Originally Posted by SinCrisis
first off, awesome tank byron. Im using some fulls pectrum t5 lights that came with the fixture but my lights are only on 8 hrs a day. However, the wattage on the lights are low so im actualyl only gettin a little over 1 watt per gallon. As i stated before, i use excel for CO2 supplment once every week or so, and flourish once or twice a week. My plants are bouncing back, as you stated, the bana plant grew new roots andis green again. THe swords are showing some new leaves, one of my chain swords turned to mush though. Java fern is sprouting new leaves (before tehy were jsut bare roots) and my coffeeolia is still strong as ever.
Farlowella! I saw a picture of those once and ive always wanted one but enver saw them in a lfs before...
One thing i must note about my tank though it is way understocked. The fish in there total out at around 25 inches and its a 46 gallon tank. My fitler is a canister deisgned for a 70 gallon tank so i think my water is pretty good. One of the things that amde me feel better about going to school and neglecting my tank was the idea that less fish will make the water messier much slower and reduce the nitrates that build up. I also added my plants to counter the nitrate buildup. since there are way more plants than fish and there would be no fertilization while i was gone.
Although you stated before that a balance between nutrition, light and CO2 is needed, even without the trace nutrients added, wouldnt my plants still continue to absorb the nitrates and keep my nitrate levels down?
In response to unrulyevil, i have 4 otos and an SAE to eat algae in my tank BGA is bacteria so they wont touch it.
On a completely seperate note, is 4 otos and 1 SAE enough to maintain a fairly algae clean 46g tank?
First, thanks for your compliments on my tanks, much appreciated I assure you.
An observation on the pygmy chain swords--I strongly suspect that this is due to the Maracyn. I told you that I had to dose a tank with Maracyn to deal with columnaris about two weeks ago, and the plants were affected. Interestingly, the pygmy chain swords are basically dissolving, which is what you're noting in your tank. My larger swords did show some slowdown, but are now after two weeks bouncing back very green, just like yours. I honestly think this is the Mayacyn. In spite of what product labels tell us, one shouldn't assume that using anything that works on such things as parasites or diseases and is strong enough to kill algae is not going to affect something else, and as the article you linked to previously says, antibiotics will affect the biological system, so ...
Farlowellas are neat fish. This species does not get large (some do), eats regular algae like mad, looks and behaves in an unusual and interesting manner (the way they sort of "swim" from plant leaf to plant leaf is fascinating) and is so unobtrusive in that it bothers no other fish so is perfectly compatible. But they do need a stable environment, soft slightly acidic water, and are not always successful if introduced into a new (un-matured biologically) set-up. I'm attaching a photo of my farlowella at work on a plant leaf.
Your comments on fish stocking are correct; given the lack of regular maintenance, fewer fish was a good thing. Your filtration is fine in my view; in a planted tank less is better than too much; you don't want strong currents because it drives off CO2 (if there is surface disturbance) and drives nutrients away from plant leaves before they can assimilate them (aquatic plants do take in nutrients through leaves and via roots, both equally important). My filter is only intended to gently circulate the water and remove particulate matter and trap it. I have a very small amount of dolomite in a nylon poiuch in the top filter chamber of each tank, that is to keep the pH from falling lower than I want it; my tap water is soft and pH 6.8 and in the tanks the pH will gradually fall below 6 due to normal biological activities if I'm not careful, and the dolomite (once I've worked out the amount to do it) keeps it around 6.2 to 6.6 with the diurnal fluctuation.
Re the ottos, yes, 4 is plenty--they must have algae as they spend their lives grazing it and without it many aquarists find they die off; and they are shoaling fish, so never 1 but preferably 3 or more. I have 6 in my 90g. You might find yourself having to do something to increase algae--provide the food the ottos need. Especially with a SAE in there, as they (assuming it is the authentic one) are very thorough at eating algae, or so others say. I've never had one, I only have SA fish.
Plants cannot adequately absorb nitrates if something else they need is missing; it has to be balanced. Photosynthesis will only occur when the "food" is available--CO2, trace elements/minerals, and light. IF one of these is missing, the plants will stop growing, and then die off.
Re stocking, the "rule" about inches of fish per gallon is myth. I posted some info in a thread a couple of months back about this in response to another aquarist's questions, and even at the risk of making this post even larger, here it is to end:
The number of fish you can have in any tank is dependant upon several factors, some more important than others but all necessary.
The major issue is bioload, which is the effect each fish has on the environment in a closed system, that is, how much waste does it produce (through respiration and excrement) which interacts with the biological processes; and you must think ahead to the fullgrown adult size (unless you intend on giving them away before then). The bacteria have to be in sufficient population to handle the biolode from fish, invertebrates and plants.
A second thing that must be in balance with the stocking level is your tank maintenance (and here I include the weekly water changes and the filtration system). If the bacteria are adequate for the bioload, the ammonia converts to nitrite which converts to nitrate; plants can use some of the nitrate, and the rest you remove with partial water changes. Nitrate is also toxic at high levels (as can occur with a greater density of fish) and anaerobic bacteria in the filter and the substrate will break up nitrates to obtain oxygen, creating nitrogen gas in the process. Water changes are extremely important in any aquarium, but even more so the more and larger the fish.
Thirdly are the water parameters; if the pH and hardness and temperature are the optimum (best) for the particular fish in the tank, they will have much less stress and be less susceptible to other factors that would otherwise cause trouble.
Fourthly are plants; a planted tank has a somewhat greater capacity (providing the plants are growing healthy of course and not dwindling away adding to the bioload themselves) because they are nature's "filters" in the aquarium.
Each of these aspects must be balanced and in sync to avoid problems. At this point I should also say that the experience of the fishkeeper has a lot to do with it. Things can go wrong for all of us, and when it does, you have to be ready with the knowledge to rectify the problem or lose your fish. I remember my first 5g aquarium when I was in my teens (a long time ago, I assure you!) and how many fish I lost because I didn't know what I was doing and in those days we didn't have the internet for great forums like this one to gain knowledge and benefit from other's experiences and knowledge. I am still learning from articles, books and posts from others on this forum. I rarely lose fish now except to old age. We were all a "newbie" at the beginning, and each experience along the way adds to one's knowledge and the hobby becomes even more fun and very rewarding.
You want to ensure you don't overload the system. Twenty tetras (2 inch max size when fully grown adults) in a 20 gallon is fine, if it's planted, gently filtered (water circulating) and weekly partial water changes of 30-40%. Twenty angelfish in the same tank would be asking for trouble and certainly not advisable. In the April 2008 issue of Aquarium Fish International, there is an article on setting up a biotope of the Orinoco River in South America using a tank 30x15x18 inches, which if memory serves me is about 40 gallons. The author, Oliver Lucanus, suggests 118 fish in this setup. In his description of a suitable biotope aquarium for neons or cardinals, Heiko Bleher suggests stocking a 40g aquarium with approximately the same number of fish. In my own experience, I had more than 130 fish in my 90g for several years, and I intend to raise the existing 70 fish to this number if I can ever find the fish I want. In all these examples, we are talking small adult fish being maintained by relatively experienced aquarists.