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First time poster seeking a little advice......

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by Greggz, Jan 29, 2016.

  1. Greggz

    Greggz Lifetime Members
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    ​First post on this forum. Back in September I went higher tech on my planted Rainbow tank. Been lurking here for a while, and thought maybe some of the dedicated plant keepers here could help me out.

     


    Here’s the information on my tank:


     


    120 gallon 60x18x26, 2 Aruba Sun Retrofit Fixtures mounted inside top of canopy (4x54W T5HO),



    SMD 3528 Waterproof 300 LED’s on dimmer used for morning/night viewing, 2 Rena XP3, Output to spray bars angled up 45 degrees, 2 Hydor Inline heaters, 2 Hydor Koralia Evolution Circulation Pumps, black diamond blasting sand sustrate, pressurized CO2 diffused into a Filstar XP-XL (Rena XP-4).


     


    I Should mention I am on well water with a softener. Here are my water specs:


     


    Tap water: PH 8.30 (degassed), GH 1.0, KH 17



    Tank water: PH 8.30 (degassed), GH 5.0 (GH Booster added), KH 17



    American Pinpoint Controller PH in range from 7.2 to 7.3 calculates to CO2 30 to 35 ppm range.


     


    Since my tank is fairly tall, and the lights are mounted into a canopy, they are about 29” from the substrate. I currently run the lights 8 hours a day, but do run some dimmed LED’s in the evening for viewing. I am dosing EI ferts daily, 60% water change weekly.


     


    So here are my questions. Everything is really going very well. Plants look healthy and growing well. The only issues I have is with some of the ground cover plants. S. Repens, Lobelia Cardinalis Small Form, and AR Mini are getting some algae over time, and not growing as well as the everything else. Nothing too serious, but other than some algae on the driftwood, they are the only plants affected. With my lights so far from the substrate, could it be I’m not getting enough par at the substrate (yes, I know no way to know for sure without par meter). At least likely not enough rather than too much light?


     


    Also, my tank is pretty well stocked with Rainbow fish. They are just as important to me as the plants. Should you adjust your EI dosing based on your fish stock? My Nitrates get fairly high before a water change (60-80ppm).


     


    With well water/softener, is there anything special I should be doing? Any particular plants that love/hate high KH. Should I really be concerned it? I know it may not be ideal, but it is what I have.


     


    Here’s a video of my tank. Plants have actually filled in pretty well since this video was taken. Open to any suggestions, as I am still a newbie and working pretty hard to get this right. Thanks in advance for looking and any comments.
     
  2. Pikez

    Pikez Rotala Killer!
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    With that many well-fed fish, I'd think you only need to add Potassium and Iron/traces. I strongly doubt you need to add any nitrates or phosphates. Full EI is a waste for this tank.


    Bigger water changes. More flow. KH may be too high for some of the trendy new plants, but there are plenty you can work with.


    I don't think light is an issue. A wet/dry filter would be nice.
     
  3. Greggz

    Greggz Lifetime Members
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    Thanks for the reply. I have noticed that most of the high tech tanks I see don’t have many fish. Which has made me wonder if my heavy fish load should be taken into account. I’m trying to balance the needs of the livestock and those of the plants.


    Here’s what I am dosing EI method right now.


    Plantex CSM + B 3/8tsp & Iron Chelate 3/8tsp 3x week


    Potassium Nitrate (KNO3) 1 1/4tsp, Potassium Phosphate (KH2PO4) 1/4tsp, Potassium Sulfate (K2SO4) 1/4tsp 3x week


    GH Booster 2 Tbs 1x week


    So you are suggesting not dosing any KNO3 or KH2PO4? Just dose K2SO4 for macros?


    I might give that a try for a few weeks and see what effect is has.
     
  4. Greggz

    Greggz Lifetime Members
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    Thanks for the reply. I have noticed that most of the high tech tanks I see don’t have many fish. Which has made me wonder if my heavy fish load should be taken into account. I’m trying to balance the needs of the livestock and those of the plants.


    Here’s what I am dosing EI method right now.


    Plantex CSM + B 3/8tsp & Iron Chelate 3/8tsp 3x week


    Potassium Nitrate (KNO3) 1 1/4tsp, Potassium Phosphate (KH2PO4) 1/4tsp, Potassium Sulfate (K2SO4) 1/4tsp 3x week


    GH Booster 2 Tbs 1x week


    So you are suggesting not dosing any KNO3 or KH2PO4? Just dose K2SO4 for macros?


    I might give that a try for a few weeks and see what effect is has.
     
  5. Julia Adkins

    Julia Adkins aquariumfertilizer.com
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    I disagree strongly with this idea of huge water changes. Smaller water changes more often helps maintain homeostasis of water chemistry. I recommend 1/4-1/3 water change twice a week. Otherwise you have a huge build up of waste. Think living in your toilet and only having it flushed once a week. For this reason and purpose I think having a water changing tool is an absolute must. It makes the chore easy and done in minutes.
     
  6. Greggz

    Greggz Lifetime Members
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    Julia I appreciate the response, but I have to disagree with you. I am new to high tech planted, but have had aquariums for 35 years. In my opinion, the single best thing you can do for the health of your fish is to perform large regular water changes.


    And as to build up of waste, that's like saying a crystal clear lake is a "toilet bowl". The naturally occurring breakdown of waste, in a lake or our tanks, along with good flow and surface agitation, provides a healthy environment for live stock.


    Yesterday I actually performed three water changes. I got my Nitrate reading down to about zero. I want to see how much nitrate accumulates over the course of a week with no addition of KNO3 or KH2PO4.

     


    By the way, the fish were extra colorful and active after the water changes. They just seem to love it every week.
     
  7. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Reefs also benefit from large water changes, but due to the mixing and cost associated with salt water.................they avoid it. Plants love it.


    I do 1-2x a week water changes for most of my tanks, a few can go a long long time without them without much risk.


    When talking about this, we need to state what.........type of tank and plants, loight, CO2 or not...............etc. Low energy tanks can handle much more abuse and neglect.


    My lower light Buce tank can handle far more abuse than the 120 stem tank.


    My old non CO2 tank got a water change once every 3-6 months. 2x a week for all the trim and growth in the 120.
     
  8. Greggz

    Greggz Lifetime Members
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    Tom thanks for chiming in, I've read so many posts from you I feel like I know you.


    What is your opinion on a heavily stocked tank and EI dosing? Would you adjust as suggested above, cutting out NO3 and KH2PO4?

     


    My plan is to cut them out for a week or two, and to see where I end up naturally before a water change. By the way, my Rainbows were in full display mode today from the large water changes. Makes me think I need to get the Nitrates right for the benefit of the fish, as it takes forever to raise them to full maturity, and they are my first priority.


     


    Based on your advice I have really concentrated on keeping the CO2 levels stable and as high as I feel comfortable with. Rainbows are unaffected and plants are doing better since I worked that out. It's been an adventure but a fun one since I went higher tech a few months ago.


     


    I don't have a big algae problem, just some on the carpeting type plants near the substrate. My initial concern was that they are too far from the light??
     
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Some reduce the % KNO3/KH2PO4, particularly if you have lower to moderate light
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    NO3 fish do not care that much about, particularly Rainbows. They are pretty tough.


    Algae, mostly trim it off, sometimes the plants nearest the light will get the CO2, because more light = more CO2 demand.............and less light means less CO2 uptake rates.........so lower foreground plants generally have issues.Some species like Crypts, Starougyne etc, clover, and a few others do well.


    If you remove the other stems, then those same foreground plants do well in the same tank, even non CO2 tanks.
     
  11. 1077

    1077 Guru Class Expert

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    This is not to my finding's


    If one is performing 50% or larger water changes regularly,then more is removed of that which we wish to remove and tank water will never fluctuate much from source water = good thing for fauna.


    I began in the hobby keeping large South American cichlid's that produce large amount's of waste.


    Performing one large water change once or twice a week was much more effective than several smaller water changes considering the rate the waste was being produced.


    Have not seen any negative effect from large weekly water changes in my NON CO2 tanks from plant or fishes perspective.


    Besides,,one large water change is much easier than several smaller ones. NO?
     
  12. fjf888

    fjf888 Guru Class Expert

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    I tend to agree. I think the smaller water changes may be good advice for beginners who are more likely to mess things up (temperature, chlorine remover, etc). The small water change in theory won't cause the beginner to kill their fish as easily.


    My personal experience with a tall tank was I had difficulty with foreground plants carpeting plants, but did well with stems and crypts, even some more of the so called difficult ones, i had a non-nutritive substrate like you do. Could be CO2 competition, lighting, or circulation of CO2. I had to learn deal with all these issues. I still found I had much more success carpeting plants with ADA aquasoil in smaller tanks, never did the ADA in the large tank. I had my best success overall when trimming and maintaining the stems and maintaining good circulation throughout the tank.
     
  13. Greggz

    Greggz Lifetime Members
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    Thanks for the reply. My tank is fairly tall, and as mentioned above the substrate is almost 30" from the lights. Like you experienced, my stems and crypts are going great, and I trim the stems weekly. It's not like the carpeting plants are dying, they just aren't thriving.


    I'm thinking I just need to experiment a bit. I looked at some pictures from about a month ago, and I can see some real growth from my Lobelia Cardinalis Small Form. Much more than my S. Repens. Maybe I just keep cultivating the ones that are happy and let them spread, and maybe try some others to see what clicks.


    Any suggestions for low growing plants for the foreground?
     
  14. fjf888

    fjf888 Guru Class Expert

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    My personal favorite was the dwarf hairgrass (e. Belem) MattF used to have a lot and it grew well, I am sure you can get it from somewhere. My staurogyne tended to grow taller in my tall tank, but did ok. IMHO its probably CO2, your tank from the video looked bright enough (how's that for scientific), CO2 in my experience is more difficult to make work in larger tanks than smaller ones. Circulation of CO2 is important, and stems tend to out-compete the foreground plants. Nothing new, but what I learned here and has coincided with my experience.
     
  15. Greggz

    Greggz Lifetime Members
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    I appreciate the advice. I am new to high tech, so am learning everyday.


    I do have a lot of stems, and they are growing well. I can see the argument that they out compete the foreground plants.


    I like the idea of the Belem. I'm going to keep my eye out for some.


    As to circulation, I do have two Rena XP3's, an XP4, and two Koralia Evolution Circulation pumps. I'm actually adding two more Koralia's, as I am a believer in good flow. With my Rainbows I think it is the more flow the better. They love it.
     
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