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Tank Rebuild, Initial Ei dose?

Discussion in 'Estimative Index' started by Dutch, May 1, 2010.

  1. Dutch

    Dutch Prolific Poster

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    my conversion of the ei light for 140-185 tank range

    2 tsp KNO3 M,W,F
    5/8 tsp KH2PO4 T,T,S
    2 tsp G4 Boost SU
    5/8 tsp CSM-B M,W,F

    My main question is the initial dose of ferts when starting off using Ei, I added an initial dose (a day each) of the above and I'm dosing daily now, but was that enough to start with? should I use a weeks worth
    of ferts to "seed" the tank?

    Just tore down my 150, did a complete overhaul on the plumbing. looking for advice on the initial dose for the water. I use a combo 4-1 mix of ro\di and tap. this is because of the rediculous hardness of our city water here. This mix gives me a kH of 3-4 with the tap water adding back in a little of the gH and kH for a buffer.

    Substrate is the black diamond stuff from aquarium plants (top,bottom 3" is a mix of rinsed substrate from the old setup). Lighting is 2- 250w MHL with 6500k bulbs.

    The filter is custom built. I bought a clear choice wet/dry online and when it arrived it was broke into many smaller pieces. Decided to build my own then so bought a 30 gal tank, some 1/4 in acrylic sheets and went to work building a bio tower to fit inside the 30. Holds 6 gallons of bio balls.

    Circulation is 800 gal\hr given the 5ft head on the pump. I decided to try some creative flow patterns so I plumbed the outlets in the tank (works really well).

    I need to stock some more plants (getting some cheap fast growers this weekend)

    Ideas and suggestions are welcome here.

    Thanks,

    Dutch.

    150g
    CO2 inject w/jaqno mixer,Ph Controller
    cable heat
    500w MHL
    custom w/d @800g/hr
    ro/di/tap
     
    #1 Dutch, May 1, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2010
  2. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Seeding doesn't hurt, but I don't think anyone has noticed a big difference. If you're getting past equilibrium concentrations with the first dose, and giving more than the plants can take, it's not required.

    You'll probably find that your lighting is overkill until you raise it higher. My eyes and trimming fingers hurt just looking at that level of light over that size of tank.

    The pH controller is going to cause more harm than good. It usually takes months to convince people of this after they pay for one; some time after the lighting is reduced but the BBA still won't go away for some reason. pH is not a good basis for calculating CO2 given other buffers in the column, calculating it from one point is even worse, hooking it up to a machine that needs to be calibrated is even worse still. CO2 levels are best controlled through timing and flow until newer technology becomes thousands of dollars cheaper.

    You may find that more flow is needed. Even a couple of koralias might be handy. I do like that you've got your CO2/return flow coming into the tank very low and horizontally, this will make your life much easier.
     
  3. Dutch

    Dutch Prolific Poster

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    Thanks for the tip on the lights, was wondering about that. I raised them so they are now about 37 in from the substrate. I'm using the PH controller to adjust the CO2 to an acceptible level. I built a dropchecker from an icing tip and small jar I found at hobby lobby, made a 4dkh solution with distilled water and baking soda and will tweek the Ph level down until it turns green (see image), Still blue atm.

    Lights are on about 10 hrs/day (too long to start with?)

    Also, my Kh level is setting on about 4 atm. The PH is currently at 6.5 on the low range. (6.5 - 6.7). How low can I take this safely down? Or should I add in some more tap to raise the Kh a bit?

    Thanks

    raisedlights..jpg

    dropchecker..jpg
     
    #3 Dutch, May 1, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2010
  4. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    I'd lower the drop checker closer to the substrate personally.
     
  5. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    pH is not just a matter of "add acid until it looks right" there are buffers at play involving some very complex chemical reactions. Using your pH probe is basically saying that you'll let a machine automatically pump CO2 in the tank based off the old pH-KH-CO2 chart applied to tank water, and then let a pH probe determine that despite being prone to drifting. If your city is on a multiple reservoir/well system, if there's runoff or a rainy season, if a line flush happens, if there are farms around fertilizing at certain times of years for certain crops etc. etc. your tap water will change and something will have to be re-adjusted. The water company here uses a multiple well system fed by the snake river right now; pH varies from 7.6-8.3, KH varies from something like 7-10, and it will change without notice. Altering that KH constantly is going to stress your fish or require you to pre-treat the water, changing the meter will involve constant fiddling. If you can not make it work with accuracy or become inattentive in adjustments and maintenance, your tank will suffer for it by either gassing the fish or not delivering CO2 at a high enough level. Trying to check CO2 distribution is tricky without bringing a controller into the equation and not knowing whether the whole tank has enough.

    Rather than trying to hit a pH target influenced by many other variables aimed by a fallible method of measurement, it's a whole lot more reliable to pump CO2 in at a fixed rate using a needle/metering valve to adjust based on observation. Take a virtual tour around the highest ranking/most knowledgeable auqascapers tanks and you'll notice a distinct lack of pH controllers.
     
  6. Dutch

    Dutch Prolific Poster

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    Thanks for the advice Dan, I forgot to take into account we are dosing ferts that through off the ph calc. I'll take off the ph controller and set a bubble count to get the desired results, start the Co2 30 min b4 the lights are on and off 30 min to when they shut off. BTW the drop checker finally turned green, so ill shoot for that result with a constant bubble rate. Plants are starting to bubble like they should!

    Thanks,

    Dutch

    greeninidicator..jpg
     
    #6 Dutch, May 1, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2010
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