Fluval Spec V Aquarium Journal – Setup Through 2014

I recently wrote a post on the merits of keeping an aquarium journal and thought I would post an example of an aquarium journal.

This is the journal I started when setting up our Fluval Spec V from scratch.  It goes through the first year.  Very repetitive stuff with lots of entries exactly same (water changes, fertilizers, etc.).  It’s an interesting look back at learning all kinds of new things, from cycling a new tank, to basic plant trimming:

Our Spec V Nano Journal 2013 and 2014

12/22/13:
Dose 0.8ml of 20% ammonia
Test:
Ammonia: 4.0 ppm
Ph: 7.6
Tap water sample in Tupperware. 48 hour rest.
Ph: 7.6
KH: 9dKH 161.1 ppm
GH: 11dKH 196.9 ppm
setup of fluval spec v - driftwood in place
12/30/13:
Aquarium Water:
Low ph test: 7.6
High ph test: 8.0
So, the ph is 8.0 and was higher than my test on 12/22
Ammonia: 4 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
12/31/13:
90% water change and treat with h2o2 for what I thought was hair algae. It’s white so might be fungus – only on driftwood.
Dosed ammonia again at what should be around 2 ppm.
1/3/14:
put plants into tank. 90% water change.
1/4/14:
dose 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate) and 1/128 Teaspoon (1/2 of ‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
1/5/14:
Ph (high range test):  7.8
Ammonia: 0.5 ppm
Nitrite: 2.0 ppm (hard to read – 5.0 ppm?)
Nitrate: 5.0 ppm
1-7-14: 
lots of melting and dying. Prune the dead stuff. 50% water change.
1-8-14: dose 1/64 Teaspoon (drop) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate) and 1/128 Teaspoon (1/2 of ‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
Ph (high range test):  7.4
Ph (low range test): 7.6
Ammonia: 0.5 ppm
Nitrite: 5.0 ppm
Nitrate: 10.0 ppm
Dosed .2 ml of ammonia and tested again:
Ammonia: 1.0 or 2.0 ppm
freshly planted low light fluval spec v aquarium
1-11-14: 
start daily dosing of seachem excel. Start with 5 drops a day. Will work up to 10 drops a day.
1/12/14:
Ph (high range test):
Ph (low range test): 7.6
Ammonia:  0 ppm
Nitrite:  5.0 ppm (max reading)
Nitrate: 5.0 ppm
Pull out more dead stuff, including one of the annubias. Little aphid things are on its base.
70% water change.
Dose 0.2 ml ammonia for around 1 ppm
Dose 1/64 tsp of csm + b dry.
 1/14/14:
Ph (high range test):  7.8
Ph (low range test):
Ammonia:   0 ppm
Nitrite: 5 ppm (max reading)
Nitrate:  10 ppm
Brushed fungus / algae / black spots off driftwood.  Took out some dead leaves. Took out about 10 tiny snails.
Topped off water.  Dose 0.2 ml ammonia for around 1 ppm.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate); got confused and dropped in another 1/64 tsp of KNO3, then dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
1/15/14:
Ammonia:   Between 0 and 0.25 ppm. I tested tap water and it read 1.0 ppm!  I did the tap water test a second time and it read 1.0 ppm again.
Nitrite: 5 ppm (off charts)
Nitrate:  10 ppm
Dose 0.3 ml ammonia for around 1 ppm.
1/18/14:
Ammonia:   0 ppm
Nitrite: 5 ppm (max reading)
Nitrate:  10 ppm.
50% water change. Removed some dead stuff, including the last of the large annubias. Took out 9 pond snails.
Dosed 0.7ml ammonia for around 4 ppm.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
1/19/14:
Ammonia:   4.0 ppm
Nitrite: 5 ppm (max reading)
Nitrate:  40 ppm
1/21/14:
Ammonia:   0 ppm
Nitrite: 5 ppm (max reading)
Nitrate:  40 ppm
Dose 0.3 ml ammonia for around 1 ppm.
1/22/14:
Ammonia:   0 ppm
Nitrite: 5 ppm (max reading)
Nitrate:  40 ppm
Dose 0.4 ml ammonia for around 1 ppm.
1/23/14:
80% water change. Didn’t remove much dead plants but had to scrub fungus/algae off wood.
Dose 0.4 ml ammonia for around 1 ppm.
1/24/14:
Ammonia:   0 ppm
Nitrite: 5 ppm (max reading). Very surprising that it would still read that high after yesterday’s water change.
Nitrate:  between 40 and 80 ppm
I tested bottled water nitrites just to be sure. It came to
1/25/14:
Performed another 80% water change.
5 hours after:
Ammonia:   0 ppm
Nitrite: 5 ppm (max reading).  Large water changes on consecutive days and it is still off the charts.
Nitrate: 10 ppm
1/27/14:
Performed another 80% water change.
2 hours later:
Nitrite: 0 ppm – light blue no question.
Dose .4 ml ammonia for 2 ppm
1/28/14:
Ammonia:   0.5 ppm
Nitrite: 5 ppm (max reading I guess – it’s purple again).
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
1/29/14:
Ammonia:   0 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Looks like we are cycled! Check once more tomorrow:
Dose .5 ml ammonia for 3 ppm. 20 drops makes 1ml so I added 10 drops.
Tested in 4 hours:
Ammonia:   2.0 ppm
Nitrite:1.0 ppm
1/30/14:
Ammonia:   0 ppm
Nitrite: 0.25 ppm
Nitrate:  40 ppm
1/31/14:
Ammonia:   0 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Ammonia and nitrite cleared out in 48 hours. Close enough – we’re cycled!
Perform 70% water change.
2/1/14:
added 5 danio tinwini fish. 1 horned nerite snail, 1 tiger nerite snail.
2/3/14:
Dose 1/64 tsp (‘drop’) of csm + b dry.
2/5/14:
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
02/07/14:
added 6 red cherry shrimp.
2/08/14:
Ammonia:   0 ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate:  between 0 and 5.0 ppm.
50% water change
Rinsed out filter in old tank water.
2/9/14:
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
2/10/14: 
Dose 1/64 tsp (‘drop’) of csm + b dry.
2/15/14:
50% water change.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
2/17/14:
Dose 1/64 tsp (‘drop’) of csm + b dry.
2/24/14:
50% water change.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
3/3/2014:
50% water change.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
3/4/14:
Dose 1/64 tsp (‘drop’) of csm + b dry.
3/9/14:
50% water change. Rinsed out the filter media. Vacuumed out the filter section. Lots of ‘detritus’.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
3/10/14:
Dose 1/64 tsp (‘drop’) of csm + b dry.
3/15/14:
50% water change.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
3/24/14:
50% water change.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
3/25/14:
Dose 1/64 tsp (‘drop’) of csm + b dry.
4/1/14:
50% water change.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
4/2/14:
Dose 1/64 tsp (‘drop’) of csm + b dry.
4/8/14:
Ammonia: 0.0 ppm
Nitrite: 0.0 ppm
Nitrate: 0.0 ppm
Surprised that even nitrates reads zero.
50% water change.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
4/10/14:
Dose 1/64 tsp (‘drop’) of csm + b dry.
4/12/14:
KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
4/14/14:
50% water change.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
4/15/14:
Dose 1/64 tsp (‘drop’) of csm + b dry.
4/19/14:
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
4/28/14:
50% water change. Rinsed out filter. Siphoned all water (and detrius) out of filter/pump section (last done on 3/9/14). Removed one of the two ceramic ring bags and put the purigen bag in top section, folded over.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
Dosed Seachem’s recommended dosage for Excel after a 50% water change – 50 drops.
4/30/14:
Dose 1/64 tsp (‘drop’) of csm + b dry.
5/7/14:
50% water change.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
30 drops of seachem excel.
5/8/14:
Lost first fish this morning. The largest tinwini was looking very bad last night. Thin with a white bulge on each side.
Dose 1/64 tsp (‘drop’) of csm + b dry.
5/9/14:
Two more danio tinwini have died today.
5/11/14:
Ammonia: 0.0 ppm
Nitrite: 0.0 ppm
Nitrate: 5.0 ppm
50% water change.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
5/12/14:
Wondering if ICH took out the Tinwinni. Have cranked up the temperature to about 80 to kill off the parasite.
5/14/14:
The biggest ‘Mother’ shrimp died. Water has lots of floating debris.
50% water change. Rinsed out filter media and vacuum water from filter section.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
Turning the temperature back down to 78.
5/19/14:
4th of five fish died today.
5/21/14:
50% water change.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
Cut the bottom off the original Bacopa Caroliniana (no leaves on that part) and replanted top. Cut top off second stem (that was a cutting and had grown to top) and planted.
5/22/14:
Dose 1/64 tsp (‘drop’) of csm + b dry.
6/3/14:
50% water change.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
40 drops of seachem excel.
The last fish died while we were on vacation and was consumed by the shrimp.
6/5/14: 
Dose 1/64 tsp (‘drop’) of csm + b dry.
6/7/14:
50% water change. Rinsed out filter media and vacuum water from filter section.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
30 drops of seachem excel.
6/9/14:
Dose 1/64 tsp (‘drop’) of csm + b dry.
Started process of regenerating Seachem Purigen. Was pretty dark brown but probably could have gone longer.
6/15/14:
50% water change.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
30 drops of seachem excel.
6/16/14:
Dose 1/64 tsp (‘drop’) of csm + b dry.
6/24/14:
50% water change.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
6/28/14:
Dose 1/64 tsp (‘drop’) of csm + b dry.
7/5/14:
50% water change.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
7/6/14:
Dose 1/64 tsp (‘drop’) of csm + b dry.
7/29/14:
50% water change. Rinsed out filter media and vacuum water from filter section.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
10 drops of seachem excel.
7/30/14:
Dose 1/64 tsp (‘drop’) of csm + b dry.
8/2/14:
Took out cryptocorne undulata, split it up, and replanted. Added some more flourite on that end. Everything was very stirred up.
50% water change.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
8/3/14:
Dose 1/64 tsp (‘drop’) of csm + b dry.
8/6/14:
put on cooling fan.
8/8/14:
put in (7) green neon fish.
8/9/14:
Low ph test: 7.6 (max reading so probably higher)
High ph test: 7.4 (?)
Ammonia: 0.0 ppm
Nitrite: 0.0 ppm
Nitrate: 5.0 ppm
8/10/14:
50% water change. Rinsed out filter media and vacuum water from filter section.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
8/11/14:
Dose 1/64 tsp (‘drop’) of csm + b dry.
8/17/14:
50% water change. Rinsed out filter media and vacuum water from filter section.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
8/18/14:
Dose 1/64 tsp (‘drop’) of csm + b dry.
8/20/14: 
Between water changes – trying extra ferts:
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
8/21/14: 
Dose 1/64 tsp (‘drop’) of csm + b dry.
8/25/14:
50% water change. Rinsed out filter media and vacuum water from filter section.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
8/27/14:
Dose 1/64 tsp (‘drop’) of csm + b dry.
Getting lots of green spot algae on the plants so I adjusted the light duration down by 30 minutes per day.
9/2/14:
50% water change.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
9/3/2014:
Dose 1/64 tsp (‘drop’) of csm + b dry.
9/8/14:
50% water change. Rinsed out filter media and vacuum water from filter section.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
9/9/14:
Dose 1/64 tsp (‘drop’) of csm + b dry.
Annubias have yellow leaves. Consider adding more Potassium nitrate.
9/16/14:
50% water change. Rinsed out filter media and vacuum water from filter section.  Used ‘U’ shaped attachment for water change and it worked well.
Dosed 1/16 Teaspoon (pinch) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
This is twice the KNO3 as normal. See if it helps or hurts yellow annubias.
9/23/14:
50% water change. Rinsed out filter media and vacuum water from filter section.
Dosed 1/16 Teaspoon (pinch) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4. (Same as last week)
9/24/14:
Dose 1/32 tsp (‘smidgen’) of csm + b dry. This is twice as much as normal.
9/30/14:
50% water change. Rinsed out filter media and vacuum water from filter section.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4. (Twice the KNO3 as last week).
10/1/14:
Dose 1/32 tsp (‘smidgen’) of csm + b dry.
10/7/14:
50% water change. Rinsed out filter media and vacuum water from filter section.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
10/9/14:
Dose 1/32 tsp (‘smidgen’) of csm + b dry.
10/13/14:
50% water change. Rinsed out filter media and vacuum water from filter section.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
10/14/14:
Dose 1/32 tsp (‘smidgen’) of csm + b dry.
10/17/14:
Ammonia: 0.0 ppm
Nitrite: 0.0 ppm
Nitrate: 10.0 ppm
The nitrates are higher than expected. Could be because of the increase in fertilizers I have been adding over the past few weeks.
10/20/14:
50% water change. Rinsed out filter media and vacuum water from filter section.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
10/22/14:
Dose 1/32 tsp (‘smidgen’) of csm + b dry.
10/28/14:
Started soaking new driftwood sculpture in bucket.
10/29/14:
50% water change. Rinsed out filter media and vacuum water from filter section.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
Uprooted, shortened, and replanted much of bacopa Carolyna.
10/30/14:
Dose 1/32 tsp (‘smidgen’) of csm + b dry.
11/5/14:
50% water change. Rinsed out filter media and vacuum water from filter section.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
11/6/14:
Dose 1/32 tsp (‘smidgen’) of csm + b dry.
11/13/14:
50% water change. Rinsed out filter media and vacuum water from filter section.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
11/14/14:
Dose 1/32 tsp (‘smidgen’) of csm + b dry.
11/19/14:
Setup air pump and sponge filter in tank to cycle. This will be used in the temporary tank when we rescape.
11/21/14:
50% water change. Rinsed out filter media and vacuum water from filter section.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
We are leaving tomorrow for thanksgiving week. I have a timer setup to turn off the pump every day for 20 minutes and an Eheim auto feeder.
11/30/14:
Back from vacation – everything survived.
12/1/14:
50% water change. Rinsed out filter media and vacuum water from filter section.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
12/2/14:
Dose 1/32 tsp (‘smidgen’) of csm + b dry.
12/5/14: 
Rescape.  breakdown tank completely and put critters in quarantine tank.  remove the old wood and discard.  Removed all the Flourite substrate and replaced with Up Aqua Aquasand. Put in new wood arrangement. Replanted everything (same plants).
reshape of low light fluval spec v aquarium
12/6/14:
4 hours after adding water onto new substrate:
Ph (low range test):  7.6 (could be higher)
Ammonia: 0.5 ppm
Nitrite: 0.0 ppm
Nitrate: 0.0 ppm
12/7/14:
Ph (low range test):  7.6 (could be higher)
Ammonia: 0.0 ppm
12/9/14: 
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
12/15/14:
Ph (low range test):  7.6 (could be higher)
Ammonia: 0.0 ppm
Nitrite: 0.0 ppm
Nitrate: 20.0 ppm
50% water change. Rinsed out filter media and vacuum water from filter section.
Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (smidgen) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/64 Teaspoon (‘drop’) of KH2PO4.
12/16/14:
Dose 1/32 tsp (‘smidgen’) of csm + b dry.
12/21/14:
50% water change. Rinsed out filter media and vacuum water from filter section.
Dosed 1/16 Teaspoon (pinch) of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate);  Dosed 1/32 Teaspoon (‘smidgen’) of KH2PO4.
12/22/14:
Dose 1/32 tsp (‘smidgen’) of csm + b dry.
Leaving today for Christmas vacation so we have the auto feeder and pump timer setup.

5 thoughts on “Fluval Spec V Aquarium Journal – Setup Through 2014

  1. The are the most desirable levels for your Ph, Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate? If things are high you do a 3-%50% water change? I’ve been testing for Ammonia but the color never changes for the test, so maybe there’s 0 (which surprises me), I also feel like every water change I’ve been adding a bit too much of my Seachem Prime… Erm… *flails*

    • Ammonia and Nitrite should be zero. Nitrate isn’t all that critical, but above 50ppm or so, that may be reason for a partial water change.

      If you are getting readings above zero for ammonia and nitrite, your tank isn’t yet cycled.

      My seachem prime review page might help, along with the dosing for nano tanks. The seachem prime you add should be measured in drops; I add 10 drops of prime to the tank when I do a partial water change.

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