Trouble in Plantland

Myka

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Ok, one more question...when I'm looking at CO2 "packages" online they are all including a pH controller. What does that do exactly, and do I have to have one? They are expensive. The JBJ setup I'm looking at for CAD$215 does not include a pH controller. Oh, and the bubble counter and needle valve are both JBJ as well. Should I buy this setup? It seems reasonable.
 

Gerryd

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Hi Myka,

No need for a ph controller. This simply shuts the c02 solenoid off when the ph hits a set point. Issue is that other things than c02 can decrease the c02, so it may turn off when not desired.

Most of us just hook them to a timer to come on 90 mins PRIOR to lights on and 30 mins prior to lights off.

I used to have one and disconnected it years ago with no issues. One less thing to worry about.

Now just concentrate on the setup you want.
 

Myka

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Ok, thanks Gerry! It looks like I'm going to go through with ordering this JBJ setup. I think it will be one less headache, and I've never really had much success using DIY CO2 setups...I always get BGA real bad. So I will just bite the bullet, and get this tank rockin! :D

Oh ya, another question...I have Tonina 'Belem' in my tank, I have heard that it prefers RODI water. Am I going to have issues since I am changing back to tap?
 

Biollante

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The Hook!

I'll look to someone else to answer this one.

I knew there had to be hook in this thread!:confused:

Get this far in and you throw the hook.:rolleyes:

One of the few plants I use DI water from, since in my opinion Tonina 'Belem' require soft somewhat acidic water.

Though it seems I am the only entity on the planet who has ever had a problem with them in hard water.:eek:

I do not however, care what anyone anywhere says, make sure you properly reconstitute RO/DI water, which includes aeration.

Good luck with the tank and be well.:)

Biollante
 

Myka

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Sorry Biollante!!! I didn't think of the Toninas until just yesterday. I didn't get them too long ago, and they aren't looking overly great (they weren't rooted much when I received them though), so maybe they won't even live anyway...then problem solved. Don't worry about the reconstituting and aerating the water, I've done that right from the beginning of using the RODI, and I'm not about to stop. I will still try changing over to the tap water, and see what happens. I should check the hardness of the tap water though, no? I think the Toninas will just have to get used to the tap water...or maybe they just won't do in my tank! ;)

So the guy I want to buy the CO2 package off is away until the 30th, so that gives me some time to give this DIY CO2 one last ditch effort. ;)

I am getting quite a bit of foamy bubbles on the water surface lately. Should I put some carbon in the filter?

Sorry, it's like I need someone holding my hand every step of the way right now.
 

Myka

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I have been doing tap water top offs for the last week or so, and then today I did a 50% water change with 50% tap water, so the tank probably consists of about 25% tap water now over the first week. During the water change I cleaned the filter, added peat moss to it, and removed a bunch of dead leaves, and poor growth. I trimmed the Rotala 'Nanjenshan' down and removed some stems so the macrandra and rotundifolia get more light. I removed all the Anubias nan 'Petite' that had BBA and Cladophora on it. Oh, I also added a MaxiJet 400 behind the driftwood to get some more flow through the plant stems. I'm going to have to keep up on this routine better. The tank was a mess. After the water change I dosed 7 mL trace, and 2 mL iron.

I still have to mess around with the diy CO2 today to see if I can get it going. I am also wondering, my photoperiod is currently 7 1/2 hours. What should I be doing with the photoperiod to help my plants at this point? I know I need to find the balance between plant growth and algae growth.

Oh, tested the tap water today. I know, I know, throw out the test kits. But still:

TDS 179 ppm
GH 170 ppm (with test kit)
Alkalinity 4 dKH
pH >7.6 (off the chart)
Calcium ~30 ppm
Phosphate 0
Nitrate 1 ppm

So, by the test kits my tap water (at least at this time of year) is actually very close to the reconstituted RODI water I have been using. Very interesting...
 

Gerryd

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Myka,

Your photoperiod is fine for now. Algae need very little light and nutrients/c02 to grow.

Yes you can see when you get in there how thick a bunch can get and how it impedes flow... the extra powerhead will not hurt....good job.

Keeping up on things is what gets me the most. The tank doing well lulls me to sleep as if it is automatic or something.....

We all need a little hand holding at times. Lots of information coming at you.....

Hope this helps.
 

Myka

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Thanks Gerry. I'm actually going back through this thread right now re-reading all the info. You're right, there is lots in here!

On reading, I figured I should dose again since I did a 50% water change. So I added 1/4 tsp KNO3, 1/8 tsp Epsom salt, and 1/16 tsp KH2SO4.
 

Biollante

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Better Than You Think

Myka;39849 said:
I have been doing tap water top offs for the last week or so, and then today I did a 50% water change with 50% tap water, so the tank probably consists of about 25% tap water now over the first week. During the water change I cleaned the filter, added peat moss to it, and removed a bunch of dead leaves, and poor growth. I trimmed the Rotala 'Nanjenshan' down and removed some stems so the macrandra and rotundifolia get more light. I removed all the Anubias nan 'Petite' that had BBA and Cladophora on it. Oh, I also added a MaxiJet 400 behind the driftwood to get some more flow through the plant stems. I'm going to have to keep up on this routine better. The tank was a mess. After the water change I dosed 7 mL trace, and 2 mL iron.

I still have to mess around with the diy CO2 today to see if I can get it going. I am also wondering, my photoperiod is currently 7 1/2 hours. What should I be doing with the photoperiod to help my plants at this point? I know I need to find the balance between plant growth and algae growth.

Oh, tested the tap water today. I know, I know, throw out the test kits. But still:

TDS 179 ppm
GH 170 ppm (with test kit)
Alkalinity 4 dKH
pH >7.6 (off the chart)
Calcium ~30 ppm
Phosphate 0
Nitrate 1 ppm

So, by the test kits my tap water (at least at this time of year) is actually very close to the reconstituted RODI water I have been using. Very interesting...

Hi Myka

Oddly enough, your tests results are pretty much, what I would expect, pretty much middle-of-the-road ‘hard water’. The other oddity is that you will probably get away with the Tonias with your water. The TDS reading is low, for your other results, likely the test kits, in other words your test results are likely even better than then you report.;)

Should be no problems with the water, should be no problems with the yeastie beasties either. During the summer, many locales add considerable amounts of chlorine or chloramines to the water supply. Make sure you are filtering or treating the chlorine/chloramines before culturing the yeast.

You are taking the right steps. :)

Biollante
 

Biollante

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Kh2so4?

Myka;39851 said:
Thanks Gerry. I'm actually going back through this thread right now re-reading all the info. You're right, there is lots in here!

On reading, I figured I should dose again since I did a 50% water change. So I added 1/4 tsp KNO3, 1/8 tsp Epsom salt, and 1/16 tsp KH2SO4.

Hi Myka,

Yes, after a water change, dose the macro's; 1/4 teaspoon KNO3 is good, you really need more like half teaspoon Epsom Salt.

I don’t know how to advise KH2SO4. Is it to maintain or lower pH? Or is that an African violet, food solution?

If you meant either K2SO4 or KH2PO4, the 1/16 teaspoon is about right, and then you need the other.

Then on the other day dose 1/8 teaspoon trace, CSM+B or equivalent.

Be well.:)

Biollante
 

Gerryd

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Update: actually posted 1 hr ago but the 'save' froze :)


Myka,

Your photoperiod is fine for now. Algae need very little light and nutrients/c02 to grow. Is why we do a 3 day blackout to really push them back....

I'm going to have to keep up on this routine better. The tank was a mess

Yes you can see when you get in there how thick a bunch can get and how it impedes flow... the extra powerhead will not hurt....overall maintenance is vey important. good job......

Keeping up on things is what gets me the most. The tank doing well lulls me to sleep as if it is automatic or something.....

Sorry, it's like I need someone holding my hand every step of the way right now.

We all need a little hand holding at times. Lots of information coming at you.....

So, by the test kits my tap water (at least at this time of year) is actually very close to the reconstituted RODI water I have been using. Very interesting...

Perhaps your test kits ALWAYS read the same values even if tested with vinegar and that is why the test values are the same :)

I think your plants will be okay with the change in water. c02 and other nutes and light are more important IME than ph or hardness. Plants have a strong will to live and will thrive given decent conditions...

Hope this helps.
 

Myka

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Biollante, oh right trace and macros should be on different days. Forgot about that. Ooops, I added 1/16 tsp K2SO4, but I meant to add KH2PO4 for phosphate. I get those two confused, so I have the bags labelled with full name, then their "letter number name" and "N", "P", or "K". Hehehe, and I STILL get confused! So dosage of K2SO4 and KHPO4 should be the same as each other?

I just added 1/16 tsp KH2PO4, and another 1/4 tsp epsom salt.

Good point on adding dechlor to the yeast mix. I made a new one up today with Prime for dechlor (it neutralizes ammonia and nitrite too though, so will that kill the food the yeast needs??), and 1 tsp yeast (hahaha), and 1/2 cup sugar in 500 mL warm tap water. Back to basics, I will see what it is doing tomorrow morning.

I am using Flourish Trace until I get some CSM+B, how much Flourish Trace should I be adding every second day?

The TDS might actually be higher than my meter is reading...I have had troubles calibrating it. *grumble*




Gerry, your post did come through, it is back on page 3. :) The test kits do read "various numbers" as I use them for my reef tank too. They have also read different numbers in the past when I was testing RODI water, and testing how much to reconstitute it as well. So I know they are working, just probably only as good as a hobby grade kit can be. ;) I think they read well enough that the numbers should be comparable to each other, just maybe not a known source.

I was thinking of doing a 3 day blackout on the tank. That has helped tremendously a year ago when I battled a really bad case of BGA. Do you think I should consider doing this, or just see how these new changes work for me?

I did remove nearly all traces of BBA, BGA, and Cladophora I could find today. The tank got a pretty good overhaul. :D

I just need CO2...in a baaaaaaaaaaad way!!!

I will start daily fluffing of the plants too. My plants sure are yellow in comparison to the lush green plants you guys all have!! :(
 

Myka

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I have bubbles!!! :D Well, I wonder what it was? Maybe not enough yeast to get it going? Maybe not using dechlorinator? I will try slowly adding the protein powder and molasses back in to see if I get stronger production. I am going to order a diffuser too since the Hagen bubble ladder is so ugly to look at.

A question on this note...how imperative is it to stop CO2 during the night? If the fish aren't gasping, then is it ok to leave it running?
 

Myka

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Well the CO2 is starting to slow down a bit now, so I will get the second container going tomorrow morning. I think if I switch one out everyday that I should be able to get a significant amount of CO2 into the tank.

The intake of my Eheim is right near the CO2 outlet (Hagen ladder for now until I get a diffuser), is that sucking the CO2 in, and hindering the CO2? Should I move the ladder away from the intake?
 

Myka

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Wow, I have noticed a significant green increase! My plants were really yellow 4 days ago, and they are much greener today. Cool! All thanks to everyone who has helped in this thread! *** Thank you! *** I wish I would have taken pics before I did that big water change and clean up! I will take some pics today. :)

I was also reading through a recent Iron discussion where Tom Barr has suggested dosing 5-10 mL of Flourish Iron per 80 L tank water 3x per week when Flourish Trace is used as the trace supplement. I have been dosing 2.5 mL Iron per week. So...being cautious, I'm going to up the Iron to 2.5 mL 3x week, and check for results. Any thoughts on that??

So currently the dosing is:

Even days:
Change the mix in 1 diy CO2 container
5 mL Flourish Trace
2.5 mL Flourish Iron

Odd days:
1/8 tsp KNO3
1/32 tsp KH2PO4

Sundays:
50% water change
1/2 tsp epsom salt (should I dose this in lesser amount with the other macros?)

What about K2SO4?? I haven't heard anything about dosing this...? Any suggested changes on the dosing?

The Hagen bubble ladder can hardly handle the bubbles...sometimes the bubbles come out too often, and run into each other making big bubbles that just run up the ladder real fast grabbing more bubbles. I am in the process of ordering one of those "Aquarium CO2 Atomizer" from Ebay to run inline on my Eheim 2026. I am also ordering a drop checker, and a couple Nano "pollen" diffusers just in case the atomizer sucks. ;)
 

Myka

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I took some pics to make this a bit more interesting for you guys:

Aug2620092.jpg


Aug2620093.jpg
 

Tom Barr

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90% of why the tank does not look healthier is due to that CO2.
The DIY CO2 ladder while fun to watch, really is pretty ineffective, does not take up a lot of space etc.

I'd suggest using the INTERNAL DIY CO2 reactor(see articles section here).
This should take care of the CO2 issue pretty effectively.

Plug powerhead into lighting timer(CO2 will not be dissolved when off).
This should give radical improvement.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

Myka

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Yes, the ladder sucks. I was actually looking at trying to get my hands on one of those spiffy new Up Aqua CO2 Atomizers I saw on these forums. I haven't been able to figure out a way to get one in a cost effective manner having to either order from Australia or Hong Kong. Boo on that.

I will check out this diy CO2 reactor. Thanks for the advice! I like the idea of plugging the powerhead into the lighting timer. I already have a powerhead in there, so it wouldn't be hard to do.

My tank still needs some upgrades. I would like to change to T5 lighting (esthetics really), and also change to a Rena Smart Heater to get rid of that ugly blue uptake tube, and the heater. That black Smart Heater should blend right in with the black-painted background. :)

If all else fails, would it do me better to shove the end of the CO2 line into the intake of my Eheim 2026?
 

Biollante

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Hi Myka,

Really, get the CO2 in order before any lighting upgrades, seriously. I get the sense of you as an on the go techy-type. I think you will do yourself a big favor if you just bite-the-bullet and buy yourself a proper pressurized CO2 system.

Failing that look over Tom Barrs diy reactors, or any of the hundreds on the internet, build one.;)

Order the fertilizers and stop worrying about things, if it is what you like you will learn as you go, if not, you will still have a beautiful aquarium.:)

If you think you have seen an improvement with your plants, you have seen nothing yet. Get the whole EI things going; you will be stunned with the results. As a great moderator of a popular site long ago said, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

Biollante
 

Myka

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Haha! Well, I have been following you guys' advice!! I would love to get a pressurized system (and I just about did), but I have had a few large unexpected bills get shovelled onto my lap lately (stupid cars), so I need to hold off spending much money on the tanks right now. I actually have a spare TLF PhosBan Reactor (it's a diy knockoff professionally made though) that I think I could modify into an external reactor. I'm really not into the idea of anything more internal in the tank. I like a clean look, and it's driving me nuts just having that blue intake tube, heater, and CO2 ladder (useless thing) all visible. Yuck!

The only ferts I need right now are trace and iron. I have 1 lb bags of the 3 macros (and epsom).