Hey there fmcf! I do remember you from when I was active before!
Yeah it's definitely been a crazy few years! Both the good and the bad. My health crisis is still something of a mystery but I'm feeling a lot better now, and despite the fact that it happened more than once they think it may simply have been an infection. Pretty much every other possibilty has been ruled out.
Trying to keep plants alive has certainly been an experience but they seem to be getting there, even without CO2. In particular I've got a nice echinodorus which was looking quite withered at one point but it's now reliably producing new leaves on a regular basis.
Not sure how I managed to set the thread title as "It". Presumably my brain wasn't fully functioning that day. I just turned 30, which is apparently when age starts to catch up with you!!
Sorry to hear about your health problems bringing an end to your career :(
So I think it's been at least three years maybe longer since I was active here. But the subject of forums came up when I was talking with some friends from a gaming forum where I'm quite active, and we talked about other sites we've been on and I thought of FK. So I figured I'd stop by and see how everyone's doing! I've seen a few familiar faces around here even after all this time.
Last few years for me have been a heck of a journey. A lot has changed, and a lot of ups and downs. In 2017 I lost my dad to cancer quite suddenly. While we knew his health wasn't good, it did come as something of a shock. But we've pulled through and come out of the other side.
Last year I finally took the plunge to leave my job of 10 years, which I'd been hating more and more on a daily basis. I'm now theoretically at college training to become an electrician. I say theoretically because firstly I'm in between years at the moment, and secondly...COVID-19. Since the end of March I've spent a day and a half in total at college! But I'm due to return properly next month. It hasn't been an easy year, things certainly haven't gone according to plan, but hopefully getting back on track at last. I have at least managed to keep busy throughout lockdown. On top of all that I've had some health problems of my own to deal with, which are still a bit of a mystery for the time being and I'm awaiting further hospital investigation to find out exactly what's going on.
On a positive note, over the last couple of years I've seen a lot more of my extended family who I barely knew before.
And of course I still have my fish! The tank is doing well, and also I've made the switch to live plants. They're not exactly amazing but they're not terrible either now I've managed to improve the balance of nutrients. CO2 injection would be ideal but I can't find an easy and cost effective way to do it on a tank that size. I did have a huge algae problem in the early stages, but that has improved now by experimenting with the dosage of fertiliser and liquid CO2, plus a little help from a team of hungry nerite snails! Had some issues with lighting too, specifically some very expensive LED aquarium lights which turned out to be about as waterproof as a sieve. Got a full refund on those and now I'm using T5. Overall the live plants are much nicer than the plastic ones which end up faded and dirty.
Yes, it's a shame it's gone so quiet on here, I miss the way FK used to be. We had a great little community, and I used to enjoy some of the discussions - anyone remember the Twelve Days of Fishmas? Facebook is great in many ways, but it's not where I would go to for advice on fishkeeping or indeed anything else. I would rather go to a forum specialising in the subject.
Re: New tank problem - water has gone murky greenish?
Is that bogwood I can see there? If so then that's the reason. It leaches tannin into the water which cause that discolouration. It's not harmful, just unsightly. It may clear eventually when there is no tannin left in the bogwood, but there's no telling how long it will take, possibly months. I've heard that boiling the bogwood with remove most of the tannin, but I've never actually tried it myself. Otherwise removing the bogwood altogether would be the solution. Are you doing a fishless cycle using ammonia? (Fishless cycle doesn't just mean filling the tank and leaving it running for a few days, as many people think. This article explains it). Do you have any idea what fish you want to get? A tank as small as 30l gives you very few options.
There are specialist aquarium silicones available which are fish safe, they would be the best option. Juwel and King British both make it, and both are available in small tubes which is great if you only need a small amount and don't want to buy a huge cartridge. I use the King British stuff for doing repairs to ornaments and artificial plants and it seems pretty good.
Re: Fishless cycling a new tropical tank. Help !!!
You don't necessarily need to add ammonia every day, and not necessarily the full amount. Test for ammonia first, if it's already at 3-4ppm don't add any more. If the ammonia level is down, just add enough to bring it back to 3-4ppm (the calculator at the bottom of the page I linked to previously will help you work out how much you need to add).
Re: Fishless cycling a new tropical tank. Help !!!
I would recommend testing every day, and if necessary add enough ammonia to bring the level to 3-4ppm (our fishless cycling article includes a calculator to tell you how much you need to add). Your tank will be fully cycled when the ammonia is completely processed (i.e. zero ammonia and zero nitrite) within 12 hours. Be patient, it can take several weeks.