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20 High

Discussion in 'Aquascaping' started by csmith, Jul 24, 2010.

  1. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    [​IMG]


    I'm in need of some help figuring out what to do with this tank. I know it's planted incredibly lightly and I'll be looking at algae sooner rather than later. The crypts are probably on their way out once I get it all figured out as I can't deal with crypts the size of dutchy's once they start to grow in well. As of right now, stauro is obviously in the front and wraps around the right side behind that rock. There is a single H. kompakt behind the left side, rearmost rock. This plant will also probably go once I get this sorted out as the width will probably be too much to deal with.

    My plan was to just fill the back with rotalas, but that led me to another issue. Would it look pretty bad having stems in the back, stauro in the front and nothing between them, or would the rearmost stauro take on a growth pattern that would blend both nicely together? I thought about B. japonica for a bit but as I've read through Gerryd's thread it would seem that's a little more work to deal with than I'm wanting.

    Also, how would I go about hiding all of this hardware in a tank this small? If I were to use stems they'd have to be left pretty damn tall, and then my flow would suffer because there's only so much room in the back to point those powerheads outward. The powerhead you see pointed at the surface was pointed downward previously and was a tremendous boost to my flow issues but the second I added the black neons they were literally beaching themselves on that floating H. polysperma because my CO2 was uber high. Mix that with my tanks all-day temperature of 80 degrees (even at night, yes I've checked the thermometer and it works properly) and I realized I needed more surface agitation. The filter outflow (top right corner) helps quite a bit with both surface agitation and tank flow because the filter is oversized for the tank, but I'm hesitant to rely on it soley for both duties.

    Any help/thoughts/comments are greatly appreciated.
     
  2. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    About the hardware, I would remove the powerheads and buy a Vortech MP10, remove the temperature meter and cut the filter suction pipe to just stick in below the surface. Enough flow will take care of debris getting to it. Furhter I would remove the end of the suction pipe (the part that takes care no fish can get in there, don't know the name for that), then plug it up and drill small holes in the pipe.

    About the plants: What about some Blyxa to use as an intermediate plant with the Stauro?

    regards,
    dutchy
     
  3. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    Thanks for the reponse, dutchy. I'd have to keep atleast one powerhead in the tank, as I'm using the needlewheel mod to diffuse my CO2. I do have a few physically smaller powerheads (Mini-Jet 404) that can put somewhere near the same amount of flow (gph wise), but they're also a lot noisier when running CO2 through them, probably due to smaller impellers. That, and $200 for a MP10 is a pretty steep buy-in. As I understand they're superior to even Koralia, but for the huge price gap I can't envision purchasing one for the time being.

    I do like the idea of cutting the intake of the filter down, I hadn't thought about that.

    Blyxa japonica is what I was referencing from Gerryd's thread. The rate of growth of that stuff is almost scary. Unless it's just the high PAR doing it?
     
  4. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    The Blyxa grows kind of fast, but I think Gerry's high PAR is of influence here. I have to trim it every six week at a PAR of 60 micromols. Compared to other plants, that's not that bad, since I have to trim those every two weeks.

    I also think that if a filter has enough pump capacity it could provide for enough flow in this relatively small tank with an inline reactor, without using any powerheads at all. An average flow of 2 inch per second is enough, more makes plants suffer of biomechanical stress and inhibited growth (Madsen et al, 2001)

    Personally I think avoiding to use a lot of hardware is just as important as creating a nice scape, it contributes a lot to the final result. I've never seen any noticeable advantages over needle wheel to a inline rector, to me it's just another way to do it.

    regards,
    dutchy
     
    #4 dutchy, Jul 25, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 25, 2010
  5. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    Is there some equation to figure out 2" per second? In Oreo's thread (Flow: How much is enough? What's a deficiency look like?) shoggoth43 said:
    ..but I have no idea what he's getting at. I have a Fluval 205 (claimed 180 gph, but I've read 110 gph is more realistic), and the tank has a length of 24 inches. Going by the conservative estimate (110 gph/20 gallons in the column [without reducing for substrate/hardscape displacement]) I'd have 5.5 turnovers per hour.

    I'll look into inline reactors as I'm sure you're right, given the tank size it couldn't be much of a difference in CO2 injection. My only worry would be injecting the CO2 that high into the column (from the filter output). Would it degas quicker coming out that high? I guess it's like Tug said, the more I know, the less I know.

    That's good to know about the Blyxa, I'll definately look into it now. i just found more rotala so we'll see where I can get.

    Thanks for all of your help, it's appreciated.
     
  6. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    Well, what I do is just look at something really small, like a small leaf fragment and see how fast it moves through the tank. Another way I use is to get all the leaves moving, without bending the complete plant. That should be enough flow.

    About CO2 coming out high, my CO2 exits around 3 inch below the water surface, but my reactors diffuse so well that it's no problem. A needle wheel would degas more I assume. Maybe the filter alone is enough, because the pressure form the outlet doesn't die out before reaching other areas. I still think the 2 inch per second rule is a good way to determine how much flow to use.

    regards,
    dutchy
     
  7. nipat

    nipat Guru Class Expert

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    I look at detritus...ooops my tank is too dirty! :D
     
  8. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    There's my problem. I originally cut my tubing into the output a bit short, but this also gives me quite a bit of surface agitation. With the all-day high temperature in the tank I knew I'd need it for the livestock. Here's what it looks like:
    [​IMG]

    I'd almost feel like running the CO2 through that would be equivalent to running it through a HOB filter. I could be wrong however. Am I?
     
  9. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    I don't think it should be a problem like that since the output is pointing downwards. Mine are 3 inch under the surface, but exit horizontally. No problems here.

    regards,
    dutchy
     
  10. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    I appreciate you bearing with me, I'm sure these are all fairly simple questions but there are still quite a few things I don't quite have a grasp on (obviously scaping and CO2 diffusion through anything but needlewheel being the two most prevalent right now). Should I end up getting blyxa, would a one plant wall be enough or would it need to be thicker? I've never had this plant.
     
  11. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    That entirely depends on how thick you want it to be. Blyxa makes sideshoots, so a single plant can get a lot wider. If I look at mine, since I have a five layer wall going slowly to a single layer at the front, the single layer uses around 4 inch eventually. But if you trim more agressively, it could be just something like 2 inch.

    regards,
    dutchy
     
  12. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    A 20 high is 24 inches long? 12 inches wide? All the calculations I posted were just to point out that lots of people freak out about how many turnovers and such when there's realistically no way you're going to match what a small stream can do across the ENTIRETY of your tank.

    Dutchy likes 2" per second for flow so we'll use that. It takes 12 seconds for something to go from one end to the other lengthwise ( or 1 tank full per 12 seconds ). 5 x 12 seconds = 1 minute ( which is the 1 tankful every 12 seconds x 5 or roughly 100 gallons in a minute ). 60 minutes to the hour. You have that 5x multiple x 60. That gives you ROUGHLY 300 tankfuls per hour to get 2" per second of flow. So 300 tankfuls per hour x 20 gallons is 6000 GPH. You aren't going to get a pump that can do this across the entire tank but that's fine. Remember, these calculations are ONLY applicable if you took your tank and tossed it lengthwise into the river and let the water move evenly across the ENTIRELY of the tank sides. My pump only has a 1" outlet and I'm using a 3/4 down to 1/2 locline which cuts it down even more. Your tank side is 12" x probably 16 or 18". That's a lot more area. It may be better to picture the difference from one of those big window box fans vs. a leaf blower. They may both put out the same amount of air and the box fan my put out lots more, but you aren't going to like hanging out near the leaf blower. The whole point of the calculation is really just to stop people from the "OMG I have 20x turnover and my fish are going to die" freakouts. You can shove lots of current through the tank if you do it right. What dutchy's getting at is more of an average type of flow. You'll have some spots with a lot less flow and the spots right in front of the outlets will probably be much more. The math is just there to prove that having a couple spots of higher flow is no big deal.

    -
    S

     
  13. Wet

    Wet Lifetime Members
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    About the plants: on a tall tank I think you should consider some of the bigger stems, like L. 'Cuba', P. stellatus or yatabeanus, Synonganthus sp, and so on. While some of these crowns can get so big a nice bunch will eat up half the surface area/footprint, I think it's rare to find tanks that actually let these beautiful stems get close to their potential. I think the Blyxa, Rotala, or other species you have/are considering would still be a good midground and you can shape them to hide the middles of the larger stems. Just an idea.
     
  14. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    Ooooh, I like that idea. Maybe move the plants around from the more or less linear, left/right fashion they're in now to a more concavo-convex design, wrapping from front left to rear right (biggest stems being nearest filter intake). I've got 60-70 stems of rotala rotundifolia inbound probably tommorrow, so I'll see what I can pull off. I mainly stuck with the rotala design because it was all I've kept alive as far as stems go. My first bunch of stems, wisteria, lost its fight against a powerhead. :rolleyes: After that I got the rotala and more or less stuck with what I knew. Guess it's time to expand. Now if my stauro would quit finding reasons to melt I'd be doing good.

     
  15. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    C,

    Dutchy and I found that getting more flow to the stauro helped quite a bit. Mine no longer melts and grows quite well. Dutchy had some small algae/growth issues that are now better as well.

    I think the rotala may blend with the stauro well. Remember that the rotala will produce shoots at many heights/levels. These leaves are somewhat similar to the stauro, no?

    I think it may blend well...

    Can't wait to see it...

    Blyxa is a pest, but my high PAR definitely was a factor. Growth has slowed quite a bit but I did trim it to the bone almost.....much more manageable now. I would try some in this tank as the combo works well as Tom and Dutchy demonstrate...

    You can also use Anubias barteri for the sides..they can get quite large and attractive with the staggered large leaves. Many a catfish was found resting on them. good breeding sites as well
     
  16. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    Mine should have plenty of flow, as even the stauro directly in the path of my CO2 diffusing powerhead are melting/growing algae. The melted sections flop around in the current like crazy, but there's always room for improvement, right? I'll see if I can make any more flow modifications without adversely affecting everything else. I more or less chalk the algae growth up to my inability to do what I needed to do. Although I knew I should have filled the tank from the start I didn't, instead taking my time. I am fairly amazed at the lack of algae growth on the glass, though. Plants and hardware are getting beaten up, but barely any on the glass. Could be due to my every-other-day, 2x 50% water changes (I'm not playing around at all with NH4 this time).

    Here's how the stauro looks:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  17. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    CO2 is something I don't think is a concern for me right now. I ran it until the fish surfaced, then moved the second powerhead to make more surface agitation and ran it until the fish surfaced again. CO2 input is actually higher than when I didn't have fish in there, and now my DC is uber-yellow, but there's also heavy pearling for once. I'll have to go back through the whole process tommorrow/Thursday when my shrimp come in, though.
     
    #17 csmith, Jul 27, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2010
  18. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    Hi, I recognize how the Stauro looks. I had the same. I solved this by using less light, 30% to be exact. That way CO2 came more into balance with the demand. My Stauro is clean now and individual plants even get bigger leaves now than before.

    regards,
    dutchy
     
  19. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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  20. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    A while back (maybe 2-3 weeks) I raised my fixture again, and it now sits 14 inches from the water's surface and 28 total inches from the substrate. At 2 T5HO bulbs, I can't be insanely high anymore. A buddy of mine was going to try to acquire his saltwater clubs PAR meter for me, but that's fallen through so I'm stuck guessing. Using Hoppy's tables I've deduced I'm somewhere close to 60ish PAR, but again I'm measuring with a piece of paper and not what I should.

    Can I interest you in a stem-for-stem trade? :eek:;)
     
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