Friday, July 24, 2009

Day 33 Planted!

I'm embarrassed to see it's day 33 since I planted this tank. I've been a bit demoraalized and haven't wanted to post! But, I think I've finally beaten back an infection of Ich and I'm finally feeling a bit better about the tank. I need to write a piece about defeating Ich, assuming all goes well in the next few days. Also, I'll report on the new Catalina Aquariums light fixture you see here. Also, Vic from came through with lots of dwarf hairgrass. Woo hoo!
Reading more: Give Catalina Aquariums a call before you order. I'll give a full review quite soon.
Read more!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Aquarium Blog: Green Leaf Aquariums Review

Green Leaf Aquariums Review
A+ to Green Leaf Aquariums!

Orlando from Green Leaf Aquariums just called. I must say I'm very impressed with the APC ( community and Green Leaf Aquariums ( Orlando communicated to me that they'd been moving from one facility to another and had been less responsive to emails than ideal in the last few days. He also said he work with me on a reduced shipping charge to compensate. I'd have no reservations about ordering from Green Leaf Aquariums in the future and found Orlando to be a great/friendly guy / businessman!

Prompt shipping. Great products. Helpful customer support.

Kudos to Green Leaf!

Here was my post to
Hi Folks,
I wonder if others have noticed that Green Leaf (Orlando) has not been responding to emails? I sent this a week ago and a followup with no response. Not a big deal. One of those instances where you realize you want to order one more thing. Called them first thing business hours twice (left message) and could not get anyone on the phone. They did ship the stuff I ordered in one box, but went ahead and charged me shipping for two orders. I'll still order from them and they ship promptly and I appreciate the product quality. Any thoughts? I will update here promptly if/when I hear from them.

"Hi Orlando,
I'm wondering if you'd be willing to grant me some shipping credit on my next order?
You were able to consolidate orders # and # and ship for $11.80 yet my total shipping charge was $23.80. The dry fertilizers look great. I've been very happy with Green Leaf Aquariums and look forward to my next order. Thanks for considering this!"
Reading more
: the logo is posted as an avatar on a local forum, so I don't think it can be considered copyrighted. I hope to hear from them soon and make this a very favorable post. Yup, I heard from them and am able to give Green Leaf a thumbs up. See the top of the post.
Read more!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Hydor CO2 Review

Part design and quality A+ (the parts seem to be made to exacting standards and made to last)
Customer support A+ (these folks were responsive and very helpful, I felt like I was working with an individual interested in helping me as an individual)

Update: my Hydor CO2 Green NRG Exclusive system continues to function well. The second canister installation was without incident. I am on day ten of bubbling at a rate of over 1 per second. I do hope to upgrade to a Hydor Advanced system with a larger tank soon!

If you are interested in my troubleshooting experiences see the links to the right.

My Hydor CO2 Green NRG Exclusive disposable canister depleted this morning after eight days. This system is for a nano to very small aquarium for sure. It could be that I lost some CO2 on setup, so I'll report how many days I get with each successive disposable canister. Oh, my bubble rate is about one per second for a 50 gallon tank. I suppose it's time to start looking for an upgrade. I'll be happy to transfer this system to a smaller tank however! In summary, Hydor customer support has been very responsive. They replaced my valve and two expended CO2 cartridges promptly.

With an update to the English translation of the instructions (see seventh Hydor troubleshooting blog entry), the Exclusive CO2 system is an elegant and user friendly solution to providing pressurized CO2 to the smaller/nano tank. I am considering the Advanced system for my upgrade. Reading more: The Hydor CO2 troubleshooting will continue as I'm not absolutely sure everything went well with this disposable cannister's installation. I did have some CO2 eject out the first safety hole before I could get the valve secured (twisted down sufficiently). I hope the silicone gasket did not tear! I'll keep you updated (all is well, see update above).
Read more!

Aquarium Blog: Day 15 planted- Cabomba!

Here's an interesting pic of the Cabomba (Cabomba caroliniana var. caroliniana,) I added five days ago. From what I read here: it must happen when the plant is tall/floating. Ah well, not the mystery I thought it was. Interesting pic nevertheless. I guess I could ask y'all this: If I buried this stem would I get a lot of vertical stems, or would the plant continue to grow one stem, or rot? Oh, the female rams (Freon and Krypton) seem devoid of eggs today. At least Krypton does. She had been looking bigger day after day and exhibiting some interest in creating a spawning spot. The males (Boron and Xenon) seem much more interested in tank hierarchy issues. Reading more: I may have to setup another tank if I ever want to spawn the Rams. There may be too many fish or it could just be water conditions. We'll see.
Read more!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Can't Touch This

Talked to the owner of a home built 52,000 gallon aquarium today in IRC. Check out his thread on building the tank and his video! Reading more: nice guy too!
Read more!

Aquarium Blog: Day 13 Planted- Ferts mixed!

Mixed up my first batch of liquid fertilizer from dry. Mixing is easy but deciding on amounts is kind of a bear. After adding iron early in the day I thought I could see my R. rotundifolia growing in real time! Reading more: I'd say the downloaded version of Chuck's Planted Aquarium Calculator and the Fertilator page were most helpful in making the final calculations. See the links to the right. Check the forums for help!
Read more!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Aquarium Blog: Day 12 Planted

Pic of tank Day12, dry ferts as arrived today, and bachelor lunch I ate while looking at my tank (wife at in-laws)! Reading more: The dry fertilizers are from Green Leaf Aquariums. I've been quite impressed with them so far. Now I need to select a method of dertermining how much to fertilize. There are a handful.
Read more!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Aquarium Blog: Drop checker arrived!

My CO2 drop checker from Green Leaf Aquariums looks great!
The CAL AQUA crop checkers they also sell look nice, but if you notice I think they have a plastic plug in them. The Green Leaf drop checker is all glass and looks very clean. It does take some patience to get the testing solution in there, but it's worth the clean look. I think they should use my pic (assuming their profit is greater for their own product)! Green Leaf Aquariums also ships a standardized 4dKH solution included!
Reading more: I will say it's tough to discriminate the color from a distance. The Red Sea drop checker is easier to read from a distance, but doesn't look nearly as nice! Also the Red Sea drop checker does NOT ship with a standardized solution for mixing. Read more!

Aquarium Blog: Day 11 Planted

You can click on the image for a better view. You can see floating up top the cabomba I brought in from my outdoor container pond. All the fish seem to be doing quite well. Yesterday I may have tweaked the CO2 at little high as all the rams seemed to be working for oxygen so I dialed that back for the day. I turned on the airstone when I noticed their stress so don't worry. Most of the plants seem to be doing well. I should be getting my new CO2 drop checker today. You can see my current one attached to the front glass upper right. It contains a solution that changes color depending on CO2 concentrations. The new one comes with a standardized solution that should provide improved validity. Dry fertilizer should arrive in the next day or so. Reading more: Any questions? Just ask! I'm not sure if lighting or nutrients are my limiting plant growth factor at the moment. I should be improving the nutrients when the dry fertilizers arrive. It'll likely be my birthday before I can justify a lighting fixure that will up my watts per gallon to the 3-4 range. Read more!

Aquarium Blog: Rotala macrandra

Here you can see the test bed area of my tank. It's up front where I can observe new plants closely. Yesterday I added what I believe is some Rotala macrandra. It's considered a difficult plant to grow and needs high light, so I'm not expecting too much. Reading more: From a entry below you'll find I also placed some in an outdoor container. Who knows? Maybe it will really take off outside! Read more!

Aquarium Blog: Scarlet Badis

These tiny fish are amazing. Their small size makes the aquarium seem just huge! They're also difficult to photograph, he, he. Unfortunately they seem to be finicky eaters. The first meal of the day is always some frozen daphnia and I'm pretty sure they're eating it. Reading more: I'll post a blog dedicated to feeding.
Read more!

Aquarium Blog: Atlanta rocks!

Seriously, what's going on in Atlanta?! Do you have some great pet stores there? Is there an Atlanta aquatic club? Could it be any hotter? Post a comment! Reading more: Every day I look at the traffic report for this website and Atlanta is almost always at the top of the list. I do have friends and faimly there, but I doubt they are visiting every day. What's up? I'm glad to have you visit! What would you like to see more of? What could I do for Atlanta?!
Read more!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Aquarium Blog: New light fixture on the way from Big Al's.

I just ordered Coralife F/W T-5 Aqualight Double Strip Light-36 from Big Al's. I've been pretty impressed with this dealer of aquarium supplies. They advertise a low price guarantee. I tried, but ran into the problem of ordering something the website listed as "in-stock" and getting an email that they were out of stock and the website never updated to "out of stock". Sometimes you get the feeling that "in-stock" is the default for a merchant regardless of stock status. That's a deal breaker for me. So far I've NOT had this problem with Big Al's and I've found their prices to be quite low. I will report on the new lighting fixture soon! Reading more: Let me know what your online dealer experiences have been. Read more!

Aquarium Blog: The power of the sun!

Getting in my car yesterday (after it was preheated by the Arkansas sun) I chuckled as I wondered how many watts the sun has and what a shame it cannot be harnessed as an aquarium light. Of course we know sunlight can benefit the indoor aquarium, but that's a different story. I then remembered I'd tossed some Hornwort, Cabomba, and Anacharis is my goldfish containers a while back. I checked them out and the Cabomba and Anacharis were growing like crazy. No real surprise, but at least I remember I have a free source of both now! Also it occurred to me I could create a test bed for my other aquatic plants and see if any enjoy growing outdoors! (Note these are isolated containers miles from natural bodies of water.) Oh, a goldfish in one of the containers seemed to say "please, if you're not going to feed us, bugger off". Reading more: I'll take and post some pics of the Cabomba and Anacharis in my tank later today! Read more!