Frank's Planted Tank How-To Mini Novel - The Mini S Returns! New Layout - Page 32 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #466 of 1094 (permalink) Old 04-16-2012, 07:28 AM
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I love this tank.. How come you dont see a lot of pearling on the riccia?
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post #467 of 1094 (permalink) Old 04-16-2012, 03:35 PM Thread Starter
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There's tons of pearling on the riccia - in person, there's a bubble on every riccia leaf. In the pictures though, it tends to not show up at all. At least not with my camera / phone.

It might be a little more prevalent in this pre trim shot:

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post #468 of 1094 (permalink) Old 04-16-2012, 04:44 PM
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I see dirty glassware Frank. Tsk tsk! Tank is really filling in well. My favorite part of it is how the e. tennellus seemingly creeps from the back, over the rock and into the foreground. Looks really nifty.
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post #469 of 1094 (permalink) Old 04-16-2012, 05:15 PM
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Ahhh now Im seeing it!!I really want to try that plant the next tank I setup! I noticed Takashi Amano likes using Riccia heavily in a lot of his tanks when I looked through nature aquarium world.
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post #470 of 1094 (permalink) Old 04-16-2012, 09:05 PM Thread Starter
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I see dirty glassware Frank. Tsk tsk! Tank is really filling in well. My favorite part of it is how the e. tennellus seemingly creeps from the back, over the rock and into the foreground. Looks really nifty.
You caught my dirty glassware! Bit of an eyesore eh? I'll be cleaning it up a bit tonight. Was it you that compared the layout to AOE2? That was a great game!


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Ahhh now Im seeing it!!I really want to try that plant the next tank I setup! I noticed Takashi Amano likes using Riccia heavily in a lot of his tanks when I looked through nature aquarium world.
Riccia is the most elegant carpet plant you can deploy. It definitely requires the most comprehensive combination of technique, skill and placement to use long term with a layout seamlessly without having goofball riccia pillows!

I believe houseofcards said it earlier: he who masters riccia, masters all.

Amano has said something similar about iwagumi: he who masters iwagumi masters all.

Also I have decided on a fish:

Rasbora Maculatus.

They should be here in a few days.
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post #471 of 1094 (permalink) Old 04-16-2012, 10:38 PM Thread Starter
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Principle Three: Everything is Cyclical.


Everything is cyclical. In the planted aquarium, little goes to waste. As molecules, nutrients and even 'toxins,' enter the environment, these elements are converted by the various bacteria, plants and animals into usable material.

Two Easy Examples:

1.) Toxic (to animals) ammonia is taken in by bacteria, which then convert the toxic ammonia into slightly less toxic Nitrite. Then another type of bacteria converts this Nitrite into Nitrate, which is safe for animals. Another avenue is the plants themselves uptake this ammonia and use it for growth - as a nitrogen source. The plants 'filter' out this toxic environment and make it live-able to animals.

This very process makes life possible in the aquarium. Without the nitrifying bacteria, animal life cannot live long term. The animals will literally kill themselves as when they intake food they produce ammonia.

2.) Plant cells absorb Co2 and through photosynthesis produce oxygen. This oxygen is then usable by bacteria and animals to breath. Through Cellular Respiration at night, plants take in oxygen and produce Co2. Additional oxygen at night, which can enter the system either through surface disruption (lifted lily pipe) or air stone, is greatly beneficial to the growth and wellness of plants.

Source(s) of:

Ammonia: decomposing organic matter (soil, fish waste, rotting leaves, etc)

Oxygen & Co2: absorbed into water via contact/mixing with air, cellular respiration (co2 producing, oxygen intake) of plants, fish, etc. Oxygen through Photosynthesis (co2 intake) and surface disruption.

Oxygen used by: bacteria, fish, plants, shrimp, etc.
Co2 used by: plants primarily

Light energy, nutrients, gasses (co2, oxygen), trace minerals, molecules (ammonia, etc) are all taken in by plants. It's best to imagine plants as a factory which takes in these raw materials, and then out puts a product: in this case, more plant matter, which is an embodiment of energy in the aquarium. It's stored energy that's used to 1.) Grow more plants, 2.) filter more water and remove toxins, making the environment more suitable for life.

Bacteria, in basic terms, convert an even more -raw- source of energy: normally unusable elements like Ammonia, or Nitrites, etc to perform still even more layers of filtering power to the ecosystem. Other types of bacteria even break down waste components (soil sediments, solid wastes, etc) and "purify" these elements out of the system. In modern day sewage treatment plants - one stage of turning raw sewage into useable, clean water, is a bacterial filter which literally moves the sewage up and down until it breaks down.

Fish take in food, remove pests (such as various water insects / pests that eat plants), and by processing these elements into waste, the plants and bacteria then feed off them as a source of phosphorus, this is a vital component of aquarium balance!

Shrimp such as Amano's, and fish such as otocinclus cats also eliminate "pest" algae which infest plants and "choke out" their growth through invasion of the system. They act as a barometer of control over algae to keep it in check, which keeps the system healthy by way of keeping the plants healthy. Amano shrimp especially, also act as "filters," by removing and eating dead animals, which as they decompose after death release ammonia into the system. Then these algae eating, animal decomposing critters digest and produce waste, they provide a source of food for the plants.

Algae is the result of imbalance. Algae is nature's control factor for uptaking left over elements that go unused by other organisms.

Refer to Principle #2 Law of Minimums and Principle #1, Malthusian Organisms.

See, because plants, bacteria, fish etc only intake the exact amount of nutrients, light, co2, etc components which they need to grow to the least common denominator (example 2 light, 1 co2 2 Micro nutrient, 2 macro nutrient, = growth only to one).

In the last example, we would have 1 left over light, 1 left over micro nutrient, 1 left over macro nutrient. This leads to excess in the system.

This excess has to be taken in by something. Algae is what results. They use all the left-overs and infest the system based on 'whats left over.'

They're kind of like pigeons or rats in NYC, which thrive on the left-over food and trash of human occupation on Manhatten.

This is why, in the popular E.I. Method, the simplest technique is to over dose everything as much as possible, and use Co2 as the barometer for growth. In that dosing method, the underlying philosophy is that it's simpler to control only one element: Co2, than it is to precisely balance all the other elements.

A more advanced approach is to incrementally bump up each individual factor based on feel and observation; which requires a bit of experience with knowing how things grow and knowing when to up things at what time as it's not approximate.

This is also why when you overfeed the fish, algae appears.

You must feed enough to have happy and healthy fish, but not so much that there's excess and left over, which will contribute to algae.

Conclusion:

You should be seeing patterns here now: behavior of organisms and growth with Principles #1 and #2, and the nature of the ecosystem (Principle 3, cyclical) and how this puzzle fits together.

In theory it would be possible to make something self sustaining, but not to the scale in which even the largest aquariums are, primarily because of Principle 4, as well as to grow plants to the extent to which we want them to be grown (and not just scraggly things growing randomly), we have to supplement with nutrients (which are not naturally available in the environment, except with what aqua soil and root tabs provides) and Co2 (which would require much more ground water and surface exposure to air to get suitable levels in the aquarium to grow like we do as quickly as we do).

Self-sustainability 100% is not possible. We must renew water, nutrients, etc. over time. Now, we can, however, get very close to self-sustainability by applying these principles and giving a little extra work up front to achieve balance.

Once balance is achieved, you are at about 80% self-sustainability.
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post #472 of 1094 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 02:53 AM
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Riccia is the most elegant carpet plant you can deploy. It definitely requires the most comprehensive combination of technique, skill and placement to use long term
What about UG? I heard that is a pretty hard plant to get a nice green carpet.

Anyways, not sure if you answered this before but do you use a drop checker? I don't see one in your tank, do you just kind of gauge the Co2 by the plants?

What bps are you running currently?
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post #473 of 1094 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 03:01 AM Thread Starter
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What about UG? I heard that is a pretty hard plant to get a nice green carpet.

Anyways, not sure if you answered this before but do you use a drop checker? I don't see one in your tank, do you just kind of gauge the Co2 by the plants?

What bps are you running currently?
UG is a great plant. However it does not have the same versatility as Riccia, and no other carpet plant does. Riccia can texture and accent any other carpet, or act as the main stay. Moss is the closest maybe.

As for a drop checker, I don't use one. Never have, I just judge the plants and their reaction and growth.

A drop checker is a temporary tool to help your learn this process with minimal learning pain and suffering: it's like training wheels. Necessary for most up front, but long term they go away.
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post #474 of 1094 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 03:02 AM Thread Starter
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Oh ya, bps is currently at about 4
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post #475 of 1094 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 05:36 AM
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Oh ya, bps is currently at about 4
Damn, I'm guessing you will lower that once the fish have arrived.

About the drop checker, how does one gauge the Co2 level, any signs to look out for beside the obvious fish gasping.

Q's - I run an air stone set for when the Co2 is off, I would like to stop doing this as the air stone is quite loud, does it do any good?

Also, can you have high level o2 in the tank and still have 40 ppm or higher? Could this be done with an air stone in the filter? Or is there a certain amount that the water can hold.
I want high o2 levels plus high Co2 levels.
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post #476 of 1094 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 05:42 AM Thread Starter
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Did the water change (only two days late)

You can judge the remarkable difference by comparing to the last photo set what a little maintenance will do:





The bucket shot:

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post #477 of 1094 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 05:57 AM Thread Starter
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Damn, I'm guessing you will lower that once the fish have arrived.

About the drop checker, how does one gauge the Co2 level, any signs to look out for beside the obvious fish gasping.

Q's - I run an air stone set for when the Co2 is off, I would like to stop doing this as the air stone is quite loud, does it do any good?

Also, can you have high level o2 in the tank and still have 40 ppm or higher? Could this be done with an air stone in the filter? Or is there a certain amount that the water can hold.
I want high o2 levels plus high Co2 levels.
When I acclimate I keep co2 off for that day or at least half that day. Then I'll keep the co2 levels consistently as high as they are now, depending on plant mass.

As long as the plant mass is there to support the co2 injection I'm using, then it's okay as the plants convert that co2 into o2.

See Principle #3 and read it carefully.

As for judging co2 levels - I feel it out. I judge based on plant pearling (relative to their normal pearling tendencies), for example if riccia isn't pearling I have a distribution problem. Air bubbles should periodically come out of the soil.

The other thing I watch is algae growth and how quickly it spreads day to day relative to the color of the plants. If plants aren't vibrant colors, I know there's something I need to fix.

As for an air stone they work fine but if you don't want to use them you can inject pressurized o2 like co2 or raise lily pipe at night.

You can't really simultaneously have very high co2 and o2 levels due to principle 3.

If you have a significant plant mass and proper co2 distributions, at day you should have more o2 in the system and at night more co2. Excess isn't used and causes the excessive co2 levels, thus fish gasping etc.

Also, stocking levels in a planted aquarium play by entirely different rules than normal. You can way "overstock," a planted aquarium and it be perfectly healthy due to:

Plant filtration
Enhanced bio filtration
Better flow (exercise for fish).

So for example, this 5.5g in the end will probably have 15 micro rasbora, 2 oto cats and 5-7 Amano shrimp and be perfectly balanced.
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post #478 of 1094 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 04:46 PM
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From what I can gather, having a high ppm of co2 isn't key. It's having consistent levels and maintaining those levels as the co2 is used by the plants. This includes distribution and if the flow isn't good, the co2 levels throughout the tank will vary.
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post #479 of 1094 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 05:39 PM
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From what I can gather, having a high ppm of co2 isn't key. It's having consistent levels and maintaining those levels as the co2 is used by the plants. This includes distribution and if the flow isn't good, the co2 levels throughout the tank will vary.
thats how i understand it as well.
but i am under the impression that consistently high CO2 is better than consistently low CO2 (relative to the lighting of course).
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post #480 of 1094 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 07:21 PM
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I think it depends one what you want to limit. I can't say what's better, but you could limit with light, keeping co2 high, or limit with co2. I can't say what is better but most people limit with co2 for sure. However they always keep bumping light trying to get faster growth. But, as long as the co2 is non limiting who cares if that level is only 10 or 15 ppm.

From my understand, light should always be the limiter. The non-limiting level of co2 is what I'm not sure about. What would be the effect of keeping co2 levels at 5 ppm if it was always replenished as fast as it was used? Technically the baseline amount of co2 in unsupplimented water should be enough as long as it is replenished. Think nature with the co2 being artificially replenished.
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