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Old 03-14-2012, 01:48 PM   #16
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Groovy thread! Subscribed!
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Old 03-14-2012, 05:07 PM   #17
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Going to watch this one for sure. Subscribed.
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Old 03-15-2012, 06:32 AM   #18
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Oh geez I'm glad I got here on time(I hope). I started this on monday with some 8month old ada substrate and some new mr aqua. But I could tear it apart and start again if needed.

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Will I be able to grow the hc with pps.pro x 4 and lots of co2?

There is to ramshorns and 4-5 juvenile RCS.
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Old 03-15-2012, 05:28 PM   #19
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Have you done the visualization exercise yet? If you haven't, stop reading and immediately refer to post #1 and do it! If you have, then great! you're ready for me to move on to the next step, which starts with an important question:

"How do I start?"

How do you start out your planted aquarium optimally for success?

Most people understand that it is easier to start right the first time, rather than dealing with the problems that occur when you get off to a rocky start. You need to get the aquarium to stability and growth as quickly as possible. Master this skill and you will enjoy beautiful layouts, look over it, or ignore it, and your planted tank will be an emotional battle from day one.

STEPS TO STABILITY:

STEP ONE: Bacteria

The most vulnerable time for your planted tank is when you first set up. We need to cycle the tank with beneficial bacteria, not only for the nitrogen cycle (ammonia), but also for synergistic bacteria which grow and thrive amongst plant roots.

These bacteria form a "micro-filter" in your aquarium that work for you to break down negative elements and create positive ones that help your plants grow with health and vigor and your fish to be healthier.

Action Step: the quicker you can provide this bacteria, the faster your aquarium is stable and the less chance for algae.

STEP TWO: Chemistry

Water balance (pH & kH) is critical. Neutral water has a pH of 7. Alkaline water is above 7, and acidic water is below 7. Too much acid and the plants will fry like an egg on a skillet, too much alkalinity and the plants will bleach out. The healthiest pH ranges for planted tanks is about 6.7-6.8 (slightly acidic).

On a less extreme example, higher kH and pH values (alkaline) makes it harder for plants to grow. Why? Imagine the mineral values in typically really high kH and pH water literally blocking the cells of plants, making it difficult for them to absorb nutrients, anything above 7.6 pH is usually harmful. A pH that is too low leads to plants burning themselves (browning out, etc) on the water. These values are typically between 5.8-6.2 (excepting in certain rarer plant conditions, I'm only talking about averages).

Action Step: the closer you can maintain your standard pH & kH values to a pH of 6.8 and kH of 2, the more effective co2 distribution and nutrient absorption will be!

Pro Secret: ignore pH values taken while co2 is in the aquarium: the lowering of pH from co2 does not have a harmful effect on the "real," pH. Don't worry if your co2 levels push your pH readings down into the "low" acidity ranges.

Health Reference: the human body's healthy pH is 7.35 to 7.45, even tiny variation outside of this requires the body to adjust the pH values (requiring more energy and making you less energetic). Even a minor change outside of this pH would result in death! It's a good thing our body works to regulate that pH just like our body temperature!

Health Tip: Most of the foods we eat are highly acidic. Stress also increases acid levels in the body. Eat more alkaline foods and you'll see a big boon in energy. Which foods are alkaline? Greens! Who knew there was a really good reason behind Mom complaining to make you eat more vegetables?

STEP THREE: Nutrients

It would be silly to think that plant's can't grow without nutrients. Just imagine how long you can live without food. The nutritional aspect for plants is largely covered by nutrient rich substrates such as Aqua Soil, which cover all of the essential macro nutrients required for plants to grow.

Later on, I'll show you what nutrients specifically are being provided, but in the mean time just know that Aqua Soil takes care of this for you without the need for you to worry about it. Of course, if you want to create your own substrate that will require more research.

Action Step: Investing in the best substrate system you can gives you the best advantages for success. Never short-change your substrate, because otherwise you will have long term issues.

Pro Secret: Pro's Cheat. Yes they CHEAT! They never go into a situation with a planted tank without making sure they have rigged the odds in their favor and neither should you.



Substrate system completed in the aquarium.The magic is below the substrate.

Make sure you continue to read every word, and next time I'll go underneath the soil into the setup of the substrate system so you can learn to cheat to win like the pros.

Fun Exercise: Look at an aquarium, now picture yourself shrinking and going deeper and deeper into the aquarium. The fish become larger, the plants become monolithic. You're still getting smaller, so small that you can't be seen without a microscope and visualize what you see: billions and trillions of other organisms the same size as you, working, growing and synergistic-ally processing elements. Imagine them lighting up in concert like electricity and steadily expanding to the exact needs of your planted tank. Watch them as they go through their life cycles: living, multiplying, dying. Recognize that this is the very foundation of your aquarium.

Make sure you're subscribed so you don't miss out on a single word in this journal to master the steps for your own planted tank success.



P.S. if you've found these techniques valuable, help share the information with new comers by linking back here in your own journals when you use my techniques!
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Old 03-15-2012, 05:30 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pejerrey View Post
Oh geez I'm glad I got here on time(I hope). I started this on monday with some 8month old ada substrate and some new mr aqua. But I could tear it apart and start again if needed.

Subscribed!



Will I be able to grow the hc with pps.pro x 4 and lots of co2?

There is to ramshorns and 4-5 juvenile RCS.
Don't worry! You are in time! Of course, if you want to restart and follow the journal step by step, you are absolutely welcome to.

For soil that age I recommend investing in Iron Bottom and Multi Bottom: inject these into your substrate and you'll super charge growth as if the soil was new.
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Old 03-15-2012, 05:36 PM   #21
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Very cool and informative! Subscribed!
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Old 03-15-2012, 07:45 PM   #22
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Will do, thanks!

-PH 6.5
-6dKh (after this test I lowered the bps in half, lol!)
-7dGh
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Old 03-15-2012, 09:42 PM   #23
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Subscribed! Using this thread for tips on my tank!
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Old 03-15-2012, 11:19 PM   #24
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Here's a little bonus for today:

For inspiration, I've attached an unexpected photograph. For Nature Aquarium, many people look to pictures like:



While this can of course work for inspiration, it's much better to equate Nature Aquarium to an extremely micro scale, I find my best inspiration in the weeds outside.

P.S. if you've found these techniques valuable, help share the information with new comers by linking back here in your own journals when you use my techniques!
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Old 03-16-2012, 06:28 PM   #25
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Getting Started with the Substrate

Earlier I mentioned that professional's "cheat," and the first step towards cheating to stack the odds in your favor is having a killer substrate system.

If you refer to my previous major post, I went over a series of three steps towards starting out right with your planted aquarium. Step one: Bacteria & step two: Chemistry is the area where you will want to focus the most on when setting your substrate.

Of course, Step three: nutrients is wildly covered by Aqua Soil Amazonia, and doesn't need much to talk about: it really just is the work horse of growing plants.

Side Story: Awhile back I had a customer come in and ask about Amazonia, saying he wanted to give it a try. He had been using eco-complete and flourite for years and I told him a simple fact: "if you can grow plants in eco-complete and flourite well, you will be a god with aqua soil." Sure enough he showed me a few photographs of his plantings, and he could indeed grow plants quite well with eco-complete and flourite.

Sure enough he got some aqua soil, and for a while I hadn't heard back from him, and to be honest, had completely forgotten about him. Well, the other day he comes back and shares his enthusiastic results with Amazonia saying that the plants grew so fast that he was able to achieve in 3 months what took him 2 years to grow using the other substrates.

Alternatives to Aqua Soil: Hagen has recently released a new product, Fluval Substrate. Third party testimony says that it grows plants fairly well, however I have not had any first hand experience with this product and cannot honestly give a side by side comparison, though I'm sure others can.

Back to Basics: Starting the Substrate

Aqua Soil leaches a lot of acidity. If you refer to the previous post, you know the effects of excessive acidity: the plants are burned at the root. While aqua soil by itself does not provide enough acid to burn plants out, plants -do- wildly benefit by a way to neutralize the acidity at the root level.

Penac P & Penac W: Add three spoons of each

These two additives come in first, and they do precisely two things: neutralize the over-acidification of soil and rapidly oxygenate the water at the substrate level.

This means two things for you: plant roots grow easier and are more healthy and it means that the initial rapid oxygenation helps spurn bacterial growth immensely.

Adding Penac P (spoon comes included with all ADA additives):


Spread Penac P evenly against the bottom pane of glass:



On top of Penac P, add Penac W in the same way, and you'll have something that looks like this:



Tourmaline BC: add ten spoons

Referring back to Step 1, it's important we foster bacterial growth and longevity as quickly as possible to get the aquarium as stable as possible so we do not have to deal with major algae outbreaks.

The best way to think of Tourmaline BC is to think of it as a high purity carbon (which it's not, but it does a similar task) which purifies water and helps in the break down of toxicity, waste, etc.

Adding Tourmaline BC:


Now your Aquarium should look like this after 10 spoons of Tourmaline:



The importance of tourmaline is that it helps to break down the waste that builds up over time in the substrate and makes it harder for plant roots to grow.

Next up: Adding Power Sand

In Nano-aquaria, Power sand is not necessarily needed due to size, however in this case I want some heavy slope, so using power sand helps to stabilize the soil and slope for build up without break down.

However, normally what Power Sand does is serve as a "home" for the bacteria to thrive in: like biological filter media it provides a highly porous surface area which allows these bacteria to thrive. Meaning that when plant roots reach and attach to power sand their roots essentially become super charged!

Power Sand also contains peat, so it has extra nutritional additives to the aquarium, but again, Amazonia does the bulk of the work on this front.

Spread the Power Sand evenly across the bottom, and leave the front open to prevent power sand from being seen in the viewing panel:



Adding Bacter 100: The Bacteria - 3 spoons minimum, I used 10

Next up, Add Bacter 100. This is the dormant bacteria which will do all of the heavy lifting with promoting healthy roots through synergistic bacteria. It is not possible to over dose this additive.

Spread it evenly so that the Bacter will thrive in the Power Sand.



Bacter 100 spread evenly over power sand (you can also put this underneath power sand on the glass, either or works):



Another use for Bacter 100 is to eliminate cyano-bacteria should it appear in the tank, apply directly on top of it and it will eat it away.

Add Clear Super: 3 spoons, food for bacteria.

Clear Super is simply a food source for the bacteria. Until the aquarium becomes established we have to add a food source for them to grow and thrive, otherwise the bacteria will die off.

Add three spoons of Clear Super over Bacter 100:



The Completed Substrate system:



Last Steps: Adding Aqua Soil

For a nano aquarium we use powder type since it allows smaller plants to spread roots easier as well as to keep the perspective in the Nano aquarium properly in place.



Afterwards, use a tool, such as Sand Flattener to smooth out the substrate and keep the substrate line straight in the front.

Do the Additives really do anything?

The key to long term healthy plants is root health. The additives precisely promote this type of growth and health. For comparison sake here are two examples of two aquariums with and without additives and their roots.

These aquariums have been up for the same amount of time, same dosing, same lighting, same core products (aqua soil), while not an exact one for one, it's a broad illustration that you can evaluate for yourself the differences (it's more about the overall picture here) :

With no additives (please forgive the reflection, lots of light in the room!) :

Take note of the root growth and cyano bacteria in substrate:

glosso:



Blyxa and Rotala Stems:



Now, with additives:

Hair Grass (note, hair grass has pretty insane root growth regardless, pay more attention to the overall substrate 'health') :





Exercise: Read over this post a few times, take notes if you'd like, and share what you're working on or if you're starting an aquarium and would like to follow play-by-play link back here!


P.S. if you've found these techniques valuable, help share the information with new comers by linking back here in your own journals when you use my techniques!
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Old 03-16-2012, 06:40 PM   #26
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Wow this almost comes off condescending.


Btw your "with additives" "without additives" pictures are a joke, you showed a part of a tank with what looked like hc and a part that may have had no plants and compared it to a tank that obviously has a hair grass carpet...
Those plants behave so differently you can't even compare them.
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Old 03-16-2012, 07:51 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chlorophile View Post
Wow this almost comes off condescending.


Btw your "with additives" "without additives" pictures are a joke, you showed a part of a tank with what looked like hc and a part that may have had no plants and compared it to a tank that obviously has a hair grass carpet...
Those plants behave so differently you can't even compare them.
What is even the point of this post? It seems like we have this additive drama in almost every single thread that Frank talks about them and it's useless. Frank is detailing here how he sets up a tank with the full ADA substrate system, and how it works for him. If you don't want to Believe In The Heart Of the Penacs, Yugi! you don't have to, just use regular old AS that's been proven to grow plants well over and over. Frank says the full system works better for him, and you know what, I believe him. He's only set up almost a dozen tanks using ADA substrate and presumably has a pretty solid comparison point for with and without additives by this point.
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Old 03-16-2012, 08:34 PM   #28
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Old 03-16-2012, 09:53 PM   #29
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i don't know what it is about this lay out, but this REALLY feels like i'm staring at a mountain. something about the slopes, and the flatness of the smaller rocks... perfect
i find it difficult to visualize with the rocks i have.. haha not an easy task
i think this is my 3rd time im going to try to rescape my tank now. looking forward to the rest of the post
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Old 03-16-2012, 09:59 PM   #30
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I really like the look of the powder and realize now that I should have gone with the powder in my cube, but don't want to rip it all out again. The powder does fit better with the smaller tanks/scapes.
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