In-depth Guide

Maintaining stems the 2Hr Way

Introduction Aquatic stem plants offer a huge variety of colors and leaf shapes, however, hobbyists often shy away from growing them. A common experience for newer hobbyists is that the stem plants grows well for a time period, then after a couple of trimming cycles, the bottom stems deteriorate and the aquarist is at a […]

Water Change: The 2hr Way

Introduction While many hobbyists rely on water parameter readings of ammonia/nitrite/nitrate to monitor their water quality, these parameters alone do not give a complete picture of water quality. The tank water may have a high pathogenic bacteria load (in the case of new/unstable/under-filtered systems) or other forms of organic waste molecules that have not yet […]

Beware of Tank Peak

Above: a tank at peak. When tanks reach their ‘instagram moment’, it unfortunately also signals that (a) trimming and/or (b) replanting is soon due. In reality, planted tanks are crop-fields, not perennial forests. They look best when they fill the tank. But this peak also marks the ‘point of harvest’. If we do not remove […]

System Shocks

Above: a System Shock from an unexpected drop in CO2 triggered plant melt (above- bottom right) and BBA to spawn on the Alternanthera reineckii. In the picture below, we see the leaves of Samolus parviflorus red– and other plants- suddenly carpeted by fine hair algae- the classic symptom of what we call a ‘system shock’. This happens […]

Tank cycling and biological maturity in planted aquariums

Biofiltration 101 The decomposition of waste products in a tank happen in many stages. Fish & plants (yes, plants too, in the form of old leaves and old plant parts) excrete organic waste in the form of waste proteins, amino acids, cellular lining, dead cells, fiber, urea and other organic by products. Snails, shrimps and other detritus […]

Perfect Parameters

Above: brown algae (Diatoms) and plant melt is common in new tanks. When starting a a new tank, it is common for users to have seemingly ‘perfect’ water parameters and still face significant plant melt and algae. This is because the microbial (“beneficial bacteria”) community isn’t established yet. It is hugely important, but cannot be […]

Transition Stress

Above: During transition, healthy plants in perfect parameters will easily look terrible for 2 to 3 weeks- with algae, deteriorating leaves and lacklustre colours. But it is a natural, temporary phase of adaptation. Plants typically undergo transition for 2 to 3 weeks in new tanks, when they are moved / replanted, and when tank parameters […]

How to stabilize a new planted tank

The tank above was grown in in less than 6 weeks, in a tank that was not pre-cycled. This guide explains on how to smoothen out the maturation process for folks that are in a rush to finish their planted tank projects and do not have time to let their tanks mature normally. What makes […]