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New Tank Lighting

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by shane, Feb 6, 2007.

  1. shane

    shane Lifetime Charter Member
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    I just set up a new 58 gallon tank (45 gallons of water) 8 days ago. It uses ADA Aqua Soil/Power Sand. I currently use 95 watt's of 6700K power compact lighting 8 hours a day. I do 40% water changes every 2-3 days. This tank is currently cycling; no fish in the tank. No dosing. Ammonia and nitrite are spiking; off the charts. Plant growth is okay. Small bits of brown and green algae here and there. I have another 55 watt 5500K power compact bulb in the hood as well. Would you turn it on or leave it off?
     
  2. shane

    shane Lifetime Charter Member
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    Sorry, I actually dose Potassium.
     
  3. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    You need to dose Ca/Mg/K+, traces and PO4, even NO3.

    Dose after each water change.
    The brown algae will decline after 2-4 weeks or so, maybe less.

    Why would the plants need any time to adapt as Amano suggest to a new tank?
    Why would that not also apply to tanks that just got trimmed also?

    That makes no sense to me.
    He just thinks/believes that less nutrients are better and prevents algae, clearly that is not the case though.

    My question to you is what would the plants do normally in an established tank if you all you added was K+ for several weeks vs a tank where you added all the nutrients?


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  4. shane

    shane Lifetime Charter Member
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    How much light do you think I should run for now? 95 watts or 150 watts? I only run the 95 watts for 8 hours now. Being conservative.
     
  5. shane

    shane Lifetime Charter Member
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    Is that why Amano doesn't recommend to dose anything except K on a new tank? He thinks it will bring about algae?
     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    That is what he said.
    In person and in print.


    Regards.,
    Tom Barr
     
  7. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    If you are fairly sure of CO2, either will be fine.
    95 watts 10 hours a day on a 45 gal tank should grow most any plant you want.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  8. shane

    shane Lifetime Charter Member
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    I have noticed my Rotala Macandra (or at least when I bought them that is what the LFS claimed.) have been melting in the new tank. All the other plants seem to be okay. I was a bit suspicious of not dosing anything at first but the USA Amano distributors claim everything that the plants need are in the substrate plus the nitrite and ammonia spikes.

    Perhaps my macandra is melting because of the lack of iron? Or is there iron in the substrate?
     
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    R macrandra certainly does well on a diet of water column ferts.
    Discus tanks, other higher fish load tanks with stable feeding, + less light produced some of the absolute best R macrandra I've seen, not those high light ADA tanks.

    Actually, I've seldom/rarely even seen nice large groups used well in any ADA tank.
    I might be wrong, but it's certainly seldom ever used. And just a few as an accent or in the rear to hide scraggly lower leaves.

    What I'm saying is that is not a good plant to make comparisons on.
    Just because you distribute something does not mean you know what a plant needs, how it might behave nor have any experience growing nice thick large stands of this plant.

    If you do and can show it, then you can say something.
    Neil Frank many years ago sent large amounts in his puny 2 watt/gal normal output 24" deep tank with a decent fish load and CO2.

    Steve Dixon also grew what I think was one of the nicest stands.
    All without ADA or ADA AS etc, ADA did not even exist as far as folks here knew.

    Obviously it can be done and can be done without any advice from ADA:rolleyes:

    That said, adding ADA AS will make it easier, but it puts no bearing nor credibility on claims that you do not need water column ferts(other than N certainly) and makes the point that those tanks had soft KH water, plain sand, maybe laterite which truthfully does not do much for this plant and these folks grew it for many years and tortured various water column dosing routines with it.

    In general, good stable nO3, higher is good, some NH4 source, PO4/K/Traces/Ca/Mg etc.

    Any ADA distributor or Amano himself that would like to show me how come folks do not have algae when they add KH2PO4/KNO3/GH booster/Traces, as in __a lot more__ that is required by any plant, still do not have algae, I'm all ears.

    This includes ADA AS or PS combos, this includes sand, flourite, onyx sand, Flora base, EC, SMS, Kitty litter, soil/sand capped and about any other substrate you can cook up.

    Such comparative testing takes many years. I do not think anyone has done this other than perhaps a few folks that are now "old timers".

    So the new folks think it means something and don't have the test or experiences to draw on. Some think I'm crazy, I'm not, I just have a nasty habit of trying to stop history from repeating itself.

    Anytime, anywhere Amano or any of his associates would like show causal or even correlative evidence why I do not have algae in the high light(or low light)/high KNO3/KH2PO4/high trace ADA AS tanks is welcomed to try.

    I shall leave this challenge open as it has been for many years, still unanswered.

    I'm an academic, I love scaping, but I cannot devote such time as Amano, that is his passion and he has spent a lot of time doing that and photography, mine is much more about why plant grow and how they work. I'm also just one guy, ADA has many people working for them, not so much for science, rather, the money money, it's a business. They need stuff that they can sell. That's not my motivation. I do this to help and not lose money. Big difference.

    I do sell the ADA line to LFS's BTW:)
    But that's business, not hobby levels stuff and personal one on one help other than the LFS owner etc.

    I will never sell you any ADA stuff through this site etc.
    I will suggest an appropriate product, but I do not view folks here as business to business.

    LFS's need to make $, it's a business, but I will not lie to anyone if they ask either.
    Instead, I amplify and augment their methods, or try and find a good use for various items I really would never use personally.
    I suggest PS for LFS since they neglect tanks and never dose except maybe traces. By the time the PS runs out, the tank generally, hopefully is filled in well.

    Then the chance for algae is much less, but I still see later they have BBA often times or GSA etc.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  10. shane

    shane Lifetime Charter Member
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    Thanks for the detailed response Tom.

    For a newbie like myself, it is hard to determine what is the best way to go. There seem to be a few camps of thought on the best way to go when using the ADA substrate system when starting a new tank. The ADA only dose potassium camp and the dose everything from the start camp. It seems both camps have success. Its harder to determine who has the better way of doing it. I like most newbie planted hobbyists just want to try to keep the algae down as much as possible while getting good plant growth. When a newbie has virtaully no "experience" to go on, it is very hard to know what is best. For me, that is defintely the case. Maybe I should try both and see for myself what gives the best results? Try the ADA way on this startup, and at the end of the year try the dose it all at startup.

    My limited experience in growing plants in my 20 gallon has proven to me that EI has worked (albeit it was not from the startup of the tank that I used EI). I was able to take a algae infested tank and virtually eliminate the algae and have good growth in a overstocked tank. For me personally, that 20 gallon tank has been my most successful planted tank.

    To me, it seems the ADA substrate system is a bit different than the flourite only 20 gallon tank I have. I can't say I understand the ADA substrate system either. Being a newbie, I suppose I have to "trust" the maker of the product in their recommended way of doing things.

    I also wanted to try the ADA fertilisers. To me, it seems to be a simple dosing schedule - a few squirts of 2 bottles of stuff. No measuring. Whenever I go on a business trip or vacation, the person looking over my tank feels the fertilizer regime is way too complicated. If I can just say make 4 squirts of this and 4 squirts of that, it can't be any simpler than that. What I think is very easy to do is not easy for somebody else to do (especially somebody who is not an aquarium hobbyist).
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    ADA dosing is no different than any other dosing.

    That is the trap folks fall into.
    It's not harder or easier than anything else and it cost a lot more $$.

    That's up to you, but the plant does not care if the K+ came from ADA Japan or from the grocery store down the street.

    K+ is still K+.

    The bottle and dilution into water is not something that's hard to DIY if you find that conveinent. Most pump bottles add about 5mls(you can measure these and change the dilution factor in the refills to suit) and cost 1-2$.

    K2SO4 runs about 20$ for 50lbs, and will last you and your grandkids about 100 years.

    And that's about the cost of a single 250ml bottle of the ADA:eek:

    Like I said, it's up to you.

    Adding 1/4 teaspoon 3x a week of KNO3 vs adding 5 pumps of the ADA stuff is not a difference. Takes the same brain power and time.
    You can dilute the amounts you want to suit in a liquid and add the bottle if you think that's somehow better/easier for your personal habits.
    I do not bother because it does not make any difference to me and certainly not the plants.

    If folks adding EI + ADA substrate are having a decent time and the folks using the fuill ADa line are as well, doesn't that tell you, you do not need the ADA ferts and that adding NO3/PO4 etc does not cause algae?

    You have seen this yourself.
    So you know that cannot be right.

    There is no need to do everything ADA says, it's not like the tank will crack or something:p

    You also do not need to follow their full routine.
    Many think if they do that, that a "magic green fairy" will bestow their tank like ADA's work. No, you need to do the work, trimming and scaping to get there, the products alone do not make the gardener. It's hard basic routine consistent work, not magic in a bottle.

    Folks use to think this way about Dupla about 20 years ago.
    Clearly they got a few things right, but most of it was/is marketing bull.

    ADA did a step better, but still have issues explaining why anything works or not.
    They cannot know all these other methods and nor do they make any effort to do so.

    So their default is conservative and to use only what they know about, their own line.

    When you talk about and critique other methods, brands, ways of doing things, you had darn well better have actually tried it before making statements.

    And that's the rub I have with many companies, they make claims, suggest fear without trying the other methods out.

    I've tried ADA, I also have many years experiences with many product lines and the basal chemicals, N, P, K, Fe etc.

    Others have not.
    So I am in a much better position to discuss methods than they are.

    The problem is that many become overly specialized and dependent on one line or think they must doing everything a certain way. Then they never branch out and try other methods/products.

    We all do this to some degree.
    About 20-30 years ago, many folks had to try all sorts of things because much less was known about plants and growing them well.

    But few of these folks still post, some are dead, some no longer post and some just don't care anymore or are tried of posting.
    That leaves a vacuum in knowledge and experiences.

    The basic issue you will find is namely specific plants like this one.
    Folks will speak in generalization so broad they do you no good.

    If you want to grow this well, less light, 2-3 w/gal max, use CO2 mist, direct it at the group, KH about 0-5 or so make sure you dose 3x a week(KNO4/PO4/GH).
    ADA As will help some. Gh can be quite high, but the KH needs to kept lower.

    That's about all

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  12. shane

    shane Lifetime Charter Member
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    Thanks Tom,

    It is somewhat of a mystery how this whole ADA substrate system says stable. Stable in terms of pH, water hardness, etc. The substrate itself softens the water. Dupla always said to make sure the hardness was at least 3 degrees or strange things happen in terms of pH, etc. So how does this ADA stuff stay stable? Is it the weekly water changes that keep the hardness from reaching zero? Is that the same with the pH? I kind of think of it as a stable amplifier. You need a certain amount of phase margin or the things goes unstable and you get positive feedback. I don't know , I don't understand how this ADA stuff works out in the end.
     
  13. shane

    shane Lifetime Charter Member
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    So it sounds like you are telling me I should dose as I dose in my 20 gallon. NPK plus Traces.

    Do you know what the ADA Brighty Step Series has in it anbd the differences between the steps? Does the Step Series have traces plus NP without any iron?

    That is one thing I never liked about Dupla's ferts. Don't know what your putting in the tank. There was no ingredient list. Some sort of thing with ADA.
     
  14. tefsom85

    tefsom85 Lifetime Members
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    Tom,
    were you joking when you said you could get K+ from the grocery store? I know we can get Mg (Epsom salts) but don't know about getting K+ there.
    Will
     
  15. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Potassium chloride is "no salt" I think. And, I recall reading that it is used for pickling too, so maybe your grocery store does have K+ for sale!
     
  16. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    The pH/KH is not something ADA really measures, they suggest bubble rates , likely due to the simplicity and the KH issue using their product line.

    So you really do not measure CO2 except in bubbles per second.
    All their data suggests this also.


    CO2 ppm is reported but cannot be those numbers as a pH of 6.9 and a KH of 2 cannot = 15ppm CO2.

    That is not a translation error.

    That is a consistent type of data that ADA reports, but then they want me to trust them?

    I can understand having a higher than reported CO2, say 30-40ppm when it's really 15ppm.

    Say a tank with a pH of 5.8 and KH of 2.

    That I have seen.
    But not the reverse.
    These are common measurements for ADA soil tanks using ADA BTW.
    Decent CO2 means being in the pH 5's.

    This is due to the lowering of the pH via peat/humics.

    The ADA pH stuff works just like peat does and there's a long history of use in planted tanks, I suggested it going back about 10 years or so.Peat plates made a mess so I always added some mulm and dusting of peat on the bottom of my gravel.

    Many have added peat going way back and it does a similar thing.
    This is not new, it's not smoke and mirrors.

    ADA AS has clay/peat and soil mixed together.
    This is the softening effect and it last quite sometime.

    After a few months, all aquarium substrates tend towards a neutral pH.
    With peat, they will remain acid for sometime.

    It is dependent on how much you add, how many water changes you do, and what is your starting tap water's KH/GH.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  17. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Thank you!
    We complained about Dupla about 15 years ago, then about 12 years ago, PMDD came about based on a simple concept: provide what the plants need for growth using base chemicals like KNO3, baking soda for KH etc.

    Now you understanding the marketing vs the science.
    There is a reason they(Dupla and ADA) both do this.
    It's due to making money off the products. Be realistic, they are businesses trying to make $$. They are not going to tell you to buy KNO3 at 50 cents lb vs their special nice bottle of liquid that cost 0.0001 cents and have nice pretty packing, maybe some poetry, easy to follow instructions etc.

    Some like to argue with me about it, like I do not know what is in it and that I might be wrong. That they really think that there is so much that we do not yet know and that ADA or Dupla are holding some secret info etc that only they know and that they have a huge jump on the agriculture scientific community which has billions$ of research, spent the last several hundred years learning how and why plants grow.

    Perhaps, but I doubt it.
    Dupla sure did not, but back 20 years ago, Dupla loyalist made such claims and where very insistent. Today we know better.

    We can make that argument about everything if you really want to push that issue about doubt.

    But what does they really resolve?
    Suggesting an alternative or a solution to the issue rather than just doubt is really what they should be doing and then actually testing it!
    They have the passion to piss a moan, I'd love to see such passion displayed towards development of test and actually doing some work and detailing it out.
    I think only a very few folks really ever do that and they are not hacks either.

    Funny how that works?

    I wish to run an more detailed analysis before telling folks what are in each product line. I have clients that I do use them for their tanks, but they are smaller tanks, the larger ones, all get EI.

    I have a dozen things on my plate to test. Takes time and the reagents to measure them and verify them against a standard. I'll get to it in the next few months if I am lucky.

    I honestly do not care that much either.
    The interest lay in the hobbyist or for myself to quelch the folks that are blind loyalist. But I'm not going to rush out just prove their sorry selves wrong anytime soon.......

    I already know what drives plant growth at a molecular level, at a cellular level, at a organ level, at the whole plant level, how a plant develops, grows from a seed till senesense.

    I am at one the top agricultural states/research centers in the USA which produces more rice than all of Japan(yes, CA produces a good deal more rice than all of Japan), I do research on aquatic plants with the top folks in CA. They are my advisors. I bring up ideas in the hobby to them, 2 of them I'm testing for weed control for the research.

    New stuff comes out all the time.
    I see it and go to lectures on it 3x a week:)

    But mineral nutrition is a fairly straight forward process.

    Plants grow for defined reasons. They do not grow based on magic or some swank talking talking crap about pure forms of K+ that are from pure deep ocean sources.

    K+ is K+.

    Plants grow for these 3 main reasons and sticking with these will make your life a lot simpler: CO2, light and nutrients.

    Not Penac, toumaline and other water purifying mumbo.
    KNO3 from Greg Watson vs K and NO3 from other sources does not matter.

    Many that have been in this hobby a long time realize this, they tell folks this, but then some clown with 2 years experience who likes to use semantics and use doubt for everything, but has little background in plant biology, has trouble with their own tanks and enjoys arguing, decides to tell folks that they found "the cure".

    No, they finally just learned how to grow plants.
    Karen Randall does not post much anymore nor do many of the folks that started sharing their knowledge on line for such reasons.

    It's hopeless to try and argue with folks that are ignorant, base their views on belief, would rather argue and place doubt on anything rather than resolve or come to some sort of learned understanding. I also think Amano realized that a long time ago as well and decided not to bother with it(it's a lot of work to learn what I have thus far) and focus on scaping/deflecting such questions and sell ADA.

    You'll note I suggest methods that test or see if such things might be true or not, not all work, but many do.

    But we do not see such offerings from the hacks or companies.

    Having a little knowledge is much more dangerous.
    You may have heard that expression.

    It's very applicable in this hobby.

    My solution is to have folks really focus on the basics(light/CO2/nutrients and the maintenance), have them really understand those concepts first. Then branch out from there.

    So back to your comment: yes, knowing what you add and how it affects the plant is important. Many do not care and want everything provided for them, so ADA, Dupla etc will have a market there and there is nothing wrong with that either.
    Except you really do not learn as much.
    Ironically, they often like to say there is so much we do not know yet and learning about new methods to grow plants is what they seek.

    Learning?
    Sure they do:rolleyes:

    Give me a few 1000$ and I'll make your tank grow well also.:cool:

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  18. shane

    shane Lifetime Charter Member
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    Ya, as a newbie it is really hard to figure out what is what with respect to all the different products availible. Each company has there own thing going. In the ADA directions for everything they sell it states "DO NOT mix with other manufacturer's products". It makes you kind of scared to only use bits and pieces of their products.

    On another subject, when can I realease an algae eating crew of ottos and shrimp into my new tank? The nitrite is still off the charts. The ammonia is zero right now (according to AP test kits)?
     
  19. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Of course they tell you that, they want you to use all their high priced marketed stuff.

    They also do not know what other folks make and test them as well, so all they know is what they sell, that does not mean it's good or bad or that yopu cannot find it cheaper at the grocery.

    KNO3 is not a brand.
    KH2PO4 is not a brand
    Fe2+ is not a brand.
    CO2 is not a brand.

    You get the idea.

    I do not have any brand loyalty because....well, I really do not focus much on brands.
    Substrates I will have some brand loyalty because I know the other side, the water column.

    Then knowing that well, I can fairly judge the impacts of of a substrate on plant growth.

    If you do not know what other brands use/put in etc, it is hard to make predictions.

    I would rather see everyone use things like KNO3, etc, something that is dirt cheap, universal, universally accepted by Science and in the references.
    ADA may not be around long after Amano goes, Dupla is not really much these days either. KNO3? It'll be here long after we are all gone.

    So I understand why they tell folks that, but rather than dealing with any of that, stick with the basic stuff.

    KNO3
    GH Booster(CaSO4/MgSO4)
    KH2PO4
    Trace mix
    CO2
    light

    About all you need.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
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