Alright I'm going to be as thorough as I can possibly be. I'm fairly new to plants, I have I guess what you would consider a high tech tank. Dimensions are 48" long x 24" deep x 16" wide (80 gallon tank) My light source is a T5HO quad bulb which sits approximately 3" from the water surface. There is no lid on the tank so it's open top (due too how the lights sit) Right now I am running just 2 bulbs, one being a grow light @ 6700k and another T5HO daylight bulb @ 6500k as I was told anymore than this is overkill based on the PAR rating. I am using a Red Sea CO2 kit, injecting co2 at approximately 2bps, a fluval dropchecker for monitoring levels at the opposite end of the tank from the red sea reactor using the 4dkh solution NOT tank water.
When I first set this up I read A LOT, now unfortunately there is A LOT of conflicting information out there and what I can only assume to be blatent mis-information as well. I have been told and I have read that Ph swings from Co2 injection are not harmful to fish, I have to say I call BS on this as when I was turning my lights on and Co2 on first thing in the morning (6:30am) and shutting it off at night ( 9pm approx) I was losing 1-2 fish A DAY, when I would wake up in the morning I would find a fish or two dead....without fail, every morning. Generally they would only be tetras, so I attributed it too angels picking on them....then I started losing corys, ottos, and angels as well, then I noticed the angels gills turning red and one getting popeye, and the final straw was losing a 3 year old clown loach to popeye...I was pretty upset about that.
At that point I was so fed up I stopped EI dosing, stopped turning on the lights in the morning and kept the co2 off.....my fish stopped dying. So at this point I would turn the lights and co2 on when I got home at about 5pm and keep them on until about 11ish or whenever i decided to go to bed and I haven't lost a single fish doing this....not one, i even managed to save one of my angels with popeye and red gills and he seems to be back to his old self now. I have also put root tabs near my swords, and other rooting plants and reduced my EI dosing too once a week. My ph would fluctuate from about 7.3 to 6ish when turning on the co2 and lights all day.
So my predicament now is obviously I'm barely dosing EI, I'm barely giving the plants light, and barely giving them co2 but I'm not putting the fish at risk for the plants. I really want to start growing some baby tears for my foreground carpet but I'm not about to buy ANYTHING at this point until I figure out wth was going on. I do not have a ph controller hooked up either just FYI...so I'm looking for comments in general and specifically on the points below as to whether I'm doing this right or if I need to change something
Water parameters are perfect but nitrates are a bit high @ 60-80ppm and I can't seem to bring these down no matter how many water changes I do.
- I'm running 2x54w T5HO bulbs on a 2ft deep tank with them 3" above the surface, your thoughts?
- I'm dosing 2bps of co2 but it's barely changing the drop checkers colour after an hour of being on should I increase this? My concern again is how the fish react to the pH swing (I am also injecting oxygen via an oxygen pump hooked up to air-stones)
- I'm doing the EI dosing for the 60-80 gallon tank, with the exception of the kn03 because my nitrates are high enough as is, should i modify this at all?
- Can I leave the co2 running at night?, I ask this as it will keep the pH steady....my fear is gassing the fish at night...again I've heard people say its ok and people say it's not. My question is does the co2 "build up" if the plants aren't using it at night or will the co2 level remain the same with lights off even though the plants aren't using it? DO NOT comment on a waste of co2 as I don't care if I waste it at night...I'm more concerned with the health of the fish and if keeping it going all the time will help the plants without stressing the fish out due to pH swings I'll eat the cost.
I want to have happy fish and a nice planted tank, I didn't think it would be this friggen difficult. I've tried to be as thorough as possible but if anyone needs any more info just ask