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My Story So Far...

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by PhillyB, Feb 13, 2007.

  1. PhillyB

    PhillyB Prolific Poster

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    All,

    I just wanted to share my story so far...

    I have a 29 gallon and have been using EI since the new year. At first I was using DIY Yeast reactors and upgraded to compressed about 2 weeks ago. The compressed CO2 is much better, althought the Milwaukee regulator is finicky on the settings. I usually have to check/fine tune it in the morning before leaving for work and setting it on the timer.

    Cranked the CO2 up a bit today and... when I got back from work noted a fair amount of pearling! CO2, CO2, CO2! Everything else was constant in the past few weeks, only the CO2 has changed and it brought about some nice bubbles coming up from the plants! I'm going to try and hit this sweet spot more often and keep the bubble rate at this level, my regulator just seems to act up.

    Anyway, my only issue I want to conquer is my brown algae. It likes to grow on my bacopa and hygrophilia difformis. The hygro grows nice new green leaves and in about a week the brown algae catches up. I am going to let it be and pay attention to the CO2 and see if the brown dies back.

    I have been using test kits about 1/5 as much as I did before. My fish are much hardier than I thought fish were.

    In other news... I have a digital scale which measures 20g accurate to 0.002g. I saw the KH reference solution posting and am going to try and make my own ref. solution in conjunction with a drop checker. Pulled out my old chemistry books and believe I can make a fairly accurate reference solution with the scale.

    Just wanted to share and say thanks for the information throughout this bulletin board. Very helpful! Too much information on the internet which does not seem to be correct (I can't say for sure if it is or not but my findings are not consistent with a lot of it)!
     
  2. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Well, CO2 is the lion's share of the fertilization we use, 40-45% of the plant's dry mass comes from the CO2.

    N only 1.5%, K+, about 1% and so on......

    You might try the Baking soda Drop checker method, your scale is plenty accurate enough.

    You can always make 10liters instead of 1 liter an gain an extra significant digit.
    You can toss the remaining 9 liters down the drain if you want etc.
    Some what wasteful but will give you more accuracy.

    Concerning the net and other information: I want to say that I may preference everything I say as tenative. But......in light of a better alternative, I stick with the most probable solution/reason. Step wise incremental improvements to hypothesis and reasoning help a great deal to arriver at a better answer, even if it's not the right one, which often happens in light of new evidence. Much of the older information was as right as they could get it at that particular time. My only wonderment was why did they not test their hypothesis they developed?
    Seemed odd to me.

    You need to be able to control the CO2, since controlling the nutrients is easy with EI, light control is also easy(timer etc). If you cannot control CO2/nutrients etc, you cannot test either.

    So main thing for the algae you have, clean it off and fluff it off as much as you can, get 2 otto cats, and do a larger than 50% water change, say 15Gal or more each water change, or 2 water changes a week till the algae is under control.

    CO2 is all that is left after that.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  3. PhillyB

    PhillyB Prolific Poster

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    All,

    I sat down to admire my tank this evening, and I must say I am impressed with its progress. I re-planted all of my bacopa over the weekend and am much more pleased with the current arrangement. I can't believe how bright green and full the plants are growing in. Most of my plants would probably be considered "beginners plants" but they look very nice none the less. I have: Bacopa caroliniana, Egeria densa, Hygrophila difformis, Microsorum pteropus, Nymphoides aquatica (banana plant(?)). No plans to change this any time soon as things are very pleasant now (I'd like to see it remain this way for another 3 months).

    Some things I am going to experiment with next:
    1) I am going to slowly lower my phosphate ferts to see if that reduces my brown algae (it is already receding). My tap water is coming out with a fair level of phosphates to begin with (~2.0ppm). My measured levels are > 2.0 and < 5.0, and this is after an initial reduction.
    2) Get a better C02 diffuser. I am using a RIO 180 with a Venturi connection. I routed the C02 from the compressed tank into the filter basket, and from the venturi connection back into the filter basket. I think I can do better here especially since there seems to be a lot of bubbles to make my drop checker go green.
    3) Work on better layouts/design. My first goal was to get some good growth!
    4) Eventually setup a 55 gallon which was just given to me by a friend. This is going to wait several months...

    Thanks to all! This forum has more than paid for itself in the ~4 months I have been reading here. Huge amount of progress in that short time. I spend SO much less $$$ now than I used to, and with 10-fold the results. Exceptional information. Tom, I especially enjoy the occasional external article which you post in the forum for further reading.

    Thanks!
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I would suggest the DIY venturi reactor I have here for folks, easy to use andf I know it works with canned or yeasted CO2 sources.

    While you see progress here, I would suggest just allowing things to go ahead, but make improvements in the current and CO2.

    I do not think there's going to be any issues other than running low perhaps on PO4.
    Generally, it's a CO2 related issue or too low, and I've yet to be ablwe to knock the system off with extreme light or nutrient levels, 10ppm PO4, 150ppm NO3 and 500-800 micrmols of light PAR.

    So be patient and allow the plants to over take things and dominate. Fill in with only the best looking cuttings as you prune and make sure that the plantings are thick.

    As the plants take over, the algae beat a hasty retreat.
    That takes a little time but once on the road, then you really have a good notion of what and why.

    You can mess with it and try to improve things, and that can be done depending.......but there's little substitute for patience and allowing things to grow in well.

    Healthy plant growth = no/little algae growth, certainly enough to wipe clean after a week or two.

    But with folk's tanks that have been lacking proper care, the plants are depleted and there's not much healthy biomass, then it takes a few weeks for the new growth to dominate really well.

    Some think this means that it's not working.
    Give things some time, you should see new growth, focus on that and attack the algae aggressively, it may come back a few times but not for long and almost always in proportion to healthy growth.

    Stick with those weeds you now have.
    Easy to grow weeds done right are nothing to scoff at.
    See most Dutch tank's for example.

    When or if you decide to explore other species, there will be plenty to pick and chose from.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  5. PhillyB

    PhillyB Prolific Poster

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    I wanted to post some pictures... Hope this works, I uploaded my photos to PictureTrail for photo hosting as they are large files.

    I know my arrangement/display is not that great but I am proud of the growth so far. And I will take the two power-heads out next time.

    Taken March 22, 2007:
    FRONT VIEW
    [​IMG]

    Taken April 9, 2007:
    FRONT VIEW
    [​IMG]


    TOP VIEW
    [​IMG]

    My fish can find all kinds of great places to hide, and there several babies in there too.

    Cheers,
    John
     
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