19 December 2015

a switch

in the light pattern on my thirty eight. There was a day this week where my husband shut off power to the entire house- he was rewiring an outside light, and we don't know which circuit that light is on so he just cut the main breaker. When the power was flipped back on, the time trigger for channel one on my tank lights had passed, so only the white lights were on all day. And for a shorter time period than normal. I left it alone. I kind of liked how it looked.

Then I noticed the next day the plants all looked better. The colors better. So impulsively I swapped the light channels- to have the dim-in start with whites, then add colors for fuller spectrum later. It's still just a six-hour period, but with the dim in/out feature extending with faded light there's actually something on for eight. It's been this way for a few days now and looks good. I'm surprised. Maybe I misunderstood what I read about light spectrums before? Or maybe the issues I saw before and attributed to the lights was really caused by something else...
There is more brown algae showing up on flat plant leaves now, but instead of cutting back hours on the lights, I raised them up on some small building blocks. I secured it temporarily with a strip of tape; if this works I'll put something more permanent there. There's a hole in the base of the light brackets I could pin or screw it down to something.

Also continue to have string algae in the tank. I thought maybe it was staghorn, but pulled the longest strands out- they were getting really long, some over six inches- yet so small when rinsed off my fingers into a dish of water impossible to see until held up to the light. I looked at some under the microscope. My husband recently bought a decent one, to use on his smaller mineral specimens. The kids have been looking at all kinds of things with it- their skin, fingernail clippings, dead flies, thread, etc. I looked at algae! Yes it is thread algae. I either have too much light, or too much iron in the water. I could get SAEs again, to eat it up, but I haven't seen any in the pet stores lately... I did go back to dosing just macros on the tank, not using Leaf Zone (it goes on algae rocks now) or Flourish Comp (micros). That might also be why the plants look better this time around.

Here they are. Apono- wow. It's actually gotten half the height of the tank. Some older leaves remain stunted and dying off with algae film but the bigger foliage continues strong so far.
This Crypts have regained their lovely greens and even the "hammered" texture is visible again.
Windelov fern looking nicer since I cut out a few of the original leaves that were simply dying off.
Watersprite and rotala getting taller. A few of the rotala on the back wall are showing new growth just above the substrate, too.
Ludwigia that I cropped and replanted is becoming a nice little group of plants.
And here's a 'snake in the grass' except he moved too quickly- but you can see Snaky Fish is getting some girth on him, and the vallisneria filling in!
I even had fun taking overhead shots and piecing them together.
It's blurry (I didn't pause the filter) and missing far left corner, but you can see I've got some nice variety of textures and colors going now. Will try to get a better pic of this again in a week or two. It's so different to look down on it. I've read statements on the forums that in a heavily planted tank, little to no substrate should be visible from above. Well, I've still got a ways to go for that goal!

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