the ten-gallon universe: newb tank, lotsa questions - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-13-2008, 07:02 AM Thread Starter
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the ten-gallon universe: newb tank, lotsa questions

Hi everyone.

So my tank is one week old today, and it's full of surprises. Picture at the end of this post. I'm actually really happy with the progress.

First, the specs: 10g with 2x26w spiral CFL for 6 hrs/day, Aquaclear 20, Excel 1 ml/day plus DIY co2, Amazonia II Aquasoil.

The plants:
Helanthiums ("Echinodorus latifolia") are doing much better after getting pretty bruised by the time I got them to quit floating. They've put out new leaves which have grown a few inches this week.

Hydrocotyle (pennywort): I'm shocked, but both rhizomes have put out runners and new baby stems! One rhizome has done very well, but the other looks droopy and half dead. Nonetheless, that's the rhizome that put out the first "baby" plant.

Anubias: They start pearling within 20 minutes of the lights going on. Starting to get that darker veins/lighter leaves on a couple of leaves - what is that? K deficiency? Iron?

Java Fern, compact: Happy, healthy. Seem to be attaching to the driftwood very well.

Limnophila aromatica: Finally started pearling yesterday, and I'm pretty sure it's gotten taller, but all the lower leaves are melting and coming off. Are the plants too close together? Will they relax after they're more established? Any ideas?

Pink bacopa: Also looks like it's growing somewhat, nice and hardy, seems robust.

Water sprite: added this to suck up more crap in the water, and I actually really like the look of it. It's sending out new shoots all over, and pearls very beautifully.

Hitchhiker java moss: growing like crazy, but I think may be getting the beginnings of BBA.

Now for the weird stuff. My water parameters suck. pH is less than 6.0. NH3/NH4 is over 1 ppm. After a week, and after a packet of Bio Spira, I have 0 no2, 0 no3. WTF? Is this normal?

And here's the picture, with slight tweaking to make it clearer. Cell phone cameras are not exactly impressive.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-13-2008, 09:46 AM
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Looks really nice, the plants you've chosen go really well together, are you gonna post more updates in the next few weeks?

I would'nt be too concerned about a few leaves melting and coming off, the plants are still adapting to their surroundings. They will all find their own space in time.

Bio Spira does work very well i am told, so i am not at all surprised with your water test results, when you add some fish the readings will probably go up. Keep testing on a weekly basis though to avoid any problems.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-13-2008, 11:43 AM
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It looks like you're have a very good set-up to get off to a good start.

Originally Posted by procrastinate View Post
First, the specs: Amazonia II Aquasoil.

Now for the weird stuff. My water parameters suck. pH is less than 6.0. NH3/NH4 is over 1 ppm. After a week, and after a packet of Bio Spira, I have 0 no2, 0 no3. WTF? Is this normal?
Aquasoil is very well known for releasing ammonia when it is first submerged. You may want to read up on this. I believe it is recommended to do many large water changes in the first few weeks. Perhaps every-other day. It will also drop your pH. You should not add fish into a tank with Aquasoil for the first few weeks as well; some hobbiest wait up to a month.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-13-2008, 02:24 PM
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I already love it! If you want to raise your PH, add some baking soda to bring the KH up. You can do a search on this. Sounds like your tank is still cycling.

75 gallon tank: gH 12 degrees, kH 4 degrees/ PC lighting - Coralife Lunar Deluxe fixture 4X65W (2 GE 55W 9325K bulbs, 2 55W EIKO 6500K bulbs)/ 1 Penguin 330 HOB filter, 1 Penguin 125 - bio wheels removed/ Pressurized CO2: tubing fed into input of a maxi-jet 400 power head, 4 bps
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-13-2008, 02:37 PM
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nice looking tank! Rod Hay hit the proverbial nail above. Keep doing multiple water changes every week until the ammonia spike is over.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-13-2008, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
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hi, thanks for all the replies.

I'm aware of the ammonia-leaking property of Aquasoil; what I don't understand is how, with so much constantly available NH3/4, and 30 gallons' worth of bacteria, I can't get any NO2 or NO3. I mean, I didn't really expect it to work overnight, but still nothing? Could my super acidic water be hostile to the nitrifying bacteria?

People on my local forum suggested not doing water changes and just letting the bacteria catch up with the ammonia. This also prevents pH swings (pH swing=algae, yeah?) since my water out of the tap has been 8.2 or higher.

I wasn't sure, given the WPG breakdown with 10g and smaller tanks, and the inefficiency of the spiral CFLs, what degree of lighting I would really end up with. So I got plants from all over the spectrum, and it's looking to me that this is at least a medium-high light setup. I'd love to put the anubias in a shadier spot, but until the stem plants get bigger, there is no shady spot. Also, if the just-barely visible fuzz on my java moss is BBA, I know that means CO2 deficiency. I'm not quite ready to invest in a regulator (saving that for the big tank I plan on getting in the next year), but I do have a plan for a four-2l-bottle swapout method to keep the bubbles cranking.

I also didn't put in enough substrate. Ack! I don't know why I got all stingy, but it just seemed like SO MUCH SOIL when I started pouring it in. But I don't want to go through all the dust and ammonia again, so I'm actually thinking of setting aside a bucket for pre-leaching the amazonia so I can add it when the plants are sturdy enough for a rescape. Crazy?
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