Wednesday 23 April 2014

18 Litre "Glass Planter" Outdoor Tank

I recently got an outdoor shelving system from IKEA to put some potted plants... as usual i ended up filling the extra shelves with aquarium-related items too. :)

My original plan was to just use a normal planter box for terrestrial plants, but then i remembered that i had a spare low-profile glass tank (L40cm x D25cm x H18cm) that was able to fit nicely on the shelf, so i cleaned it and filled the bottom with a simple sand base, then planted it with Anubias Barteri var. Angustifolia (glued to individual small rocks) and further surrounded with more rocks.

Filtration and oxygenation is supplied by a small sponge filter (its sitting just behind the plants).

Some of the anubias plant leaves currently poke out of the water surface but parts of it are still underwater so the leaves are kept hydrated. Hopefully by the time the leaves start to grow taller out of the water they should have adapted back to emersed form.

No fauna at the moment... though i'll probably add in a few small hardy fishes soon to prevent mosquito breeding.

The tank is positioned in a shaded area and blocked by other plants but it still gets indirect sunlight for most of the day.

With slow growing plants in a full glass tank outdoors, i guess it'll probably be a count down to algae fest in 3... 2... 1... *fingers crossed*. :)

Sunday 20 April 2014

64 Litre "Forest Edge" Tank - Week 37 Update

Quick update on this tank...

The only major change was i removed the Anubias sp. 'Petite' carpet a few weeks back to aquascape another tank, which created a gap in the middle... so i harvested some bunches of Eleocharis sp. 'Mini' and re-planted them into the empty area to fill it in.

No changes in lights, Co2 and ferts. The background plants are trimmed every 1-2 weeks to maintain their fresh growth (or when i'm less lazy). I recently did a big trim on the Blyxa Japonica and removed alot of it, so it looks less crowded.

I frequently leave this tank unattended for days and it just runs on its own, so its been a relatively low maintenance system so far. :)

Friday 11 April 2014

64 Litre "Forest Edge" Tank - Week 36 Update

Added a group of Corbicula Fluminea (aka Golden Clam) to the tank...

I've actually been keeping them for the past few months in another sand-based tank, but its currently being rescaped, so i transferred them over to this tank.

I wasn't keen on letting them dig into the soil substrate in this tank and mess up the plants though, so i created a suspended "sand bed" for them to live in. Its basically made from an acrylic feeding dish filled with a layer of sand and attached to the glass wall.

The sand bed is positioned in the path of the filter flow, as these clams are micro filter feeders and do best with water constantly circulating around them.

Here is a close-up photo of the clams in their sand bed...

These clams are quite active creatures, they will move around the dish and dig into the sand using their "foot"... but they aren't able to climb over the edge of the dish (and disappear into the plants and soil below), so its much easier to keep and observe them this way. :)

Tuesday 8 April 2014

Product Test - Easy-Life AlgExit

I read some positive reviews about AlgExit, so when i chanced upon it at a shop a few weeks ago, i decided to get a bottle to try out.

Although i don't have any major algae issues in my tanks at the moment, i do allow a layer of green fuzzy algae to grow on bare hardscape, which i actually consider as part of the aquascape. So i figured it would be interesting to see the treatment's effect on this type of algae (in case i need to manage it in the future).

I dosed according to the bottle instructions at 1 ml per 10 liters of tank volume per week. My tank volume is around 64 liters so i dosed slightly less at just 6 ml each time. The active ingredient listed on the bottle is salicylate.

There was no change in my routine maintenance, water changes, lights, Co2, fertilizer dosing or feeding regimen... everything was still kept the same. No noticeable issues encountered with the fishes and shrimps during the treatment, so it seems to be safe with most fauna.

Here is the effect shown on Week 1 (left photo) vs Week 4 (right photo):

From the side-by-side comparisons, the treatment worked quite well to gradually reduce this type of algae. At least now i know how to manage it if required.

After completing the 4 week recommended treatment course, i missed seeing the nice green fuzzy algae covering the rocks... so i've since stopped treatment dosing to allow the algae to grow back. :)

- Update (12 October 2014) -

Since i had a fair bit of extra AlgExit solution leftover, i decided to do a follow-up side-by-side comparison test of the effects of this algae treatment to see the difference between tank water samples that have it added versus those that don't have any treatment.

I set up the comparison by using 2 clear plastic containers, one has old tank water with AlgExit added, while the other one also has the same old tank water but no AlgExit added. Both containers are overdosed with Tropica Specialized fertilizers (contains macro + micro nutrients) and are placed outdoors at a balcony area which receives full direct sunlight.

Left Container: With AlgExit / Right Container: Without AlgExit

After a week, these are the results...

The container with AlgExit added has very little traces of algae... on the otherhand, the container without AlgExit has a visible coating of green algae.

I guess this simple comparison demonstrates the effectiveness of AlgExit at helping to inhibit green algae growth. :)