Tank Transformation! House Move! I’m scared but join me for the ride!

Rob_Planted

New Member
Joined
6 Apr 2019
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7
Location
Basingstoke
Hi everyone,

First journal from a new member so please be nice!

Ok so where to start...

I have kept tropical fish for 5/6 years now, and my pride and joy at the moment is my Fluval Roma 125L that has been running for 3 years pretty successfully, but with the focus on the fish. I have attached pics :)
You can see that the amazon swords and crypts have been fine in here all this time with zero ferts or carbon, and just the stock LED light that comes with the Roma. (I will also list fish stock at the bottom).

Apart from some obvious algae that has luckily never got any worse than it is right now, things have always run pretty smoothly in here with religious weekly RO water changes, and general pruning.

*If you are still awake reading this, you’ll be pleased to hear that this is where things get interesting!!

In 11 days time I will be moving house with fish for the first time (I also have a brackish Roma 90L with a figure 8 puffer but not too concerned about him right now with no plants).

The more and more I watch endless aquascaping videos on youtube from the likes of George Farmer, the more I want to give it a go and I have crazily decided to do this the moment I set the tank up in the new house! So far I’ve collected a few nice bits of mopani wood and will buy lots of hopefully undemanding plants at the time to create the look I’m after.
I’m thinking trident java fern, anubias nana and maybe some more crypts... As you can tell I’m very ‘new’ to plants so any advice is always welcome!

So here come some dreaded pre-move questions for you to help me prepare...

I have bought some easycarbo liquid carbon and some of the aquascaper complete liquid plant food. I have never used anything like this before but have researched that the easycarbo is best dosed just before the start of the photo period, is it wise to dose the liquid plant food at the same time? As I have never used these before I will start in low measures.

I really want to try to get the balance right in the tank. With the ferts, carbon and much higher plant load, will I need to upgrade my lighting? I really like the look of the Fluval Aquasky, could this be a better option?

Does this setup still sound low tech, or with the carbon and ferts would this now be classed as medium tech? (If that’s even a thing!)

A few more notes here that might be helpful:

I have lights on from 9am-1pm, then again from 5pm-9.30pm.

I have a Fluval 206 canister filter that I’m hoping to soon upgrade.

Also use a Fluval CP1 wavemaker ad-hoc for no particular reason apart from liking the look of it :)

Fish stock is -
Rummynose Tetra x 8
Cardinal Tetra x 5
Ram Cichlid x 2
Peppered Corydoras x 5
Bristlenose Plec x 1

Thanks so much in advance for any advice along the way and I hope a few of you will find some interest in the journey!
 

dw1305

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7 Apr 2008
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nr Bath
Hi all,
Your fish look in good health, but the plants really are suffering from lack of nutrients.

Do you have a <"conductivity (TDS) meter?"> it woud give us a bit of idea about the likely nutrient status of the water.
I’m thinking trident java fern, anubias nana and maybe some more crypts... As you can tell I’m very ‘new’ to plants so any advice is always welcome!
Have a look at the <"Tropica "easy" category"> for some more plant suggestions. There are also threads like <"stem recommendation for a ...">.
I have bought some easycarbo liquid carbon and some of the aquascaper complete liquid plant food. I have never used anything like this before but have researched that the easycarbo is best dosed just before the start of the photo period, is it wise to dose the liquid plant food at the same time? As I have never used these before I will start in low measures.
Have at look a the <"Duckweed Index">, it is a nutrient addition regime that uses the health & growth of a floating plant as an indicator of when to add nutrients.

Plants can only make use of the added CO2, or liquid carbon, if the other <"essential nutrients are non-limiting">. By using a floating plant that has leaves exposed to 400 ppm of atmospheric CO2, and you know that any deficiency symptoms aren't carbon related.

My "duckweed" of choice is Amazon Frogbit, mainly because it is green and will grow (albeit slowly) at low nutrient levels and in very soft water.

If you can't find any Amazon Frogbit (Limnobium laevigatum), other floaters, like Salvinia or Pistia will do, but they aren't as good a green colour.

cheers Darrel
 

Rob_Planted

New Member
Joined
6 Apr 2019
Messages
7
Location
Basingstoke
Hi Darrel,

Thank you for taking the time to reply - much appreciated! And that Tropica page was just what I needed.

Do you have a <"conductivity (TDS) meter?"> it woud give us a bit of idea about the likely nutrient status of the water.
Unfortunately not, I must admit I had to google them to find out what it was!

Have at look a the <"Duckweed Index">, it is a nutrient addition regime that uses the health & growth of a floating plant as an indicator of when to add nutrients.

Plants can only make use of the added CO2, or liquid carbon, if the other <"essential nutrients are non-limiting">. By using a floating plant that has leaves exposed to 400 ppm of atmospheric CO2, and you know that any deficiency symptoms aren't carbon related.
This is great knowledge thank you and one of the reasons for joining a forum like this!

Please forgive my ignorance here, but let’s say I buy some Amazon Frogbit (which I will do next week after the house move) and I start to dose the liquid plant ferts, for the ‘sick’ plants in there right now plus all the new plants... does this mean I should do this daily until the plants in the tank show signs of improvement, and from that point onwards base the dosing frequency on the frogbit health?

And where does the liquid carbon come into play? I’m not certain whether to combine this with every time I dose the plant ferts or to leave it until they start improving? Or even not bother at all!

Many thanks
Rob
 

dw1305

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Messages
10,432
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
Unfortunately not, I must admit I had to google them to find out what it was!
The great advantage with them is that they are "plug and play", all the other water tests and meters have some proviso's, but conducitivity meters don't. You dip them in the tank and they give you an accurate (and repeatable) reading on a linear scale all the way from RO water (less than 10 microS) up to sea-water at ~53,000 microS. They don't tell you what ions you have, but if you have tank water at 100 microS you don't have much of any ion.
but let’s say I buy some Amazon Frogbit (which I will do next week after the house move)
PM me when you are ready, I always have spare plants and I can send you a "floater mix" or just Amazon Frogbit etc.
and I start to dose the liquid plant ferts, for the ‘sick’ plants in there right now plus all the new plants... does this mean I should do this daily until the plants in the tank show signs of improvement, and from that point onwards base the dosing frequency on the frogbit health?
Yes pretty much, I would dose at the recommended rate and then wait a few days for evidence of greening, if you don't see any improvement you may well have issues with a deficiency of one of the non-mobile nutrients. Have a look at <"this thread"> and linked posts.

Really healthy Frogbit looks like this:

sigrjybcq-width-3264-height-2448-cropmode-none-jpg.jpg


Have a look at <"Do we really need that much ....."> and linked threads.

Assuming your plants green up they will then commence growth and you can either add regular doses of nutrients, or you can wait for leaf colour and growth to decline in your "Duckweed". I use plant health and colour, other people will use a regular dose of 1/10 to 1/3 Estimative Index (EI) dosing. If you use a regular dose you need to measure conductivity to make sure that the conductivity isn't continually rising. If it is you need to change more water.

With most deficient nutrients (nitrogen (N), potassium (K), magnesium (Mg) etc.) you will get a rapid greening as the plant takes up the NO3, K+, NH4+, PO4---, Mg++ ions and moves them to tissues that are deficient in them, these nutrients are mobile within the plant.

The nutrients that are non-mobile in the plant are principly two micro-nutrients, iron (Fe) and manganese (Mn). Iron is particularly difficult to keep in solution so is normally supplied in a chelated form. FeEDTA is the default chelator, but is less good in hard water than <"some of the other options">.

You only see an improvement in growth with the non-mobile nutrients when you get new leaves growing.

cheers Darrel
 

Rob_Planted

New Member
Joined
6 Apr 2019
Messages
7
Location
Basingstoke
Hi Darrel,

Thanks again for the reply and for the frogbit offer, only 4 days until the house move now so getting scared and excited at the same time!

Regarding the conductivity meter - do you have a particular one that you could recommend or have any tips to choosing a relevant one? I’ve looked and seems to be quite a few types as with most things in the hobby!

Once I begin to add the ferts and to check on the frogbit health as an indicator for how frequently to dose this, are there any tell tale signs for how often I should be dosing the liquid carbon?

Oh and one more probably silly question but here it goes... With a lovely floating plant in good health hopefully thriving on the surface, would this not block the light from reaching the other plants within the tank?

Many thanks,
Rob
 

dw1305

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Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
10,432
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
do you have a particular one that you could recommend or have any tips to choosing a relevant one?
You want a low range conductivity meter (0 - 1999 microS). I probably wouldn't go below about £50.

Because you don't need to store the probes in a special storage solution you may be able to get a second hand one, something like a Hanna HI range meter. They are pretty robust and long lasting meters, we probably get through 3 or 4 pH meters for every conductivity meter.
With a lovely floating plant in good health hopefully thriving on the surface, would this not block the light from reaching the other plants within the tank?
Yes it will. Usually lack of light intensity isn't an issue. I have a pretty regular thin.
for the frogbit offer
I've just chucked a big handfull of floaters on the pond, and they didn't enjoy last night, but hopefully they'll perk up a bit when the weather warms up. I usually drop them of at the LFS when I have spare, but I didn't have time this weekend.

cheers Darrel
 

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