Pride Rock

Gabe Hayes

New Member
Jul 10, 2019
Long Beach, CA

I've read many posts on this forum resulting from various search queries in Google during my involvement in the hobby. I thought I'd sign up officially and have an account and contribute where I can. Right now I have just one 29 gallon freshwater aquarium-- so many people have told me it reminds them of Pride Rock from the Lion King, so that's what I'm naming it. Probably should have name it "Problem Rock", but more on that later... It's an iwagumi style aquascape (or at least my attempt at one, perhaps not very traditional). This is my second aquarium ever and this tank is 40 days old today. It started out as a dry start. I ran the dry start method for 4 weeks and oh by the way, I will never do a dry start again. Well, I shouldn't say never, but I'm not convinced it was worth the way considering all the melt that happened when I flooded it. Here you can see my dry start progress:

Day 1:

Day 15: (sand path added, replanted a little more densely which is why the growth seems astronomical in a two week period, later removed the silica based sand in favor of gravel because I thought it was contributing to or even the source of my brown diatom issue)

Day 28: (first day flooded, AR MINI added)

Here's my tank on day 40 of being flooded: You can see the other plants I added, list below, clearly a lot of melt has happened since these plants were all grown emersed, which is why I don't think I would do this method again BUT it was fun to try.

  • Tank: Standard 29g Aquarium-- 30" x 12" x 18"
  • Substrate: Controlsoil (black, extra fine)
    • Path substrate: Estes' Spectrastone premium aquarium gravel (white)
  • Stone: Seiryu Stone (I might be regretting choosing this stone... read on)
  • Heater: Eheim Jager, 100W
  • Drop Checker: Cal Aqua Labs oracle drop checker from Green Leaf Aquariums
  • Lighting Fluval Plant 3.0, 8-hour photoperiod

Let's take a look under the cabinet:


  • Filter: Eheim Professional 4+ 250
    • Filter Media: 2.2lbs of BioHome Ultimate and some Eheim substrat pro on top of that.
      • Coarse, Medium, and Fine filter foams.
        • one bag of Seachem Purigen
  • CO2 Setup: GLA Pro-1 System w/ 5lb CO2 tank. (green leaf aquariums)
    • plugged in to an Amazon smart plug so I can control the timing with my smart phone-- If you are not doing this you have no idea what you've been missing. :cool:

Here's the list of flora and fauna:

Flora: (dosing the EI method)
  1. Micranthemum Monte Carlo
  2. Hydrocotyle Tripartita
  3. Alternanthera Reineickii Mini
  4. Pogostemon Helferi
  5. Staurogyne Repens
  6. Cryptocoryne x purpurea
  7. Bacopa Monnieri
  1. Amano Shrimp (10)
  2. Ember Tetra (9)
  3. Otocinclus Catfish (5)
  4. Nerite Snail (4)
I'm lightly stocked at the moment and will get more fish later.

For all the amazing gear and thought I've put into this tank I've still got two things that are problematic. Any advice is appreciated.

1) Brown Diatoms:
  • I have them all over the gravel path and the seiryu stone, and the monte carlo carpet. The cleanup crew I have in there does a good job at keeping it somewhat at bay, and part of me is glad it's feeding them... but its really always there and it's been 3 to 4 weeks since it appeared and I HATE IT SO MUCH:eek:. All the advice I've gotten says to get a cleanup crew, reduce lighting, and above all else just wait it out-- that it is normal for a young tank such as mine and it will go away once its food source (silicates and phosphates) is exhausted. I perhaps thought that my tap water was to blame, it containing between 9-22ppm silicates according to the most recent Long Beach water report, so I have been slowly switching it over to remineralized RO/DI water as of 3 days ago. I will give it some time to see if this helps but in the meantime, there's the other issue...

2) The seiryu stone:
  • It is raising the GH and the KH and I am noticing it more now that I'm using the RO/DI water which is slightly acidic. Right before the Co2 comes on the ph is 7.4, after it turns off it is 6.6 (this may change as I continue to us RO/DI water. This morning I measured my KH at 3dKH, and by the evening it was at 5dKH. What if the stone (being that it is actually slowly dissolving in my slightly acidic water) is leaching silicates that are feeding the diatoms? What if the phosphates I am dosing with the EI method are also feeding the silicates. What if my plant mass an types of plants just aren't growing fast enough to out-compete the diatoms? What if they NEVER go away?! Will I have to remove the seiryu stone and go with something that wont alter the water chemistry? I just don't know. Many people seem to use this stone with great success, so there must be a way to get rid of the diatoms. Short of trying a 3-day black out I have tried everything. Maybe I should do that...
If you read this far I commend you :p. Just wanted to introduce myself, start a journal about my tank, and share these problems to the forum. If you have an questions, comments, or constructive advice I'd love to here it. I am always willing to do anything to improve my setup. I will keep this thread updated with the progress.

Last edited:

Gabe Hayes

New Member
Jul 10, 2019
Long Beach, CA
Oh and by the by, if anyone is wondering, that's corrugated plastic I used to divide the aquasoil for the path. It works quite well and can be found at your local hardware store (Home Depot, Lowes)

It makes it super easy to siphon out the path substrate and replace without the work of your aquasoil getting mixed in. I also used bit of it to create retaining walls etc to maintain steep slopes. You can't see it but its in there ;)

Last edited:

Gabe Hayes

New Member
Jul 10, 2019
Long Beach, CA
"Problem Rock"

--That's what I should have named this scape. Keeping this stone is not congruent with the water parameters I had my heart set on. This may all be a non-issue if I would just resolve to have a higher dKH and PH than I really want. Am I willing to do that though? Seems as though there is a sacrifice or trade off to be had for those who want to keep this stone in soft water-- "you can't have your cake and eat it too" never seemed to be a more of an appropriate phrase.

Let's say on day 7 of EI dosing, I do a 50% water change in the morning before lights turn on, and this brings my dGH to 5 and my dKH to 3 (perfect, right where I want it). But but at the end of that day's photoperiod, due to the CO2 injection and low PH those parameters climb to 6dGH, and 5dKH.

Next day climbs higher, and so on until-- I don't know for sure because I only just started doing these tests, but if the CO2 keeps the PH below 7 for 8 hours then my GH and KH continue to climb because the rock is reacting with the carbonic acid and lower PH water.

Let's see where the numbers want to settle at the end of the EI dosing schedule week. Perhaps the GH and KH will eventually cap out somewhere and I can just be resigned to live with those numbers. Perhaps I can find it in my busy schedule to do 50% water changes a week. But here's a question... what about CO2 with all of this? How does this affect CO2? As my KH rises throughout the week do I need to increase the CO2 relative to the KH increase? I keep hearing about how I need to have a 1-point drop in PH over the course of my photoperiod... how can I achieve this consistently when my kH is ever rising? To be sure-- I am NOT adjusting the needle valve each day to compensate for a rising KH. Or would I have to? That's a good question.

These stones just may be more trouble than they are worth. I give them one more week and then possibly putting in something inert like Ohko/Dragon stone. Let's see where the numbers settle at the end of my EI dosing week. Tomorrow evening I will update this journal with the increase in dGH and dKH.
Last edited:
Nov 9, 2017
Hi,first welcome to the forum!
I think you should not change to much.. Ph changes with the soil kh with the stones... Dont think the problem lies there as many use it with succes.. Just be sure your water circulation is right and patience is key.. And if you change something, just one thing at the time and wait it out..
Just my tought..


New Member
Sep 11, 2013
I don't think you should worry much about raising gH/kH, unless you use pH controller for CO2 (then raising kH level could lead to CO2 overdose).
You don't need to adjust CO2 with the raising kH level: the amount of dissolved CO2 will still be the same regardless of kH. pH drop of 1 is a sort of a guideline for some baseline parameters.
I suggest you watch your drop-checker to set up the CO2 level and don't worry about kH/pH.