New London Planted Aquarium HELP

GlenD

Member
Joined
26 Jun 2019
Messages
163
Location
London
Hello Guys, I'm new here.

I've been fish-keeping for around 13 years. I've had tropical, African cichlids, full reef systems etc... in the past, but never planted. At present I have a bog standard tropical setup in a Fluval Roma 200 (may upgrade to Juwel Rio 350 or similar).

I want to give a low tech planted setup a go. I have not done this in the past, because of London's hard, high PH and high nitrate water. But I have an RO unit and a simple 50/50 RO/tap should bring things down to reasonable levels. I haven't tested tap water in some time, but its approximately TDS 480, PH is 7.8-8.2 , GH 17+, KH 12+, NO3 30-50ppm. So a 50/50 mix should bring things down to TDS 250, PH is 7.6-7.8 , GH 9, KH 6, NO3 15-25ppm. Would the 50/50 mix be a better option?

Second question is substrate, I have read we need 3" deep? regular gravel, or one of the nutrient rich ones? pro's/con's?

Third question... depending on the above substrate, would I need to dose nutrients? I have no interest in having to dose daily.

I'm good with lighting it'll be the standard units, with the Arcadia T8 30w LED replacements tubes x 2 and then one or two extra full width LEDs. I don't want to overdo it.

Water changes, I currently do 20% every two weeks.

Fish, are normal tropical community fish.

Plants, nothing too difficult! I'll be looking for the EASY one vals etc..

Thanks
 

dw1305

Expert
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
10,455
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
I want to give a low tech planted setup a go. I have not done this in the past, because of London's hard, high PH and high nitrate water. But I have an RO unit and a simple 50/50 RO/tap should bring things down to reasonable levels. I haven't tested tap water in some time, but its approximately TDS 480, PH is 7.8-8.2 , GH 17+, KH 12+, NO3 30-50ppm. So a 50/50 mix should bring things down to TDS 250, PH is 7.6-7.8 , GH 9, KH 6, NO3 15-25ppm. Would the 50/50 mix be a better option?
Like @Arana says there is nothing to stop you using 100% tap.

You can get water figures from your water supplier, but it won't be far different from the values you've quoted.

Rather than using a set proportion of RO water my suggestion would be to get the tank running, with acceptable plant growth and fish health, and then measure the TDS (really conductivity) value of the tank water. It should give you a datum range of TDS values, <"near the "sweet-spot">, if levels climb you can just add some more RO to keep them in the right range.

The real difference between a planted tank and a non-planted one is that the level of nitrate falls over time as the plants take it up, rather than it just accumulating.

The other factor, that non-planted aquarium keepers often don't fully appreciate, is that "plant/microbe" bio-filtration is much more efficient than "microbe only" filtration. There are a number of reasons for this, have a look at <"Setting up ....">
.........Third question... depending on the above substrate, would I need to dose nutrients? I have no interest in having to dose daily.
Have a look at the <"Duckweed Index">.

cheers Darrel
 

GlenD

Member
Joined
26 Jun 2019
Messages
163
Location
London

GlenD

Member
Joined
26 Jun 2019
Messages
163
Location
London
Ok I'm still keen on the 50/50 RO/Tap mix. Anybody in London doing this?

Substrate, I think I'd like to try the Wetlands Aquatic Compost / Wetlands Irish Moss Peat 1:1 mix, capped with gravel or sand.
 

Chrispowell

Member
Joined
18 Apr 2014
Messages
287
I'm in Reading so still use Thames water, I cut with Ro but use straight tap to begin as the plants love the mineral rich water.

I only introduce to as I find the calcium a pain! I just aim for a tds of 150 and then if the tds rises above 200 (normally around a week later) I do a water change and again ain for 150

Chris
 

GlenD

Member
Joined
26 Jun 2019
Messages
163
Location
London
Hi Chris, thanks for the info.

Is that just with a handheld TDS meter? When tank gets to 200 and you do the water change, are you mixing RO/Tap to 150 TDS of adding straight RO until the tank reaches 150?

i.e. if the tank is at 200 and your mix is 150 and the goal (in tank) is 150. That would require a 100% water change no? i.e 50% change using TDS150 water when the tank is at 200, would yield a tank TDS of 175.

Sorry for being an idiot, I just want to make sure I'm on the right track....
 

Chrispowell

Member
Joined
18 Apr 2014
Messages
287
I would top up with ro water and then add minerals to get the tds back up.

I dont really add any tap anymore as that requires lifting a bucket . Most water changes I do are 50% with pure RO water and then varying amounts of shrimp king gh+kh to hit that 150
 

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