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Non-CO2 tank questions...

Discussion in 'Advanced Strategies and Fertilization' started by Laith, Apr 26, 2006.

  1. Laith

    Laith Lifetime Charter Member
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    I initially added this as a comment on Tom's non-CO2 article but realized it probably won't be seen so I'm posting it here.

    Tom, I think I'm going to give the non-CO2 tank method a try. I have an old 48l (12.5g) tank with a 15w light on it. Several questions:

    - Is this lighting (1.2wpg) too low even for a non-CO2 tank? It's the lighting that came with the tank.

    - My tapwater has a KH of 15 and a GH of 18-19. I can grow most plants in this water in hi-light CO2 setups. But for a tank without water changes, should one top off with tap water, or with RO water to limit the increase in GH? Another option of course would be to start off with 100% RO water, add Seachem Eq. and baking soda to get KH and GH to around 5 or 6 and then top off with RO water, adding the Eq. once in a while?
     
  2. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Non-CO2 tank questions...

    You can use either method.
    It's a small tank, might want to try the RO + baking soda+GH.

    If you use something like Potamogeton, Egeria etc, it will soften the water, remember, you will not do water changes for some time. They will use up the KH. You might need a little bit more light. If you can use a Triton brand bulb, I'd do that, add a piece of mylar etc, anything to increase the light.

    Otherwise you might consider adding 2 x 15w bulbs and a DIY hood.
    I'd raise the hood up about 6" though from the surface(make the hood 6" tall). You might not like the look.

    You can also use those clip on 13w lights from Azoo. 2 would do fine.
    Go for an open top.

    Main thing is to add lots of plants from the start, add mulm, a little peat.
    Use easy plants. Try harder plants in 3 months or so.
    Pack the tank good with plants though. Add amano shrimps, maybe 4-5 or them. 1 SAE etc.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  3. Andrea67

    Andrea67 Junior Poster

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    Re: Non-CO2 tank questions...

    Tom, I have some questions too... :rolleyes:

    I have a non CO2 - low light (70 W HQI) tank (55 gal.) with four adult discus (well fed). Substrate is plain quarz fine sand (1-2 mm) with occasionally flourish tabs below plants.
    Plants are: swords, anubias, Java fern.
    I actually make a 40% change every 15 days with just RO water + some GH salts (Equilibrium or Tropic Marin Discus Salt) and very little potassium bicarbonate just not to let KH drop to 0.
    You guess my problem? Algae of course... BBA, diatom and GDA on glass.
    I assumed that micro could have been taken up by the GH salts so I never dosed traces.
    Am I wrong?!? What could be the reasons of my algae issues? :confused:
    Too much organic compond from discus eating/pooing?

    Thanks for replying!
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Non-CO2 tank questions...

    A heavy bioload for a 55gal tank, not enough plant biomass likely, and too many water changes. I've seen healthy Discus tanks without water changes for 2 years., but it was 5 in a 100 gal, they had SAE's and other algae eaters.

    A point source light is a poor choice for a non CO2 tank.
    Use FL tubes.

    You need other plants beside these also.
    These are fine for the darker corners of the tank, I tend to plant the water sprite, moneywort, Egeria najas, pearl grass, Hygros, Crypts out inj the main area and then stuff the dark spots with the Anubias, java ferns etc.

    This way I get a much more plant packed tank with the least amount of light.

    The plants you have grow slow, so if something does go wrong etc, they will get covered.

    Stop the water changes etc.

    Even once a month will send the algae on a rappage in many tanks.
    If that is unacceptable due to nutrient build up from the high feeding/fish loading, you need a bigger tank or fewer fish.

    You can add Excel for now(2x the suggested dosing every other day) and add EI at 1/3 the rate suggested. You seem like you need more PO4.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  5. Andrea67

    Andrea67 Junior Poster

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    Re: Non-CO2 tank questions...

    I always thought your advice not to change water in non CO2 tanks was suitable for non-hardly populated tanks. In my case I have a very high bio-load, as you underlined. Still you suggest no water change? I guess the build-up of NP and other organic stuff from fish waste cannot be dissolved by the filters (two canisters). Try to understand my fear: I don't have a bunch of Neon inside but 4 4-years aged discus! :eek:

    I agree.. I should add more fast growing plants. Sorry Tom, could you write the scientific name of water sprite, moneywort and pearl grass?
    Unfortunately at the moment my plants grow more than slow...

    I think the bio load is quite heavy... Sure a bigger tank would help! Since this is not feasible at the moment, my idea was to make frequent water changes. But it seems not to be working properly... :eek:

    I forgot to say that I've been using Excel from around 1 year. The dose is very consistent: 5 ml everyday

    What about traces, should I dose some TMG or Flourish?

    Many thanks for your prompt reply and hope to find a solution together! :D
     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Non-CO2 tank questions...

     
  7. Andrea67

    Andrea67 Junior Poster

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    Re: Non-CO2 tank questions...

    Sorry Tom I'm not sure I understood 100%...
    I try to summerize what you pointed out and please tell me if I'm right. :eek:

    Given that the tank cannot be changed/increased (but eventually reduce the population to half), it seems I have those different options:

    A) To go with CO2 enrichment, put more plants, change water weekly, follow the routine you mentioned and maybe switch the HQI from 70 to 150 W (I can do it easily). In this case it would be probably not necessary to reduce population.

    B) To go with "pure" non CO2 tank, put more plants, reduce population (less bio-load), no water change, keep lighting to 70W.

    C) To keep on going with Excel, put more plants, regular water changes (weekly? Or can I stick to my actual 15 days routine), keep light to 70W, reduce population.

    Finally, please note that I think I really don't need to add extra NP. The tank is really plenty of both from wish food/waste (around 50 mg/lt NO3 and around 2 mg/lt PO4)!

    I appreciate your help :)
     
  8. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Non-CO2 tank questions...

    Those optioins are pretty much your choices.
    You should do more frequent water changes(weekly 50% at the bare minimum) if you use Excel/CO2.

    Thios will; reduce the NO3 and POP4, thus => more need to add KNO3/KH2PO4. Worry less about the levels in the tank, if you measure these and only do water changes every 2 weeks......well......it's still better to do more frequent water changes and dose.

    It's better for both fish, plants and to reduce algae than relying so much on the bioload to do so.

    The NO3, starts out as NH4, urea etc, that's not good for the fish, nor is 50ppm NO3 from the fish waste. I don't think I ever had that much in any of my fish only tanks.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
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