Thank you Chesh
Your encourgement has really helped me out -- my joints have been a bit up and down with my illness and I was a fair bit stressed out yesterday... decided to get the substrate "cleaned" so it's really nice to come online to happies. I also saw in your "Becoming" topic that you weren't very well either so I hope you get well soon!!
Now, Manado (my substrate) is like a very large grain sand; it's made up of a type of clay and apparently sucks nutrients out of the water and stores it to feed directly to plant roots; needless to say I've had some amazing growth with it and I had no
crypt melt at all
when I set up Echo's tank! The problem is... it's WAY dustier than sand.
Imagine pumping nearly 100 litres of water through about 7 litres of substrate and not getting anywhere! I even stuck two of my old canister filters in there and kept them running so as to remove some of the dust mechanically but it just wasn't having it. After freaking out as I thought the tank had sprung a leak we filled it completely and waited, I mixed the substrate around to release dust and then drained the tank little by little using a half-functioning aquarium siphon once an hour had passed and no water was lost via leaks (yay!).
I have no idea how much dust is left but if I don't disturb the substrate too much and plant carefully then it shouldn't create too much of a cloud. I'm considering getting an aquarium coagulant that draws all the dust into balls so that I can siphon them out but I'll have to see how bad things are once I've finished setting up, Kaze won't be going in for a few days (so I can make sure everything is planted correctly and the tank is cycled, using established filter media) so I'll be able to fix it all without worrying about his health.
Speaking of which... I think he's getting old. Kaze is still as hyper as ever when he sees me but his vision seems to be deteriorating. I've never had so many problems with him finding food before, he's also scraped his head. He always had a habit of scratching himself up on fake ornaments which is why I opted for driftwood as it softens once in water but this bump on his noggin and his tendancy to sleep more and not see as well is worrying me. He eats like a pig (when he finally realizes that the food is right above his face) and when awake still moves around gracefully.
I gave him some bloodworms yesterday, the freeze-dried variety. He'd been moved across my room and had a large water change so I wanted to give him something to keep him occupied; he struggled to see the bloodworms... one was curled around in a "C" shape. Despite my concerns about Kaze's vision I couldn't help laughing when he swam up under it, got it stuck on his head like a tiara and swam around with it there for a few seconds.
When I bought Echo he was apparently a year old -- he was tiny, I had him for 4 months and he grew a lot. When I bought Kaze I don't know how old he was but he hasn't grown body-length wise and was very large, I've had him for over 9 months. I'm quite certain that he's at least 2 years old.
With his vision... I'm worried that he won't do very well in a new tank. I'll just have to monitor him closely I guess.
Plans for today: get background on aquarium (external dark fake rock), move Echo's old tank, get new tank upstairs and in position
Plans for tomorrow: everything else