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Questions about non-CO2 tank and estimative index

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by Carissa, Jun 10, 2007.

  1. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    Hi,
    I just have a couple of questions as I launch into using the EI (when my fertilizers arrive).

    I have a 10g and if you read my other thread, you know I have a couple of issues I'm trying to work around for now.

    1. CO2 - I'm not ready to invest in a CO2 system yet. Ultimately when I get a bigger tank that's what I'm going to do. But in the meantime someone mentioned using Flourish Excel in place of CO2. If I do this, how should I go about using the estimative index? I would assume that I will still need to cut back the recommended dosage. I've had lots of bga issues in the past and I don't want to way overdo it because I'm afraid of a bloom, plus my lighting isn't very good (see #2).

    2. The other issue is lighting. My hood only has screw in type light sockets so I'm using a 13w screw in florescent bulb right now. I was thinking about perhaps removing that fixture and making something up diy to install a florescent tube. If I do this, what should I be looking for in a bulb and what should I avoid? Without CO2 I probably don't want to overdo it on the light either, so what should I go for as far as wattage goes? I have Hygrophila polysperma and a java fern, both of which are doing ok with the 13w bulb and actually a while back I had 2- 25 watt incandescent bulbs and they did ok with that too.

    Thanks!
     
  2. phanmc

    phanmc Lifetime Charter Member
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    Have you read Tom's article on a non-CO2 tank?

    http://www.barrreport.com/articles/433-non-co2-methods.html

    Flourish Excel is an excellent alternative to CO2 injection in a low light tank. Demands for nutrients and CO2 is reduced with less light so you can get away with lower carbon levels.

    Also with the reduced light comes less fert dosing. You can cut back the days you add ferts to once or twice a week per ferts.

    13w is a little low, try 2 10w-13w bulbs. 2wpg in a 10g tank isn't alot of light and is still considered low light.
     
  3. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    I found 10 watt bulbs that are rated at 6500K, "daylight." I'm not sure how well they will work but the tank looks so awesome now because the lighting is a different color.

    So with the 2-10 watt bulbs, how many hours a day should I leave them on? I'm not dosing ferts yet, they will probably take a couple of weeks to get here. But I am adding calcium and magnesium to increase kH and gH because my tap water is 0 on both counts.

    Also I added some plants now, I have one Vals and two Crypts, besides the java fern and hygro. The man at the shop told me those would be good for a low light tank.

    So considering that I want to avoid algae at all costs, how many hours should I start using the lights for as a minimum? And should I increase my lighting once I get the ferts? And, I couldn't find any Excel so this is going to be strictly non-CO2 for now.
     
  4. phanmc

    phanmc Lifetime Charter Member
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    The 6500k bulbs will work fine, most people prefer it because they are pretty close to noon daylight rather than the yellower cool whites that are more common.

    Tap water with 0 kH and gH? wow, that's unheard of.

    Leave the lights on for about 10 hrs a day. You don't have to increase it later when you get more plants, the demand on lights are the same no matter how many plants you have.

    Crypts are great low light plants as are java ferns, the vals and hygros are a little more demanding but you should have enough light.

    If you want to prevent algae, have lots of plants right from the beginning. Do not put a few in at a time and wait for them to grow out. If you have alot of hygros already great, if you only have a few stems it's a good idea to get more. Other plants you can use are anacharis and hornwort.

    You should be fine without CO2 or Excel, growth will be very slow is all.
     
  5. Professor Myers

    Professor Myers Guru Class Expert

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    If both lights switch on simultaneously I'd go no more than 8 hours a day. If they switch seperately I'd go a split 10/5 cycle. For future reference on E24 compact fluorescents try BlueMax Full Spectrum Compact Fluorescent Lights and Welcome to e3light HTH, Prof M
     
  6. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    Yes, they are simultaneous. Do I need to increase lighting when I get my fertilizers or just keep it at 8 hours no matter what?

    I'm trying to figure out exactly what I need to be adding to get my water up to par. I saw the measurements of fertilizers for non-co2 tanks somewhere on the board, I'll find that again. Also what I'm trying to figure out is how much calcium and magnesium I need to be adding to bring up my gh and kh to decent levels. I'm adding a little at a time until I get it increased to appropriate levels, but since my tap water is 0 on both counts I need to get a solid measurement of what I need to add every water change for calcium and magnesium, same as the fertilizers. Pretty much my water is just like distilled, the pH is 6.4 out of the tap, no buffer at all. It apparently has tannic acid in it, that's what I was told, due to the yellowish color. It's obviously not iron. The water is so acidic that my in-laws house which was only 15 years old, had to be totally replumbed with plastic pipe, the copper sprung leaks all over the place. So there's probably copper in my water too from the pipes here.
     
  7. Professor Myers

    Professor Myers Guru Class Expert

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    I'm sure you could probably go 10 hours with ferts, but you are just going to have to observe the tank, plants, and algae to make your best assessment. ;)

    As far as your water chemistry goes, can you request a report from your local municipal water authority ? They are either posted on the internet or are usually provided upon request. That would give you considerably more data to see what you are up against. If your water has a low or non exhistant GH/KH you might want to get some Seachem onyx gravel/sand or Gray Coast sand to top off your substrate. This will help buffer your GH/KH and provide essential nutrients for your plants to keep you from chasing the dragon with Booster and ferts. Where are you located ? Our local water has little or no hardness at all right out of the tap and comes out 7 - 6.8. Naturally we have to buffer our tank water as well, yet it still doesn't explain the water softener my lovely wife purchased ? :confused: LOL. Grtz, Prof M
     
  8. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    I might be able to get some info on the water down at the town hall. I live in a really small town in central Newfoundland on the ocean.

    I cut the lights down to 6 hours for now until I get my ferts because I noticed after just one day, algae forming on my hygro. I don't want to let it get a foothold again.

    I'm going to see if I can find any info on the internet about what else could be in the water here. We have a constant problem with blue residue in the bathtub and sinks, I thought this was from copper leaching from the pipes but I'm not really sure.
     
  9. Professor Myers

    Professor Myers Guru Class Expert

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    Yeah, That sounds like copper...Might want to run the water for a few minutes to flush the pipes before doing a water chage ? Carbon in your filter wouldn't hurt any either. Grtz, Prof M
     
  10. charlie

    charlie Guru Class Expert

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    Carissa,calcium and magnesium will not increase your KH, you nedd to add baking soda to increase KH,calcium and magnesium will increase your GH.
    Regards
     
  11. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    City water departments try to keep the pH of their water above 7 at all times to avoid copper pipe erosion. If your KH and GH are both zero, your water is very likely to be below 7 in pH, so dissolved copper in the water is a real possibility. I believe some "whole house" water filters will remove copper, as well as other metals and other contaminants. I use one of those filters on my continuous water change water supply just to avoid that type of problem and to have a chance at removing most of the chlorine before the water gets to the tank.
     
  12. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    Hi,
    Sorry I wasn't specific enough. I am adding calcium carbonate which will increase both KH and GH as well as epsom salts for GH. Plus some baking soda too sometimes.

    The tap water is 6.4 pH.

    We do have a whole house carbon filter installed, but the problem is that the copper is coming from our house water pipes after the water hits the filter.

    Will running carbon in my tank remove the calcium and magnesium that I am trying to increase, or will it affect fertilizers? Will copper harm plants? I know it harms some types of fish.

    Thanks!
     
  13. Professor Myers

    Professor Myers Guru Class Expert

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    Yes, Copper is an affective herbicide/algicide. and running carbon in your tank filtration may effect your nutrient levels slightly, but so long as you are providing regular W/C's and EI it's a non-issue. As I stated earlier run the water for a few minutes prior to W/C's to flush the lines. To remove copper on a single pass you will need a solid carbon matrix ( not granulated) on your drinking water (IE: Multi-pure Filter). HTH. Prof M
     
  14. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    Ok, I added carbon to the filter and I'm going to start adding baking soda, epsom salts, and calcium carbonate to each 50% water change. I started off yesterday adding about 1 tsp of each (baking soda and epsom salts) to my 4 gallon water change and it brought the KH up to 80 and GH up to 50 (both near 0 before). The pH also went up to about 7.6. Fish seem to be doing ok so far. The carbon didn't affect my KH overnight. I also put a few seashells in my filter too to keep the KH up. Not sure if I mentioned that I added two crypts and a vals so the tank is pretty well planted now. My lighting is still at 6 hours/day until I get my ferts.

    How often should I be changing the carbon? And I heard once that carbon will leach phosphates into the water, is this true?
     
  15. Professor Myers

    Professor Myers Guru Class Expert

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    For high levels of copper I'd change out the carbon once a month at least. With your unique water chemistry I heartily suggest looking into the Seachem Onyx. It works very well for Acidic/Soft water conditions. I'd probably invest in a solid carbon drinking water filter too. They are about the most cost efficient option under the circumstances. Doulton is a highly reputable company up in the Michigan area. Activated Carbon Water Filtration HTH. Prof M
     
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