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Fluval Edge 25l first attempt at an aquascape

nanonano

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28 May 2021
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Essex
Hi, aquascape newbie here, although not new to nano reef tanks. Having used this great forum to glean information as a guest, i thought i should be brave and join and attempt to document my journey.
First step was to clean up an old Egde 25l which had been used for a reef experiment. The top needed to go as no way would it be possible to create and maintain an aquascape through the small opening in the top.
20210513_161459.jpg

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A couple of tense hours later and the top was removed and the tank cleaned up like new and without any leaks, next step was to go and purchase the hardscaping materials i had listed, Tropica soil, Tropica soil powder, ADA La Plata sand and about 5kgs of suitable stone.
20210524_141554.jpg

The stone weighed in at 4.995 kg but when i got it home i thought i had way too much, only to be surprised as i ended up using 4.5 kg.
Before hardscaping i decided to apply a frosted finish to the back of the tank as i wanted to try and replicate a backlight that i had seen on various large tanks.
20210524_140910.jpg

Tank positioned and ready to start hardscaping
20210526_144746.jpg

Four hours later and i was happy with the outcome as a first attempt.
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20210526_172414.jpg
 

Jayefc1

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Swadlincote
Looking good it's not easy to.scape one of those lil edges I remember my first tank was one and I ended up taking the top with a Stanley blade and lots of patience its pretty satisfying when it finally comes away though 😉
 

nanonano

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Essex
20210527_123240.jpg

Time for planting, those pro aquascaper's make it look so easy :) 3 hours later it was ready to fill and i was starting to get the hang of the tweezers. Thankfully only acouple of plants floated to the top and needed replanting :oops:. will let it settle for a couple of days before fine tuning.
 

nanonano

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Just a brief update, planting was done using Tropica 1.2 grow, Hemianthus callitrichoides 'Cuba', Eleocharis acicularis 'Mini', Lilaeopsis brasiliensis and Littorella uniflora.
Fingers crossed that the vision i have in my mind translates underwater, only time will tell but as they say nothing ventured nothing gained.
Dosing Seachem Equilibrium to RODI, Seachem Stability and Seachem Flourish. Changing 5lt every 3 days.
Testing daily, 14 days in and parameters are as follows, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10, Ph 6.8, TDS 162, Gh 8, Kh 3.5, Temp at 23c
Diatoms started to appear day 10. slight traces of algae visible today, so thinking of adding shrimp and snails tomorrow.
 

nanonano

Seedling
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28 May 2021
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Hi, want to ask a few question so thought it might be best to post the system details first.
SYSTEM
Tank Fluval edge 23L
Tropica soil 5400 ml
Tropica powder 200 ml
ADA La plata sand 150 ml
Seiryu stone 4500 gm
RODI water 17650 ml (incl. filter and pipework)
FILTER
Oase Filtosmart thermo 100 (sponges modified to improve water flow)
Biohome filter gravel 700 ml
Purigen 100 ml (have not added to filter on the advice from Biohome who say that they have evidence of it inhibiting development of bacterial growth)
Filter is positioned 60 cm below water surface and inlet and outlet turned down to minimum settings, i would estimate approx 200 - 250 litres per hour flow rate
LIGHTING
Lomini LED 6500K Asta F20 (standard lens)
Light source mounted 16cm from top of tank (17cm from water surface)
PAR readings (apogee quantum meter) 36 cms from light source (19 cm below surface)
Back to front, left to right
40 180 80
60 115 85
40 145 75
current light period, 6 hrs per day (tank is not in direct sunlight)
Co2
Co2 fitted with inline diffuser but not yet turned on)
DOSING
Water change 5 L every 3 days, RODI treated with Seachem Equilibrium at 0.3 gm per litre
Seachem Stability 1 ml per day
Seachem Flourish 0.25 ml every 3 days
WATER TESTING
First 14 days water tested daily, now tested every 3 days before and after water change
Parameters tested, TDS, Gh, Kh, Ph, Temp, Co2, NH3, NO2, NO3,

I will make a new post with the start of my questions.
 

nanonano

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So today was water change day, first thing test water parameters, which were as follows.
Temp 23c
TDS 168
Ph 6.5
Gh 8
Kh 2
Co2 20 (pre light on)
Nh3 0
No2 0
No3 0

Was very surprised that nitrate reading was 0, so retested, still zero, so then retested ammonia (as assumed filter had crashed) again ammonia 0, so then retested using different brand test kit and still 0 readings. examined tank closely and noticed the diatoms had vanished as had the slight traces of algae. Decided not to do todays scheduled water change (is that a mistake?)
I know people will say, well what are you worried about, but the maturation phase of the tank seems to be happening very quickly (especially when compared with my previous experiences with reef tanks). Am i missing something obvious or should i just be thankful and keep fingers crossed.
"cuba" is growing and showing root development without Co2, what are peoples thoughts on increasing lighting period and starting Co2 or shall i just leave as is for another week.
 

nanonano

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Quick update, surprised by the plant growth especially HC "cuba", still haven't turned on the Co2 and only dosing 0.25ml Seachem Flourish every 3 days. Lighting 6 hrs per day.
what are peoples thoughts, stay as is or start Co2?
23 june.jpg
 

dw1305

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nr Bath
Hi all,
Was very surprised that nitrate reading was 0, so retested, still zero, so then retested ammonia (as assumed filter had crashed) again ammonia 0, so then retested using different brand test kit and still 0 readings. examined tank closely and noticed the diatoms had vanished as had the slight traces of algae.......

Seachem Stability 1 ml per day

Seachem Flourish 0.25 ml every 3 days
Because you are using RO water, and hardly dosing any nutrients, you aren't going to get much in the way of nitrate (NO3) readings. Also nitrate is trickier to test for in fresh water (compared to marine) because you don't have a <"known amount of chloride (Cl-) ions"> etc.

Over time you'll need to dose a <"complete fertiliser">.

cheers Darrel
 

nanonano

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Hi all,



Because you are using RO water, and hardly dosing any nutrients, you aren't going to get much in the way of nitrate (NO3) readings. Also nitrate is trickier to test for in fresh water (compared to marine) because you don't have a <"known amount of chloride (Cl-) ions"> etc.

Over time you'll need to dose a <"complete fertiliser">.

cheers Darrel
hi Darrel, thanks for the comments and links, as with most things the more one reads the greater the risk of confusion, so in advance the excuse the barrage of questions.
Coming from the marine side of the hobby i have tended to stick with the rule of "if you don't test for it, don't dose it", that is ok for marine as a weekly 10% water change with a decent marine salt takes care of things to a certain degree, however if i am reading some of your posts correctly then if i am going to put my foot on the accelerator with Co2 then i need to make sure i am supplying all the elements that the plants need, otherwise i will create problems for myself and the plants. so my first question is (bearing in mind we are talking nano tank) is there a reliable off the shelf product that will supply both the macro and micro elements needed or should i look at one product for macro and one for micro, or individual products? am i correct in assuming that element demand and uptake varies from species to species and without reliable testing how does one avoid potential over / under dosing? thanks Paul
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
if you don't test for it, don't dose it" ......... that is ok for marine as a weekly 10% water change with a decent marine salt takes care of things to a certain degree,
Yes, it is really back to the accuracy of test kits and the <"variability of fresh water">.

Sea water is a very salty solution, of known chemical composition, so you have a <"datum value to aim for">. You also have some general rules, you need to add calcium (Ca) and carbonates (CO3--) because snails, hard corals and coralline algae use it for their "skeletons" etc, <"NO3 and PO4 levels"> need to be as low as possible etc. because you <"don't have plants to deplete them"> and water changes are expensive.
is there a reliable off the shelf product that will supply both the macro and micro elements needed or should i look at one product for macro and one for micro, or individual products?
There are <"all in one mixes"> or you can <"DIY your own mix">.
element demand and uptake varies from species to species and without reliable testing how does one avoid potential over / under dosing?
Some people use "Estimative Index" (EI) a technique where mineral nutrients are always available. I use a bioassay technique, the <"Duckweed Index">, and a <"conductivity datum range">.

cheers Darrel
 
Last edited:

nanonano

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Hi Darrel, thanks for the additional info. i am using Seachem equilibrium to keep the TDS in the range of 165 and (wrongly) assumed that dosing Seachem Flourish and Co2 would be all that was needed for a healthy planted tank. Am i correct in assuming that i will also need to dose N P K or will the Seachem Equilibrium take care of the K and therefore dose N and P individually? With Hard corals whilst it is beneficial to keep phosphates and nitrates low (but not zero), it is important to keep them in ratio to avoid growth inhibition, is this also the case with planted aquaria? Hard corals also have the ability to increase their uptake of Mg when Ca is limiting growth (however this leads long term to a more brittle skeleton) do plants compensate in a similar way?
i thought using RODI would give me a controllable base to build from, would it be a realistic aim to find the sweet spot using Seachem Equilibrium, Seachem Flourish and Co2, Monitor and control via TDS readings and fine tune with individual dosing of N, P and K? Thanks Paul
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Seachem equilibrium to keep the TDS in the range of 165 and (wrongly) assumed that dosing Seachem Flourish and Co2 would be all that was needed for a healthy planted tank.
You probably don't need that much <"Seachem Equilibrium">. Seachem won't tell you what <"its ingredients are">, but we can make an educated guess.
Hard corals also have the ability to increase their uptake of Mg when Ca is limiting growth (however this leads long term to a more brittle skeleton) do plants compensate in a similar way?
You can get ratio issues where you have <"very high calcium (Ca)"> to magnesium (Mg), potassium (K) and/or iron (Fe) ratios, but normally it isn't a problem. My guess with the hard corals is that you get some magnesium carbonate (MgCO3) formation, rather than it being anything to do with the zooxanthellae.
Am i correct in assuming that i will also need to dose N P K or will the Seachem Equilibrium take care of the K and therefore dose N and P individually
You need all <"fourteen of the essential mineral nutrients for plant growth">, just in amounts that vary over <"several orders of magnitude">. It doesn't matter to the plant where the ions come from, every potassium (K+) ion is the same as <"every other potassium ion">.
With Hard corals whilst it is beneficial to keep phosphates and nitrates low (but not zero)....
I guess that is to do with the requirements of the zooxanthellae (symbiotic photosynthetic dinoflagellate "algae")?
i thought using RODI would give me a controllable base to build from, would it be a realistic aim to find the sweet spot using Seachem Equilibrium, Seachem Flourish and Co2, Monitor and control via TDS readings and fine tune with individual dosing of N, P and K? Thanks Paul
Theoretically it does, in practice if you add CO2, and aim for optimal growth, you are going to have to dose at a much higher rate of fertilisers. I'm not interested in optimal growth and I look on the plants as primarily a way of <"maintaining high water quality">, so I'm just aiming for some plant growth.

cheers Darrel
 

nanonano

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Hi Darrel, thanks for stimulating the grey matter,
I was working on the following data sheets supplied by Seachem for Equilibrium and Flourish respectively.
1624643037712.png

1624643122203.png

and now thinking of also dosing Seachem Flourish N, P and K individually, can you see me running in to issues? I have only chosen Seachem from experience of their products on the marine side of the hobby.
Theoretically it does, in practice if you add CO2, and aim for optimal growth, you are going to have to dose at a much higher rate of fertilisers. I'm not interested in optimal growth and I look on the plants as primarily a way of <"maintaining high water quality">, so I'm just aiming for some plant growth.
I am not aiming for optimal growth as with a nano tank i would be forever pruning, just healthy growth. i came up with the concept i wanted for the nano tank and then went about choosing plants that would give me the desired effect whilst retaining a perspective, having chosen the plants i then researched their requirements and from what i had read to have a realistic chance of success with HC "cuba" i would need to go down the route of Co2.
My guess with the hard corals is that you get some magnesium carbonate (MgCO3) formation, rather than it being anything to do with the zooxanthellae.
spot on.
guess that is to do with the requirements of the zooxanthellae (symbiotic photosynthetic dinoflagellate "algae")?
it is more to do with controlling the density of the zooxanthellae, heavy concentrations of zoo within a healthy coral can totally mask the natural colouration of the coral (causing them to look a boring creamy brown). ULNS approach to coral care from my experience is about addressing the symbiotic relationship between coral and zoo as found in situ on the reef rather than the one often found in aquaria with high nutrients which is heavily weighted in favour of the zoo.
Thanks again, Paul
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
I was working on the following data sheets supplied by Seachem for Equilibrium and Flourish respectively.........
......... and now thinking of also dosing Seachem Flourish N, P and K individually, can you see me running in to issues?
No, it should be fine, it is just an <"expensive option">, but for a small tank that is less of an issue.
I am not aiming for optimal growth as with a nano tank i would be forever pruning, just healthy growth. i came up with the concept i wanted for the nano tank and then went about choosing plants that would give me the desired effect whilst retaining a perspective, having chosen the plants i then researched their requirements and from what i had read to have a realistic chance of success with HC "cuba" i would need to go down the route of Co2.
I think you probably need added CO2 for <"Hemianthus callitrichoides "Cuba">. I've never grown any <"carpet successfully">, or used CO2, so I have no practical experience.

cheers Darrel
 

erwin123

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would it be a realistic aim to find the sweet spot using Seachem Equilibrium, Seachem Flourish and Co2, Monitor and control via TDS readings and fine tune with individual dosing of N, P and K? Thanks Paul


Here's my beginner level thinking on the subject:

  • Another way is to assume that the manufacturer of the all-in-one fertilisers has worked out a approximately suitable ratio of N, P, K (with weekly 50% water change resetting any serious imbalance) so all you have to do is to fine tune the dosing amount of the all-in-one.
  • Since ferts do not cause algae, but high Nitrates may not be good for shrimp /fish (see Tom Barr's posts on this), one could just keep on adding all-in-one as long as Nitrates do not exceed your target level, since P, K, and trace excess would not cause algae blooms.
  • As for Nitrate testing, there is a risk of being fooled by 'false precision' as the tests might not be able to reveal the exact level. However, I have still found NO3 tests useful in indicating the relative amounts of NO3. For example, the Sera test I'm using is basically greenish-yellow (0 nitrate reference colour) -> yellow -> orange -> an angry red.
  • When I started testing NO3 in my 10 year old fish tank, I had nitrates levels at an "angry red" because I was clueless about these things before coming in UKAPS thanks to George Farmer's videos.
  • By taking steps one would naturally expect to reduce nitrate levels (reduce ferts containing N, add more stem plants [i did not do emergency water changes but stuck to weekly as I wanted to slowly reduce the levels]), my NO3 levels progressively moved from red to orange to yellow. Now I add as much all-in-one ferts to the water column as long as it doesn't hit the 'orange' or 'red' level. And I also dose extra trace just in case.
  • Because I assume that even if I don't know the exact level, orange/red levels on my NO3 test are probably way more than the 10ppm that is needed (Tom Barr in his Barr Report forum posts has indicated 10-30ppm is fine)
 

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