Lava rocks, 20 liters

parotet

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Hi all

Here’s another project, this time for testing some new things I have never done: using rocks (!), using a ceramic diffuser, high light, soft water and a fertilization approach mainly based on a rich substrate and lean fert regime.

Tank: 36x27x26 cm. 25ish liters (real volume: 15 liters)
2 liters of ADA AquaSoil
2,5 kg of lava rocks
Led light (Blau Aquaristic Nano Led. No PAR readings available, 21x0.5W leds, 11,000 lux at 25 cm)
Ceramic diffuser attached to a 2 kg CO2 cylinder
Nano CalAqua lily pipes
JBL e401 filter (400 lph, completely packed with filtering media, around 3 liters)
Weekly 50% WC (7 liters): 50% RO + 50% (hard) tap water (gives something around 4dKH)

Plants:
Eleocharis mini
Micranthemum spec. ´Montecarlo´
Hygrophila pinnatifida
Rotala indica (Rotala “red”, with narrow, small and red leaves)
Some bits of Bolbitis hedeulotii
Some bits of Christmas moss
Some bits of a moss found in a fountain (Fontinalis antipyretica?)


From the aesthetic point of view the aim is to create a mixed carpet of Eleocharis, Monte Carlo and mosses in the foreground that hopefully will climb upwards and will fill the spaces between the lava rocks. In the mid and background I want H. pinnatifida and Rotala indica (trimmed very short) to give a red contrast… but, let’s see what I can achieve! As mentioned the priority is to test some new equipment and techniques to gain more experience.

The tank was set up 12 days ago. All the plants are doing very well. Rotala indica has still the emersed form but growing really fast. For the moment I am just adding daily a few drops of a DIY K2SO4 solution (gives 17 ppm K+ weekly) and DIY micros (gives around 0,1 ppm Fe weekly)…. Plants will tell if they need anything else in the future.


Short clip!


Jordi
 
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karla

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Thats very nice, the tank looks similar to the tank I am using now. I am a bit jelly of your aquascaping skills, I have no ability at all and no eye for a nice layout.
 

parotet

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I am a bit jelly of your aquascaping skills, I have no ability at all and no eye for a nice layout.
Well I would say that aquascaping is not my skill... Actually the tank looks rather plain in the picture compared to what can be seen when you are in front of it. It is my first try of doing "something else than having just plants or some bits of wood", but I am not patient enough to spend a whole week changing the rocks and taking pictures to see how it looks (I have to work harder on this). Another thing I've learnt is that sometimes you get lost in details when doing your hardscape (how to place a small rock in the base of driftwood, how to place a rock, etc.), but in some tanks this can be swallowed by plants very easily, and it is difficult to say in which parts of the hardscape you have to focus and that will be really important in the final layout. My hope is that this will happen in the future and my poor hardscape will be enhanced by plants!

Jordi
 

parotet

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20 days! I had to trim the background and plants are doing very well. Quick shots with the phone...

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Jordi
 

karla

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It is very interesting. Your light seems very bright. I recently purchased an 11 watt unit that appears very dim in comparison, I was not happy with it at all.
Your tank is filling in nicely and looks very healthy.
 

parotet

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It is very interesting. Your light seems very bright. I recently purchased an 11 watt unit that appears very dim in comparison, I was not happy with it at all.
Your tank is filling in nicely and looks very healthy.
I cannot tell you too much about the light, as far as I know there are no PAR readings of this model. I only know the wattage (11w) and intensity (11,000 lux at 40 cm). IMO it's a bit less brighter than AquaSky 361 but brighter than PL bulbs used in these setups, that's why I think it may be medium to high light.

Jordi
 

parotet

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My worst pH profile in my best planted tank so far... :confused:
26 days of nice and healthy growth, 2 trimming sessions and no algae. Fingers crossed!

3 dKH, 12 dGH, 400-500 microsiemens, 50% WC, DC blue when lights on (greenish 2 hours later), pH drop at lights on barely 0.5 (max. 0.7)

17159698801_876006acf6_c.jpg

Jordi
 

EnderUK

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My worst pH profile in my best planted tank so far... :confused:
26 days of nice and healthy growth, 2 trimming sessions and no algae. Fingers crossed!

3 dKH, 12 dGH, 400-500 microsiemens, 50% WC, DC blue when lights on (greenish 2 hours later), pH drop at lights on barely 0.5 (max. 0.7)

Jordi

I've had this discussion with Big Clown over pms as we have similar dKH in our water. The drop checker refuses to work and if I try to get a pH drop of 1 I end up killing my fish :( I really wouldn't try chasing the 30ppm in low KH water it's much much harder. I drop mine down from 6.4 to 5.8 as any more my rainbows start clinging to the surface. However if you look at the inaccurate KH-pH-CO2 charts you should be in the 100+ ppm range :D

Plants look great, I would say you have the balance right.
 

Andy Thurston

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I've had this discussion with Big Clown over pms as we have similar dKH in our water. The drop checker refuses to work and if I try to get a pH drop of 1 I end up killing my fish :( I really wouldn't try chasing the 30ppm in low KH water it's much much harder. I drop mine down from 6.4 to 5.8 as any more my rainbows start clinging to the surface. However if you look at the inaccurate KH-pH-CO2 charts you should be in the 100+ ppm range :D

Plants look great, I would say you have the balance right.
not sure about the dc working or not but fish and plants are a much better indicator, there's no delay with live stock if its too much they will let you know, and if there's not enough your plants will let you know. just use your ph profile to time your injection period.

You could start injecting co2 a little earlier Jordi but you might need to stop it earlier too. co2 is more critical at the start of the photoperiod, at one stage my co2 turned off 4.5 hours before the lights.
As the tank looks healthy I would be tempted to leave well alone, if it aint broke don't fix it
 

parotet

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As the tank looks healthy I would be tempted to leave well alone, if it aint broke don't fix it
That's what I will do. Plants are doing very well: no sign of algae and good growth rate... At least with this combination of parameters and for the moment, no more CO2 is needed and plants do well without adding macros. My idea is to give the tank what it needs but when it will need it. Hope I am not playing with fire!

Jordi
 

Jose

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So, Parotet do you think soft water is making a difference here as compared to your previous setups. Or do you think its something else?
 

parotet

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So, Parotet do you think soft water is making a difference here as compared to your previous setups. Or do you think its something else?
Good question Jose... but honestly I cannot tell too much. On the one hand, even I look for them I cannot see a single algae on the tank, the pH profile is the worst I've ever had, I do not use a spraybar but small lily pipes that deliver a non perfect flow, I use a less effective co2 diffusion system than used until now, and although doing 1xWC 50% weekly regarding maintenance, it is less than what I'm used to do (2xWC 50%) in my hard water tanks. All this would lead to saying "yes, this makes the difference". But on the other hand, the layout is quite young (nearly 1 month) and there has been no time for debris built up and so on. So time will tell.

However I'm probably understanding now what some experienced aquascapers mean when saying that it is perfectly possible to grow plants in all kind of waters (it is for sure) but that it is easier in soft water. Why? No idea, I don't know if I am right and it seems that there is no scientific evidence behind, but I can grow the same plants I grow in hard water being "less accurate" on the layout management.

Jordi
 

Jose

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This would explain a lot. Ive just turned to half RO water as well and I believe Im noticing the results already but cant say for sure.
 
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There is opinion that when you use RO water you have more control over water chemistry parameters, so it's easier to make the water your plant will like. I can say that e.g. hygro pinnatifida is not very easy to grow in our local tap water, but no problems at all with remineralized RO.
 
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