75 gal low-tech gravel-capped dirt tank... it's gonna be awesome!! - Page 3
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Old 03-15-2012, 01:40 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by ilovelucy View Post
I planted it heavily from the get-go. I started it that way based off of the Walstad method, which I don't know much other than the basics about. I was mostly attracted to that style because of the necessity of very few water changes.

I believe that I am seeing some growth now and the tank's fish seem to be doing well.
Hang in there. Certain plants melt off sometimes after being replanted. I remember a few of mine did.

I think your setup is looking real nice. My tank is almost the same in design, Walstad-ish, low maintenance and such. I went almost the whole month of January without touching it.
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Old 03-15-2012, 04:29 PM   #32
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Thanks for the words of reassurance! I have been feeling much better about my tank in the past 24 hours or so because new growth is quite obvious now! I think I am going to wait a few more days to place the wood in... I will also take care to carefully tie some moss and subwassertang onto the branches.

Since I am now thinking in a positive direction, my mind goes back to stocking ideas. My girlfriend really like cichlid-type fish so I was wondering if apistos or GBRs would work in here with my exisiting otos and a school of 10 or so Harlequin Rasbora or something of the like. I'm not well educated on cichlids so I don't know if these fish would be really sensitive to water quality(I have a fair amount of plant matter laying around on the gravel)... or what other things I need to consider when planning for these fish
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Old 03-15-2012, 04:57 PM   #33
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German Blue Rams work great in a planted tank. They are peaceful, active, and wonderful fish. They do need decent water quality. Just keep in mind, debris in the water doesn't necessarily denote poor water quality, merely a lack of mechanical filtration. I would try to vacuum it up and keep things clean though. Don't even attempt them if you tank has just been setup, make sure it's fully cycled before adding the fancy fish, lol.
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Old 03-15-2012, 08:49 PM   #34
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Default Cichlids in planted tank?

Glad to hear the plants are looking healthier now, sounds like you know what you're doing if you're following the Walsted method then.

I'm not sure as I've never kept them, but I believe some cichlids aren't plant friendly, so you may want to do your research there before buying anything that might feast on your plants
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Old 03-16-2012, 02:27 AM   #35
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Thanks for the replies regarding cichlids in my tank.... I am a slightly backwards type of fish keeper and have really gotten into assuring the health of my plants and am not super-concerned with stocking my tank any time soon. I'm happy to mull over the ideas and make my best attempt at making it perfect.

With that, as tomorrow will be 2 weeks since the initial set up, I figured I would test the water to the extent my test kit allows(I don't have GH or KH testing, and honestly still need to educate myself on the purpose of all that jazz). So here are my readings... I don't really know what it all means, though I will be studying up on it all tomorrow(unless any kind folks wanna chime in with their thoughts/experiences *hint, hint* )

pH- 8.0
nitrate- 10
nitrite- .50
ammonia- 0

On a side note, I tested my tap water because I figured the tank water would have a lower pH due to some peat in the MGOCPS.
pH from the tap- 7.2
I don't know why this would be and as I said, I need to educate myself.

My manzanita has sunk! I will be preparing it with moss and placing it in the tank ASAP. This may require some slight rescaping of the plants, but I'm going to make my best effort to disturb my precious plants as little as possible.

As I have planned to post a pic weekly, I will attempt to get the wood in tomorrow. Otherwise, my pic will either wait a day or will look incredibly similar to the one from last week!

Good thing tomorrow is Friday and I will have lots of time to do tank-y things!!!
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Old 03-16-2012, 03:19 AM   #36
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Personally I don't worry myself with pH, kH, and gH. They are difficult to change long term and seem rather useless to me unless you are keeping some sort of plant or creature that absolutely demands certain numbers. What comes out of your tap is what comes out of your tap. The fish will have to deal with it. In my opinion the stability of these things is more important than their actual value...as long as that value is within reason. Your tap pH is fantastic, but here is some explaination.

Quote:
Per Hydrogen (pH)

The pH of the water is a measure of the balance between the Hydrogen (H+) and Hydroxide (OH) ions in the water. I think most of us know that low pH is acidic and high pH is alkaline or basic. Hence a pH of 5 is slightly acidic water, a pH of 7 is neutral and a pH of 8 is alkaline water.
Quote:
Carbonate Hardness (KH)
This is an area where many people get confused. One of the reasons the term alkaline is avoided a bit and the term Basic is used for the pH scale is because this reading is measuring the alkalinity of the water. It is not the same as alkaline.
The alkalinity is a measurement of the waters buffering ability, or its ability to absorb and neutralise acid. Clearly the more alkalinity or the higher the Carbonate Hardness of the water the less likely you will incur pH swings in the water.
Quote:
General Hardness (GH)
This is essentially a measurement of Magnesium and Calcium ions in the water. Again it is measured in the German degrees of hardness scale or parts per million. This is what is generally meant by soft and hard water which are terms people should be familiar with. The table below shows comparisons between parts per million, the dH scale and the generalised concepts of soft and hard water.
http://www.chelonia.org/articles/waterchemistry.htm



The rest of the things you posted are important. Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate are the pollutants/elements in what we commonly call the nitrogen cycle.

I'm going to break it down simple, then link you to a proper explanation.

Fish poo, fish food, and stuff create ammonia. Ammonia is bad and very toxic to critters. After a while (days-weeks) bacteria show up, magically, that like to eat ammonia. This is good, but those bacteria make waste, nitrite. Nitrite is bad and very toxic to critters, just like ammonia. After the tank has a presence of nitrite (days-weeks) another type of bacteria show up, magically, that like to eat nitrite. This is good. This second type of bacteria also create waste, nitrate. Nitrate isn't the greatest stuff on the planet, but it isn't nearly as toxic as ammonia and nitrite. You critters can handle a relatively high amount of this. Water changes take care of the rest.

The good news, plants, to an extent, do work on all of the above. This is why planted aquariums are better for fish.

The bad news, having plants, without fish...means you probably haven't started the above cycle to any great extent. This is why you hear people talking about "fishless cycles" all the time...to get this cycle rolling. Bacteria are very supply and demand creatures. If there is nothing to eat...they go way...if there is lots to eat, you get a lot more of them. Adding too many fish too fast can overwhelm the system...sort of a supply and demand slinky affect. To get this started you can add a few fish, and do lot's of water changes until things get rolling. You can add fish food (without fish) and get things moving. Alternatively you can actually add ammonia to get things kicked off.

It normally tanks a few weeks...but your tests will go like so...give or take.

Week 1: Ammonia 5, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0
Week 2: Ammonia 2.5, Nitrite 2, Nitrate 0
Week 3: Ammonia 0, Nitrite 3, Nitrate 2
Week 4: Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 4

Now I just made these numbers up as an example, but hopefully you can see the pattern. This cycle may take a week, might take a month...lots of variables and lots of different things can effect it. It looks like from your results you may already have this cycle going. I would add some fish food and see what happens over the next week. You tank is ready to go when everything is 0 except Nitrate.

Check out this link for a more scientific approach lol.

http://fins.actwin.com/mirror/begin-cycling.html
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Old 03-16-2012, 06:32 AM   #37
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I do have a decent understanding of the nitrogen cycle, it's just been awhile since I've set up a tank and therefore haven't retained a ton of information about the specifics of what the readings mean. Thanks for the refresher!

I do have 4 otos in the tank at this time. They have been in residence for a few days now. Hopefully I don't kill em off! I guess I will be doing a water change tomorrow.
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Old 03-16-2012, 06:38 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daximus View Post
Personally I don't worry myself with pH, kH, and gH. They are difficult to change long term and seem rather useless to me unless you are keeping some sort of plant or creature that absolutely demands certain numbers. What comes out of your tap is what comes out of your tap. The fish will have to deal with it. In my opinion the stability of these things is more important than their actual value...as long as that value is within reason. Your tap pH is fantastic, but here is some explaination.







http://www.chelonia.org/articles/waterchemistry.htm



The rest of the things you posted are important. Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate are the pollutants/elements in what we commonly call the nitrogen cycle.

I'm going to break it down simple, then link you to a proper explanation.

Fish poo, fish food, and stuff create ammonia. Ammonia is bad and very toxic to critters. After a while (days-weeks) bacteria show up, magically, that like to eat ammonia. This is good, but those bacteria make waste, nitrite. Nitrite is bad and very toxic to critters, just like ammonia. After the tank has a presence of nitrite (days-weeks) another type of bacteria show up, magically, that like to eat nitrite. This is good. This second type of bacteria also create waste, nitrate. Nitrate isn't the greatest stuff on the planet, but it isn't nearly as toxic as ammonia and nitrite. You critters can handle a relatively high amount of this. Water changes take care of the rest.

The good news, plants, to an extent, do work on all of the above. This is why planted aquariums are better for fish.

The bad news, having plants, without fish...means you probably haven't started the above cycle to any great extent. This is why you hear people talking about "fishless cycles" all the time...to get this cycle rolling. Bacteria are very supply and demand creatures. If there is nothing to eat...they go way...if there is lots to eat, you get a lot more of them. Adding too many fish too fast can overwhelm the system...sort of a supply and demand slinky affect. To get this started you can add a few fish, and do lot's of water changes until things get rolling. You can add fish food (without fish) and get things moving. Alternatively you can actually add ammonia to get things kicked off.

It normally tanks a few weeks...but your tests will go like so...give or take.

Week 1: Ammonia 5, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0
Week 2: Ammonia 2.5, Nitrite 2, Nitrate 0
Week 3: Ammonia 0, Nitrite 3, Nitrate 2
Week 4: Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 4

Now I just made these numbers up as an example, but hopefully you can see the pattern. This cycle may take a week, might take a month...lots of variables and lots of different things can effect it. It looks like from your results you may already have this cycle going. I would add some fish food and see what happens over the next week. You tank is ready to go when everything is 0 except Nitrate.

Check out this link for a more scientific approach lol.

http://fins.actwin.com/mirror/begin-cycling.html
AWESOME explanation!
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Old 03-16-2012, 06:46 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by FunkyMonk View Post
AWESOME explanation!
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovelucy View Post
I do have a decent understanding of the nitrogen cycle, it's just been awhile since I've set up a tank and therefore haven't retained a ton of information about the specifics of what the readings mean. Thanks for the refresher!

I do have 4 otos in the tank at this time. They have been in residence for a few days now. Hopefully I don't kill em off! I guess I will be doing a water change tomorrow.
Just one of the many services I provide, lol.
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Old 03-21-2012, 01:31 AM   #40
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Default Finally got the wood in!!!

The wood wasn't quite as water-logged as I had originally thought, so some strategically placed rocks are helping me out for now. The small piece in front probably won't stay. It just happened to be the only piece that HAS fully sunk, and I didn't want it drying out somewhere outside of the tank.

The plants seem to be fairly well-established.... I am seeing growth from almost everything now.

The water has a slightly cloudy brownish tint to it. The UV sterilizer took the green out and that's what I was left with. I can't really understand it, as I have a bucket with the same dirt capped with the same gravel sitting with crystal-clear water. Go fig. I don't know if it bothers me enough to try and fix it.... maybe I will just pretend it was on purpose and call it an Upper Mississippi River Biotope(not taking into account that none of my plants or fish are from the Upper Mississippi) or a brownwater aquarium.
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Old 03-21-2012, 01:34 AM   #41
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Oh that wood is terrible! Just awful looking. You should pack it right up and send it to Daximus, 1912 Shadow Lane....



Lol! That looks great! One of my favorite pieces ever...the twist is awesome. Glad your plants are coming around too!
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Old 03-21-2012, 02:36 AM   #42
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Oh that wood is terrible! Just awful looking. You should pack it right up and send it to Daximus, 1912 Shadow Lane....



Lol! That looks great! One of my favorite pieces ever...the twist is awesome. Glad your plants are coming around too!
Thanks! I just hope I didn't squish any otos while placing the wood in... I'm kind of attached to them now, especially since they have been named. They are all named Waldo.
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Old 03-22-2012, 02:24 AM   #43
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Thanks! I just hope I didn't squish any otos while placing the wood in... I'm kind of attached to them now, especially since they have been named. They are all named Waldo.
Hahaha! You know, they kind of look like "Waldos".
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Old 03-23-2012, 12:30 AM   #44
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Ammonia- 0
Nitrate- 5
Nitrite- 0,5

The Waldos all are apparently alive yet, although I never see all 4 of them at once, so who knows. I'm happy these guys are doing well, but I won't be adding any new fish, says my water parameters.... which is unfortunate because I am going up to the Cities tomorrow and there are is a much better selection of LFSs there. Ah, well.......
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Old 03-28-2012, 07:45 PM   #45
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Default Nice developments

Stunning piece of wood and looks great with the moss attached. I think tanks with these interesting pieces of bog wood with moss growing on them look just fantastic. I'm very interested to see how your scape develops.

Looking great so far; I know what you mean about the piece of wood at the front. See how your plants fill in maybe then you could always move it out of the tank or move it within the plant in the future.
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