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40 Breeder Dutchy High Tech + Low Tech Tanks

erwin123

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Freshflora

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Not to argue your point but I am curious to know what in those pictures tells you that micros and Fe are inadequate?
Think I’m seeing some pale new tops on the Limno Vietnam. Also some deficiency symptoms on my hygro 53B. Will continue for at least one more week on this current regimen of lower micros and Fe to at least have the full 3 weeks at this level. Something to note though — main reason I lowered was in hopes of fixing the curling on my Meta. No such luck, and in fact they look worse than they did before cutting micros and Fe in half.
 

Freshflora

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So I had a pretty embarrassing mishap occur over the weekend...

I had the new Oase Crystal Skim 350 arrive at my place on Saturday, so I decided to set it up. While messing with it, I accidentally knocked my Week Aqua P900 into my tank. Suffice to say, it's broken as it's pretty much not water proof at all. The Week Aqua light does not have adjustable legs, which I didn't realize before I set it up. Once I set it up and I realized, I figured I would just rest it on my tank rim and be "extra safe" lol.

Well clearly that was a dumb idea, and I should have returned it when I realized and came to the conclusion that mounting it was not practical with my set up and it didn't rest securely on my tank. So yeah, pay attention to whether your light has adjustable legs or not especially if you have a rimmed tank, and always make it as hard as possible for things to go wrong with your equipment. Ordered a Chihiros WRGB II Pro to replace the light which should be arriving soon. I used to have a Chihiros WRGB 2 before the Week Aqua Light and really liked it, but wanted to upgrade to something with some more power because the corners in my tank were around 85-90 PAR at 100% power. I'm curious to see how much PAR the newer WRGB 2 puts out at 100%, especially with the mirror shades I bought for it, so stay tuned for that.

In the meantime, I threw a spare Finnex 24/7 Planted Plus ALC on my tank. Basically running the tank with just lower par until the new light comes in. Here's how it looks:

tempImageTpwI9R.jpg


What's funny is with my old Chihiros and the Week Aqua, I would have to do some editing to make the FTS look better and more like what the tank looks in person, but with the Finnex the photo actually looks way better than the tank does in person. In person the colors seem much more washed out and the fact that the Finnex is pretty much all blue light is really apparent.

Did a pretty large trim this last week. The two weeds of the tank are Hygrophila rosanervig and limnophila vietnam. I pretty much always top and replant the rosanervig every week. Restarted the vietnam this past week too.

tempImageResq94.jpg


Also cleaned up the ludwigia super red and completely re-did the acmella repens.

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The araguaia's color has been getting really nice recently. It also needs to be restarted. One of the easiest stem plants I have dealt with so far, maybe even the easiest. Since planting it back in March I've only had to trim it like twice. If I wanted to be more diligent about it not pressing up against the glass, I would have to trim it a bit more, but still as far as a stem plant goes it is pretty much as low maintenance as they come.

I didn't end up liking the Oase Crystal Skim that much. It wouldn't stay stuck to the back of my tank because of my rim and it stood out more than my Aquatop skimmer even though the Oase is smaller because it's gray vs the Aquatop's black. The main thing I don't like about the Aquatop is the flow comes out stronger than I'd like even turned all the way down and always eventually blows some plant grouping around a bit too much. Anyone know a good skimmer or skimmer canister attachment for a rimmed tank? Haven't been able to find a skimming solution I'm completely content with.
 

erwin123

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What's funny is with my old Chihiros and the Week Aqua, I would have to do some editing to make the FTS look better and more like what the tank looks in person, but with the Finnex the photo actually looks way better than the tank does in person. In person the colors seem much more washed out and the fact that the Finnex is pretty much all blue light is really apparent.
With the WRGB2 Pro you have the best of both worlds with the White channel to play with.

If you pump up the White channel in real life, there are many complaints that it makes it seem washed out ... but as you have pointed out, what seems to be 'washed out' colours in person may look nicer in photographs. Anyway, all your tank photos are great!
 

Freshflora

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With the WRGB2 Pro you have the best of both worlds with the White channel to play with.

If you pump up the White channel in real life, there are many complaints that it makes it seem washed out ... but as you have pointed out, what seems to be 'washed out' colours in person may look nicer in photographs. Anyway, all your tank photos are great!
Thank you! And sweet, I really liked my old WRGB 2, so I’m sure I’ll really like the new one too.
 

Freshflora

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So the new WRGB II Pro has been running now for a bit over a week.

Before maintenance on Wednesday:

tempImageWcWrAw.jpg


And as it stands today:

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I could tell my tank liked 0.6-0.8 Iron and micros more than 0.3-0.4, so after at least 4 weeks at the lower levels I raised them back up, this time to 0.8-1. So far everything seems like appreciate the higher levels, for sure absolutely no protest thus far with the switch which is a good sign alone. I think my plan right now is to see how things respond over the next few weeks to the higher levels, and then try frontloading/keeping macros more consistent.

The new meta shoots are coming in pretty sexy, so higher Fe or micros may have been what they wanted after all, won't really know for sure though until they are replanted and grow in from there.

tempImagetsUwVJ.jpg


Took out the bacopa colorata and planted some really nice looking tissue culture of Echinodorus Aflame Purple Knight yesterday.

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Rehomed the 5 pearl gouramis. Hard to part with them after more than a year, but the person I found to take them has a really nice and better setup for them.

Have some more new plants on the way--Rotala Sunset, AR Variegated Mini, and Cameroon Moss. Haven't decided where I'm putting them all yet, but looking forward to trying out some more rarer and what are considered difficult plants. Especially curious about the Sunset. Lots of theories on what is best for it, with possibly the biggest factor being sand vs aquasoil (they might be one of the few aquatic plants that prefers sand/a more alkaline or neutral substrate). Just going to expect that they droop and die on me and if they don't it will be a very pleasant surprise lol.

Kind of itching to replace the feather duster rotala blood red sg, and water wisteria variegated. All three are super easy, and I've grown the blood red for a long time now, over a year. I got the water wisteria variegated because I wanted to up the plant mass quickly and reliably, and I was interested to see if it was a stable mutation. It isn't completely stable, as you can see it does lose the variegation sometimes, but overall the variegation is stable enough to add some nice spice to an OG plant.

tempImagekqbp4f.jpg


Can rotala macrandra/macrandra variegated be made into a dense bush? That would be one of the frontrunners for the blood red sg's spot. Also if anyone has any recommendations for improving contrasts or if they think a certain plant would look better in a different spot feel free to speak up!
 
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GreggZ

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Can rotala macrandra/macrandra variegated be made into a dense bush? That would be one of the frontrunners for the blood red sg's spot. Also if anyone has any recommendations for improving contrasts or if they think a certain plant would look better in a different spot feel free to speak up!
I've kept Rotala Macranda Variegated for about 8 years. And I also keep Blood Red SG. They are different animals.

The SG is one of the easiest plants there is. I pull up the whole clump and rip off a section of the bottom and plop it back down. It never misses a beat.

The Macranda takes a more gentle approach. The stems are thin and delicate in comparison. You can create a bush but is will be a less dense bush. It does not like to be too crowded and likes a little elbow room to retain peak health. It is a really beautiful plant but just takes a bit more care. It's also trickier to keep happy. At least that has been my experience.
20190811_160430.jpg
 

JoshP12

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Moving forward: currently thinking about swapping out my old stratum for some new landen. Also ordered some bacopa colorata.
Did you do this?

I hope I got the scope of this: Soil in, 2 years APT complete (high K in that regime, means high nutrient being pulled from soil).

Shift to EI column means compensates for the lack of ferts left in soil, but means you are trying to hit magical water conditions.

If you keep lights:
Pull off N, feed fish more, turn up CO2.

If you keep ferts:
Crank your lights, turn up CO2. It will help cleans the column faster and potentially we won't see any issues with your target parameters.

If you pull PO4 up or K down you are just trying to regulate how effective the water column nutrient acquisition is. Your going to miss the target because it's too hard to get it bang on for all plants.

You could try dosing nothing except micros and K - but you will have cyano soon if you don't pay attention to growth rates.

Just some thoughts that came to mind.

Lovely journal.

Josh
 

Freshflora

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Did you do this?

I hope I got the scope of this: Soil in, 2 years APT complete (high K in that regime, means high nutrient being pulled from soil).

Shift to EI column means compensates for the lack of ferts left in soil, but means you are trying to hit magical water conditions.

If you keep lights:
Pull off N, feed fish more, turn up CO2.

If you keep ferts:
Crank your lights, turn up CO2. It will help cleans the column faster and potentially we won't see any issues with your target parameters.

If you pull PO4 up or K down you are just trying to regulate how effective the water column nutrient acquisition is. Your going to miss the target because it's too hard to get it bang on for all plants.

You could try dosing nothing except micros and K - but you will have cyano soon if you don't pay attention to growth rates.

Just some thoughts that came to mind.

Lovely journal.

Josh
Thanks, Josh! No I did not switch out the soil. Still rocking the 2 + year old Fluval Stratum. Felt like it would be cheating lol.

Also, yes, I'm kind of chasing magical water conditions, but I know not all plants will thrive. Yes, you got it right, for about two years I just dosed APT Complete, then switched to dry ferts in April or so and then EI at the start of the journal. I'm just seeking happiness for about 90% of my species in my tank at any given time, which I've achieved with Macros dosed at about 30:6.7:30 NO3:pO4:K and 0.8 Fe as proxy for micros weekly with 75-80% water changed per week.
 

GreggZ

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Also, yes, I'm kind of chasing magical water conditions, but I know not all plants will thrive. Yes, you got it right, for about two years I just dosed APT Complete, then switched to dry ferts in April or so and then EI at the start of the journal. I'm just seeking happiness for about 90% of my species in my tank at any given time, which I've achieved with Macros dosed at about 30:6.7:30 NO3:pO4:K and 0.8 Fe as proxy for micros weekly with 75-80% water changed per week.
This where reporting dosing gets tricky. Your 30:6.7:30 at 80% water change is the same as about 19:4:19 if reported in standard EI terms which assumes 50% water change. Just saying people might think that dosing is VERY rich when it's not really. It's a little less than standard EI and a little more than APT EI (13.8:4.5:15).
 

Freshflora

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This where reporting dosing gets tricky. Your 30:6.7:30 at 80% water change is the same as about 19:4:19 if reported in standard EI terms which assumes 50% water change. Just saying people might think that dosing is VERY rich when it's not really. It's a little less than standard EI and a little more than APT EI (13.8:4.5:15).
Yes very true. The water column targets for standard EI assuming zero uptake would be just about 45:8:45. I went with this slightly modified version of EI where I’m basically just targeting a bit less in the water column than standard EI while actually dosing a bit more because APT EI levels seemed to be a bit too low for me before I started this journal. That is also why I haven’t yet gone in the direction of trying to lower things by a ⅓ like Hanuman and Vin Kutty have suggested.
 
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JoshP12

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Thanks, Josh! No I did not switch out the soil. Still rocking the 2 + year old Fluval Stratum. Felt like it would be cheating lol.
Naw, it’s the name of the game.

You have to dose leaner during the life of the tank if you want to keep soil as long as possible. Otherwise, it’s a time bomb. Unless you find the routine/regime that works for your species. But with those sensitive Rotala - especially mini butterfly - they will convert back to green species/original under higher N. so you pay on both ends: you lose stability by dosing N low, or your plants stunt for stability under higher N. or you have fresh soil and bypass. Or use root tabs early and readily. Or go inert and master tank conditions for the species via looking at natural waters (christels book) or experiment — issue is mini butterfly is a farmed mutation.

Barr does it, Amano did it, green aqua does it. We all cheat this dynamic system. I relate myself, struggled to give myself permission to do so until I got the plant forms without replacement. Like clockwork, if I didn’t water change every three day, they began to crinkle.

GH 5-7 with low kh helps.

Also, yes, I'm kind of chasing magical water conditions, but I know not all plants will thrive. Yes, you got it right, for about two years I just dosed APT Complete, then switched to dry ferts in April or so and then EI at the start of the journal. I'm just seeking happiness for about 90% of my species in my tank at any given time, which I've achieved with Macros dosed at about 30:6.7:30 NO3:pO4:K and 0.8 Fe as proxy for micros weekly with 75-80% water changed per week.

Is ok - keep chasing. Learn loads doing it!

Reduce N and more light, make sure co2 is good.

Edit: go look at some featured journals plant forms and notice them change as the years pass ;).
 
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GreggZ

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That is also why I haven’t yet gone in the direction of trying to lower things by a ⅓ like Hanuman and Vin Kutty have suggested.
If that was the ONLY thing you changed, and you gave the plants time to adapt, I doubt you would see very much change. For reference I have been dosing 12:4:15 for quite a while and it seems to be plenty.

And here is a funny story about Vin. When I first spoke to him MANY years ago I discussed my tank with him and asked his advice. He said with all my Rainbows he'd just throw some K and micros in there and call it a day. Well let me tell you that didn't work! Not too long ago I sent him that quote and we had a good laugh.

The point is the only way to know for sure is to test things in YOUR tank. No two are the same and I've seen great ones with all kinds of dosing. IMO the real secret is getting everything else right.
 
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Freshflora

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Naw, it’s the name of the game.

You have to dose leaner during the life of the tank if you want to keep soil as long as possible. Otherwise, it’s a time bomb. Unless you find the routine/regime that works for your species. But with those sensitive Rotala - especially mini butterfly - they will convert back to green species/original under higher N. so you pay on both ends: you lose stability by dosing N low, or your plants stunt for stability under higher N. or you have fresh soil and bypass. Or use root tabs early and readily. Or go inert and master tank conditions for the species via looking at natural waters (christels book) or experiment — issue is mini butterfly is a farmed mutation.

Barr does it, Amano did it, green aqua does it. We all cheat this dynamic system. I relate myself, struggled to give myself permission to do so until I got the plant forms without replacement. Like clockwork, if I didn’t water change every three day, they began to crinkle.

GH 5-7 with low kh helps.

Also, yes, I'm kind of chasing magical water conditions, but I know not all plants will thrive. Yes, you got it right, for about two years I just dosed APT Complete, then switched to dry ferts in April or so and then EI at the start of the journal. I'm just seeking happiness for about 90% of my species in my tank at any given time, which I've achieved with Macros dosed at about 30:6.7:30 NO3:pO4:K and 0.8 Fe as proxy for micros weekly with 75-80% water changed per week.

Is ok - keep chasing. Learn loads doing it!

Reduce N and more light, make sure co2 is good.

Edit: go look at some featured journals plant forms and notice them change as the years pass ;).
That’s a great idea, I haven’t paid attention to the change in plant forms in journals over the lifetime of a tank with leaner dosing.

Can you elaborate what you mean by one having to dose low at some point if you want to “keep your soil as long as possible”?
 
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Freshflora

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If that was the ONLY thing you changed, and you gave the plants time to adapt, I doubt you would see very much change. For reference I have been dosing 11:4:15 for quite a while and it seems to be plenty.

And here is a funny story about Vin. When I first spoke to him MANY years ago I discussed my tank with him and asked his advice. He said with all my Rainbows he'd just throw some K and micros in there and call it a day. Well let me tell you that didn't work! Not too long ago I sent him that quote and we had a good laugh.

The point is the only way to know for sure is to test things in YOUR tank. No two are the same and I've seen great ones with all kinds of dosing. IMO the real secret is getting everything else right.
Haha yeah I recall reading you discussing that with him in his journals and mentioning it in Joe’s journal too.

Like you said, no two tanks are exactly the same, and Vin has also said multiple times that EI isn’t necessarily over the top when it comes to nitrate dosing (although I don’t know if he still believes that). I know Joe doses the same with his soil tanks as his sand tanks, so I wouldn’t be shocked if my tank requires higher levels given how depleted my substrate is.

One thing I’m curious about though is Joe was doing lower K levels for a while with his tanks, and he said multiple times it seemed more favorable, until he hit the point where they got too low and he just totally abandoned it. I’m curious why lots of people dose so much K when it seems like plants need less K than nitrates.
 

JoshP12

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I’m curious why lots of people dose so much K when it seems like plants need less K than nitrates.
Because they have rich substrate.

K allows nutrient mobility from roots. If you try to get N and K right just in the column and you overkill - well anything - K won’t be able to provide the K and/or provide the top off of the nutrients from the soil. If you don’t provide proper (insert nutrient here), then K can facilitate the e top off from the substrate.

It’s a game of probabilities and with rich substrate it’s better to be excess K than not. + to some extent the plant can moderate K in and out of itself : https://www.researchgate.net/profil...7034dfcdf/Ion-Transport-in-Aquatic-Plants.pdf

Conversely, people without rich substrate don’t dose lots of K. And they play with Ca/Mg to keep K in order. And also play with N and P at the same time. It’s mulders-Esque.

Edit: K is like your MVP, it makes all the other players look better. So when K is in the driving seat, it can top up every other nutrient provided it is in the soil in any ratios that the particular plant needs given the particular demand from the water column conditions (primarily N and P). So you have less likelihood of getting deficiency with K in the driver if you have rich substrate — consider N driving the demand of everything high and the water column doesn’t provide Fe — since Fe is in not in the column but is in the soil soil (provided Fe is accessible to roots) K can bring it up and top up the demand masking the deficiency.
 
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GreggZ

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One thing I’m curious about though is Joe was doing lower K levels for a while with his tanks, and he said multiple times it seemed more favorable, until he hit the point where they got too low and he just totally abandoned it. I’m curious why lots of people dose so much K when it seems like plants need less K than nitrates.
Yeah Joe and I both went down the road of less K at the same time. We were testing some theories going around and wanted to see what it would do in our tanks. We both found the same thing....at some point it was too low and plants seemed to run out and tank suffered.

As to why people dose so much K, IMO it's because after testing many levels they conclude that plants like it. FYI I talk to Joe often and his 50% WC equivalent is 14:5:20 these days. I'm actually going to raise my K a bit to his levels to see if there is any meaningful difference.
 

Freshflora

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Because they have rich substrate.

K allows nutrient mobility from roots. If you try to get N and K right just in the column and you overkill - well anything - K won’t be able to provide the K and/or provide the top off of the nutrients from the soil. If you don’t provide proper (insert nutrient here), then K can facilitate the e top off from the substrate.

It’s a game of probabilities and with rich substrate it’s better to be excess K than not. + to some extent the plant can moderate K in and out of itself : https://www.researchgate.net/profil...7034dfcdf/Ion-Transport-in-Aquatic-Plants.pdf

Conversely, people without rich substrate don’t dose lots of K. And they play with Ca/Mg to keep K in order. And also play with N and P at the same time. It’s mulders-Esque.

Edit: K is like your MVP, it makes all the other players look better. So when K is in the driving seat, it can top up every other nutrient provided it is in the soil in any ratios that the particular plant needs given the particular demand from the water column conditions (primarily N and P). So you have less likelihood of getting deficiency with K in the driver if you have rich substrate — consider N driving the demand of everything high and the water column doesn’t provide Fe — since Fe is in not in the column but is in the soil soil (provided Fe is accessible to roots) K can bring it up and top up the demand masking the deficiency.
Thank you for the insight into more about what K does. I don’t know if I agree about people without rich substrates generally not dosing as much K. Couple examples come to mind — Marian Sterian, several of his fertilizer formulations (Masterline) which he doses in his tanks with inert substrate still add more K than N. Joe Harvey has also typically dosed more K than N with an inert substrate. Also, EI was originally formulated for dosing with an inert substrate, yet recommended dosing K generally at about a 1:1 ratio to NO3 or higher. PPS Pro also recommends dosing more K than NO3.

Yeah Joe and I both went down the road of less K at the same time. We were testing some theories going around and wanted to see what it would do in our tanks. We both found the same thing....at some point it was too low and plants seemed to run out and tank suffered.

As to why people dose so much K, IMO it's because after testing many levels they conclude that plants like it. FYI I talk to Joe often and his 50% WC equivalent is 14:5:20 these days. I'm actually going to raise my K a bit to his levels to see if there is any meaningful difference.
Haha that’s very logical reasoning, Gregg, which I appreciate. And good to know regarding Joe. I know in the past he has said that his tanks generally do better with like ¼ or ⅓ less K than what he’s dosing now in the water column specifically compared to levels around what he’s dosing now, so I’d be very interested to hear how it goes for you both.
 
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