Substrate and light question

irena

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Mar 3, 2009
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Chicago, IL
Hello again :) Another question from a newbie :confused:
Which substrate would be better for my 10 gallon tank
Flourite black sand 15 lb or a regular size one? Will 15 lb will be enough?
or should I go with Aquasoil amazonia normal or powder? I know it lowers Ph and hardness which is good since my tap water ph is about 8 or higher
Should I get some other gravel or substrate alone will be enough?

And I want to get 20" 1x28W Coralife Aqualight PC Hood w/ 1 x 28W 50/50 Lamp is it a good one? And if anyone knows were do I get bulbs for that, I been having problems finding them....

The first plants I want to put in my tank are Java fern, anubias 'nana', ludwigia redens, and java moss attached to drift wood and rock or should I go with some other type of moss? Also little latter I want to add glossostigma elatinoides and crypto corine willisii. If it's not a good combination of plants let me know what should I go with instead. I am making a landscape in my tank so I am looking for good background, mid and foreground plants. And after my tank is cycled and plants are adapted I will add neon tetras and cherry shrimp and maybe a dwarf gourami.

Thanks for all the help... :D
 

Philosophos

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15lb should be enough if it's roughly the same density as eco complete. 20lb of eco complete gets a 2in front sloped to 3-4in in the back on a standard 20g. If you're heading for ADA aquasoil, which would probably do good things for your pH, make sure you get amazonia 2. At 8pH the water will cloud with the regular stuff. The powder isn't meant to be the main substrate as far as I know, so go with the regular. It might also be helpful to check around and find out what a major water change with 8pH water in an aquarium buffered with aquasoil has done in the past. You may have to work your water change method around it.

I use a coralife 65w CF my self, though it's been converted to square pin and uses a sunpaq dual 6700/10,000. It'll work well for your aquarium; it's a pretty common entry level piece of equipment for high end aquariums. The light doesn't diffuse too well from CF, so getting it up on legs without a glass hood on may help. I'm going to be heading in that direction my self pretty soon. If you can't find bulbs around town, and there aren't any stores willing to bring bulbs in, do a shopping search on Google.

The plant list looks good. You may want to look in to backing it with CO2 and ferts for your current light level. Add all of it at once if you can; the growing pains of, "wait and see" is a horror story from many of our pasts. For some of us, that past is not so distant. A look over the dry start method might help, too.

The fauna looks good, as well. If you're going for a dwarf gourami, check it over very closely for disease and inbreeding. Both in my personal experience and opinions I have heard, they have a reputation from both. I believe this was a sentiment was popularized by Herbert Axelrod in one of his 80's editions of the atlas of FW fish.

Good luck with the new aquarium.

-Philosophos
 

irena

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Mar 3, 2009
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Chicago, IL
Philosophos;34992 said:
15lb should be enough if it's roughly the same density as eco complete. 20lb of eco complete gets a 2in front sloped to 3-4in in the back on a standard 20g. If you're heading for ADA aquasoil, which would probably do good things for your pH, make sure you get amazonia 2. At 8pH the water will cloud with the regular stuff. I actually was wondering about Amazonia 2, I read about it and it sounded good, so I will be going with that one. altho I was confused by the sizes of the bags they go by 3L or 9L. Is 9L enough?

The powder isn't meant to be the main substrate as far as I know, so go with the regular. I didn't know that so regular it is.

It might also be helpful to check around and find out what a major water change with 8pH water in an aquarium buffered with aquasoil has done in the past. You may have to work your water change method around it. I had a goldfish before and with regular water changes+ some water conditioner my levels were fine, I did a test every week, fish did great. I know it's a different story with planted tank and tropical fish so I will look into that. But do you think if I'll treat water before adding it to the tank will it do the trick?

I use a coralife 65w CF my self, though it's been converted to square pin and uses a sunpaq dual 6700/10,000. It'll work well for your aquarium; it's a pretty common entry level piece of equipment for high end aquariums. The light doesn't diffuse too well from CF, so getting it up on legs without a glass hood on may help. I am getting legs with that light and no galss hood for me. I also calculated that I'll be getting around 2.8w per gallon with 28w bulb, and I found the light for a very good price like $40 (my funds are limited at the moment) my tank is only 20" long so the one I mentioned fits perfectly. So it should be ok, no? or should I get a stronger bulb? Will it be compatible with 20" coralife pc hood?

I'm going to be heading in that direction my self pretty soon. If you can't find bulbs around town, and there aren't any stores willing to bring bulbs in, do a shopping search on Google. Google here I come :D

The plant list looks good. You may want to look in to backing it with CO2 and ferts for your current light level. I will be definitley doing CO2. It will be DIY and maybe little later after I save up more money I will be getting CO2 Green NRG system, I think it's enough for a 10 gallon. And I'm still doing research on ferts, I did find this website pfertz - products wich looks good, but I'm still not sure on what I need, I will be posting questions on that subject later :D
Add all of it at once if you can; the growing pains of, "wait and see" is a horror story from many of our pasts. For some of us, that past is not so distant. A look over the dry start method might help, too.
I will be adding everything at once, thats why it might take me awhile need to get funds together, I don't mind waiting I want everything to be done right. I'm working on my list of what I need and that's why I got sooo many questions and many more to come. The only thing I might add little later is Glossostigma, willisii and of course fish. Shrimp is the last thing on my list.

The fauna looks good, as well. If you're going for a dwarf gourami, check it over very closely for disease and inbreeding. Both in my personal experience and opinions I have heard, they have a reputation from both. I believe this was a sentiment was popularized by Herbert Axelrod in one of his 80's editions of the atlas of FW fish. Do you think is safe to get them online? I know how to spot disease but not inbreeding. I don't have too many fish stores around me except petco and petsmart and the one I got a wrong rock from, I don't really like the way most fish looks like in their tanks same goes with plants. And I never came across cherry shrip except online. And my plants I planing to order online also.

Good luck with the new aquarium.
Thank you I definitely need it :p

-Philosophos

Thanks for all the help and your replies :D
 

Philosophos

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I'm not sure what 9L works out to for volume or weight. I'll make an educated guess though. Assuming the internal measurements of your aquarium are 20X10 and you want a typical 2 inch up front sloped to 3 inches in the back, then you're looking at about 8L. A little extra won't hurt.

As for the pH, aquasoil buffers to 6.6 while you're adding 8pH water. I'm not so great at the math, but here's what I tossed in to an excel spread sheet:

=-LOG(((10^-6.6)+(10^-8))/2)

which spat out a pH of about 6.88

It's not pretty, and someone else should probably double check that. If I'm right then water changes will result in around a 0.3 pH swing. Not too horrible on its own. I get completely lost at about the time KH and CO2 gassing off at night have to be factored in with this. I'm concerned that they'll compound to make a .6 swing over night.

2.8wpg on the coralife bulbs is pretty high for a 10g. You'll be pruning regularly, it's a bit more of a challenge. As for the DIY CO2, if money is an issue, you might as well make the system your self. It's just yeast culture in a couple of glorified pop bottles, with a check valve and diffuser. If you like to bake you could probably rig a sourdough culture for bread to do the job, assuming it gave off enough CO2.

As for getting fish online, you should probably be a bit cautious. I would think not having a good store as a buffer makes DOA's and disease a bit more likely. Then again, I haven't ordered fish online, only plants.

-Philosophos
 

irena

Junior Poster
Mar 3, 2009
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Chicago, IL
Philosophos;34996 said:
I'm not sure what 9L works out to for volume or weight. I'll make an educated guess though. Assuming the internal measurements of your aquarium are 20X10 and you want a typical 2 inch up front sloped to 3 inches in the back, then you're looking at about 8L. A little extra won't hurt.
I don't mind extra :) :p

As for the pH, aquasoil buffers to 6.6 while you're adding 8pH water. I'm not so great at the math, but here's what I tossed in to an excel spread sheet:

=-LOG(((10^-6.6)+(10^-8))/2)

which spat out a pH of about 6.88
Wow that looks sooo confusing and scary LOL How do you calculate it if you don't mind sharing the formula or were can I read up on how to do these calculation. I think it wouldn't hurt me to know it :eek: Maybe it's better for me to go with Flourite substrate and just pretreat water or let it sit before adding to my tank?

It's not pretty, and someone else should probably double check that. If I'm right then water changes will result in around a 0.3 pH swing. Not too horrible on its own. I get completely lost at about the time KH and CO2 gassing off at night have to be factored in with this. I'm concerned that they'll compound to make a .6 swing over night.
I am planing to have CO2 off at night, to prevent ph drop that much I know LOL

2.8wpg on the coralife bulbs is pretty high for a 10g. You'll be pruning regularly, it's a bit more of a challenge.
I don't think I mind pruning, I need something to occupy me since I quit smoking less that a week ago after like 15 years, I'll do anything to keep my mind off cigarettes. Or do you think I should get a different light? The only other ones I found were 15w hoods which gives me 1.5wpg, sounds little low to me. Or if I will stick with coralife will a galss top help? ( I just realized that my cat might go fishing so maybe I should get a glass top)

As for the DIY CO2, if money is an issue, you might as well make the system your self. It's just yeast culture in a couple of glorified pop bottles, with a check valve and diffuser. If you like to bake you could probably rig a sourdough culture for bread to do the job, assuming it gave off enough CO2.
I will be making a DIY to begin with, the only question I have is there a way to turn a DIY system off at night to prevent PH drop?

As for getting fish online, you should probably be a bit cautious. I would think not having a good store as a buffer makes DOA's and disease a bit more likely. Then again, I haven't ordered fish online, only plants.
I will check one more store I found here in Chicago, it pretty far but the store looks good. Hopefully they have good selection of fish and shrimp.

-Philosophos

I'm very grateful for all your help so thanks again! :D
 

Philosophos

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The math isn't too tricky. pH works on a base 10 logarithm (exponent in reverse) to measure activity of H+ in a solution. This is done through H3O+ (hydronium), which pH finds its scale based in. 1pH is .1mol of H3O+, 2 is .01mol and so on. So, all I did was expand the two pH levels in to their H3O+ concentrations (10^-6.6) and averaged them in equal parts for the 50% water change.

My biggest error is probably going to be the fact that I didn't account for HCO3 (alkalinity, KH) levels in the water. I'm not sure it matters much though, given the substrate buffering back down to 6.6 through acids until its life is expended. It's a different story for calculating a water change with relatively inert substrates, though.

Fluorite has a reputation for raising pH early on. It seems go away after rinsing and water changes. Eco complete does the same. You've got 8pH out of the tap, and if you want to keep certain plants will have to drop that number, as well as most likely the alkalinity (KH). Aquasoil and co2 are popular methods, though co2 won't drop KH. If you're not using aquasoil, it might be advisable to dilute tap water with RO water to get the KH down. From there co2 will help with the rest.

Turning the pH off at night is going to raise your pH at night, but it's better than gassing the fish. How much that changes depends on light cycles, temperature, water current and a pile of other things. In terms of turning off CO2 at night with DIY, I suppose it depends on just how much CO2 is being produced. If you want a small boost in combination with excel, it might be worth finding out just how high the co2 gets at night without being turned off. Otherwise, your best bet is probably just to remove the diffuser, or disconnect the CO2 line. An on/off valve is a bad idea; yeast likes oxygen, and I'm not sure what kind of PSI a yeast culture can produce in a closed container.

-Philosophos
 

irena

Junior Poster
Mar 3, 2009
25
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Chicago, IL
Philosophos;35010 said:
The math isn't too tricky. pH works on a base 10 logarithm (exponent in reverse) to measure activity of H+ in a solution. This is done through H3O+ (hydronium), which pH finds its scale based in. 1pH is .1mol of H3O+, 2 is .01mol and so on. So, all I did was expand the two pH levels in to their H3O+ concentrations (10^-6.6) and averaged them in equal parts for the 50% water change.
Wow Looks tricky to me :eek: I think I need to read up a little on water chemistry LOL But I can do a water test before adding/changing my water in the tank, that should help me figure things out right?

My biggest error is probably going to be the fact that I didn't account for HCO3 (alkalinity, KH) levels in the water. I'm not sure it matters much though, given the substrate buffering back down to 6.6 through acids until its life is expended. It's a different story for calculating a water change with relatively inert substrates, though.

Fluorite has a reputation for raising pH early on. It seems go away after rinsing and water changes. Eco complete does the same. You've got 8pH out of the tap, and if you want to keep certain plants will have to drop that number, as well as most likely the alkalinity (KH). Aquasoil and co2 are popular methods, though co2 won't drop KH. If you're not using aquasoil, it might be advisable to dilute tap water with RO water to get the KH down. From there co2 will help with the rest.
So from what I understood aquasoil amazonia is the best choice for me?!

Turning the pH off at night is going to raise your pH at night, I guess I got the part that it lowers PH wrong :confused: but it's better than gassing the fish. How much that changes depends on light cycles, By that you mean how long my light is on in the tank?! I'm planing to do 8 10 to 12 hours.
temperature, with the plants and fish I'm keeping I was planing to keep temperature at around 80F
water current Do I need to have some kind of current going in my 10 gallon or my filter will be enough? I got Aqueon power filter 10 with the flow rate 100gph, at least for now. and a pile of other things. In terms of turning off CO2 at night with DIY, I suppose it depends on just how much CO2 is being produced. If you want a small boost in combination with excel, it might be worth finding out just how high the co2 gets at night without being turned off. Otherwise, your best bet is probably just to remove the diffuser, or disconnect the CO2 line. An on/off valve is a bad idea; yeast likes oxygen, and I'm not sure what kind of PSI a yeast culture can produce in a closed container. That was my concern but I will be getting CO2 test and kh/gh test kits I got all the other ones in my master test kit, so I will be doing regular tests.

-Philosophos

Thanks again for putting up with my stupid question but there so much more stuff to all this that I didn't know, and it starting to scare me LOL
With the research I did on plants and fish I want to keep my PH at around 6.5 - 7, does that sounds like a good ph levels?
Thanks again :D now I'm gonna go and do some reading :)
 

VaughnH

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Don't be concerned about the pH of the water, since this will be a planted tank. And, if you add CO2, as you should, the pH will drop from the CO2 also. The fish will not care what the pH ends up as.
 

irena

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Cool, Thanks for the reply. I will be adding CO2 for sure, and I will let my tank cycle before adding any fish anyway. Actually how long should I wait before I add fish?
 

VaughnH

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When you start the tank by planting it heavily with fast growing stem plants, you don't have to wait except a week or so to be sure the plants are growing. Then, you can start introducing fish, a few at a time. Don't add the full complement of fish in one week.

Heavily planting the tank means a plant about every inch all over the substrate. A lot of those can be carpet type plants, but most should be stems that will need pruning very often.