40 Gallon Retrofit

I was suddenly inspired recently to give some serious love to my current 40 gallon tank. I am in the process of converting it over to a West African river biotope. But before that can happen, I have to get the hair algae under control. With a little bit of patience and elbow grease, I got to work this past Sunday, removing all the plants and hardscape, scrubbing everything clean, tossing handfuls of crypts, bolbitis, and java fern. I performed a 60% water change, cleaned out the filter, and vacuumed the substrate. I’d say the effort was successful for now. For reference, I have to run the RODI unit for about 3-4 hours to get enough water to perform this much of water change. With a bit more woodwork, I think I can begin stocking the biotope – with the understanding, there will be some visitors temporarily.

Current stock levels:

3 Black Skirt Tetras

2 Congo Tetras (female)

2 Rainbowfish

1 Hatchetfish



TDS Meter

To test if the RODI unit is working, I purchased a TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) meter. It is a simple device, just hold the probes in the water and wait a second. Results are fast, and appear to be very accurate. I did a couple experiments to get a better understanding of TDS in different environments.

In my existing 40 gallon breeder, the TDS reading was 385. Not really surprising. In my house water, which is filtered, the reading was 250. Also not terribly surprising, considering our city water is liquid concrete. The reading in some water I had made from the RODI unit was 7.

Overall, I can see how useful the TDS meter will be moving forward. It is just another tool to help us keep track of what is going on in our tanks.

First Water Change With RO Water

Just completed a 5 gallon water change on the 40 gallon. The RO unit is working great, and the water is testing where I expect. I will get a TDS meter on Monday, and I can further validate the RODI unit’s effectiveness. I will continue these small water changes over the next couple weeks to see if there is a difference in the algae growth. And hopefully, with that under control, I will begin to move over the existing plants and start transforming the tank to the West African biotope.

RODI Partially Installed

I hooked up all the water lines and got the RODI unit semi-installed. I ran through about 2 gallons of water, just clearing the membranes. I will now need to get a couple large containers to hold the filtered and waste water. Throughout the week, I am going to continue to flush a couple more gallons through the system before testing and using it in my tanks.

Kessil Installed

I got home from work today, and quickly cleaned the glass top and installed the Kessil A150W over the tank. The spotlight look is a bit strange for now, but it will all fall into place once the new aquascaping takes place. The spotlight will be more to the right, and angled towards the left. The light will be hitting the main portion of the wood and stones, and the left-side will be a bit darker, lit only by the outside light during the day.