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Substrate and light question

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by irena, Mar 17, 2009.

  1. irena

    irena Junior Poster

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    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
     
  2. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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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
     
  3. irena

    irena Junior Poster

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    Thanks for all the help and your replies :D
     
  4. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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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
     
  5. irena

    irena Junior Poster

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

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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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
     
  7. irena

    irena Junior Poster

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    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 :)
     
  8. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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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.
     
  9. irena

    irena Junior Poster

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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?
     
  10. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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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.
     
  11. irena

    irena Junior Poster

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    Oh really I thought I should wait longer. Good to know:D
    Thanks for all the help :)
     
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