40g breeder, updated pics 10/25/13
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Old 07-22-2013, 11:22 PM   #1
Positron
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40g breeder, updated pics 10/25/13


Hello all. First post is the start of a new journal!! I've been keeping fish for years, usually mbuna African species. Well, that all changed a few months ago because I finely moved to a place with very soft water! Doing a planted tank is now feasible and much easier for the aspects I wish to concentrate on.

This journal will serve as a means for me to keep chronicle water variables and to add pictures of growth.

TAP WATER (after sitting 24 hours):

pH: 7.1
dGH: 2
dKH: 3-4
Cl2: 1 ppm (always removed)
Co2: 9-12ppm with no injection (as found using KH and pH)
NH3/4: 0ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 0ppm
Need TDS meter

Now that I've got those baselines out of the way, let's move on to the tanks. First the 40g !

Aqueon 40b tank (petco $1 per gallon sale)
Substrate: Floramax with 1 bag of Eco-complete mixed in
lighting: 1x Ray II
Filtration: fluval 206 and aquaclear 50 powerhead stuffed with floss. The powerhead will come out when things clear up and bioload is more stable.
Co2: currently DIY yeast injection to test changes in pH. Just bought a 5lb tank and a titan regulator / solenoid.

Ferts on hand:
Excel (500ml)
Flourish (500ml)
Soil Tabs
CaCl2
MgSO4
NaCl

The last 3 to raise GH and add a bit of Na in trace amounts.




This will be strictly an amazon basin type tank with only species of flora and fauna to match.
Here it is about 7 days after setup. Water is cloudy, and some slime on the driftwood attributed to a fast growing fungus. The fungus will be displaced when other, more beneficial things see fit to colonize. Unfortunately I made a newb mistake and used Purigen in my filter. This caused it to filter out all the precursors to ammonia and hence I lost 5 days of cycle time I was wondering why my ppm ammonia didn't rise above 0.5ppm.
Attachment 178801

Currently I have 5 hardy Rummy Nose tetra being used to cycle the tank. I don't like the new method of using pure ammonia to breed a colony. Using fish (and fish food) enables colonies of other types of beneficial things to colonize much faster.

I'm going for a stepped cliff / driftwood thing here. I'm not sure how well that gravel will stay on top of that flat slate slab, but I was thinking people use plants and trees to stop erosion, maybe it will work here? I have an order out for plants for this tank that is due Wednesday. When the plants come in I will drain the water 80% and plant.

Look what I got today
Attachment 178809

Last edited by Positron; 02-20-2014 at 10:41 PM..
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Old 07-22-2013, 11:32 PM   #2
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Default Mr. Aqua 7.5g cube

After seeing some ridiculously nice tanks here using this tank, I had to try it myself. This one I'm going to take my time on and find the right rocks. No driftwood in this one.

Substrate: Flourite black sand
Lighting: Finnex FugeRay-R
Co2: None, at least for awhile
Filter: Finnex PX-360

To be quite honest, I'm still thinking what I want to do with this guy. I need to find nice rocks. As for the species of plants, I need to do more research, but I do have some things in mind. I'm so new to plants I'm not familiar with scientific names yet.

New stuff:
Attachment 178857
Attachment 178865

I will be placing the tank on this low old style table that will serve as a mini bar for my whisky and scotch.
Attachment 178873

Last edited by Positron; 02-20-2014 at 10:41 PM..
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Old 07-22-2013, 11:41 PM   #3
Jack Gilvey
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Very cool stuff! I have a 12" cube I'm considering that FugeRay-R for as well as I don't really want the blue from the regular Fugeray. How long is the arm on that, can it get the light over the center of the tank?
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Old 07-23-2013, 12:12 AM   #4
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When fully extended, the FugeRay-R is about 1.5cm away from bring totally centered. It's very close to being there. I think i'll tilt it up about 5 degrees to get the front covered.
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Old 07-23-2013, 01:51 AM   #5
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Are you the guy who outbid me on that reg on ebay? Grrrr.

Interested to hear about your experience using a greenhouse reg.
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Old 07-23-2013, 07:00 AM   #6
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Got the greenhouse reg hooked up. It measures 0.5 to 15 cubic feet on the meter. Suffice to say even 0.5 is way to much. But...I got it dialed in pretty much my first try at it. 7 hours now of co2 being injected. Ph dropped from 7.1 to 6.6 using my pH meter. My KH is 3.5 to 4.0 dKH straight out of the tap (yea, im lucky). Using some simple calculations I find my ppm co2 to be 26-30.

Using meth blue on my aquarium water turns it a nice shade of green indicating 6.6 pH. I really am lucky to have dKH 4

The reg itself is ok. I got it for 60 bucks. The valve is more than precise enough to dial in small amounts. What I did was simple. I connected the small silicone hose up to the reg and put the other side in the water facing straight towards the substrate. I timed how long it took to get 1 bubble every 2 seconds. I thought this was a good starting point, and it was.

A bubble counter IMO isn't needed. You can simply count the bubbles coming out of the hose and use that as your own reference. Keep in mind the reference is no good when you try to compare bubbles / sec to others. I don't really care, though
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Old 07-23-2013, 06:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Positron View Post
When fully extended, the FugeRay-R is about 1.5cm away from bring totally centered. It's very close to being there. I think i'll tilt it up about 5 degrees to get the front covered.
Thanks! Ordered one.
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Old 07-24-2013, 03:44 AM   #8
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Ammonia up to 2ppm in 40 breeder. 0 nitrite and Nitrates still. Co2 was slightly high and pH went down to 6.5. Made adjustments by lowering input to 1 bubble every 5 seconds. After 6 hours, pH holding steady at 6.6-6.7 which is perfect. I hope this is dialed in for good.

Plants are coming tomarrow. Still cloudy in both tanks. The cube has no bioload in it and is still cloudy after one 90% water change. I'm beginning to wonder if my tap has phosphates in it that would cause this cloudy water. Does anyone know if activated carbon or purigen will suck Po4 and Po3 out of the water?
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Plants coming Thursday.
•6 of : Baby Tears , Dwarf (Hemianthus callitrichoides)(potted)
•3 of : Bacopa australis (Bacopa australis)
•4 of : Java Moss (Vesicularia Dubyana)(4 oz cup)
•4 of : Lloydiella (Lysimachia nummularia)
•3 of : Ludwigia inclinata var. verticillata 'Cuba'
•4 of : Pennywort, Brazilian (Hydrocotyle Leucocephala)(6-8 stems)(8"-10" tall)
•6 of : Sword, Amazon (Echinorodus bleheri) Pot Small
•3 of : Sword, Green Melon (Echinodorus Osiris)
•2 of : Sword, Melon (Echinodorus osiris) Pot (medium size)

I've seen Echinodorus Osiris turn a nice shade of red before. Does it do this only under high light and Co2?

It seems Lysimachia nummularia is primarily a terrestrial plant. Hmm. It look interesting. Hopefully it will do ok.

Anyone have experience growing BA? It looks like a nice carpet, but I don't hear many people using it.

Last edited by Positron; 07-24-2013 at 04:14 AM.. Reason: more info
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Old 07-24-2013, 04:23 AM   #9
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A quick question. I have a solenoid that I can put on a timer, but my question is: is it necessary? I have a background in biology and understand the photo (both I and II) and kreb cycle. Will the presence of ~+15ppm of co2 really displace enough oxygen in the water to effect night cycle krebbing?

I'd like to keep the co2 on 24/7 so pH is kept constant. I've heard many people here say that pH fluctuations aren't an issue, but rather concentrations of dissolved cations and anions. Besides from using my tank up slower, is there any large benefit to turning off co2 at night?

Last edited by Positron; 07-24-2013 at 04:26 AM.. Reason: typo
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Old 07-24-2013, 11:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Positron View Post
A quick question. I have a solenoid that I can put on a timer, but my question is: is it necessary? I have a background in biology and understand the photo (both I and II) and kreb cycle. Will the presence of ~+15ppm of co2 really displace enough oxygen in the water to effect night cycle krebbing?

I'd like to keep the co2 on 24/7 so pH is kept constant. I've heard many people here say that pH fluctuations aren't an issue, but rather concentrations of dissolved cations and anions. Besides from using my tank up slower, is there any large benefit to turning off co2 at night?
I think most people turn their co2 off to give their fish a break. I don't believe CO2 will displace O2 in a typical aquarium at night. Though I guess it could be an issue if you were keeping your water temps really high. For example, to fight ICK.

Very acidic water could slow/stop your good bacteria growth though.

I'm about to start a 40B too so I'll be following along.
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Old 07-24-2013, 11:38 PM   #11
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Hey just got a 40 breeder for the 1$ gallon sale!
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Old 07-25-2013, 12:57 AM   #12
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Can't beat 40 bucks for a tank!

Today I did some pluming under the stand. Turned off my fluval 206 pump and did this:

fluval ----> hydor seltz 50 (350 gph) ----> hydor 200 watt heater ----> waterplant max mix co2 reactor ----> custom output (pvc pipe drilled with holes positioned horizontally with the tank for better flow)

the max mix co2 reactor had leaks at the bottom of it. I unscrewed it and used silicone to glue it shut. I'm not impressed with the quality of this piece, but hey you get what you pay for.

With the fluval's power off the seltz is doing a fine job and increasing the flow a bit. I understand the fluval was designed for 206 gph but I don't see the increase being a huge issue.
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Old 07-26-2013, 05:36 AM   #13
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Default And it begins!

pH: 6.6 (co2 full bore)
ammonia: 0.5 ppm
nitrite: 1.0 ppm
nitrate: 5 ppm
GH: 5.5
kH: 2.5

Before I planted, I drained 75% of the water. New water was prepared with 1 rounded tablespoon of MgSO4 to counter the fact my water has like no mag in it. Dosed 1.5x Flourish and 1x Excel in both tanks. Will need to dose my excel in cube because it has no injection.

I got my plants today. I ordered way to many plants, specifically swords. Heh not good. I had a heck of a time planting the HC. They came in potted bunches so I carefully took the wool off, leaving only a bit on the root for ease of planting. It was hard not to damage the top of the HC as I planted, but I needed to get it atleast partially rooted into the soil. After IDing all the plants I got I did some planting! This is my first planted tank, and as you can see i'm no scaper...yet. Right now I just want to see if I can grow plants using EI, then I will switch to LI method because the scientist in me demands it. I want to be able to look at a plant and know whats wrong with it, and I want to be able to change a few ferts to get plants to grow up, over or even down! Much experimentation is needed.

Here's whats up with the tank. Lots of sword, I know. I need to find something to do with them...hehe.
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I hope this HC grows in nicely. I plan to scape my entire tank around it.

The cube:
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The nice dark red of the fugeray-r looks bad here...too magenta or something. It looks much cooler in person.

Addendum: I took the enhanced pluming offline. It was ripping a hole through sub-space I need a single part from Lowes to complete the project with any safety.
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Old 08-02-2013, 07:36 PM   #14
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Time for a bit of an update on the 40b. My cube is getting a major make over with different rocks, and I'll most likely pull the HC out of there because it's not doing well with just excel.

water:
pH: 6.6 with co2 (7.2 without)
ammonia: 0ppm
nitrite: 1ppm
nitrate: 10ppm
kH: 4
GH: 5
Cu: < 0.25ppm
Iron: a little bit (hard to tell)
+-------------------
TDS: 380 ppm (only 40 out of the tap)
Co2: running at 1.5 bubs a second. Drop checker greenish-yellow

As far as my TDS goes, I think I have some dissolved charged organic particles in there due to the cycling process. I will continue to monitor as the cycle completes.

Doing a 50% water change every other day to keep nitrite in check. Fish in obvious distress.



I got all the plumbing hooked up. I'm running both my fluval 206 and seltz pump in series through a 200w inline heater and then a co2 reactor. Things seem to be working well.

The fastest grower in the tank by far is Ludwigia inclinata var. verticillata 'Cuba'. It's finely beginning to show signs of converting to it's submersed form. I need to trim it every 48-72 hours so it won't penetrate the top of the tank.
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I wish I could say the same thing about my HC. It's growing in some places, stagnant in others, and melting in others. The melt is odd. The leaves turn translucent and eventually die. It almost looks like mechanical damage sustained to them by my tetras.
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I installed some DHG on the sides. It's too early to know how they are doing, but they remain green and vibrant.

I'm wondering what I should do about ferts. I think I have all the macro's covered the perhaps the exception of phosphate and potassium which I hope is introduced in fish food. Micro nutrients are given via flourish twice a week 5ml. The back of the bottle says to give this amount once a week in a 60 gal tank. I hope it's not too much since I'm doing EL. Excel is given at 1x dosage as recommended.

Currently I have 2 power heads in there. One is connected to a basket that is stuffed with floss. I'm using this to help with bio filtration for the first month and then will use it to seed other tanks. It won't be in there for long. The other is a maxi power head that blows water. It's entirely too strong for this tank, and this is the smallest one available. I turn it on a few times a day for 15mins to blow crap around, but I can't keep it on all the time. I might get a timer for it that turns it on every two hours for 15 mins.

Despite my forum rank, I have yet to see algae growth of any kind. I'm hoping the excel is keeping it away.

Overall things are going OK, but the more I look at other's tanks the more I wish I did things differently when it comes to substrate and aquascaping. I should have had more patience, and I highly respect many of the veteran members on this forum for having such restraint and patience. This is a learning process, and I don't expect this 40b to be the same in 6 months. I need to grow out plants and learn from experimentation for awhile.
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The 7.5 Mr. Aqua will be going through a renovation this coming week. Stay tuned

Last edited by Positron; 08-02-2013 at 07:41 PM.. Reason: more info
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Old 08-21-2013, 03:46 AM   #15
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Default Rescape(s) complete. Have already learned a ton.

40b:

pH: 6.6 during the day / 7.8 during the night. Holding rock solid now.
kH: 4
GH: 4-5
NH4: <0.25 ppm (some small leaching from tabs) Not in harmful state when pH low
NO2: 0ppm
NO3: 20-30ppm (a bit high? Fish don't seem to care...skipping KNO3 next dose..will up K2SO4 to compensate)
PO4: ~7ppm !! (I dosed KH2PO4 instead of K2SO4 whoops! Skipping next dose)
-------------
tds: 240 ppm

Well it's been quite the journey the last 6 weeks. I finely have what seems to be decent growth. My first batch of HC died, and was on the verge of coming back, but I didn't notice in time and got some more. The 40b has new HG in it on the sides and recessed down the slope next to the stone.

I vowed that I would not buy any more plants until I had the basics figured out. Now I think I do...

My problem to begin with was not enough co2. Tons of light in my 40b: a ray 2. Suffice to say, I was pushing the gas peddle a bit hard without proper oiling of the machinery. I still use my pH to find ballpark co2 levels, but I've learned to simply watch the fish and then adjust down accordingly. My mistake during the first weeks was cranking up the co2, seeing distressed fish, and then nocking it down to like 0.5 bps. I'd then up it to 3 bps and the fish got mad. So now I'm up to about 3bps with ALL correct ferts in and the plants are producing so much o2 that the increased co2 doesn't seem to matter. This whole thing is quite the balancing act.

2nd mistake was not enough surface agitation. I got a powerhead. Solved many issues. Coming from African cichlid only tanks (lots of rock) I never knew that water movement was so dang important.

3rd mistake was not using any real fert dosing regimen. I thought I could wing it and simply dose flourish / leaf zone. Wrong. I got dry ferts and since then my plants have taken off. High co2 + correct ferts is a clear win. Not even that difficult.

It makes me wonder why I had so much trouble in the first place. I mean they're freaking plants, right? Evolved forms of algae. They want to survive. Give them co2, K, P, N and some traces and they will do just that.
If you look back to the first pictures you'll see that I took out the shelved look. I was hoping it would not erode. It did, and was a pain. I went with a single "connected" down-sloped driftwood / stone layout. I think this looks much better, and when the carpeting plants fill in, should be even better.

In the following pictures, some of the plants are still recovering, but take a look at that ozelot sword. He's producing 1 new leaf every 3 days about! Haha! Some of his leaves are curved in an S pattern from previous stress. New leaves are perfectly straight. He's also producing a metric crap load of o2! Ozzy is quickly becoming one of my favorites.

Another thing I noticed is how cool molly's are. I always thought they were newb fish but they are interesting! They love eating dead / dying plant matter and keep the tank looking cleaner than the otto's alone. I highly recommend a pair of them.

FTS:
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Left side of tank. Wish I took a more leveled picture:
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Right side of tank. Ozzy is breathing nicely
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And here's my little 7.5g aqua He's still cycling a bit.
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Last edited by Positron; 08-21-2013 at 03:52 AM.. Reason: more info
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