27 litre scape - "Bearing new fruit"

Discussion in 'Journals' started by Steve Smith, 8 Apr 2008.

  1. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

    Messages:
    4,428
    Location:
    Leamington Spa, UK.
    Hey all. Had this little tank going for a few weeks now. Found a lovely little bit of redmoor at my LFS and had to have it. Cost me about £1.10!

    Setup:

    Superfish Aqua 40 - 27 litre (My first ever fish tank!)
    11w PC
    Eco-Complete Substrate

    Edit: (Ferts to be re-fudged...)

    This picture is just after getting it setup. I plant to plant more Eleocharis further back, but I'm trying to decide if I want to go with a longer variety in the back right. Not sure if it would work. (The narrow java at the back was there to provide a little extra cover while the endlers settled in, its gone now).

    [​IMG]

    Planting:

    Eleocharis Acicularis
    Weeping Moss (Vesicularia ferriei - Not 100% on this)

    Fish are tiny Leopard Endlers and 6 Yamato/Amano shrimp. I plan to add some cherries soon too. The livebearers are the inspiration for the scape name :) I found out yesterday I have 2 tiny fry swimming about in the hair grass. They're very cute looking!

    Anyhow, the eleocharis has filled out quite nicely after a few weeks of growth. Its still a little thin but getting a little height and looks very nice :) I'm also having hair algae problems at the moment. The wood is covered in the stuff. I have what I think are diatoms on the glass too. Also got some plants floating in there at the moment which are waiting to go somewhere else. So no updated pics as yet. I plan on adding pressurised CO2, but I've ordered some Flourish Excel also (which I'll use on another setup too).

    Hoping to add some cherries as I said earlier, but maybe a couple of ottos temporarily. I will be buying a group this week for my large tank (to add to the 2 I have to increase the social group). I'll pinch two for this tank for a while and see how they get on :)
     
  2. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Wow Steve, that's nice. Reminds me of the open Serengeti with the occasional Acacia tree. Personally I'd prefer keep the same Eleocharis species across the "Plain". Maybe you could just build up the substrate height some more in the back instead of adding a taller version. 8)

    Cheers,
     
  3. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

    Messages:
    4,428
    Location:
    Leamington Spa, UK.
    Thats a good idea :) I have probably just the right amount kicking about in that little 1.5 litre nano that these guys used to be in :)
     
  4. ulster exile

    ulster exile Member

    Messages:
    353
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    Looks really nice Steve! Bit of a bargain on the wood front too (git :twisted: )

    Just curious, presumably you've taken the original hood off the tank to have the PC on there?
     
  5. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

    Messages:
    4,428
    Location:
    Leamington Spa, UK.
    Yep, thats correct :) The 36w PC is quite long, but fits diagonally front to back. Original hood had an 11w tube which was a bit crap. I also found a sheet of glass at work which is a good fit for the top to try and alleviate the evapouration problems I've been having (quite warm water combined with warm PC light - I was topping up mid week).

    I'm going to replace the filter with the Eden 501 external clone I have on my 54 litre low light crypt livebearer scape. I want to get a larger filter for that tank so it would free up the clone for this tank which will do a better job than the Fluval 1+ in this one.
     
  6. Arana

    Arana Member

    Messages:
    1,054
    Location:
    London
    Very nice Steve, great idea :D should develop nicely but it is missing 1 thing... More pictures!!! :lol:
     
  7. TDI-line

    TDI-line Member

    Messages:
    1,535
    Location:
    Yaxley, Peterborough
    Wow, awesome setup. :wideyed:
     
  8. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

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    4,126
    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
    Like the tree idea :) the hairgrass is perfect for the grass lawn.

    Sam
     
  9. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Steve,
    Just now reviewed your tank stats. Do you really have 36 watts T5 power compact over a 7 gallon tank? :wideyed: Then, it looks like you are dosing TPN+ and TPN? TPN is just trace element, while TPN+ is traces with NPK added so why double up on traces in lieu of NPK? I must be reading that incorrectly... :?:

    If you are getting hair algae already it's a sure bet that your CO2 is inadequate, which wouldn't be surprising considering the amount of light low biomass and lack of fast growers. You may want to consider doubling or even trebling your water change frequency. :wideyed:

    Cheers,
     
  10. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

    Messages:
    4,428
    Location:
    Leamington Spa, UK.
    Yah, I should of worded that better, "TPN + Trace", asin TPN and Trace. Edited the post to read a little easier :) Do you think I should maybe reduce trace to 1/16th twice a week?

    I see what you're saying about the light. I wasn't really sure if it would be too much. In hind sight I think I will shorten the lighting period "a smidge" and do as you suggest and increase the water changes.

    CO2 is non-existent at the moment. I hope to add pressurised CO2 soon, but untill then I will be dosing Excel (though not started yet as waiting for it to arrive).

    I had pondered going back to the 11w light in the hood at first, but I thought this would be too little light. Any thoughts no this?
     
  11. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Well, I'd certainly stick the 11 watt bulb in there until I got the CO2 sorted. Even if you lower the photoperiod with 36W the fact is that while the lamp is on the plants cannot photosynthesize properly if there is insufficient CO2. Therefore a smidgen reduction in photperiod with 36W only means a smidgen reduction in algae. Once CO2 is up and running you will need significant CO2 concentration as well as the Excel addition to keep the plants happy with a 36 watt T5, so this is a serious problem in my opinion.

    Ummm..I guess I'm still confused about the TPN :oops: TPN by definition is only a Trace element mix. The product having Trace elements combined with macro nutrients is called "TPN+". If you are only dosing the product identified as "TPN" (without the plus sign) then you are only dosing Trace elements. You need to dose the product called "TPN+" (with the plus sign) which gives you macros (NPK) and traces. Does that make any sense? Blame Tropica for the moronic product designation :rolleyes:

    Cheers,
     
  12. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

    Messages:
    4,428
    Location:
    Leamington Spa, UK.
    Oh man, I thought TPN was NPK and TPN+ was NPK and Trace. :wideyed: :rolleyes:

    I guess I'll be revising that too :lol:
     
  13. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    :wideyed: :wideyed: :wideyed: Yeah, with 5WPG you'd better get some NPK and quick mate, otherwise you'll have to change your scape name to "I Can't Bear it"... :wideyed:
     
  14. Ray

    Ray Member

    Messages:
    474
    Location:
    Switzerland
    TPN+ is a magic all in one solution in a bottle - I don't think you need to dose anything else.

    On my 25L with 13w PC light with reflector I dose TPN+ weekly and Easycarbo daily at maximum dose and I'm still getting Green Spot Algae on my crypts (but not the Vallais or the Java fern). To get rid of that I would need to either add CO2 or reduce my lighting. So yes, Clive is spot on, as usual - you will be looking at algae city if you run 36W on that tank.
     
  15. Ray

    Ray Member

    Messages:
    474
    Location:
    Switzerland
    TPN+ is a magic all in one solution in a bottle - if you use it you don't need to dose anything else.

    On my 25L with 13w PC light with reflector I dose TPN+ weekly and Easycarbo daily at maximum dose and I'm still getting Green Spot Algae on my crypts (but not the Vallais or the Java fern). To get rid of that I would need to either add CO2 or reduce my lighting. So yes, Clive is spot on, as usual - you will be looking at algae city if you run 36W on that tank.
     
  16. beeky

    beeky Member

    Messages:
    879
    Location:
    Chippenham, Wiltshire
    I don't understand this. I can't see how a low biomass and lack of fast growers would make CO2 inadequate. I can however see how increasing the light would drive the plants harder thus requiring more CO2. Am I reading it wrong? :oops:
     
  17. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

    Messages:
    4,428
    Location:
    Leamington Spa, UK.
    Swapped out the light for the old hood with the 11w this morn, and dosed some KNO3 and KH2SO4 this morn. Hopefully have a regulator arriving tomorrow and then need to get my FE refilled or get hold of another one.

    I'm wondering about the light. I thought that you always needed higher light on a small tank. OK 36w might be a "tad" excessive, what about 18w? Is this need for higher light if you are trying to grow a lot more plants then I actually am currently? I had originally wanted to get hold of an 18w PC as I know it would fit into the hood and replace the 11w.
     
  18. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    OK, here is the explanation: When a plant is healthy the direction of flow of nutrients and some NH4 is from the water column towards the plants. In turn, plant metabolism produces waste products such as proteins and carbohydrates which are ejected into the water column. These waste products are a source of carbon to the phytoplankton and bacteria. These organisms, whose populations number in the billions are an important source of NH4 reduction in our tanks. They depend on the carbon source ejected by the plants. This carbon ejection is described as Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC) which is different than Dissolved Inorganic Carbon (DIC) which only some bacteria and plankton can access. An example of DIC is CO2. Many people ignore the importance of theses critters but they do as much or more nitrification than the plants, whose NH4 uptake is attenuated by the presence of nitrate in the water column. This is why filtration in a high tech tank is so important. There is therefore a symbiotic relationship between the plants and the microorganisms in the tank. The plants convert inorganic supplies of NPK and carbon (the stuff we dose) and convert these nutrients to an organic form that the microorganisms can use in the form of proteins and carbohydrates. Additionally, photosynthesizing plants also oxygenate the water which helps the aerobic bacteria even more. These microorganisms are then able to nitrify NH4 and to compete effectively with algae who use NH4 concentrations to trigger blooms.

    Low biomass means that this critical symbiotic relationship is weakened as not enough carbohydrates are being ejected to feed the bacteria crop and not enough oxygen is being dissolve to support their respiration. The tank is describes as being DOC limited which fundamentally limits the nitrifying bacterial population. Low biomass also means that not enough NH4 uptake is being performed by the plants themselves. So low biomass is a double whammy as it ultimately limits the rate of NH4 reduction, leaving more NH4 available the algal spores to sense.

    A similar assessment can be made of fast growing plants. If a plant is fast growing that fundamentally means that it's NH4 uptake is (potentially) faster. This also means that it's production and ejection rate of carbohydrates into the water column would be faster. This means that it feeds the bacteria colony faster and generates higher colony population faster.

    If a tank is DIC limited (low CO2) this can then translate to DOC limitation (low carbohydrates), thus dragging the entire nitrification system down and benefiting only the algae. In a high tech tank the process of nitrification is of paramount importance. If plants become carbon limited and/or nutrient limited then the flow of nutrients and NH4 is actually reversed. NH4 being leached into the water column by the plants as their cellular structure breaks down due to DIC and/or nutrient starvation makes this an algae triple whammy.

    We need to perceive our tanks as a system of components - the plants being only a single component within that system. The system is fueled by our intervention of regulating light, CO2 and nutrients. If we can understand the role of the plant component we can then have a better understanding of the forces that are unleashed as a result of our plant choices and plant care.

    It is specifically for the reasons given above that we see the recommendation to use high capacity filtration, to seed with mulm or detritus from an established tank and to have as many as possible fast growing plants when starting up a tank. New tank suffer terribly from lack of bacterial population in the water column as well as in the soil and filter, and the bacterial population that does develop suffers DIC starvation.

    Hope this makes sense. :rolleyes:

    Cheers,
     
  19. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

    Messages:
    4,428
    Location:
    Leamington Spa, UK.
    That makes lots of sense. I think I might just re-think this whole thing and plant loads of stems for now. CO2 will help but I doubt I'll get that setup before next week.
     
  20. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Don't lose heart mate. :( It all sounds apocalyptic but your basic problem is that you've simply got too much light. As I mentioned, the entire machinery is driven by the light. Plants do not have the ability to "close the shutters" and to "not" use the light. Electro-Chemical reactions within the Chloroplast reaction chambers prevent any sort of control. Here is what I'd try:

    1. Remove whatever algae you can by hand.
    2. Do an 80% or more water change.
    3. Immediately following, do a 3 day blackout. Blackout means zero light. :wideyed: Those black plastic bin liners are pretty good for sealing all sides of the tank. If you can get your hands on NPK, dose, but only at night with no light on in the room at all.
    4. At the end of the blackout do another 80% water change, dose and only use your 11 watt light until you get your CO2.
    5. Did I mention you have to dose NPK without fail?

    By the way, an 18 watt light bulb is exactly 4 times better for this tank than a 36 watt bulb. I know you probably feel like Alice in Wonderland tumbling down the rabbit hole? You can just accept this, take the Blue Pill and wake up in your bed tomorrow and everything will be OK. If you take the Red Pill I can explain and show you how deep the rabbit hole actually goes... :wideyed:

    Cheers,
     

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