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200gal Ada Style Tank With Hc/belem

Discussion in 'Journals' started by Lakshmi Jagnnathan, Jan 24, 2018.

  1. Lakshmi Jagnnathan

    Lakshmi Jagnnathan Lifetime Member
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    1/22/Y18:

    I've been in PHX for a looong time(20+ yrs)...work in tech, and always had an interest in fish and model airplanes....my 2 main hobbies.
    The planted tank side of the hobby has kept my interest for ~4 years now.

    I currently have a 200gln tank.
    Tank CO2 with the high pressure diffusers from AFA. Neptune Apex and BML LED strips....3 strips at 90W and 1 75W strip at the front(tank is a flat back hex). It's a lot of light, so I run at ~75% max.

    Tank was built by a local company...I really wanted a single sheet of Acrylic bent at the front.
    The installed 2 Ocean clear filters....one a 25micron catridge, and 2nd a Bio filter.
    Pump is a BL55HD...which pumps 1100GPH....and it's pressure rated, so I think it gives about 7X turnover of the water volume per hour.

    I just did a full rescape(2weeks ago)....tank is emptied to the bottom glass(acrylic really).
    Th tank has about 95 Litres of Aquasoil (90L regular and 5L powder on top), which is under some powersand L.
    I got 20lb dragon stome from AquariumCoop, that sent me some excellent pieces.

    I did a dry start for 2 weeks with HC and Eleocharis Belem. I flooded the tank a fews ago, and the belem seems to have taken off...the HC seems OK, but not spreading as fast as the belem seems to be.

    I have a big slope from front to back, so I was having issues keeping the back wet and the front NOT flooded….so I just went ahead and filled the tank with water.
    Due to the big substrate slope….I’d have to say the plants seem to be doing better with the filled water.

    I used a tiny amount of super Thrive in the water I used to spray down the substrate prior to planting the following:
    1. 10 cups of HC (tissue culture)
    2. 10 cups of E Belem (tissue culture)
    More plants on the way….

    Hopefully all the articles I've read here on barrreport will help get what I've always wanted....a lush capetted tank! Fingers crossed!
     
    #1 Lakshmi Jagnnathan, Jan 24, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018
  2. Lakshmi Jagnnathan

    Lakshmi Jagnnathan Lifetime Member
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    Tank on 1/23(3 days after filling with water): E Belem and HC seem to be filling in:

    20180123_185601_resized_1.jpg

    20180123_185740_resized_1.jpg

    20180123_185822_resized_1.jpg
     
    karel.brits and Mike k like this.
  3. Lakshmi Jagnnathan

    Lakshmi Jagnnathan Lifetime Member
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    1/24/Y18:

    Some initial substrate level PAR/K measurements:
    I have a Seneye PAR meter. Looking at the BRS videos, this seemed to be best PAR meter in terms of accuracy that also showed Kelvin AND PUR.
    A few initial observations on PAR/K:

    PAR in air(dry start tank):
    PAR in the dry start tank(no water) was around 110-150, with ALL four BML LED strips on at 100%.
    Power at the wall was 384W.
    Kelvin ranged from 6000 to 7500K.

    PAR in water(3 days after filling tank):
    4 BML strips at 100%: PAR is 150-180. Color is DOWN….5500-6000K.
    3 strips at 100%: PAR is 100-150. Color is DOWN….5500-6000K.
    3 strips at 70%: PAR is 90-120. Color is DOWN….5500-6000K.

    My observations from the initial PAR/K readings:
    a. I need only 3 strips…not 4. I’m programming the 4 strip that is near the front(tank is flat back hex) to turn on only during the “feed cycle”…no fish anyway right now.
    b. Setting the max intensity to 70%(for 3 strips) with a little ramp up and ramp down. 6 hrs on for now.
    c. The slight yellow tinge in the water, SEEMS TO BE CHANGING the Light color! Atleast according to be PAR/K meter! This was a surprise to me atleast….that it moved down by 500-1000K. Only difference was filing the tank and the water getting slightly discolored before the 1st water change.

    Temp control:
    I’ve setup to 2 12v fans to blow over the water whenever the temp goes above 78, and stop at 77.
    They turn on predictably a little after the lights come up.
    This uses Evap cooling to cool down the tank….I can lower the temp on this 200gal tank by ~0.75deg every hr.
    Gotta love the Apex programmability!

    Planned Activities:
    1. 1st water change! 50% planned. RO + Equilibrium. gH target about 5-6, kH=3.
    Use ALK/Acid buffers to get to pH=6.8.
    2. Install Twinstar.
    3. Plant TC cups: E.vivipara(4), 1 Renditti(mini), 1 tall brown Crpyt(1).
    4. Get a new and smaller heater(looks hideous in the 1st pic)….or wait for new Vivipara/crypts to cover the view.
    5. Tweak the outlet positions/flows to get more a gyre from left to right.

    From now on...I'll do real time posts for the journal....I cut and paste the initial 3 posts from my word doc...
     
    #3 Lakshmi Jagnnathan, Jan 24, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018
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  4. tiger15

    tiger15 Member

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    Looks like it will turn out very nice. What is your grand design plan for the scape.

    What are the dimensions of your tank. Do you set the lights on glass top or open tops. With 384 watt lights, it can generate a lot of heat that can melt acrylic.
     
  5. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Are your PAR measurements made at the substrate level? Those are very high PAR numbers for a planted tank. If they are substrate level numbers you will need to keep the CO2 level as high as you can without harming the fish, or algae will very likely take over the tank.

    I suggest forgetting about the buffers, and ignoring the pH as long as you have a KH or about 3 or so minimum.

    How are you deciding how much CO2 to add to the tank - what bubble rate to use? CO2 is extremely critical with that much light. It is also very important to keep the tank clean, keep from building up organic waste in the water, and have very good water circulation throughout the tank.
     
  6. Lakshmi Jagnnathan

    Lakshmi Jagnnathan Lifetime Member
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    384 Watts is for all 4 strips at 100%. The PAR was too high....so based on the above PAR readings I took, I'm running 3 strips at 70%.
    which would be about 200W or so. Tank is 84x24x24(inches), but it's a flat back hex, as you can see in the pic of the tank posted above.

    With regard to heat....even at 100%, the BML strips get warm.....but not hot....I've picked them with my hands after this....very warm I'd say, but not hot to burn you or melt anything.

    I use the BML pivot stands(which are just 1inch tall and swivel)...pic attached.

    20180124_130747_resized.jpg
     
    #6 Lakshmi Jagnnathan, Jan 24, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018
  7. Lakshmi Jagnnathan

    Lakshmi Jagnnathan Lifetime Member
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    My pump is a BL55HD running thru 2 ocean clear filters.....it's pressure rated, and supposed to run 1100GPH....which is about 7X per hour of the 150gln water volume(200gal - the soil etc).
    KH is 3 and I'm using a PH meter and the Apex to control CO2 to around 35ppm.

    Based on my PAR measurements, I'm running only 3 BML strips at 70%, which is 90-120 PAR at the substrate.
    Is PAR at around100 too high?
    If you believe PAR=100 at the substrate is too high, what is a more optimal value at CO2=35ppm?
     
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  8. Allwissend

    Allwissend Article Editor
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    That tanks looks huge with just the carpeting plants in it. What are your plans regarding fish ?

    I would second Hoppy, abandon the buffers to adjust the pH. CO2 influenced pH is pretty much the only pH value that matters for most planted aquariums. And better to aim for at least 1ph drop between full CO2 and fully degassed water ( with an airstone out of the aquarium). For those plant, yes 100PAR may be too much, at least at first. However, with any instrument of measure, calibration plays a big role before exact numbers can be trusted.

    I would also strongly say get some cheap, easy, fast growing stem plants. In your tank even H. corymbosa will work well. These will help the system in the beginning stages. They provide biomass and nutrient demand to buffer possible problems. After it is sufficiently stable, you can remove them. See if anyone near you has some plants to donate or sell for cheap.
     
  9. Lakshmi Jagnnathan

    Lakshmi Jagnnathan Lifetime Member
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    For fish, plan is cardinals and SAEs primarily. I'll have to choose between RCS or Discus.

    I just did a 50% water change...added Equilibrium and ALK buffer to get GH=6 and KH=3.
    My CO2 is controlled by the Apex and the pH probe. I'm set at 6.4-6.45 as the range which is about 30-35ppm.

    All the plants right now are Tissue Culture....I'm trying to stay all TC if I can...I do have 6 more cups of E vivipara, Renditii(mini) and red crypts on the way....should be delivered tonight.

    I did just install the Twinstar....we'll see how that goes.
    Also added a CO2 drop checker.

    I'll re-check the PAR/Kelvin later tonight....I'm curious to see if the fresher/clearer water bumped up the Kelvin, which as per above posts did go down with the discolored water from the 1st fill up.

    So, what is the right PAR(at substrate)? For initial, and sustained? I am running lights for 6hrs.....and 30mins on each end is ramp up and ramp down, so 5hrs at 100 PAR(70% of 3 BML strips).
    I can easily lower the PAR/% of the lights....
     
  10. Lakshmi Jagnnathan

    Lakshmi Jagnnathan Lifetime Member
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    PAR/Kelvin Update after 50% water change:

    3 BML(72inch max 90W each) strips at 70%: PAR is 90-130. average about 110 PAR. Color is 6000-7200K.

    Before the water change readings:
    3 strips at 70%: PAR is 90-120. Color was….5500-6000K.

    Since this was the 1st water change, the water did have discoloration, so that does seem to have affected the Kelvin reading quite a bit.

    The HC seems to be pearling quite nicely with the ~100 PAR average. pH is at 6.7 right now....not close to the 6.5 target for KH=3.

    I see a good amount of pearling from the Belem as well.....for 6hrs(5hrs at PAR=110 average, and 1 hr ramp up/dwn), does anyone still think less PAR is better? I can turn the lights down in the Apex...it has the hookup from the VDM to the BML strips.
     
  11. Lakshmi Jagnnathan

    Lakshmi Jagnnathan Lifetime Member
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    A few pics of:
    HC pearling
    Twinstar in action
    The 6 TC cups of vivipara, renditti(mini) and Crypt(tropica) that just arrived.

    I'll do another 50% water change Saturday..and plant these at that time.

    If someone has any feedback and/or measurement on 5hrs of PAR at 110 average(across the substrate front to back), please let me know.
    If you have PAR measurements for your HC or dwarf hairgrass, please let me know as well.

    20180124_194035_resized.jpg

    20180124_212253_resized.jpg

    20180124_201402_resized.jpg
     
  12. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    The optimal value for the CO2 is that amount that is a bit more than causes noticeable improvement in how well the plants grow. 100 PAR is not so much that you can't use it if you use enough CO2 and do very good maintenance on the tank. But, half that is good enough to grow most plants, although not at colorful as with more light. It is a choice you can make based on your experience, the amount of time you will spend maintaining the tank, and the plants you want to grow.
     
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  13. Lakshmi Jagnnathan

    Lakshmi Jagnnathan Lifetime Member
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    Thanks Hoppy.
    My CO2 setup can be tuned fairly well since it's a high pressure diffuser system. I'll need to increase the flow rate tomorrow, since the current CO2 flow rate moves the pH down quite gradually....just 0.1pH per hr. I'll bump the CO2 flow up tomorrow and then try one day with PAR=100 and the next with PAR=60 and see how noticeable(if at all) the difference in pearling is.
    I'll probably dial it down to 60PAR and then dial it up slowly over a few weeks based on the plant growth....I'll be adding more plants this weekend.
     
  14. Lakshmi Jagnnathan

    Lakshmi Jagnnathan Lifetime Member
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    Is there any data or testing of what I'd call "Par-hrs" ....the PAR and hrs on....high par + short photo-period vs low par + long photo-period....both could be same "Par-hrs"....sorta like our kwHrs....but they may yield different results....specifically, if one is less algae, I'd be all for it.
    I'm assuming High-par is better for color, and you still need longer photo-periods to get the deep reds....lots of Par-Hrs effectively for deep reds...
     
  15. Lakshmi Jagnnathan

    Lakshmi Jagnnathan Lifetime Member
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    PAR measurement update:
    I did a PAR check earlier this morning: At 40% setting, the PAR at the substrate is 50-70.
    Summary of Substrate PAR readings I've taken(3 90w BML 72inch LED strips on 24 inch tall tank):
    100%: PAR is 100-150
    70%: PAR is 90-120.
    40%: PAR is 50-70.
    So, it's not exactly linear...still pretty decent control though with the Apex and BMLs.

    Based on this, I've changed the settings for max intensity of 40%, so average PAR will be 60 for 5 hrs and 1 hr ramp up/dn.
    I'll see how noticeable the difference in pearling is from yesterday's 70% intensity.
     
  16. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    A longer photoperiod cannot substitute for PAR entirely. Every plant species has a minimum limit on how much PAR is required for it to grow at all. For some low light plants that could be as low as 20 PAR, if not lower. But, many plants will not grow unless you have 50 PAR or more. No matter how long the lights are on, the plants won't grow if the intensity is too low. If you are adding CO2 to the water I think those minimum limits are decreased a bit. I know that you can get a specific growth rate with less light intensity if you also have a significant amount of CO2 in the water. I also know that at least some plants will stop growing after some specific photoperiod, so you can't increase the photoperiod too much and still get a benefit from doing so.
    I think this is over complicating the issue - at least it complicates it more than I want it to. My preference is to set a light intensity that gets the results I want for the plants I have, keep the lights on for 8 hours, so I can enjoy looking at the aquarium for a satisfying length of time, and use enough CO2 that the plants grow fast enough that algae become only a minor nuisance, not a frustrating problem.
     
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  17. Lakshmi Jagnnathan

    Lakshmi Jagnnathan Lifetime Member
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    Thanks.
    I'll stick with the 60 PAR setting(average at the substrate). Photo-period is 6 hrs right now with 30 mins of ramp up and 30mins of ramp down.
    I did see a few spots of algae on the amazonia powder....
    After today's 50% water change, I'll add in some excel.

    20180126_194759_resized.jpg
     
  18. tiger15

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    From my research, Amano nature aquariums have typical PAR between 40 and 60 with CO2. Amano grows mostly low light mosses, fern, Anubias and carpet plants but few, if any stem plants. In contrast, Dutch style tanks have high 100+ PAR, and co2 to support vibrant stem plants, but low light plants suffer from what I read. Walstad does not use co2 and she admitted not able to grow many stem plants common in Dutch style.

    Also from what I read, stem plants close up after 8 hour photo period, so any longer photo period is a waste. I’m not sure if non-stem plants respond the same and can be benifited by longer photo period. Walstad provides 10 to 12 hour photo period in the belief that 12 hour is typical lighting period in tropical regions.
     
    #18 tiger15, Jan 27, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2018
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  19. Lakshmi Jagnnathan

    Lakshmi Jagnnathan Lifetime Member
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    1/28(saturday) update:
    Did a 50% water change. This is now 1 week from filling the tank.
    Lighting is now at 60 PAR for 6hrs, and kH=3, gH=5, pH about 6.5-6.8(CO2 on or off). temp 77F, and fans kick in to keep temps under 78F.
    (Seachem Equilibrium, KHCO3 added to about 80 glns of RO water)
    I also added Excel 75ml for the 150 gln water volume.
    I did a calibration on the new pH probe....it's the new "double junction" lab grade probe from Neptune....supposedly will last longer....we'll see how that works out.

    kH consumption: Tank kH drops from 3 to 2 in about 3-4 days. I'm assuming that's "normal"?

    I did get a 1lb of KHCO3 on amazon....it was $11, but that since I'll probably go thru 80gms a week, I may have to buy it in larger quantities.
    Interestingly, the seachem ALK buffer(at 600gms) for $11 is a cheaper...but I'm trying to stick with KHCO3 since between this and the Equilibrium I use for RO water reconstitution, I will have plenty of K, and no need to do any K dosing.

    I planted the Eleocharis Vivipara(4 cups), Rendittti(mini) 1 cup and Crypt(Tropica) 1 cup.....the Vivipara was very delicate.....I felt like a brain surgeon when I was handling it.
    The Eleocharis Belem which was also tissue culture.....was MUCH easier to handle and plant.....a bit odd, given the vivipara is supposed to be the "tall hairgrass".

    All the plants are Tissue Culture..which seemed fairly delicate compared to potted plants I've used in the past...especially the E.vivipara.

    However, these TC plants have been quite healthy.
    I accidentally uprooted one cluster of the HC, and in just the 1 week it had grown roots about 3/4 inch with aquasoil embedded in the thick root cluster.
    Comparing the tank picture from 1/23 to 1/28(5 days) shows a notable filling in of the plants too.

    Hopefully the new vivipara/rendittti/tropica also follow the same pattern. (fingers crossed!)

    Some pics attached.

    View attachment 11884

    Jan28Y18_tankview.jpg

    Jan28Y18_tropica.jpg

    Jan28Y18_vivipara.jpg
     
  20. Kyalgae

    Kyalgae Lifetime Members
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    Oh hey, Neptune says you shouldn’t fully submerge your pH probe! It will fail prematurely.:eek: You need a probe holder.
     
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