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Noobie. Need some help

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by vincel892, Dec 29, 2015.

  1. vincel892

    vincel892 Junior Poster

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    Hi everyone,


    I'm pretty new to aquascaping and have just recently converted my dad's salt water tank to a freshwater setup. The tank is 7' x 2' x 2' (~200 gallons). I currently have aqua soil as the substrate and some dragon stone. I am hoping to grow a nice carpet of monte carlo with a few other midground and background plants. This project started a year ago...and I semi gave up due to me not knowing much about anything and just basically winging it. The tank was basically plagued with algae of all kinds and I stopped caring for a while. I recently just started up again with greater motivation to do it correctly this time around. The water is now clear again with some algae here and there. I was told by a local aquascape store owner that I had blue green algae and that I should treat with erythromycin. I went ahead and did as I was told...The algae seemed to have died away but I now have a layer of what seems to be like thick brown dust over my stone and some of my plants. They occasionally flake off, float around and get stuck on plants, other rocks, etc. I'm not sure whether this is the aftermath of the erythromycin treatment or something else. I am debating whether I should scrape it all off before I proceed. Any ideas?


    I am running three 250 watt metal halides for approximately 6 hours per day. I just recently built an external CO2 reactor based off of Tom Barr's Venturi Reactor. I started the tank on CO2 today at around 4:00 pm and at around 9:00 pm, the pH was still above 7. The CO2 bubbles seem to be dissolving well from the oncoming stream of water and I do not see any large bubbles from the water output into the tank. Does it usually take longer for CO2 levels to build up in a 200 gallon tank? My reactor is ~ 12" x 3.5" in diameter. I also added a video of the moving water/ CO2 in the reactor. I also did my first macro dosing today following the EI dosing method. THe amount I am dosing is enough for a 150 gallon tank (i figured I'd do this since my tank is not heavily planted atm) I currently have what is equivalent to ten 1" x 1" monte carlo pads, 5 blyxa japonica stems, 5 bundles of riccia fluitans tied to rock, and 2 amazon swords planted in the tank. In terms of fish, i have about 15 otocats, one cory cat, and about 15-20 tetras.


    Im sorry if you have become very confused at this point since I was all over the place. I probably did things completely out of order as well. I'm just looking for any input at this point.Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     
    #1 vincel892, Dec 29, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 30, 2015
  2. vincel892

    vincel892 Junior Poster

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    Here is the CO2 reactor in action
     
  3. vincel892

    vincel892 Junior Poster

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    Here is a quick run through of what the tank looks like right now


    [video=youtube_share;33kWBLsJOm4]

     
  4. Dennis Singh

    Dennis Singh SynKing!

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    Your lighting is way too high for your stock of plants. Tanks empty. 3 pendants even before i saw the video stood out to me. I wouldnt myself use MH on a tank like this.


    The antibiotics did cover the Bga, but now you have a new brown algae, totally different, bga just disappears instead of changing color.


    Reactor looks awesome! I can't calculate whether its big enough for 200g tank though, I'm not sure on that
     
  5. vincel892

    vincel892 Junior Poster

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    Thanks for the reply. What lighting and how much do you suggest ? What is the problem with MH ?


    Edit: I actually just checked my lighting and I have three 250 watt MH and two 150 watt MH (I dont turn the two 150's on)


    How do you get rid of brown algae ?


    Still can't seem to understand why my pH hasn't been dropping :/
     
    #5 vincel892, Dec 30, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 30, 2015
  6. Dennis Singh

    Dennis Singh SynKing!

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    Looks like you hung em all. I would say one MH would do the job for now. If you had more plants you can add more, this would be my very first step after fixing lighting. co2 looks nice, i don't know why ph isn't dropping your soil should put it at 6.8. Your tap really hard? Cause i think with my tap water 7.8, will still buffer the water to 6.8. Maybe even lower for you, looks like you have malaya aqua soil unless thats just the lighting. Malaya goes into the 5's.


    You got now a little experience. Once you add plants, a lot MORE, observe em. :)
     
  7. vincel892

    vincel892 Junior Poster

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    I will try using one MH for now. The brand of soil Im using is Netlea. I think its meant for crystal shrimp? not sure... The tap water that initially went in was soft water. Is hard water better? I really appreciate the help btw. I will be adding more plants today. Do you think I should scrub away all the brown algae? Will it affect plant growth ?
     
    #7 vincel892, Dec 30, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 30, 2015
  8. Dennis Singh

    Dennis Singh SynKing!

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    Never heard of it. Do you still have the package?


    here are their claims:


    ■ keep water clear


    ■ pH 6.5 around


    ■ low down GH


    ■ stable pH


    ■ color: black


    ■ lots of nutrition

     

     


    It sounds like good soil. Depending on the plants you'd like to grow I would say harder water is better. Soft water is an all around any plant type thing, but I believe it is more difficult. Harder water from your tap may contain algaecides in them, I've read this somewhere. Harder water is more better for the fish in way of co2 (being absorbed by GH?) overwhelmed question, its there, but can't compute. I prefer soft....Love it too.


     


    Do as much manual removal as you can, it will hinder plant growth. I'd personally, get the tank right, and let the plants rid/wc rid of them. Slow process, but works.
     
  9. vincel892

    vincel892 Junior Poster

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    Here is where I bought the soil. http://www.aquainspiration.com/nproductlisttype.asp?PNAME=SS&PTYPE=Aqua%20Soil. I will fill with hard water on my next water change. As for brown algae, I'll do as much removal as I can and let the plants/wc do the rest.


    Still need to figure out my CO2 problem. Worried that no CO2 is being dissolved at all. If anyone can comment on this, it would be greatly appreciated.
     
  10. Pikez

    Pikez Rotala Killer!
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    Lots of issues here. Starting this with a 200 gal tank is asking for trouble. Learn the basics with a smaller tank. But if you must stay the course with the 200 gal, then reduce light with some floating plants or using different lights. Fix CO2 - the reactor is grossly inadequate. I have four reactors for my 180 gal tank. Two small ones like yours and then two 4" by 20" reactor downstream of the two small ones. Get a new and/or calibrated pH probe with all new pH 7 buffer solution. Get the pH even and steady. Add a TON more plants. Do 60-80% water changes once or twice a week. There is a LOT to learn and it is SO MUCH easier with a small tank.


    Fix these three things: light, CO2, plant volume. Be prepared to spend a couple of hours a week doing water changes and cleaning the tank.
     
    2 people like this.
  11. vincel892

    vincel892 Junior Poster

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    Thanks for advice. I read that tom barrs reactor is good for a 180 gallon which is why I used only one. Judging from how many you used I'll probbaly need to build another one. Are both smaller reactors fed by the same co2 tank ? If so, how did you achieve this ? I understand that this will be a long process but I invested alot and am prepared to stick with it. Thank you for the helpful advice.
     
  12. Pikez

    Pikez Rotala Killer!
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    I am not saying that you need 4 reactors like mine. My system is overkill. I think one big 'cerges' type reactor that is 4 by 20 inches will do.


    You will need to find a way to quickly drop the pH of 200 gallons of water by at least (IMO) 0.8 or so in an hour or two. Eventually 1.0 pH drop. Then find a way to keep the pH STEADY during the day. Some will argue that this is too much CO2. Whatever. The point remains that you will need to drop the pH quickly and significantly without dropping it way too much after 4 or 5 hours. Dropping the pH of 200 gal quickly requires some muscle. Hence the bigger reactor.


    I do this using one CO2 tank and one regulator but split CO2 lines with 2 needle valves. And each line goes thru a small Sera reactor first and then a big cerges reactor. I prefer to use CO2 controllers. Most people here don't. I use CO2/pH controller because I want a 1.2 pH drop in less than an hour and I want it to STAY there for 7 to 8 hours without budging. I can only do that in a large tank with a controller. The controller blasts in CO2 in the morning and in the afternoon it comes on a little here and there.


    In your case, managing a controller is adding a whole new learning curve. You need to master other things first. Until you master all the other stuff (balance of light/CO2/nutrients to get good plant growth without too much algae), I'd suck it up and go with manual CO2. It may help you understand your system better.


    In the meantime, get about $100 worth of cheap, fast-growing stem plants from LFS. Add some red root floaters or water sprite to reduce light, since you cannot dial down 750 watts of metal halides like you could with LED light controller. Once you get your CO2, plant density, and nutrient routine dialed in, you can see about taking out the floating plants. Otherwise, I can promise you that you will be fighting some algae nightmare constantly until you reduce lights.
     
  13. Solcielo lawrencia

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    Just some FYI for understanding how CO2 dissolves in water: Pressure


    Low pressure = slow and low dissolution


    High pressure = fast and high dissolution


    If you understand this, then you should realize that it's not the dwell time, length of reactor, kind of reactor, etc. that matters; it's how much pressure that can be created to force dissolution in solution. There are many ways in which pressure can be increased.


    Also, CO2 is not critical at all. If there are problems with the plants at lower CO2 levels, the issue something else. There shouldn't be any issues with plant health will lower CO2 levels.
     
    #13 Solcielo lawrencia, Dec 30, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 30, 2015
  14. vincel892

    vincel892 Junior Poster

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    How do I increase pressure ? Get a stronger pump ?
     
  15. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    REALLY?


    hehe, damn.............
     
  16. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I'd suggest maybe a 10"x4" clear Bulkreef supply type of clear water filter housing and then feed the CO2 into it. 300-400 gph is plenty.


    Are you using a canister or a sump filter?


    The overflow might not be set up right, or the dry section if it's a sump.


    You need a lot more plants. You need a lot less light also. Like 1/4 the light intensity.


    250s are okay for maybe a 300-400 gallon tank, but then they need up about 12-20 inches also.


    The 1" in/out ports either the 10" or the 20" model. You can drill a hole into the top and add a 3/16" rigid air line tubing to add the CO2. Glue this 3/16" tubign so no leaks etc. Then add a center 1" pipe from the top down to about 1" above the bottom of the housing. Make the 3/16" tubing about 3/4 the height of the clear canister, 2" or so off the bottom, so the 1" pipe does not suck the bubbles in.


    http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/reverse-osmosis-canisters.html


    On larger tanks, I get irritated with the mist and finer bubbles, it messes with water clarity a bit. So this works well and gets 100% dilution. The 20x 4" housing is plenty.


    Get some different lighting if possible. Makes the water changes easy as possible also. that will save you a lot of headache in the future.
     
  17. vincel892

    vincel892 Junior Poster

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    Thank you for the reply. Are you saying that the 12" x 3.5" reactor i have now is too small? and should build one that is bigger?


    I am currently using a sump filter. Will that affect CO2 dilution ?
     
  18. kevinmichael77

    kevinmichael77 Guru Class Expert

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    Do you mean the pressure level on the regulator?
     
  19. jbs47

    jbs47 Lifetime Members
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    Curious about pressure comments, also. How would you go about increasing pressure? Increase working pressure beyond say 10# ?
     
  20. Dennis Singh

    Dennis Singh SynKing!

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    To my understanding, he means pressure of the pump.
     
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