, but the lfs assures me that they have been in the species-only tank for a month, all were added at the same time..

I know, I know, I'm still rolling the dice adding them straight away, but..

Once they get bigger I will put them in my 20g QT tank, which then will cease to be a QT tank, and I'll have to get another 10g QT/hospital tank..

MTS already!!!!

To keep the QT tank cycled till I add the 4 more pandas, the cardinals, and the cockatoos, I've added 5 zebra danios.

The 6 pandas that are in the QT tank now I am also going to add to the main tank, as the main tank biofilters should be ok after a week to handle some more fish, and the panadas were in the tank of the guy I bought them from for 3 weeks, no additions since then, and I'm seeing no problems with the pandas..

Another reason I'm rushing the panda addition is the unsettling thought, brought on by a convo with lfs. owner) that perhaps I WILL still get an ammonia spike in the QT tank, even with it being seeded from the main tank (sponge filter sponge in the cannister filter of the main tank)..

It makes sense that just because it's been seeded, it doesn't mean the tank doesn't need to cycle still..

So yeah, rushing the pandas out, and putting in the hardier danios, just in case, and won't add any more fish to it till I see that it is cycled..

Adding Seachem Stability to both tanks for the prescribed week..

Some bad news on the cockatoo cichlid front.. The guy in Prince George can get males, but not females.. :(

So that was a kick in the pants..

Will look at alternate sources..

Aquabid maybe, but preferably a Cdn supplier..

The green thread algae is still present, but I am just removing the most badly affected leaves (not all at once), and hopefully as the tank gets more established it will go away..

The airstone is kicking up way too much substrate..

I hooked up a gang valve yesterday and dialed it right down, but today still the airstone was exposed, it had displaced so much substrate (I buried it about 1.5" below the surface)..


Thanks for all your guys' input, btw!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :11:

doug z
09-26-2008, 09:19 PM
Oh yeah, saw my BN rooting around the A. reineckii today, up near the top of the tank..

Thought that was kind of cool.. :)

Dunno if he was eating any algae or just checking things out..

I don't think he's actually been eating the cucumber or zucchini, or the H20 wafers, even..

I think he was just checking them out..

But I'll keep putting them in every night, and if the otos and if the BN keep turning their noses up, at least they can't blame me for dying.

(bad pun..sorry.. LOL).

I even stopped soaking them in the garlic for now..

Oh yeah, did a 3 cycle drip acclimatization for the pandas and yo-yo loaches in the main tank, and the same duration for the zebra danios in the QT tank. Drip rate was a little more than 1 drop a second..

doug z
09-28-2008, 01:00 PM
Both the pandas and the yo-yo's are still staying under driftwood, etc, and are doing their own thing, rather than schooling.. :(

Hopefully as they get more comfortable they'll hang together and explore the tank out in the open..

09-28-2008, 01:11 PM
Yoyo's get six inches and will need a group of atleast six. I hope you already knew that.

09-28-2008, 01:13 PM
My corys all stayed in clay pots and under driftwood until I added the baby corys back into the main tank. That made the adults feel safer and now they are all around the tank.

doug z
09-28-2008, 02:08 PM
The yo-yo's will be removed to a new home when I'm sure all the snails have been eliminated..

I was thinking my 20g QT tank, but that's too small, obviously..

So I'll see if there are any aquarists with 36" tanks or bigger who could use them.

I'll be adding at least 4 more pandas as soon as my supplier can get some more in.

Hopefully that will help.

Having trouble getting female cockatoo cichlids.. >:(

09-28-2008, 02:31 PM
Yea the more corys the better they are and more relaxed they will act. It's really cool to see a giant group of 20+ swarming in a tank.

09-28-2008, 02:34 PM
Doug why are you getting rid of them? (yoyo loaches)

09-28-2008, 04:50 PM

09-28-2008, 04:53 PM
why did you use so many sands? im not really into plants so im not that knowledgeable on them

doug z
09-28-2008, 07:10 PM
why did you use so many sands?

Although it was probably overkill, I used a cable heater for this tank, which distributes heat much more effectively the smaller the grains of the substrate you have surrounding the cable, hence the sand.

The laterite is iron-rich, and will keep the root-feeding plants happy, for a year or so at least, till the laterite is "used up".. Then I'll supplement with root tabs.

The Eco-complete is black, and by all accounts one of the best substrates to use if you are going to be using live plants in your tank..

Doug why are you getting rid of them? (yoyo loaches)

Well, as Tolley pointed out, like most fish, they like to be in groups of at least 6, and even with a 75g, 6 fish at 6" long each would be a bit much..

That, and I'm going for a S. American tank..

I don't want to say biotope, as it looks nothing like an SA biotope.. But as far as fish go (yo-yo's are from SA Asia), and most of the plants (from SA Asia also), I'd like it to stay as true as I can..

The yo-yo's are just a means to get rid of the snails (the trapping doesn't seem to be working much)..

I have found a guy who has a 130g, and wants them (suggested he get 4 more.. LOL).

doug z
10-04-2008, 06:00 PM
Sorry for lack of updates..

I've been waiting till I get my camera back (my dad had to borrow it for a trip).

Worried about my otos..

Still can't see more than 4 of them together..

Hope there are still 6 alive!

They STILL aren't having anything to do with the veggies, or the H20 wafers..

Pandas aren't eating the wafers, either..

They'll eat the freeze-dried tubifex though, and frozen bloodworms, and and the small fish formula, which doesn't stay on the surface long at all!! Most of the granules sink like a stone! Can't see how this will work for surface feeding fish..

Want to add another 8 pandas near the end of the month, when they get shipped..

The BN IS into the veggies and the wafers, though.. So that's promising..

The yo-yos are doing a good job on the snails..

Hardly see any on the glass, now..

I see them foraging in the substrate for stuff, too..

The danios are doing ok in the QT, too, it looks like.. Ther's one that's really thin, though.. Hope he's ok.. Doesn't seem to be too interested in eating.. :(

The cockatoo guy in Montreal had good news, and bad news.. He DOES have cockatoos, he DOES have males and females, and he DOES ship.. Only problem is min. order is $200..

So unless I can get a group order together he's not going to be a viable option..

Water parameters in both tanks look good.. I'm not getting anything for ammonia, nitrites, OR nitrates..

Worried that my kit is suspect, and will be ordering another one..

Growth of my A Reineckii has really taken off since I added the CO2.. To the detriment of the cabomba, even..

The A. r. is overshadowing it and pushing it out of the way..

I'll get some pics up soon..

The riccia browned up a bit when I clamped it back down with the fishing line (the cotton thread I clamped it down with dissolved.. I had thought it was like moss, and that it would eventually attach itself to the rock/wood)..

I hope it starts coming back..

The stargrass leaves are filling out a bit more again, not so stringy, and that's good.. But they still are going too high before they branch out, and still look gangly on the bottom..

Don't know quite how to fix this..

The frogbit is doing ok I guess..

The roots are filthy with all the floaties that have stuck to them..

Not sure how to fix this, either..

I have them corralled at the front of the tank with some thread attached to suction cups, so that they don't get their roots caught in the plants at the back, and rob the plants at the back of light..

There's alot of mulm in the tank, lots of floaties..

I should do a 20% WC..

But I have to use pretty much all demin. water..

Have to wait till I can grab at least 15g of it from work..

What if I just added tap water, over the course of a whole day (or 6 hours at least)?

Add 3g. wait till the CO2 brings the pH around (if there's a swing at all, add 3 g. more.. Repeat..

Just take more time doing it..

Or at least add 50-50 demin/tap 3g. at a time?

doug z
10-07-2008, 08:50 PM
Here are some pics of the tank, currently.




I think my stargrass needs a trim again..

I'm reluctant, though, as the leaves are again nice and full rather than stringy and stunted like they were..

I wish it would branch out like this lower to the ground.. :(

What really concerns me is 3 otos are dead..

No idea why..

Found their little heads (did the other fish eat the rest??) when I did a WC a couple days ago..

I hadn't seen more than 2-3 at a time for a while..

But I tried to tell myself they were just hiding.. :(

I know they weren't eating the cucumber or zucchini for some reason..

But there is still plenty of green algae on the glass, as well as on the rock, plants, etc..

I can't think of any other reason for their deaths..

This sucks.. :((

10-07-2008, 08:56 PM
Dude, your tank looks professional!

Really, it looks like you've been doing this for years.

I find that otos don't ship well. Being wild-caught, there are always a bunch that will die in the pet store. When buying otos, I try and wait till the end and get the last little bunch, the survivors, the ones that are guarenteed not to die from the shipping. Even so, some still die when put in a new tank.

It happens, I wouldn't worry about it. Otos are senstive to being put in a new tank, but when they get settled in they are very hardy.

doug z
10-08-2008, 12:07 AM
Thanks Nickfish!

I'm pretty bummed about the otos..

I hope the other 3 last.. :(

Here's the best shot I could get of my pandas so far, and here's a video of the pandas and the yo-yos playing together..


http://i285.photobucket.com/albums/ll54/dougzdanivsky/th_MVI_8518.jpg (http://s285.photobucket.com/albums/ll54/dougzdanivsky/?action=view&current=MVI_8518.flv)

10-08-2008, 01:16 AM
Doug great job with the tank!! any luck wiht the apistos?

doug z
10-08-2008, 02:49 AM

There's a guy in Montreal that gets them in occasionally..

But minimum order is $200, so I'll have to see about a group order with some fellow FW aquarists in Prince George..

There's also a guy in Vancouver that says he gets them in, but not very often..

I could put a male in there tomorrow, as there is a guy in Prince who can get males from his supplier, but not females (and I want 3 of them).. :(

And las but not least there is aquabid, but I am leery of cross-border shipping..

They can't guarantee live delivery..

Finally caught my pandas schooling again today..

Was about to lose hope..

Thought I'd have to add another 6 and see if that made a difference..

I'm going to anyways.. They're adorable!!

They seem to be going up to the surface alot..

I know that's normal for them, and they don't seem stressed (well, they sure boogie back down!! afraid of predators, I'm sure..).

ALL of the fish in the tank are taking nips to the surface.. The otos, pandas, BN..

I'm aerating the water with an air stone a good 5 hours at night, so I SHOULD be good.. And my drop checker is solidly in the green, so...

I dunno, how much surfacing is too much??

The yo-yos go to the surface, too..

But I think they're looking for snails attached to the Frogbit..

I don't think I'll have the heart to get rid of them.. LOL

We'll see how big they get, but for now they're staying..

Just have to see about keeping my last 3 otos alive.. :(

Another 6 pandas and 10 cardinals ordered..

I'll put the cardinals in the QT tank, and keep the pandas at my supplier's place in his tank for 2 weeks, then add the cardinals to the main, pandas in QT.. You see where I'm going with this.. :)

10-08-2008, 08:17 AM
The Yo-Yos top out at six inches, but they slow 'way down when they hit four. Could take four or five years for them to get to six inches. The Yo Yos, like all the Botia complex, live 10 forevers, and I wouldn't be surprised if they were still with you when you're a grandfather.
The Botia love their escargot, so it's not surprising they are going up into the frogbit. And it's perfectly natural for Corys to race up to the top for a gulp of air then back down again. In the dry season in their natural habitat the Oxygen level gets so low they've developed the ability to 'breath' atmospheric air by taking a bubble of air into their intestines, where it is distributed through the walls of the intestines to the body.
I'm convinced than in a decent-sized group they do the race up and down in the aquarium for kicks. The guapore I have do very occasionally, but the other three species do it en masse, usually in the mornings and evenings, sometimes all day. They do like to play a lot.
Knew you'd find the Pandas charming.
Tank looks great, Doug, settling in nicely. You're turning into Amano's stepchild . . . . :)
Oh, and the Corys and Yo Yos are playing in the filter current. When I used HOB filters, I used to find Corys and Loaches swimming around in them all the time.


Sir Tristen
10-08-2008, 02:59 PM
Wow Doug, that tank is looking really awsome! :19: :19: :19: I'm envious. I can't even get my cycle going. (sigh) I also want to run pandas and cardinals, but won't have room for much else as mine is only 20 gals.

doug z
10-08-2008, 04:41 PM
Thanks Sir Tristan.. :)

And it's perfectly natural for Corys to race up to the top for a gulp of air then back down again.

Yeah, I knew it was common for corys, but not for BN's and otos as well..

Oh, I found 4 otos stuck on the glass last night!!

So only 2 are MIA..

I only found one head when I did the WC, and assumed the worst..

doug z
10-09-2008, 07:12 PM
Just cleaned one filter..

Sponge was fine.. Probably didn't even need a squeeze, but I gave it one anyway..

The polisher pad was filthy, though.. Considered giving to a good rinse and replacing it, but I just put a new one in..

So now I have 2 brand new polishers in my filters, and that's the end of the laterite debacle, finally!

(knock on wood)

Gave the ceramic rings and the rocks a good rinse in it's own tank water and dumped the water (FULL of garbage) out..

I got the filter all put back together again, muscled it back into the cabinet with it's rat's nest of wires:


Opened the valves, turned it on, looked to my right, and saw I'd forgotten to replace the top guard..



So I had to shut it off, close the valves, open it up, blah, blah, blah...

Back is sore, now! LOL

Guess I could have left it till it's next cleaning, but better safe than sorry..

The H20 wafer I put in there last night is half gone, so looks like SOMEONE is getting with the program.. :)

10-11-2008, 01:01 PM
Whoa! That's the biggest giant mess of cables and tubing I've ever seen!
How do you find anything in there?

Still, I'm sure the area around the tank looks much nicer. I got all my outlets around the tank so there are a dozen cables spider-webbing out from behind the tank. Kind of unsightly. Your's is a great idea.

10-11-2008, 01:05 PM
You are doing a great job!!!!!!!!!!!!

doug z
10-12-2008, 01:19 AM
I got all my outlets around the tank so there are a dozen cables spider-webbing out from behind the tank

Yeah, I finally got sick of it and moved the mess to where I wouldn't have to look at it, at least.. :)

doug z
10-12-2008, 01:23 AM
Found the spinach leaf I put into the tank on a veggie clip mauled today..

I HOPE it was the otos, but I suspect it was Fourfin (the boys named our little BN yesterday.. The Yo-yo's are Tom and Jerry).

All this guy does is eat!!! LOL

10-12-2008, 03:32 AM
If the Otocinclus have rounded bellies, it was them. If they can get inside to the pulp of the leaf, they can really attack it. If it was just the bristlenose, you'd have just found the skeleton of the leaf, as they do dig the spinach.
Vegetarians like the bristlenose and Otocinclus have to eat all the time to keep going. There's so little nutrition in the natural diet they have to eat a lot to make ends meet.


doug z
10-12-2008, 05:24 AM
Thing is the otos only come out at night when I can barely see them, so I can't tell..

Really hoping they get more comfortable when I add the cardinals (busy fish)..

It's funny, they seemed to be fine the first couple days..

No problem being out and about..

Dunno what changed..

10-12-2008, 06:03 AM
They're a little nervous because of the lack of other (read schooling) fish in the tank. No tetras = predators about in the Otocinclus mind, so they do their foraging in the dark.
The two dozen Paratocinclus I have (little larger, same behavior, bit more ornate than Otocinclus) aren't out ALL the time during the day, but are most of the time because they are feasting on the algae and veggies I give them. They are tanked with 24 dozen tetras (cardinals), so are more comfortable out in the open feeding.


doug z
10-12-2008, 05:58 PM
Yeah, that's what I figured.. :(

I'll put some in by the end of the month, hopefully..

doug z
10-15-2008, 08:54 PM
Oh MAN.. :(

What kind of kind of algae is it, and how do I get rid of it?

It's affecting the tennelus and as well as the Anubias.. :(



Some pics of the BN (wish I could remember which camera setting I had the camera on!! I tried out a bunch..), and the pandas.



10-15-2008, 09:24 PM
They are so cute! Great pics as always. I know nothing about algae, sorry to hear you have it in there. I have faith you will get it cleared up quickly! When you are done with this thread one day, you should take it all and make a booklet for people who want to start a tank like yours, it is a great thread!!

doug z
10-15-2008, 10:14 PM

Thanks, Gayle.. :)

Commodore 64
10-16-2008, 12:48 AM
Isn't that thread algae?

doug z
10-16-2008, 12:54 AM
What can I do about thread algae, besides removing the affected leaves?

10-16-2008, 01:12 AM
What can I do about thread algae, besides removing the affected leaves?

Some pics of the BN (wish I could remember which camera setting I had the camera on!! I tried out a bunch..), and the pandas.

You could try a spot treatmeant with flourish excel. That might do it in like brush algae. Or maybe a algae eater like a oto. Also it was probably a macro setting on your camera.

doug z
10-16-2008, 01:17 AM
I have otos, but they don't seem to be doing much at all.. LOL

I'll try some excel on it i guess, thanks..

soFISHticated lady
10-17-2008, 02:08 AM
I love ur tank!! I want to set up a smaller version. your thread has really been informative and helpful.
keep up the good work and post lots of pics :)

btw, I have never seen algea like that, i hope you figure it out.


doug z
10-17-2008, 02:15 AM
Me too.. :(

According to the guys on Aquatic plant Central, it's because I haven't been adding macro nutrients..


10-17-2008, 02:22 AM
Hey Doug ... welcome to the world of algae ... look on the bright side, you're nearly up to three thousand posts and have only just got problems with algae ... most of us had algae after ten !!

Everything's looking just great though - and apart from all the worrying you're doing, I hope you're managing to enjoy the tank too :)

doug z
10-17-2008, 02:30 AM
Hey Skinny!

Here's shots of the tank as of today: Oct 16/08



When I get the cardinals and the cockatoos I'll put it up for a TOTM, if the competition isn't too stiff.. LOL

10-17-2008, 02:34 AM
Hi Doug. Are the plants in the foreground of the 2nd picture anubias?

doug z
10-17-2008, 02:37 AM
Yup.. :)

Anubias barteri var. nana..

Lovely little plants..

I find the smaller the scale, the more grand and deep the aquascape looks..

That's why I stayed away from big amazon swords or the bigger leaved anubias and crypts..

Same for fish.. Smaller the better.. :)

10-17-2008, 02:39 AM
they do have a beautiful green color to them. I am interested in getting some for my tank. Thanks.

doug z
10-17-2008, 02:41 AM
Just remember they MUST to be tied to either a rock or a piece of driftwood.

That's because the rhizome must be above the substrate for it to flourish..

I finally witnessed one of my yo-yos picking off a snail from the side of the glass..

Atta boy!!!!:19:

10-18-2008, 10:30 AM
Beautiful tank Doug! And you say this is your first tank? Incredible.

As for the hair algae, like pretty much all algaes, it comes from an imbalance of something.

With the lack of fish in there maybe you should be dosing more macro.

The excel will treat it, but be careful because over dosing excel on a slow growing plant is suicide.

You can also get some amano shrimp or SAE.

Your tank practically screams Amano inspired, you need to get some amano shrimp in there to complete the mix...if you don't havea ny already.

10-18-2008, 10:36 AM
You can also get some amano shrimp or SAE.

Your tank practically screams Amano inspired, you need to get some amano shrimp in there to complete the mix...if you don't havea ny already.

I would say Amano shrimp would get eaten by yoyo loaches.

doug z
10-18-2008, 12:22 PM
Beautiful tank Doug! And you say this is your first tank? Incredible.

Many thanks!!

With the lack of fish in there maybe you should be dosing more macro.

Hmmm.. Never considered that.. Maybe I just need more fish poop.. LOL

Looking into dosing with macros as we speak..

I would say Amano shrimp would get eaten by yoyo loaches.

Yeah, Dave66 was thinking the same thing.. :(

How could they eat them with such small mouths?

He said I should get some glass shrimp and see how they make out, as if they do ok, the larger Amano shrimp should as well..

10-18-2008, 04:03 PM
Yeah, Dave66 was thinking the same thing.. :(

How could they eat them with such small mouths?

He said I should get some glass shrimp and see how they make out, as if they do ok, the larger Amano shrimp should as well..
Whoops! Sorry, forgetful me!

Ya, they probably would do some damage to them, if they don't eat them the shrimp will at least be pretty mad. Ok, scratch that idea unless you have the more peaceful yoyos.

American flagfish will eat hair algae, but they can be a tad agressive.....

Really, your best bet would be to just balance yourself out somehow. Figure what there is too much or too little of and fix it. Probably not much help, but you really just need to know your tank and your water.

The macro is an idea. Usually fish provide the macros (except potassium), but you don't have many fish in there yet.

doug z
10-19-2008, 01:30 AM

Well, I can certainly add more fish....

Still thinking of getting a pair of SAE..

10-21-2008, 06:25 AM
WOW! I love your tank, its just like what I want, maybe you should come down here and do mine for me ;) lol.

Question: where did you get your plants from? internet? or store? and if you do order anything from the net, what is it, and where do you get it from???

doug z
10-21-2008, 05:21 PM

I got my plants from the lfs, which surprised me greatly (my town has a pop. of less than 5K).

The owner got them from a supplier for Tropica, but she won't tell me who!! :(

Gorgeous plants from them!!

I'm assuming it's this guy, as that's the only Tropica distributor Tropica has listed for BC:

Aquariums West
1262 Burrard Vancouver, BC 604 669 9249

But I can't be sure (well, guess I could just call and ask if he supplies my lfs.. LOL I'll get back to you..).

My other option was aquariumplants.com

They have a CDN distributor, but they charge like $125 on top of the plants for shipping as they have to do overnight shipping to guarantee live delivery (which they do), in Canada and the US..

So you have to make a BIG order to make it worth it..

doug z
10-23-2008, 04:49 PM
Well, I'm really disappointed with all the staghorn and thread algae I have in the tank..

It's covering every pant, now, except the cabomba and the stargrass..

I have no idea how I'm going to get it off the tennelus..

If I cut the affected tips off, I've noticed, it grows back a reddish-yellow.. :(

The problem(s), according to guys on Plantgeek and Aquatic Plant Central are that:

A) I haven't been adding macro fertilizers to the tank, just the micros (Flourish). That's all Dave66 said I would need. But something must be out of whack, as I'm getting algae, and he's not.. :(

So I'm going to start a regimen of EI (Estimative Index do a google search) dosing.. This seems to be the most popular method, as you don't have to constantly measure at what levels the various elements (like Nitrogen) are at in the tank.. You just add the same ferts at the same time all week, then do a 50% WC to reset everything and make sure you're not OD'ing on anything..

We'll see if that helps..

Looking for a CDN source for the dry ferts now, as apparently you can't get them from the States as you can't ship them across the border..

The other culprits they say are my light is too high, and my CO2 ppm is too low..

I'm going to get a Lamotte C02 testing kit to see what the ppm actually is, as they say the drop checker is just a VERY rough estimate (green can be anything from 30 to 45ppm).

I'm also going to see about getting a pair of SAE.

Anyhoo, the fish are doing well it seems, though the ottos are still hiding, and I can't even tell how many are alive (hopefully still 4 at least).

The yo-yos LOVE the bloodworms.. They vacume them up like hoovers, and fight the pandas for them.

I give them about 1/2 a cube every 3 days or so..

For a staple I give them NLS small fish formula.. It's purportedly for surface-eating fish, but this stuff sinks like a stone!

I'm going to have to get some kind of flake food for the cardinals when I get them at the end of the month..

The BN is doing well.. Really digs the cucumbers I put in there.. I don't bother blanching them anymore.. I just leave them in there for 24 hours, and by that time he's eaten quite a bit of it, and it's ready to fall apart.

He seems to enjoy the spinach I leave on a veggie clip as well..

10-23-2008, 04:59 PM
The other culprits they say are my light is too high, and my CO2 ppm is too low..

I'd say this likely the sole culprit for your problems. You have an extremely nutrient rich substrate and you are adding ferts but I strongly suspect your plants are not getting near enough CO2 and this is the source of your algae. If your plants had a sufficient amount of CO2 then they would be out competing the algae for the nutrients. You may still have a small amount of algae, but nothing like you have described. I maintained a CO2 concentration of 30ppm with no problem at all, and the concentration was tank wide because of the method of distribution. Difusors simply do not provide sufficient dispersion on their own. I am definitely a fan of inline reactors for this very reason. I had 100% absorption of the CO2 being injected and it was being distributed to the entire tank.

doug z
10-23-2008, 05:14 PM
You don't think I need to dose macros?

Here's a shot of the staghorn:


How am I going to get rid of it from the tennelus..

You'll agree that the only way for these too forgone plants is for me to cut them right out, no?

But like I say, then they grow back reddish yellow.. :(


For now I am going to lower my pH set point on my controller, and thus the amount of CO2 pumped into the tank.

I have also ordered another diffuser for the opposite end of the tank..

I have heard proponents of both methods, diffuser and reactors..

I'll try rhe diffuser method for now, and then maybe down the road do the reactod (my Rex Grigg reactor finally arrived, btw..).

doug z
10-25-2008, 07:58 PM

Added too much demin water on my last water change, and now the pH is at set point (6.6) without having to add much C02 at all..

I'll rectify this on my next WC.

I should get going and order that Lamotte CO2 test, too..

See where I'm at, ppm-wise..

I'll see wether CO2 is the issue as soon as possible..

But just in case I ordered macro-ferts.

Next week I'll play with the CO2, and spot treat with Excel, and if it doesn't seem to do anything.

Something I didn't know about the drop checker..

The indicator fluid has to be changed every water change..

Huh.. Okay, good to know..

Anyone else do this?

doug z
10-30-2008, 04:10 AM
My ferts arrived today, so I'll begin my EI dosing regime.

I also did a major weeding of the worst of the staghorn-affected tennelus..

The A. reinickii and the A. barteri I'll spot treat with Excel when it comes in, and remove the worst affected leaves a little at a time..

Still looking at getting a pair of SAE, as well..

I also recieved the other diffuser, and will install it on the opposite side of the tank tommorow.

The 2 pair of "lily" inlets and outlets aren't proving that great a bargain after all.. :(

The ends of the inlets both were snapped off when I opened the package..


Looks like he made the slits too deep, and weakened them too much..

I contacted the guy, and he said he'll make some more and send them, but I'll have to pay for shipping again..

The outlets look all right..

The output from the filters have lessened considerably from when I first started them up..

Even after giving them a thourough cleaning the output is WAY less than what it was..

I'll videotape it tommorow and show you what I mean...

The fish seem pretty happy, and that's the main thing.. :)

I was supposed to pick up my cardinals by now, but my supplier is saying end of the month, now, and doesn't know if he can get more corys.. :(

doug z
11-06-2008, 06:40 AM

Forgot to get a video of the filter output..

Next WC, then..


Today my Excel arrived, so I did a merciless weeding of all the staghorn infected plants, and took the anubias out and bathed it in a highly concentrated Excel bath.. I also clipped off the worst affected leaves.. I hope I didn't stress the plants TOO badly as a result, though I probably did.. :(

I just couldn't stand the thought of putting them back in the tank with that crap still on them..

Finger's crossed!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hopefully with the EI dosing regime in full swing that's the last I'll see of that nasty, hideous-looking algae..

My tennelus is pretty damn sparse, now, but at least it's not covered in that black monstrosity, either..

I also cut the stem plants roughly in half, getting ALL the affected leaves..

Like I say, hopefully it won't all be for naught, and that staghorn doesn't just swoop in again..

But I'm worried now that the plants will be too stressed to fight it off, if it does..

We'll see, I guess..

took my pH set point down another notch (and subsequently the amount of CO2 the controller will allow to be pumped in every morning) to 6.3.

So hopefully that, along with the ferts, will get my plants beating out the algae for nutrients..

Still would like to know what the CO2 ppm is, roughly.

Like I say, the drop checker's in the green, but "green" could be anything from 30 to 45ppm.

I'll order that Lamotte CO2 testing kit, and see.

I'll increase the time I have the air on at night, as well..

I tied down the riccia that I had attached to a piece of driftwood on the right side of the tank, also..

Was getting a little TOO shaggy.

I hope it won't brown up TOO much as a result..

I'll be picking up my first batch of cardinals, finally, in a week!

6 to start, then another 6, till I have 20 of them.

Then 5 more pandas, and I'll be fully stocked..

I MAY get 2 SAE if I can get TRUE SAE..

I think I'll wait on the cockatoos unless I can get them in Canada. With the cold weather here now, I don't want to risk having them shipped across the border.

My other diffuser arrived a couple days ago, so I'll install it on the opposite side of the tank tommorow, so I'll have one for each side.

11-06-2008, 04:39 PM
6 to start, then another 6, till I have 20 of them.

It would make more sense to do 7,7,6 in any order instead of 6,6,6,2 Have a full school much quicker ! :)

11-06-2008, 04:42 PM
I have to agree. Adding 2 sets of 7 and one set of 6 would be a lot easier and the addition of that once extra fish really won't make much difference, especially since they are just cardinals.

doug z
11-06-2008, 06:19 PM
JUST cardinals??!!

Kidding... :)

Yeah, if they're under 2" I should be able to do 7 at a time, I agree..

doug z
11-08-2008, 02:57 AM
Here's a shot of the tank after the Great Staghorn Culling of '08.. :)


My frogbit is getting out of control.. Need to give some of it away as it's covering about 50% of the tank surface..

Oh, got a good panda shot, today:


Loving these yo-yo's O' mine.. :)

They've got this thing where they go around and around the suction cup attached to my temperature probe, between the wire and the side of the tank..

Over and over again like hamsters on a wheel..

They've even got my pandas doing it now.. LOL

Not bad for fish I didn't even want (they WERE just going to be snail killers for hire)..

http://i285.photobucket.com/albums/ll54/dougzdanivsky/th_yo-yos.jpg (http://s285.photobucket.com/albums/ll54/dougzdanivsky/?action=view&current=yo-yos.flv)

Sir Tristen
11-08-2008, 02:06 PM
Wow! The tank is really looking nice! Good shot of the pandas too!

doug z
11-08-2008, 03:58 PM
It'll look better when the anubias and the tennelus come back from their weeding.. :)

And I get some cardinals in there, finally..

11-08-2008, 04:02 PM
Doug what else are you putting in there?

11-08-2008, 04:04 PM
Nice photo and video. Your tank makes me jealous. Keep up the great work.:19:

doug z
11-08-2008, 04:06 PM
Doug what else are you putting in there?

20 cardinals, and maybe 2 SAE, if I can find them..

And MAYBE 1 male cockatoo, 3 females next year.

11-08-2008, 04:08 PM
Wow, you are really want to understock it
sounds good to me..

doug z
11-08-2008, 04:12 PM
Better under than over, in this case I figure..

I'm wondering though wether I'll still need to add ferts when I get more fish in there..

Word is their waste provides all the ferts you need, when you're decently stocked..

11-08-2008, 04:12 PM
Understocked planted tanks are way easier to make look great than fully stocked or overstocked. You want to be able to see the plants.

Just make sure to keep up wtih your N+P+K.

doug z
11-08-2008, 04:21 PM
Just mak
e sure to keep up wtih your N+P+K

Will do.. :)

11-08-2008, 05:20 PM
Tanks looks good though I'd suggest something at the back of the clearing looks a little bare.

doug z
11-09-2008, 06:27 AM
Yeah, I HAD tennelus connecting the 2 halves together:


BUT I had to rip it out ALL the staghorn affected plants, so pretty much starting from scratch with the tennelus, especially..

It'll come back soon, I hope..

Also going to install the 'lily' pipes soon, so the inlet/outlet tubing won't be so noticeable..

Though prolly not, as I'm going to have them in the front, so the background plants won't be blown around every which way..

I'll see how it looks..

doug z
11-09-2008, 07:10 AM

The guy I was going to get the cardinals from, just yesterday he wakes up to ALL 20 of the cardinals dead in the water..

That's the SECOND time that's happened to him, and I don't think it's his supplier, as this is 2 weeks after they arrived..

May be time to look for another source, though.. :(

He DID have 5 cardinals in another tank of his, though, that were rock solid after 4 months in there..

I added those to my main tank right away, as a result..

I was also able to get 2 true SAE (black stripe extending right into the caudal fin) from the lfs.

Those'll go into the main tank as well..

Gambling here.. :((

But I don't have a cover for my QT tank, and I hear the SAE are jumpers...

Hope they don't rip up my riccia, either..

Should have waited until I heard from Fishalicious on this point, AND until I got a cover for my QT tank..

But I was just too excited that they had juvinile SAE...

Finger's crossed..

doug z
11-09-2008, 10:20 PM
I got my card'nals.. I got my card'nals.. :19:

(doin' a dance)

Awesome, awesome little fish..

Wish I had more of them in there.. :(

They're staying closer to the bottom than I'd hoped, even with my frogbit cutting the light down for them a bit)..

But they're schooling pretty tightly together, which is good..

The SAE seem to be doing alright as well, though I haven't seen them grazing on any algae or anything..

Cardinals weren't interested in the NLS small fish formula I tried to feed them, either (good thing the corys and the yo-yos like it)..

Hopefully it's just jitters, and they'll start eating soon..

http://i285.photobucket.com/albums/ll54/dougzdanivsky/th_cardinals.jpg (http://s285.photobucket.com/albums/ll54/dougzdanivsky/?action=view&current=cardinals.flv)

reptile dude007
11-10-2008, 08:25 AM
Aweosme Lookin' Tank!!!!

Sir Tristen
11-10-2008, 03:25 PM
Looks good Doug! I would love to get some cardinals myself but my ph is 8, and I just don't think they would make it.

doug z
11-10-2008, 05:00 PM
Yeah, if I was smart I would have gotten fish that like 7.8, but.. :)

11-10-2008, 05:03 PM
Whoa, I'm off the forum for a coupla months, and there you go, setting up your tank. Stunning. Keep the pictures coming.

doug z
11-10-2008, 05:07 PM
Welcome back!

doug z
11-13-2008, 09:35 PM
Here's that filter output vid I said I'd get..

Note that I widened the holes with a drill when I was getting too MUCH flow..


So is this typical?

This is after a bit more than a month for both filters since their last cleaning..

http://i285.photobucket.com/albums/ll54/dougzdanivsky/th_filteroutput.jpg (http://s285.photobucket.com/albums/ll54/dougzdanivsky/?action=view&current=filteroutput.flv)

doug z
11-23-2008, 11:19 PM
Just an update..

Been doing weekly 50% WCs, and dosing as per EI.

The Excel bath I gave my anubias.. I must have used too strong a mix, or left them in too long, or both. I have had to trim off alot of dead leaves, and it will be a long time coming back, but I hope they WILL recover eventually..

The Staghorn isn't as bad as it was, but it is still present..

I got 2 SAE, but they haven't been eating much algae at all, from what I can see.. They are both about 1" in length, and I have been careful to keep them away from fish food as much as possible..

I've found source for male AND female cockatoos!!

Will be ordering them along with 15 more cardinals asap.

doug z
11-23-2008, 11:53 PM




11-24-2008, 09:44 PM
Looks great mate just a couple suggestions though, left side looking a bit think with mainly the red/pink leaved plant. Maybe thin it out a bit and get some different looking plants? Also how about some more wood in there?

doug z
11-24-2008, 10:44 PM
Yeah, i dunno if it's a coincidence (prolly not), but that's the side that the C02 diffuser's on..

The right side doesn't seem to grow back half as fast..

But yeah, I'll see about breaking it up a bit with some cabomba out front, taking out a few A. reineckii, adding some more rock or wood..

11-24-2008, 10:46 PM
Great looking tank Doug. Very nice work!

11-24-2008, 10:56 PM
doug great looking tank!

11-24-2008, 10:57 PM
Wow, thats really coming along nice!

11-24-2008, 10:58 PM
Sorry for the double post... But i think you should put some GBR in there with the cucktoos... It looks kind of empty to me

doug z
11-24-2008, 10:59 PM

Recently upped the fert level I've been adding to:

1 1/4 tsp KN03
2/3 tsp KH2P04 Mon, Wed, Fri
2/3 tsp K2SO4

2/3 tsp (20ml) Trace Elements Tues, Thurs, Saturday

As it was suggested that since I am still seeing the staghorn algae I might try upping the macros..

Dave66 also suggested I add buffer like Kent RO Right, as I may indeed have an alkalinity of zero in my tap water (thought my API test kit might be wonky, but you never know)..

This would allow me to up the CO2 level without big swings in pH..

What's a GBR?

Adding 15 cardinals and 4 cockatoos soon..

Should liven it up in there.. :)

11-24-2008, 11:04 PM
GBR = German Blue Ram

11-24-2008, 11:05 PM
Oh sorry
German Blue ram...
Very nice looking fish. And you can afford them in your stock level...

doug z
11-24-2008, 11:12 PM
Oh, ok..

Wouldn't they be extraneous, though, with the cockatoos there already?

And wouldn't the male want a harem as well?

And aren't they quite timid?

The corys and SAE especially dart around alot.. :(

11-26-2008, 08:34 PM
Oh, ok..

Wouldn't they be extraneous, though, with the cockatoos there already?

And wouldn't the male want a harem as well?

And aren't they quite timid?

The corys and SAE especially dart around alot.. :(

Depends, if you want to try to harem breed them I wouldn't put in GBRs.

Sev, two main kinds of fishkeepers. Fishkeepers that focus on fish and fish only, and fishkeepers that focus on the overall look of the tank, they usually aren't too concerned as to whether or not they are exactly on their stocking level. I'm not saying which one is better than the other, but it is easier to keep a nice planted tank with a low bio-load. You can control the nutrients easier.

You will never, ever, ever see an amazing planted tank with a high bio-load. EVER. There are some nice planted tanks that are at your stocking limit, but check out some of the stuff from the ADA+AGA conventions. Very rarely even close to the stocking limit. Its just easier that way.

But I do kind of agree with what sev is saying. You could put 3 or 4 dozen cardinals in there and not be at your stocking limit. Nothing looks better in a planted tank that a huge school of tetras.

And doug, watch out with those cardinals. Make sure you are getting them from a good source. I recently made the mistake of buying 2 dozen cardinals from petsmart...yeesh.

I would also recommend putting some b. japonica in that gap. I love that plant for filling the middle of concave aquascapes.

doug z
11-26-2008, 08:49 PM
Yeah, I hear you re: cardinals..

Like I say, the guy I got the 5 from has had like 30 die on him over the last 6 months..

ALL the ones he ordered (3 separate orders of ten or something)!

It's just for some reason the 5 he had in another tank have survived for some reason were rock for 6 months.. Doing fine in my tank..

But I'm going with another supplier for the other 15..

I definitely will be under stocking.. 20 cardinals, 4 more pandas, and the 4 cockatoos and I'll be done..

I don't want it to look too un-natural, with too many different kinds of fish around..

That really looks weird when you have that, in my opinion..

Though if you have big schools of the same fish that's different, of course..

The reason you don't see ADA tanks stocked very highly is maybe partially due to the fact they are fertilized within an inch of their lives already, but I think it has more to do with the fact that the fish are generally more of a distraction, and that it is more the aquascape that is on display, and that only a few fish will suitably accentuate the scene..

I was thinking about japonica, but this tennelus.. I dunno why, but the variety I have is HUGE.. I was expecting maybe 2-3".. But it's more like 5-6".. :)

doug z
11-26-2008, 09:05 PM

Whoever said change was good?! :(

Dunno WHAT is going on with this Rex Grigg CO2 reactor..

Making loud clicking noises, and the bubbles aren't well diffused at all..

Takes about 3 times longer at the same rate to get my pH to set point than it did with my diffuser..

http://i285.photobucket.com/albums/ll54/dougzdanivsky/th_poppingreactor.jpg (http://s285.photobucket.com/albums/ll54/dougzdanivsky/?action=view&current=poppingreactor.flv)

Have I got the thing hooked up backwards or something??


I assumed that the CO2 inlet was supposed to be closer to the bottom (the inlet), as the point is to give the bubbles time to diffuse).

Anybody know?

11-26-2008, 09:14 PM
The inlet should be near the bottom to allow time to diffuse.

doug z
11-26-2008, 09:17 PM
Yup.. That's how I've got it (upside down from how I have it in the picture)..

Wonder what's going on..

Is the clicking normal?

The diffusion should definitely be better than with a diffuser, though..

11-26-2008, 09:24 PM
I wonder if its cavitation. Try turning it over once filled with water to remove any trapped air pockets.

I'm thinking along the lines of a canister filter with trapped air... very noisy.

doug z
11-26-2008, 09:33 PM
Just read in the other place I posted that I have it ass backwards..

That would explain it.. :)

Thanks, though..

doug z
11-29-2008, 03:41 AM
Well, I added those 2 'lily' tube discharges..

Placed them like so:



Suctions broke during shipment, but the replacements should be here soon..

They will go as pictured in the back left corner..

Should make for a decent circular flow..

11-29-2008, 12:49 PM
Are you sure its the rquipment clicking?

I've got a bet on it being the loaches. Chuck in an algae wafer or something as a treat then when you see them eating it listen for them clicking and see if it sounds the same.

11-29-2008, 01:21 PM
The lilies look good.

I love those things, you can't see them at all. Very nice, you should have some good flow.

doug z
11-29-2008, 04:18 PM
Are you sure its the rquipment clicking?


Yup.. It's the equipment..They don't make THAT much noise eating wafers, being only 2 of them..

How do they make that clicking sound, anyways?

11-29-2008, 07:35 PM
I dont know how they make it, but mine are lound.

I didn't know they made noise and mine had me looking for something trying to break.

doug z
11-30-2008, 01:51 PM
Yeah, for some reason I thought it was the noise of the algae wafers pushing up against the side of the glass when they pushed them up against it.. LOL

Then I remembered hearing that they make clicking sounds..

12-01-2008, 07:49 PM
Yeah, for some reason I thought it was the noise of the algae wafers pushing up against the side of the glass when they pushed them up against it.. LOL

Then I remembered hearing that they make clicking sounds..

If you like the clicking sounds you should try pistol shrimp.

They can snap they claws so fast it creates an underwater sonic boom....at 3in the morning. Not fun.

doug z
12-01-2008, 08:31 PM

That's awesome.. :)