Aquarium adventure 6
So as said, I had learnt that Seachem Replenish was my new friend, and was doing the water changes and adding the chemicals and putting nutrients as told, and no matter what I did the bloody plants just wilted and slowly disintegrated. I kept on needing to pull them out, trying to clean them, desinfect the leaves with bleach dips, and then replanting them.
As I was pulling plants out, the water was filled with small particles, that I was clogging together with Clarify (which is actually natural product thats made from shellfish shells, which is also used by ambulance people to stop heavy bleeding from big wounds). This shellfish powder coagulates the dirt and makes it rain down so it stops floating about. And as its sticky, it also pretty effectively sticks to your plants that are covered by algae, thus further clogging them.
The algae was in full bloom. I was intensively studying what fish or invertebraes I could have in the tank and which would maybe clean the algae. I got some 10 otos (otocinculus), 7 corydoras, 6 golden mollies, and a dozen amano shrimp. Well, the otos seemed totally oblivious of the state of the aquarium, and resorted in sitting on the tree braches I had there, and licking them back and forth, 24/7. They were just so lazy, I could have cleaned those branches. But no, they decided branches are cool, and thats where they stayed.
The corys are wonderful little catfish. The ones I got are velvety black, and they go together in groups, and with their antenna like whiskers scan the substrate. I named them after a small black horse I had the courtecy of owning many years back. This pony, Jomppa, was sure he was the biggest and boldest stallion, and he had such enthusiasm to do whatever was asked, even when he was rather clumsy and not too smart. It was as if he was shouting “I can, I honestly can, just look at me!” Corydoras do the same. They make a big fuss and go around with such an enthusiasm, but rarely seem to find anything. And if they do find, the angelfish come and snatch it and eat it anycase.
Well, corys are not too good in removing algae. In fact the only way they get algae out is by making you want to keep on laughing at them, and to do so at least the front pane has to be cleaned. Twice a day.
The mollies are lovely little snappers. They do go about and nibble on just about any hair algae thats large enough to flow in the water. That said, they are also tremendously hungry eaters, so the likely case is that they gorge on whatever food you try to distribute, and then bellies full will galavant about the rest of the day.
Amanos, these glorious grittly boddisatwas… I totally have fallen for the little shrimpy shrimp. They are gorgeous. Like gorgeous in the way that you put them in, they go about in their own way, and just eat eat eat. They eat anything thats dead, or dying, and if nothign alike is available they scrape the algae out from all plants and decorations you have. Amanos are the funniest aquatic creatures you can have. I swear I have seen few doing acrobatics, hanging from branches with one pair of legs, and flexing their trunk in the air (or water) as if showing of. They go and challenge the largest fish when it comes to a feeding time, and if they do manage to grab a pellet from an angry fish, its run for your life and hide under something, and then there they can nibble their bounty, safe from the eager eyes of fish and other shrimp.
That said, even this packet of algae eaters did not really do a major difference to the ever increasing algae.
I was getting pretty frustrated. With lights, nutrients, ro water, and algae eaters, plants still died. One day I was again studying it, and thought if perhaps the plants needed different levels of GH and KH, and upon entering Seachem site, to check what they were recommending, I could not locate the Repenish from the right section. I searched it, and it actually says Replenish contains sodium, so it is unsuitable for planted aquariums.
I am not going to repeat the words that came from my mouth. Lets just say my mother would not be proud. I had by this time used nearly 2 litres of the salty liquid, pouring it into the water. And as I wanted to have higher GH, I had added not just the minimum..I had enough salt in the water! Fish tend to be ok with small quantities of sodium, as are shrimp, but for the plants, thats unpleasingly poisonous. However, it turned out algae actually quite enjoys nutritional salt spa.
So I had to go back to the powdery RO mineralising substance, but this time I chose a branded Seachem Equilibrium, which dissolves pretty quickly. More importantly, it has no salt in it.
I had poisoned the plants I was trying to grow. My algae farming was going superbly well, and I started to understand how to become an expert in the things I did not want to do.
So what to do? Well after 80% water change I was already having a new battle plan. So many options to explore!