74l Rock and Grass Scape

Discussion in 'Journals' started by Denis C., 13 Mar 2008.

  1. Denis C.

    Denis C. Member

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    Location:
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    Hi folks,

    Great forum you have here and kudos to the members and moderators. I've been pottering around for a bit reading peoples articles, journals, experience etc.. and I thought I would post up my tank to get some constructive feed back and advice where possible. I've been posting this journal on FF.net and I see lots of familiar names on here so I will make the overview brief to avoid repetition.

    Hardware;

    74l Tank (75cm x 31 x 32) Black plastic trimming was removed and sprayed with white enamel and an elevated stand was created out of 2x2' timber to match the over tank light box.

    DSCF0778.jpg

    The DIY overtank light kit is made from 12mm MDF, painted with white high gloss and fitted with 2 x 18w T8's and 2 x 20w T4's. The box is supported by a single 3x2' upright and can pivot up and down for access with the use of a heavy duty door hinge. All tubes have been fitted with reflectors.

    DSCF0957.jpg

    Hardscape;

    Old devonian red sand stone
    Horticultural grit
    Tropica aquarium soil


    DSCF0993.jpg
    (The animals have moved off to better grazing)


    Regime
    Pressurized Co2 from a 2kg FE @ 1-2 bubble per second
    Daily dosing of Homemade PPS-Pro Ferts 1ml per 10 gallons
    Daily dosing of Tropica Plant Nutrition 1ml per 10 gallons

    50% water change ever two days for the first 14 days of the tank being planted.


    Plants
    Lilaeopsis brasiliensis
    Echinodorus tenellus
    Hemianthus callitrichoides

    DSCF1089.jpg

    Planted without water

    DSCF1093.jpg

    The tanks has been running for nine days now, not much has happened but the HC has started to move which is great to see as I was beginning to think that I had a sterile tank. As expect the brasiliensis hasn't budged but some of the tenellus is starting to develop new shoots. Other than that, the tank has begun to get algae on the rocks so I am picking up some otto's tomorrow and that's the long and short of it. Its been fun putting it together so far and I'm looking forward to it development.


    Tank as of Yesterday (9 days in)
    Image4.jpg

    DSCF142211.jpg

    Regards

    Denis
     
  2. Arana

    Arana Member

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    That's a great start, and the DIY light looks very stylish :D Great work...
    looking forward to seeing this one develop over time :D :D
     
  3. Garuf

    Garuf Member

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    I meant to tell you on fish forums but it slipped my mind, add a LOAD of fast growing stems in there in an attempt to quell any algae.
     
  4. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Denis,
    Golly, brilliant setup. I love the professional approach to the tank/canopy setup and the organized way in which you planned and executed everything. Anyone with the patience to plant that many individual strands with the forceps deserves max kudos!:wideyed:

    I am glad you were able to find a home for the rhino and brother hippo. :p

    I did wonder why you decided on the T4 bulbs but from the photo it appears you do have sufficient light. HC does take a while to set in. Dave Spencer suggests that you just set the pots in the tank for a few weeks before planting them. An indication that they have insufficient light+CO2 would be if they start growing towards the surface or start to get otherwise stringy.

    I say add more CO2 only because your drop checker looks too dark, but I don't know at what point in the photoperiod you took the shots. Since you have no fish you can easily double or treble the bubble rate and drive the drop checker way into the yellow without fear it seems to me.

    I want to avoid a dosing flame war so I'll just comment that I generally favor high nutrient content and that if you are performing a 3X per week water changes and still getting the onset of algae it might be an indication that you need more NPK and/or CO2. Such low plant biomass is always going to be very difficult. I didn't see your filtration specs but we all sort of collectively agreed on the 10X tank volume rule of thumb turnover rate which will definitely help.

    In any case that should turn out to be a cracking tank. Looking forward to seeing it develop.:D

    Cheers,
     
  5. TDI-line

    TDI-line Member

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    Very nice scape.
     
  6. Luketendo

    Luketendo Member

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    West Sussex, England
    Hello again, it's looking fantastic and the ottos will have a field day.

    I'd like Ottos in my Lido but I have an angelfish and a gourami, I don't want to risk them.
     
  7. Lisa_Perry75

    Lisa_Perry75 Member

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    You could always put a floating plant in that could out-compete algae?
     
  8. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

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    good to see you over here Dennis! What livestock are you planning on?
     
  9. Denis C.

    Denis C. Member

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    Thanks folks for the comments and suggestions. I will try and answer most of your comments.

    Garuf and Lisa, about your suggestion of adding some fast growing stems plants. I had previously hesitations about adding any species that had a heavy rooting system as I figured they would do a lot of damage on removing them once the other slower growing species had started to develop. However, I took your suggestion into consideration today while I was in my LFS and I picked up some Eleoda. I have stuck the stems up near the surface of the tank with a clip normally used for holding edible seaweed in marine tanks. Hopefully this will help subdue some of the algae growth.

    ceg4048, regarding the T4's. I'm not sure if the T4's are new to the market but it is the first time I have found ones that have tubes in the theoretical range for plant growth. These tubes are labelled at 6400k so are roughly in the right range but I haven't seen anyone using them before so this is really a trial. The other good thing about them is that they are energy saving bulbs and use a fraction on the electricity of a standards T8. Plus and this is the good part, their lumen output is 3-5 times that of a similar T8 (so says the packaging). Also the filter I am using is one of the really old school fluval externals, it is one of the one's that you have to clip the motor back on to the round body, its a real pain to get it primed too but once its running its like a fire hose. The tank is 74l and i'd say that the rock and substrate take s up about 15-20l so I would safely say that it would turnover the remaining 54l at least ten times an hour. As for the Co2, I added some ottos today to keep the rocks out of the green so I wont be driving the drop checking into the yellow, but I did increase the bubble count after your suggestion.

    Aaronnorth, thanks for the welcome. I'm only going to use two species unless I get really carried away with myself. These are going to be Ottos (Otocinclus affinis) and "lamb chop Harlequins" (Trigonostigma hengeli) but that's only if I can get them.

    Thinks that all the queries covered

    I added a sheet of tracing paper today for a background, but although it translucent I'm still undecided on how it looks
    DSCF154511.jpg


    Some of the new tenants that I added today, busy little fellows but I doubt that some will last the night.

    DSCF155211.jpg

    DSCF156511.jpg


    Regards

    Denis
     
  10. Luketendo

    Luketendo Member

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    I see you important insane growth weed.

    The Ottos should be nice and fat soon. I do hope they live, how many are there?

    Tracing paper does look surprisingly good, shame the white still comes through.
     
  11. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

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    Looks really nice :)

    Sam
     
  12. zig

    zig Member

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    It looks brutal Denis :)

    Is that to harsh :D

    Joking of course Denis it looks great, good start, Denis where did you get the CO2, did you find out where the D&D chaps have moved to in Park west, or did you get it before they moved, I need their new address if you have it to get a couple of cylinders refilled.

    How are you diffusing the CO2 btw? glass diffuser into the tank?
     
  13. Denis C.

    Denis C. Member

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    Location:
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    Cheers Peter, you do have a way with words!

    As for the CO2, I never found out where those guys from D + D moved to. I'm sure that if I had put a lot of work into a private investigation style inquiry I would have been able to locate them but unfortunately I didn't have the time or patients. Instead I just bought a brand new 2kg extinguished from a company out in tallaght. They only sell the fire equipment and don't know and couldn't recommend a company to refill them so I will have to cross the refilling bridge when I get to it. For co2 diffusion, I'm using a C02 atomizer which I bought in that aquatic plant shop in San Francisco (This one) when I was over there last. The guy in the shop said it was as good if not better than the ADA equivalent and they used them in all their stock tanks. It seems to be working well (so says my drop checker).

    Luke, I got eight ottos in total and they are all still with me at the moment but I do have my reservations. I agree with you about the tracing paper and I kinda like the hint of the white upright as I think it breaks up the background but not to intrusively. Plus it looks quite well with two white cold cathode tubes behind it (will post pictures soon).

    Regards


    Denis
     
  14. Denis C.

    Denis C. Member

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    Location:
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    Not much news with growth in the tank at the moment. The HC seems to be making a decent effort to take off but is still very slow to put on biomass. However, at the end of the eight hours of photoperiod it does show good signs of respiration with plenty of oxgen bubbles being produced.

    DSCF171011.jpg


    The same cannot be said for the other two species, the Echinodorus tenellus has all but rotten away with zero growth and decomposition on the remaining leaves. The pot of tenellus I used for planting was very poor quality but it was the only one I could get my hands on in Dublin, obviously it was beyond saving. I've ordered an additional pot and I should get it in about two weeks or so. The brasilinesis hasn't budged either but I've semi expected this because it is such a high light demanding species but I thought it might have at least sent up a shoot or two at the stage. Does anyone know how long brasilinesis take to become established and show a decent growth rate? To increase the level of light, I lowered the level of the light box above the tank by six centimeters. This may be a trivial distance but I hope it helps as it was a real pain in the butt to do, I had to remove most of the water from the tank, move the entire stand/tank away from the wall , unscrew the single support and lop off the 6cm from the bottom of it. The only other problem now is that moisture has started to condense in the light box so I will have to add some PC cooling fans to help circulation (another days work).

    DSCF1705.jpg
    The light box is now flush with the top of the tank.


    Other than that the algae has started to increase but I don't think it is of major concern at the moment and the ottos are helping to keep it in check. As for the ottos, I lost two of the nine within two days but I had been expecting this to happen.


    Regards

    Denis
     
  15. Garuf

    Garuf Member

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    Don't worry, as long as you had root stock it might yet return and if it does it will grow rampantly.
     
  16. Luketendo

    Luketendo Member

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    Yeah It might come back.

    Whenever I moved my Hygro around the tank it always leaves another little plant behind.
     
  17. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

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    Shame about the light because i liked it like that.
     
  18. zig

    zig Member

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    Denis, dose more fertiliser if you want faster growth, with pps method things will grow slowly but thats the idea really, if you want faster growth use EI method, but faster growth can lead to faster problems thats the drawback.

    I agree the e.tenellus will probably make a comeback, I found the Lilaeopsis brasilinesis grew very slowly for me. I found it prone to algae problems as well unless the tank was in tip top shape, usually problems bba alage, mind you its a long time since I have grown it so I may have better luck with it now. I have found Lilaeopsis mauritiana a bit easier and less prone to algae, it still grows slowly though.
     
  19. Denis C.

    Denis C. Member

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    Spot on Peter! Can you say ALGEA!!!! I tried bumping the level of ferts to try and get the Lilaeopsis brasilinesis to move but it still decided to stay where it was and didn't budge! The other result of added in that extra 2mls a day of PPS-Pro solution was a small explosion in algae. I had expected this but I wasn't aware of the speed which it can grow at, "I'm not angry, I'm impressed".

    DSCF175611.jpg

    The brasilinesis has started to break down further and has now started to cast off it leaves. The leave have turned from a green to a yellowish colour, the blades of the plant have also started to twist while the tips of the leaves have also curled.

    DSCF178911.jpg

    DSCF179911.jpg

    DSCF180211.jpg

    As with all plant growth problems it is more than likely a deficiency/overdose in one of the key elements; lighting, nutrients or co2, but I'm unsure of which one it is so if somebody could point me in the right direction it would be great. In my opinion I think it is more than likely going to be a problem with lighting or fertilization as the co2 is working fine and the drop checker is showing a light green colour. The lights are 2 X 20W T4's (bulbs rated at 6400k) and 2 X 18W T8's (Arcadia "Fresh Water Tubes" 7500k), This gives a total of 76W and with the tanks volume at 16.28 UK gallons it provides 4.6 W/Per gallon. The T4 tubes are also rated to have 3-5 times the lumen output of a T8 of the same wattage. Therefore with these stats I would have thought I would have had sufficient light to grow the most light demanding of species. Could the cause of the problem be too much light, might be the plant be being burnt? Just because a bulb is rated at 6500k does that mean it is good for plant growth?

    The fert problem might be because in the PPs-Pro mixture that I made up it was very difficult to get the Sulphate of potash to dissolve into the solution (I used a pestles and mortar). Therefore, when the bottle is left for a short period of time the potash settles in the bottom of the bottle. When I add the ferts to the tank (shake bottle), you can see the particles going around in tank but would these particles not be removed by the filter hence not letting the plants get sufficient potassium to grow? So you know; I am using Tropica Plant substrate and daily dose PPs-Pro solution at 1ml for ever ten gallon and Tropica and Tropica Plant Nutrition at 1ml for every ten gallons.

    I hope someone can throw some suggestion in my direction.

    In other tank maintenance updates. After the first batch of very poor quality tenellus decided not to grow and die, I bought two really good quality pots this Saturday and added them to the tank in the hope that they might help abate the algae problem and raise my hopes and the look of the tank.

    DSCF177711.jpg

    I also had a small condensation problem in the light box since it had been lowered to be flush with the tank. So I added a small 12V PC motherboard cooling fan to extract the air from the hood and draw in dry air from the room. The major problem with this was trying to get the fan to run very slowly and at 3V is still ran to fast and was very audible, so I placed a 50% resistor in the live wire to cut the voltage in half and the made the fan run at 1.5V. Perfect!

    DSCF1732.jpg

    DSCF1735.jpg

    DSCF1740.jpg

    DSCF1743.jpg

    Now, If I could only get the plants to live!!!!

    Regards

    Denis
     
  20. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi,
    Yes, your problem is too much light and not enough CO2. There is no way you can dose lean and have high light without problems. Nutrients don't cause algae. As you increased the nutrient dosing without increasing CO2 you merely fed the algae that was already induced by the ammonia levels in the tank.

    Try lowering your light and adding more CO2. It is only then that the nutrients you add will have a significant impact on plant growth. Disintegrating plants are almost always a result of CO2 starvation.

    This is another reason I advise against adding fish so soon. The presence of the fish limit the amount of CO2 that you can add. I'll venture to say that had you doubled or tripled your injection rate instead of adding ottos you would have stood a much better chance.

    The following threads may be of some assistance in regard to this:
    viewtopic.php?f=19&t=905
    viewtopic.php?f=36&t=467
    viewtopic.php?f=36&t=1211
    viewtopic.php?f=11&t=798


    Cheers,
     

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