2nd Planting and Some Other Stuff

Been working on and off on the tank of late.  One of the first things to take care of was getting the CO2 up and running.  After filling the CO2 tank I got everything hooked back up.  The CO2 bubbles run into the intake of the powerhead that puts water through the UV chamber.  The modded impeller is shown in another post.  It’s working really well.  Can’t even see the bubbles on the output so they are being dissolved 100% before being put back into the sump.  Unfortunately the long layoff wasn’t kind to my solenoid.  It was full of dust and other junk and had to be totally taken apart and cleaned out.  After putting it back together it still isn’t working properly.  It’s passing CO2 with and without power.  I still got it up and running and everything connected up but will have to get a new one I think.  It’s still clicking away when power goes off and on but will not stop the CO2 when there is no power to the solenoid.  Any suggestions on how to fix it?  I’ve had it apart a few times and can’t figure out the problem.

With the CO2 in the next step was getting the sump sealed up.  I had a bunch of acrylic lying around from some other old projects that I could use to create a cover over the open areas.  With some cutting here and there I fit it around the plumbing.  I used Tuck Tape to seal the edges of the acrylic sheets and around all the stuff going in and out of the sump so that it is generally air tight.  Not 100% but pretty close.  I put a small piece into the pump section of the sump so that I can break that seal and get at the pumps without having to take apart major sections of the cover.  Is working well so far.  Drop checker is nice and green and the couple of otos in the tank aren’t gasping.  Here’s a photo of the sump all sealed up.

Sump after sealing with acrylic and tuck tape

Another small thing that I had been planning was a self priming vacuum that I could connect to the filter system.  This way I could clean the tank without any buckets and then would only have to clean out the filter, just like you would normally have to do.  Here’ s the apparatus I came up with.  It’s just a standard vacuum with an old Fluval ball valve hooked up to it.  It’s connected to a ABS cap that I can put on the drain system to self prime.  Unfortunately, in practice it’s much harder to use than I thought and I ended up putting a couple gallons of water on the floor….twice.  I think I’m going to stick with the buckets for now, but it works as intended.  Notice the scaffold in the picture doubles as a nice work station.

Self priming vacuum

Onto the second planting session now.  I got some new crpyts from the LFS; some more wendtii green to fill out some spots, some larger wendtii red I think, 3 more pots of parva (20 more are on the way) and the rest are left overs that I didn’t get in on the first planting or have become unrooted and need to be replanted.  Here’s the lineup going into the tank this time.

2nd round of plants to go in

A few hours later and we’re ready to refill the tank again.

2nd planting finished

and about another hour later, the tank totally filled.

Tank filled and ready to go again

All the anubias and java ferns are attached to the driftwood using Loctite Super Glue gel.  Works pretty well as long as the surfaces are not soaking wet.  Hold the plant in place for about 15-20s and it will hold no problem .  The open area on the front right will be filled with parva to finish out the “lawn”.  The open area on the left side will be filled up with more crypts and the wood will have some needle leaf java ferns, windelov java ferns and anubias nana petite going in.  I think I have another species or two to come too but can’t remember exactly which ones now.

I realized now the design flaw of not having access to hot water at the tank.  You can’t do a total water change without putting major stress on the fish.  I lost a number of otos because of it on this round.  I’ll never be able to do a full drain and water replacement without bucketing in some piping hot water to keep the temperature at least reasonable.  I finished this up at 3am and there was no way I was bucketing in the hot water so I lost a couple of the otos I had in there for algae control.

Here’s the tank 3 days later.

3 days after 2nd planting

Nothing really interesting to report since everything is slow growing in here.  Lots of crypts melting off obviously, but have seen some small growth.  Even have some plants pearling already which is a good sign.  No algae to be seen yet either which I’m really happy about.  The good CO2 is probably the key here.  Based on some forum advice and personal experience I am only running 2 of the 3 lights for about 5hrs a day.  When I’ve got all the plants in I’ll introduce the 3rd light but it will only be on for about 1.5-2hrs a day for a good burst.  Otherwise I’ll keep the light cycle around 5-6 hours total until the plants are fully established and algae, if any, is under control.

Here’s some of the pearling after about 3 hours of lights on.

Java fern pearling

Anubias pearling

On Friday I’m supposed to have the last shipment of the plants in.  Will be getting them in over the weekend sometime and will have another update then.  After that it will be getting fish in there and then, hopefully, watching everything sprout.


~ by canaquaticgardens on November 30, 2011.

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