I have been getting a lot of good information from this site so far and would like to get some opinions on my new tank build. I have questions about a couple different issues regarding TOM BARR's non-co2 method
. I will try to follow this method as best as possible including the no water changes...
First of all, this is my proposed build:
: 15 Gallon Column, measuring 13.5L x 13.5W x 19.75H
: 8w T5 + CFL modification
: Aqueon QuietFlow 10 (will be upgrated to AC50 or 2313)
: flourite black sand (3 to 4" deep, sloping from front to back, using egg crate and yamaya stones to help keep the substrate from shifting)
: yamaya stones and Branch wood of some kind
: possibly ferns, mosses, anubias, crypts, vals, wisteria, anachris, frogbit, duckweed, dwarf sag, rotala, or anything else that can work with this depth of tank
: low bioload of RCS, ottos, school of boras sp.
Parameters of Tap water:
Now to the questions:
1) I've been reading that the peat or leonardite layer is added to give the plants a carbon source right away. how necessary is this step? can I just use a dusting of peat as i have heard the leonardite can cause water discolouration, not to mention is a lot more difficult to obtain...
2) I've been finding conflicting info on substrate depth, so am I okay making the flourite black sand somewhere between 2" and 5" depending where in the scape it is? crypts will be the main root feeders... does this substrate have anaerobic pockets like other sands?
3) Given my VERY HARD water and GH and KH values, is it necessary to use Seachem EQ, or can i get away with Flourish Comprehensive instead for my micros? Is my tap water even usable for planted tanks with such high TDS? Should I mix with RO, given the species of flora and fauna that I want?
4) If I wanted to use the Flourish Macros, is there a way to calculate the amount needed to maintain the ppm levels suggested in the original non-co2 method?
5) This is my first tank of any kind for at least 20years, so I have no access to mulm or dirty sponges or used filters... how do I help cycle my tank? LFS? Seachem Stability?
Thanks for your patience,