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 Post Posted: Thu Jul 14, 2022 9:38 pm 
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Don't know about you but I believe in Karma. Just out of curiosity I went to my local Petco's website as when I'm done I want to get a few cheap fish to test the tank. I looked at about a dozen fish and none were available in store. Seems odd but mayhaps they got bit with what bit me. I need some thicker air lines so am going to have to go to the store tomorrow to see what is going on.

As to my tank I've decided to not add anti-fungal and antibacterial meds to sterilize the tank. I'm just going to dump in a couple of cups of household bleach. Won't hurt the plants but will kill anything else.

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 Post Posted: Fri Jul 15, 2022 11:37 am 
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That sure sounds like karma, but too bad for the fish if it is. Interesting that bleach won't affect the plants in the tank -- I didn't know that.

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 Post Posted: Fri Jul 15, 2022 1:39 pm 
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I'll probably pull the plants and use a weaker bleach solution than I will in the tank. Chlorine won't harm plants like it will fish. If I used straight bleach it would be different but a solution is OK.

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 Post Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2022 8:01 pm 
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I was in Petco today and their fish looked OK. Mayhaps they just don't accept on-line orders... :dunno:

Just double dosed the tank with antibiotics and will do the same for a few days. Probably not needed as I'm almost sure that the issue was a toxin but I want to cover all bases. When done with that I'll use the bleach to kill any possible fungi. After that I will drain all the water and fill several times to flush all the gunk I added to sterilize the tank and remove any residual toxins.

Also got some "aquatic super glue" to mount plants. Some plants you can just plant in the gravel but some have a rhizome which is a section just above the roots that, if buried, will likely rot. This is the plant part that sends out shoots. These types of plants need to be mounted on something above the gravel. Roots may very well end up in the gravel but don't need to as they get all nutrients they need straight from the water. Think about it... with the waste fish produce an aquarium is a crude hydroponics system.

Also got a chunk of lava rock that is impregnated with good bacteria spores that I will add after the tank is sterilized. This will help a bit in speeding up the nitrogen cycle that I explained in an earlier post.

LOL! YES, an aquarium is a science project. You are trying to duplicate nature in a small space.

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 Post Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2022 10:11 pm 
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jaylach wrote:
LOL! YES, an aquarium is a science project. You are trying to duplicate nature in a small space.


It sure sounds like an intense science project. :-D

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 Post Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2022 10:33 pm 
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sboots wrote:
jaylach wrote:
LOL! YES, an aquarium is a science project. You are trying to duplicate nature in a small space.


It sure sounds like an intense science project. :-D

It really is as you are attempting to pretty much trying to create a biosphere. A 30-50 gallon tank is the minimum to really succeed in this. With my 20 gallon cube I will have to do water changes to maintain everything as it should be.

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 Post Posted: Sun Jul 24, 2022 6:04 pm 
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I guess that I just proved that the plants were at fault. While waiting for my new gravel the tank started to cycle which produces what is called a bacteria bloom where there is a lot of free floating bacteria that eventually goes to the gravel and other surfaces. Decided to throw the plants back in and in less than a day the bacteria bloom was gone. The only logical conclusion is that the plants are still toxic so will be thrown out.

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 Post Posted: Sun Jul 24, 2022 6:38 pm 
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You were already certain, but it is good to have confirmation of that certainty.

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 Post Posted: Sun Jul 24, 2022 6:48 pm 
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sboots wrote:
You were already certain, but it is good to have confirmation of that certainty.

Ya I was sure that the plants were at fault and almost sure it was a toxin but had to prove things for my own satisfaction. After antibiotics and bleach any parasites or bad bacteria would have been killed. Only thing left is it has has to be a toxin... I think Occam's razor would agree. :mrgreen:

Shame though as I would have liked to save some of the plants as they are not cheap. Still it is not worth the time to test each plant one at a time.

<edit>

BTW, this is the gravel I ordered. Not totally black but close.

Attachment:
gravel.jpg
gravel.jpg [ 274.89 KiB | Viewed 60 times ]

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 Post Posted: Thu Aug 04, 2022 11:58 pm 
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Well the process has begun... I'm scared to death! I've never done a tank that was totally populated with live plants and I have a drastic black thumb. I'm really worried that I'm just going to kill $120.00 worth of plants. Fortunately I found a REALLY good fish forum where people will guide me through getting the plants going.

Tank has been sterilized as best as I can figure to do and tonight I emptied everything and scrubbed. Put in the new gravel and partly filled. The black gravel isn't as black as expected but in the long run won't matter as the bottom will likely end up covered in moss.

Here is where I'm at tonight. First image is under full light and the second under just blue. I did do some minor modifications to increase (I hope) the efficiency of the built in filtration. Water level is low due to wanting 'room' to work with the new plants.

Attachment:
tank1.JPG
tank1.JPG [ 275.55 KiB | Viewed 30 times ]


Attachment:
tank2.JPG
tank2.JPG [ 218.81 KiB | Viewed 30 times ]

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 Post Posted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 4:02 pm 
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I have to admit to being a bit pleasantly surprised by the size of the new plants. A LOT better than the crud I got from Petco!

Attachment:
IMG_2372.JPG
IMG_2372.JPG [ 451.56 KiB | Viewed 23 times ]

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 Post Posted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 7:32 pm 
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That looks pretty cool! Your new fish should like it when they move in.

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 Post Posted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 8:22 pm 
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sboots wrote:
That looks pretty cool! Your new fish should like it when they move in.

It looks cool under the blue light too but I won't use the blue often and never all the time. If exposed to blue light for more than a week at a time it can actually be harmful. Mayhaps once in a while as a sort of accent light when doing an all nighter watching movies.

One of the plants is just a bulb. It is a tiger lotus that can be either red or green. I hope it turns out to be red as it would give nice contrast. The only problem with these is that they are fast growing and can take over a tank if not kept trimmed. They will also get pretty white flowers under the right light conditions. And they DO seem to grow fast. Since I'm not familiar with this plant I looked it up and glad that I did. I planted it fully covered with gravel and that was wrong. Has to be planted with part of the bulb above the gravel or it will just rot. I replanted and after just ~7 hours in the tank it has already started to sprout.

It may look a bit strange that I've placed the air risers (bubble tubes) for the under gravel filtration in the middle and left instead of on each side but the outlet for the built in filtration is on the right side. The position of the air risers have no real impact on the under gravel filtration.

I need to run out tomorrow and get some plant food. For the plants actually planted in the gravel I need what are called root tabs which are slow release fertilizer that is placed in the gravel. For the plants that are not planted in the gravel I need to get some nutrients that stay suspended in the water. Once the tank is populated with fish this need will lessen as the plants will get nutrients from fish poop. While I've had live plants now and then this is my first time going totally live. There ARE advantages! 1) The tank will need less gravel cleaning as the plants will use the poop and left over fish food as nutrients. 2) I can add more fish than if using artificial plants as they will remove CO2 and add oxygen. 3) Some of the plants I got suck up ammonia making tank maintenance a lot easier. An ammonia level of over 1.0 Parts per million can be deadly to most fish. That is a bit iffy as water test kits measure total ammonia. Most of the ammonia detected is actually Ammonium, NH4, instead of the deadly true ammonia, NH3. Now NH4 CAN be harmful over time but nothing like NH3. Say that a water test under my water conditions of 81 degrees F with a PH of ~6.1 shows an ammonia level of 0.5. The actual NH3 level would only be 0.0004 Parts per million with the rest being NH4.

Red Tiger Lotus:
Attachment:
tiger lotus.png
tiger lotus.png [ 122.95 KiB | Viewed 17 times ]


Tank under blue lighting:
Attachment:
IMG_2376.JPG
IMG_2376.JPG [ 392.47 KiB | Viewed 17 times ]

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