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74l Rock and Grass Scape

Denis C.

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Thanks for the reply, information and the links. Thats a power article that you put together regarding Co2 and it makes for a educational experience. Regarding my co2 injection, I has simply assumed that when the drop checker was in the green there would be adequate co2 for plant photosynthesis regardless of the intensity of light. I had also assumed that with the yellowing of the leaves it was a chlorotic problem brought on by a lack of ferts and hence I tried to increase them. Its a steep learning curve!

Would you recommend that I remove the ottos from the tank and double/triple the amount of co2 being injected. I see that in your co2 article you mention that you prefer not to have an on/off period for the Co2 and just leave it on! Would this be your recommendation here too?

Thanks
 

ceg4048

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Hi Denis,
Light and CO2 uptake demand are tightly linked by an enzyme produced within the plant. As the light energy increaes, so must the enzyme whose job it is to collect the CO2 and strip the carbon. If there is more light energy than the available carbon the plant disintegrates as it attempts to canabalize itself to recycle as much of the available compounds.
"X" amount of light requires at least "X" amount of CO2, "Y" amount of light requires at least "Y" amount of CO2. You've exceed the threshold of light for the level of CO2 in the tank so you must either lower the light or increase the CO2. My personal choice would be to move the fish if you have an alternative home for them, clean as much of the algae by hand, do 2 or 3 water changes per week (dosing after each change) and pummel the tank with CO2 and EI level of nutrients. After 6-8 weeks you will have generated enough plant mass and bacteria mass, the dust will have settled and the plants will be well established and growing. You can then reassess to lower the light and/or to fine tune the dosing scheme. The thing is that these factors are all linked. Light creates demand for CO2 which in turn creates demand for nutrients.

The current situation is that as the plants disintegrate they eject whatever nutrients they have accumulated (as well as ammonia) into the water column. The ammonia in the precesnce of light triggers the algal bloom. When the bllom occurs the algae then feeds on the nutrients that are present. There is an optical illusion in which many people think that the nutrients caused the algae but as you yourself can attest, you started seeing algae and then you got the fish, remember? That means the tank was on the decline way before you added more nutrients.

It is a steep learning curve, no doubt but I'm convinced that EI plus massive CO2 is the best way to go. It's always going to be difficult with such low plant mass. Healthy plants remove ammonia from the water and deterrs the algae. Plants in poor condition due to starvation release ammonia into the water.

In the CO2 article I mentioned that ON/OFF is optional to 24Hrs which is less compllicated since there is no need for a solenoid. I actually prefer ON/OFF because it allows you to inject higher daytime CO2 levels while giving the fish a rest at night when the plants cannot use CO2 but do consume O2. If you have a solenoid then ON/OFF is the way to go.

Keep reading mate, the curve flattens a bit after we unlearn the myths and realize the truth.

Cheers,
 

Denis C.

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Thanks again Clive (I hope its Clive? ) for all the information and support. I didn't get a chance to shift the Otto's today due to being on a mountain all day, but I did undertake your first suggestion and reduced the level of light for the time being. I switched off both the 2OW T4's and I returned home this evening to find that algae growth was minimal and the plants looked slightly healthier in term of colouration. Hopefully I will get the fish moved tomorrow, I'm going to turn on one of the T4's in the front of the tank and see if enough Co2 can be injected to cope with that amount of light intensity and I can take it from there.

Thanks again, now I'm off the remove some hair algae with a tooth brush!
 

ceg4048

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Hi Denis,
Yes it says Clive right here on my electricity bill. :D I guess you get your aquascape inspiration from climbing the mountains and checking the view? Cool. 8) With nutrient dosing, CO2, manual removal and water changes I have no doubt the plant mass will fill in. It may take a couple of weeks because hair algae is tenacious once formed.

I would avoid yo-yoing the light and CO2, as this trigers a different species of algae. Settle on a light level and drive your dropchecker far into the yellow region as soon as the fish are out of there. :D

Cheers,
 

GreenNeedle

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I missed this one but looks a cool setup Denis.

I tried PPs-Pro for about a month when I switched from EI ( I wanted to reduce water changes) and guess what......My plants suffered the same as yours under only 1.5WPG T5HO!!! (Only 0.9WPG for all but 2 hours of a 10 hours photoperiod)

I switched to JamesC's PMDD+P formula on this webstie and never looked back:

http://www.theplantedtank.co.uk/PMDD.htm

I used this for approx 3 months and it works very well. I have now gone onto just TPN+ to try this out as I am getting lazier and lazier. lol

I also have PC Fans added to mine for the summer as last year the tank water temp reached 31ºC and I don't want that again. Therefore I have 3 x 40mm fans cut into the side of mine all running at full 12V but only when the weather is hot. And yes they are as loud as the coputer with 4 MSN messengers open. lol

Hope your scape turns out as well as the mods you have done.

Andy
 

Denis C.

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Well its creeping up on a month since I last posted an update regarding this tank so I thought it about time to give a brief overview of what has been going on. It been a very busy month for me so I haven't had a lot of time to work on the tank and I was away for 12 days which didn't help matters at all.

In my absence a member of my family decided to "help" the tank and in doing so, turned off the co2, caused a leak in the external filter plumbing and before anyone noticed the tank emptied itself onto the floor and into a room down stairs. I arrived back to a half empty tank and a giant mass of algae. However, all was back to normal after an evening of maintenance of repair. But my carpet sinks of fish tank water! plus I have to paint an entire ceiling once it dries!

The biggest adjustments I made was to remove the Lilaeopsis brasilinesis from the tank apart from a small pocket on the front left hand side and in the middle of the tank. After a number of different attempts and strategies to get the brasililesis to grow I opted for the simple loser strategy of failure and replaced it with tenellus. Not only would the brasiliesis not grow but it also suffered badly from GSA and new leaves would be covered rapidly. The tenellus is growing well and the HC is beginning to close canopy and starting to form a carpet effect excluding the front right hand side of the tank. This is more than likely a result of a lack of light in the corner or poor water circulation. Hopefully it will develop in time! I am still having a small problem with hair algae on the HC but it is beginning to reduce as the level of plant biomass in the tank increases. I also reduced the level of co2 and fert input so I could reintroduce the ottos to help with the GSA on the tenellus leaves. Hopefully in another month with more biomass in the tank I will be able to reach a decent co2, nutrient balance in the tank and things will look a lot lusher than they do at the moment.

Regards

Denis

Picture of the tank as of today. (Sorry about the water clarity as I was removing more bralilinesis last night and it put sediment into the water column)

DSCF2388.jpg
 

ceg4048

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Hi,
It's looking better. I think it's always a mistake to add fish in order to get rid of algae. The reason is that the fish cannot solve the problem of why the algae appears and as you noted it was necessary to lower the CO2 concentration in order to accommodate them. I feel this is self defeating. GSA is telling you that the plants are in a PO4 shortage so doubling your PO4 is the best way to resolve this, not adding fish. Also as your biomass increases the nutrient and CO2 demand will increase so this has to be accounted for. Hair algae could very likely increase, especially since you have now reduced the CO2.

Cheers,
 

George Farmer

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Denis C. said:

That's a refreshing change to the 'regular' iwagumis I see. Very nice.

Good luck with the algae. I've found regular dosing of Easylife Easycarbo or Seachem Excel very useful in the short term, but as Clive suggests, you need to resolve CO2 and other nutrients for long term algae control.
 

Denis C.

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Thanks for the comments folks and particularly to you, Clive, for his constant input and advice. I have one or two question, the first is regarding the PO4 and the best method to make it water soluble in the fert mixture. As clive mentioned GPA is partly a result of insufficient PO4, could this lack of Po4 be a result of the particles in the ferts mixture being to large and thus does not dissolve into the water column adequately. When I was making up the ferts mixture I used a pestle and mortar to grind the Potassium Phosphate but although it was turned into a powder it hasn't really diluted into the mix and after a new of hours settles on the bottom of the 500ml drinks bottle that I use to hold the mix. Can people recommend a better way of dissolving the PO4, making it more available for the plants to sequester.

The second is that my water clarity has turned to pea soup while I was away. This is more than likely a result of the filter being turned off for three days in my absence. It is more green than white so I recon its an algae bloom in the water column! What is the best method of clearing this problem or will it go away with time. I don't want to buy a UV sterilizer, therefore other options would be gratefully appreciated.

I'm also toying with the idea of moving the light kit back to the position it used to be in as I think it looks a lot fancier and is better proportioned.

Old height
DSCF0778.jpg


New Height (You can also see the green tinge in the water)
DSCF25621.jpg


Regards

Denis
 

ceg4048

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Hi Denis,
You're very welcome! :D I'm sure we can whip that tank into shape! I guess I'm not really sure exactly how you are preparing your mixture but KH2PO4 is a fairly soluble powder so if you are having trouble dissolving it you should just add more water to your solution. If for example you prepare a 500ml solution and you intend to dose say, 50ml per dose, then just add another 500ml to it (giving 1 Liter) and then dose 100ml instead. You should never have to grind any of these powders up with a mortar&pestle. :wideyed: In any case if you were to shake up the bottle and dose the particles will immediately dissolve in the tank within 5 seconds. You need to use a large quantity for your solutions, or make up a shorter term solutions with less powders. If you check the Dry Dosing article=>http://www.ukaps.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=34&t=1211 you'll see where I gave the standard example for a 4 week dosing supply for a 20 USG tank. You would scale everything linearly for your size tank but at 74L you can use the numbers directly. Here is an excerpt from the article which you can use without any modification:

NPK (Nitrogen+Phosphorus+Potassium) Mixture for 20 Gallon Tank
1 month = 4 Weeks
3 doses of NPK per week
Therefore there are 12 doses of NPK per month.
Multiply a single dose teaspoon value by 12 => [3/16 tsp KNO3]*12 = 2 ¼ tsp KNO3
[1/16 tsp KH2PO4]*12 = ¾ tsp KH2PO4
[1/2 tsp MgSO4]*12 = 6 tsp MgSO4
Add these to 600ml of tap or distilled water

Now this mixture must serve 12 doses so each dose is 600ml/12 = 50ml
This makes life easier because you need only dose 50ml of this NPK solution 3 times per week.

Always separate the CSM+B from the NPK because it has a tendency to react with the phosphate. You can dose the CSM+B as a powder or if it more convenient add 8 * 1/16 tsp => ½ teaspoon to 300 ml of water and dose 25 ml two times per week.
Naturally, the mixture scales in the same way. If the tank is twice as large than you would add twice as much powder to you 600ml of water and so on.


Green water seldom goes away by itself. If you don't want to buy a UV then you'll have to do massive multiple water changes per week combined with better dosing and stable CO2. That's the brute force method but it will take some time I'm afraid. UV is the best method actually.

I hate to rain on your parade but that thing about lowering the light fixture? Major, major bad idea right now with rampant algae problems I reckon. If anything you should move it up by about a meter away from the tank because light is algae's second best friend, remember? Well...a meter is an exaggeration but you get the picture, right? :rolleyes:

Have a think on the above and let us know if there is anything unclear.

Cheers,
 

Denis C.

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ceg4048 said:
but KH2PO4 is a fairly soluble powder so if you are having trouble dissolving it you should just add more water to your solution.

I made a bit of a mistake with the chemical abbreviations, it is not the KH2PO4 ( Potassium Phosphate ) that was not dissolving, it was the K2SO4 (Potassium Sulphate) that I was having the problem with. I was using a course form of sulphate of potash as a substitute and it required a lot of grinding in order for it to become remotely water soluble. However, on reading your suggested ferts mixture below it doesn't look like the K2SO4 is even required!

The DIY solution I am using at the moment is as follows mixed with 500ml of water

K2So4 = 29g
KNo3 = 33g
KH2Po4 = 4g (It was recommend that I added a gram to help with GSA)
MgSo4 = 20g

However, your suggested mixture looks a lot simpler and easier to put into practice.

UV is the best method actually.

Should have one shortly as originally I thought that they cost more than they actually do.

lowering the light fixture? Major, major bad idea right now with rampant algae problems

Sorry my wording and labelling was misleading, what I was trying to suggest was that I was going to move the light back to the position it was in originally (as in the empty tank picture above). i.e. higher than it is at the moment which is shown in the picture below the empty tank.

Thanks for the suggestion of using daphnia to solve the algae bloom but I have enough on my plate at the moment without added more elements to the setup.

Regards

Denis
 

ceg4048

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Hi Denis,
Whew, OK, yeah moving the fixture to the original position is a good thing. :D Definitely ditch the K2SO4. You have enough K in the KNO3 to satisfy the K requirements. There is sufficient sulfur in tap water and especially in the MgSO4 so really it's redundant. Life is complicated enough so I'm all for simplifying as much as possible. You can just use the UV for 2-3 days and then remove it, or leave it on if it doesn't affect your flow rate too much. Once your dosing is up to par the green water should not return.

Cheers,
 

Denis C.

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Howdy, another quick update regarding the tank. Its all beginning to run smoothly, I've reached a nice balance in terms of lights, co2 and fertz and as a result algae is now literally non existent. The HC has all but carpeted the bottom of the tank and the tennelus is growing rampantly.


I also added a few shrimp

4 x Sun-Kissed shrimp and 5 x amano Shrimp. The ghost shrimp are breeding and there are two females holding eggs in their undercarriage. When I stopped the filter today to take photographs I noticed 100's of small white creatures moving around the tank. I will post a snap later. I though however that juvenile shrimp need salt water to survive? I don't hold any hope of them surviving as the 12 times water turn over in the tank should suck up all those little shrimplets in no time at all.

2508115823_b6f0496677.jpg


2508946164_4e69eaa61e.jpg


2508121507_9024c29e5e.jpg


2508114621_171f6509a2.jpg


Regards

Denis
 

ceg4048

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Wow :D Nice one mate! Isn't it cool to actualize your vision? Impressive stuff.

Cheers,
 
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