Nano Tank: Aquascaping And Horticulture Training

Hydroponic

New Member
Dec 20, 2018
8
6
3
Brazil
Hello everyone,

First of all, I'd like to introduce myself. I've been keeping planted tanks for a long time now (over 13 years), and recently I've decided to set up a nano planted tank to hone some skills and to practice aquascaping in a friendly platform.

This tank started as 35x16x21(H) cm, 11L tank (that would be something like 3 gallon and 14x6x8 inches for those who dislike switching tabs for unit conversion). It was ran with a small canister filter, no heater (tropical weather where I live) and pressurized CO2 running on an airstone close to the filter inlet. Light was a horizontal 23 or 30W CFL with a very poor reflector.

First layout was a simple Iwagumi with a very fine sand substrate and some flourish tabs. This one went pretty well during the time it was setup. However, the final pic was taken when HC wasn't looking sharp.

Final 2_zps9b5pbcjh.JPG


I got tired quickly because there is not much to do in a iwagumi setup, so I switched to a scape with some wood and stem plants. I also used aquasoil this time because I felt HC unrooted easily in fine sand if I let it grown. Well, all I can say is that aquasoil is definitely worse for the initial planting, but it also works fine.

WhatsApp Image 2017-06-03 at 23.04.58_zpsufsqse7n.JPEG


43249930902_ca3a7f32cb_k.jpg


The third and more recent setup had quite a few changes. First of all, I ordered a custom nano tank with a built in sump to make filter maintenance easier and hide all equipment. The dimensions now are 35x20x20 cm (14x8x8 inches) and the sump in the back adds more 35x10x20 (14x4x8). The light is the same reflector but with 2 13W CFL, as I felt only 1 light was giving poor coverage. CO2 is being injected in the return pump venturi. This time, I've tried a Brazilian inspired layout because that's what the cool kids do here and I feel that it will teach perspective.

29622755578_26f2aa2408_b.jpg


41685354280_45df648d67_k.jpg

41881566810_ee962cda7d_k.jpg
42287304250_a1ffb53151_k.jpg

45780358732_1e57f658ac_k.jpg


Everything was stable and running well until I decide to switch R. rotundifolia with R. mexicana and R. wallichi with R. H'RA. In the 2 following days, all my shrimp died (2 year old colony) and a algae outbreak started. I'm puzzled to why, because I have not touched anything else, just replanted some stuff. What makes me really sad is loosing my shrimp, but I'm working to go back to a stable condition.

And that's basically my story until now! There is also a 90g non CO2 tank that I want to share here, but this will be for another day.

45104874724_54addf5afe_k.jpg
 

Hydroponic

New Member
Dec 20, 2018
8
6
3
Brazil
After almost 20 days travelling, the tank had a huuuuge ball of green algae e some plants took a big hit. HC is basically gone and R. mexicana , R wallichi, and H. tripartida are struggling. On the good side, H. glomeratus, S. repens and Rotala H'RA are okay.

The tank is having some issues with BGA and green hair algae, but time will fix this. I did a good cleaning of the substrate recently to take out melted pieces of HC and replanted the 2 or 3 stems that survived. Sump was also vacuumed. However, R. mexicana is still not quite right and getting some deformed leaves. I hope that in a few more weeks things will get better and back to stability.

Finally, I'm also planning on dosing a little bit of MgSO4, because R. H'RA and Mayaca are getting some pale new growth and my Fe dose is of about 0.3ppm per week, so I guess I can rule out Fe deficiency. Tap water is reasonably soft here: about 70 ppm TDS, 2dKH and 2.5dGH according to water report.
 

Hydroponic

New Member
Dec 20, 2018
8
6
3
Brazil
Well, I guess the algae problem was bigger than I expected and so I thought it was a good time to rescape the tank. Tried to go with a layout that is more focused on plants and that gives them space to grow.

Took everything out and gave the soil a quick rinse with dechlorinated water to possibly remove organic waste that could be contributing to the algae problem. The ADA AS was replenished with a sprinkle of osmocote+ (it is over 2 years old now). Rich soils seems to provide good growing conditions and I wanted to make sure that what I have is still good. I'm a little bit worried about ammonia leaching, but I guess the aquasoil will be able to bind to most of it and it won't be a problem.

47452302471_6aa03f9d32_h.jpg


Switched the old 2x15W CFL bulbs with a cheap Nicrew light that was modded to include a warm white and a blue/red mix LED tape. The appearance of this combo is much better than the stock unit. This switch was made before the rescape and I'm starting to believe that it is too much light for this tank. Right now I'm only running the blue moonlights and the tapes. The tank has a weird purple look, but it is fine for now. Ordered a dimmer today to reduce the LEDs output and switch the cool whites back on.

Here is a picture of the simple mod with everything on:

32510556257_f92967eb6c_h.jpg


And, finally a full picture:

32510557057_f889e7ce01_h.jpg


Also went back to the ridiculously big outflow as it gives a nice gentle flow. I think I will reduce macros for a couple weeks (aiming for 1/3 EI), just to see if the dose is enough with the osmocote.

Overall, I hope that with the reduced light, a over 1.2 pH drop and 2/3 70% WC per week will give me the edge over algae and everything goes back to normal. This issue is really pissing me of, because it a such a sudden crash and it is not going away even with care. I'll just keep being patient and try my best at keeping things tidy.
 
  • Like
Reactions: rajkm

Hydroponic

New Member
Dec 20, 2018
8
6
3
Brazil
Hello, everyone!

Just a quick update on how things are moving. I've been raising the CO2 and switched ferts back to dry dosing, as the solution I've mixed was getting old. The fertilizing change made plants grow considerably bigger in less than a week, so I guess that most ions were precipitated out of solution. CO2 now is giving a pH drop of 1.4-1.5 and I still think I have a little more room to increase it. I'm just worried to not gas my new malawa shrimp (that are taking a really long time to start breeding). Overall, tank condition seems to be getting better.

LRM_EXPORT_129099276451_20190821_064104798.jpeg
 

Hydroponic

New Member
Dec 20, 2018
8
6
3
Brazil
I recently tried to revert to the old CFL lighting to see what would happen and I can definitely say it was a lot brighter than the dimmed LEDs I was using. In 2 weeks some stunted plants unstunted and the HC filled a lot of places, although algae also appreciated this. I reverted again to LEDs, but at full blast this time and I think the effects on plants are similar.

After this period, I've come to some other hypothesis on the algae problem:
  • Even with higher light, I've not seen the HC get smaller growth - usual sign of CO2 deficiency for me. This coupled with a close to 2.0 pH drop (pH stays close to 5,7 during most of the photoperiod and degassed pH is at 7,7) makes me think that I might have enough CO2 (I'm not rulling it out however)
  • I guess I was facing some light deficiency on the last months
  • I will try to go full EI on the next few weeks, because CO2 and PAR are highish. Right now I'm dosing close to 1/2 EI (discounting some tank volume for sump, soil and rocks).
Today I also reverted to the old needle valve I had long time ago. The regulator was leaking and I bought a new one, but the needle valve that came with it was not very good. It seemed to hold the bubble count at a pretty steady rate along with a consistent CO2 drop but who knows? Unfortunately I was not able to take the not so good one out (and I tried REALLY hard), so now I have a redundant setup, but it is OK.
New_NV.jpg


Also, a FTS
FTS_20191024.jpeg