filling tank - full on from the off?

fourmations

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hi all

i have planted hc and Eleocharis acicularis 5 days ago in a moist DSM style environment
and now i want to fill the tank (i never claimed I'd have the patience for tom's method !)

will i go full on from the start?
full ei dosing? full on co2 injection?

i will fill the tank in the next two hours
and am very nervous to be honest

i recieved my plants and planted them down pretty quickly
and they all look well after 5 days, out of water, with 9hrs of light

should i ease my saplings in or hit them full on
with full ei dosing and co2?

regards
4
 

altaaffe

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I've never done it this way and without seeing what growth you already have I wouldn't know. May help if you add a pic of the set-up so far so those who have done it can see what plant growth you've got.
 

fourmations

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hi all

i filled it in last night

regarding the method, the real way to do it
is to just add enough water to moisten the substrate
and leave in completely covered for 4-6 weeks
i only had it covered for a week

the question applies to any planted tank
i was just wondering if you ease in the lighting, co2 and ferts
or just go full on wioth full light dosing and co2

heres the tank! my first ever planted tank! be kind! :)

IMGP3808.jpg


IMGP3809.jpg


rgds

4



Regards
 

beeky

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Hi,

I like the way you've framed it with the vallis in the corners. I think your rock on the right might get lost with the plant growth though. Can you raise it up at all?

Regarding the ferts etc, I'd go full on with the light and CO2, but only start with half the fert dose due to the low biomass. Do you have any fish stock? How are you cycling?
 

ceg4048

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beeky said:
Regarding the ferts etc, I'd go full on with the light and CO2, but only start with half the fert dose due to the low biomass. Do you have any fish stock? How are you cycling?

I disagree with this. Adding full light usually gets you into trouble in a new tank. You would do better to cut you lighting in half and feed as much nutrients and CO2 as you can. There is absolutely no need to worry about how a tank is being cycled. In fact it is being cycled right now but high ammonia content with lots of light will kill you. You are also advised to perform at least two 50% or higher water changes per week for the first 6-8 weeks and to avoid stocking with fish if you can.

I agree that you don't have nearly enough plant mass in the tank and this is another problem. I would throw in loads of simple fast growing plants like wisteria or anything cheap in that tank. You can always pull them out later and regain your scape.

Cheers,
 

Dan Crawford

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Hiya,Could i offer some advice with regards to your aquascape?....
The left rock seems too vertical for me, it should really be positioned at an angel maybe pointing towards the right of the tank. I would also suggest replacing the vallis for Vallis nana or Cyperus helferi, the finer leaf shape will suit the tank much better. The principal of the tank is great and with a couple of tweaks it should turn out really nice.
 

beeky

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ceg4048 said:
There is absolutely no need to worry about how a tank is being cycled. In fact it is being cycled right now but high ammonia content with lots of light will kill you. You are also advised to perform at least two 50% or higher water changes per week for the first 6-8 weeks and to avoid stocking with fish if you can.

I agree that you don't have nearly enough plant mass in the tank and this is another problem. I would throw in loads of simple fast growing plants like wisteria or anything cheap in that tank. You can always pull them out later and regain your scape.

Cheers,

Regarding the cycling, it was more of a "are you cycling" question. As far as I can see, there's nothing for any bacteria to feed on. I must admit that the low biomass does confuse me. Everyone says that it's a problem, but why? If there's no fish, there's no ammonia and excess nutrients don't cause algae, so what's the issue? Similar question goes for the light as well really. So much for me being helpful - all I do is ask more questions! :D
 

ceg4048

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beeky said:
Regarding the cycling, it was more of a "are you cycling" question. As far as I can see, there's nothing for any bacteria to feed on. I must admit that the low biomass does confuse me. Everyone says that it's a problem, but why? If there's no fish, there's no ammonia and excess nutrients don't cause algae, so what's the issue? Similar question goes for the light as well really. :D
Graham, check the bottom of page 4 and also page 5 of thread Substrates and ferts regarding the question of low biomass. It seems a lot of people have trouble with the concepts of bacteria except for the people who sell disinfectants. In fact it would be totally impossible to prevent any tank from cycling unless you filled it with bleach instead of water. Bacteria populate every square nanometer of every surface everywhere. All you need is one bacterium of any species and within a few days you'll have millions. They rule the planet. If a bacterium dies, it's body decays and this decay produces ammonia. One plant cell dies and it produces ammonia. There is no shortage of ammonia source in a tank especially if there are living things in it such as plants. It's only a matter of degree. This is what amazes me about people dumping ammonia into the tank to accelerate cycling. In fact it makes very little difference ultimately to the cycling of the tank. If you place a cup of tap water, even chlorinated tap water, on the table and leave it there the chlorine will dissipate and bacteria will start colonizing the cup and the water in it. The cup of water will cycle. As the population of critters increase so does the occurrence of dead critters and this feeds the rise in ammonia and the rise in those species which feed on ammonia and nitrite. The more plants in the tank the more organic material is available to decay and produce ammonia.

As I've often said bacteria and viruses are responsible for more human and animal deaths than wars. Hospitals have to be scrupulously clean and operating instruments have to be doused in toxic liquids to prevent them getting the upper hand, so tank cycling is inevitable and our good bacteria are as durable and tenacious as any other.

Cheers,
 

GreenNeedle

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As per above. I tend to go straight for the final look BUT I am under 'low light' and therefore can deal with any algae that does arise (which it does) quite easily.

If I were to have high light then I would be packing Riccia into the top most likely to help out through the first month or so.

Add to this the ADA AS that many people use and there is ammonia aplenty from the start. I would bet that many other substrates have a certain degree of problematic ammonia leeching just not enough to interfer too much with livestock but as we know what is safe for fish is still enough to trigger algae.

AC
 

fourmations

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hi all

dan:
thanks for the critique, i will play around with it
i wasnt so lucky on the shape rocks I got
(mailordered 7kg and got 4 pieces, not the greatest shapes)
i had not concept of how gigantic the vallis would be
(even though its called gigantea!)

beeky:
the filter media from this tank has been in my other tanks filter for about a month
and i used a sponge from my other tank as well,

ceg:
i have the option of using 40w or 48w or both
what way should i light the tank at this stage? what duration and what power?
I am running 1 bubble a sec, will i up this (96l tank)
I am ei dosing, will i go at it as per your articles example? more? less?

Many thanks all

rgds

4
 

ceg4048

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fourmations said:
ceg:
i have the option of using 40w or 48w or both
what way should i light the tank at this stage? what duration and what power?
I am running 1 bubble a sec, will i up this (96l tank)
I am ei dosing, will i go at it as per your articles example? more? less?
Well, if these are T5s I'd just pick one and run it for 8 hours a day. Either by itself will give you around 2wpg. If they are T8s then they don't have as much intensity so you could run both or stagger them over a period of 8 hours a day. The key is to provide as much CO2 as possible without creating as much CO2 demand. It's hard to have the discipline to do this, especially if you're away at work most of the day. As soon as you get home you want to look at the tank, right? If that's the case then just stagger the On time so that most of the photoperiod is when you are at home.

Because you don't have any fish in the tank you can go wild with the CO2. It's a very difficult adjustment for plants that have been growing in air to suddenly be inundated with water. The mechanism by which they obtain CO2 in air gets flooded so they get starved of the carbon they need to grow submerged leaves which are more efficient at gathering CO2 in the first place. This is a double whammy that many folks don't realize. Crank that needle valve way up so that your dropchecker stays in the yellow and that will help those carpet plants bulk up. later on when you want to add fish you can lower the injection rate but right now there is no reason at all to be timid with the injection.

Just stick with the dosing given in the article. You can just use the existing reference numbers because this is close enough to a 20USG tank. The CO2 will cause a rise nutrient uptake demand but that's OK. The weakness in this tank looks like it's going to be flow/distribution. I'm never impressed with the muscle of internal filters (or lack thereof) and it's a very narrow stream that has to fan out over a wide square footage across the front so that's something to address in the future, but again keeping the light low will help minimize this weakness.

Cheers,
 

fourmations

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thanks again ceg

couple of things, if you dont mind...

the lights:
i have 2 x 20w t8 and 2x 24 compact flourescents
the t8 could be tired, its a second hand unit that i plan to get t5's or compacts into after christmas
but the compacts are new (6500k pl type)

the co2:
i dont have 4kdh water at the moment (on the way)
but do have a drop checker and bromo
can i still use the drop checker until i get 4kdh,?
if so could i use tank water or RO? (i have RO)

if i cant use the checker for the moment, any idea what bubbles per sec rate could be used
(btw, i also have no kh/gh kit either only bog standard ph from the api kit)

the filter:
yep, it is what it is, its a cheap 1200lph i got with the used tank
its fairly strong flow though, the size of the media worries me too, there is three small sponges in it
i plan to get an external in a month or so, but out of funds for the moment
i can make perspex things in work, perhaps i could think about a outlet deflector/distributor in clear perspex?
to redirect some of the flow? i'll have a think about that one,

many thanks

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ceg4048

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You know those tired old T8s might actually save you a lot of grief. Everybody wants to go to warp speed with Las Vegas level lighting even though they are unprepared for it. Stick with Star Trek Classic is my advice. Still plenty of good episodes left. The CFs can work but again, why make life more difficult for yourself. The biggest challenge right now is to understand and apply the technology of CO2, not lights.

If you don't have 4dkh water it renders any reading you get in the dropchecker suspect. Typically, if you use tank water you get false highs because of the acids in the tank water, so that if it shows green, it might otherwise have shown blue if dkh4 was in there. If you use RO water you would show a false low. Without knowing the KH of the water you could be super high or super low. You could theoretically make your own solution by adding bicarbonate of soda to your RO water and adjusting it to 4dkh. I think SuperColey1 has a formula for grams bicarb to RO to get you there.

Every bubble is different but you can start out with 2 bubbles per second. Measure the tanks ph before you start injection. Then measure it a two hours later. If the pH after two hours is about 1 pH unit lower, then you are OK. Take another reading a few hours later. If the pH drops further then the bubble rate is on the high side for fish but since you don't have any fish right now then no big deal. I'd forget about the dropchecker until you have 4dkh. Otherwise you are just wasting pH reagent (£6.99 for 20 ml - ridiculous :wideyed: ).

Spraybar along the back wall works really well and you can use a simple foot long 3/4 inch diameter PVC tube with holes drilled in it and route the filters effluent into the PVC with flex tube. That should give you ideas. :D

Cheers,
 

Superman

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I echo previous comments that with a few tweaks this could look good.

I'd also recommend going careful with the lighting, whilst your filter is cycling having ammonia in the tank is like an algae time bomb waiting to explode. If you'd go steady from the start with light, you'll get rewards in the future.
 

fourmations

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hi all

thanks a million for all the tips, i read as much as i can about planted tank setup
but the biomass is another issue i would have never discovered
if not for the help i get here,

i dont have much of it but i have planted some cobomba in the new tank
it grew like wildfire in my lowlight no fert no co2 tank
so im hoping it will take off prettty quickly in the new tank

i got a bit of 4dkh from a local fishkeeper this evening
so i'm set up on that one already!

rgds

4
 

fourmations

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hi guys

bit of an update

i have added more plants as advised
and upped my co2 levels

i have algae woes (surprise, surprise)

i have brown fuzzy algae and bga

the bga is under control but a friend has told
me i will have to blackout or use maracyn regardless, true?

the brown stuff is easy enough to remove but its a pita
as i am uprooting hc clumps as i clean it out,
could i uproot the hc and let it float until i control my algae?
(i cant readily buy hc here in ireland, so its not as easy as dumping it and starting again)

my hairgrass is doing okay and spreading albeit slowly
but my hc is doing badly, perhaps because it is getting covered in algae,
its not dying, its just not growing much,

in the last couple of days i have improved a poor circulation issue i had
which hopefully will help, my co2 has been upped as suggested and is peaking
to yellow in my dropchecker from about 5pm to lights out

i am dosing ei, but did miss a couple of doses over christmas

any other advice or tips welcome

regards

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ceg4048

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Well you should probably summarize what your current tank configuration is as well as what your current dosing scheme is so that it's clear what's going on and what changes you've implemented. For example "dosing EI" is too broad a statement. Confirm how many teaspoons of what are you dosing and how frequently? If using a solution, exactly how did you prepare it? You could have easily miscalculated the mixtures or the amounts so we need to be sure to avoid a wild goose chase. ;)

It's a good idea to change your mindset a little. In you post you mentioned:
...my hc is doing badly, perhaps because it is getting covered in algae...
The reality is that it's just the opposite. Your plants are not doing well due to starvation and that's why they are covered in algae. Algae can be thought of in some ways as hyenas or vultures - they attack weakened or dead plant tissue. In order to stop algae therefore you must have healthy plant tissue. This can only be done by feeding them proper nutrition thereby making them strong enough to resist the hunters. You should view algae as a symptom of weakness, in the same way that a runny nose and coughing are symptoms of the flu for example.

The other thing to keep in mind is that generally, the types of algae are indicative of which nutrients the plants are being starved of so this is why it's necessary to state your dosing quantities even at the cost of being redundant. BGA for example can be a symptom of poor nitrate levels or poor flow so you may have eliminated it by improving the nitrate dosing but I really don't know what "under control" means from your point of view. For me that would mean zero BGA with zero recurrence. If that's the case then there is no need to use the antibiotic.

The other algae sounds as if it might be diatom algae which is common in new setups especially if the lighting is high. Blackouts do help here but it will recur after the blackout if you still have high lighting. This is why we need to know what lighting configuration you've settled on. You may need to lower the light further.

We also need to know what time is lights on/off and it's relation to the CO2 on/off time. The gas should be turned on an hour or more before the lights and can also be turned off before the lights go off.

It's also not exactly clear how you improved your circulation. Did you add powerheads or did you upgrade the filter? How did you improve the distribution patterns? This is also important as you need to force CO2 enriched water down to the substrate level where the HC is located.

Cheers,
 

fourmations

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hi clive

thanks for the feedback

i am using ei ferts as per your example in the dry dose article
i made it up as a solution and dose as per the article

Sunday – 50% or more Water Change then dose macros
Monday – traces
Tuesday - macros
Wednesday - traces
Thursday - macros
Friday – Rest
Saturday - Rest

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


i cant guarantee human error has never occured when i made up the mixes
but was quite careful!

regarding the bga, it not spreading and when removed its not coming back
my first tank was engulfed in it and if removed it would be back en mass within days,
i have not removed it all due to disturbing my hc, but will do so, as its inevitable

regarding lighting, i am running the 2 x 20w t8s from 1pm to 11pm,
i did try a three hour period with the 2 x 24w compacts on as well for a couple of days
to see if it would kick off my hc, but it didnt do much

co2: goes on at 12pm an hour before lights, drop checker is dark green
by about 4pm it turns to the lime green colour and at about 8pm it gets yellowish
co2 goes off at 10pm, an hour before lights
(hand on heart, i have not monitored the dropchecker scientifically though)

circulation: i made up a spraybar for my 1200lph internal
and added a small powerhead at the front bottom corner which is also
chomping up the co2 from a diffuser and sending it across the length of the tank at the front bottom,
this is working better due to plant movement and the tiny co2 bubbles are visible in the tank
and being distributed well at substrate level

you might actually be able to clarify something for me also,
i have a carpet of what looks like tiny co2 bubbles on the surface towards the end of the day,
is this okay? lots of my uprooted hc is floating around in it,

i believe that surface agitation is not great for co2 tanks as it dispels co2
so will i just leave it there

a couple of things may or may not be worth noting.
i only got a decent few plants in it in the last few days
as advised by yourself i had very low biomass,
also my circulation improvement is only in the last couple of days also

lastly, it will get a w/c tonight but my nitrates are 50ppm in the new tank,
if that says anything?

i have otos in my established tank earmarked for the new tank
when the time is right

many thanks as always

4
 

ceg4048

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OK, excellent, thanks for the clarification. :D It sounds like you are on the right track. if the BGA that you remove does not return in that location. You should always think of HC and other carpet plants as "High CO2 Plants" instead of "High Light Plants". This is where most go wrong because of all the propaganda out there. Light causes a requirement to uptake CO2 so if you add more light this causes a higher demand for CO2. This is why turning on the T5 for 3 hours is counter productive. You must solve the CO2 riddle first before adding any more light or the plants will struggle mightily.

What you can try next is to turn on the CO2 at 11AM instead of 12PM. This will give an extra hour to saturate the water before the lights go on. You can also shut the gas down an hour earlier as well if you wish. What we want to do is to get the dropchecker light green/yellow sooner. It would be ideal to have it that color when the lights go on for example but that gets tricky if you have fish in the tank. If it takes 5-8 hours to go from dark green to light green/yellow then this is clearly an injection rate issue. It's simply too feeble. The trick for you is going to be to find an injection rate that satisfies your plants yet does not fry your fish. Since you do not yet have fish in the tank your top priority is to get the plants going so shift the ON/OFF timing to the left and double the bubble rate. Later you can turn the gas OFF earlier and tweak the bubble rate to accommodate the fish.

Surface film is adhesive due to it's high lipid content so this shows up as bubbles that don't pop. Move your spraybar to the very top just below the waterline and orient the holes horizontally so that this will result in a surface ripple. You don't want to break the surface as this tends to off-gas the CO2 as you've surmised but you do want surface movement. Here are my standard images for illustrating spraybar mounting and surface ripple:




You really need to stop testing your nitrate levels and, more importantly, you need to stop worrying about it as well. It's just distracting you from the Prime Directive which is maximum plant health.

Cheers,
 

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