Light: 6x T5 39w (6hrs)
Fertiliser: Diy fry ferts: 40ml Marcos x2 weekly , 20ml Trace x2 weekly and x2 caps of Seachem Iron
Sunstarte: Bonsai Moler clay, Osmocote,Clay
Maintenance: 30 water change weekly
So after awhile using moler clay as my main inert substrate to feed my plants, I recently started noticing that the plants stems where slowly dying and releasing from the substrate. While some plants where doing fantastic some clearly need more root nutrients, so I decided to redo the tank and place a base layer of plant food which should sustain the plants and their growth.
This is the tank the day of the redo. This picture where taken at 3am in the morning as I decided to have an early start on the tank. From the picture the plants looks quite lush but most of them have detached from the substrate and started to uptake from the water column with their roots.
I got everything organised for the redo. Here are some 5ltr bottles that I will use to store some of the aquarium water to add back into the tank. The amount of bottles will hold about 30% of the tank's capacity. I aimed to reuse 50% of the aquarium water then do a water change within a few days to not disturb the bacteria colonies in the filter.
Wow, am I still at the second step. This is taking longer than I thought. Now I am draining some of the tanks water into a plastic box which holds 80 litres which will sum it up to about half the tanks capacity along with the bottles of water.
All done draining the tank to the half way mark, and added the dwarf water lettuces to the container to reduce any ammonia which will build up when the fish are added.
Tank is half way drained and some the dwl removed. It’s time for the fun part of removing the plants and looking at the roots from the plant which loved the clay substrate. It was a shame rooting up the red tiger lotus as it was just thriving in the tank.
All plants removed except one sole aponnogeton which was in a pot so was left for last. I managed to catch some of the fish and added them to the container, now the hard part the tetras, phew! It’s been a few hours since I started. I was limited to the amount of pictures I could take because my SD card was broken and could only take 2 pictures at a time on the camera's memory, “darn you Samsung". So I was able to take some pictures of the plant roots.
Laying the substrate
After draining the tank I tried to give it a clean before starting on the substrate, “this isn't easy when your tank is over 5foot tall". With my trusty ladder I mange to clean the bottom of the tank as best as I could. Now it’s time for the substrate.
The recommended dosing amount of osmocote is 5g per square foot. I needed 8 tablets for this tank but added another 2," I'm so bad; just don’t know when to stop". I smash the tablets to get the individual beads and spread them evenly over the base of the tank.
Now this is where thing get interesting because this is a new venture for me. In the tank are 2 nylon bags with dirt enclose in them. I originally wasn't planning to use dirt on this tank but had an idea on how to control the dirt in the tank which was my main issue with dirting my tanks. The nylon bags will do just that. They have small holed big enough for roots to penetrate through but small enough restrict the dirt from exploding everywhere. This will also solve the problem with the osmocote leaching too much in the water and retain the capsule after they turn buoyant. I should have bought 2 o the bigger size bags which would make a great fit leaving the front with a 2”-3” gap. Anyways it will do the job.
To reduce as much of the excess which will leach from the soil, clay and osmocote I added a thin layer of sand and moler clay over the nylon bags. This is a great way to reduce the excess from leaching into the water column at a fast rate.
Scape was almost the same to the original except the rock on left and one of the drift wood repositioned. I wasn't able to take any pictures from this point on. The battery died and I was getting tired of taking 2 pictures and moving back and forth from the pc to remove the pics to get the space to take more. Sorry guys!
After 14hrs of work I was finally able to sit and rest my feet and look at the tank. It’s all planted back up with the plants and fish added back straight away. Water test was done a showed no rise in ammonia/nitrate etc all 0. It was the day after the picture below was taken and all is well. I in cooperate some more rocks din the scape also to give a more balanced scape. Thanks for reading guys, Hope I didn’t bored you!
Look out for updates on this tank.