March 14, 2009

March 2009 Meeting

Sergio hosted the 16th meeting of the NJAGC on Saturday,March 14th, 2009.

In attendance were 20 members:

Mike's opening remarks

Mike giving his opening remarks

As members arrived, Sergio and his wife put out some nice sandwiches, snacks and drinks. After waiting a little bit for the straglers, Mike started off with the business, Walter the treasury.

Mike spoke about the purchase of the AGA Convention DVD’s for the club’s enjoyment. Sergio took over from there and jumped right into an explaination of the drop checker solutions he made.
He even went so far as to make different “target” value solutions – 15, 30, and 45ppm’s. A conversation about how drop checkers work ensued.

Plethora of drop checker solutions

SuMo Drop Checker Solutions

Sergio then went into a discussion of his latest re-scape.

Sergio explains the tank

Sergio explaining his vision

Sergio’s inspiration for the design came to him while on a trip to Vermont. He saw the fall scene along the side of the road in New England area and wanted to re-create it.

Overview of the tank

Overview of the latest aquascape

I think the re-creation was well done. The twiggy manzinita wood he got works well, but there was some concern about how quickly it will decay.

He also mentioned that he added a bag of Aquasoil while the tank was running which caused some parameter changes. As a result, he had a bit of an algae problem. In trying to treat the algae on the rocks, the rock color changed when he spot treated with excel.

Rock color differences

“Fresh” rocks on the left, treated rocks on the right

The plants in the tank were discussed – he has Rotala macrandra narrow, Rotala macrandra green and red, Blyxa japonica (where it is supposed to be Echinodorus ‘Aquartica’ that he has been waiting for), and Eleocharis parvula (Dwarf hair grass).


He is also using the newer ADA Orinoco sand. He mentioned a change GH (calcium in the sand?), and it may effect his KH as well.
Sergio uses RO water, so he can control/test these parameters a lot easier.

ADA Orinico

ADA Orinoco Sand

Along with the sand adding some elements back into the RO water, historically, he had a problem with getting equilibrium to dissolve, but he explained how he is now dosing equilibrium via a calc reactor to
bring 0 degrees GH up to 4 degrees. He noted that the macrandra didn’t do well without the calcium addition.

I’ll let Sergio explain the way he is adding the equilibrium:

We then moved on to a discussion about the lights –

He said the color of the 18,000k bulb seems to be making a difference.

In his Tek T5 fixture, he is running one 18000k bulb. two 6500k and
one 10000k.

That is a CalAqua CO2 inline diffuser on the left

The different approaches to photo periods were discussed as well. Sergio has his set for about 8 hours and others run more intensity shorter, for bursts, while other run longer, less intensity.

The fish are celestial rasboras, cardinals and ottos.


The water changes are all automated. The tank drains at night, and leaves the level lowered overnight (for 7 hours or so), and fills in the morning. It winds up being 15% daily, 70% a week

which really helps keep parameters consistent at 9.5 nitrate 1.5 phosphate.

The meeting wrapped up with the distribution of fish from a fish rescue and a plant swap.

Caption Contest Photo

“Yep. I’d say thats about the size of my prostate…” –

Caption Contest Winning Entry by Mike F.

Thanks to Sergio and his family for hosting another great NJAGC meeting!

Until next time,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *