Saturday, September 21, 2013

Walstad Aquarium - 1 Year Later.

Its been almost 1 year now with the new aquarium setup. And things have now got stabilized with lush green growth every where. I am now actually getting bored to update this blog because there is nothing interesting happening. Everything is going just going smooth, touchwood!!

No Masive Algae problems!! No browning of glass due to Brown Algae!!

I need to rethink whats next. Here are a few things I am planning to consider:

1. No Algae Regime: Increase the 10% water change from monthly to weekly basis. The objective is to get rid of all the minute growth of Brown Algae. I am not sure if its worth the effort.

2. Re-design a new Automatic Fish Food Feeder: Here I am planning to get hands dirty with low level electronic ICs, stepper motors/relays and things like that.

Anyway here are the pics:

Walstad Aquarium - Full View.
Note: Around 5 Amazon Sword Plants have been added. they have added filled the vacuum at various places.

Aquarium - Center View.

Aquarium - Left Hand Side View.

Aquarium - Right Hand Side View.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

9 - Months - Progression Gallery.

Its 9 months now since the new setup was performed during Sep 2012.

Here are some pics:

Sep-2012: Initial Setup. 
Jan-2013: Not so encouraging Setup. :(

Jul-2013: Lush Growth. :)

1. Added 3 new Angels fishes (Qty-4) a few days back.
2. Added Red Tail Sharks (Qty-7) around 2 months back. 
3. Added Crypt (Qty-1) around 2-weeks back and they are doing really great. I am impressed with their growth.
4. Also added Bacopa, But not that impressive growth.
5. Java Fern is still stagnating. I have ran out of ideas now. :(
6. Dead Fishes: Some Angels, Neon Rainbow, Serpae Tetra. :(

Aquarium Center.

The Lawn.

Left Side.

Left Side.

Right Side.

My Learnings:

1. Its all about CO2: CO2 (Carbon dioxide) is the most deficient nutrient for most Walstad style (Low-Tech) Natural Planted Aquarium. My 3 months results were not that encouraging. Adding lots of plants in the initial setup could have solved my problem. But since there wasn't too much many of aquatic plants, I had a tough time bringing up this aquarium.

Just 3 months back I have started Glut dosing and I am happy with the results. I was able to multiply my plants in no time.

2. Control the Algae: I had a hard time trying to control the deaded Brown Algae. But Glut dosing ans monthly siphoning of 15% water has brought things in control. 

Also the filter (running for 5 hrs Daily [overnight]) also is helping.

I am expecting that my lush green growth of aquatic plants will help me to get to a state of almost no algae.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Cloudy Water: Mind your Fish Feeding Habits.

It’s been quite some time I have been maintaining a 5-foot Natural Planted Aquarium. Every aspect (expect a few) of this aquarium is DIY (Do/Build it Yourself).

Maintaining a Natural Planted Aquarium is not that time-consuming as most people think. But this all comes from their prior bad experiences. 

The Prejudice
Most people think that maintaining an aquarium is a time consuming job. This belief has been prevalent for quite some time and this problem boils down to the shop keepers who sell them.

Most aquarium shop keepers are great sales man. Their objective is to keep selling stuff to their customers.

The First Time Buyer:
Most First time Buyers are novice and have hardly any clue about what they are getting into. 

Most of them just like the fact of having some adorable pet in their living room. The Pet won’t be bothersome (by making noise) but still be adorable. Also it gives a magnificent view in your Living Room. Also not to forget its cheaper than buying and maintaining a pup or kitten or some bird.

The shop keepers are well aware of this and their first attempt is to sell
  1. The Tank/Bowl
  2. Some Fancy Fishes.
  3. The Costliest Fish food.
  4. Air pump.
  5. Some chemical products (Chlorine remover, Water Clearing solution, some green/blue liquid to keep fish healthy)
  6. Some decoration items.
  7. Filter (optional).

All these items should easily cost you around Rs 1000 bucks. The customer is happy and he is gone.

A few Days Later:
The customer is happy for a few days but soon realizes that the water is getting cloudy or the fishes are unexpectedly dying.

The Shop Keeper’s Solution:
The customer goes back to the shop keeper to find out why aquarium water is cloudy and why my fishes are dying. The shop keep recommends changing the water every 2-3 days add this "XYZ" solution to your aquarium to keep the water clean.

He also ask the person to get water filter (of course the costliest one) to keep the water clean.

Also take these XYZ fishes they are good and will last longer. Of course these are the costliest one, But don’t worry they will try to sell it at a lower cost to keep you happy.

The Actual Solution:
Most of the time (if you are NOT having a planted aquarium) the cloudy water is due to excess food that you are dropping into the tank. The some food particles sink to the bottom after some time and it starts rotting. Soon the water gets cloudy. This cloudy water then gives out ammonia and most fishes die due to ammonia poisoning. Angel fishes are highly suspected to Ammonia.

So how much should I feed the fishes?
Most folks will says that feed them the amount the fishes can have in 5-10 minutes. Hmm!! how much is this amount?? :)

As a general thumb rule, you need to feed the amount of food equal to the fish eye size. Just consider that the size of their stomach is almost equal to their eye size. 

Knowing this fact, try to get a small spoon (one you generally use for eating ice cream from ice cream cups) and use that to shell out the fish food. The advantage of this is even if you ask a small boy to just add 1 spoon of fish food he won’t be able to error on that.

Feed the fishes twice daily.

This small change in procedure will help you a lot in a keep your Aquarium Clean.     

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Amazon Sword 1 Year later.

The results are really devastating. I need to get my Amazon Sword growing large leaves.

Amazon Sword - In the center - Jan 2012.

Same Amazon Sword a Year Later - Jan 2013.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

New Aquarium Setup After 3 Months.

My New Aquarium Setup is more than 3 months old. And the results are not that encouraging.

- All fast growing plants have shown super slow growth and are almost dead.
- Slow growing plants are showing growth.
- The Lawn[Pygmy Chain Sword (Echinodorus Tenellus)] has started spawning new daughter shoots. The Lawn is now spreading.
- Java Fern has given out lots of baby Ferns.
- Amazon Sword has grown new leaves but they are thin and slender.
- Java Moss is all dead.
- Around 30+ Swordtails/Platty babies growing.

New Additions:
- Giant Ambulia.
- Added a Internal Aquarium Filter (Not shown in pics). 

Possible Causes:
- Inconsistent Light Timings.
- Aerating Filter decreasing carbon-dioxide.
- Tube lights are now 9 months old. Most Aquarists say that tube lights should be changed every 6 months.

Changes Made:
- Light Timings: 8-13, 14-16. 17-22, every day. 
- Aerating Filter turned on overnight.
- Tube lights how changed to "Philips Trulight (Warm)" Fluorescent (Not shown in Pics).

Aquarium Full View - Without New Giant Ambulia.

Aquarium Full View - With New Giant Ambulia. at Left corner.

Java Fern has grown lots of baby ferns, on the log.

Amazon Sword with lot of slender leaves.

New Giant Ambulia.

New Giant Ambulia.

New Giant Ambulia. - Top View.