First High Tech Setup - 54 Liter

Eplov

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I recently started setting up my first high tech planted tank and wanted to both share the progress with the community, as well as get feedback and help as it evolves. I've been a long time viewer of these threads and am happy to be sharing my own adventure!
 

Eplov

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The setup:
  • Acquarium - EHEIM Aquastar 54
  • Filter - Oase Filtosmart Thermo 100
  • Light - Twinstar LED 600 EA with dimmer
  • CO2 - CO2 Art Pro-SE Kit
  • Hardscape - Seirya Stone and Mopani Wood
  • Substrate - JBL Proscape Soil
Plant list(as of 14/5/19):
  • Anubias Nana
  • Pogostemon Helferi
  • Rotala wallichii
  • Rotala macrandra
  • Myriophyllum 'Guyana'
  • Taiwan Moss
  • Hemianthus Callitrichoides 'Cuba'

I also purchase Tropica Specialised Nutrition Aquarium Plant Food as a fertiliser
 

Eplov

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I started planting it with the first plants I purchased, the anubias nana, a pot of HC Cuba and a pot of rotala of some kind that hasn't faired well since. I then filled it up:
?temp_hash=05176045731374516ce40b8f9e235383.jpg


At this point it still had the stock lighting from the aquarium and inlet/outlet from the filter.

As you can tell, the placement of the piece of wood on the right was bothering me a little.
 

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Eplov

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I received the rest of the plants, CO2 system, lights and inflow/outflow from AquariumGardens and planted up the rest of the aquarium:
?temp_hash=a5768af6c6160872bb9a1288ef597a60.jpg


Things started to grow in and I was pretty happy.
IMG_1581.jpg


Unfortunately, this is where things took a turn for the worse and algae began appearing.
IMG_1648.jpg

I don't mind the diatoms too much but I started getting algae and I think BBA on HC, rocks and wood. I've been doing 10-20% water changes almost daily but seemed to lose control and last night just ripped out all the HC that was visibly affected, hacked down the myrio and replanted the healthy tops and cut off all the leaves on buce and anubias that were affected.

I also added a few new tropics 1-2-3 grow plants: AR Mini and Rotala Bonsai.

My guess is that the CO2 just isn't dialed in correctly but any ideas on how to combat the algae would be appreciated. These are some closer up shots.
IMG_1657.jpg
IMG_1658.jpg
IMG_1660.jpg
 

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Jayefc1

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Could do with a few more details
.lighting period
.light intensity
.co2 period
.fert regime
.is the tank getting natural light when lights not on
.have you done a ph profile
Just a few to start with
 

Eplov

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Thanks @Jayefc1.

The light/CO2/ferts situation hasn't been very stable since setting up the tank.

The light was set to go on from 3-10 PM with CO2 coming on an hour before the lights.

I started off with the light at about 40% and worked my way up to about 60% brightness.

That being said, the aquarium does get some light form the windows before the lights come on and i've had to turn the lights on to do maintenance as well some days which throws off start/end times. Also, do you keep CO2 on while doing maintenance and water changes? I've turned it off most times but again, that creates a hole in the time it's supposed to be running.

I've also had issues dialing in the CO2 for multiple reasons -- there have been problems with leaks in the tank leaving me without CO2 running occasionally, as well as not really knowing how to dial it in. Should I go by BPM or the drop checker? Both?

I haven't done a PH profile -- do you have any good resources on how to do one?
 

Eplov

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In the meantime, I have pulled up all the algae infested HC in the aquarium, cut down the myrio while replanting healthy tops and added in the new plants I had already ordered. It's much easier to keep clean without the carpet up front!

IMG_1668.jpg

The CRS population has also exploded -- I can see at least 15 baby shrimp already.
 

Jayefc1

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Sounds to me like co2 issues as most lightly cause in most tanks to get the required 30ppm of co2 a nice lime green drop checker the co2 comes on 2_3 hours before lights in my tank to dial it in properly I had to have it come on 4 hours before lights so the drop checker was lime green at lights on if I pushed it and upped the bubble rate to shorten the time half way through the light period the drop checker was turning almost yellow so toned down the bubble count and put it on earlier
No need for the co2 to be on during maintenance as the plants get 400ppm in the air
In a high tech tank the co2 needs to be stable as the plants rely on this heavily and if its inconsistent the algae will thrive taking full advantage of the down fall in co2
Invest in a ph pen and take a sample of you tank 1hour before co2 comes on then every half hour as co2 comes on your looking for a drop of 1ph that equates to 30ppm co2 that is the general rule so to explain


1hr before co2 ph 7
Co2 on ph 7
( then you know your ph is stable)
So now you want your ph to drop to 6 as your lights come on that will give you optimum co2 for the plants to use and your brop checker should be green
 

Eplov

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That was super helpful and super clear @Jayefc1.

I'll give it a try and will hopefully have better results to show for it soon.

It seems like the seal on my sodastream adapter has failed so my CO2 is now out of commission until I can get it replaced.:(

That may have already been playing a part in the issues.
 

Eplov

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I think just the seal, @Jayefc1. It seems to be torn up and brittle so a new one should do the trick.

I have ordered a few from CO2 art and they should be here Friday so I need the aquarium to remain stable until then.

I lowered the level of the lights to 30% and am not adding any fertilizer in the meantime.

Does that seem like a reasonable approach?
 

obsessed

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You can turn the lights off for a few days while you wait for the new seal, it wont do any harm, no light is better really as theres no photosynthesis :thumbup:
 

Jayefc1

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No do not starve the plants of ferts they need that to battle alge your plants are very young and need to grow to out compete any alge blooms

No frets no growth
 

Siege

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What’s your water change regime now?

The percentage looked low before, really want to be doing massive ones twice a week now, not too hard on a smallish tank.....

Ps. May be worth putting in a really hungry stem plant, Rotala green, 53b, something like. Anything that’ll grow like a weed and eat nutrients, even if you don’t keep it long term.
 

Eplov

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It's been quite a while since my last update but @Siege and @Jayefc1 I did keep your suggestions in mind.

I'm happy to say that there has been good progress. I was able to battle the algae by increasing CO2, lowering light and increasing ferts. I think there is still some tuning to do but I have no more BBA and only get green dust algae on the glass relatively slowly.

I changed up plants as well adding in some hairgrass, rotala h'ra, rotala green, s.repens and Heteranthera Zosterifolia and bolbitis difformis.

The one plant that completely stunted was Rotala Macaranda -- one deformed stem survived and now has a very healthy shoot I am trying to propagate from to see if it will be successful going forward.

Plants were growing very, very well and the tank looked like this:
IMG_1855.jpg


With some personal and work travel, I neglected it a little the last few weeks so last night it took 2/3 hours to hack everything back and clean it up. It will take some time to fill in again.
IMG_1944.jpg


The RCS population has absolutely exploded -- there are probably 100+ in there now. Should I be concerned about their bioload?

My big disappointment so far have been the CRS shrimp. I put in two batches of 6 a month apart and I slowly saw fewer and fewer and think there are none left 5 months later. I only saw 2/3 dead ones in the actual aquarium.

Thanks for everyone's help.
 

Jayefc1

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Tank is looking loads healthier mate hope you keep up the good work the shrimp bio load is nothing to worrie about even high numbers is minimal
Cheers
Jay
 

Eplov

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Thanks @Jayefc1

Here it is with the water cleared and glass properly cleaned.
IMG_1946.jpg


I am thinking of making a change and moving the Myriophyllum Guyana from where it is to the left of the wood "V", then trim the Heteranthera in a diagonal up from side of the tank. The idea would be to enhance the "V" at the center of the tank and open up the front. Probably moving more staurogyne around the rocks or perhaps the hydrocotyle. Something like this:
IMG_1946_2.jpeg


Any thoughts?
 

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