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Upgrades, Tech Trees, and Priorities
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ZacAdam
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Joined: 17 Jul 2009
Location: Saint John, NB, Canada

PostPosted: 2013.04.21(Sun)23:31    Post subject: Upgrades, Tech Trees, and Priorities Reply with quote

So, I've got the 55 Gallon about where I want it for now. Both my tanks are stocked, and normally, I'd say it'd be time to kick back, relax, and watch my fish grow out.

I'm not really the type for kicking back. When I'm not actively doing something apart from the routine tasks, the routines can get forgotten. it sounds strange, I know, but I actually do better with just about everything by... never mind, I digress.

So, with the 55 about where I want it (I may take the opportunity to add a CO2 system to it, or I may not), my attention returns to the 10 Gallon, Mongkut's Palace.

As tens go, it's a pretty basic system I cobbled it together out of spare parts, so it's running what I'm reasonably certain is an Aqua Clear 20 set to minimal, flow-obstructed (for the welfare of the Betta), and double-stuffed with foam blocks for the AC50 as biological media (essentially, it's an air-driven sponge without the noise of being air-driven). There's an M-Series heater keeping the whole system at about 24C (for now), and 15 W of Life-Glo blasting into the top.

I want to start doing some upgrades to the tank - partly because I find the idea of a 10 gallon tank as a high-tech tank amusing, and partly because tinkering is precisely half the fun of the hobby. The thing is, I'm not really sure where to start.

1. Live Plants - the tank is has Fluval's Stratum for Plants as its substrate. I liked the stratum, and the plants did to, until I added an apple snail for algae control. Since then, I've been stuck with the snail. I'm thinking of returning it to the place I got it, and stocking the tank with live plants again to help with chemoregulation and to look nicer.

Since the CO2 system I've obtained is actually designed for a tank that small, should I wire it to the 10 instead? If so, what about upgrading the lights? I imagine the cheapest way would be either changing the bulb or adding a reflector? What makes a good reflector?

2. Finishing - I pretty much exclusively use flat black backgrounds. Has anyone had any success with affixing such backgrounds permanently, or other alternatives? I've seen tanks with painted back panes, but I've only ever seen that done with decomissioned tanks. How long would the tank be unsafe if I went the spraypaint route?

3. Filtration - As I've said before, the filter on this thing is subpar at best. Should I change it, and if so, to what?
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CSnyder00
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Joined: 19 Oct 2008
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

PostPosted: 2013.07.07(Sun)7:02    Post subject: Update Reply with quote

Any updates on what you did? I'm willing to throw my two cents in if you are still interested in feedback.
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ZacAdam
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Joined: 17 Jul 2009
Location: Saint John, NB, Canada

PostPosted: 2013.07.07(Sun)7:36    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't really made any changes to this tank yet - unless you count adding an amazon sword. At the moment, it's having a bloom of sheet algae that I'm having a hard time controlling.
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CSnyder00
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Joined: 19 Oct 2008
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

PostPosted: 2013.07.07(Sun)7:38    Post subject: CO2 Reply with quote

Are you using CO2 or not? Also, what's your stock like on the tank. Algae blooms can only happen if you have lots of food for it to thrive. Cut the food supply and it should help.
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ZacAdam
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Joined: 17 Jul 2009
Location: Saint John, NB, Canada

PostPosted: 2013.07.07(Sun)14:50    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm down to feeding every other day, and have been for about three weeks. No CO2 on that system, lighting is 15 w Hagen Life-Glo 2.
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CSnyder00
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Joined: 19 Oct 2008
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

PostPosted: 2013.07.08(Mon)4:03    Post subject: Light Reply with quote

How long is your light on per day? Is the tank near another light source? How about water changes?
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ZacAdam
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Joined: 17 Jul 2009
Location: Saint John, NB, Canada

PostPosted: 2013.07.08(Mon)8:03    Post subject: Reply with quote

Weekly 10-15% water changes, 12 hour photoperiod. The tank's near another light source (namely, the lights in my livingroom) but their usage roughly correlates to the photoperiod.

If I had to blame anything, it's that tank's lack of management for the alagae. All that really exists to keep it in check is physical removal and the nutrient consumption of amazon sword.
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CSnyder00
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Joined: 19 Oct 2008
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

PostPosted: 2013.07.08(Mon)18:58    Post subject: Consumption Reply with quote

How heavily to do you have it planted? What's the stock like? There has to be a source. Maybe it's your filter media. Something is feeding the algae heavily to get that kind of response. I've had these problems, but it was typically due to the amount of natural light from windows. Try lowering the amount of time the light is on to 8 hours and maybe siphon the substrate or at least test your chemistry levels. Maybe clean half the filter media. Switch it up.
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