2020 Fluval Spec V Aquarium Journal

An annual tradition here at Spec-Tanks is posting last year’s aquarium journal.  I understand they are not compelling reading, but I hope that someone finds the information interesting.  It gives an understanding of the tank’s regular maintenance regimen and some of our equipment changes.

2020 Spec V Journal Highlights:

I have written about the advantages of keeping an aquarium journal and I have shared past journals for our Fluval Spec V in 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015.

Our Spec V Journal: 2020

01/01/2019:
Water Parameters: Ammonia = 1.0 ppm, Nitrite = 0 ppm, Nitrate = 40 or 80 ppm.

01/02/2019:
Water Parameters: Ammonia = 1.0 ppm, Nitrite = 0 ppm, Nitrate = 40 or 80 ppm.

01/03/2020:
Water Parameters: Ammonia = 1.0 ppm

I prepared water for a water change in a bucket. Added Seachem to dechlorinate, and let it rest for a few hours. Then tested. Ammonia = 0.5 ppm.

The two test are very close in color. I don’t think I trust the test kit I have. There may be a little bit of ammonia in the tank with the new substrate.

01/04/2020:
50% water change.

1/9/2020:
Tested with new Salifert Ammonia Test: Ammonia = 0.0 ppm. I’m betting the old API test kit (expired) is no longer accurate.

rescape of Fluval Spec V Tank

1/10/2020:
Tested with new Salifert Nitrate Test: Nitrate = 50 ppm. That seems about right with all the changes the tank is going through (the new Amazonia II substrate possibly giving off ammonia and kicking in more bacteria production).

The Rotala Wallichii is not doing well, but there are new shoots coming up. I clipped off the dead stalks next to the new growth so it wouldn’t suck nutrients from the new growth.

Lots of green dust algae, unfortunately. The tank needs more plant growth to outcompete the algae.

1/12/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Cleaned GDA off the rock with a toothbrush.

1/14/2020:
Cleaned algae off back wall with pot scrubber.

Replaced poly and polishing pad filter media.

1/19/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Cleaned GDA off the rock with a toothbrush. Trimmed the HC – it has not fully grown together but I want to keep it short. Trimmed a few bits of Staurogyne Repens.

I only see 5 of the rasboras, so it looks like we lost the sickly one.

1/20/2020:
Adjusted the light intensity (white channel) down from 100% to 80% at 1500 and 1800

1/26/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Pull up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.

Trimmed the HC a bit.

The remaining green neon doesn’t look good. It is struggling to swim level. I expect it to die soon.

1/27/2020:
Cleaned CO2 diffuser in bleach/water.

1/28/2020:
Added (5) new ‘chili rasbora’ or what I hope are chili rasbora. This is added to (5) existing chili’s and the one (sick) green neon.

2/1/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

For the new water, I used half tap (upstream of water softner) and half RO drinking water (from our RO system).

Pull up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.

2/7/2020:
Noticed several of the chili rasbora have ich spots on them. The green neon continues to look bad and swim funny.

2/8/2020:
I’m going to start battling the ich by raising the temperature to 86 degrees F and leaving it there for 2 weeks. I will start by raising around 1.5 degrees F every half day starting today.

2/10/2020:
Setup hospital tank (5 gallon) and moved the fish (11 of them) into it. About half of them have ich spots, the green neon is the worst.

Starting daily treatment with Seachem Paraguard. It calls for 5 ml for ever 10 gallons. I’d estimate the tank has 4 gallons in it. That would be 2 ml, or around 4 drops (or I will use the indications on the disposable pipette). This is dosed every day.

Main Tank:
50% water change.

Pulled up all the Blyxa Japonica (the roots were huge). Threw away 2/3 of it; planted a small piece.

Pulled up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.

Pulled up all the Staurogyne Repens; replanted 5 pieces.

2/11/2020:
One of the 10 phoenix/chili rasbora was dead at the bottom after work. Down to 9.

Tested the hospital tank. Ammonia = 0 ppm

2/12/2020:
Replaced poly and polishing pad filter media.

2/14/2020:
Uno (Dos?) died. Not surprising, but we lost another rasbora. Down to 8.

2/16/2020:
We lost two more. Down to 6. I’m done with hospital. Putting them back in the display tank.

2/17/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Pulled up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.

The remaining rasboras have ich very bad. I think they are all going to die. I have turned up the temperature to 80 degrees F in a last ditch effort to kill the Ich.

2/18/2020:
I don’t see any fish – I’d assume they are all dead.

2/21/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

For the new water, I used 1/4 tap and 3/4 RO drinking water (from our RO system).

Pulled up a few (tall) stems of Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted the tops.

2/28/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

For the new water, I used 100% RO drinking water (from our RO system).

Pulled up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops. Pulled up all the Blyxa Japonica. Planted one small piece.

3/7/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Unless noted otherwise, I’m using 100% RO drinking water (from our RO system) from here on out.

Pulled up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops. Trimmed the HC.

3/8/2020:
Replaced poly and polishing pad filter media.

3/9/2020:
Filled the 20lb bulk tank at SoCo HomeBrew

First attempt at filling a 20oz CO2paintball tank. Discovered the bulk tank does not have a siphon tube.

Ended up inverting the bulk tank and filling to 14oz.

3/15/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Pulled up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.
Pulled up all the Staurogyne Repens; replanted 5 pieces

3/21/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Pulled up a few stems of Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops. Trimmed the HC.

3/27/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Pulled up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.

3/28/2020:
Replaced poly and polishing pad filter media.

high tech planted Spec V Aquarium

4/3/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Pulled up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.
Pulled up all the Blyxa Japonica. Planted a small piece.
Trimmed the HC.

4/4/2020:
I shifted the schedule of the light (1) hour earlier and also shifted the CO2 schedule ahead one hour. I’m doing this to get more viewing time in the evening with the nice lighting and no CO2 bubbles.

4/10/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Pulled up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.
Trimmed the HC.

4/18/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Pulled up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.
Trimmed the Staurogyne Repens.

4/19/2020:
Replaced poly and polishing pad filter media.

4/22/2020:
Swapped out the CO2 tank. That tank only lasted about 6 weeks. I filled the replacement right at 18 oz. Used a new washer – hopefully it will last longer. Might have gone empty in part because of higher bubble rate.

Swapped out the Purigen for a new bag. I have no idea how long that bag had been in use – very dark. I will regenerate the one I took out and store to swap in the future.

Cleaned CO2 diffuser in bleach/water.

4/25/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Pulled up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.
Trimmed the HC.

4/26/2020:
CO2 Bubble Rate is set to 132 BPM.

5/1/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Pulled up a few of the tallest stems of Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.

5/4/2020:
Swapped out the stock pump for a Cobalt Mini MJ 606 pump (for higher flow).

5/8/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Pulled up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.
Heavy trim of the HC. It has gotten too thick and I’m trying to get it thin again.
Trimmed the Staurogyne Repens. Moved a few cuttings to new areas.
Pulled up all the Blyxa Japonica. Planted a small piece.

5/9/2020:
Replaced poly and polishing pad filter media. (It was super dark and clogged – made the new Cobalt pump pull a vacuum).

5/17/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Pulled up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.
Trimmed the HC.

5/18/2020:
Replaced poly and polishing pad filter media.

5/21/2020:
Reinstalled the in-line CO2 diffuser. I drilled two holes in the tube below the diffuser to help reduce the flow from the pump. It made a difference – might try drilling a third if it needs to be reduced further. (Later in the evening, drilled two more holes for a total of four).

The bubbles seem smaller than I remembered. Maybe it will work this time. It is different now with the random flow generator and the Cobalt pump.

5/22/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

5/29/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Pulled up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.
Trimmed the HC.

6/5/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

(No plant trimming)

I took out the in-line CO2 diffuser and put back in the in-tank diffuser. It just doesn’t seem like the CO2 gets dispersed as well from the in-line one. The bubbles are still too big.

6/6/2020:
Replaced poly and polishing pad filter media.

6/12/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Pulled up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.
Pulled up all the Blyxa Japonica. Planted a small piece.
Trimmed the HC.

6/21/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Pulled up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.
Trimmed the Staurogyne Repens.

6/22/2020:
Swapped out the CO2 tank.

6/29/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Pulled up a few tall stems of Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted the tops.
Trimmed the HC.

7/7/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.
Pulled up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.

7/12/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.
Trimmed the HC.

7/13/2020:
Replaced poly and polishing pad filter media.

7/15/2020:
Cleaned CO2 diffuser in bleach/water.

7/17/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.
Pulled up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.

Trimmed the HC.

7/24/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.
Pulled up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.

Cut out and pulled up sections of Staurogyne Repens on either side of the tank. Replanted taller stems in the voided space.

Pulled up all the Blyxa Japonica. Planted a small piece.

Trimmed the HC.

blyxa japonica trimming

7/25/2020:
Replaced poly and polishing pad filter media.

8/1/2020:
Got back from a week of vacation. Heather had taken care of the tank in our absence. The tank evaporated almost a gallon (fans were on more often because the house was hot). At some point before she came to fill I think the pump section ran very low or dry. When she added water, it got air locked in the filter section. The pump was pretty much running dry when we got home, but seemed to still be working once I got water in it. Lots of algae on the glass, but it cleaned up well.

8/2/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Trimmed the HC.

8/7/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.
Pulled up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.

Pulled up all the Staurogyne Repens (that I didn’t pull up on 7/24). It was very thick – what a mess. Replanted a few pieces. The HC is barely hanging on (will probably float up if I don’t trim aggressively over the next few weeks).

8/8/2020:
Replaced poly and polishing pad filter media.

8/10/2020:
The HC is starting to lift near the rock. It is too thick throughout. It might be time to rip it all up and replant.

8/12/2020:
50% water change.

Removed all the HC (massive mat of plants). Replanted a grid of plugs.

8/14/2020:
Swapped out the CO2 tank.

8/20/2020:
Added (7) new green neon fish. Lowered the CO2 way down. I will increase slowly over the next week to acclimate them.

8/21/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Pulled up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.

I widened some of the holes in the flow tube to reduce the flow in the tank. I did this as I have had alot of flow in the tank with the upgraded pump but it was probably too much for the fish.

8/22/2020:
Replaced poly and polishing pad filter media.

8/27/2020:
Cleaned CO2 diffuser in bleach/water.

8/28/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Pulled up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.

Pulled up all the Blyxa Japonica. Planted a small piece.

9/4/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Pulled up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.

Light trim of the HC. It is starting to take hold in small clumps.

9/11/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Pulled up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.

Light trim of the HC.

9/18/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Pulled up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.

Light trim of the HC.

9/23/2020:
We are down to (6) green neons – found one that had jumped out today.

9/25/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Pulled up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.

Light trim of the HC.

9/26/2020:
Replaced poly and polishing pad filter media.

Swapped out the purigen bag with the clean spare. Will regenerate the bag that was in there (that was super dark).

10/5/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Pulled up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.
Pulled up all the Blyxa Japonica. Planted a small piece.
Light trim of the HC.

10/9/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.
Trimmed a few stems of Rotala Wallichii.
Light trim of the HC.

10/10/2020:
I only see five green neons so I think we lost one.

10/13/2020:
Cleaned CO2 diffuser in bleach/water.

10/16/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Pulled up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.
Light trim of the HC and Staurogyne Repens.

10/26/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Pulled up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.
Light trim of the HC and Staurogyne Repens.

staurogyne repens trimmings from planted aquarium

10/27/2020:
Replaced poly and polishing pad filter media. 

10/30/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out poly filter media.

Light trim of the HC and Rotala Wallichii (two stems).

11/6/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out poly filter media.

Pulled up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.
Light trim of the HC. Pulled up all the Blyxa Japonica – planted one small piece.

11/7/2020:
Removed and cleaned the pump (the flow had slowed down) and scrubbed out the pump section and flow tube (it had gunk growing all over the place).

11/13/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.

Pulled up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.
Light trim of the HC. Pulled up all the Staurogyne Repens and replanted about 8 pieces. Made a complete mess (detritus and dirt everywhere).

11/14/2020:
Replaced poly and polishing pad filter media.

11/22/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out poly filter media.

Pulled up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.
Light trim of the HC.

Swapped out the CO2 tank.

11/29/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.
Pulled up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.
Light trim of the HC. Scrubbed some algae off the rocks (haven’t done that in a long time).

12/4/2020:
50% water change.

Pulled up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.
Light trim of the HC.

12/6/2020:
Replaced poly and polishing pad filter media.

12/10/2020:
Cleaned CO2 diffuser in bleach/water.

12/11/2020:
50% water change.

Pulled up all the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.

Light trim of the HC. Pulled up all the Blyxa Japonica – planted one small piece.

12/19/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.
Pulled up 3/4 of the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.

Light trim of the HC.

12/25/2020:
50% water change. Rinse out filter media.
Pulled up 3/4 of the Rotala Wallichii; trimmed and replanted tops.

Light trim of the HC.

12/26/2020:
Leave for Christmas vacation. Will return January 1, 2021.

2 thoughts on “2020 Fluval Spec V Aquarium Journal

  1. Votre année 2020 me confirme que je ne veux qu’avoir des plantes artificielles!
    [Translate: Your year 2020 confirms to me that I only want to have artificial plants!]

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