Setting up.....

Andrew Butler

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1 Feb 2016
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some people use their Mrs' old tights
Ah if I'd taken heed of your user name I could have suggested your own but that would have been pointless anyway!
I'd rather stick with LEDS and not go back to T5's
They say plants are not as sensitive to the lights as corals and therefore don't need changing every 6 months; wait for the arguments! It seems you're on top of things anyway.
 

Neilix

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2 Jul 2019
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Northampton
Recently finished building a Paludarium that a managed to seed and obtain a good covering of Glossostigma on the floor. All looked good until I filled with water, and within two days it all started to die. After doing some research I came to the conclusion that there wasn't enough CO2 in the water. This was confirmed when I tested the water and found the levels were less than 3%. Much less than the 20% that there should be.

I than added a CO2 system in an attempt to bring the levels up, but nothing happened. I tried adding carbonated spring water to boast the levels. Which worked well, but within 24 hours they had dropped again to below 3%. This trick has now been repeated 4 times, but the spike in CO2 never lasts.

I did some further research, and I now believe the problem is the clay pallets, that I used to infill the areas under the land. It seems that clay pallets are very efficient at removing and storing CO2 from water. Unfortunately for me, these clay pallets probably account for about 1/5 of the volume of water, so the amount of CO2 they can extract is far beyond what I could have imagined.

I am still hoping that at some point the clay pellets must reach a saturation level, and will stop absorbing all the CO2 that is being added. But this for me is a complete unknown.

Has anybody else had a similar experience or knows more about the clay pallets in aquariums.

I have even started adding liquid CO2, in the hope that this will help. Although this doesn't seem to register on the CO2 monitor. But that could be due to the fact that its a chemical substitution for CO2 and the monitor may not pick it up.
 

Rachel Essex

Member
Joined
25 Jun 2019
Messages
27
Location
Bucks
Recently finished building a Paludarium that a managed to seed and obtain a good covering of Glossostigma on the floor. All looked good until I filled with water, and within two days it all started to die. After doing some research I came to the conclusion that there wasn't enough CO2 in the water. This was confirmed when I tested the water and found the levels were less than 3%. Much less than the 20% that there should be.

I than added a CO2 system in an attempt to bring the levels up, but nothing happened. I tried adding carbonated spring water to boast the levels. Which worked well, but within 24 hours they had dropped again to below 3%. This trick has now been repeated 4 times, but the spike in CO2 never lasts.

I did some further research, and I now believe the problem is the clay pallets, that I used to infill the areas under the land. It seems that clay pallets are very efficient at removing and storing CO2 from water. Unfortunately for me, these clay pallets probably account for about 1/5 of the volume of water, so the amount of CO2 they can extract is far beyond what I could have imagined.

I am still hoping that at some point the clay pellets must reach a saturation level, and will stop absorbing all the CO2 that is being added. But this for me is a complete unknown.

Has anybody else had a similar experience or knows more about the clay pallets in aquariums.

I have even started adding liquid CO2, in the hope that this will help. Although this doesn't seem to register on the CO2 monitor. But that could be due to the fact that its a chemical substitution for CO2 and the monitor may not pick it up.
This is very interesting. I shall avoid clay pellets then! I wasn't planning on using them anyway, but this is the best thing a bout forums, people shared experiences.

Thanks Andrew, yes, I'm sure it wouldn't be so crucial to change the lamps so often! I do like the slight shimmer from the LEDS and the adjustability of them. They also look smart over the tank which is important to me.

Does anyone thing I will need any extra flow in the tank? I have 2 outlets form the return but turn over will be fairly gentle so it won't cause much flow.

Many thanks all!
 

alto

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Joined
24 Dec 2014
Messages
5,914
I tried adding carbonated spring water to boast the levels. Which worked well, but within 24 hours they had dropped again to below 3%.
This would be expected behaviour when adding carbonated water to an aquarium - even in absence of any clay pellets or other potentially CO2-hoarding-artefact ... without constant addition of CO2 to the water column, the dissolved CO2 in water will return to the passive diffusion level - and with a water pump constantly turning over, this would be a relatively quick process


I than added a CO2 system in an attempt to bring the levels up, but nothing happened
What sort of system did you add?
 

Andrew Butler

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Joined
1 Feb 2016
Messages
1,657
Location
Banbury, Oxfordshire
Thanks Andrew, yes, I'm sure it wouldn't be so crucial to change the lamps so often! I do like the slight shimmer from the LEDS and the adjustability of them. They also look smart over the tank which is important to me.
The hybrid lights are LED and T5 so you get a bit of both, all controlled separately. ;)
Does anyone thing I will need any extra flow in the tank? I have 2 outlets form the return but turn over will be fairly gentle so it won't cause much flow.
What turnover do you think you're getting? or What return pump are you using and on what setting; assuming it's controllable.
I do believe with sumps and planted aquariums it's best to have slow turnover and also maybe have the flow from the weir configured differently but I'm not the person to help you here; I think @Edvet might be a sump man?
There is a general rule of thumb that choosing a filter with 10x the volume of your aquarium is correct.
What did you use before to get flow around the tank?
 

Rachel Essex

Member
Joined
25 Jun 2019
Messages
27
Location
Bucks
Not really sure on the turn over tbh. I have a ecotech vectra L1 which is indeed controllable. It can push 11,500LPH but I used to run it just under half power, slow through the sump is always best. I guess I could use spray bars? I have 2 outlets either side of the central weir.
Obviously the reef needed super silly flow which was provided by x2 Ecotech Vortechs. I really don't think they'd be suitable for a freshwater tank - they are far too technical and need to be in a reef so I have sold them. If I need more flow in the DT then I'd look at getting a fairly simple pair of powerheads, but if I can get away without any I will as I don't want any equipment visible at all, but I do fear I will get dead spots.

You can keep trying to persuade me to use different lights *lol but I'm gunna give the hydras my best shot :D They look great and I'm sure they can be used for freshwater plants, once the spectrum is correctly set, there's not reason why they shouldn't surely!?
 

Andrew Butler

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1 Feb 2016
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Location
Banbury, Oxfordshire
You can keep trying to persuade me to use different lights *lol but I'm gunna give the hydras my best shot
haha - I assure you I'm not trying to get you to change although it does read that way; I just wanted to explain they were a mix of the both.
Not really sure on the turn over tbh. I have a ecotech vectra L1 which is indeed controllable. It can push 11,500LPH but I used to run it just under half power, slow through the sump is always best. I guess I could use spray bars? I have 2 outlets either side of the central weir.
Obviously the reef needed super silly flow which was provided by x2 Ecotech Vortechs. I really don't think they'd be suitable for a freshwater tank - they are far too technical and need to be in a reef so I have sold them. If I need more flow in the DT then I'd look at getting a fairly simple pair of powerheads, but if I can get away without any I will as I don't want any equipment visible at all, but I do fear I will get dead spots.
I think spraybars are great but unsure if/where I read it but there was mention of them not working so well with weirs - someone might fill you in hopefully.
Also only having them underpowered might not make them effective.
Not having such a high turnover through your sump will mean you are probably going to want to find some flow from somewhere; I guess how depends on your proposed layout.
By that I mean whether you can try and add a couple of simple powerheads or maybe something like a Maxspect Gyre would be better suited underneath your outlets to create a circular flow like a spraybar but would take your CO2 with it at the same time so does 2 jobs in one.
I'm sure other people have thoughts
 

Rachel Essex

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25 Jun 2019
Messages
27
Location
Bucks
Yeh, this is my thinking too, I don't think they would be terribly good with the turn over, more a trickle than a spray! lol So basically my options would be Gyre like you mentioned, or two power heads in both rear corners....or one larger one at one end, the end that is against a wall so it creates a left to right flow which may well look more natural, but it would have to be quite strong to reach the full length of the tank, so 2 might be best. I only need a gently flow right?

Andrew, you are in my area, do you use DI + tap?? I need to get a low range ph test kit and see what my DI + tap reads. I'm more concerned about the hardness as I assume most tap water is fairly neutral. I'd like to keep soft water loving plants and fish ideally.

Thanks so much for your replies! :)
 

Edvet

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slow through the sump is always best
Indeed!
Regarding sump and planted tanks: it's a bit of a mixed blessing. In a planted tank you don't realy need all that space to to give bacteria room, the planted tank houses plenty bacteria for your filtration (plants, roots, substrate). Also a sump can make maintaining CO2 levels hard, any drop in height can remove CO2 easily. On the other hand it will add to the volume of the tank and can house all kind of ugly hardware out of view.
My advice would be: pack it very lightly with media so there is plenty oxygen , basically no mechanical filtration (can clog and cause oxygen starvation), low flow if CO2 losses can't be avoided, try to trap CO2 in the sump if needed (taping the sump shut).
For flow i would prefer the gyre's over powerheads ( i used powerheads in my 400 gallon, not easy to get good flow)
 

Andrew Butler

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Andrew, you are in my area, do you use DI + tap?? I need to get a low range ph test kit and see what my DI + tap reads. I'm more concerned about the hardness as I assume most tap water is fairly neutral. I'd like to keep soft water loving plants and fish ideally.
I just use plain tap water like most people do, despite the hard water - my TDS is sky high.
If you're thinking about fish then that's a bit different so I'd see about the parameters the supplier has.
Plants, I'm not so sure there are too many that won't adapt or have an alternative similar in appearance etc that doesn't require the water being anything put plain old tap.
Something to think about and maybe put a list of plants and fish up for others to give you their opinions. :)

Yeh, this is my thinking too, I don't think they would be terribly good with the turn over, more a trickle than a spray! lol So basically my options would be Gyre like you mentioned, or two power heads in both rear corners....or one larger one at one end, the end that is against a wall so it creates a left to right flow which may well look more natural, but it would have to be quite strong to reach the full length of the tank, so 2 might be best. I only need a gently flow right?
I do think that the Gyre's are great and @Zeus. will tell you how they can really work to create a vortex (think that's the right word) in a planted aquarium.
Maybe one positioned either end; run one forwards the other one backwards. You will find your happy power, timing etc combinations and I agree first hand that they are far better than a powerhead which has a more direct flow direction.
As for gentle flow; that depend on the plants you have, layout and to some degree the fish amongst other things I'm sure.
For flow i would prefer the gyre's over powerheads ( i used powerheads in my 400 gallon, not easy to get good flow)
+1
I would avoid the Jebao copy of the Maxspect Gyre as it is just not anything like the quality etc.
 

Rachel Essex

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25 Jun 2019
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Bucks
Indeed!
Regarding sump and planted tanks: it's a bit of a mixed blessing. In a planted tank you don't realy need all that space to to give bacteria room, the planted tank houses plenty bacteria for your filtration (plants, roots, substrate). Also a sump can make maintaining CO2 levels hard, any drop in height can remove CO2 easily. On the other hand it will add to the volume of the tank and can house all kind of ugly hardware out of view.
My advice would be: pack it very lightly with media so there is plenty oxygen , basically no mechanical filtration (can clog and cause oxygen starvation), low flow if CO2 losses can't be avoided, try to trap CO2 in the sump if needed (taping the sump shut).
For flow i would prefer the gyre's over powerheads ( i used powerheads in my 400 gallon, not easy to get good flow)
Hi Edvet. Many thanks for your reply. It's good to know I shouldn't need too much filter media. What would you recommend I use in the sump? Just some sort of biological media? I have three sections to my sump. Obviously last one is just for the return pump. Should I just us the second one as any sort of biological filter?
When you say trap co2 in the sump what do you mean? Doesn't it need to be in the DT more? My plan was to add co2 into the return inlet so it passes into the DT. Would this be the best place?

Thanks for the advice on water Andrew. Will be much simpler to use just tap water I have to say....and save me flooding the utility room....again!! lol Maybe I will go down that route after all.

As for co2 how much should I expect to get through? I used to run a calcium reactor and got my co2 from a friendly pub owner. What are my options here?

Sorry, so many questions! I'm planning a trip to Aquarium Gardens tomorrow, to see their display tanks, have a chat and build up a shopping list. Hoping to come away with some "stuff" so I can start scaping :)
 

Edvet

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Just use easy to clean stuff, i use some foam pieces i rinse out every now and then, no need to invest in expensive stuff, a bacterial layer will form on all hardware ( up to easy pottscrubbs
71wlz%2BLxXNL._SX522_.jpg

Trapping CO2 in the sump can be done by taping it shut, CO2 escapes through exitation of the surface ( dropping from any distance)and taping the sump keeps CO2 there so it can dissolve back into the water (not that effective though). (Don''t exactly know what you mean with DT:oops:)
Personally i had my best succes with using CO2 in lowe dose 24/7 and adding it to the outflow from the sump. Use lightlevels according to the CO2 level ( lower then full blast CO2) andi had great plantgrowth
9689364777_fb966830f2_o (1).jpg
 

Edvet

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Aye, glas cover taped to close the gaps.
Or deal with the loss of CO2, depens on levels, flow and loss levels. As i said i used lower level, 24/7 dosing in a large tank with succes. I lost CO2 through the sump but my tank could handle it combined with lower light levels. When i went higher light and higher dose CO2, which used far more CO2, i used powerheads (increased tank flow) and slowed the flow through the sump.
 

Edvet

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Never measured the drop.I used around 3-4 bps and used a few methods. A long ( 50 cm) glas spiral diffusor and i had it entering a the top large standing pvc pipe where my sump water entered the tank (flow went against the rising bubbles). My goal was just to dissolve all CO2 i used. I had very soft water (continuous RO dripping in the tank at 90 lit/day) and added some ferts, but fed the fish a lot.
 
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