water parameters for planted tanks - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-25-2013, 11:31 PM Thread Starter
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water parameters for planted tanks

Hello me a newbie and im curious what everyones thought is on water parameters and where it should be ...I. am starting a 72l 24w 24h tank three ada 150w solar series moderate-heavy planted crypts/swords/hairgrass both/vals/baby tears/st. Repens/few anubias nana/blyxa japonica/blyxa auberti/java fern/ and maybe flame or taiwainese moss total plants bare and potted around 60...my water half ro/tap reads 7.2 tds about 20 using amazonia normal and powdet with penac w and p tourmaline bc clear super bacter 100 and power sand special...landscape materials are seiryu stone and manzanita driftwood ....livestock will include SAE's about 10 and amano shrimp about 10 as well will be dosing pps pro about 15ml each daily. My lighting will be about 3.7 wpg

*need to know optimum co2/ gh/kh /ph/ lighting hrs and if can dose in the afternoon around 2 or three rather than morning... i would like to put a pic of the tank with scape without plants but dont know how to extract from phone gallery

Last edited by BubSsnooki; 06-25-2013 at 11:38 PM. Reason: adding fert dosing
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-26-2013, 12:12 AM
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Plants are quite adaptable as far as water parameters. Here is what I would aim for when stocking soft water fish that have been in the trade a while:

Ammonia and nitrite zero. Do the fishless cycle to be sure there are enough bacteria to keep it this way.
Nitrate 5-10 ppm is good. A bit higher may not be a problem, but some shrimp are more sensitive. Too low and the plants are going to be struggling to get the N they need.
GH and KH about 3-9 German degrees of hardness. I think Amano shrimp fall in this range, too.
pH might be on either side of neutral, perhaps 6.5 to 7.5. Not a big worry.

The Seiryu stone will try to raise the hardness and pH. If you can find a substitute that is not related to limestone that would be better.

Larger tanks seem to be OK with a bit less in the way of lighting compared to smaller tanks. When you first start it up most people try a short day, perhaps 6-8 hours, then bump it up as the plants get established.
You might try a mid day break in the lighting, for example 4 hours on, then 2 hours off, then 4 hours on. As the plants get established increase the AM and PM hours to 6 each, but keep the 2 hour siesta. Sometimes this reduces the algae problems.
3.7 watts per gallon is high light, no matter what kind of fixture you are using. However, most fish are not accustomed to pressurized CO2. I would get the tank running, use the fishless cycle to cycle it, and get your schedule worked out while you are cycling it. Then cut back on the CO2 for a day before getting the fish, then increase the CO2 each day until it is where you want it.

Here is the fishless cycle:
Cycle: To grow the beneficial bacteria that remove ammonia and nitrite from the aquarium.

Fish-In Cycle: To expose fish to toxins while using them as the source of ammonia to grow nitrogen cycle bacteria. Exposure to ammonia burns the gills and other soft tissue, stresses the fish and lowers their immunity. Exposure to nitrite makes the blood unable to carry oxygen. Research methemglobinemia for details.

Fishless Cycle: The safe way to grow more bacteria, faster, in an aquarium, pond or riparium.

The method I give here was developed by 2 scientists who wanted to quickly grow enough bacteria to fully stock a tank all at one time, with no plants helping, and overstock it as is common with Rift Lake Cichlid tanks.

1a) Set up the tank and all the equipment. You can plant if you want. Include the proper dose of dechlorinator with the water.
Optimum water chemistry:
GH and KH above 3 German degrees of hardness. A lot harder is just fine.
pH above 7, and into the mid 8s is just fine.
Temperature in the upper 70s F (mid 20s C) is good. Higher is OK if the water is well aerated.
A trace of other minerals may help. Usually this comes in with the water, but if you have a pinch of KH2PO4, that may be helpful.
High oxygen level. Make sure the filter and power heads are running well. Plenty of water circulation.
No toxins in the tank. If you washed the tank, or any part of the system with any sort of cleanser, soap, detergent, bleach or anything else make sure it is well rinsed. Do not put your hands in the tank when you are wearing any sort of cosmetics, perfume or hand lotion. No fish medicines of any sort.
A trace of salt (sodium chloride) is OK, but not required.
This method of growing bacteria will work in a marine system, too. The species of bacteria are different.

1b) Optional: Add any source of the bacteria that you are growing to seed the tank. Cycled media from a healthy tank is good. Decor or some gravel from a cycled tank is OK. Live plants or plastic are OK. Bottled bacteria is great, but only if it contains Nitrospira species of bacteria. Read the label and do not waste your money on anything else.
At the time this was written the right species could be found in:
Dr. Tims One and Only
Tetra Safe Start
Microbe Lift Nite Out II
...and perhaps others.
You do not have to jump start the cycle. The right species of bacteria are all around, and will find the tank pretty fast.

2) Add ammonia until the test reads 5 ppm. This ammonia is the cheapest you can find. No surfactants, no perfumes. Read the fine print. This is often found at discount stores like Dollar Tree, or hardware stores like Ace. You could also use a dead shrimp form the grocery store, or fish food. Protein breaks down to become ammonia. You do not have good control over the ammonia level, though.
Some substrates release ammonia when they are submerged for the first time. Monitor the level and do enough water changes to keep the ammonia at the levels detailed below.

3) Test daily. For the first few days not much will happen, but the bacteria that remove ammonia are getting started. Finally the ammonia starts to drop. Add a little more, once a day, to test 5 ppm.

4) Test for nitrite. A day or so after the ammonia starts to drop the nitrite will show up. When it does allow the ammonia to drop to 3 ppm.

5) Test daily. Add ammonia to 3 ppm once a day. If the nitrite or ammonia go to 5 ppm do a water change to get these lower. The ammonia removing species and the nitrite removing species (Nitrospira) do not do well when the ammonia or nitrite are over 5 ppm.

6) When the ammonia and nitrite both hit zero 24 hours after you have added the ammonia the cycle is done. You can challenge the bacteria by adding a bit more than 3 ppm ammonia, and it should be able to handle that, too, within 24 hours.

7) Now test the nitrate. Probably sky high!
Do as big a water change as needed to lower the nitrate until it is safe for fish. Certainly well under 20, and a lot lower is better. This may call for more than one water change, and up to 100% water change is not a problem. Remember the dechlor!
If you will be stocking right away (within 24 hours) no need to add more ammonia. If stocking will be delayed keep feeding the bacteria by adding ammonia to 3 ppm once a day. You will need to do another water change right before adding the fish.

Helpful hints:

A) You can run a fishless cycle in a bucket to grow bacteria on almost any filter media like bio balls, sponges, ceramic bio noodles, lava rock or Matala mats. Simply set up any sort of water circulation such as a fountain pump or air bubbler and add the media to the bucket. Follow the directions for the fishless cycle. When the cycle is done add the media to the filter. I have run a canister filter in a bucket and done the fishless cycle.

B) The nitrogen cycle bacteria will live under a wide range of conditions and bounce back from minor set backs. By following the set up suggestions in part 1b) you are setting up optimum conditions for fastest reproduction and growth.
GH and KH can be as low as 1 degree, but watch it! These bacteria use the carbon in carbonates, and if it is all used up (KH = 0) the bacteria may die off.
pH as low as 6.5 is OK, but by 6.0 the bacteria are not going to be doing very well. They are still there, and will recover pretty well when conditions get better.
Temperature almost to freezing is OK, but they must not freeze, and they are not very active at all. They do survive in a pond, but they are slow to warm up and get going in the spring. This is where you might need to grow some in a bucket in a warm place and supplement the pond population. Too warm is not good, either. Tropical or room temperature tank temperatures are best. (68 to 85*F or 20 to 28*C)
Moderate oxygen can be tolerated for a while. However, to remove lots of ammonia and nitrite these bacteria must have oxygen. They turn one into the other by adding oxygen. If you must stop running the filter for an hour or so, no problem. If longer, remove the media and keep it where it will get more oxygen.
Once the bacteria are established they can tolerate some fish medicines. This is because they live in a complex film called Bio film on all the surfaces in the filter and the tank. Medicines do not enter the bio film well.
These bacteria do not need to live under water. They do just fine in a humid location. They live in healthy garden soil, as well as wet locations.

C) Planted tanks may not tolerate 3 ppm or 5 ppm ammonia. It is possible to cycle the tank at lower levels of ammonia so the plants do not get ammonia burn. Add ammonia to only 1 ppm, but test twice a day, and add ammonia as needed to keep it at 1 ppm. The plants are also part of the bio filter, and you may be able to add the fish sooner, if the plants are thriving.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-26-2013, 12:45 AM
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If you want to post an image you can go to a photo hosting site like photobucket
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-26-2013, 12:56 AM
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Here is his current layout.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-26-2013, 01:16 AM
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Since you must have acquired this pile of hip Japanese decorations and products from an ADA distributor it would be wise to ask them about advice with the water parameters and how to run the tank day in day out. On this and other forums you will not hear good things about not having fertilizers in the water and using AquaSoil the way it was designed to be used. But all ADA tanks are run that way. Your best bet for advice on how to run the tank like the Japanese is that distributor. Hopefully he will be passionate about planted tanks and help you a lot.

Good luck.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-26-2013, 01:21 AM Thread Starter
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Right now im cycling fishless on a seperate container ...I think its cycled I added 2ppm amonia yesterday and today tested zero.. changed water about 70% current water readings are 3kh/5-6 gh ph about 7 tds about 180 added 2ppm amonia and waiting tomorrow ...will be using pressurized co2 ...im curious also about my tap water reading: tds 41 ppm/ ph around 7.8 more or less .. starting to plant hopefully In the 2nd or 3rd week of july when I will have time to do it all
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-26-2013, 01:22 AM
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-26-2013, 01:27 AM
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Bubssnooki start a tank journal Ill post pics for you in there it's kind of off topic I'm showing the layout in ferts and water parmameters.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-26-2013, 02:21 AM Thread Starter
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Will be dosing pps pro or adjusting it a little instead of 12ml each ill be doing 15 ml each daily

Kev I did just now in tank journals if you can post pics I would appreciate ot

Last edited by Darkblade48; 06-26-2013 at 10:48 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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