Sunday, October 8, 2017

"The Raintree Canopy": Algae Bloom & How was it controlled

As expected, under the high-intensity lighting, algae and fungus developed very fast during the first week. Fungus also covered all over the driftwoods. I was not so worried about fungus because it will naturally disappear when tank matures and also easy to clean by algae eaters like Otocinclus/Shrimps or Horned Nerite Snails in later stage.


Blue Green Algae was also seen on every branch and covered the mini fissidens. It might due to the water circulation since the canopy is quite big and block the flow direction. 

Blue Green Algae
Even with some matured bio-media was seeded together with new bio-media in the filter, the tank has not been cycled right away yet. Hence, I could not put any algae eater crew there. Some actions to be taken to minimize the bloom of algae at that time. To reduce the lighting intensity, Salvinia minima was put in the tank. It also helped to absorb excess nutrients there as well, so less chance for algae to compete with other plants. Even some trimmed stems plants were also put in the tank for the same purpose. 


Salvinia minima was put in the tank to somehow reduce light intensity

Salvinia minima as floating plants

Some trimmed stem plants were put in the tank. :P
After about 2 weeks, tank was fully cycled! Yay! :) Water change for about 70% to lower down excessive nitrate (NO3) level before putting in algae crew. 
Ammonia and Nitrite level was 0ppm 2 weeks after set up
Since the tank has lots of fungus and algae (i.e. blue-green algae, brown diatoms, thread algae..etc.), so different kind of algae eater was put in to clean up this mess. Two Otocinclus affinis and five Amano shrimps were there at first. They worked really well and algae reduced dramatically after a week. However, since this bonsai has lots of branches that twisted densely, 2 dozens of fire red shrimps were put in the tank so that the smallest area could be taken care of this algae eater crew. As expected, those small creatures really had done a really good works! Algae is out at bay! :)  And the tree was really relieved! 

Those fire red shrimps really made the difference
Algae eater medals to be given to them
And to record their hard work, nothing is better than a reward video at week 3. Hope you enjoy it! Cheers and have a good night! :)

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

"The Raintree Canopy": Aquascaping Setup

It might be the time to put up the summary for the tank specifications:

Tank Size:
36cm x 22cm x 26cm (High Clarity / Low Iron Glass)
Gross Tank Volume:
20.59L
Substrate:
ADA Aquasoil New Amazonia (<3L)
Filter System:
Eheim Classic 150 (2211) 
+ 13mm GUSH inflow/out flow Lily Pipe
Filter Media:
Bio Media Filter
Temperature:
28-29°C (Day) / 27-28°C (Night)
Lighting:
Twinstars 360E, Temp: 7050K, 17W, 1100 Lumen, 
Full spectrum LEDs for optimum color reproduction
Light Duration:
6 hours (0800hrs- 1100hrs, 1800hrs-2100hrs)
Pressurized Co2:
OceanFree Co2 System + CO2 diffussers
Co2 Duration:
6 hours (0700hrs- 1000hrs, 1700hrs-2200hrs)
Carbon Supplement:
Seachem Excel: 0.5ml daily
Fertilizer:
Seachem Florish: 1.0ml weekly
Seachem Iron: 1.0ml every other day
Seachem Potassium: 2.0ml every 2 days
Other additives:
Seachem Prime
Fan/Chiller:
None
Water Change Regimen:
50% weekly
Water Parameters (Cycled):
Tested using API Test Kits
pH = 7.0
Ammonia = 0 ppm
Nitrite = 0 ppm
Nitrate = 5-10 ppm
Flora:
Rotala Rotundifolia
Anubias nana 'petite'
Fissidens Splachnobryoide
Fauna: 
Neocaridina Davidi 
Caridina multidentata
Otocinclus affinis


Step-by-Step setting up the tank was summarized as below: ^^

Leveling of the cabinet and tank were checked before water flooding. 



The tank was cleaned properly before placing in the position.

Plastic mesh was placed at the bottom so that the rocks would not damage the tank since the force would spread around. Pagoda rocks were chosen in this setup since I would want to make the scape having some warm feeling. This rocks can be found quite easily at any LFS in Singapore. As can be seen, an island was created at the corner of the tank.




Lava stones were placed at the bottom of the "island" to create the height for a better sense of depth and also to create a good environment for beneficial bacteria in the future. 


ADA Aquasoil (normal type) was put on the island after that. 


Lastly, Sudo Bottom Sand was placed in the tank. I chose Sudo Bottom Tank since it had warm colour and matched the idea of the layout (i.e. warm tone). It looked quite nice at the time of setup. 



Water was introduced into the tank followed traditional method. :P


Rotala Rotundifolia was planted on the island. That was a very beautiful stem plants that grow very fast which would help to minimize algae outbreak at the beginning period. It was planted quite densely at the background.



I attached Anubias nana 'petite' to small lava stones using superglue and placed it under the canopy of the tree. It would be good growing under the shady area there. 




Finally, the "tree" was placed in the tank. It fitted nicely in the tank. I feel it was a bit crowded with all equipment and stuff in the tank though. I would find the way to minimize all that clutter in the future once tank becomes more stable. 



And that was the final product by end of the setup day! Tada! :D

I will update more on the coming days. Thanks for reading. ^_^

Sunday, October 1, 2017

"The Raintree Canopy": Preparation for The Tree

A dream was about to come true. I can arrange the bonsai driftwood in the tank and daydream for so long. :)
The bonsai driftwood was just nice fit in this nano tank
Fissidens Splachnobryoide (mini fissidens moss) was chosen as the "raintree's leaves". The reason was mini fissdens would grow slowly and spread over the surface rather than grow too bushy like other mosses. It stays short and hence, less maintenance in the future.

Fissidens Splachnobryoide was chosen to bring life to this driftwood
However, I have never tried to grow it before and therefore, not so sure about how it would turn out. Some say this moss is quite difficult to grow since it needs a cooling environment with good lighting. Whereas, others have also been successful growing it under a non-chilled environment in a low-tech tank. In my case, it would be mixed of those two: high-tech tank with no chiller and lean fertilizer dosing.

A tub of mini fissidens in loose form was prepared for this mission
DSM (dry-start-method) was used to start growing mini fissidens on the bonsai driftwood. I just tried to turf loose-form mini fissidens into branches of the driftwood. Then, water was kept on spraying on it time to time during the setting up. Few centimeters of water was left in the bare tank and wrapped over by Clingwrap. To keep it moist, water was sprayed over the wood 1 to 2 times a day then wrapped it back again. The tank was left outdoor (not direct sunlight) for natural lighting for about a week.
Spraying water on driftwoods to make it wet

Mini fissidens moss was placed on the bonsai branches

Tanks was then covered and leave outdoor to received nature lighting for about a week
After a week, it seems like the moss had been adapted to the new environment and can see some new tiny leaves grown out from the original one. It was then brought indoor for flooding, it is the transition period for the moss to grow submerged and in the meanwhile, I was gathering the rest of necessary equipment. There was no CO2 injection at that time. This is kind of low-tech tank with low lighting to minimize algae.
The tank was brought indoor and was ready to be flooded

The tank after being flooded
The "Tree" looks quite interesting at this angle.
The bonsai driftwoods leached out lots of tannins even I already boiled it before it was used. It is a good time to soak it a little bit more.

Tannin was leached out make it looks like a bio-top setup
 Next step will be aquascaping! :)

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

20.59L "The Raintree Canopy"

I always wanted to create a tree canopy underwater.

Only imagine a cold-dry driftwood that transformed to a lovely tree with wide lush green branches, fish, and shrimps enjoying themselves under the canopy would make me feel so relaxed and inspired.

So here it goes.

The Bonsai driftwood piece was bought during my trip to Vietnam
It started when I happened to get a bonsai driftwoods from an LFS in Vietnam during the visit there. That piece of bonsai driftwoods with great canopy really made me dream about how to make it relive in the underwater world. I kept the woods for quite sometimes by putting it on my working table, where I can daydream about what I could do with it. J At that time, I already had three planted tank in my home and space was really limited to put just one more. The chance of having a bigger tank (i.e.3ft or 4ft) was slim due to the space limitations at home and also a “no-no” approval from “boss”. Alright, “happy wife, happy life”!  Nevertheless, I still looked forward to a space around the home to just get a nano tank, with the minimal budget of course. Hehehe…

A blank glass canvas that I can daydream every time :)
Tank size 36cmLx22cmWx26cmH
And the right time came. I saw a very good deal from an AQ fellow hobbyist selling 36cm crystal tank and Twinstar LED Light 360E. I quickly got the tank first and did a research for a few days before getting the light. The reason was this light was quite strong and would cause a headache due to algae issue later on. However, you never try, you never know. I would like to go ahead and got it for my own experience. It was a really good deal anyway. J

Tank, checked.

Light, checked.

Testing Eheim 2211 in progress
Filter. I got an Eheim Classic 150 (2211) as a spare filter in my storage. So, it was just nice to have it for this new nano tank since the flow rate of 300l/hrs was quite good for this 20L tank.

CO2 set was top-up at NA Thomson and now ready for the new tank
CO2 set. I also had a set of CO2 cylinder and solenoid valve spared. Just need to go for top up, get a CO2 diffuser and done.

Things all came at the right time, again. When I got most of the equipment that I need and looked for the place for the tank, I got another deal for a 45cm ADA Style cabinet from a carouseller. The seller was so nice that even delivered the cabinet to my block. The hinges were a bit rusty but it was functioning totally fine. 
Before condition of the cabinet.
After some cleaning and touch-up
It fits perfectly in my small corner of the room
Cabinet size: 45cmLx25cmWx80cmH
And the journey begins. :)

Monday, August 28, 2017

How BBA Got Beaten Up?

I had a fighting battle recently with BBA in my 2ft tank and I know many of hobbyists out there might suffer the same thing one day. Hence, I would like to share my own experience fighting BBA with you. It would take about 5 weeks for this treatment. 
  • First step is to remove/cut-off affected parts that have BBA on the plants. You can try to do trimming first to see if the plants can bounce back. If still got affected by BBA, then you can remove the plants totally. You can re-plant some good portions/stems after carefully inspect that no BBA on it, at least by visual checking. I used to remove the whole bunch of Japonica Blyxa from my tank and choose those best one which were not affected by BBA and re-plants and it works.
  • Cleaning all of the lily pipes, tubes, surface skimmer…etc. I used to rub some salt on it for disinfection and clean thoroughly with tap water. 
  • Canister filter to be cleaned thoroughly as well. The white filtration pad to be replaced with new one, bio-media filter media to be rinsed with tank water, pump impellers to be clean to maximize the filter performance. 
  • Cut down the intensity of lighting that you got (if possible) or reduce the lighting time. I used to dim the light by 2 steps (Chihiros A series) and cut down the lighting time from 8 to 7 hours a day. This is very important to minimize the chance for BBA to dominate your tank again.
  • For the first week after the above cleaning steps, do water change 2-3 times a week, every time 50%.  
  • For the next 4 weeks, water change once a week as normal, every time 50%. I used AlgExit from EasyLife after each water change (5ml for my 2ft tank, 64 litters).
  • During this treatment time, just observe if you see any BBA, just remove it by cleaning the equipment or remove the affected leaves/plants.


I also bought 1-2 S.A.E. fish for BBA treatment, they really done their job very well. They keep the BBA and also other algae in check. Very hardworking algae crew. 

After 5 weeks treatment as such, BBA was under control in my tank.

I find the cause of BBA in my tank during the time CO2 had been running out, together with the change in lighting. So just make sure that the CO2 is always suffice and lighting don’t change drastically in intensity/duration. In this battle, less light and more CO2 would be better. For fertilizer, I just dose in everything as normal: Seachem Potassium, Iron, Flourish, Excel, Nitrate, Phosphate and Trace.

The above was written base on my observation in my tank and it was done successfully.


All the best and hope you can beat the BBA successfully! 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Weekly Tank Maintenance (Time Lapse)

Weekly maintenance on planted tanks is fun and enjoyable, and should not be considered as chores. I normally turn on some of my favourite music and start working on it with joy and it is really relaxing. It is just like you have your own time in your own world of planted tank. It would take me normally 45 mins to 60 mins to do basic cleaning for my 2ft tank and another 30-45mins for my other 2 nano tanks. Basic maintenance includes cleaning the glass wall, cutting/trimming/pruning those old leaves/plants and re-plants the stems and changing around 30-50% of water. More time would be spent if I choose to clean the filter, tubing and lily pipes. 

Overall, the rewards after maintenance session is immeasurable! You can really enjoy the sparkling crystal clear tank as a slice of nature in your home for at least a week or two. 

I have recorded some time lapsed during my weekly tank maintenance. If only it could be only less than 1 minutes to clean the tank huh? Haha! Enjoy and cheers! 

Maintenance for my 2 nano tanks

Maintenance for my 2ft tank