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Planted Atasuki Trophy Journal

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by Myka, Jul 19, 2009.

  1. Myka

    Myka Prolific Poster

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    Hi all, I've been a lurker for awhile, and decided to join up to introduce myself, and ask some questions. I didn't see a journal forum, so I hope I put this in the right place. :)

    I recently moved 1500 kms, and upgraded from a 10 gallon to this 20 gallon Atasuki. The 10 gallon was setup in July 2008, and was my first planted tank although I have had basic freshwater and reef tanks for amost 20 years. I had a tank sitter looking after the tank for 3 months, and I lost most of the plants, so most of the plants in this tank have only been in it for a couple months at best. I have more plants arriving next week, and that should finish it up.

    Equipment:
    Atasuki Trophy tank - 20 gallon version
    Eheim 2026 canister filter (1 litre each EFHI Mech and EHFI Substrat Pro medias)
    50w Visi-Therm heater
    2x23W, 1x13W spiral compact fluorescent bulbs in lamp shade style clip on fixtures - 9 hour photoperiod
    60/40 mix Eco-Complete and Flourite Red
    1 piece driftwood


    General:
    RODI source water (0 TDS)
    77 degrees
    Weekly 50% water changes


    Additives:
    Kent RO Right
    Kent pH Stable
    SeaChem Flourish Iron 2 mL 2x weekly
    SeaChem Flourish Trace 5 mL 2x weekly


    Fauna:
    5 Cardinal Tetras
    4 Celestial Danio (aka Galaxy Rasbora)
    1 Bristlenose Pleco


    Flora:
    Anubias barteri var. nana 'Petite'
    Bolbitis heudelotii - African Water Fern
    Cryptocoryne crispatula - Ruffled Crypt
    Cryptocoryne nana 'Petite'
    Cryptocoryne parva
    Cryptocoryne wendtii 'Bronze'
    Echinodorus 'Ozelot'
    Echinodorus crispus
    Echinodorus tenellus - Pygmy Chain Sword
    Glossostigma elatinoides - Glosso
    Microsorum pteropus 'Windelov' - Lace Java Fern
    Nymphaea zenkeri - Tiger Lotus 'Red' (teeny right now)
    Rotala macrandra
    Sagittaria subulata - Dwarf Sag

    [​IMG]
     
  2. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Why do you use DI water? That forces you to "re-constitute" the water by adding chemicals. And, it means you always have the problem of matching the tank water parameters when you change water. Most of us just use tap water, and add a little GH booster, if we have low GH, plus the fertilizer elements needed by the plants.

    I'm not sure what the light fixtures you have look like, but if they are reflector fixtures, and you have the bulbs oriented so the bases face upwards (the bulbs are not laying parallel to the tank top) you could have too much light to do well without CO2. And, that much light would mean you need to be adding nitrates, phosphates, and potassium, the macro-fertilizers, along with the trace elements you now add.
     
  3. Myka

    Myka Prolific Poster

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    Thanks for your reply VaughnH. :)

    I use RODI water because the tap water here is well over 300 ppm TDS, and my plants were doing very poorly on it. I started using 50/50 tap and RODI and found my parameters had too big of a swing. My parameters are now stable using 100% RODI, and the water change water matches the tank water quite well.

    The bulbs do have reflectors and are at a 45 degree angle to the water surface. I just added the 13w yesterday as the tank looked dim, like the light wasn't penetrating the water depth of 15" (water surface to substrate surface). It would be easy enough to remove that third light, but I would like to see what happens with it before I remove. The light cycle was recently all messed up as I didn't have a compatible timer, so the photo period would run anywhere from 10-14 hours. I'm guessing this was probably contributing to some issues. I now have a timer on it with a 9 hour photo period as of about 4 days ago.

    I don't have a test kit that will test potassium that low (mine reads 300-500 ppm I think it is), but phosphate is sitting a little over 1 ppm with no dosing, and like I said nitrates were at 0.2 ppm until I dosed 1/4 tsp KNO3 today which brought it to about 5-7 ppm. I'm hoping these numbers aren't too high for a non-CO2 tank.

    I have messed around with DIY CO2 and have always ended up with BGA which I understand is from fluctuating CO2 levels. That was before I moved out here though. I did try once out here, but I couldn't get the CO2 to bubble very well no matter if I used tap water or RODI. I'm not in a position to spend a couple hundred dollars on a CO2 setup.

    Without CO2, what are my options? Lower the amount of light? My plants seem to much prefer the brighter light.
     
  4. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Everything that happens in a planted tank is driven by the light. So, before you can make a good decision about what else a tank needs you need to have a pretty good idea about how much light you are giving the plants. With three clip-on fixtures, each with a power-saver, spiral fluorescent bulb, with them pointed down at an angle towards the water, I have no idea how much light that is. There is a very good write-up on The Planted Tank forum that gives PAR meter readings for those bulbs, but with them in reflector type housings, like some old fashioned desk lamp reflectors. One thing that was obvious from that write-up was that those bulbs give a lot more light if the bulb points straight down at the water, than if they are laying parallel to the water. But, at an angle, I don't know even roughly how much light they provide.

    You can use the "watts per gallon" technique, and say you have about 3 watts per gallon, but for that kind of lighting, I can't even guess how much that is.

    If I were in your shoes I think I would switch to plain tap water - that hardness doesn't seem to even be close to what would be called "too high" a hardness. I would stop using any additive designed to change the properties of the water, other than fertilizers. I would probably buy some Seachem Flourish Nitrogen, Potassium, phospate, and plain Flourish, and dose them per Seachem's directions. I might get some Seachem Excel, and dose that per the bottle directions. Then I would give the tank a couple of months to see how that is working out, and go from there. Because the tank is relatively small at 20 gallons, the amount of fertilizers you need is also very small, so the Seachem fertilizers may not be too expensive for you.
     
  5. Myka

    Myka Prolific Poster

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    Hi Vaughn! Thanks again for another reply. :D

    If this helps at all, here is a photo of my tank with just the two smaller lamps on it. The third lamp is actually in the same style, but the opening is wider at about 8", where the two smaller ones' openings are about 5". :
    [​IMG]



    The larger reflector spreads the light much better than the smaller ones, so if I remove one of the lamps I will go buy another of these larger ones. I tried to find the write up you were referring to on The Planted Tank forums, but I couldn't find it. Do you remember what it was called? I would like to change my lighting to T5, but I'm also in the midst of getting my reef tank up to snuff, so funds are limited for now.

    My plants did very poorly on the tap water. As I'm sure you know, the TDS meter doesn't pick up everything, and is really a poor way to judge quality. I do know that my Java Fern melted away in the tap water starting with black spots on it, and my Sagittaria subulata turned yellow. Both plants imporved markedly once I changed to RODI water. As much as I would like to follow your advice as I am aware you really know what you're talking about, what is the reason to change back to tap water? I mean, I won't even drink that stuff! LOL I just figure, if it's not good to drink how could it be good for the fish and plants?

    I have powdered fertilizers. Potassium nitrate, monopotassium phosphate, and potassium sulfate. I also have epsom salt, SeaChem Flourish Iron, SeaChem Flourish Trace, and SeaChem Excel...but I can't use the Excel with my Pellia and Sagittaria in the tank. They melt. The only ones I use are potassium nitrate, Flourish Iron and Flourish Trace.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    I added to the tank on Tuesday 1 Dwarf Chain Loach (was supposed to get 3, but only 1 arrived), 7 Crystal Red Shrimp, Rotala rotundifolia, and Rotala nanjenshan (I think, this was a bonus plant).
     
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