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My tank three weeks later

Discussion in 'Aquascaping' started by dantra, Sep 6, 2009.

  1. dantra

    dantra Lifetime Charter Member
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    Continuation from this thread.

    Here is a crappy not so good photo of the aquarium as it looks now. This was two days ago before I gave it a water change. The aquarium is officially three weeks old.

    Please keep in mind that I'm purposely letting the plants grow out so I can trim it the way I would like. I think I will let the left side (Rotala Green) grow out another two weeks before I give it its first trim. Don't get me wrong, the growth has been explosive but I think another two weeks will be just right.

    I gave the Amano shrimps away because all they did was play around and chase each other totally ignored the algae. I only feed them once and they still ignored the algae. I would like some pygmy otos but I'm afarid they will uproot my HC. If I can find a very small flying fox I would keep it until it reaches a size too big for the tank.

    The only place I get algae is on the rocks, wierd. I started dosing 1/2 EI from originally dosing full EI (because I have mineralized soil), raised the lights, kept up with water changes and I still get algae on the rocks. I raised the light to 1.5' cut back on the photo-period and I still get algae on the rocks.

    I have to get a test kit. As soon as everything looks good testing wise, I will get the rams.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Circulation

    Directly, I think it is likely still a CO2 issue.

    Indirectly I suspect that it is circulation, particularly with the alga problem being on the face of the rocks opposite the spray-bar (water return). Dynamically it seems a bit of an awkward arrangement, water circulation-wise.

    Assuming that you are getting 30 ppm CO2, minimum, into the tank, though I target a good bit higher myself and with your light levels, well… Anyway, I think you have two ways to go.

    My first choice would be to move the spray bar to the left side (side opposite the intake) of the tank. You also might consider moving the intake toward center or right back corner.

    My second choice would be a small powerhead or in this size tank, a small submersible pump placed back left, with tubing output brought front left aimed across the front side of the rocks. Some type of diffuser on the end of the tube output to keep the flow spread out across the front.

    In addition, I think you have a lot of light, even raised 18 inches, that is still a bunch of energy into that tank. If you like the light it is fine, I still would recommend reducing the light intensity, if you can’t or don’t wish to reduce the number of bulbs, I would suggest a shade cloth, perhaps 20 to 50% reduction.

    Maybe the ‘nutrient type’ label is correct, because as long as you are doing large water changes and I know Tom Barr has recommended ½ EI dosing, at the risk of being further labeled a heretic, at minimum I would increase KNO3 and frankly with this level of lighting, I would be full EI dosing and probably a bit more. I know the orthodoxy but being a plant, I like CO2, but I also like them nutrients as well.:D

    Biollante
     
  3. dantra

    dantra Lifetime Charter Member
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    The tank is only about 18 us gallons and the filter I'm using is an Eheim 2217 canister filter. That much filter on that size tank even with all those plants has everything swaying (more like blowing around) from the current. Actually, its too much current that I had to cut it down.

    You really can't tell but I drilled another row (set) of holes on the bar just beneath the original holes to increase the amount of water dispersed into the tank. There is more than adequate current (water movement) in that tank.

    Secondly, I was originally dosing full EI. As a matter of fact, I was dosing EI on the level of between dosing for a 10-20 gallon to 20-40 gallon tank just because of the amount of plants in there. I did that for two weeks then just yesterday after a water change I decided to cut back to 1/2 EI starting today.

    As far as CO2, when Tom suggested to add more the first time I did. The HC is growing very well now. I think if the HC responded the way it did and I'm getting incredible growth from them now that I cranked up the CO2 then I think I have the right amount of CO2. Even then I cranked it up again the next day just to be sure I wasn't lacking. Tom you were correct telling me to add more CO2 because once I did that growth just exploded in the tank.

    Although I'm using just two bulbs not all four I think its still too much light and I may have to raise them again. I think that is what's causing my algae on the rocks. There isn't any algae on the moss or the plants, I don't get algae anywhere but on the rocks so I think its a light issue.

    Just in case you are wondering I'm using this bulb and this one as well.

    Biollante, thanks for the advice. It definitely made me go through my check list of things I've done so far. I think if I raise the lights anymore it may affect the growth of the HC... am I wrong?

    Dan
     
  4. dantra

    dantra Lifetime Charter Member
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    Biollante, I gave more thought to the spraybars position and changed it. We'll see how it works out in about two weeks.

    Thanks
    Dan
     
  5. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi Dan,

    I see no real reason to reduce EI as long as you are injecting a decent amount of c02. No sense in having any limitations........

    I like the look of the tank please post a post trim pic or two!

    I will read your other thread, but is there a way to mount the lights so you can raise them off the tank? I seem to remember a pic where they were mounted on legs a few inches off the tank.

    Many different ways to do this DIY and cheap. Gives you plenty of control of light input which drives c02 and nutrient demand and plant growth.

    Also, at a higher height, you may get a better spread.

    Can you cover the rocks for a bit with some moss or allow some of the stems to stay larger and shade a rock or two? Then compare if it helps at all if the fixture cannot be raised.

    You would be surprised how little light is really needed for good plant growth. Even HC and other carpet plants.

    It is really more c02, nutrients, flow, filtering, maintenance, etc, etc.

    Light is where it all starts however. The higher the light, the higher the nutrient and c02 demand.

    Hope this helps.
     
  6. dantra

    dantra Lifetime Charter Member
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    Gerryd, I'll keep it simple and post the photos of my progression, including the stand and of course the tank. I really hope the mods don't mind all of the photos.

    I'll begin with the pipe I used to hang the Tek lights from. I got the Idea from Tom and Jason really as well as other who influenced the design.

    [​IMG]

    This little guy was great at getting the shavings nice and smooth:

    [​IMG]

    When I was done with that I put the cable through the pipe after bending it of course ;) Oh, I also used some old hole covers (spares that were laying around) for the end of the pipe from my leather office chair.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. dantra

    dantra Lifetime Charter Member
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    Continued

    When both sides were done, I screwed the brackets on the back of the stand for the poles and this is the end result:

    [​IMG]

    Here is a closer look at the leveler: :D

    [​IMG]

    This is what it looks like from the side. I decided to go with the One Point Adjustable Cable Hanging Kit. The cable is so long that you can see the extra in the tank

    [​IMG]
     
  8. dantra

    dantra Lifetime Charter Member
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    Continued

    This is what the setup looks like:

    [​IMG]

    Here's another shot:

    [​IMG]
     
  9. dantra

    dantra Lifetime Charter Member
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    Clearly my inspiration and blueprint comes from Jason Baliban.
    Thanks Jason.

    Here is the rough finish:

    [​IMG]

    Here is the stand primed and ready for painting:

    [​IMG]

    Here is the stand painted and ready to go ;) :

    [​IMG]


    If you have any question feel free to ask.

    Dan
     
  10. dantra

    dantra Lifetime Charter Member
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    I'm really at a loss with this algae on the rock issue. I mean everything is growing great, in fact since Tom suggested raising CO2 a while ago, the growth has been explosive.

    Next week it will be a month since its been up and running. Perhaps I shouldn't limit nutrients because the plants has settled in so nicely i don't want to hinder them.

    I can raise the lights a total of 22 inches. Perhaps I should raise them up some more. I still use the other two lights for a total of 4 for two hours (noon burst) after which I just run only two for a total of 8 hours.

    Any suggestions?
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I have almost the identical tank, stand, and light etc.

    I used 4 mm dolomite and manzy wood, and it's a non CO2.

    I used silver spray paint that matches the stand better and no need to sand the bars and get all the discolor and writing off that way.

    I do not think you need a garden mat for smaller tanks like this.
    90-120 Cm sizes start needing them.

    You can buy rubber mat from home depot, McaMaster Car etc for cheap.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  12. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Big water change + Excel over the rocks when the tank is virtually dry.

    This will expose the rocks and you can add straight excel on them.
    Spray bottle or paint brush if you want to get specific.

    Rubber nose plecos are good for cleaning rock.
    Ottos and shrimp etc.

    Less intensity is likely a better route, use 2, not 4 of the Tek light bulbs.
    Then raise the light up slowly, say 2" and watch 1-2 weeks.
    Try another 2" etc.

    Till you see a good balance.........

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  13. dantra

    dantra Lifetime Charter Member
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    Sounds like a plan, will do. I especially like the idea of using a paint brush to spot clean. I tried the spray but I couldn't control the spray enough to not get it on the leaves of the plant. Needless to say the excel use to destroy the leaves.

    My next planned water change is wednesday so I'll start the spot cleaning with the brush, in fact I'm looking forward to it.

    The otto's worry me because I don't want the HC disturbed but the rubber nose pleco sounds good, however I do prefer the otto's especially the pygmies.

    Dan
     
  14. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Good Job!

    Hi Dan,

    Up front, I should confess a bit of planted tank heresy. I don’t think a little ordinary green algae is a big deal. A little alga seems rather natural, and dare I say, even healthy. I know many are really exercised over a little algae and that is fine.

    It is also quite possible your flow/circulation is just fine. With strong plant growth, they likely will simply out-compete the algae. :)

    Nutrient type that I am I would bump the KNO3 a bit.

    Well actually, I’d make sure I was limiting nothing and go full EI dosing, yes I realize you are using mineralized soil (good choice, by the way).;)

    Those lights look great and at 48 watts, much more manageable. At 48 watts, I would not bother rearranging anything light-wise beyond whatever looks good to you. I really don’t think it is a light issue. Oddly enough, I don’t think light is a direct cause of algae, beyond the fact that light drives the system.

    I think your tank looks great; you have paid excellent attention to detail. Just a side note; the pipe cutter you used to cut the conduit may well have been dull, but a reamer is usually required to finish the cut in any case.

    As competent, as you obviously are the only thing I would recommend on future project is cutting a couple of holes in the glass for plumbing. It is a simply way to really-clean up the layout of the tank.:cool:

    I guess if the algae on the rocks is still going in a couple of weeks I would consider it circulation and move the spray bar, the extra holes may do the trick as well.

    Biollante
     
  15. dantra

    dantra Lifetime Charter Member
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    Once again, I really hope you guys don't mind the photos. I turned up the CO2 yet again this morning and tweaked the spray bar just a bit and the results have been pretty good. The Rotala Green has been growing kind of bend over like growing away from the light but when I added more CO2 the Rotala Green straightened right up by midday. I was shocked. So the reason the Rotala was growing downward was because of lack of CO2?!?! :confused:

    I thought I had already added all the CO2 I should but sure enough as soon as I added more, actually I got very generous with it the plants responded well. Take a look.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  16. dantra

    dantra Lifetime Charter Member
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    Continued

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  17. dantra

    dantra Lifetime Charter Member
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    Continued

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  18. dantra

    dantra Lifetime Charter Member
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    The last photos:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    It was weird to finally see the Rotala's straighten up but it was a pleasant surprise.

    Biollante the bottom of the tank is tempered glass so I wouldn't be able to drill the tank at all although I would like to have drilled the bottom. Anyway I'll just keep tweaking the lights and CO2 and report back in a couple of weeks with the results as well as post trim photos :D
     
  19. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Liebig's Law

    Hi Dan,

    We don’t drill the bottoms on purchased tanks, they are almost always tempered glass, even if it didn’t say tempered I wouldn’t drill the bottom of any purchased tank.

    The back generally, fairly simple a couple of bulk heads and that is pretty much the show.:)

    Liebig's Law of the Minimum works every time! Non-limiting nutrients is amazing and really the best is yet to come.;)

    Just keep it up the plants will tell you everything you need to know.

    Love the photos.:cool:

    Biollante
     
  20. dantra

    dantra Lifetime Charter Member
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    Well long story short, I arrived home yesterday after being away for a week and the power to the aquarium was off. I was told that the power to the building was reset due to a test. Anyway I contacted the condo board as well as management because I wasn’t given ample warning about this “test” before I went away. In fact no one was informed about it. :mad:

    To my surprise management insisted on reimbursing me for the loss of plants and was extremely apologetic. Seems to me I wasn’t the only one who didn’t approve of the lack of notification. That being said a representative who “just happened” to be visiting the building today knocked on my door and handed me an envelope. Although I told management that I loss close to $50 in plants I was given a check for $100.

    I’m pleased about the reimbursement of funds however I am not happy about the six and a half hours it took to straighten out the mess in the aquarium. I had to drain the tank and start anew. I had to get rid of quite a few plants so I’ll be keeping an eye on what's available starting next week for Rotala sp. Green and Rotala Indica. I apologize for the long post but I thought I just share my experience.

    Dan
     
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