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Double check of new setup

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by fjf888, May 19, 2009.

  1. fjf888

    fjf888 Guru Class Expert

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    I am setting up a tank for some friends who like my planted with high light and CO2. However, they are novices and do not really fully appreciate the maintenace required on this tank. My goal for them is a nice lower maintenance planted tank that requires little dosing and no CO2 (ala Walstad and using the guidance here with lower light methods), and not the rapid growth i get in my EI CO2 injected HO T5 tank.

    Tank is a 72g bow 48x18x23. I chose to go with Eco Complete as the substrate easy to obtain and work with. For lighting I am using 2x54 HO T-5 (Hagen) I wanted to use Current model with the individual reflectors but they preferred the Hagen model, visually I could tell no difference in the brightness of the lighting. For filtration,a canniser filter, Eheim Professional 2028 .

    Plants are primarily from a major pruning and thinning of my tanks and include Sunset Hygro, Java Fern and Java Moss attached to driftwood, cambomba carolinia, Crypt Wenti Brown and Green and Ludwigia Peruensis and Riccia Fluitans.

    Everyone I talked with at the LFS told me I needed more light. My reality checks with this based on what I read here is that is BS. I want to keep algae in check. And it actually looks like a heck a lot of light. My only concern is the depth of the tank and perhaps a need for a bit more light as a result. The other question I have is regarding Eco Complete and if a minimal or no dosing would be sustainable using this substrate. I have used soil under gravel and this seems to work well for a year or so before I need to start dosing, not sure how long the Eco would last.

    Any other suggestions appreciated as well

    Thanks
     
  2. jeff5614

    jeff5614 Prolific Poster

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    I have the same light over a standard 75g. I dose EI and have pressurized CO2. The stems that I have include L cuba, P stellatus, Rotala green, P erectum and sunset hygro. They usually require weekly pruning as some of them grow 4-5 inches per week. If I read correctly you're wanting to avoid CO2 and dosing. If that's the case I'd keep some distance between the tank and the light or maybe consider less light. I can only the imagine the mess of algae I'd have without ferts and CO2.
     
  3. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hey Fred,

    long time no hear..........

    I second the opinion by jeff5614 about the light........any way to suspend the light so it is adjustable will pay many dividends later...........

    A 75 is still not that big a tank.......we have all seen that plants need much less light than we always thought was required...........
     
  4. fjf888

    fjf888 Guru Class Expert

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    I have the hardware where I can elevate the light about 6 inches or so, the tank is in a two story foyer with a 19 foot ceiling so a ceiling mount is not that practical.

    Do you really think the potential is there for a major algae issue without CO2 with the lighting I have? I could very easily add CO2 to the setup. I wanted to make sure I had that option if they decided to go down that road. I have the light timer set for 10 hours, perhaps I should lower to 8.

    I don't want rampant growth where it needs to be trimmed every few days. I guess another option is to let the Riccia grow out as a floater to reduce the impact of the lighting.

    I have smaller tanks a 10 g and a 6 g with 40 and 27 watts of light, probably at best translates to moderate, using soil substrates with no algae no CO2 and slow steady growth, I was hoping to duplicate that on a large scale. Perhaps the amanos in the tanks do a lot better job controlling algae then I realize.

    Yeah, Gerry been awhile. Life has gotten in the way of aquarium hobby :)

    Fred
     
  5. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    With T5HO lighting the old "watts per gallon" routine doesn't work at all. Those are very bright lights. A single T5HO 54 watt bulb would give plenty of light, but it wouldn't be at all uniform at the substrate. For non-CO2 tanks I think T5HO is a bad idea.

    Another problem is that the light intensity gets much higher, the closer you move up in the tank. So, even with low intensity at the substrate, the plants soon grow up into the high intensity area at the top of the tank, and then you need CO2 again. If you suspend the light several inches above the tank, you greatly reduce the maximum intensity in the upper parts of the tank (but possibly get too low an intensity at the substrate). Roughly speaking, the intensity varies inversely with the square of the distance to the light, so at 10 inches from the light, the intensity is 4 times higher than at 20 inches from the light.

    Using more than one bulb to obtain the intensity greatly reduces the variation in intensity in the tank. For one thing, as you get closer to the water surface, the contribution in intensity from bulbs not directly overhead drops considerably, keeping the intensity more reasonable near the surface.
     
  6. fjf888

    fjf888 Guru Class Expert

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    So the moral of the story is get CO2 in this situation. I think that is what I will propose. One item that seems to have changed a bit, as I had not been on here in awhile is there appears to be more diversity of methods to dissolve CO2. My tank is still functioning quite well with CO2 reactor I built based on the model here, but now there are glass diffusers and needlewheels, etc. With the current tank I am working on as previously described, is there a preferred method to dissolve CO2?

    I suppose I can boost the light up as well and see what happens. As I am using crypts at the low levels the lower intensity of the light at the substrate will probably be sufficient for crypts, just not a carpet of glosso or HC, which I was not going to bother with anyway.

    Thanks again.
     
  7. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Fred, this is a 70 Gal using CO2 and 2x 54W:

    [​IMG]

    Seems to do pretty good to me.

    Low light + CO2 is much more managable. Problem is, when folks get CO2, they automatidically assume they also need/have to have high light.

    And that is the real problem and why many folks have a lot of issues.
    I have heard this from experienced folks back to 1995, I've said, many have........but on deaf ears.

    EC has no nutrient BTW..........it is pretty much inert, do not believe that muck they claim on the side of the bags.

    ADA AS, mineralized mud etc, those have nutrients and such...........flourite, EC etc does not really, many a little Fe, that's about all really.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  8. fjf888

    fjf888 Guru Class Expert

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    Tom,

    Looks great as your tanks always do. I'm sold. The lighting I have actually looks maybe even a bit brighter.

    Ok so now I have an inert sediment, too much light and no CO2. :). So basically the tank is a disaster waiting to happen. I had thought I learned something. The non-CO2 methods that I have done I actually use soil and gravel which works quite well, but that is a nutrient based substrate. Sounds like I should have gone with ADA or made my own, in this case, live and learn.

    In searching further I saw you have recommended osmocote as an alternative to supplement the substrate. I have a lot of that. Hopefully that will give the intial kick start until the mulm adds up.

    I'll add CO2 either by a reactor or diffusor, although I find your powerhead modifcation an interesting alternative as well.


    Sounds like I should also recommend dosing the water column as well perhaps at 50% levels initially.


    Thanks to everyone for their feedback. As usual the quality of advice here is excellent.
     
  9. jeff5614

    jeff5614 Prolific Poster

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    FWIW, I thought I'd post a pic of my 75 with 2x54 T5HO. Excuse my photography skills as I don't have any. This pic is a few months old and I've had a small rescape since then but it's not too far off.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. fjf888

    fjf888 Guru Class Expert

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    Nice job on the tank. I especially like the Rotala. What is the substrate? Looks like regular gravel.
     
  11. jeff5614

    jeff5614 Prolific Poster

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    Yep, it's just regular old aquarium gravel passed down from tank to tank over the last 20 years.
     
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