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New Aquascaper 900 Problems....

Grjones

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28 Dec 2021
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8
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London
I have been aquascaping for a number of years with a 45P sized aquarium and have some knowledge of running planted tanks with CO2. Earlier this year I decided to upgrade and go for the Aquascaper 900 with Twinstar 900 III light system, Oase 850 Thermo with inline CO2 diffusion. Planted using Tropica Substrate and tropica plants. Riverwood used as decor. To say I have had a new tank nightmare is probably an under estimation. The first few weeks were absolutely fine, running the lights at 50% with some CO2 being injected. At this stage I didnt know how much was being injected in the tank.

After week 3, I noticed that some of the Elecharis Montevidenis grass going brown and dying off. After a few days, I decided to pull it out and saw that this had rotted. At the same time, I noticed that some of the Elocharis Mini Hairgrass has done the same. as the days progressed, I saw my buces melt and the leaves dropped off too. I spoke to the retailer and it was observed that possibly my CO2 was too low. I increased this and purchased some new plants, replanted and it happened again. I checked the CO2 levels and it appears they still may be too low with not enough CO2 getting around the tank.

Week Five and I have started to see some slight green algae appear - This was a tell tale sign that either my lights were too bright at 65%, still not enough CO2, or the fact plants were decaying causing an ammonia spike 0.25. I took action and started to do regular water changes, scrubbed the algae off, cut out all the decaying plants, reduced light to 50% and increased CO2 incrementally until the drop checker was green when lights come on.

I have measured the PH prior to lights coming on - so the schedule looks like this:

09:30 - PH 7.2 (using the API Test Kit)
10.30 - CO2 comes on
11:30 - PH 6.8
13:30 - Lights come on - PH 6.8
15:30 PH 6.6

Reduced the temp to 22.C and am dosing 5ml of APT Zero daily from 2HrAqaurist

I am at the monitoring stage now to see how things stabalise - but do you think the process above is right? Would anyone have done anything else?
 
Last edited:

KirstyF

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25 Jul 2021
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468
Location
Kidderminster
I would certainly agree that getting your Co2 stable and keeping lights lower is a good place to start and regular WC’s will help to manage waste and minimise algae, particularly with plants melting early on.

To share my personal experience, I have kept lights at 40-50%, completed 50% WC’s for the first 10 days and I’m still doing two per week (I’m using DIY EI ferts) however, I’ve also had a regulator fail twice for extended periods in the 5 weeks my tank has been running so my Co2 has been all over the place. My replacement regulator arrived today so I’m about to start again and will be aiming for a 1 unit drop by lights on and then a steady ph through to lights off.

A 1 unit drop is not essential for all tanks but probably a good level to start at so you might want to look at increasing your Co2 further and running your profiles right through to lights off.

I found doing full regular PH profiles with a calibrated PH pen invaluable in getting the Co2 dialled in the last couple of times, so will be doing this again with the new regulator.

I have experienced melt on a number of plants. This may be related to the inconsistent Co2 as well as partly the natural adaption process.

I have, so far, had pretty much no algae, bar a small amount of diatoms (which I would expect in a new tank) and I am convinced that the lower light and WC’s have been the primary reason for this.

I would also say, however, don’t be too quick to pull plants out, they may surprise you. If it’s rotting then yes, best to remove; I had to remove some Monte Carlo which was completely beyond saving but…..see below:

The Buce that melted off a good proportion of their ‘old’ leaves are sprouting new ones.

E4910D42-88DD-4569-920D-FCB6F17C3DFA.jpeg 49B5EC98-23A3-41C7-ABC1-F7A5FA9964EB.jpeg

The dwarf hair grass in the second picture looked more like the first picture a couple of weeks ago but it’s recovering and I’m expecting the patches that I have that are still looking a bit ropey, Will catch up.

A070D1CE-6C17-4618-A44B-883E3E297B83.jpeg
5DE1D72A-2B58-44D5-93B6-53754B6D8253.jpeg

The pogostemon helferi old leaves started looking pretty rough but new bright growth is coming through.

6A884DEC-254F-4137-A425-F292B2A6A234.jpeg

There are lots of folks with more experience than I who will no doubt chip in, but I would say ur current plan is on the right track and will help to give you some more wriggle room whilst you get your Co2 sorted.

Best of luck 😊
 

Grjones

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Thread starter
Joined
28 Dec 2021
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8
Location
London
I would certainly agree that getting your Co2 stable and keeping lights lower is a good place to start and regular WC’s will help to manage waste and minimise algae, particularly with plants melting early on.

To share my personal experience, I have kept lights at 40-50%, completed 50% WC’s for the first 10 days and I’m still doing two per week (I’m using DIY EI ferts) however, I’ve also had a regulator fail twice for extended periods in the 5 weeks my tank has been running so my Co2 has been all over the place. My replacement regulator arrived today so I’m about to start again and will be aiming for a 1 unit drop by lights on and then a steady ph through to lights off.

A 1 unit drop is not essential for all tanks but probably a good level to start at so you might want to look at increasing your Co2 further and running your profiles right through to lights off.

I found doing full regular PH profiles with a calibrated PH pen invaluable in getting the Co2 dialled in the last couple of times, so will be doing this again with the new regulator.

I have experienced melt on a number of plants. This may be related to the inconsistent Co2 as well as partly the natural adaption process.

I have, so far, had pretty much no algae, bar a small amount of diatoms (which I would expect in a new tank) and I am convinced that the lower light and WC’s have been the primary reason for this.

I would also say, however, don’t be too quick to pull plants out, they may surprise you. If it’s rotting then yes, best to remove; I had to remove some Monte Carlo which was completely beyond saving but…..see below:

The Buce that melted off a good proportion of their ‘old’ leaves are sprouting new ones.

View attachment 179111View attachment 179112

The dwarf hair grass in the second picture looked more like the first picture a couple of weeks ago but it’s recovering and I’m expecting the patches that I have that are still looking a bit ropey, Will catch up.

View attachment 179113
View attachment 179114

The pogostemon helferi old leaves started looking pretty rough but new bright growth is coming through.

View attachment 179115

There are lots of folks with more experience than I who will no doubt chip in, but I would say ur current plan is on the right track and will help to give you some more wriggle room whilst you get your Co2 sorted.

Best of luck 😊
Thank you so much for the reply. I’ve been measuring the Ph for a few days using the api test kit. From lights on it’s been a steady 6.6 up until lights out. I’d be interested to know what pen you use. There’s so many out there, cheap and expensive but your recommendation would be good.

Do you think a drop from 7.6 to 6.6 on lights on is a satisfactory level? This may need to be carefully monitored with a Ph pen.
I’ve kept some of the buces in so fingers crossed they recover.
 

KirstyF

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25 Jul 2021
Messages
468
Location
Kidderminster
Re PH pen - I bought this one from Amazon for £50 based on recommendation as Hanna are fairly reliable bits of kit, although the sachets of buffer solution that come with it won’t last long.

Easy to use, easy to calibrate and seems to be doing the job.

There are cheaper pens out there but can’t vouch for their reliability/consistency and you can certainly spend more money very easily. I’d say this is probably a reasonably happy medium without breaking the bank.

Brand: Hanna Instruments
Hanna Instruments HI-98103 Checker pH Tester with pH Electrode and Batteries, 0.00 to 14.00 pH, -0.2 pH Accuracy, 0.01 pH Resolution

I bought the Gro-line buffers direct from Hanna instruments uk but they are £16 a bottle so you could probably get cheaper.

You will need a 7.01ph buffer for single point calibration and a 4.01ph as well, for two point calibration.

I’ve got both and the bottles should last a good while.

Also make sure you don’t store the pen with the tip dry. You can use some of the buffer solution or buy storage solution and just put a few drops in the little rubber ‘tip cap’ when you store it.

Do you think a drop from 7.6 to 6.6 on lights on is a satisfactory level? This may need to be carefully monitored with a Ph pen.

You mentioned a starting point of 7.2 in your post, which is why I suggested a bit more Co2 but if you’re starting at 7.6 and dropping to 6.6 then that should be fine.

Standard wisdom (views may differ 😊) is that its just as important to keep the levels stable throughout photo period as it is to get the right amount at lights on, so the PH pen has been fab for that. I am testing every hr from gas on til lights out, for a full profile.

I’ve kept some of the buces in so fingers crossed they recover.

I’ve had a bit of melt on almost all of my buce, (the one in the image I posted was the worst) but they are getting there, and I’ve not actually lost any, despite newly planted tank and the hopeless Co2 issues I’ve had, so keep the faith and hopefully yours will make it through. 🤞😊
 

Cd2021

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20 Feb 2021
Messages
79
Location
Hampshire
Hi GrJones,

I’d agree with Kirsty and certainly recommend a Pen rather than a test kit.

Before starting your PH profile I’d recommend taking a sample of water out of the tank for 12-24 hours. This will give you your actual in tank PH then aim for the PH drop of 1 at lights on.

Regarding fertiliser why are you using APT zero? Do you have high nitrates from the tap?

I’d recommend dropping your light percentage and photo period until you rectify your co2 issues. How are you injecting?

What was your water change schedule for the first few weeks of the tank? Do you have live stock on there?

I have the same size tank as you, and mines been running just over a week. Running Oase Biomaster 350 and 600, Chihiros wrgb2 light at 30% for just 6 hours per day currently, co2 art inline diffuser.

Thanks
Chris
 

Grjones

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28 Dec 2021
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Hi Chris, Thank you for replying. I am going to buy. pen off of Amazon today. Whilst the API test kit has helped, my drop checkers were yellow at the end of the photo period so I may need a more accurate reading to support with this. I do have livestock, 5 Amano Shrimp, 5 Otos and 6 Tetra. At the time they went in the tank was cycled with 0 Ammonia and 0 nitrite.

My water schedule from day one was 50-60% every day for the first week. 50-60% every other day for the second week and so on until week 4. I actually kept the water changes to twice weekly as this will be my regular maintenance anyway. I have completed a 60% water change today because the ammonia is still higher than I would want it. It was 1.0 this morning. Following a water change I have managed to reduce it to 0.25. I am not sure if this is still because of waste build up or fluctuating CO2. I have removed the decay and syphon waste from the bottom of the tank. My Nitrite levels are 0.....

I am using APT Zero because my nitrates tap water content is really high.

I am running inline C02 with an inline diffuser.

I have done as suggested and lowered the light to 40%.

Thanks,
 

John q

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6 Jan 2021
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Lancashire
Hiya mate, a picture of the tank would be super helpful and we can't always rely on test kits, but based on the comments below I'd suggest you do another water change today. Hopefully I've misread something and I'm worrying about the live stock needlessly.
I do have livestock, 5 Amano Shrimp, 5 Otos and 6 Tetra. At the time they went in the tank was cycled with 0 Ammonia and 0 nitrite.

I have completed a 60% water change today because the ammonia is still higher than I would want it. It was 1.0 this morning. Following a water change I have managed to reduce it to 0.25.

Do you use prime to condition the water?
 

Grjones

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Hiya mate, a picture of the tank would be super helpful and we can't always rely on test kits, but based on the comments below I'd suggest you do another water change today. Hopefully I've misread something and I'm worrying about the live stock needlessly.
Hi ya, thanks. I will do another water change... I can move the fish to another tank if need be. I do use Prime to condition the water yes.

I have attached a couple of photos for reference.
 

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John q

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OK, could well be I'm panicking without cause.

You have a decent plant mass, including floaters so they're certainly going to help mop up any ammonia that's present. The prime itself has also been known to cause false positive readings for ammonia.

If the fish look healthy, no red gills and behaviour seems normal then i wouldn't move them, doing extra water changes won't do any harm but might not be needed in this instance.
 

Grjones

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Thats the mad thing, the fish are healthy.... darting around, no signs of stress. stock is low in any case. Thanks.
 

Cd2021

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Hi,

Yeah good idea, water changes aren't going to harm it.

Whilst you're waiting for your pen, id get the sample sorted at least then it'll give you the start point of what you're aiming for. Excessive rain and seasons will impact this slightly but this should give you your base level at least.

Your plants and tank look great, don't get to caught up on the pictures you see on social media and with some of the You Tube images. These are heavily edited you're pretty much always going to have some algae.

Just out of curiosity, what bubbles per second are you running and what is the hardness of your water?

Thanks
Chris
 

Grjones

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Hi Chris, water changes done and again this morning. I’m running approx 4 bubbles per second, there abouts.
 
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