24 October 2014


the twenty-gallon again. I hate to put my hands in the tank again, but when I learn something new about what I may have been doing wrong, I immediately want to tweak stuff and make it right (or try, at least). I have asked some questions on the fish forums, I have looked up info about how to dose fertilizers. I was told that yes, my plants looks seriously deficient in potassium, but that once I start dosing that, the plants will show up deficient in something else so I should dose all the nutrients. That I should supplement with C02 as well. And that my tank, having the longer dimensions with shallower water, has a higher light level than I realized. It's actually medium light, not high. That triggers more growth, but then the plants can't keep up, lacking other nutrients to match the light, and succumbing to algae.

Groan. I don't want to deal with higher light, don't want to dose C02, don't want to get into a complicated regimen of nutrient dosing every week. I looked back at photos from when the tank was first set up, and realized that although the plants grew slowly (which is to be expected in a low light tank!) they also looked so lush and healthy compared to now after all my fiddling. My java fern used to look like this:
I miss that lush vivid green. So I'm going back to square one, as it were. I put the original light, a T8 17 watt bulb, back on the tank. If they were doing better before, maybe I was doing something right that time. Maybe with the root tabs, extra micronutrients in the plant food and potassium (dry dose) my plants will do ok... Today with the water change I gave the tank 6 drops of plant food (seachem comprehensive, which I might need to dose twice a week because it degrades so quickly in the tank, also I haven't been giving enough) and 1/16 tsp of potassium sulfate. Also 1 tsp of PraziPro against the parasites (they had a dose on wed, this is the second dose). And I cut thin strips of food-grade plastic (out of the sides of a rinsed milk jug) then bent then in half, to pin down the bits of watersprite that are floating and ragged.
One piece the stems rotted so much it detached from the plant last night, but on the upper end some new leaves with root hairs growing. The biggest piece had a twisty tie holding it down but I took that off and replaced with this plastic strip, as the small bit of metal inside those ties can still eventually rust, poisoning the fish. This biggest piece did have one nice white healthy root, the first I've seen, so I hope the root tabs are helping.
I also (last week) tugged up my smaller aponogetons so their crowns are definitely above the substrate, and a few are responding with new leaf growth, when I was afraid they were about to die.
On the ten-gallon, I gave 3 drops of micronutrients, and sprinkled in 1/32 tsp of potassium. I have this cute set of tiny measuring spoons marked "pinch" "dash" and "smidgen". The pinch equals an 8th teaspoon, and I used salt to see if the dash was half that, and smidgen a fourth, and it was.

Then sometime soon I will rehome the blue platies, move the two cherry barb and the lone kuhli from the ten gallon into the bigger aquarium. And after that I don't know what. Wait for the plants to grow. Think about giving Oliver new companions....

Once again, this blog is a litany of the things I have done wrong...

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