trick number SEVEN:
Using astaxanthin powder to create green water.
Ok, so most of us don't want green water. but, what about those of use who like to raise our own live foods? Well, there is a product available on the market that you can use to make green water for your daphnia and moinas. Astaxanthin powder is made from the micro algae Haematococcus pluvialis. It is a unique micro algae that lives in tiny pools of water that dry out regularly. in order to survive desiccation, the algae has adapted to be able to go into cyst form incredibly fast when conditions start to get harsh... literally overnight. when it does this, it produces a lot of the red pigment called astaxanthin.
So what does all this mean? It means that astaxanthin is a micro algae that is literally alive. It is just in cyst form. when you add it to water, it comes back to life and produces green water in a few days.
For those of you who want to make green water in fresh water, I really cant recommend a better algae. even if your daphnia can eat it all before it really comes back to life, it still works great. its so small that it stays suspended in the water column where it can be eaten.
And all that isn't even mentioning the benefits it has on your fish in terms of color. Feed your fish some astaxanthin locked up in the bellies of some plump daphnia and the colors will blow your mind. Astaxanthin is a pigment that takes a pretty fish and turns it into an enviously gorgeous fish.
trick number EIGHT:
Vodka dosing your freshwater water tank.
Yep, you read that correctly. If any of you have kept salt water tanks, you may have heard of the vodka method for reducing nitrates. The idea is that the vodka is an organic source of carbon that the bacteria in your tank can use. The bacteria eats the carbon in the alcohol and binds up nitrates into the form of proteins. in marine tanks, the proteins are usually removed in a protein skimmer.
In a freshwater tank, it has the same effect. The only difference that I have noticed is that it causes biofilms to form on the various surfaces of the tank. For the most part, they are invisible, but if you have a problem with "diatoms" it could make it more obvious. Otherwise, it seems to work great. Just stick to a similar dosage as salt water tanks, if not less.
Well, I guess I should mention that I tried it on warm tanks and a couple cold tanks. In the warm tanks, it seems more volatile. so, it WILL reduce nitrates, but it CAN cause a drop in oxygen levels as the bacteria have a field day eating up all the carbon in the alcohol.
The one caution I have for you is to start SMALL! It's much better to dose very little and see no results at first than to dose high right of the get go and see your tank turn to soup. I currently go with about 3ml in my 55 gallon planted guppy tank, per day. once a day.
Start small, like 1ml for 50 gallons. step it up from there, until you see beneficial results. step it up a ml per day until you find out what will help you.
Just be sure to watch your fish to make sure that in the event the bacteria blooms out of control, you can do a water change.
Now, all that said, i did at one point have an entire gallon of liquid from an spent DIY reactor siphon into my tank. I lost a few fish out of about 90... not too bad I think, considering how much went into the tank. fresh water fish are just tough I guess.
trick number NINE
Using seltzer water to nuke your tank.
Sometimes, our tanks can become infected with bad little critters, like planaria, pest snails, or scuds. If we are running a planted shrimp tank, they can quickly overrun the tank and produce an appearance that is anything but what we want. so, what to do in these situations?
Well, one route would be to use harsh chemicals. but, what if we have critters that would die from the residue left over by the harsh chemicals? What then? We could use bleach and then treat the tank with dechlor, but what about the plants? The bleach will kill them. We could use copper, but it could kill the shrimp after the treatment is done. What do you do when you just want to kill everything without removing the plants?
Well, that's where seltzer water comes in. and by seltzer water, I mean regular carbonated water. Think about it. we can gas out our shrimp pretty easily if we let the CO2 run too high. In order to do that, however, we have to dissolve the CO2 into the water. think about carbonated water... it already has the CO2 dissolved into it.
If you take a two liter bottle of carbonated water (seltzer water or club soda) you can spike the CO2 levels in the tank instantaneously. Normally, this would be extremely dangerous for fish and inverts, so you would have to remove them. But, its just as dangerous to the pest critters as it is to the fish and inverts that you actually want to keep. so, this means that you can dump a LOT of CO2 into the water, drop the pH below the chart in an instant, and start starving the little pest critters for oxygen. The plants will be ok as long as you leave on the lights. Some might suffer from the low ph, but even if they do, the treatment lasts a very short time. once its done (after a few hours), the CO2 will have completely dissipated and the tank returns back to normal.
I'm talking about raising the CO2 to well over 600 ppm instantaneously, before all those pest critters even have the slightest hope of being able to adjust. After they die, let the system go back to normal. the critters will be dead, the plants will still be alive, and you can add your fish and shrimp back into the tank.
Personally, this is my favorite technique for getting rid of snails. the snails simply cannot handle a blast of carbonated water. as soon as I pour it into a tank, every one of them starts racing for the surface, or dies trying to get there. whatever does manage to escape gets scooped up and converted into shrimp food (crushed).
No residue, no harsh chemicals, and it doesn't kill the plants.
Whats not to love?