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My Success with No Filters or Substrates in My Tanks…& Other Experiments

My New Site On ‘Minds’

There is a new social media website I’m checking out called ‘Minds’.  It has encrypted chats, and a place for pictures and blogs.  Very cool.  So I’m loading everything here onto my ‘Minds’ website.  I was going to put everything on youtube, but it doesn’t have a place for my notes and blogging.  This website will no longer exist by the end of January, and I will have moved to Minds.  The site is ‘endorsed’ by anonymous, so I guess that is good.  All chats are encrypted, so no NSA reading your messages.  Even the people at Minds don’t know what you are saying.  So….here’s my Minds address:

https://www.minds.com/AquariumExperiments

Come by and chat with me!

 

End of the Blog/Website: AquariumExperiments.com

After a couple of years of blogging, I am moving my pictures and some important content over to my youtube channel, and my ‘minds’ social website.

So by the end of January, 2017, this website will be no more.  It has been a joy to keep, and hopefully some of the work I’ve done with my tanks has helped you in some ways.

I’ll be putting the ‘latest’ pictures and videos of my tanks on my youtube channel, and you are welcome to ask me any questions on that site.  I’m really enjoying using the new ‘Minds’ social media site, but it is in beta, so I can’t say whether it will still be around in a year or two.  But I think it will.  Many people are moving from facebook to Minds because of privacy issues during messaging, etc.  It is also ‘endorsed’ by Anonymous, which is really cool.  Go check it out.

Youtube:  Being Here

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5b3__To-Se5buoCM9kc06A

Minds:

https://www.minds.com/BeingHereLive

 

My Goldfish Stock Tank Pond

I have a 160 gallon stock tank outside which holds 5 feeder goldfish.  They are getting larger every month.  I bought them about 6 months ago, and they have grown about 4 more inches in length, and at least an inch in width.  As with all of my tanks, I have no filters, just air lines with bubblers or airstones.  Plants do the filtering.  I have water lettuce and duckweed floating on top of the water.  When I first put the fish in the tank with they were very small (17 cents ea. feeder goldfish), and I never saw them eating the duckweed.  But as they have grown, I see them munch on the duckweed upon occasion.

So far, I am able to keep at least half of the surface covered in duckweed and some small water lettuce (no direct sunlight on tank so plants don’t grow very large).  The duckweed supplements the cheap pellet food I give them.  Their colors are vibrant and the fish are growing very well with the cheap pellet food and duckweed.  But I would like to give them table scraps too.  I often have leftover rice and vegetables that are cooked and plain (no oils, etc.).  So I found a list of foods that will help supplement their diet of duckweed and pellets.  I have listed these in my ‘Goldfish Feeding’ page for reference.

I have added 4 heaters to the stock tank, because I had some extras laying around.  They are a mix of older heaters, from 20-75 gallon sized heaters.  I am hoping these will keep the floating plants from freezing in winter.  I had two old water hoses, and wrapped the tank with them.  The pictures show the two hoses wrapping the tank for insulation, but I have since added three more that were donated by friends because they were full of holes, and have the tank wrapped almost to the top.   The bottom hose is attached to the tank, and I can unwrap it to drain the tank if need be.  I have done nothing but add water to top it off from evaporation.  There is a ‘pop-up’ plastic greenhouse surrounding the tank, so that will help as well.  It has lasted two years so far, with a few holes popping up here or there, which I cover with clear ‘Monster’ tape from Lowes Hardware store.  The bottom of the greenhouse shows the most wear from weather.  I’ve placed foam board inside around the bottom of the greenhouse.  Maybe it will last another year?  I hope so.  Otherwise, it was only 125.00 dollars, and for two years of service, that is not too bad.  I think it looks nice too.

November 13, 2016 Update

All tanks are looking good except for one of the three 5g’s.  Last month it was cloudy and needed to be cleared up with a UV light, and this month it is growing more algae on the glass than all the other tanks.  Although there is some algae on the glass of all the tanks, this tank has more.  Other than that, they are looking good with slow growth and no fish deaths.  I am adding the same dry fertilizers once every month to all of the tanks.  For about 5 months I’ve only been topping off the tanks, not doing any water changes.  I have not cleaned the substrate at all, but instead leave it to feed the plants.  I am very pleased with everything so far.  Next week I will wipe down the walls to clean the alage, if it doesn’t go away on it’s own.  There is just a little spot algae on the 55g.   So the dry fertilizer routine is working very well.  I swirl the dry fertilizers around a bit with a long handled stick after it has been in the tank for about an hour or two.  The dolomite clouds the water for about 12hrs, but the rest of the month the tanks are clear.  Of the three 5 gallon tanks, you can see the middle tank is growing quite a bit of algae.  I wonder why that tank has problems?  One thing I do know, is it has less plants than the others.  So the algae doesn’t have to compete for food, and can grow faster.

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October 21, 2016

It has been three weeks, and I have only added water to all of my tanks. That equals about a 20-25% addition of water to each tank over three weeks. The plants are doing very well, and I am enjoying the ‘lack of work’ on them. In the pictures below, you can see one of my three 5g tanks (middle tank) is cloudy. I put a UV sterilizer (Green Killing Machine 9watt) on it, and it cleared up overnight. You can see this in the last picture. Also noticeable is the lack of red color in that 5g tank, since the UV breaks the chelated bond of the iron that I dose.  So I will have to add more iron to that tank now.

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October 1, 2016 55g & 29g Update

I’m in the maintenance only stage of my tanks now.  The addition of dry fertilizers (iron, potash, dolomite, triple super phosphate, calcium nitrate, epsom salts) once a month is working well.  I have pulled out the frogbit and water lettuce and am using duckweed almost exclusively covering most of the surface.  There are some leftover water lettuce and frogbit floating around, but I pull them out because I like the duckweed better right now.  It filters the light of the 60-65watt LED Flood lamps perfectly.  I am getting just the right amount of light for my low to medium light plants.

The Peace Lilies in the 29g are doing extremely well with this new fertilizing and lighting method.  Their leaves are not curling as much and are straightening out more every week.  Growth for all plants is slow and steady.  I haven’t lost a single fish.  The only two fertilizers I am measuring more carefully are calcium nitrate and iron.  Everything else I just use 1 tablespoon each, or two for the 55g.  The iron powder is just about 1/4 a teaspoon for the 55g, and the Calcium Nitrate is two teaspoons.  A little less in the 29g.  Manganese is the only other fertilizer I would like to add dry, but I haven’t picked any up yet.

Proof is in the pictures!  You can see the light reddish tint to the water from the iron I added about two weeks ago.  I need to add some water to the 55g.

You can also see a pile of pellets, probably phosphate, still there from two weeks ago when I added two tablespoons. I wonder how long it will take to dissolve completely into the water column?

 

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Over Two Weeks No Maintenance 29g Peace Lily Amazing

For the past two weeks, I’ve just placed straight dry fertilizers (Calcium Nitrate, Potash-Muriate Potassium, Super Triple Phosphate, Epsom Salt-Magnesium, Dolomite-calcium/magnesium, FeEDDHA Iron) into all of my tanks.  I simply pour a little of everything into the tank, except for the iron and calcium nitrate which I measure carefully.  I was afraid that the fish would try to eat the dry fertilizer as it sank to the bottom like a food source, but they chased it down and then left it alone.  All fish are fine so far, and plants/tank doing well.  It is much easier (Laziness?) to do for all of the tanks, and I really wanted to know it would work.  So far, so good!  I have only added water.  No water change.  The 65 watt LED Flood Lights from Lowes are very close without any screen to diffuse the light.  The frogbit is growing rapidly and shading the tank nicely.  Low light plants below are doing well; Peace Lily and Narrow Leaf Java Fern.  You can see some of the Phosphate rock pellets that I just added yesterday.  I do not add phosphate with other ferts, but wait a few days after fertilizing because it can combine with other ferts making a milky substance in the tank.  All parameters are great!  I am very happy with this tank, even though it looks a bit wild, it is excellent water for the fish.  Below are pictures and video of the 29g, holding 5 Lucania Goodei, and 3 Otocinclus.  I have put some before and after pictures.  I have not cleaned the tank at all.  So you’ll notice very little if any algae on tank walls.  Peace Lilies doing amazingly well as usual.  Seems they grow no matter what mistakes you may make.  Their leaves have been somewhat curled as I’ve trained them to grow submersed, but now that I am adding the fertilizers (except Calcium nitrate & Iron) without measuring…so a lot more of the stuff, the leaves are straightening out.  This is more like the EI method.  Knowing that many fertilizers can be added in abundance without harm to the tank was my experiment.  I believe it has worked well.  I will keep an eye out for micro or macro toxicities.  But if I only dose the tank once every month this way (except maybe adding iron twice a month, or even weekly), I may not have any issues with toxicity.

Over two weeks ago using carefully measured dry ferts dissolved in water:

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Today using the ‘lazy’ method of pour all in without measuring (eyeballing to 1 tablespoon more or less) and of course still measuring calcium nitrate and iron:

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Coir In All Tanks 8-29-2016

I cut up the large piece of coir that was in the 55g, and put the pieces in all of my tanks.  I cleaned the algae off of many plants with H2O2, and replaced them in the tanks.  Changing from CFL’s to LED’s has created an algae problem.  The LED’s are much stronger than the CFL’s, and I need to add screen, or more floating plants to block that stronger light.

The peace lilies are doing great underwater, as can be seen in the 29g and three 5g tanks.  They are one of my favorite plants for aquariums now.

August 23, 2016 PreCharged Coir In 55g Update

*Update October 5, 2016 – I have decided that precharging the coir was really a good idea to make it ‘hardened’ by the concrete properties of dolomite. It is staying together very well. But I think I would like to just add it to the tank without precharging in the future, and simply add dolomite to the tank and see if this more simple method will work as well. Dolomite does raise the pH significantly, but it hasn’t had any observable negative effect on the fish with the overnight pH rise. So I don’t see why I can’t just add it directly to the tank in the future when I replace the coir, and continue to add it monthly as a supplement with my other fertilizers.*

With all the changes I have made in my methods, CFL to LED’s, Dry Fertilizer Dosing, as well as adding the precharged coir, the tank has been imbalanced.  Black algae and hair algae has begun to be a problem.  So I’ve pulled the coir out of the tank, rinsed it off, and sprayed it down with hydrogen peroxide.  I pulled the plants out of the coir and put them in a bucket with some hydrogen peroxide.  Then I changed 50% of the water in the tank, added the diatom filter, and a UV light.  The tank was very dirty, mulm hiding up under the coir in mounds.  YUC!  After the coir has been out of the tank for a couple of days while I spray it down with H2O2, I will cut it in half and use just one section of the coir in the tank so it is easier to get under during cleaning.  I simply had too much coir in the tank.

While all of this is going on, I have added a bunch of floating plants to the 55g to soak up any nutrients, since the nitrifying bacteria in the coir is gone.  As always, I do not use filters on my tanks, so the plants must do the work to filter ammonias, etc.

Below is a video of the algae issue, and some pictures of the process.  You can see the black algae on the plants and in spots on the coir.

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