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New Aquarium setup, some basic questions!

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by Socket, May 8, 2013.

  1. Socket

    Socket Prolific Poster

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    Hey guys, new to The Barr Report, and appreciate all of the information I have picked up so far.

    I just redid my tanganikan cichlid setup, and am trying for a heavily planted tank.

    Here are some specs:

    55 gallon standard
    Pressurized CO2, about 4 BPS through a DIY Reactor
    Aquasoil amazonia
    eheim 2215 with the spray bar mounted horizontally opposite from the pickup.
    inline heater turned up to 82 degrees (to hopefully help stimulate bacteria growth..)
    EI dosing Brightwell ferts
    odyssea t5HO with guiesman midday and aquaflora


    My goal is a new home for my GBR's that are in quarantine as we speak (they already laid eggs there, too...). The filter media has been in use for 6-7 months, and sat for a day with the valves closed as I changed from PFS to the amazonia. Now the tank has only had the CO2 setup for a few hours, I am not expecting immediate pearling, but I am wondering if there is a "shock" phase for the plants to go through before they really begin their growth? The plants/tank did run for a day without co2 while I built the reactor. My other question is about surface "mulm" from the aquasoil. I did "surface skim" it with my syphon to get all the "floaties" out...but after a day I have more tanins floating. Should I syphon these out also?

    Thank you guys for the help!

    [​IMG]
     
  2. thegasman

    thegasman Subscriber

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    The eheim 2215 is kind of small for that size tank. You may want to consider adding a second 2215, or even better, add a 2217 to go with your 2215. You may need to add a power head to be sure that you are getting the co2 rich return water all around the tank.

    For future reference, you said that the filter sat for a day with the valves closed. You should have taken the motor completely off to let as much air exchange as possible. The bacteria in the filter media will die quickly without oxygen. You asked if there is a "shock" phase for the plants to go through before they really begin their growth? Depends on the plant and the condition of the plant when you put it in the tank. As far as the residue from the Aquasoil, you should be doing large water changes of 50% or more every other day for the next week or two, so just siphon out any residue at that time. During weeks 3 and 4 you can start to reduce the water changes to a couple of times a week and then go to 50% per week after that as long as everything is going well.
     
  3. Socket

    Socket Prolific Poster

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    I figure my filter is fine; when I was overstocked with cichlids, I never once had trouble with water parameters, cleanliness, or the such. I know eheim rates it at 159gph, and that is with media, not without like most. My circulation with the spray bar has been phenomenal, When using a diffuser, my tank looked like most; bubbly soda water.

    I will do a WC tomorrow as scheduled, pretty stoked, as I already have a strong nitrate rating, and my ammonia has dropped heavily.
     
  4. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    I think a second filter will not hurt and will act as a backup in the event one fails...it will also provide more flow to help distribute c02 and nutes around the tank and to clear detritus from plant leaves....I would add a second for sure...

    Can you talk more about your lights please in terms of # tubes, watts, duration, etc?

    T5ho are very bright and with those so close to the surface I think your par may be very high. If say 4 tubes, I would use only 2 for the next 2 weeks as things adapt. Lower light will drive reduced demand by the plants for c02 and other nutes, and thus can be easier to supply.

    You can always increase light but c02 and ferts must be closely matched to the amount of light. This is a difficult thing for many folks as every tank is different.

    I would also suggest some more plant mass. Perhaps some fast growing wisteria or similar for 4-6 weeks as the tank cycles....you can always remove/replace as you want...

    I don;t know about high temp and bacteria culture, but I would lower to 78 or so.....cooler water has more 02 and c02....
     
    #4 Gerryd, May 8, 2013
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  5. Socket

    Socket Prolific Poster

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    Thanks for the information Gerry. I have an eheim ecco that is sitting I could hook up easily enough.

    My light is a 2 bulb T5HO, 2x54watt. My par value at the substrate in the back is almost 70, more towards the front it drops to the mid 60's.

    Right now, for the 1 day I have had co2 on the tank, my photo period is set for 8 hours. Should I back off to 5-6, and slowly ramp back up to 8?
     
  6. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Duration is fine, but 60-70 mmoles is more than you need for the most part. Amano and co use approx 50 mmoles on average and that amount will grow most plants well.

    The lower light may also prove easier to supply c02 demand.
     
  7. Socket

    Socket Prolific Poster

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    Should I start my EI dosing right now?
     
  8. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    No reason not to, but can be say 50-60% if you want until the tank matures... the water changes are more important as stated by the gasman to remove nh4 leaching from the ADA.
     
  9. Socket

    Socket Prolific Poster

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    Where should I be at for co2....

    Right now I have it cranked since there aren't any fish. I estimate about 4-5 BPS into my reactor...Should I have it lower? I know about "reading" fish; I DO have a drop checker (with the 4dkh solution), though I have yet to see it turn yellow with it cranked this high. As I mentioned before, my water has a solid "soda water" look to it.

    Edit: Well, I guess I spoke too soon. Here I am, about 3 1/2 hours into my photo period, and I have heavy pearling from my stem plants and moss, while my staurogen repens hasn't shown much. I am assuming it's rooting first?
     
    #9 Socket, May 9, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: May 9, 2013
  10. Socket

    Socket Prolific Poster

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    Wow just wow.

    I did speak too soon...I have INTENSE pearling now, with about an hour and a half left of photo period. I understand the disdain of drop checkers; mine finally went full yellow to reflect the large amount I am injecting.
     
  11. thegasman

    thegasman Subscriber

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    Great!

    I like to use the kh/ph co2 chart along with a drop checker. Neither a drop checker or the chart are 100% accurate, but together I think they work pretty well.
     
  12. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I seem to be one of the few with the disdain, but I shall not yield.
     
  13. Socket

    Socket Prolific Poster

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    So my ammonia dropped to nothing, as did nitrite. I dosed ammonia, even though I don't have to with Amazonia, and it brought it into nitrate within 14 hours.


    Very excited to say lightly I stocked the tank today. I reserved 20 cardinal tetras, but won't bring them home for a week. For now, my German blue ram pair moved in, and struggled to acclimate, but all is well now. Moved my otto's, and bought 3 corydora (sterbai), and 10 Amano shrimp.
     
  14. Socket

    Socket Prolific Poster

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    Well, the tank is going well.

    I moved my German blue rams over, and they were being a little weird about it; water (TDS, temp, PH/GH/KH) were all the same, yet they weren't happy. After waiting an hour, they were fine. I have three corydora's sterbai, 4 oto's, and added 2 cardinal tetras.

    So far, so good. I caught a .25 ammonia reading, and did a 50% WC...I really think the API test kit sucks compared to the other liquid kits. My rams are already breeding, and my cory's have done an EXCELLENT job ripping up any plants that aren't in firmly. Mainly the stauro will get pulled up. I am keeping everything trimmed short, and constantly replanting, so this may lend it's self to that possible .25 ammonia reading.

    Tom, Gerry, thegasman, any suggestions on how to get my Rotola colorata, and the L broadleaf (or repens...) to turn a deeper red? I am following the EI method with liquid brightwell products...

    Also have some ADA ferts for my nano tank, I use those because it's easy to tell my fiance "just one pump of this, and a drop of ECA"
     
  15. Socket

    Socket Prolific Poster

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    BTW....

    I also did back my co2 down since I added fish, and am slowly ramping it back up. My water does look like soda water towards the end of the photo period, so I assume there is a good amount being injected.

    I will test the PH in about 2-3 hours, right before the photo period and the co2 start, and figure that will tell me where I am for the high PH, and then wait 5 hours into the photo period to check the PH, and see the PH drop between the two.
     
  16. thegasman

    thegasman Subscriber

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    I like to do the kh/ ph co2 test about an hour after the co2 comes on. You want to aim for one full unit drop in ph, say from 7.4 to 6.4 within an hour of the co2 coming on. This will help you to find out how efficient your co2 diffusion is. You can test again latter in the day to see where your at as well. As for red plants, IME, it seems like the intensity and color spectrum of the lighting makes the biggest difference in plant color. You may have nice red/ purple plants, but if the color spectrum of your lights is not optimal, you won't see these colors pop as much. Some folks also run low nitrate levels to get their plants to color up. This can help, but could cause other issues.
     
  17. Socket

    Socket Prolific Poster

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    Thanks for the information; I am getting a 1 point drop within the first hour.

    My next question is, where should I stand on fertilizers...What is a good brand? I have been using Brightwell aquatics brand for now, and don't think I've had any issues...though I am using ADA ECA for iron supplement.

    What is a good brand to go with? Powder or liquid, it doesn't matter to me.
     
  18. Socket

    Socket Prolific Poster

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    So brightwell floringrow (Nitrogen source...) Says for every 1ml, it will dose 1 gallon to 17.5ppm of nitrate. So I dose 5ml to my 55 gallon, which holds about 45 gallons, and I get nothing on my API test kit.

    How long should I wait to test, after I dose? I waited 30 minutes.....
     
  19. thegasman

    thegasman Subscriber

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    Couple of things. Make sure you are vigorously shaking up bottle two in the test kit for 30 seconds before adding the 10 drops. Also make sure you vigorously shake the test tube for one minute after you add the bottle two drops, then wait the 5 minutes. I think there is a way to calibrate the test kit as well, but I'm not sure on how you do it.

    I calculated that you are only dosing 1.94ppm for your water volume. I think this may be the issue. If you want to dose EI, you should be adding closer to 19ml's or 7.5ppm every other day if you have fairly high plant mass. This is why I started using dry ferts. I would have gone broke using premixed!
     
  20. Socket

    Socket Prolific Poster

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    hah!

    Yea, what I have gathered is liquid ferts will make me broke. With pfertz gone, what is my best bet to purchase powder? Anyone/where locally in AZ?

    I need to sit down and do the math to check my dosing to PPM like you did; I did shake my bottles for nitrate after I read a tutorial about it; and now get a solid reading.
     
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