My friend came twice to check on the fish in the two weeks that I was on holiday and each time did a small water change, then fed the fish.
The hair algae has made a come back, while I was away, so I’ve had to pull out more of it. It is growing predominantly on the side of the aquarium where natural sunlight falls. I also gave the plants a trim and did a 15% water change. While I was on holiday, I managed to trade some Crypt. for water sprite and Riccia.
Water parameters are nitrate at 30 ppm and pH 7.4-7.6, I also tested for ammonia and nitrite, which I would normally not do in an established aquarium.. both were 0 ppm. Filter claims that it does not need cleaning, so it didn’t get any.
I’m going away for two weeks and leaving a friend to look after my fish. She is not a fishkeeper, so I am going down the usual “pre-bag the food” route. The main reason she is coming round is to actually top up the marine aquarium and water the plants, so feeding the fish in the display aquarium and water changes are a bonus.
During the more major weekly maintenance, I performed a 10% water change and tidied plants. Water readings were nitrate at 15 ppm, pH 7.4, 20 °GH, 3 °KH.
So today is a “large” water change day, with a 10-15% water change. I was planning to clean the filter (Eheim 2076) as well, but I have found that there is the same problem with this one that I had with one at work last week: the “floater complete” (part number 7428728) can become dislodged during re-assembly, after cleaning, which allows the middle part of the three which make up “floater complete” to move up into the “adaptor complete” (aka the tap for the hoses, part number 7428718), which means that it is becomes impossible to turn off the tap because the little white tube blocks the part where it closes off. Who comes up with these part names? The symptoms of the problem are inability to close the tap (feels like it is stuck) and if you push it a bit too hard, the tap will easily move from “on” to “off” and back, but without any effect (while making clicky noises in one direction- yes, you have snapped it). The solution is either to take the whole pump to an Eheim repair centre (if it is under warranty, it took them 24 hours to fix, they also did a 6 hour service on it and flashed the firmware, while they were at it) or use a Torx T9 screwdriver to pull apart the filter and fix it yourself (which will probably void any warranty you may have).
If you attempt to fix it yourself, you will get water everywhere, so be careful with the power sockets which your filter is probably plugged into and which are right next to it, on the ground. You will need to lift the inlet and outlet tubes out of the tank, then drain them by undoing the clips, separating the pump assembly from the canister and letting the water drain over the sides onto strategically placed towels. Next step is to pull the pump assembly apart and remove the offending part, reassembly should be quite easy. Photos to follow when I actually go through with this!
Why manufacturing defect? Because this has happened on both of my 2076 filters, within a week of each other. Yes, I am quite careful about reassembling everything properly. Luckily, the filters only need cleaning once every few months, so it’s usually fine to take one’s time over getting it fixed.
It is still an excellent filter, even with this flaw.. but it is an important flaw to be aware of, so one does not break it accidentally.
Oh yes, and lighting is now on from 11:00 until 21:00.
Before leaving, I made up one pack of food per day. Going by how many packs were left when I came back, the fish were fed every 2 days out of 3.
A head count showed that there had been no deaths and the general health of the fish was great. The bristlenose plecos had spawned and there are young all over the tank, the majority on the filter outlet or the glass near it. The new Hagen pump was quite clearly not strong enough to suck them in.
Water readings are fine, except a 25 ppm increase in nitrates. I am slowly resuming the water changes on a daily basis.
There was some hair algae in the plants which floated to the surface, which is a pain, but nothing can be done about it.
Equipment was functioning well, same as when I left it.
Actually, it’s not quite as bad as that: I have prepared zip-lock bags of food (one per day), instructed the neighbours on how to check the equipment and left them contact details for a fellow fishkeeper, in case anything looks wrong.
The idea is simple: every day, the kids come over and (while being supervised by the parents) feed one bag of food to the fish per day. At worst, the fish are getting fed the right amount of food and the equipment gets checked for malfunctions; at best, the child from a pet-free home learns about the basic responsibility of keeping pets.
Then, once per week, a fellow fishkeeper will come to do a 5% water change and check on the general welfare of the animals.
And just for the fun of it, I am also setting up a webcam, so that I may be able to check up on the fish myself.
The main reason for this prune was to get the Hygrophila polysperma to grow bushier at the back because without encouragement, it will generally grow tall and lanky. So at the back, I cut it about 6 inches from the surface, in the front rows to about half way up from the bottom of the aquarium.
I found that some of the plants which had come out and were floating on the surface had a spot of hair algae in them…
Current lighting period is 12-13 hours per day, which is on the high side. Water parameters are nitrate 15 ppm, pH 7.4, 15-21 °GH, 6 °KH.