PFK Tank

Discussion in 'Aquascaping' started by zig, 11 Oct 2007.

  1. zig

    zig Member

    Messages:
    686
    Location:
    Dublin Ireland
    This layout won the 2007 PFK aquascaping competition for the over 60cm category

    The spec
    150l tank approx 40 US gallons
    Size 75 x 45 x 45cm
    Eheim 2215
    Lighting 2x55W PCs
    Substrate-Gravel
    DIY external CO2 reactor
    5kg CO2 fire extinguisher
    Dosing method PPS PRO

    The tank was started on the 13th May 2007 and it was grown out specifically for the competition. These are just the different growout stages from start to finish.

    Take your pick and make it happen

    1.jpg

    Basic hardscape

    2.jpg

    Bolbitis

    3.jpg

    Tieing up the driftwood

    4.jpg

    About a week in

    IMG_3211.jpg

    Maybe 4-5 weeks in

    8.jpg

    Finished about mid August so 3 months total growout time

    Final shot

    Image1AAcopy.jpg
     
  2. James Flexton

    James Flexton Member

    Messages:
    358
    Location:
    Stotfold, Herts/Beds
    thats a cracking tank mate very well done, a worthy winner. thanks for sharing this, what are you going to do with all those plants from the prize? i'm looking forward to many more wonderful scapes. the skys the limit hey! :D
     
  3. Dave Spencer

    Dave Spencer Member

    Messages:
    1,389
    Location:
    N. Wales
    Great looking tank, Zig! George has good taste, and he gave your Iwagumi fair break as well.

    Congratulations old chum.

    Dave.
     
  4. zig

    zig Member

    Messages:
    686
    Location:
    Dublin Ireland
    Thanks very much guys I appreciate the comments. I was surprised/delighted to win for sure, I'm sure lots of others put a lot of effort into entering and trying to win as well so it is quite an honour really, thats how it felt for me anyhow.

    What would I do with £250 worth of plants :wideyed: I really hope they do not send me £250 worth of plants I wouldn't know what to do with them tbh, I will let you know.

    This tank is still going strong, its in good shape, I even put some fish in it :wideyed: Just a shoal of White cloud mountain minnows which are really destined for another tank eventually. nice little fish.

    Thanks again, I will let you know how I get on with prizes and stuff you never know there might be a large plant sale in the near future, haha can't see Graeme fitting £250 quids worth in the nano :lol:
     
  5. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

    Messages:
    4,430
    Location:
    Leamington Spa, UK.
    Lovely tank mate and a worthy winner :)
     
  6. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
    Excellent evolution journal Peter :) something there for everyone. Always good to see how a tank develops. Well done on the win too :)

    How you finding PPS PRO?

    Sam
     
  7. zig

    zig Member

    Messages:
    686
    Location:
    Dublin Ireland
    Thanks Sam, yeah always good to look back , you forget how far a scape has come even in a short period of a few months.

    PPS PRO suits me fine Sam, less water changes and less pruning, for a scape like this its perfect especially when its finished, I'd say I could keep this scape going for a very long time with minimal maintainence using PPS PRO method dosing. I doubt I could keep it going long term using EI method and nearly 3WPG, maintainence would become a pain in the ass tbh. But horses for courses I guess as regards dosing methods. Everyone should try PPS just to see the difference with EI, bit of an eye opener and a good education in planted tank methods IMHO. It will definitely suit some scapes better than others though, but this is the learning curve I guess.
     
  8. oldwhitewood

    oldwhitewood Member

    Messages:
    356
    It's a very accomplished layout certainly and I think it is the best and deserves to win. However correct me if I'm wrong but are there any fish in it?
     
  9. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Member

    Messages:
    2,668
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    Nice tank Zig
     
  10. zig

    zig Member

    Messages:
    686
    Location:
    Dublin Ireland
    Neill there was no shoal of fish in the tank when the pictures were taken, the tank contained shrimp and Otocinclus affinis but none are visable in the photograph. It was basically down to bad timing on my behalf, when the scape was nearly ready I went looking for suitable fish but none that I liked were available, it was mid August, holiday time, and the shops were not expecting major fish deliveries for another couple of weeks, so I had to make a decision in order to make the deadline for the competition (post from Ireland etc) so I shot it with none in the end.

    The judge picked up on it and mentioned it in PFK magazine :lol:

    I have since stocked it with a dozen White cloud mountain minnows, a nice little fish, but yes definitely it would have looked so much better with fish in it for the photos.

    This scape is still going, I am going to make some changes to it and hopefully will photograph it again, the minnows are really destined for another tank so I will keep an eye on the fish lists, the local shops post lists on the web over here. Even cardinals could look well in there the scape is so green but I will probably get something different.

    Cheers neill
     
  11. beeky

    beeky Member

    Messages:
    879
    Location:
    Chippenham, Wiltshire
    Could someone point me to a thread explaining PPS Pro? Everyone seems to talk about EI and although I've heard of PPS, I'm not sure what it is. Less water changes and slower growth seems good to me! Does it work as well with all plants or do you have less choice?
     
  12. zig

    zig Member

    Messages:
    686
    Location:
    Dublin Ireland
    Hi Andy

    The main problem I found is bba algae when you cross over from EI type dosing, Excel will solve that. The only other algae problems I had were GSA mainly on the glass, this was dosing with the recommended amount of PO4 in the mix. I have since added an extra 2 grams of PO4 to each 1 litre mix and this has solved that problem, I don't get GSA any longer.

    In the last 2 weeks before the competition deadline I increased the dosgage in the tank, I basically went back to EI dosing for 2 weeks to speed up growth, and it worked, growth levels took off as expected, but after that I wanted to slow things down again and start dosing PPS . I did a large water change to reset fert levels and I got a breakout of green dust algae also all my crypts melted :rolleyes: so for the month of September things looked bad but it was just dust algae on the glass mainly, I just let it run its course and the tank is back on track now, no algea, and just dosing PPS daily

    For trace I use TPN and CSM+B, TPN maybe twice a week and CSM the rest of the time but tbh I don't see any difference not with the plants I am using here anyway.

    Cheers Andy
     
  13. zig

    zig Member

    Messages:
    686
    Location:
    Dublin Ireland
    Read all about it here, there are several stickies about PPS PRO method at the top of the page.



    http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/pps-analysis-feedback/
     
  14. JamesC

    JamesC Member

    Messages:
    1,276
    Location:
    Bexley, Kent
    It can and does work very well at times. Not quite sure why it's called PPS-Pro because it's just PMDD with some PO4 added to it. It is nothing new and has been around for many years. I tried it a few months ago and very soon realised it's shortcomings. The amounts were calculated by how much the plants take up which in theory sounds good but in practice can have problems depending on what your tap water is like. Green Spot Algae is the main problem which everyone seems to get and usually adding more PO4 cures the problem. Not quite sure why they don't change the formulation to take this into account. Another area that can cause problems is if you have low potassium in your tap water. PPS-Pro doesn't seem able to supply enough. This has been a problem with some Germans I know who have low potassium levels in their tap water.

    It's great to try different dosing methods but don't expect them to suddenly make your tank work. Estimative Index is the best place to start as it's fairly simple and works for most setups. From there you can move on to try different dosing stratergies and noting their effects. Every tank is different so just because one person has success with a particular method doesn't mean you will.

    After having problems with PPS-Pro I decided to look at the old PMDD formula and tweak it a bit with some PO4. This I found for me works a lot better than PPS-Pro. Possibly because my water is reconstituted RO water which has little potassium in it and PMDD doses more potassium. I've detailed my dosing on my webpage for anyone that's interested, but remember this is what works for me and may not suit you - http://www.theplantedtank.co.uk/PMDD.htm. With a bit of tweaking most dosing regimes can be made to work for most tanks.

    James
     
  15. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    beeky,
    This is another one of my pet peeves. Although the hobby has advanced tremendously over the past decade the fundamentals of plant husbandry continues to get buried under a deluge of market/branding rhetoric. From what I can see, some hobbyist with a specific tank configuration found the minimum concentration of nutrient addition for that tank which would make his plants grow well. The hobbyist then releases the data assuming that these levels are appropriate for every tank. I can predict that somewhere in this procession someone will find levels in his/her tank that results in some red plants being more red and will coin a new dosing scheme "PPS Pro III Special Rubra"

    What puzzles me is that it's not clear what the major premise of the scheme actually is. The premise appears to be either that 1. excess nutrients cause algae or that 2. growth is controlled only by nutrients alone. Both premises are erroneous. The first is easily discarded as there is sufficient empirical evidence to the contrary. The second also has been proven inaccurate but is much less understood.

    Assume 2 tanks are setup with similar lighting, similar bioload, similar filtration and similar CO2. Assume the first is dosed PPS and the second EI. It cannot automatically be assumed that the EI dosed tank will have higher growth. First and foremost the light intensity will determine this. Say the light on both tanks is subdued to 1.5 WPG and both tanks are CO2 injected to 30 ppm. It's likely that both tanks are light limited. At 1.5 wpg and unlimited CO2, plants in both tanks will only uptake some rate "X ppm per day" of CO2. "X" will most likely be less than 30. If the tanks are similar as stated above both tanks will consume the same amount of CO2. Assume this number is 10 ppm per day. If we were to raise the CO2 injection rate in the EI tank to 40 ppm per day that tank would still only uptake 10 ppm because it's uptake, like the PPS tank is throttled by the low light. Addition of more CO2 (beyond required uptake level) has absolutely no effect on a tank that is light limited. Now the nutrients; Because the 1.5 wpg throttles the CO2 uptake to 10ppm, the nutrient uptake is likewise throttled. Assume that at this level uptake demand of NO3 is 2 ppm per day. It is 2 ppm per day in both tanks regardless of what the actual NO3 concentration is in each tank. The light level ultimately determines the uptake demand of CO2 which in turn determines the uptake demand of the nutrients. The PPS philosophy says essentially "At this level you should only dose 2 ppm per day" whereas EI says "go for max dosing 2 is good but 4 is better". Say the EI tank were dosed at 4 ppm per day. It would make absolutely no difference to the growth rate in this case. High concentration by itself does not imply high uptake.

    Herein lies the fundamental difference between these two schemes; The next day we can increase the light, say to 3 wpg. The PPS tank would now need an adjustment to it's dosing scheme. Higher light would drive higher CO2 uptake which then would drive a higher nutrient uptake. While the PPS tank has to tested and fiddled with the EI tank has no adjustment necessary. It is already being dosed at max uptake levels so it's adjustment is automatic.

    Apart from the drudgery of testing, PPS has no automatic way of adjusting to increases in bioload either. If in 2 months your plants grow by 50% then there will be an increase in their uptake. It may not be exactly 50% but it will be significant so you'd have to make an adjustment there. Then, what happens after you prune? Biomass decreases and so does uptake - yet another adjustment. Again, with EI you are dosing the max so no adjustments are necessary. If there is lower demand there is lower uptake, if there is higher demand there is higher uptake. It just doesn't matter if your concentrations are higher than necessary. If you want to slow growth you now know where the throttle is - it's called the light switch.

    Zig, you were undeniably successful in planning and growing that tank out and I know that it's very easy to say that growth was controlled with PPS but fundamentally, growth was controlled by light and by CO2, which can be accomplished regardless of dosing scheme. If, in either scheme, you made a mistake and didn't provide sufficient CO2 for the lighting level it would be reflected in the appearance of BBA. During that time growth is curtailed as a direct result of Carbon starvation. If you make a mistake in your nutrient application you'll observe some other form of algae and during that time growth will be curtailed by nitrate or phosphate starvation.

    In any case I think that was a smashing effort and congratulations on the win. I just want to be clear that I'm not denouncing PPS in any way but I do want to ensure that we understand why something works. This is the best way of advancing the hobby. If someone chooses a particular dosing scheme then it should be done on the basis of knowledge and not on popular trend or fashion of the day. Whether one fails or succeeds with a scheme, it's necessary to understand the mechanism of the failure or the success.

    Cheers,
     
  16. zig

    zig Member

    Messages:
    686
    Location:
    Dublin Ireland
  17. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Member

    Messages:
    2,668
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
  18. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi Andy,
    Sorry, no, I wasn't accusing you of promoting PPS over EI, I was just responding to beeky's post about PPS and PPS Pro and all that. I seemed to have really upset zig who seems completely flummoxed. Maybe it's because the thread has been hijacked? Sorry zig. It wasn't my intent to depress you.

    BBA and rotting plants are textbook symptoms of poor CO2.

    Poor CO2 means either, or any combination of the following:
    1) CO2 concentration too low for the level of light.
    2) Fluctuating CO2 concentration.
    3) Poorly distributed CO2 due to inadequate circulation. A green drop checker only means that the CO2 is adequate at the location that the drop checker is attached.

    CO2 is poor at exactly the locations where a BBA tufts first appear. CO2 is also poor at exactly the location where a plant displays rotted stems or leaves. Some species, and even some specimens within the same species are more tolerant of carbon starvation than others.

    A couple of ideas. Drive your drop checker into the yellow without gassing your fish. Look at reworking your distribution method; spraybars, angled outlets, higher pump capacity or even possibly auxiliary powerheads if not too obtrusive. Had you reduced your injection rate when you lowered the light?

    Cheers,
     
  19. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Member

    Messages:
    2,668
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    p...........
     
  20. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    OK Andy, whatever you say. I never rule out anything except for the fact that one tuft of BBA is more accurate that any drop checker known to man....

    Cheers,
     

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