Walter Grunden

New member
I enjoyed talking to you and your wife at the meeting. Your tank is quite impressive. I can see a lot of time and love you put into your planted tank.

Paul G

Changed CO2PRIMARY bottle which emptied at 13:30 02/27. This bottle delivered for 142 hours over 40 days.

I have been pondering aquascape changes, but have been reluctant to get a real start. Finally I began by removing some Sagittaria - again - then more and more. I have left behind only the Sag that forms a solid curtain at the very back of the tank where it hides the in-tank plumbing. Finally I wound up with a 5 gallon bucket full of the stuff and this really cleared out some spaces and let in some light. I think the swords will do better, and they certainly look better.

One reason for my reluctance has been that my plans involve moving crypts. The crypts have done well in this system because I have chosen to leave them to their own devices and refused to interfere with them. This has been the philosophy of the jungle style system in general - let the plants decide. But eventually there must be changes. I expect I may have some losses, but there is little doubt that they will re-establish in this tank just fine.

I have also confirmed my inclination to not return the Ludwigia. I will keep a small amount of it going just in case I want it later on, but I have not missed it lately and I am looking forward to making the space for Anubias and other things.

I have been soaking wood that has not been in a tank for a long time, and have procured quite a lot of Java fern. This is a project I am anxious to see done.

We are seeing new cherry barb fry every few days now.

One of the SAEs has died - cause unknown. The other SAEs are doing just fine.

Hi Walter. Hope to see you again at March meeting.


Active member
I hope to see some of your "scraps/discards in the auction coming up in a couple of weeks, I have not had any sag in years.

Paul G

Hi Jeff. If I have fresh harvest, I'll bring it.

Today's numbers

pH: 6.7
ORP: 363 mV
EC: 1220 uS/cm
KH: 152 ppm (8.5 deg)
GH: 84 ppm (4.7 deg)
Ca: 52 ppm
Mg: 32 ppm
Fe: 0.62 ppm
NO3: < 10 ppm
PO4: > 3 ppm
K: 50 ppm

I have been running the BMLs at 80% of capacity for several days. No hint of nuisance algae, but the aufwuchs on the front glass seems to grow faster. The Gara and the whiptail cat like it. DO exceeds 100% saturation by mid-day. I never see a lot of vigorous pearling on or around any specific plants, but there are a few fine bubbles uniformly distributed in the water column throughout the photoperiod.

With the pH at 6.7 and KH at > 8 degrees, the CO2 is maintained at approximate minimum 50 ppm (by the chart). Today I performed a phenolphthalein titration which indicated that 50 ppm is conservative. This system is not carbon limited with respect to any autotrophs (CO2 users).

I am still tinkering with the GH. The Mg level is now maintaining. The numbers are not ideal, but I catch myself possibly obsessing over minutiae, as the slightly extra hardness is evidently acceptable to the cherry barbs for breeding purposes, they and all the tetras are in excellent color, and, for the plants, it's just luxury secondary macro. Nothing to complain about here, but I will tinker on nonetheless.

The cherry barbs are absolutely phenomenal.


Active member
I just thought you could sell some of your "waste" to help you off set some of your expenses

Paul G

I am making gradual changes to the 'scape, placing wood pieces with attached Microsorum. This has been a highly deliberative effort and is taking me far longer to carry through than I like. Each time I turn my attention to it I am faced with the task of clearing out Sagittaria overgrowth first.

CO2PRIMARY emptied at 01:00 4/7. This bottle delivered 129 hrs over 39 days.

At this juncture, an effort must be made to conserve CO2. In the process I will be throttling the drive, and it will be interesting to observe how the growth is slowed. It is not my intention to convert entirely to LL/LT strategy, but I will make a real attempt to find a compromise path. The following measures have been taken.

1.) CO2PRIMARY pH is raised to 6.84, and CO2BACKUP pH is raised to 6.86.
2.) The three BMLs (main lighting - SUN1, SUN2, SUN3) are again reduced to 60% of maximum. This will be further reduced if algae threaten.
3.) SUN4 magenta/white supplementary lighting is disabled completely.
4.) KH will be gradually adjusted to 5 degrees. Target alkalinity will be circa 90 ppm. The sustained CO2 concentration will be halved.
5.) With a reduced rate of carbon fixation, I expect to see a rise in nutrient test values. Dosing will be appropriately trimmed.
6.) I dose Flourish Excel (gluteraldehyde) close to SeaChem's daily recommended. It's both a carbon source and an algacide. I will be making sure I am maximizing its usefulness, taking care to avoid overdosing.

So this is a good setup for encouraging low-light plants just now. The Microsorum will do well, as will the Anubias. The crypts also don't need the amount of light I have been using all along, but there will be an adjustment period for them. It is absolutely essential that the Echinodorus be not adversely affected; I think they will be fine though their growth will certainly be slowed.

Done right, this could be a good thing. Long term, it will probably result in a much needed modernization of the LED systems. I have been itching to replace the Stunner strips with Kessils. Economizing on the CO2 and slowing plant production would also be welcome changes. I will be happy to implement any simplifying and labor-saving steps that preserve the end result artistically, improve operational efficiency and economy, but do not increase risk of algae. This can be accomplished and I expect to learn a lot of new things.

Thanks to everyone watching. Stay tuned.


Active member
Are you worried about being able to get CO2 during the lock down? I would think it would always be available as essential for non plant growing reasons.

Paul G

My usual source, M & H in Independence, is open for business. As of right now, I don't see reason for concern as to availability, but I will admit I have concerns. I will take my empties over there and talk with them.

Paul G

Well, okay. I am pleased to report that beverage-grade CO2 will remain available to the walk-in cash customer. The demand and supply will remain consistent indefinitely, barring a really drastic downturn in the state of things. So I am cautiously optimistic that I can carry on as before.