Hi everyone, I am also a first time poster... been lurking for a few weeks and soaking it all up. Read all Tom's intro threads and visited the various web resources he also posted. Have been to the Krib before and it got me started about 3 years ago. I have gotten so much out of Barr Report though (more current). Thank you all. I wanted to share some of my big-time mistakes and some positive progress since I started studying Barr Report a few short weeks ago. I was interested in nano set-ups so purchased a 7-gallon mini-bow in the beginning; also got obsessed with tech: 12-in Current light 18w 10K/6K Sunpaq, Hagen HOB Power Filter (the smallest one using all bio-media/no charcoal), underwater heater at 80 F, and Hagen Natural CO2 (the one with the rails). Oh and Red-sea Pro test kit. I had my own plexi hood fabricated to put the light fixture on top. I filled the tank to the max with EcoComplete, shale, pebbles and driftwood and some salt and pepper sand I liked and planted dwarf sags, hairgrass and some HC I bought on aquabid. Way over-analyzed and Amano-esque designed because I like to research. I fired it all up and wham: I had a planted tank. Then it went down hill fast. I bought some fish too large for the tank and they liked to eat plants (eek!). 3 Florida Flag Fish. They were boisterous. Then I added a few salt and pepper corys and some Heterandria formosa. The corys obviosly like to dig a little too. And a dozen olive nerite snails. The native Heterandria formosa colony are no problem and kept me going 3 years: no heart to dump them. I have tried shrimp in the past too but no luck: Ghost and Amano. They died. Anyway, the sags started to take off and took over everything when the hairgrass died and turned brown and the HC must taste good, because the Flag fish like it a lot and it floated a lot and then caused filter problems. I got frustrated. I gave up on the CO2 and knew nothing about dosing and the importance of water changes. I am also lazy. So, algae and foreign snails infested the tank after some Aquabid Hornwort and Guppy Grass (tried going rootless) and wham. Now I have a disaster. The fish died eventually (old age) and the nerites were out competed by an infestation of foreign snails. They were prolific. The disaster continued for the next few years: algae (probably some new species discovered/developed in there!) of every kind and color and general disinterest and complacencey and stagnation on many levels. I restarted 4 times like chemo with complete water changes and clean out. Then I went to low light and NO PLANTS. But there were plants—Algae. Ok. Time to start over again (around this past Christmas): I ordered some Cryptocoryne wendtii, Vesicularia dubyana and Microsorum pteropus, some Amano shrimp and 12 nerites. PlantGeeek.com said they were all easy and low light plants: I was convinced my Current/Sunpaq lighting was the problem and went with the mini-bow stock hood. I redesigned the aquascape and planted using play sand and inserted Flourish tabs, but I hated the look of the mini-bow stock lights and the plants: looked blue and muddy so reintroduced the 10K/6K dual. Then serendipity through Krib PMDD>Aquariumfertilzer.com: found Barr Report. Today I am writing because I had pearling for the first time and excited. No algae (yet) after 1 month. I introduced dosing strategy and the yeast CO2 after finding a great recipe on this site (needed with high/medium light). The DIY on this site is great. Sometimes I want to make stuff and not even need it: internal CO2 reactor for example. Still want to build a 5 gallon wet/dry sump, but that is another story... maybe another post. BUT the plants are thriving and water quality excellent. The crypts melted (50%) but the regrowth is nice (bronze/green) and prolific. I do need more plants (another lesson learned here) and ferts from aquariumfertilizer.com: right now I am using Seachem Excel, Flourish, and Equilibrium. 3X a week and 50% weekly water change (it only takes :30 min on a Sunday morning), and DIY CO2 with the Hagen unit and rail diffuser is running around 40 ppm. pH 6.5 (need better kit/meter though), kH around 5. It is the best start I have had so far, BUT much more to do like refining my NPK with PMDD and more plants. I also tried to created a moss "floor" but considering filling it in with HC... so pics to follow when complete. I will post.
I still have a long way to go but here are some of my random key lessons:
• learn a method and learn it well (develop a routine and schedule and get the stuff needed i.e. EI)-Thanks Tom
• form follows function (high-light, low-light, tech, CO2... etc.). i.e. have goals and research BEFORE set up. Thanks Tom
• Over plant. Thanks Tom
• get a vacuum: weekly water changes, weekly water changes, weekly water changes!
• friendly (meaning non-aggressive) flaura/fauna
• clean and over clean plants and stuff before introduction
• learn A LOT about the plants before purchase: habits like crypt melt, coloration, roots, height, spread, other misc needs and idiosyncrasies
• DIY: I am on a budget
• Quote I read once about pest control: "The best thing you can introduce to a garden is a gardener"
• keep searching and stay inquisitive and learn new stuff i.e. Barr Report
• get inspired (AGA contests, web, youtube, and books like Amano's)
Last edited by uncleddie; 01-17-2010 at 01:54 PM.
"You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here." - Desiderata