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Help for dosing a low tech setup

DaveWatkin

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26 Oct 2020
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151
Location
Aberdeen, UK
Getting ready to flood my dry start and I have decided to go no CO2. Carpet is Monte Carlo with some DHG at the back.

I realise this may be difficult to keep but I've seen it done before by people. I appreciate there will be very slow growth but that's fine by me, caret is already developed and it will reduce maintenance.

To give it the best chance though I was looking for some advice on ferts? It's planted in Tropic soil so has some help there but what, if anything, would you recommend dosing once flooded? Would Tropica liquid do and what dose would you recommend weekly? (5gal tank)

Thanks
 

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ceg4048

Expert/Global Moderator
UKAPS Team
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Hi,
If you're using a commercial product such as Tropica and if you are NOT injecting CO2 then just dose per bottle recommendation. The difficulty in this tank will arise due to CO2 shortages, not due to nutrient issues. Low CO2 means a low requirement for nutrients and low requirement for lighting.

Cheers,
 

alto

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24 Dec 2014
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6,228
To give it the best chance
I’d suggest daily water changes until you see signs of decent aquatic growth, also 20-22*C rather than 23-24*C

You might add 10-20 Neocaridina shrimp (depending on shrimp size, tank size) as they will help clean up melting leafs as they occur

With new Tropica soil and plants already rooted, you can likely even not dose water column fertilizers for a couple weeks (or months, depending - just watch plant growth/health)
If your tap water is very soft, I tend to dose 2:1 Premium:Specialized - while doing daily water changes, I’m cheap with the fertilizer dosing ;)

It’s difficult to predict how your dry start MC will adjust to the non-CO2 life, in some cases it seems to do very well, other times it melts (severely)
 

DaveWatkin

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26 Oct 2020
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I changed my mind and went with CO2 in the end. Tank is doing really well, very happy about it.

I filled about 10 days ago and have done daily 50% water changes since. Lights and CO2 were 6 hours first week, and now at 8. I dose 1ml daily alternating between premium and specialised.

Whatever I'm doing must be working as the growth is crazy, could already do with a good trim but going to leave it another week to fill out a bit more. I also pulled the DHG and replaced the back right with Alternanthera reineckii mini which has settled in well with only minor melt of some damaged leaves. Back left has the filter and diffuser.

Decided to go unheated and have some RCS on the way to fill it up and eat the few bits of growth I have on the stones. The moss/algae (not sure which it is) that developed slightly during the dry start has survived flooding and is growing as well.

Will try and post a picture later, should really have done a journal. All my future new tanks will def be dry start, results are great.
 

DaveWatkin

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26 Oct 2020
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Went and got them now, too please with it not to show it off haha.

Close up of the growth on the rocks too, maybe someone can identify. Not doing any harm and saying where it's at, assuming the RCS will gobble it up so left it for now.
 

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Zeus.

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Lights and CO2 were 6 hours first week, and now at 8

IMO a week and then changing duration of lights CO2 is too quick, takes a week for plants to adjust to new [CO2] then needs a few weeks to see how the light/fert levels are doing, so 4-6weeks. Doing a pH profile and checking the [CO2]/pH is stable from lights on for first 4-5hrs and fine tune as necessary, ensuring good flow in tank.

Tank looks good, I would have the filter outlet closer to the water surface..
assuming the RCS will gobble it up so left it for now.

An Amano or few will help also as they do eat more algae types than RCS, although they are buggers for climbing/jumping out.
 

DaveWatkin

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Aberdeen, UK
Thanks @Zeus.

I have never really bothered with PH checks other than ballpark before. I only have the API kits and to me the middle of the spectrum all look the same, I can only ever see the extremes which is what I expect when I have an issue anyway. For CO2 I just use a drop checker and make sure it's a consistent colour for the photoperiod (delayed ~2ish hours of course). I haven't gone to extremes with the CO2, I would predict it's about 20ppm based on colour. I have read it's more important that it is consistent rather than playing a balancing act between getting as much as possible in and inhabitant health. I am assuming as long as there is consistency the plants will adapt to whatever level they have available and stay healthy.

That said I am interested to learn more like, how can I be more exact with my PH readings (without breaking the bank) to monitor this way?

I have dropped back to a 6 hour photoperiod for now and will see how things progress over the coming weeks. I normally go for a slower start but as this is already very established from it's 12 hour a day drystart lighting and there wasn't any drastic transition from emersed to submersed, just good clean growth, I thought it may be safe to just get it set to normal levels.

The filter outlet is in the sweet spot I have found, plenty surface agitation and great circulation of the CO2, getting it low to the carpet. That little filter is surprisingly powerful, 400 l/h at max, I have it turned down to about halfway. It's only a sponge filter but expecting it to be enough as this is only going to be a shrimp tank and hopefully the carpet will be good enough quality to keep the water pretty fresh on it's own.

Edit: also should of said, I have Amano available in my other tanks but will introduce the RCS when they arrive and see how they get on. Want it to be an RCS only tank going forward but may stick an Amano or two in temporarily if the RCS don't cut it for initial clean up.
 

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