Part 4: My First Attempt At A High Tech Planted Tank


So, this edition should really be called Diatoms, Melting and Ich..Oh My!!

Let’s start with updates since the last blog. The green hair algae was successfully treated with the Algaefix. The BBA was successfully treated with the peroxide dips. All fish continue to do fine. Yay.

The first new issue that I had to deal with was my ludwigia red (back right corner) started melting. If you look at the leaves, you can see the brownish gray spots. I had not begun to start dosing fertilizers yet, and this was the cause. I have since started dosing with Thrive+ three times per week, with a large weekly water change and the plant is now looking great.


On a good note, the monte carlo (ground cover in the front) finally decided to take off as soon as I started dosing the fertilizers. Here is a recent picture of how it’s doing. I’m really excited to see it spread and look healthy.


As you can see, I did fill in the hole in the back right where the original blyxa althernifolia was. I chose green cabomba. It is also doing well and I think will look really nice once it fills in and gets a bit “bushy”.

In the midst of all of the good things happening, there, of course, were a couple not-so-good things going on. The first thing is that my 2 koi angelfish decided to start showing their mature personalities. While I was hoping for a m/f pair, I believe I had 2 males. I had one male for sure, but was never able to get a good enough look at the other to be sure. But, the obvious male quickly became very aggressive and very dominant. The other angel spent over two weeks literally hiding in the plants 24 hours a day. I had to drop food directly over where it was hiding, because it was too afraid to come out in the open to eat. The bully angel was relentless with it. So, unfortunately, I chose to rehome them both.

In addition to the aggression issues, I noticed that I had a pretty nasty case of diatoms. As most know, diatoms are pretty common in new tanks. While the overall tank isn’t new, the entire “guts” of it is, so it wasn’t a surprise. The problem was, it really wasn’t on the glass. Instead, it coated all of the plants with a brown dusty film. There was no easy way to clean it off and it was making the entire tank look “muddy” and dull. So, last Friday, I got some new inhabitants to the tank.

I got a school of harlequin rasboras, which I had been planning on getting, anyway. In addition, I got a school of otocinclus and 3 amano shrimp and 3 cherry shrimp. I have only caught a quick glimpse of the cherry shrimp since I added them (they are Really tiny and are easily lost in all the plants), but I am enjoying watching the amano shrimp when they venture out into the open.




The otocinclus, on the other hand, have been absolutely amazing. Since Friday, they have pretty much cleaned my entire tank of all diatoms. Here is a couple pics of a leaf of the Alternanthera Reineckii Variegated. The first is before. As you can see, it is dull, muddy brown and the “film” is obvious.


Here is a pic of the same leaf, less than 48 hours later...


As you can see, the otos are very busy little fish! I am amazed at how much better everything looks in just a couple days.

Now for the most recent problem. Ich. Yep. I made a cardinal mistake and am paying the price. I did not quarantine the new fish before adding them to the tank. I knew better. I KNOW better. *sigh*

Anyway, the otocinclus have ich.


This brings about some complications, however. I have never been a proponent of using heat/salt to treat ich, but even if I was, I can’t use salt with the plants. They can’t tolerate it and I have put too much time, effort and money into the plants to destroy them. The next challenge is the shrimp that I just added. They won’t tolerate the most effective medications. But, I want to treat this aggressively, before I lose any fish.

So, what I have decided to do is, catch as many of the shrimp as I can and move them, temporarily, into my betta tank and hope that Onxy plays nicely with them. The amanos should be fine as they are bigger, but the cherry shrimp will be iffy. Then I am going to increase the temp to around 85-86 degrees and start treating with Kordon’s Rid Ich Plus. The medication will be here tomorrow and treatment will start then.

Please, keep your fingers crossed for me. Currently, only 3 of the 10 otos are showing spots. None of the other otos or any of the other fish have any. So, hopefully, I will be able to treat it quickly and effectively before it gets out of hand.

Well, that is where things stand currently. The plants are growing well. I think I am getting a handle on the light/CO2/nutrient balance. With all of the “hiccups” I’ve encountered, I have learned a LOT, which I consider a good thing.

Thanks for following me along on this project. I enjoy sharing it with others that appreciate and enjoy this hobby!

And p.s. ALWAYS quarantine new fish!!!!!!!!

To read my story from the beginning, you can see Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

So... what do you think? Please leave me a comment.


  • Finny22: Nice! I’m enjoying these blogs! But on a side not, I’ve been told not to raise the temp on ich because of oxygen and it just interferes with the whole process. Good job!
  • Safes aquarium: I added an air stone in addition to increasing the temperature.
  • Finny22: Ah, I see. Ich is awful, good luck!
  • Kev: Thanks for the update, tank is certainly starting to look good, I have a feeling its going to be something special.
  • suesblues: The tanks really coming on now.
    Shame about the ich.😲
  • Oreo1: Wow amazing!!!
  • axolollover: So Beautiful!

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