Attempt #1

-Craig-

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Right ok, i read somewhere online that 160pppm + can start to do more harm than good to your plants, I'm at maybe 80ppm, a few are looking a little worse for wear, didn't know if that could be why...

Just wait it out an hope they come back...
 

Zeus.

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Well my plants should all be dead as ppm is well in excess of 160ppm.
It's not something I pay much attention to as EI ferts in inexcess every week 50% WC and the tanks parameters are reset it's the high tech way.
Where as in @dw1305 Low tech tank he adds ferts when his duck weed index informs him the plants need some ferts and his ppm test tells him when a WC is needed. So the ppm test is very useful for him.
Darrels laid back technique gives him a very ecostainable tank with very low energy cost with low maintance. Mine cost the environment more and 3-6 hours a week maintiance easy
 

-Craig-

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So here's an update:

Tank is cycling well, just tested the water and my ammonia has dropped off to 0, nitrites have decreased, although that could also be due to the lack of ammonia, dosed more ammonia and just awaiting on that nitrate to drop off completely now.

As for the plants, some are doing well, others not so much, My monte carlo seems to be struggling, looks dead/dieing in places. I do however have the c02 somewhat running right (i think). It's blue in a morning, lime green probably border line yellow before turning off.

I upgraded to a surface skimmer in the far left which is keeping my surface nice and clean, the wave maker creating a lot more current, and a new much quieter pump thats actually more powerful so even more surface agitation over night. I also painted the back black which makes it pop a tad more!

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dw1305

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Hi all,
Plant health looks good.
Tank is cycling well, just tested the water and my ammonia has dropped off to 0, nitrites have decreased, although that could also be due to the lack of ammonia, dosed more ammonia and just awaiting on that nitrate to drop off completely now.
Just ignore the test kits and don't add any more ammonia, it is likely to precipitate algal out-breaks and it won't help with <"filter cycling">.

cheers Darrel
 

-Craig-

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Was starting to see a few signs of algae on my glass as i looked closer, iv'e done a water change to reduce the damage, interesting read! As you've said, the polar opposite to everything iv'e ever read before, but iv'e never dealt with a fully planted tank either.

Ammonia should of dropped a fair bit now. So may i ask, what would you consider the signs of a "cycled tank" are, if not using test kits ?

Thank you!
 

dean

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Most fully planted tank are lightly stocked
The plants can deal with the ammonia the fish produce afterall that’s what happens in nature, there’s no god of fish adding ammonia at the head of a river until it’s cycled
Tanks beginning to take shape

You have to also remember the plants you’ve bought have been grown in gels or pots above the water (emmersed) so they have to change to adapt to a submersed form
I’ve seen videos where some people have literally taken off all the leaves then planted the rhizome it’s terrifying to see but as they say the leaves are only going to die anyway


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I saw someone trying to argue that tissue culture plant grew readily adapted and remember thinking this was rubbish at the time... thanks for reminding me and confirming this was the case!
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
So may i ask, what would you consider the signs of a "cycled tank" are, if not using test kits ?
Just wait until the plants are grown in. I like six weeks for establishment and I always have floating plants, mainly because they have Diana Walstad's <"aerial advantage">, the access to atmospheric CO2 and oxygen. Some people will remove the "floaters" once the tank is established, but I like to keep some to use with the <"Duckweed Index">.

Once the plants have <"rooted into the substrate"> they will create much larger areas <"where nitrification can occur">, and the actively growing plant will both:
  • Take up all forms of fixed nitrogen (NH3, NO2- and NO3-) and
  • be a massive net oxygen producer.
If you have a surface skimmer you can use a sub-surface floater, like @Miss-Pepper's Hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum).

cheers Darrel
 

-Craig-

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So i did a water change after you suggesting i don't add anymore ammonia. It left me at about 3ppm, which has almost all but gone today... I know you've said the test kits are no good but either way iv'e still been checking it out of interest.

As for the plants, some are shooting up loads, others still look to just be dying off. You may be able to see the monte carlo in this video? It looks a little worse for wear, after reading the above comments I'm hoping it comes back but i'm not terrible confident at the moment.

Not sure what I'm doing wrong / right here as some seem to be doing really well, others not so much :D

You can also see my new pump in action, this is how it runs overnight (without lights).

 

James Burcham

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I saw someone trying to argue that tissue culture plant grew readily adapted and remember thinking this was rubbish at the time... thanks for reminding me and confirming this was the case!
I planted all TC plants and about 50 % have melt. It does look like they are all producing new growth. It's been about a week now.

I really like your scape btw. Nice work!
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dw1305

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Hi all,
It left me at about 3ppm, which has almost all but gone today... I know you've said the test kits are no good but either way iv'e still been checking it out of interest.
You have a large gas exchange surface via the flow and air bubbles, so it is pretty likely that the plant/microbe biofiltration is successfully oxidising the ammonia that you've added. If you have enough oxygen you can deal with large <"bioloads">, oxygen is the key.

With the test kits it isn't exactly that test kits aren't any good, it is just that they aren't necessarily reliable enough to make decisions based upon their readings.

There is a much more complete discussion in <"Best way to cycle.....">.
about 50 % have melt.
It looks a little worse for wear, after reading the above comments I'm hoping it comes back but i'm not terrible confident at the moment.
I'm putting my money on renewed growth fairly soon. In the mean time syphon out all the melted, and dead, leaves. Once they've gone clear, or even just yellow, they aren't photosynthesising and they are adding to the bioload.

Principally you don't want them to end up in the filter. It isn't so much their sugar, or protein, content it is more their ability to clog the filter and potentially de-oxygenate the biological filter media.

cheers Darrel
 
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-Craig-

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There is a lot of new growth thats for sure, on the monte carlo I'm not 100% sure, i guess its harder to tell.

The api test kit shows me at 0 ammonia / 0 nitrite today. Nitrate through the roof. Time to add more ammonia or just leave it be?

It certainly gets a lot of oxygen now, an since adding that new pump iv'e noticed some plants shoot up!

edit: took a closer look, does seem to be new growth after all...
dd.jpg
 
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dw1305

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Hi all,
took a closer look, does seem to be new growth after all...
Looks like new shoots, just carefully syphon out the dead leaves and when the plant is definitely growing you can give a bit of a prune to help it bush out.
Time to add more ammonia or just leave it be?
No you can just leave it, you never actually need to add ammonia in a planted tank, and it probably does more harm than good.

I say probably because there don't tend to be "right" and "wrong", "black" and "white" answers, it is <"very much a "shades of grey" question">.

Nearly all the forum posts etc you read about ammonia and cycling are all based on information that has been <"superseded by more recent scientific research">, much of which actually used aquarium filters.

cheers Darrel
 

-Craig-

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So the tank seems to of cycled well, and iv'e decided to add fish this week.

It has if anything improved the quality of my plants, the fish seem to of cleaned the tank up a little. Plants are growing well, fish seem happy, and my water levels look spot on, no nasty spikes, pretty happy!

Co2 seems to be dialed in a little bit more, i had just done a small water change before the video so ignore any mess!

Theres 4 algae eaters,
5 small panda corys
15 Purple emperor tetras
and 4 rams(electric blue pair, german blue pair).


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-Craig-

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So a little update:

Plant growth is still going well, the monte carlo is still leaving a lot to be desired. It seems to slowly but surly be getting pulled up an removed once floating if anything. I added another carpet plant in the bottom left, i forgot its name, which in all honesty i prefer, so hopefully that will grow in easier....

My only issue at the moment is that i have some black beard algae starting. It's latched onto the rocks and a few plants, but i did purge some of the plants leaves that were bad. Iv'e been adding in "SEACHEM FLOURISH EXCEL" to try an combat it. Not sure what else to try... I have some water lettuce on order that will be going into the floating tube ring you can see at the top, try and help.

I think its partly down to me overfeeding, and perhaps my c02 not being 100% dialled in. I did try to turn my c02 up slightly, then ended up loosing one of the angel fish the next day (which i'm putting down to that) so thats put me off messing with it slightly. My issue with feeding is that the tetras especially are all over the food, my rams are a little slower, an one especially that likes to hide a lot seems as though he's getting no food. Which then makes me want to put more in until i see him eating. I'm my own worse enemy at this point i think, how do you guys judge it? If you don't actually see the fish eat, and the flakes seem to all but be gone before they come out, will they starve, or will they still find food?

Iv'e only had one other death, which was a small Cory i found yesterday, no idea why... i did siphon one up yesterday during a water change, put him straight back in the tank who was swimming absolutely fine, i then found the dead one within 5 mins, could it of been the same fish??

Trying to follow the advice on here and not to use the test kits, i did check it yesterday though during my water change (after finding the cory) an the levels were all "ok".

Other than the BBA and the few fish deaths i'm still pretty happy with my progress, just gutted to of had those few set backs...

Also, the air pump is on only because i turned the lights on for a picture, there only on during night time.Since my last post i have added 3 angel fish(one died) and also added a trio of small gold killi fish.
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Zeus.

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Good to see the plant growth :thumbup:

MC does look a little poor - which suggests fluctuating [CO2] to me.

AS for BBA all I can see is a few bits on rocks :rolleyes: which is expected with the low plant biomass. Dont try to fight algae focus on plant growth, but rocks do get algae on them, use toothbrush or accept the natural look
 

-Craig-

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Dont try to fight algae focus on plant growth, but rocks do get algae on them, use toothbrush or accept the natural look.
TBH i would prefer it to look natural, iv'e just never had / seen BBA, i didn't want i to get out of control. ATM its not really grown anymore than it was in that picture, if it stays like that im happy to leave it.

MC does look a little poor - which suggests fluctuating [CO2] to me.
Isn't the co2 meant to fluctuate? I thought the point was to hit peak during lights on and it drop off during the night. Any tips to dial it in?

Much appriciated,
Craig.
 

Zeus.

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Isn't the co2 meant to fluctuate? I thought the point was to hit peak during lights on and it drop off during the night. Any tips to dial it in?
Yes and No , ideally it should hit its peak just before or at lights on then be stable till CO2 off, at night it drops OFC. To 'dial' it in correct is hard and takes time, I cheat by using duel injection for pH drop and single injection for lights on, but I have a PLC to control it.

The other thing that could be causing the MC it melt is the flow at the substrate level may be low so most of the tank may have stable CO2 but at substrate level it may fluctuate.

I have a little MC growing in a carpet of
  • Eleocharis acicularis 'mini'
  • Lilaeopsis brasiliensis 'micro swords'
  • Helanthium tenellum 'Brown'
The MC barely gets any light at times as the carpet covers the MC and is 47cm under water yet it doesnt melt or stems elongate between leave nodes (pic attached), I put this down to good flow at substrate level in combination with a relatively stable pH drop for lights on over 1.0pH

So the CO2 needs to be stable when lights on for 4-5hours and flow needs to be good in areas where the plants are growing
 

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