Tank Help

Chrisjb330

New Member
Joined
18 May 2020
Messages
6
Location
Nottinghamshire
Hi Everyone, i have been keeping tropical fish for 10+ years now and have recently taken the plunge into a high tech tank.

Im looking for some feedback and suggestions (please tell me if something is wrong).

My initial problem was that my Kribensis would rip out any plants i would put in so i put covers over them (tomato punnets / test tubs) which worked well at protecting them. However algae would slowly cover the inside so after 3 weeks i took them off and found they were still being pulled out. I have given the Kribs away but found that the SAE's are doing something similar. My problem is that nothing seems to be growing very much, i did get everything in vitro so theres no roots? Other than waiting im not sure where to go now.

Do i turn the lights / Co2 / Ferts up / down? Will the SAE's ever leave things alone?

Heres some details;

Fluval Rio 240
Fluval Plant 3 59W
Seachem Flourite Substrate
Bottled Co2 with in line JBL diffuser
- On a timer from 7am until 6 pm
- CO2 indicator showing green with a tint of yellow most of the time even when CO2 is off.
Air pump to come on after lights are out for an hour
Fluval 306 Filter - Main filter
JBL Cristalprofi E1501 - Lots of ceramic in here
Eheim Streamon 4000
Green Angel Rock
Bogwood
Root Tablets
Aquascaper complete plant food - Dosing at 15ml (3ml per 50l) Just a guess for now as not many plants
Approx 50% water change weekly
Filters cleaned every 2 weeks
Temperature around 26'C

Fish
8 x Clown loaches, mostly large
2 x Siamese Algae Eaters
6 x Cardinal Tetras
2 x Synodontis Petricola
4 x Blue Gourami
2 x ? Gourami

Plants
Elocharis Acicularis - Didnt last long as kept being pulled up by SAE and Kribs
Java Moss (glued) - Didnt last long as i think the SAE's ate it
Elocharis SP Mini - Was being pulled out so put a clear tomato punnet ontop and weighed down
Spikey Moss (glued) - Still there but i think its still being eaten as most stems look bare. (Heard that SAE's dont like this)
Althernanthera Rosanervig - Again was being pulled up so drilled some holes in pots and weighed down
Anubis Nana (Glued) - Looks ok for now.
Lilaeopsis Novae-Zelandiae - Sometimes coming out / being pulled out of substrate.
Curly Grass? - Had this for years and always grows
Straight Grass? - Again, always grows
Not sure what the other is?

Water parameters - Tested with API test kit
PH - 6.3 - 6.5 Hard to tell exactly
GH - 14
KH - 4/5
Nitrate - 30ppm / 50ppm (Test doesnt change from red so relying on test strips)
Phosphate - (Just ordered one)

IMG_20200518_170028.jpg

Screenshot_20200518_170829_com.inledco.fluvalsmart.jpg
 

Zeus.

Member
Joined
1 Oct 2016
Messages
3,048
Location
Yorkshire,UK
Hi Chris and welcome to the forum :D

Will the SAE's ever leave things alone?
Great when they are small, but as they get bigger they do become more challenging to keep in planted tanks, mine got a taste for my shrimp :rolleyes: so relocated them

Photoperiod

Too long..... 5-6hrs max is all the plants need, having them dip mid photo period is a no-no also, having extended time on low light settings is for our viewing benefit only, but algae also use this low level light to grow also, so try keep it to a minium esp till issues are resolved


CO2 indicator showing green with a tint of yellow most of the time even when CO2 is off.
Which suggests to me fluctuating [CO2] during the photo period, with possibly not enough flow which compounds fluctuating [CO2].

FLOW is KING in the CO2 injected tank and your does need improving IMO a spray bar along the back of the tank would work much better than what you have.

and with the DC not changing colour when CO2 off suggests not enough surface agitation, spray bar would help here too


Have you done a pH profile ? Take pH of water pre CO2 on every 30 mins till CO2 off with the time lights come on noted.

We are after a stable pH from lights on till CO2 off, if its not then we need to address/resolve also.


Aquascaper complete plant food
which folk use and get great results from, however the contents of which are 'unknown' ATM so I would stick to the recommend dose, long term with 240l tank may be worth looking into doing some DIY fert mix ;)
 

Chrisjb330

New Member
Joined
18 May 2020
Messages
6
Location
Nottinghamshire
Thanks for the reply Zeus. Glad im doing a few things correctly.

I will rehome the SAE's when the LPS can take them.

Which suggests to me fluctuating [CO2] during the photo period, with possibly not enough flow which compounds fluctuating [CO2].

FLOW is KING in the CO2 injected tank and your does need improving IMO a spray bar along the back of the tank would work much better than what you have.

and with the DC not changing colour when CO2 off suggests not enough surface agitation, spray bar would help here too

So to elaborate on the CO2

The colour is constant as i can detect whilst the lights are on. When i check the colour in the morning it just doesnt seem to have changed much. This is why i put the air pump on however this made no difference.

The flow;

Currently using the Eheim 4000 in the left hand corner with the outlet of the second pump which has the CO2 diffuser in. The main pump outlet is the right hand side of the tank which is used to disturb the water and push the CO2 back down.

The distribution of bubbles look good to me but i have no problem trying other stuff. Ive read that surface disturbance releases the CO2 back into atmosphere so only a small amount is needed?

I made a spray bar for this tank and only took it off when i went to CO2. My issue is that it can either be over the water which creates lots of bubbles or under the water (because of the support beam, unless i shorten it and attach to the glass) and have to look at it.

If you still suggest putting it back on where do you think is best and how much movement am i after?

Have you done a pH profile ? Take pH of water pre CO2 on every 30 mins till CO2 off with the time lights come on noted.

We are after a stable pH from lights on till CO2 off, if its not then we need to address/resolve also.
From your advice i have reduced the light to 6 hours and will adjust the CO2 to come on 1 hour before and go off 1 hour before the lights go out. Im also dosing in the afternoon whilst the lights are on if that makes a difference?

I havnt done a PH Profile but will look at doing one.

The only PH measurement i have is the API test kit which is inaccurate. I also have a cheap £10 PH meter which calibration adjustment. So i can use the Ph meter and calibrate it with a known solution each time, i know my tap water is 7.4. Even then im not sure how accurate it would be to detect minor changes. Can anyone recommend one?

I have access to pharmaceutical grade RO water (PH around 5.6) and a water testing lab but its a favour to ask them to test stuff for me, PH is an easy one though. I cant use the RO water as my tap water only has a KH of 4/5 so cant really dilute it and dont see much benefit in adding the KH and GH back in, also the PH would be off unless i adjust that too.

IMG_20200519_170129.jpg
IMG_20200519_171304.jpg
 

Zeus.

Member
Joined
1 Oct 2016
Messages
3,048
Location
Yorkshire,UK
My issue is that it can either be over the water which creates lots of bubbles or under the water (because of the support beam, unless i shorten it and attach to the glass) and have to look at it.
Needs to be just under the water for it to work and move the water - yes you will see it. The only reason you dont see them on profesional scapers photos is they take them out for the pic- once your plants fill in you will not notice it

Currently using the Eheim 4000 in the left hand corner with the outlet of the second pump which has the CO2 diffuser in. The main pump outlet is the right hand side of the tank which is used to disturb the water and push the CO2 back down.
If flow is low they all need to work together to move the water- pipe outlets are poor at moving the water -spraybars or lily pipes work well

Ive read that surface disturbance releases the CO2 back into atmosphere so only a small amount is needed?
For low tech yes , but yours is high tech, plus we need to surface agitation to get the O2 in at night

CO2 to come on 1 hour before and go off 1 hour before the lights go out
normal tanks take 2-3 hrs to get pH drop then 4-5hrs after lights on plants more or less had their fill of CO2 so CO2 can go off

I also have a cheap £10 PH meter which calibration adjustment.
Great, I dont bother calibrating mine (Just done a new pH profile recently), I use make a note of the reading as it changes or stays the same. The actual pH is irrelevant IMO as all we are after is a stable pH from lights on till CO2 off. Then go of the DC colour change for an indication of [CO2]

More plants would help too as you do have a low plant biomass, more plants means there is less light for the algae
 

Chrisjb330

New Member
Joined
18 May 2020
Messages
6
Location
Nottinghamshire
Needs to be just under the water for it to work and move the water - yes you will see it. The only reason you dont see them on profesional scapers photos is they take them out for the pic- once your plants fill in you will not notice it
Does it need setting breaking the water surface or just disrupting it?

normal tanks take 2-3 hrs to get pH drop then 4-5hrs after lights on plants more or less had their fill of CO2 so CO2 can go off
Ill set the Solenoid to come on 3 hours before and stay on 4 hours after

More plants would help too as you do have a low plant biomass, more plants means there is less light for the algae
Just ordered'

Hygrophila Rosae Australis
Limnophila Heterophylla
Ludwigia Glandulosa

I have started feeding sinking pellets a little more often in the day which seems to be helping with the underwater cows (SAE's)

Regarding the profile, i will do it at the weekend and get back to you.
 

Zeus.

Member
Joined
1 Oct 2016
Messages
3,048
Location
Yorkshire,UK
Don't go from 1hr before lights on too 3hrs. You will probably kill all the tanks imates:arghh:

Small steps, pH profile first or sort flow out. Good thing about doing pH profile first is you will have a reference of what it's been like, otherwise how do you know if it's any better except for waiting for plants to tell/show you.

Same with CO2 off time, doing the profile till lights off will give a rough idea of CO2 uptake.

Cutting lights back is a no-brainer IMO, but what's a few more days

Good about the plants.

When's last time you vac your gravel? ( That doesn't mean do it either !)
 

Chrisjb330

New Member
Joined
18 May 2020
Messages
6
Location
Nottinghamshire
Small steps, pH profile first or sort flow out.
So, did the PH profile yesterday over the course of the day in 1 hour intervals and found that its 6.8 before the co2 comes on and sits at 6.6 all day with no fluctuations (that i can tell by colour). Also did a water change today which changed it to 7.2 briefly. All done with a new API PH test kit. ( i found the PH pen was inconsistent as i checked with two known solutions)

Also increased the angle of the powerflow pump and refit the spray bar. Is this enough disturbance or should i go more?

IMG_20200524_123759.jpg

Im also going to adjust the lights and CO2 timings tomorrow, do you think these will be ok to switch straight to or shall i stagger it over a few days?;
CO2 on at 1pm
Lights on at 2pm
CO2 off at 7pm
Lights off at 8pm
Lights on moonlight/low until 10pm

Definitely vac, scrape everything, clean it up. The impact a clean filter has on a tank is amazing.
Will look into this, although there isnt much free gravel space for me to vac.

Also checked the Phosphate which was around 5ppm

Just ordered'

Hygrophila Rosae Australis
Limnophila Heterophylla
Ludwigia Glandulosa
Planted these which look like they are happy so far, this could be because i ordered potted with roots.
 

JoshP12

Member
Joined
8 Dec 2019
Messages
281
Location
Canada
Hi @Chrisj330,

You can pull up all that detritus using a turkey baster of some kind or even sweeping your hand around and dislodging all of your detritus from your substrate.

Check out Dennis Wong:

Here is George Farmer:

Everything that is floating/suspended/sitting in your tank, decays and turns into ammonia.

In terms of the surface agitation, I would test how my pH drops with surface agitation ... with the spray bar that high in the water, a few days of evaporation could throw it off (especially if each spray disrupts the surface).

Surface agitation (gaseous exchange):

Sure, you need surface agitation, but the theoretical framework is not going to help unless we try it.

I would fill the tank to the top and watch the fish closely that day. Your pH may actually drop quicker (and it may not give a testable difference - which is good! More time to slack on top offs). If it does and your fish are healthy, then that may fix the "6.4 drop". Then watch each day thereafter (without topping off) and find the threshold.

Josh
 

Chrisjb330

New Member
Joined
18 May 2020
Messages
6
Location
Nottinghamshire
As suggested i added more surface agitation, but found i had to increase the CO2 quite a bit to maintain the green/yellow colour.

Waited a few weeks and still not much difference, the plants also looked yellow so i put the CO2 indicator at the bottom of the tank and found there was little CO2 there so adjusted the powerflow angle, CO2 and the output position of the pump. Its been like this for a few weeks and things look a lot better and are actually growing.

Also increased lighting time to 7 hours and fertiliser to 20ml a day. CO2 now comes on 1.5 hours before lights.

The SAE's are now gone btw.

A lot of the old leaves have this stuff on though and has for weeks.
 

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