The Aquatic Gazette

Frank Wazeter’s “Francis Xavier” Single Stone Iwagumi & ADA Philosophy Guide (3)

In Build on May 8, 2011 at 00:01

Welcome to Edition 3! If you have missed out on Edition 2, it can be found here: Enjoy this final edition!

Frank Xavier: So we’re exactly at the one week mark and here’s how she looks.

As you can see, there’s a huge amount of difference! But really, there’s a mystery plant of sorts growing in the riccia, which I have no idea what it is, originally I thought it was a stray piece of HC that got stuck, but as it grew up just a little bit, it became apparent that that’s not what it was.

It doesn’t surprise me there’d be a random plant stuck in there – considering the Riccia comes from the San Marcos river. However, I hope it’s not H. Polysperma, which would be a very likely candidate given the source.

Normally I would start dosing Green Brightly Step 1 and go with water changes every other day, but for this one, I think i’ll stick to just Brighty K and a daily water change, 1/3 of the water instead of nearly 100%. Once more of the plant mass gets to submerged growth, I’ll start adding some Step 1. I think if I were to start adding it now, I would begin to get some unwanted algae.

For contrast, here is another layout in my Mini M I’ve been working on that is also one week old:

I’ve been using the same method here, and I can start to see signs of an iron deficiency, but again, I’m not going to start dosing ECA until the stems get a little bit more established. There’s a random Bucephelandra in there, temporarily weighed down.

That style is a more new-ish type of style I’m working on, relying more on stem plant arrangement and the placement of smaller stones to come together with a moss carpet – inspired by other types of Japanese gardens.

A week and 5 days later, I have now started on an every-other day dosing scheme for both tanks. I am still only dosing Brighty K, and no longer dosing Green Bacter, except for one-two drops after a water change. The Riccia is starting to bounce back and bounce up! the makings of the carpet is coming around now. Maybe I won’t have to retie the riccia stones after all. The hydrocotyle in the back is, to no surprise, growing like a weed.

In the Mini M, it was time to give the first trim – which occurs as the stems start to reach the top of the tank. I ended up fairly mercilessly triming them down to the bottom and then replanting a few tops here and there. Trimming them down like that encourges them to sort of “split” or grow out side shoots that go up as well, which is how you inevitably, through proper trimming, get a full ‘bush’ look with stem plants.

You’ll also notice I rearranged a few things, I found a slightly more elegant positioning for some of the plants.

right after trim
one day later

Dosing on the Mini M is up now to Brighty K + Green Brighty Step 1. Green Bacter 1-2 drops after water changes.

The slight ‘yellowing’ you see in the day two pictures is the natural effects of Amazonia I / old type – this is usually what’s referred to when ADA mentions “cloudy” water. This currently occurs because I’m not running any carbon on any of the aquariums, which would remove this effect fairly easily. It is actually recommended by ADA to use carbon for the first three months of the Aquarium and then replace with biological filtration, but I’m just too lazy to add carbon right now. Which ironically leads to having to do more water changes anyway. For me it serves as a good reminder to change the water during the first two weeks.

At the start of the third week – and ironically, as so often happens with planted aquariums, the ones giving me hassles have completely flip-flopped. So i’ll start with the one that’s not arguing with me at the moment, the Mini S:

That riccia is coming in nicely now – and I think it may be my favorite plant at the moment for a carpet. I’m highly tempted to incorporate it into the Mini M in lieu of Moss. But not goign to go in on that one quite yet. The hydrocotyle is also forming up nicely in the back (as if it ever needed much encouragement, truly may be the easiest plant to grow ever). The end goal of the hydrocotyle is for it to kind of drape over the top left side of the stone and form a background of sorts in a similar way to the way hair grass is used. This is possible because hydrocotyle kind of “floats,” as it grows, hovering over the substrate / objects as opposed to densely covering them.

The main stone seems to be having a little bit of diatom/brown algae and cyano growing on it, on one of these water changes next I’ll end up hitting some maracyn into the system to remove the cyano, and if the brown algae remains a problem, i’ll dab the stone itself with h202 (hydrogen peroxide) by essentially diluting some h202 with water and dipping a small brush into the mixture and dabbing it over the rock while the aquarium is drained. This is also a good technique for removing BBA off of driftwood and stones.

Currently the dosing regime is Brighty K x 1ml and Green Brighty Special Lights x 1ml (every other day).

Also had the first cleaning of the lily pipes last night, I’ve found that if you’re proactive with cleaning them out every two-three weeks then they are easier to keep clean and the clear tubing stays pristine / perfect much, much longer.

When it comes time to trim the riccia, I believe I’ll replant some HC more in the front and re-tie the riccia to stones, the reason being is that since the riccia melted the way it did, it may be unnecessarily prolonging the carpet not flourishing completely and evenly, and this could speed things up. Also using a few smaller stones to tie riccia to in the front could increase the visual appeal with the way riccia grows up – but so far, so good!

Now, onto the Mini M, this is after a full water change:

There isn’t much for algae problems in this setup, however the stems went into an extreme deficiency pretty quickly – and admittedly it was in part due to my hesitance to increase dosing regimes and in part because co2 wasn’t being distributed enough evenly.

I had to replace the MP-1 Do!Aqua lily pipe with a P-1 ADA lily pipe, since the MP-1 just wasn’t putting the flow in the appropriate spot for this aquarium and it was causing some starvation since nutrients as well as co2 weren’t being properly pushed through the stem plant mass. The ADA P-1 is definitely vastly superior to it’s Do!Aqua equivalent, and I’m kind of annoyed I didn’t decide to go with this option first.

The stems never really bounced back from the first trimming, but after doing the water change I replaced the lily pipe, dialed up the Co2 and dosed Brighty K x 3ml, Green Brighty Special Lights x 2ml – tomorrow will be Green Brighty Step 1 x 2ml and it’ll be an alternation day by day. I should note that within 3 hours or so of the co2 distributing properly and dosing, the stems appeared much healthier in the way they were standing back up, and hopefully they’ll bounce back pretty quickly.

I’m also choosing to not talk about the moss carpet yet. I’m going to wait a little while before coming to an official opinion on that.

This is the last edition of Francis Xavier’s build. If you would like to continue following his progress, kindly click on this link:

Thank you for reading and we look forward to showcasing any of his future works.


credit: Frank Wazeter “Francis Xavier”



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