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Rotala Kill Tank

Discussion in 'Journals' started by Pikez, Oct 21, 2016.

  1. slipfinger

    slipfinger Article Editor
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  2. Pikez

    Pikez Rotala Killer!
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    LOL! I guess it's been a while.

    I haven't update youz guys...not because nothing is going on, but because life got in the way. The fleet of private jets and Kill Tanks don't apparently pay for themselves. Who knew...

    Several experiment started and concluded. If i had the time to update the journal as they started and concluded, I would have shared more info and pictures. But I'm going to summarize them very succinctly.

    Marschner 1.0
    Concept: based on textbook ratios of extremely lean nutrients in very soft water, moderate light and low-medium CO2.
    Ferts per week: 15 ppm Nitrate, 1.8 ppm phoshate, 3 ppm K, 2 ppm Ca, 1 ppm Mg. KH and traces were fairy dusted in.
    Tank A was 100% reconstituted with the above. Tank B was tap water with the above as well. This went on from mid August to mid September.
    Results: disaster and starvation in both tanks. Plants were severely stunted. Lots of algae.

    Marschner 2.0
    Concept: same as above, but twice as much nutrients as Marschner 1.0. More KH to handle slightly more CO2. This lasted thru early-mid October.
    Tank A 100% RO with above. Tank B tap water plus above.
    Results: still disaster.

    Marschner 3.0
    Concept: really not triple the dose, but much more in line with EI and high CO2.
    Results: much better. Many plants finally unstunted. Near-dead Ammannia pedicellata came back to life from twisted, nasty black twigs. The tank with reconstituted RO water did MUCH better than the tap water version.

    Still, the following Lythraceae did better in the hard tap water tank:
    1. Ammannia gracilis
    2. Cuphea anagalloidea
    3. Rotala Sunset
    All macrandra and wallichii types did better in the softer, reconstituted RO tank. The Ammannia gracilis in the RO tank is still stunted and twisted. It does better for me in harder water.

    I have concluded that I am wasting my time playing with a wide variety of Lythraceae. Everything I want to learn can be achieved with 2 species: R. wallichii, A. pedicellata, with the latter being the real litmus test.

    In highly controlled, small, test tanks (like the ones used by Marcel Golias in his experiments), Marschner dosing levels can work. But in real-world tanks, it will not.

    I am done with these 3 experiments. As of Nov 7th, I've moved on to a new one. Details to follow...
     
    fablau, maciek_L, LRJ and 4 others like this.
  3. Pikez

    Pikez Rotala Killer!
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    Oh! And I've got new 20-gallon Kill Tank - Part Trois! (Thanks, @Greggz !)

    I will share pics soon.

    But I'll say this now:
    • Low light (30 PAR)
    • No CO2
    • Sponge filter - barely bubbling
    • No water changes
    • Dirt capped with inert gravel. (Dirt is an understatement!)
    Dirt layer (from bottom to top):
    1. large cup of Osmocote +
    2. large cup of Peat Moss
    3. 4 tbsp Gypsum
    4. 1 tbsp Dolomite
    5. 1 tbsp Potash
    6. 6 tbsp Azomite
    7. Flat patties of Red Mexican pottery clay
    8. 2 quarts of Akadama bonsai soil
    9. 2 big bags of Mineralized Top Soil + red clay from Bamaplants.com
    10. Inert gravel
    I seriously considered Bat Guano. But wife would get whiff of it and tell her friends and I'd never hear the end of the 'bat shit' jokes at parties. I also considered asking the boy to steal some dog turd from the neighbors backyard. But then stealing turds, like marijuana, could be a gateway thing, leading to a life of crime, and I considered the cost of therapy he'd need to rise above that. So I nixed both those rich sources of nutrients.

    This tank has been running for over a month.

    Into this tank, I planted all the usual suspects, mostly horribly stunted plans from Kill Tanks A and B.

    Results: every plant has very slowly un-stunted. R. wallichii leaves are looking fantastic but color is not great. Both A. pedicellata Green and Gold are completely un-stunted.
     
    Mike k, fablau, LRJ and 3 others like this.
  4. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    R. wallichii needs a lot of light to get the great colors, as most non-green plants do. I have had good luck with it at low light, but it was strictly a green plant. I haven't tried it again now that I have more light.
     
    Pikez likes this.
  5. Pikez

    Pikez Rotala Killer!
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    Lo Tech Kill Tank Prep.

    Purchased from Amazon and local hardware store.
    IMG_8043.jpg

    Purchased from Bamaplants.com - contains a mix of Mineralized Top Soil (MTS) and some sort of red clay. I was told that the soil has been through 11 cycles of wetting and drying. I'm assuming it is mostly mineralized.
    IMG_8044.jpg

    Akadama clay-based bonsai growing soil.
    IMG_8045.jpg

    Osmocote + beads.
    IMG_8067.jpg

    Just a bag o' peat from local hardware store.
    IMG_8059.jpg

    Regular 20-gal tank from the early 1990s.
    IMG_8058.jpg

    Osmocote all the way on the bottom.
    IMG_8068.jpg

    A dash of peat and some more Osmocote.
    IMG_8069.jpg

    Smidgen of Gypsum (4 tbsp), Dolomite (1 tbsp), Potash (1 tbsp) to taste. Instead of Labradoodle doo.
    IMG_8071.jpg

    A touch more peat - for some humid acid, organic content, and binding. Like the old days.
    IMG_8072.jpg

    Six tbsp of Azomite trace mineral powder followed by couple lbs Red Mexican Clay in pieces because the boy wanted to play with it. He kneaded Australia and Tasmania out of it...if you can spot it. Tasmania got stuck in his hair. While extracting Tasmania, I forgot I was filling up a cichlid tank nearby after a water change. Water overflowed onto his head and washed Tasmania all over his face and the garage. Sigh.
    IMG_8073.jpg

    One whole bag of Akadama clay
    IMG_8074.jpg

    Two bags of Bamaplants Mineralized Top Soil
    IMG_8076.jpg

    Rich substrate all done
    IMG_8077.jpg

    Topped off with inert substrate.
    IMG_8082.jpg
     
  6. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
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    Very cool Vin!

    Let me understand this: is the tank pictured above the one you wrote before running for over a month now?

    Also: Are you going to fertilize the water column to some extent?
     
  7. burr740

    burr740 ~~ Lover of Micros ~~
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    Great shots of the process Vin. I assume there'll be no water column dosing? It'd be interesting to see some basic tests later on like N and P for an idea how much leeches into the water.

    And now we know the REAL secret to your success, its that secret apprentice helping you out!
     
  8. geektom

    geektom Junior Poster

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    I am intrigued by the bamaplants soil- how did you hear about it?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  9. Pikez

    Pikez Rotala Killer!
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    Yes, this is the tank that's been running for a month.

    I am not going to add any ferts to the water column. No need to. I have literally not touched the tank in a month, other than to drop some food for the fish in it.

    I want to let it run for a couple of months as is. Couple of international trips coming up in Dec and Jan. So not going to make any changes no. After I get back into my routine, I'd like to add some CO2 to this tank.
     
    fablau likes this.
  10. Pikez

    Pikez Rotala Killer!
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    I'll FedEx him overnight to help you rescape. You'll need a lot of insurance though...
     
    Greggz likes this.
  11. Pikez

    Pikez Rotala Killer!
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    I've bought plants from him before. And knew he sold MTS too. Hadn't tried it before. The soil has a distinct earthy scent to it. Always thought MTS was odorless, but there is some clay mixed in and it could be that.
     
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  12. geektom

    geektom Junior Poster

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    I will keep an eye out to see how it goes- I have never loved the dark brown/black look, so I have typically gone with Flourite red. My 20g I have been running this year is my first dirted tank, and your set up looks a lot less messy than what I did.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  13. Pikez

    Pikez Rotala Killer!
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    This was a month ago. The scorched earth remains of a few months of particularly harsh experiments.

    This is the highly unpleasant environment from which I plucked plants to place in my new Dirted Kill Tank 3. I added mostly stunted (and some un-stunted) plants. The stunted plants were scorched little back twigs with no hope whatsoever.

    (Most people want to learn how to grow plants. I think the other side of the coin, knowing how to kill plants on command is an equally powerful tool in learning how to grow them).

    IMG_8270.jpg
    IMG_8269.jpg
    IMG_8268.jpg


    These are the plants that went into the new Dirted Kill Tank. I added compromised plants to the new tank to study its recuperative powers.

    IMG_8217.jpg

    IMG_8218.jpg
     
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  14. Phishless

    Phishless Lifetime Member
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    Definitely succeeded with the scorched earth planted agenda!:D

    I almost duplicated this with a 5 gallon test tank.
    Fish food daily with no fish as a test, it wasn't pretty.
     
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  15. Pikez

    Pikez Rotala Killer!
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    Like a Phoenix...plants slowly rising from the ashes. A month later. No ferts. No water changes.

    IMG_8652.jpg

    IMG_8651.jpg

    IMG_8650.jpg

    IMG_8649.jpg

    IMG_8653.jpg

    IMG_8268.jpg
     
    #775 Pikez, Nov 16, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2017
    deepgreen and Greggz like this.
  16. SingAlongWithTsing

    SingAlongWithTsing Junior Poster

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    is that Nasea Golden cuz damn it looks nice
     
  17. burr740

    burr740 ~~ Lover of Micros ~~
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    Wow that's quite a turnaround!

    Is this tap water? Whats the KH? I assume the peat or some of that other stuff softens a good bit?

    Also have you taken a gander at N or P levels in the water? Im curious the degree of nutrients leeching from the sub

    @Jason King can you take a look at post 775 above. Ive noticed this too. If I ever add a pic it wont let me edit it out, keeps popping back up at the bottom of the post.
     
  18. Pikez

    Pikez Rotala Killer!
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    Yes. Ammannia pedicellata Golden. Nesaea is old name.

    It looks like this when you have rich substrate. When it is mostly root fed. In my tanks, every time I've grown it like this, the water column has been lean or fert-free.

    Mind you, this is WITHOUT ANY ADDED CO2.

    Adding CO2 will probably increase leaf size and improve color from yellow to an peachy orange.
     
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  19. Pikez

    Pikez Rotala Killer!
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    That's not tap water. Sorry, should have mentioned that first.

    90% RO. So KH is probably between half and one.

    The peat doesn't come into contact with water because it is buried under the MTS and Akadama soils. But there may be some leaching going on. I have not uprooted the plants at all. When I plant them, the pinsette is pushed down thru the grainy gravel and I stop when i feel softer resistance from the soils. So I know the bottom of the stem is in the rich part of the substrate.

    I am sure there is some nutrient leaching going on. I don't have a nitrate or phosphate test kit. Have not had one in 15 years.
     
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  20. Jason King

    Jason King barrreport.com
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    @Pikez just checking it was this part you wanted removing?

    The picture below is from the old tank - I cant seem to edit it out of this post. :mad:

    View attachment 9817

    If so I had no problems here, but will keep an eye on this.
     
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