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Clarky802 12-27-2012 07:31 PM

3rd attempt at high tech planted aquarium. Please Help
So it is a 30 Gallon

Substrate: is 3" of fluval stratom, and 1" or geo system fine gravel.
(both about 1 year old) never disturbed.

Lighting: 2x 39w 33in T5HO in AquaticLife Fixture
With very good mirror reflection

1x 20w 24" T8 in fixture that came with tank,
Poor aluminum foil reflection

98 watts total for 30gal.

8hours a day

Light placed 40" from the substrate.

1x Fluval C2, 450L/H,
1x Marineland Penguin 200L/H Bio wheel removed.
1x Aqua-Tech 5-15..
1x Red Sea CO2 Reactor 500, 250L/H

Fluval CO2 88 pressurized kit.
Solenoid valve to kill c02 on timer with lights out.
Drop checker with kh4 solution farthest from co2 reactor placed 1cm above substrate.
Bubble counter at 3 BPS.
Into vortex reaction chamber of
Red Sea Co2 Reactor 500.

This is the part im not to sure on.
I have Seachem line of: Trace, Excel, Iron, and Flourish.
Dosing as the bottles reccomend.
Also have flourish root tabs (not currently using)

I am not sure if this is giving me my needed N,P,K??

This is where i need help!!

Water Parameters: (tested before daily fert dose)
Nitrate 0ppm
Phosphate 0ppm
GH 4 or 71.6ppm
Kh 26 or 465.4ppm (is this to high?)
PH 7.6. Or possibly higher, my test max at 7.6
Ammonia 0 - 0.25 ppm just added some new critters
CO2 drop checker greean at 30ppm
Iron 0ppm
Iron non chleated 0ppm
Temp. 77F

Plants: HC Cuba Submersed, Ludwigia Rubin,
Limnophilia, Bacopa

Fish: 8 cardnal tetras, 2 angle fish, 2 spotted bristle nose pleco, 5 Endlers,
3 Longfin Tetra, 3 zebra Danio.

2 peices of drift road, and some large lava rocks.

Every time the plants end up melting away.
Im still new to this and cant stand failing!!

If any more info is needed please ask.

Please set me in the right direction to SUCESS!

Thank You.

jonathan 12-27-2012 07:39 PM

API has a high range PH test in the master kit. Might want to check that. (btw I'm no expert)

Kathyy 12-27-2012 08:11 PM

You got it - those bottles don't contain enough nitrogen or phosphorus for your tank. Seachem sells them separately. Better search here for what vendors can ship to Canada if you would like to buy low cost dry fertilizers.

Take off the third light bulb and if you cannot disable one of the bulbs in the bright fixture raise it up or put some window screen or something else down to shade the tank some. You have way too much light to handle for a rookie or even somebody with a good amount of experience. You could take a page from ADA, use the bright light for a couple hours in the middle of the day and the old dim light for 8-10 hours. See the stickied thread Hoppy started in the Lighting forum for lots of numbers and charts and such.

If your drop checker is green when the CO2 is on that is fine. If the tank water is 7.6 just before the CO2 goes on that is fine too. My tank's pH is 7.6 before lights go on too and I add enough CO2 that my drop checker is light green and at that point my actual tank water is 6.6 I think. Got that in my personal journal on the tank somewhere.......

AlyeskaGirl 12-27-2012 08:35 PM

I'd look into dry fertilizers after you use up the liquids. Then you can do the EI Dosing and make slight adjustments if needed. They give better results. Cheaper too.

Here's a link to the starter package. Everything you need.

Good luck with your tank!

Clarky802 12-27-2012 08:45 PM

So you suggest I run (1) 39w T5HO at 40" above substrate for 8hrs daily?
Will that be enough for HC Cuba?

Kathyy 12-27-2012 08:57 PM

Oops, missed the 40" part! Your light could be okay then. Do try one bulb until you can get the nutrients into the tank though. Your fairly high fish load should be providing some nitrate and phosphate and with lower lighting and good CO2 the plants might perk up. Usually new plants will hunker down and lose a lot of top growth before they start growing so don't toss any out until all hope is lost.

HC isn't the easiest plant to grow either. Perhaps try to replace the failed plant species with ones listed as easy to grow next time. There are a couple of 'easy' plants I don't much care for but well grown aquatic plants are beautiful no matter how easy they are for most people to grow.

Clarky802 12-27-2012 09:00 PM

I was just about to order the starter fert kit until I noticed it does not ship to Canada.
Know of any other distributers that will?

Also any other insight as to just running the single T5HO?
Seems low light to me... But im the one looking for help.
Should I ditch my other 2 lights?

Thanks for the help guys!!

Clarky802 12-27-2012 09:09 PM

Yes Kathy both t5's and the T8 are 40" above substrate.
So wich bulbs and how long should I run them?

When I get to dosing dry ferts,
do I then Up my lights back to all 3?

Ishkabod 12-28-2012 04:27 AM

If you want to try dry ferts hit all seasons greenhouse a block south of white ave make sure have written exactly what you want down first. For planted tank supplies and to chat with an expert hit Aquarium central and ask for Twan his personal display tank is stunning.

As for the melting plants i noticed you were doseing with Excel and had co2. seems excessive/redundant. I am really no expert but know excel has melted many plants but i thought that was only valls but i could wrong. Now for my question. what are your readings for iron levels, nitrates, Co2, Ph am and pm. The only plant see that really requires high light Co2 is the HC the other plants are slower growing so you might have a buildup of something in exces. A few large water changes might help sine our tap water is so mineral rich that i know of some with beautiful tanks that only do regular water changes. I really don't know much about lighting sorry but good luck there but it doesn't seem to be the issue.
Good luck and i hope this might help.
p.. sorry about the spelling errors but the spell check driving bananas.o_O

creekbottom 12-28-2012 04:40 AM

+1 on All Seasons. Just give them your list and wander around till they're finished.

If you're injecting CO2 you probably don't need the excel unless your light levels are causing algae outbreaks and your spot treating. That list of plants shouldn't melt from excel use though.

I'm no expert on light either but... What if you use your HC as a guide for light levels. If your levels are too low it will grow up instead of along the substrate. Just thinking, and it would take some time to tweek the system. Or use a light meter.

PS. Aquarium central is having a big sale this week too!

DarkCobra 12-28-2012 06:15 AM

Shipping dry potassium nitrate across the border from the US to Canada is illegal. No business in the US will do it, period. Try Ishkabod's suggestion, or locate some other Canadian source. Using the Seachem N/P/K gets expensive quick. The Flourish Comprehensive and Iron are more reasonable. And Excel is redundant when CO2 is used, as previously noted.

Your KH is not impossibly high, but note that this test is particularly prone to giving false high readings when expired. Check the date on your test kit before you trust that reading.

zico_aqua 12-28-2012 06:54 AM

HC needs a few things to grow proper - High light + high CO2 + nitrate on the higher side and a very good powder type substrate (it can even be grown on silica based sand if the other criteria's are met) IMO - get a good flow around the HC (they absolutely love it) a constant CO2 supply and light of a higher spectrum (my personal experience over the years 6500-8000K suits best for HC). Please forget watt/gal rule it's just a thing to explain (was used mainly for T8 and T12 fluorescent tubes as they required to be higher in number to get a decent light) high PAR is what you are looking for.

The Seachem line that you have right now takes care of the micro.trace nutrients. Macro dosing as of now = zero, so IMO get yourself a bit of KNO3+K2SO4+K2HPO4 (this will act as your basic marco dosing, you can substitute KNO3 with KCL if required. Mixing them togather is something I will not recommend (the reaction is endothermic in nature and disintegrates faster when stored for long) mix them in separate bottles and dose accordingly. If possible please read up on EI and PMDD+PO4 method of dosing. Use either one which suits best. There is nothing as more nutrient in waterline as an issue, it's discontinuous CO2/high light/low-flow/nutrient imbalance which leads to death of plants/algae.

I would not fret over dosing excel along with CO2 as I have been doing it for many years now, it's no issues at all, if you end up having vals,riccia,java moss,fissidens in the tank please avoid excel or glutaraldehyde(this is the chemical of which excel is made up of) dosing as they will melt.

Hope this helps.

Clarky802 12-28-2012 02:19 PM

Ok I hit up All Seasons Garden Centre last night and got some stuff;

K2S04. 0.5L
KNO3 Aqua 0.5KG (2L)
KH2PO4. 0.5L
Trace Elements .25KG
MGSO4. 0.5L. (recommended by the guy?)

Cost for everything 94$

So now the part that has me baffled:
How to mix it up for EI Dosing? In a 30gal high tech setup?
I have been reading alot about it, just to leave me hopelessly confussed.

Please someone help me with a starting recipie and direction for my setup?
Greatly thankfull!!

zico_aqua 12-28-2012 04:28 PM

Try this out. Very precise one as created by one of our Indian hobby website. This is a good stepping stone.

If that is confusing use:

Clarky802 12-28-2012 05:06 PM

Well the wets calc, seems to work ok. But i dont have a gram scale to weigh out the ferts!! Ugh!

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