My first planted tank, a 200L set up.

willjones

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18 May 2008
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Here it is, not very professional compared to some of the amazing tanks you see on this site, but it definitely brightens up my dining room anyway!
Tank specs as follows: Roma 240 (approx 40G), flourite substrate, 2 x 40W T8 tubes on 10 hours per day, Eheim pro II 2026 filter, CO2 approx 20ppm, pH 6.7, KH 4, dose ferropol (20ml per week) and tpn+ (5 ml three times per week), UV steriliser, in-line heater. CO2 is bubbled into the intake of the filter, no other reactor used.
Occupants are; the surivors of a 4ft collection from greenline (haven't got the hang of the names yet!), 20 odd cardinals, 10 pencilfishes, 4 cory's, 1 bristlenose, 1 chinese algae eater and 1 small angelfish sulking somewhere.
Taken up this hobby in the last 6 months, and have really enjoyed the challenge. Aquarium stand is home made, it's made with a pine frame, with oak veneer glued ontop, and hard wood used for the door frames and top.
I'm quite pleased with the tank overall, but a little disappointed with the plant growth to be honest. I'm thinking of upgrading my lighting to t5's, or perhaps just replacing the t8 tubes which could be worn out.
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Pencilfishes are trying to breed, but get their eggs promptly eaten by an array of hungry mouths, interesting to watch though!
Keen to add a couple of dward cichlids, perhaps apistogammas, not decided yet.
Constructive criticism gratefully recieved!
 

GreenNeedle

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Looks OK to me. Lights is fine for the plants you have and should be OK for some of the 'high light' ones too. Maybe not the Rotala Macrandras etc. but I don't see the point in upgrading.

Plants look lush so they must be getting what they want already. Maybe you are wanting them to grow faster but they will in time reach what you are after and this will mean it is easier to keep tidy.

Couple of questions - Is there a reason for you using the Ph controller? Not great for a CO2 injected tank because it will keep turning the CO2 on and off!!

Also is there a reason for dosing Ferropol and Tropica PN+. I would've though TPN+ on its own would be better and cheaper as it would enable you to buy a larger bottle (I am thinking of the 5ltr) which would last much longer of course but reduce the cost substantially.

Dose of TPN+ seems about right on it's own to me, maybe with a little potassium phosphate added as TPN+ is a little low on this.

7ish Ph should be fine for Apistos.

Nice start and cool looking setup.

Andy
 

GreenNeedle

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100% plageurised from JamesC. lol He told me a while back. I am no chemist. lol

By adding I should explain I meant adding a small pinch a couple of times a week and not adding it to the Tropica bottle.

Andy
 

jay

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Really nice layout. Not much I can see you would need to do,
Just keep a nice constant maintenance and let the plants grow out and then trim out a scape.

guuuud :)

Did you buy the vallis that size or has it shot up since you got it?
 
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definitely loose the PH controller and buy a drop checker.

nice start though :) will be nice to see it when the midground is a bit more matured.
 

willjones

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SuperColey1 said:
by SuperColey1 on Fri Jul 04, 2008 7:33 pm
Looks OK to me. Lights is fine for the plants you have and should be OK for some of the 'high light' ones too. Maybe not the Rotala Macrandras etc. but I don't see the point in upgrading.
Great, that's reassuring, I can avoid the expense of upgrading the lighting now.
SuperColey1 said:
Plants look lush so they must be getting what they want already. Maybe you are wanting them to grow faster but they will in time reach what you are after and this will mean it is easier to keep tidy.
Thanks, plants do seem to be going ok, just getting a bit of the black hair algae, not easy to see in the pics, am hoping that as the plants thicken out, this may discourage the algae.
SuperColey1 said:
Couple of questions - Is there a reason for you using the Ph controller? Not great for a CO2 injected tank because it will keep turning the CO2 on and off!!
Got the pH controller at the start when I didn't realise that it wasn't necessary. Bit of an unnecessary expense. It actually works pretty well though, it just switches the solenoid on all day whilst the lights are on, and switches it off overnight when the pH drops. When the probe dies, I'll just use a timer, but left it there in the meantime because it's not causing any problems. I've also started using a drop checker with 4dKH water which is lime green day and night.
SuperColey1 said:
Also is there a reason for dosing Ferropol and Tropica PN+. I would've though TPN+ on its own would be better and cheaper as it would enable you to buy a larger bottle (I am thinking of the 5ltr) which would last much longer of course but reduce the cost substantially.
Useful to know, I won't bother with the ferropol any more. I have bought some dry salts and will try making up my own fertiliser solution when I've got some time to think about it! In the meantime, any idea how much potassium phosphate dose as well as the TPN+ (do 40% water changes twice in three weeks approx)?
SuperColey1 said:
7ish Ph should be fine for Apistos.

Nice start and cool looking setup.
Thanks very much, advice is much appreciated,

William
 

willjones

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jay said:
Really nice layout. Not much I can see you would need to do,
Just keep a nice constant maintenance and let the plants grow out and then trim out a scape.

guuuud :)

Did you buy the vallis that size or has it shot up since you got it?

Cheers for the feedback. No I just had a couple of small vallis plants at the start, but they sent out runners and have grown pretty well. I have to chop the tops off every week otherwise they'd block out all the light!
 

willjones

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Matt Holbrook-Bull said:
will be nice to see it when the midground is a bit more matured.

Yep, should come together abit if the midground fills out abit. Did a bit of serious pruning recently to get rid of some plants which were getting out of control, so hopefully with a bit of "breathing room" they'll come through.
 

GreenNeedle

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If you are continuing with the TPN+ for a while I would just add a small pinch (about the same as the end of the handle of a teaspoon) of Pot Phos a couple of times a week.

You say that the Ph controller is working fine but I would guess that it is partly to blame for the 'black hair algae' which is probs BBA or Staghorn. Cause of these 2 is most commonly a CO2 issue. Another cause could be that your filter is a little underpowered seeing as it is 950lph at max flow. You would want closer to 2000lph max on your tank. This would mean after allowing for flow reduction etc it would be turning over 1100lph plus or minus a little.

Andy
 

keymaker

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Now this confuses me a lot:

SuperColey1 said:
... using the Ph controller ... Not great for a CO2 injected tank because it will keep turning the CO2 on and off!!

Matt Holbrook-Bull said:
definitely loose the PH controller and buy a drop checker.

Can you please tell me more about this? I've been reading for the past 6 months too (alot), but this is very new to me. I also own a PH controller, which I will have to trash - is this what you're saying?

SuperColey1 said:
You say that the Ph controller is working fine but I would guess that it is partly to blame for the 'black hair algae' which is probs BBA or Staghorn.

I guess a PH controller will add to the CO2 fluctuation in the tank, thus promoting algae growth. Am I right? Ok, so what if one uses only a solenoid valve to turn off the CO2 during off-light hours? Doesn't that do the same with CO2? I know that CO2 is not being absorbed by the plants at night, but then the current setup for willjones does the exact same thing (switching off for the night). Help me out here, I'm really confused. :)
 

neil1973

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6 Jul 2007
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I personally use a ph controller and find it quite handy as it enables you to maintain a fixed level of co2 in the tank irrespective of changes in plant biomass, water surface movement etc. I think where people go wrong with them is by paying too much attention to the actual numbers and then trying to link these to kh etc. My method is to gradually reduce the ph, and therefore increase the co2, very slowly i.e. 0.1 -0.2 ph units per day and watch the fish very carefully. As soon as the any of the fish start to slightly increased respiration rates I back off a little. You could also use a drop checker and again treat the ph meter as a means of increasing or decreasing the co2 until you hit the desired level. I posted something similar to this on a barrreport thread that may be of interest:
http://www.barrreport.com/co2-aquatic-p ... controller
cheers
Neil
 

keymaker

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JAmesM, thank you for the link. Yes, I've been there before. I also use a drop checker in my nano tank and plan to use one in my bigger tank too, just was a bit confused about the necessity of the controller. I might do what neil1973 suggested (thanks Neil) and keep the controller and set the PH using fish, plant pearling and the drop checker as a reference.

What confused me in the first place was that I fear the regular on/off automatic switching of the CO2 by the controller solenoid valve during the day will cause fluctuations, thus promoting staghorn algae growth for example. I wonder if that's a threat with these controllers.
 

willjones

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18 May 2008
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Just an update on the tank. I've made a few changes... The vallis was growing like crazy and I got fed up of cutting it back so I pulled it all up. Moved around the other plants abit as you can see.
My water became very soft and acidic for some reason, pH 5.8 to 6.0 (despite water changes with tapwater pH 7.2). My cardinals spawned in these conditions, and the pencil fishes stopped spawning. Also the apistogrammas have spawned a few times that I've seen. Unfortunately all the eggs were eaten voraciously by the other fish! The apistogrammas tried to protect theirs but the bristlenose catfish made short work of them!
I've now added some crushed coral to bring the KH and pH up a bit, I thought the plants might have been suffering in the soft water.
My fertilisation is not very scientific, I add TPN 5mls few times a week and pinches of KPO4 and KNO3 dry salts when I feel like it. I now have CO2 running on a timer as suggested. I think the usage of CO2 has increased though, because the indicator is never lime green anymore, more like royal blue. However the plants seem to grow ok, so I haven't bothered fiddling with it.
Have been thinking of putting some Discus in the tank. Does anyone know a good supplier in / near Cardiff?
I was thinking of 4-5 smallish discus, is the tank large enough (240L)?
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