Back again... Another new start...

Discussion in 'General Planted Tank Discussions' started by bugs, 1 May 2018.

  1. bugs

    bugs Member

    Messages:
    365
    Longish Winded Background Story...
    Hi all. Not been around for some time, having downgraded to a small basic tank while I got on with renovating my home. I've still got a couple of rooms to do and some other projects but having tired of looking at the sorry excuse of my current aquarium I decided to do something about it.

    One of my top priorities was to deal with the things that have aggravated me with previous tanks; such as having a hood exposed to the water surface (i.e. not condensation cover) that ends up full or moisture and growing algae!).

    So... I've had a modest tank made by ND Aquatics. 750mm x 230mm x 380mm tall. Braceless with a cover glass sitting on supports. I'm not proposing to have a hood - simply sit the lights on the tank.

    I've bought a Juwel internal corner filter which will house the heater too. Best filter I've ever had (I've had a few, including a couple of Eheim externals), the Juwel just does the job and is what I used with one of my most successful planted tanks (back in the days of heated under gravel cables!).

    I've bought the Interpet Tri Spec light and bluetooth controller.

    Today I bought three pieces of wood to audition and some gravel.

    Going forward, I plan a un-complex planted tank. No CO2 gas cylinders, solenoids, baggies of various powdered ferts etc this time. I'm proposing to use liquid CO2, plant feed, etc...

    So, the point of this post...
    Back in the day I seemed to just know which products to choose. These days I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. No retailer seems to back and recommend a core range, instead offering a variety of products seemingly for the same purpose. As a result, I'm stuck on which substrate and dosing to use? Nothing on the various retailer websites seems to explain why I might choose one product over another....

    Any advice gratefully received!
     
    Gill, Tim Harrison and PARAGUAY like this.
  2. Edvet

    Edvet Forum Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,779
    Location:
    Lelystad, Netherlands
  3. PARAGUAY

    PARAGUAY Member

    Messages:
    1,459
    Location:
    Lancashire
    Welcome back, know what you mean about the time I joined UKAPS LEDs as a example the jury was out, sceptical reviews now in just a few years every manafacturer promotes them, still got T5 and T8
     
    dw1305 likes this.
  4. Tim Harrison

    Tim Harrison Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    6,531
    Location:
    Leicester
    Welcome back. I know what you mean too, it's overwhelming even if you haven't been out of the hobby for a while :confused:
     
  5. bugs

    bugs Member

    Messages:
    365
    That's a very long article and my laziness will probably mean I end up eating my words but it seems the argument is save money? I'm erring on the side spending the money for the convenience.
     
  6. Tim Harrison

    Tim Harrison Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    6,531
    Location:
    Leicester
    dw1305 likes this.
  7. bugs

    bugs Member

    Messages:
    365
  8. Tim Harrison

    Tim Harrison Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    6,531
    Location:
    Leicester
    TNC do carbon too.
    If you're hiding substrate under gravel, either Westland Aquatic Compost
    Or if you want to go Gucci try Tropica Growth Substrate
     
  9. bugs

    bugs Member

    Messages:
    365
    TNC Carbon - check.
    Tropica Growth Substrate - check.

    Thank you!
     
  10. Fiske

    Fiske Member

    Messages:
    264
    Location:
    Denmark
    Be aware that Tropica Growth Substrate is for use under a layer of gravel. It is powderish and absolute hell to wash out of the gravel if doing a rescape. Very good product though, I've used it a lot, and probably will again.

    Tropica Aquarium Soil (this one is found in a powder version too) is for use without gravel, just like ADA Amazonia etc.

    Just make sure you grab the right bag. I've been on my way to buy the wrong one at least once.
     
  11. bugs

    bugs Member

    Messages:
    365
    Thank you. I'm topping off with gravel. I noticed Tropica have changed the names slightly too on their site - not helpful!
     
  12. bugs

    bugs Member

    Messages:
    365
    Hmmm... Getting sucked in... Considering CO2 now, for a couple of reasons....

    Firstly, it's just occurred to me that daily dosing of liquid carbon will be a pain, especially when on holiday! Secondly, the basis of liquid carbon is rumoured to be a particularly nasty chemical.

    So... To help with my ruminations, I have a couple of questions...

    I want to keep it simple. I've chosen undemanding plants. I'm not looking for rapid growth, just plants that are alive and healthy. Rather than have a solenoid, could I low-dose the CO2 round the clock? (Solenoids were not even a thing with my first tank and all seemed to be fine.)

    Like everything else, lots of choices when it comes to CO2 kits and accessories. In the past I seem to have had more success with the circular bubble ladders rather than mist diffusers. I used disposable welding gas bottles. What is currently on trend?

    Thanks.



    Sent from my Pixel C using Tapatalk
     
  13. alto

    alto Member

    Messages:
    4,433
    Yes!
    If you have oxygen sensitive fish, you can just add in a powerhead or air pump on a timer (eg run intervals or continuous beginning ~2 hours after lights out until 2 hours before lights on) though I've not seen the need for this ... you'll be able to suss the need while at home

    My first experience with a solenoid was the one that stuck closed (occasionally) & then completely while I was far away on holiday ... and the lights stuck on (there was a power outage presumably)
    It was a prehistoric scene when I returned several weeks later :eek: :wideyed: :wideyed: :wideyed:
    (As it happened tank was sans livestock - a whole 'another story - so I just rescaped ... actually went Tanganyikan :)rock & sand & some plants ... for awhile ;) )

    Aquasabi has some basic single & dual stage regulators - important part is the precision needle valve - ask for the manufacturer on this
    Diffuser - Aquario Neo has excellent reviews & offers various sizes (I have Tropica's diffuser which includes bubble counter & non-return valve that's OK but weakest part of the system but it's also nicely inexpensive ;) & you can buy replacement membranes - an extra that's always clean is grand)
    If you like the ladder, try it - they are relative inefficient though

    Bubble counter - whatever you like
    Non return valve
    Tubing - any of the plastics sold for CO2 use will eventually harden & need replacing (1-3 years)
    Adapter - to fit regulator to whatever CO2 you choose

    CO2Art seems to sell only kits, but has great service/warranty & decent prices

    I use Tropica fertilizers as like having the trace & macro option (my tap is very soft)
    Evolution Aqua the Aquascaper fertilizer seems to have great reviews as well (&a George Farmer :D )

    Aquarium Gardens has an Aquascaping event June 1
    Destination Aquatics July 1
    - something like this is likely well worth your time :)
    (my area is completely void of such events :( )

    Tropica website offers great basics - & an App - just click through all the links in each category
    Their Inspiration page offers lots of scape options & include CO2 etc details
     
  14. bugs

    bugs Member

    Messages:
    365
    Thanks for such a comprehensive reply. Much appreciated!
    I see some valves are double stage, primarily (it seems) to ensure pressures are maintained right to the end of the gas supply. Does anyone use one of these vs single stage? Worth the extra?
     
  15. alto

    alto Member

    Messages:
    4,433
    If you're likely to forget to monitor your gas cylinder & run it all the way to empty, it's worthwhile to invest in a dual stage regulator (just confirm that it really is dual stage & not just dual gauge)
    BUT if you have very sensitive shrimp, you may end up with some DOAs anyway as that "last gas" has higher concentration impurities - the degree & type of impurities also varies with grade of gas, eg welding vs paintball vs bar vs medical etc

    General recommendation with gas cyclinders is to switch them out before they completely empty

    Note there are numerous reports of end of cyclinder "dumps" into tanks even with dual stage regulators ...
     
  16. bugs

    bugs Member

    Messages:
    365
    OK, thanks. It's a 55 litre tank so I'm proposing 600g welding gas from Machine Mart (£14). I'm anticipating getting a few months off each cylinder so not such an overhead to keep an eye on them and get to a point when I can predict when they're likely to run out.
     

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