Bouncing Back

It has been a while since the last update. The arowana is growing well, but the plants can do better. Frankly, the main reason for lack of updates is the less than ideal condition of the plants and algae situation.

I’ve been getting an algae that forms a film on the leaves and hardscape, then dies and turns brown and hard. Also getting the green dust algae (GDA) on my glass. No one apparently has found a good solution for GDA besides lots of Bristlenose Plecos (BN). WIth my aggro arowana, more algae eaters is not really an option. Would really love to put in 10 more BN, or 2 platoons of Otos.

Further compounding the problem, I had modified my CO2 dissolution system. I had a custom-made CO2 reactor in-line with my sump return pump. The dissolution rate wasn’t as good as I wanted, and figuring that it could be due to the flow being too strong, I removed it and used a smaller dedicated pump on the reactor. From then, plant growth in the tank got worse slowly, but I didn’t realise it was due to low CO2 till later. Because of the way the reactor was placed and without the high pressure of the return pump, it had a harder time dissolving CO2 and at the same time, encouraged any gases in the water to evaporate out. I’ll explain in detail in a later post with illustrations.

On hindsight, the poor growth was obviously due to the drop in CO2,. The Staurogyne repens, that was growing beautifully before, slowly succumbed to the weird brown algae and died bit by bit. The red tiger lotus also produced smaller and smaller leaves. The Bolbitis was still growing new leaves, but the brown algae was smothering the leaves as the grew. Instead of considering CO2, I went looking at fertilisation problems. The deterioration was so slow that I neglected to consider CO2 as the main cause.

During that time, I noticed a much a bigger gas pocket in the reactor than before. I kept wondering why. I even had to reduce the CO2 injection rate. Eventually, after months, I guessed it might be due to the outlet being at the bottom of the reactor and hence the water level is always trying to drop. This results in low pressure inside the reactor, reducing the ability of the CO2 to dissolve. Acting on that hunch, I turned the reactor around and reversed the flow. Lo and behold, the gas pocket reduced significantly. So I’ve set the CO2 injection rate back up. This resulted in a slightly better growth from the S. repens and lotus.

I decided I wanted to further improved the CO2 distribution. Some time back I had read that placing a spray bar along the entire length of the back of the tank, pointing forward is one of the best ways to distribute CO2 all over a large tank. So I went and got some PVC pipes, DIY’d a spray bar and installed it. After 3 weeks, there is noticeable better growth from parts of the S. repens.

Unfortunately, I think the S. repens has deteriorated to the point where most of it does not seem to be recovering. I’ve decided to remove them in the near future and plant a new lawn and other plants. Going to remove the white sand bed, which is now brown, and replace it with Aquasoil and a new lawn.

I tried to re-tie the Bolbitis this past weekend, but discovered lots of dead rotting rhizome (despite the constant new leaves). Decided to throw out the lot and get new ones. As a result, just barely a week later, I noticed that the brown algae on the rocks near the Bolbitis is being slowly cleared away. I’m guessing that the rotting Bolbitis was feeding the algae in the area and now that it’s gone, the algae growth has slowed or stopped and the SAEs can out-eat it.

So, hopefully in a few weeks, I can start sharing new pictures of the tank with nice plant growth. Wish me luck!


Gan Red+ Asian Arowana in Planted Tank

The arowana is growing nicely but seems to have developed a protruding lower jaw. Was told by Gan of Gan Aquarium that a shrimp diet will cause this due to the calcium in their shells. I am not feeding shrimp, but I was dosing Seachem Equilibrium for Calcium and Magnesium for a while for the plants. That might have been the cause in this case. I’ve stopped that, so I hope the condition will resolve itself. Continue reading “Update”

Sump Noise vs Hofer Gurgle Buster

Hofer Gurgle Buster

When I first filled the tank and ran the sump return pump to test for leaks and to test the sump, the noise from the drain pipe was too loud for our (me and the wife) sanity. Tweaking the ball valve at the drain pipe didn’t help much. It reduced some sound but there was various side effects:

  • The water level fluctuated, resulting intermittent draining noises.
  • Small bubbles coming out of the bottom of the drain pipe. Not a good thing for maintaining CO2 levels in the water.
  • Large pockets of air would be blasted out of the bottom of the drain pipe occasionally, causing lots of splashing and occasional noise.

So I started looking up solutions on the net. Continue reading “Sump Noise vs Hofer Gurgle Buster”