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Want to make a big change...need advice

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by Michael, Nov 29, 2007.

  1. Michael

    Michael Junior Poster

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    Hi all, I need some input on a change I want to make.

    I have a 300 gallon planted aquarium. Presently I have:
    4 96watt CF (2 are 6700k, 2 are 50/50 6700k & colormax)
    3 150watt MH
    pressurized CO2 thru a reactor 1000
    dosed with Plantes 3x week 1/2 tbs - potassuim Nitrate 3x week 1 tbs - Potassium Sophate 3x week 1/2 tbs
    Nitrates stay around 15ppm
    KH = 2
    GH = 6
    Plants = E. Stelatta, Cabomba, Blyxa Japonica, Blyxa Aubertii and Narrow Leaf Lilaeopsis. I also have small amounts of Octopus plant and Glossostigma.
    The Glosso used to be overwheelming so I removed it for the Lilaeopsis but the Lilaeopsis won't stop growing BBA on it. It's the only plant I can't grow.

    I want to discontinue the CO2 and MH lights and dose once a week with water changes. I need to slow the plant growth plus I have trouble keeping my CO2 on because the my KH is so low my pH goes to 6.0 and the controller shuts it off. It takes me 4 hours a week to trim and do a water change and I wish to change this.

    I'm looking for input and suggestions. I know the E. Stelatta will turn green and grow poorly without CO2 and high light but I'm willing to take a chance. I don't know about the other plants.

    Thank you for any help and suggestions,
    Michael
     
  2. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Don't give up what you have too soon. If you get rid of the pH controller you will do far better at keeping adequate CO2 in the water. Get a couple of drop checkers, load them with 4 dKH distilled or deionized water, and increase the CO2 bubble rate until the drop checkers turn green, meaning about 30 ppm of CO2 in the water. Place them in two widely separated locations to get a reasonable sample of the bulk of the water in the tank. Add a powerhead to the tank to supplement the water circulation. Forget about the pH of the water in the tank. Once you have the drop checkers stabilized at green, use the solenoid to shut off the CO2 about an hour before the lights go off, and turn it back on at least an hour before the lights come on.

    This should help you to get rid of the BBA in the Lilaeopsis, but it will also give you better growth of the plants, so it would then pay to replace the fastest growers, such as the Cabomba, with some slower growing plants to reduce your pruning job.

    If you haven't already done so, install water and drain plumbing up to the tank, and add some manual valves so you can reduce the work involved in water changes. Now, you may have a lot more time to enjoy the tank.
     
  3. Michael

    Michael Junior Poster

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    I do have a drop checker which stays green.
    I have two Eheim Pro 3 filters plus an Eheim Pro II 2128 so I do have very good circulation. My CO2 goes thru a reactor 1000 which is connected to the Pro II.
     
  4. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    The most important thing is to get rid of the pH controller. It does nothing well, as far as a planted tank is concerned. If you set the bubble rate high enough for the controller to work, it is overshooting on CO2 concentration everytime it opens the solenoid. Then it allows the concentration to drop for awhile before it turns it back on again. That is a fluctuating concentration of CO2, and can trigger algae to start growing.
     
  5. geministudios54

    geministudios54 Junior Poster

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    Would you suggest getting rid of the pH controller in all planted tanks and favour a timer for day and night?
     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Yep.

    Michael,
    The Reactor is simply too a small for this tank, you need about 800gph running through the CO2 system. I have a 350 which is pretty much the same, 4x150W, 8x55w PC's.

    I use 400gph powerheads in a sump to drive a pair of AM1000 reactors, this does pretty good.

    Your controller tries to play catch up and never makes it.
    You'd need about 3 bubbles per second for each reactor for your light level, I use 4 per second to 5.

    If you go non CO2, you need to consider not doing water changes.............otherwise you will run into a lot of grief, BBA etc and poor plant growth

    So I think based on what you have said, keep the CO2, turn the MH's on for 3 hours only at midday, add more flow, add another CO2 reactor, consider changing the plant species to easier to handle plants(ferns, Crypts etc), not fast growing stems.............

    Nutrients seem pretty lean...........but if the CO2 is good, then you will run out, if the CO2 is poor.........then adding lean amounts is often enough, the tank is CO2 limited.



    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  7. Michael

    Michael Junior Poster

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    I will give your suggestions a try. I have another Reactor 1000 so I will set it up. I'll have the CO2 turn off at night and I will cut my MH's to 3 hours a day, I have them running 5 hours now.

    Thanks for the suggestions and I will up-date as I go.

    Michael
     
  8. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    I have a 180g with a AM1000. I drive it with a 500 gph pump.

    I also ran a piece of c02 tubing from the release valve (always open) BACK to the reactor pump as a venturi loop.

    Works very well for me. I also have a trickle filter/reef ready setup.

    I have 30-40 ppm of c02 according to my two drop checkers.

    I do use a ph controller, but no c02 when lights are out.


    Please post some pics........
     
  9. Michael

    Michael Junior Poster

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    I did what you said to do, I added another reactor and put the CO2 on a timer. The CO2 has been on a timer for a while and my pH has run 6.2 during the day and 6.7 over night. With the additional reactor my pH went to 6.0 very quickly. I'll keep an up-date on progress.

    Thank you

    Michael
     
  10. Michael

    Michael Junior Poster

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    Here are a couple pics of my tank. The second is a side view.

    P1310740.JPG

    P1300731.JPG
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Hi, I think you'd do best to keep the light and CO2.

    Adding the extra flow for the CO2 should keep things more stable and better for both plants and fish.

    also, give things a a couple of more weeks till you decide.

    If you seek less "work", try switching out the plant species and reducing the light.
    You'll lose some color etc, L aromatica will be a bit more green(or is that E stellata?).

    But you can drive the MH's for 3 hours per day also, then you get a middle ground, decent light, but not all the growth.

    I think if you spend much more than 2 hours a week on a tank, you might want to re evaluate the routine.

    Using some rocks or wood to corral the plant groups there might be a better less labor intensive scape. Adding Crypts, moss, ferns etc also reduce the labor.

    Want to buy 100 Crypt green geckos?
    I have about that many extra from a client's.
    Great plant for redoing labor foregrounds and a Crypt that stays pretty green for the most part.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  12. Michael

    Michael Junior Poster

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    Hi All,

    Up-date time.

    Firstly. Tom, the plant you mentioned is E. Stellata. Wonderful plant that fish really love.

    So, I tried pushing CO2 out of one tank and thru two reactors. It really didn't work well with most of the CO2 going through one reactor or the other so I hooked up two seperate systems. Seems to be working very nicely now.

    One CO2 is running through my Eheim 2128 filter, the other is hooked up to a brand new Eheim pump that pushes 320 gph. So, for circulation I have the pump and 2128 filter plus two Eheim Pro 3 filters. I do have another new pump and I may move the reactor off the filter and onto that pump. That would add another 320 gph of circulation. Don't know if I really need it.

    My pH is running at 6.6 at night and drops to 6.2 during the day. At first my pH was dropping to 5.8 so I added two TBS of baking soda to bring my KH up to 5.

    I am adding one TBS of Potassium Nitrate 3x week, 1/2 TPS potassium Sulfate 3x week and 1/4 TSP mono Potassium Phosphate once a week. I have 2 ppm of Phophate in my tap and if I add more the readings sky rocket. I also add 1/2 TBS plantex 3x week. Any suggestions are welcome.

    I have no real issues with algea exept green spot algea on the glass that I need to scrape off 2 - 3 x a week. A little insignificant BBA but that is very limited.

    Any comments or suggestions are very welcome. I'm always looking for bettering my system.

    BTW, lighting is two 96watt 6700k CF and two 96watt 6700k/colormax on for 11 hours a day and three 150watt 10,000K MH on for 5 hours a day. Temp is 79 degrees and conductivity is high, usually 450 - 500 ppm. I've tried lowering it with RO water but it only seems to make me pH crash.

    Thank you for any suggestions and Tom, do you have any pics of the Crypt green geckos? I did a search and didn't find any quality pics.
     
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