So this is a transition week, getting the correct photoperiod in conjunction with adjustments to the filtration system, and CO2 has been tweaked to go optimal. This adjustment period is part of the game, and may be interesting to those running high tech systems. The HC was showing slow growth and very little pearling, with the top on, and my testing was showing a fairly marked increase of nitrates over the week, especially when compared to my other tanks rate of uptake. (I do a lot of dip strip testing, while notoriously inaccurate, they can be great if used for recognizing general trends, if used frequently.) This made me feel that either light, CO2 or both were inadequate. My drop checker was barely in the green, more like aqua blue.
As in the previous photo's, I have raised the light about 15" above the substrate (lowering potential light) and have decided to remove the top during the lighted period to increase the overall level of light a bit. The top, especially with the condensation levels, dramatically reduces light levels in the tank, beyond what I expected. On a whole, I would guess it proved to be about a 10% increase in overall light. (I don't own a PAR meter, but by playing around with an SLR you can do a halfway decent impersonation) I kept the length of the photoperiod the same, we'll see if any additional adjustments are necessary.
After raising the light levels and removing the top, I began to work on the low CO2 levels in the drop checker. I wasn't getting much beyond blue, even with a really high (3 plus BPS) injection rate. I grabbed a spare drop checker to confirm the first and fresh solution. Still low. Previously I had run an inline Atomic CO2 injector, and when I had ridiculously high flows, I was quite capable of increasing the rate of injection to whatever level I desired, even to lethal levels when I screwed up. With the ista reactor, I can't just jam it to insane levels, so I went to fixing the off gassing the other way- slow the flow. Fortunately, the 2026 is adjustable. I reduced the flow about 20% and suddenly the green was quick and easy. Pearling started almost instantly. After these adjustments, the growth has dramatically increased to nearly double previous rates. In my dream world I would have a smaller version of a 2074 filter, with a day/night schedule that would automatically switch from a low flow, high CO2 daytime schedule to high flow, high aeration levels at night. Less garbage to rig, more safe and efficient for the livestock.
I am still replacing the top before I crash at night, and have kept the aeration up. I added a school of good old neon tetras to the mix. Kinda boring, but the tank needed some life in it. Until I get everything stabilized to my satisfaction, fancier or pickier fish are simply a bad investment. They are still sulking at the bottom of the tank, but should get active after a day or two. Still no algae, still no brown out from emersed growth period. It will be ready to show you all in a few days. This is the clearest water I have ever managed to maintain in a tank, it is airy to say the least.
Photoperiod 8 hrs
CO2 2BPS 8hrs -1 off lights
Aeration 16 hours
PH 6.2 (7.6 tap)
Hardness GH ~ 75ppm
nitrate ~ 30ppm
Values approximate due to test strips, once nitrite is out of the mix, I prefer quick testing frequently, to accurate testing the doesn't encourage me to do it frequently. At some point in the near future, I hope to get a hold of a TDS meter to make accurate quick testing a reality for me. The new amazonia is buffering extremely well, and it will interesting to see how it maintains.
The top will be a bit of an issue, I don't believe that I can maintain "high light" with it on, but I like the reduced evaporation and the slightly reduced risk of escapees. It will make leaving the tank for lengths of time much easier, as I usually reduce the photoperiod for fishing absences, as my lovely wife is not quite as diligent in regards to maintenance as I am, and I frankly don't enjoy imposing on others the fairly strict schedule of ferts and so on. It is easier to leave high tech systems if you have a "low" setting that does not require the full attention of the aquarist (or bothering to get others up to speed on the arrangements.)
Anyways, I hope you find these ramblings useful. When I got started I followed a variety of journals to see what other folks did to to be successful with planted tanks and I like trying to return the favor.
Last edited by endgin28; 02-28-2012 at 02:26 AM.