Mister Rons Juwel Rio 240 (2nd Attempt)

Discussion in 'Journals' started by Mister Ron, 23 Sep 2007.

  1. Mister Ron

    Mister Ron Newly Registered

    6 Sep 2007
    North East England
    Mister Rons Juwel Rio 240 (2nd Attempt)

    Hope you don't mind me putting my tank journal up here, I can only hope to eventually be as good as you guys on here.
    Although I would love too, I dont intend to attempt a full on amano aquascape, as some on here (maybe 3 or 4 tanks time :) ), however I do have a layout planned and an eventual look, which is a step ahead from my previous efforts.

    I a writing the first week's journal in past tense, having just got round to doing this please excuse and sorry in advance for any confusion.

    I moved my tank on Friday 14th Sep and after struggling to keep a planted tank on minimal outlay (DIY yeast Co2 & standard Juwel T8s), I upgraded my set up as follows:

    Lighting: Arcadia T5 High Output Plant Pro (4 * 54w tubes)
    Co2: Pressurised system from a German ebay retailer
    Substrate: API Pure Laterite (1.5kg), AquaMedic Terralit (5kg), with a layer topping off of black gravel.
    Fert: Aqua Medic Ferreal +Spureal
    Filtration: Juwel Internal + Fluval 204 external.

    My previous setup, was well clutered, with several clay pots and ornaments scattered about pretty much randomly.
    I also removed the Juwel textured background, which I felt drew attention from the tank inhabitants and plants and was also an algae magnet and virtually impossible to clean.

    After struggling to find natural decor large enough for my planned layout, I decided for an artificial log ornament as a centrepiece with no other ornaments or clutter
    I also used a plain black backing sheet.

    Plants Planned Layout:


    S: Stem Plants
    G: Grass
    R: Riccia Carpet
    L: Log
    F: Filtration

    My Plants are from Greenline.
    Rotala macranda
    Ludwigia mullerti
    Alernatherna reineckii
    Lobelia cardinalis
    Java Moss (for the log) vesicularis dubyana
    Plagiomnium pearl moss
    Riccia Fluitans
    Java Fern Microsorium Pteropus Red form.
    Eleocharis Parvalus (Dwarf hair grass)

    My initial pics post set up from firat day setup:





    Individual plant pics:

    This is update after first day set up, I shall post further updates after a week...

    Attached Files:

  2. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

    19 Jul 2007
    Lincoln UK
    Looks like a good start there.

    Would be a pity to continue with a resin ornament that looks worse over time.

    If you aren't too worried about spending for that perfect peice of wood try this place that was suggested in another thread.

    There are some seriously nice and decent sized pieces on here.

    http://stores.ebay.co.uk/RockArtSource_ ... idZ2QQtZkm

  3. Dave Spencer

    Dave Spencer Member

    3 Jul 2007
    N. Wales
    Hi Ron,

    Nice to see your journal on here. The first thing I have noticed is that you have a lot of light for such sparse planting. Do you use all the light at once, or switch it between two tube and four tube periods?

    One word of advice about your Eleocharis sp. The plants will most likely have been grown emersed, so they will probably die off initially. The dying leaves will become real algae magnets, so your best bet is to cut the grass down to near substrate level. It will look bad at first, but the new, immersed growth will start to appear pretty quickly.

    It`s a good start with some nice choice of plants.

  4. Mister Ron

    Mister Ron Newly Registered

    6 Sep 2007
    North East England
    cheers for the advice / comments,

    'fraid the other half would be les than impressed if I went and ordered another centrepiece, however I plan to cover the entire ornament with moss eventually, so hopefuly shouldn't look to bad? Tempting though, it has some god pieces on there.

    Thanks also for advice on the grass, it has indeed been getting, alot of algae, I had been brushing it off rather messily up till now. I will trim and tidy my arrangement tonight after work and hopefuly post some updated pics.

    My lights are currently on 12 hr, (all 4 tubes!) do you have any advice on length of time I should keep these on for?
    Is the idea to increase my lighting as the planting becomes estblished and more thickly planted?
  5. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    11 Jul 2007
    Chicago, USA
    Hi Ron,
    I hate being chicken little but from what you posted regarding lighting and nutrients I'll have to predict that the sky will be falling soon. Here is why I think so:

    1. 3.6 wpg for 12 hours is an awful lot of light. Plants typically use what they need in about 8-10 hours. I could see if you had carpet plants like HC or Glosso. They are so low that you sometimes need intensity to penetrate to the substrate, but you have none of that so there is no reason to start off with Las Vegas type levels.

    2. In order to support that intensity level you would really need a high, steady and stable CO2 injection rate in the region of 30 ppm. This is best monitored by a drop checker using 4 dkH distilled water. It normally takes a few days of fiddling to achieve this rate and during this time the light should be kept low. This is a critical issue and I don't see a drop checker in your photos and you haven't mentioned it.

    3. You mention the fertilizer Aqua Medic Ferreal +Spureal, which appears to be only an iron/trace mix. There is no mention of the macro nutrients. If you are depending solely on organic sources of macro nutrients (from fish and food) in a high tech tank you'll have trouble sustaining growth. Name brand fertilizers are OK as long as you use the right products but there are always more expensive that what you can achieve using dry powder obtained from AE. http://www.aquaessentials.co.uk/index.p ... th=145_146

    4. There is an awful lot of empty substrate space. You could use twice or thrice the amount of plants you have there, but I know cost is an issue. The stem plants bunches ought to be separated. It appears for example that the Althernanthera was inserted as two single clumps. If you separate them and keep each stem about one leaf length away from it's neighbor more light will reach the lower leaves as each grows. This mitigates lower leaf decay and will also give a more orderly , "military" appearance as they grow in nice neat rows. Separation between the stems will also assist in circulation so that nutrients can be brought to each and waste removal is facilitated. This becomes even more important as the plant grows and when overall circulation becomes restricted due to higher density.

    In my opinion you ought to be dosing EI or whatever scheme you choose using these powder products for best value. Right now the plants, having been grown emersed have stored energy. They will grow for a week or so using these stored nutrients, however as they make the transition to submerged growth their nutritional requirement will increase beyond what is available in the tank organically. They will begin to get stressed due to macro nutrient starvation. Additionally, the fish waste and organic matter decay that you do have will result in NH4 production.

    High light + NH4 + unstable CO2 normally equals (insert your favorite algae here).

    If you haven't already done so you should commit to a rigorous dosing scheme featuring N, P and K. It would be advisable to read the EI thread and to use that as a baseline dosing scheme. Later you can make adjustments to or deviations from the scheme as indicated by plant growth.

    I think most would agree that you should cut your lighting intensity by at least 25% and probably by 50% for the next few months. The duration should also be cut to no more than say, 10 hours, and probably 8-9 hours for a while.

    If you don't already have a drop checker and 4 dkH water I would heartily recommend getting one. You don't need the fancy one, I believe the JBL CO2 test kit includes a drop checker plus reagent. AE also sell 4 dkH water. In any case get your CO2 up to proper levels using the checker.

    I would also suggest a 50%-80% water change twice weekly for the next 6 weeks or so. The idea behind this is to minimize the organic waste in the tank. This means trimming dead, dying or algae ridden leaves and removing any floating debris which could rot. The more sources of NH4 you remove the better.

    I realize that these recommendations might sound draconian but they will go a long way in the fight against algae and to aid the well being of your plants.These methods also help your fish.

  6. Mister Ron

    Mister Ron Newly Registered

    6 Sep 2007
    North East England
    well, I have given the grass a good hair cut and reshaped it away from the front of the tank, it has caused a bit of distruption, I will wait for it to settle before taking pics of the new look as it caused a fair bit of mess.
    below are some pics I took yesterday of progress of some of my plants after a week.




    Attached Files:

  7. James Flexton

    James Flexton Member

    21 Aug 2007
    Stotfold, Herts/Beds
    ceg4048 made some great points there. the only thing i would not do is over 50% water changes. this ill effect the water chemistry too much for your fish. generally 50% is the max at any one time unless you are dealing with a drastic problem as a one off. other than that i agree with everything.

    nice progress though, pics speak for themselves.
  8. Mister Ron

    Mister Ron Newly Registered

    6 Sep 2007
    North East England
    First off, I must say that I feel completely humbled by the detail of your reply, ceg4048 :!: . The trouble for me I feel is that the more I get into this hobby the more there is to learn (understatement).

    I have tbh, shying away from the option of using dry chemical ferts, they just seemed to complicated, when I had so much to learn with regards to other aspects of the hobby, but on spending time tonight reading up on them, I am beginning to understand their use a LITTLE bit better.
    Most comments on fishy forums have concerns about the use of CO2, for me its chemicals... when I cook I always add a little bit extra ;) .

    Following up on your points.
    1. I can cut my lighting today, per your recommendation, and will change to 2 tubes lit for 10 hrs per day.

    2. I do indeed need to get a drop checker, I have been putting this purchase to the back of the list for now. Will sort this asap.

    3. I will try my hand at the dry ferts, it seems it is an integral part to what I am trying to aim for.
    N, P, K? do you think KNO3 & KH2PO4 to get on with at first, while I get my understanding sorted, or is their any other essential I should be aiming to use with my plants? I will definitely be back with more questions regarding this part!

    4. I can separate and replant my stem plants per your advice (been reading Jimboo's pruning tutorial too). You are right, cost is an issue, for me at the moment, but its also a case of not overloading myself with plant details and requirements (that was my idea anyway) I will see what it is like after the replant, if necessary I may purchase a few new Tropica plants from my local “pets at home”, They have some very small cuttings of Rotala rotundifolia in store which I have had my eye on.

    Finally I will go for the 50% water change, and keep posted on my goings on! I would also like to say thanks again for your and everyones advice on this matter. :D
  9. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    11 Jul 2007
    Chicago, USA
    Hi Ron,
    Glad that you found the data useful. There's always more to learn. I reckon when you stop learning it's time to get a different hobby. You're correct in your assessment that the dry ferts are intergral to the EI objectives. It's not however that the objectives can't be met with commercial ferts (many people use them successfully), it's just that the average commercial fert bottle contains 98% water so there is an economic imperative. Every 50p saved buys me one more stem :lol:

    Dry chemical use appears intimidating at first but you'll find that all the science has been done for you already. I have a post in this recent thread where I tried to summarize the objectives and origin of EI dosing - http://ukaps.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=1831#1831

    It turns out I guess that my post was irrelevant to the original question in that thread but the information there is still useful.

    The data from the original experiments is used in various software programs which you can download but the basic numbers are scaled from the original tank size. I used "nutricalc" and plugged in 240 liters. The results are as follows:

    3X weekly
    3/4 teaspoon KNO3
    3/16 teaspoon KH2PO4
    Your Aqumedic Surreal + Foreal should be dosed on alternate days.

    Each time you do the water change the tank is considered "reset" and the dosing sequence begins anew after new water is filled.

    If you are using tap water then you probably have sufficient calcium and magnesium. If you are using distilled, RO or rainwater then you'd want to add a teaspoon or so per week of a powder called GH+ Booster. Remember that these are just the baseline numbers and you may find that you need more or that you can do with less. Plant growth and appearance determines this. Also remember that you don't ever need to worry how to dole out 0.1875 teaspoon of KH2PO4 or any other rediculous fraction of a teaspoon. Just eyeball it - it's called the "Estimative" Index for good reason.

    Some prefer a more controlled approach and more accurate dosing schema but this requires the use of test kits, which can be expensive and which may require regular calibration. Beautiful tanks are produced using either method as long as the fundamental priciples are understood and followed.

    The thing about the dry chemicals which still appears to frighten some folks is, as you have alluded to, the possibility of overdose due to uncertainty or error. The fact is that these particular chemicals are orders of magnitude safer for plants and fauna than many of the products currently being used in aquariums such as acid buffers and the like. In fact they are simple salts. I think I can state without reservation that CO2 dosing requires much more technical prowess to get correct dosing than any of the dry chemicals do.

    You know, "Pets-are-Home" is annoying because they only ever dedicate at most 20% of their floor space to aquatics. The remaining space seems to be always reserved for dogs and assorted vermin. Their selection of fish is abysmal however, incredibly, I have found nice Tropica plants there. Amazing. Grab the Rotalas while the grabbing is good...

  10. beeky

    beeky Member

    21 Aug 2007
    Chippenham, Wiltshire
    Regarding P@H, I went to my local one recently for the first time as I'd heard that they sold Tropica plants. I was amazed when I found most of the them piled up on each other to one side with most of them just a rotting mass, and most of the labels missing. I can't understand how they justify this amount of wastage.

    I did manage to find one half decent pot which I think is Mayaca (could be wrong!), but I asked the bloke there if I could have a skim of the debris on the top of water as well. He didn't care (he thought I was mad) and I ended up with about half a dozen free stems of cabomba, alternanthera and bacopa. At least, I think that's what they are!

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