Lots of circulation :-)

I have experienced a few fish deaths last summer because of the high temperatures (up to 31'C)
I had one 280 l/h pump running and in my opinion this is way too weak to add enough Oxygen to the water.
Heavily planted tanks should have much stronger pumps or more pumps to prevent "dead spots" from forming (organic build-up).
I have introduced one extra pump yesterday which circulates 350 l/h.
Now I have 630 l/h. Almost 15 x of the tank volume per hour !!! :-) That sounds a lot but fish doesn't seem to react to it. The flow is much stronger now but the fish is swimming as usual. I would say if the current is too strong the fish would probably hide in the corner with weakest circulation.
Corys seem to be much more active in foraging for food so my guess is this tank is going to see better days from now on.


Cory video update

One of my Cory habrosus died after just few days from being introduced. Other inhabitants are doing great, showing good appetite.
I am feeding them with shrimp flakes and infusoria sticks. In this video one can see the Corys and Otos going crazy over the Hikari 'Protogen' infusoria sticks.
Even though this substrate is approx 11 month old, full with organic build-up, not even one Cory is showing barbel erosion. I would say that this soil is well oxygenated by the plant roots, which introduce lots of O2. Bacteria surrounding the roots need O2 to be able to transform organics into usable plant nutrients, and by doing that reducing anaerobic conditions. Anaerobic gases transform immediately into aerobic ones when in contact with O2 (I have read this in Diana Walstad's book). Anyway it seems to work.
Corydoras habrosus and Otocinclus;
Corydoras pygmaeus;


Corydoras habrosus a group of 6

I added more Corys to this community, 6 small Corydoras habrosus. They seem to be adapting very well, eating well, shoaling with each other and with the C. pygmaeus. These Corys sure are special. On the photo above, one can see one Barclaya longifolia 'Red' leaf. This plant "died" just before the winter, leaving no leaves behind. I thought it simply died, maybe wrong fert dosing regime, too much of certain nutrient, or too little...but I was wrong. This is a seasonal plant, and with spring it starts to live again, shooting out new leaves.
My 2 Otos are also doing extremly well. They are grazing over stones, plants and substrate, even feeding on Infusoria sticks Protogen with the rest of the community. This Oto has a very nice patern on the back.


Final scape is at hand ;-)

I am very happy with the current aquascape. I have planted some Pogostemon helferi in the front. Corydoras pygmaeus are doing great, no barbel erosion noticed so far. I can count only 6 Corys at once so two might be missing (not sure, lots of plants, makes counting difficult)


I'v got my self some nice algae :-)

This non-branching green filamentous algae is called Spirogyra (Silk Algae, Water Silk ). This algae doesn't appear in polluted water systems but in ones that are eutrophic, rich in nutrients (liquid ferts, CO2 and light).It grows very fast, forming long, entangled strands. I would personally call this one the "spaghetti algae" :-) , the way it look to me.

I am not sure algae eaters will eat Spirogyra. This aquarium of mine has Otocinclus and Neritina Zebra snail, and they are not showing any interest in eating it.I have removed this algae manually, very easy really.

None of my plants are showing deficiency symptoms. I wouldn't say that some of the nutrients were missing, but rather they were overdosed. In this case I didn't do water change in more that a month, but did continue dosing liquid carbon every week.

There is one problem I have caused (I assume). Since the beginning of this set-up I have used the Estimative Index fertilising regime, dosing 2/3 times a week N,P,K, traces and liquid Carbon (Easy Carbo).But instead of performing 50% weekly water change, I did only 25% weekly (and sometimes every second week). After some time the system was so rich in nutrients favoring this sort of algae. Lesson learned. Reset the system with large (weekly) water changes,always.

Photos by Dusko Bojic.


The matured aquascape

I am very satisfied with this aquarium now. It looks as planned. At first I was a bit afraid that I planted way too many red colored plants. But it turned out just fine.
One bad thing did happen (sad)... the Apistogramma borelli male had passed away. He got a very bad "hole in the head" disease, and suddenly in very short time had died.
I wasn't ready for using medication or salt to remedy this type of sickness because these cichlids are very sensitive to changes. Instead I tried to feed him with a varied diet (worms, artemia, vitamins). It obviously didn't help.
The rest of the community is doing fine though.


Apistogramma borelli pair thriving

The male - The female -
The game of seducing -


New fish introduced

It is time to introduce a few bottom dwellers, and I decided on getting 8 Corydoras pygmaeus (see picture) and 2 Otocinclus sp. One Neritina sp. Zebra also joined this planted community.
I disconnected the DIY CO2 and will continue dosing Carbon via Easy Carbo (liquid organic carbon). The plants are looking very well. I added a few Hygrophila sp. to help controlling nutrients. I am maintaining a strong surface agitation for better gas exchange. Fish is behaving normal. The Apistogramma couple got fry. The female is taking care alone, chasing the male away...strange, or maybe not. Temperature is at 29' C.


Apistogramma borelli instead...

Since my zoo shop didn't have any A. cacatuoides males left I decided to return the female and get a pair of Apistogramma borelli instead. The female is having a strange tiny string on one of her fins and I am pretty sure that it is some kind of parasitic worm. I will wait for it to fall off, and if mot I am thinking of removing it carefully with tweezers.
My Crypto plants are suffering from the well known "Cryptocoryne desiese"! I have to wait for them to re-grow.


Very sad :-(

The Apisto. cacatuoides died today :-( , I would say it is because of the previous high NO2 levels. I did a large 50% water change, and re-dosed with traces only, Tropica Master Grow. I will not introduce any new animal before everything seem to be in balance again.


Cryptocoryne albida & Barclaya longifolia

I introduced a few more plants today; Cryptocoryne albida and Barclaya longifolia. If lights are on the stronger side they will produce red and brownish leaves, which is my plan to get some contrast.
GOOD NEWS!!! :-))
The NO2 levels are at 0ppm today and the NO3 down to 25ppm. Perfect! Today I have started dosing Tropica fertiliser with N & P + traces. CO2 DIY is still going on 1 bubble per second.

Fish is showing great coloration and appetite, not hiding or showing any signs of stress.


Hi NO2 !!!

The Apisto. cacatuoides pair looks apsolutely gorgeous; A. cacatuoides female;
A. cacatuoides male;
I was testing one liquid fertiliser for potted plants, to see how it acts. Well, it raised the NitrIte NO2 to 10 ppm, and NO3 to 200 ppm !!! I was expecting all fish to die in no time. I did perform a huge water change and NO2 is still on 10 ppm! I am not sure tests are really accurate these days. The fish behaves very normal; eating, searching for food, picking on stuff around the tank...no signs of stress! I expected fish to be close to the surface, not eating and so on. 2 of my Red Nose Caridina did suffer as a mater of fact. The neritina sp. Zebra is not moving at all. I guess inverts do react to this issue. It was a mistake testing with a new set-up like this one. The fertiliser had N,P,K a lot and for that reason I had to test. But it doesn't say what is the source of N ! I guess it was the Ammonia, otherwise how to explain high NO2 levels. I will continue water changes, I am also floating fast growing plants, Egeria densa, Hygro polysperma, and Rosanervig. I am dosing CO2 DIY though an ceramic diffuser (mist) 1 bps.
I added 8 Nannostomus marginatus aka the Dwarf Pencilfish, a few days ago. If I had the test earlier I would have known that NO2 is high, but didn't have it :-( The fish how ever is behaving very natural. No signs of stress. I am a bit confused. I have never experienced Hi NO2 levels before.

Photos by Dusko Bojic.


Apistogramma cacatuoides "Duble Red"

Today I introduced the first fish; a pair of Apistogramma cacatuoides "Double Red". I also added a few Malaysian Trumpet Snails.

I am still deciding what shoaling fish to keep in this tank...maybe Nannostomus marginatus aka the Dwarf Pencilfish or Endlers Guppy or Ember Tetras or... yes, still deciding on this one ;-)


Cryptocoryne sp. are in

I planted Crypto. willisii, Crypto. wendtii and Cryptocoryne parva. I also used a bit of Anubias Petit since one of the stones have a nice hole, perfect to stick one of those plants. I added one Moss Ball, but I am not sure it will stay there for long...maybe I will take it out?
I am thinking to plant one more Crypto that has a bit more red color...

I dosed 1ml of Easy Carbo and 2,5ml of Tropica Plant Nutrition. I will dose the ferts 2 times a week. Temp 26'C.


Dismantled tank - all plants out new in

After all the Glosso went dead I decided on re-started this tank. Anyway I got the feeling that the aquascape wasn't really ME, but a try to bring to life Amanos tank.

I was thinking for a while what plants to use that will satisfy my taste...and I decided on planting Cryptocoryne sp. only!

I like the wild look, jungle style. I will post the photos soon.

The initial set-up didn't work because I have chosen wrong CO2 diffusion system. The perfect way would be to use the ceramic diffuser instead of the Venturi because the pump didn't have enough power to create tiny bubbles, so all the CO2 injected was wasted.

I will disconnect the CO2 and use the liquid Carbon (Easy Carbo) instead, every second day just a few drops + will dose Tropica with N & P 3 times a week 2.5ml


Jun 25th maturing aquarium

After only 6 days one can obviously see how fast these plants are growing. Thanks to adding ferts every 2 days plants can't lack any nutrients they need for a healthy growth. Maintaining the same CO2 level is of a great importance. CO2 shifts stress plants and will favour the Black Beard Algae (BBA). I perform 45% weekly water change to prevent any nutrient build-up. So far everything looks great. I will add a few Caridina gracilirostris very soon ;-)

Glossostigma planted Jun 19th '07

Glossostigma elatinoides was my front plant choice. I will try to grow 2 species of plants only. Keep it simple ;-)

First plants added...

Eleocharis acicularis grass was my background choice. It is very easy planting grassy plants in this kind of substrate. I used tweezers of course.
I started dosing Tropica Plus with N and P, 5 ml every two days, followed by a weekly 45% water change. 1 bubble per second of CO2. Lights ON for 9 hours.


The BIG start - Jun 17th '07

Arranging the rocks wasn't really the easiest task. It took lots of rearrangements till I was satisfied, and this is how it looks now. I used the Aquatic Nature Ferti-Soil made out of clay which was mixed with trace elements like Fe, etc. One good thing about this soil is, it doesn't have to be rinsed. This substrate will however lower the pH.
I placed 2 11 Watts T5 compact fluorescent light modules with reflectors. I will run 1 bubble per sec. of pressurized CO2.