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  • 20G Planted Journal

    This will be a journal to document the plants in my tank and give me an organized visual of the progress. It will probably look similar to AlyeskaGirl's journal since I like how well it is organized, so it is easier to follow.

    Tank Setup
    - 20 gallon high
    - 24" 48 watt AquaticLife dual T5HO: ZooMed bulbs, 5500K and 6500K
    - Milwaukee MA957 regulator, 5lb CO2 tank, Fluval 88G diffusor
    - Aquaclear 20 and 50
    - Aqueon Pro 100 watt heater (79F)
    - Pool filter sand substrate

    Plants
    - Hygrophilia Polysperma "Sunset Hygro"
    - Rotala Indica (not true indica)
    - Rotala Rotundifolia
    - Dwarf and regular riccia fluitans
    - Java moss
    - Brazilian pennywort
    - Purple Cabomba
    - Alternanthera reineckii 'cardinalis'
    - Ludwigia x arcuata
    - Marsilea hirsuta
    - Amazon frogbit
    - Echinodorus bolivianus 'chain sword'
    - cryptocoryne wendtii "green"
    - Rubin sword
    - Bacopa caroliniana
    - Limnophilia Aromatica 'hippuroides'
    - Fissidens fontanus

    Fertilization
    - Nitrates: 10ppm (not currently dosing KNO3)
    - 1/16 teaspoon K2SO4, KH2PO4, an plantex CSM+B (dosed on alternating days 6 days a week)
    - Currently no test kit for iron or phosphates
    - Will probably be lowering dosage either K2SO4 or KH2PO4
    - CO2: 30-40ppm
    - KH: 11dH
    - GH: 4 dH
    - pH: 7.4 (or 7.6) before CO2, 6.8 after CO2 is concentrated

    I am still learning the dry dosing aspect as I go, but the growth is great so far and the algae I had a couple months ago is gone completely. In a month or two a majority of these plants, lighting, and CO2 will be moving to a 29 gallon tank with a 20L sump/refugium. Any suggestions are welcome in the way I am doing things, I like to learn.

    Pictures are from 11/30/2012 after a large trimming


    This crypt was grown emersed and was moved to the tank two weeks ago, only lost a couple leaves in the transition.









  • #2
    Re: 20G Journal (56K warning, pictures)

    Your tank looks great!!! Love the riccia and the dwarf clover.
    -Jonathan

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: 20G Journal (56K warning, pictures)

      Beautiful pictures. Your tank looks amazing!

      Many may tell you that you are dosing too much phosphate for your tank. Those guidelines are the average and are only a starting point. Your tank is obviously well balanced to have virtually no algae.

      If you are interested in trying to make a minor adjustment, I would increase the CO2 levels. The ideal level is 30PPM which is attained when the pH drops one full degree. With a starting pH of 7.6, your goal would be 6.6 to have 30PPM absorbed in the water column. Also, you want to test your pH just before lights on in the morning. This is when the most CO2 is present....and as it is consumed by the plants throughout the day pH rises.
      - Dena

      All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.
      Walt Disney

      The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.
      Socrates

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: 20G Journal (56K warning, pictures)

        What she said.
        -Jonathan

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: 20G Journal (56K warning, pictures)

          Beautiful looking tank! You have done a great job with it.

          If you are getting good growth and no algae I really wouldnt mess with much. Sometimes the best change to make is no change at all.
          -Jim-

          Originally posted by Albert Einstein
          If the facts dont fit the theory, change the facts
          Originally posted by Theodore Geisel
          Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind donít matter and those who matter donít mind.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: 20G Journal (56K warning, pictures)

            Originally posted by RogueAgent94
            Your tank looks great!!! Love the riccia and the dwarf clover.
            Thanks! My fish really like the riccia, it is like a bed for them .

            Originally posted by catsma_97504
            Beautiful pictures. Your tank looks amazing!

            Many may tell you that you are dosing too much phosphate for your tank. Those guidelines are the average and are only a starting point. Your tank is obviously well balanced to have virtually no algae.

            If you are interested in trying to make a minor adjustment, I would increase the CO2 levels. The ideal level is 30PPM which is attained when the pH drops one full degree. With a starting pH of 7.6, your goal would be 6.6 to have 30PPM absorbed in the water column. Also, you want to test your pH just before lights on in the morning. This is when the most CO2 is present....and as it is consumed by the plants throughout the day pH rises.
            Thank you. Yeah, that is what I was seeing, that there is too many phosphates. I had started out lower, but the growth quality and rate just wasn't there. Since I moved up the dose to where I am now it seems to be much better. The only algae I have is the hair algae on the glass that I allow to grow on part of one pane for the ottos.

            I turned up the CO2 slightly today so I can watch the fish. Now I see where my error was in the CO2 level calculating. I didn't realize the chart, and the equation it uses, is for optimum water parameters without any unknowns in the water, such as my peat filtering. So, I will strive for the pH of 6.6, which shouldn't take much since it is already close.

            Originally posted by pirahnah3
            Beautiful looking tank! You have done a great job with it.

            If you are getting good growth and no algae I really wouldnt mess with much. Sometimes the best change to make is no change at all.
            Thanks, it will be a shame to tear out all the plants for the new tank since I like how it is now lol. I'm sure that at some point there will be some other algae that will try to take hold. I guess that is to be expected at some point with the setup. Once the CO2 roughly 30ppm I will let it go and see how everything does.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: 20G Journal (56K warning, pictures)

              Originally posted by chevyguy8893
              Originally posted by catsma_97504
              Beautiful pictures. Your tank looks amazing!

              Many may tell you that you are dosing too much phosphate for your tank. Those guidelines are the average and are only a starting point. Your tank is obviously well balanced to have virtually no algae.

              If you are interested in trying to make a minor adjustment, I would increase the CO2 levels. The ideal level is 30PPM which is attained when the pH drops one full degree. With a starting pH of 7.6, your goal would be 6.6 to have 30PPM absorbed in the water column. Also, you want to test your pH just before lights on in the morning. This is when the most CO2 is present....and as it is consumed by the plants throughout the day pH rises.
              Thank you. Yeah, that is what I was seeing, that there is too many phosphates. I had started out lower, but the growth quality and rate just wasn't there. Since I moved up the dose to where I am now it seems to be much better. The only algae I have is the hair algae on the glass that I allow to grow on part of one pane for the ottos.

              I turned up the CO2 slightly today so I can watch the fish. Now I see where my error was in the CO2 level calculating. I didn't realize the chart, and the equation it uses, is for optimum water parameters without any unknowns in the water, such as my peat filtering. So, I will strive for the pH of 6.6, which shouldn't take much since it is already close.
              You are VERY close to reaching 30PPM CO2. And that slight bump will help to control most algae forms that thrive in a lower CO2 environment. It is difficult to track CO2 absorption as the formula is logarithmic. While you are only off the ideal mark by 0.2-0.4 in pH, your CO2 levels are probably closer to 20 PPM. This is a low level for a high tech tank. And, increasing it will only further slow down algae growth. I do not believe that Otos will eat hair algae.

              As for the PO4 dosing. Just ignore everyone who tells you that you are overdosing your tank!!! Many still hang on the old school of thought that too much phosphate will cause algae. It has been my experience that the direct opposite is required in a high tech tank. My tap water came with 10+ PPM for years!!! And, I simply increased lighting, CO2 and the other dry compounds to balance the phosphate levels. My high tech tank now grows like a jungle from week to week. Even the coffeefolia produces 1 or 2 new leaves every week.

              The thing to watch for is the emergence of GSA. It will be found on the glass or on anubias leaves. This is a sign that there is too little PO4 in your tank.

              You are off to a great start with your tank!
              - Dena

              All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.
              Walt Disney

              The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.
              Socrates

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: 20G Journal (56K warning, pictures)

                Originally posted by catsma_97504
                You are VERY close to reaching 30PPM CO2. And that slight bump will help to control most algae forms that thrive in a lower CO2 environment. It is difficult to track CO2 absorption as the formula is logarithmic. While you are only off the ideal mark by 0.2-0.4 in pH, your CO2 levels are probably closer to 20 PPM. This is a low level for a high tech tank. And, increasing it will only further slow down algae growth. I do not believe that Otos will eat hair algae.

                As for the PO4 dosing. Just ignore everyone who tells you that you are overdosing your tank!!! Many still hang on the old school of thought that too much phosphate will cause algae. It has been my experience that the direct opposite is required in a high tech tank. My tap water came with 10+ PPM for years!!! And, I simply increased lighting, CO2 and the other dry compounds to balance the phosphate levels. My high tech tank now grows like a jungle from week to week. Even the coffeefolia produces 1 or 2 new leaves every week.

                The thing to watch for is the emergence of GSA. It will be found on the glass or on anubias leaves. This is a sign that there is too little PO4 in your tank.

                You are off to a great start with your tank!
                With the CO2 turned up slightly (maybe an 1/8th of a turn) the pH dropped to 6.6 in two hours before the lights come on. So, I will have to adjust the timer accordingly for the CO2 to two hours instead of one hour. Yeah, that is what I was figuring after you mentioned that the CO2 levels were too low, and with the really high amount of light I don't think there is much room for error. Hopefully with moving the fixture to the new tank I will have a better balance between lights, fertilizers, and CO2. I thought the otos were eating it since it looked like they were mowing it down throughout the day. There may be something else that I don't see that they eat, because they are always fat and won't touch algae wafers (haven't tried vegetables, or needed to yet).

                I shall ignore the nae sayers on the phosphates . I am pretty sure most of my plants (mainly the sunset hygro which I think is a reincarnated form of hornwort) are nutrient sponges with at least a moderate growth rate. I mix my water 50/50 with RO and tap, so anything that may be in the tap water is pretty well reduced. I agree though, I would much rather have an excess of nutrients in the water as opposed to limiting nutrients, which makes algae happy and the plants suffer. It will be interesting to see the plant growth with the other tank using MGOCPM capped with saf-t-sorb. Great, now I am getting impatient again and want to start building lol.

                Anyway, thank you!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: 20G Journal (56K warning, pictures)

                  sounds like a great plan cant wait to see how the tank comes along with the slight changes.
                  -Jim-

                  Originally posted by Albert Einstein
                  If the facts dont fit the theory, change the facts
                  Originally posted by Theodore Geisel
                  Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind donít matter and those who matter donít mind.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: 20G Journal (56K warning, pictures)

                    Great start on your journal.

                    12/5/12 edit:

                    I saw your thread over on TPT in regards to stunted wrinkled new growth on a stem plant. It is not Nitrogen defeciency or Calcium defeciency. Regardless you don't want zero Nitrates anyways. The reason I know it's not Ca is that I had that happening to my Bacopa and there was plenty of Ca. Same for Nitrates. It started just on one stem, then slowly a few more. Also had curling leaves. Stunted growth is a symptom of CO2 defeciency. It could also be Magnesium as well.

                    For Calcium you can use egg shells.

                    Magnesium; Epsom Salts as mentioned. Symptoms are the leaves turn yellow but the veins stay green.

                    Make sure you are dosing enough Micros even though you are following EI dosing, adjustments need to be made from my Journey. My tank is a Iron hog!
                    Christine

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: 20G Journal (56K warning, pictures)

                      Hey, thanks for the help. My nitrates are back up to ~10 ppm after dosing the KNO3. I'm thinking there was just some adjustment time from the plants after upping the CO2 and starting the EI dosing, then the growth explosion ensued thus consuming my nitrates quickly. I am going to work on the dose of KNO3 so I don't bring it up too high and cause problems for my GBR that doesn't do well if nitrates go over 20 ppm.

                      Right now I get a full 1.0 drop in my pH with CO2 if I assume my pH is 7.6. It may be closer to 7.4, which would mean I need another 0.2 drop in my pH. I have about 4-5 new leaves coming in on that stem, and they aren't stunted now. It may have been from the slight increase in CO2 over the weekend, or the nitrates, but I am unsure. My sunset hygro, which is a great deficiency indicator, has some melting on a couple leaves which only happens when nutrients are used up. That deficiency is probably coming from my micros, so I may increase that to see what kind of results I get.

                      I may end up getting some iron chelate for my plants that do better with it. Plus, I want to get another bunch of stems that are fast growing red stem plants which need more iron. Later today there are going to be more tests ran on the water parameters to see where my GH and KH are at.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: 20G Journal (56K warning, pictures)

                        You definitely have a good understanding of how to maintain balance in a planted tank. One thing you will find is that as plants begin to take off and grow, that the ferts will also need to increase to keep them happy and thriving.

                        As for NO3 levels, I aim for 10PPM in my tank. My Bolivian ram and angels do just fine with this level. But, same as what you've noticed, if NO3 creeps up the fish are affected.
                        - Dena

                        All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.
                        Walt Disney

                        The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.
                        Socrates

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: 20G Journal (56K warning, pictures)

                          After my BBA outbreak from a few months ago, I have tried to achieve that balance that you talked about in one of your blogs on FL. All my problems led back to light and CO2. The light was too much for what little amount of plants I had, and even double dosing excel was not remotely enough. It doesn't help that the plants have to breakdown the excel in order to get the CO2. So, that all led me to either leave one bulb out and go low light, or enjoy the tank and a bunch of plants. It's easy to see which direction I chose lol. So, far it seems that balance is ever changing, but I enjoy it. Anyway, I retested my parameters today after changing out 7 gallons of water yesterday.

                          Update
                          - KH: 8.0 dKH (down from 11 dKH)
                          - GH: Very soft (instant color change from the drop)
                          - pH: still the same for the before and after with CO2
                          - nitrates: 5-10 ppm

                          My dosing amounts of KH2PO4 and K2SO4 remain the same, but I am now dosing 1/32nd of a teaspoon KNO3 to get to 5-10 ppm of nitrates. Seeing as the sunset hygro has lost some of its red coloring that it had when I bought it, I believe that can be attributed to a lack of iron. So, I am going to up my dose of micros as recommended to see what happens. I will probably be ordering iron chelate and GH booster to take care of a lack of calcium and other minerals.

                          The KH drop from 11 dH to 8 dH I believe to be caused by the plants using it as a source of calcium, or possibly magnesium, by breaking down CaCO3 and/or MgCO3. I guess it is a good thing I still have a higher KH value. Otherwise the new growth is much better now, and the leaves on my frogbit, brazilian pennywort, and rotala continue to grow larger than the old leaves. Everything else continues to grow at a fast rate.

                          Edit: I forgot to mention that my original chain sword mother plants began sending out runners again. Glad to see they got back to their original size after being cut down significantly when they got covered in BBA.

                          Here's a picture of my rotala from the collection of pictures I took for the week. It is also my favorite .

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: 20G Journal (56K warning, pictures)

                            That is an amazing picture!

                            The drop in KH is an indication that your tank does not have enough CO2 available to your plants. They will break down the carbonate bond to create the needed carbon source.

                            If you find you need to raise Magnesium levels (part of the GH level) then use Epsom Salts (MgSO4). Calcium levels can be raised with pure powdered limestone (CaCO3); but be careful because limestone will also raise your carbonate levels.

                            You are definitely making steps in the right direction!
                            - Dena

                            All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.
                            Walt Disney

                            The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.
                            Socrates

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: 20G Journal (56K warning, pictures)

                              Thanks!

                              Hmm...well I guess I will bump up the CO2 slightly to see if that will take care of the problem. So far there isn't any distress from the fish with the CO2, but I don't want to push it too far.

                              How important important is the general hardness in a planted aquarium? I realize that is a bit of a general question, but finding fertilizer requirements for all my plants isn't too easy. I do like cheaper methods for dosing, but in an attempt to keep dosing easy could I just use seachem equilibrium to bring up GH slightly? It seems to be made up of everything that may be needed without any added salts or carbonates.

                              I hope I continue in the right direction. I should have a pretty good understanding of aquatic plants by the time I have to take botany in school (I keep pushing that class till last).

                              Comment

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