2019 Fluval Spec V Aquarium Journal

One of the most important tools for my learning in the aquarium hobby is keeping a good journal.  I use my  journal to keep track of any changes or maintenance to our Spec V aquarium.

This past year, the journal was especially useful as I had some difficulty with plant growth and algae.  Keeping track of changes to fertilizer dosing and CO2 rates helped me understand what was helping and what may be the cause of the tank’s deficiencies.

I have written about the advantages of keeping an aquarium journal and I have shared past journals for our Fluval Spec V in 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015.

Our Spec V Journal: 2019

01/01/2019:
Rescape!! We are retiring the old Spec V and replacing with the updated version. New tank, new pump, keeping all the controllers and the light (Finnex Planted+).

rescape of planted spec v aquarium

Using an in-line CO2 diffuser in the pump section.

The last rescape was on 11/13/2016.

01/02/2019:
Moved Uno (the one remaining green neon) to the new tank. Moved as many shrimp as possible to the new tank.

Tested water parameters: Ammonia = 0.5 ppm, Nitrite = 0.25 ppm, Nitrate = 0.0 ppm, PH = 6.0 (? – test might be bad it’s so old).

Broke down the old tank for storage.

Fertilizer regimen is the same as before, except I’m going to quit dosing K2SO4 (potassium sulfate) for now. Dosing is as follows:

Mon. Wed. Fri. = 1 Drop CMS+B

Tues. Thurs. Sun. = 1 smidgen-KNO3 (potassium nitrate), 1 Drop KH2PO4 (potassium Phosphate)

01/03/2019:
The water is very cloudy. Might be a bacterial bloom.

Tested water: Ammonia = 0.5 ppm, Nitrite = 0.25 ppm

01/04/2019:
Put in six new fish: Phoenix Rasbora (Boras Merah)

phoenix rasbora fish

Cloudiness is much better today.

1/6/2019:
We have lost one of the six Phoenix Rasbora, so down to five. No sign of the missing fish.

1/7/2019:
Added plants I ordered from Ebay: Rotala Wallichii. Planted 12 stems of about 4 inches tall each.

planted finnex spec 5

1/10/2019:
50% water change.

1/17/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Green dust algae (GSA) is showing up on the glass and on the rock. Instead of scraping it off the glass before the water change, I removed half the water, then wiped down the exposed part of the glass with a paper towel.

1/22/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Scrubbed some of the GSA from the rock with a toothbrush. Wiped GSA from the glass (even the part below the water line) with paper towels.

1/24/2019:
Added additional filter media above the sponge filter. 100 micron polishing pad above the sponge filter and poly filter floss pad above that.

1/27/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media. Used the new water change pump system.

Scrubbed some of the GSA from the rock with a toothbrush. Wiped GSA from the glass (even the part below the water line) with paper towels.

Pulled up some of the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted.

2/3/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Wiped GSA from the glass (even the part below the water line) with paper towels.

Rearranged and trimmed rotala wallichii. Rearranged blyxa and repens. Decided to get rid of rotala rotundifolia.

Replaced both the polishing pad and the filter floss pad.

Sometime after we lost a fish we lost another, so we are down to 4 phoenix rasbora.

2/11/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

There is quite a bit of green dust algae buildup on the glass. Instead of cleaning it off, I’m going to let it grow for a few weeks and see if it will complete its lifecycle. We are 8 days in as of today.

Trimmed and replanted a few stems of Rotala Wallichii. Trimmed some of the repens.

2/16/2019:
Water Parameter Test:
Nitrate: 5 ppm
PH (low range – this was at 4:00 pm in the middle of CO2 inject): 6.4
(The Seneye says 6.4)

KH = I I I I I I = 6 drops > From the table °dKH = 6

GH = I I I I I I I I I I I I 13 I I I I 18 I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I 35. It never changed color so something is wrong.

Using this chart (with 6°dKH and 6.4 ph):

CO2 chart
We have 71.7 ppm of CO2

2/17/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media. Replaced poly and polishing pad filter media.

Left GDA on glass alone. I did scrub some off of the rock.

gsa green spot algae in planted tank

2/25/2016:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

After letting it go 22 days, I couldn’t take it any more. Wiped all the GDA off the glass and back wall. Was surprisingly difficult to remove. Used Fleet Enema solution on paper towels as this is supposed to keep it from coming back. Used toothbrush to knock some GSA off rock.

high tech planted nano

2/26/2019:
50% water change.

Pulled green (GDA covered) leaves off of repens. Used scraper to get last bit of GDA off bottom edge of glass (next to substrate).
Brushed GDA off rock.

Dosed Excel.

3/3/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

GDA is back a little bit. Wiped it all off.

Pulled up all the Blyxa (it was quite full) and replanted three sprigs.

Pulled up all the Rotala Wallichii and replanted the tops.

3/6/2019:
GSA is back. Suspicious that fertilizers are low, so starting today I will double the fertilizer dosing volumes. I’m also dosing excel every day.

3/10/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media. Replaced poly and polishing pad filter media.

Wiped GDA off glass. Light trim of HC.

Dosed water change Excel (2.5ml)

3/15/2019 to 3/20/2019:
Vacation. Didn’t even set up automatic feeder. All the fish made it 5 days without food. Set lights and CO2 to 4 hour duration every day.

3/21/2019:
50% water change. Wiped GSA off glass.

Dosed water change Excel (2.5ml)

4/3/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media. Replaced poly and polishing pad filter media.

Wiped GDA off glass.

Rotala Wallichii is not doing well. Pulled, replanted tops in better light.

4/9/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.
Wiped GDA off glass. Light trim of HC and repens.

4/20/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Changed out the CO2 tank to a full one.
Abandoned the in-line CO2 diffuser and re-installed the old in-tank CO2 atomizer.

4/30/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media. Replaced poly and polishing pad filter media.

Removed all Blyxa Japonica (it was very full) and replanted 4 small bunches (2 on each end).
Trimmed HC.

There are a few sprigs of Rotala Wallichii but it is no longer growing.

5/8/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

5/13/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

There were a few Rotala Wallichii left but they are not growing. I got a shipment of fresh Rotala Wallichii stems and planted them. We will see if I can keep these going.

5/19/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Installed new 60mm Bazooka Atomizer to replace the old 50mm version. Bubbles are much finer.

5/27/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Trimmed HC and Starogen Repens.

6/2/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

6/6/2019:
Fixed the outlet hose (shortened) so that the outlet nozzle points up (higher) at the water surface. Will help with oxygenation.

6/9/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media. Replaced poly and polishing pad filter media.

Removed all the Blyxa Japonica and replanted 4 sprigs.
Removed all the staurogyne repens and replanted springs.

Starting with today’s water change, I’m using the spigot in the garage that is upstream of the water softener, so as to have straight city tap water without the added salt. I’m also using this water for the refill (makeup) water container. I hope this helps the water parameters.

aquarium water upstream of water softener

6/12/2019:
Stocked new fish. Added (3) green neons (total of 4 with ‘Uno’) and (3) phoenix rasbora (total of 5). That makes 9 total fish – I think that is the most we have had in the Spec.

The new ones are all big. All the green neons are as big as ‘Uno’.

6/15/2019:
Two of the new green neons died this morning. Shrimp had a great time cleaning them down to bones. No idea why, but one that died never looked good – cloudy in appearance.

6/17/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Trimmed a few of the rotala wallichii stems and replanted the tops.

I’m no longer dosing excel every day, but try to dose (heavy) with every water change and a few times a week.

6/21/2019:
Looks like we lost a phoenix rasbora. Down to four.

6/24/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Trimmed tops off some of the Wallichii.

6/30/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Removed all the Blyxa Japonica and rotala wallichii. Replanted (less, to thin out).

7/7/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media. Replaced poly and polishing pad filter media.

Fish are hanging tough: (2) green neons and (4) phoenix rasbora.

The wallichii is turning red at the tips.

7/15/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

7/21/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Removed all the rotala wallichii and replanted the tips. Trimmed the HC.

Changed out the CO2 tank to a full one. The last tank lasted about 3 months.

Looks like we lost a Phoenix Rasbora. We are down to three Phoenix Rasbora and two green neons.

7/28/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Cleaned the CO2 Diffuser. Process was as follows: take out of aquarium, soak in 50% / 50% bleach and water for 20 minutes. Rinse out and soak for 30 minutes in water with a bunch of Seachem Prime (didn’t measure). Then a good rise and put it back in.

8/1/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media. Replaced poly and polishing pad filter media.

Trimmed tops of rotala wallichii.

A big chunk of HC had detached and was floating up. I cut out this section and replanted some small chunks on the bald spot.

8/12/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Trimmed staurogyne repens.

All five of the fish survived us being gone on vacation. Tank doesn’t look too bad.

8/18/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Removed all the Rotala Wallichii, Staurogyne Repens, and Blyxa Japonica. Replanted new bunches / tops.

8/25/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

9/1/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media. Replaced poly and polishing pad filter media.

Light trim of HC.

9/6/2019:
Purchased (4) new chili rasbora.

We now have:
(2) green neons
(2) Phoenix rasbora
(5) chili rasbora
[9] total fish

9/8/19:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

9/16/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Removed the CO2 diffuser and cleaned with Excel (didn’t work nearly as well as 1:1 bleach/water).

We still have 9 fish!

9/22/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Removed half of the Rotala Wallichii (end next to the pump section); replanted tops.

Removed some of the Staurogyne Repens that I had planted in odd places and didn’t have enough light (was covered in algae).

The whole tank is having algae issues. I have tried to bump up the CO2 (now that the new fish should be acclimated).

I am going back to the lower daily doses of ferts.

Started testing a new light: Finnex 20” Planted+ HLC

9/29/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Removed half of the Rotala Wallichii (end opposite pump section); replanted tops.

Removed half of the blyxa japonica (end opposite pump section); replanted one bunch.

Relocated some HC from under blyxa to bald spot in center.

We have lost a fish. Down to 6 chili/phoenix rasbora and 2 green neons.

Algae seems to be decreasing a little bit.

10/3/2019:
Replaced poly and polishing pad filter media.

10/6/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

I’m now using the new Finnex 20” Planted+ HLC in “24/7 custom” mode.

10/13/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Removed half of the blyxa japonica (end next to pump section); replanted one bunch.
Trimmed the HC.

10/20/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Still have 8 fish. One of the green neons (probably ‘Uno’) has black on side. Doesn’t look good.

10/26/2017:
Starting a daily dose of hydrogen peroxide. 10 ml per day (2 ml per gallon). I use the dropper to put it as close to the algae (usually on the rock) as possible.

10/27/2019:
50% water change. Replaced poly and polishing pad filter media.

Removed most of the Staurogyne Repens; replanted (4) smaller bunches.
Removed half of the blyxa japonica (end next to the pump section); replanted one bunch.
Removed half of the Rotala Wallichii (end next to the pump section); replanted tops.

11/3/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Sill dosing 10mL of Hydrogen Peroxide daily.

11/4/19:
Noticed the sick green neon was laying on top of a bunch of Rotala Wallichii, not looking well. I decided to euthanize him (or her).

Down to 7 fish.

11/6/2019:
Cleaned the CO2 diffuser in 50/50 bleach and water.

Scraped more algae off the back wall (using the razor scraper)

11/7/2019:
Installed a new flow nozzle -Vivid Creative Aquatics VCA 1/4” Random Flow Generator.

I will stop the hydrogen peroxide treatment after today. That was a 12 day duration treatment. The GDA is under control and some of the plants seem to be stunted (HC and especially the Blyxa Japonica).

Put in a new tank of CO2. Tried to fill both tanks but one couldn’t be filled. It appears that tank is ruined.

11/8/2019:
Started dosing K2SO4 again.

Dosing regimen is currently:

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday:
1 smidgen (1/32 tsp) KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate)
1 Drop (1/64 tsp) KH2PO4 (Potassium phosphate monobasic)
1 Drop (1/64 tsp) K2SO4 (Potassium sulfate)

Monday, Wednesday, Friday:
1 Drop (1/64 tsp) CMS+B (Trace elements)

11/9/2019:
Swapped out the return hose with one that doesn’t have a hole in it. The new flow nozzle seems like it needs more flow.

11/10/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Trimmed the HC.

Pulled up ever other plant in the tank. Replanted Rotala Wallichii only between rock and pump wall. Other end is one bunch of Blyxa Japonica and the Staurogyne Repens along the perimeter.

11/12/2019:
Replaced poly and polishing pad filter media. That is just over 2 weeks since I previously changed the filter media. I had thought that the poly and polishing pad would typically last a month, but it is getting too dirty and clogged up to go that long. It has to be changed because the pressure drop causes the water level in the pump section to drop too low for the heater to be immersed.

filter pad in filter section of fluval spec v aquarium

11/18/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Trimmed and replanted a few stems of Rotala Wallichii.

11/23/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Trimmed the HC.

12/1/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

We have been gone since last Sunday, 11/24/2019, for Thanksgiving vacation. No one looked after the fish for 7 days. All 7 fish survived with no food. Water was very low – pump section only half full. Lots of algae and the Rotala Wallichii is looking very stunted.

12/2/2019:
Replaced poly and polishing pad filter media.

12/4/2019:
40% water change. Rinse out filter media.

This mid-week water change is in preparation for me being out of town until the 13th to Abu Dhabi.

12/14/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Remove all Staurogyne Repens and replant 8 or so small pieces.
Trim and replant some of the Rotala Wallichii.

Clean CO2 diffuser in 50/50 bleach /water mix.

12/15/2019:
Replaced poly and polishing pad filter media.

12/22/2019:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Remove all the Rotala Wallichii; trim and replant.

We will be gone all week for Christmas travels.

12/30/2019:
Rescaped the tank. Put all fish and shrimp (and plants) in a quarantine tank. Took down the Spec V. Threw out all the old dirt (UpAqua Aquasand). Cleaned out all the hard water stains and algae. Cleaned off stains from the storage box.

freshwater quarantine tank

Rescaped with new dirt – Amazonia II. Used about 3 liters (of a 9 liter bag). Used one Ohko stone in the center, resting on the glass. Didn’t use eggcrate on the bottom this time.

Replanted with the same plants: Rotala Wallichii, Blyxa Japonica, Staurogyne Repens, HC.

replanted spec v aquarium

12/31/2019:
Water Parameters: Ammonia = 1.0 ppm, Nitrite = 0 ppm, Nitrate = 40 ppm.

(Quarantine tank: Ammonia = 0.25 ppm)
(Tap water – straight from tap: Ammonia = 0.5 ppm)

Test kit expired in 2018. Could be that the test kit is no longer accurate, or it could be ammonium in tap water.

Moved all the fish and shrimp from the quarantine tank to the display tank in the evening.

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