|04-27-2012, 03:15 AM||#1|
48 Gallon Conversion to Dirted Low Tech
I would like any feedback or tips regarding my 48 gallon low tech dirt tank.
I have had a dirt substrate in this tank for over ten years. Initially I had started with a 3 inch dirt substrate and had a great deal of success. For reasons I can not now remember, I rebuilt the tank 3 years ago with minimal dirt. I removed most of the dirt and filled in heavily with laterite. I also built my own DIY CO2 system.
My plants went into overdrive. I was a victim of my own success. I began to neglect the tank and as a result the growth became unmanageable and algae took over. Worst of all, my Dwarf Sagittaria ended up producing a thick impenetrable mat of roots over three inches deep on top of the substrate. I am by no means an aquascaper, but an underwater sod farm was not the look I wanted!
So two weeks ago I ripped everything out. I salvaged the plants I could and added a few new ones. I re-dirted the tank to a depth of 3 inches. I recycled the small amount of dirt, gunk and laterite in the tank and mixed in fresh top soil, peat moss, perlite and miracle grow.
My goal is to achieve a slow growing, self sustaining tank. I do not want to be bothered with weekly water changes or the need for heavy pruning of plants. So no more CO2, minimal dosing.
Tank is 48 gallon tall
Temperature is constant 72
aquaclear 50 powerhead
T5 39 watt (X2) with a good reflector
From the tap
Alkalinity (as CaCO3) 27 mg/L
Aluminum 0.04 mg/L
Calcium 4.1 mg/L
Hardness 14 mg/L (very soft)
Iron 0.40 mg/L
Manganese 0.014 mg/L
pH 8.9 units
Sodium 29 mg/L
Chloride 26 mg/L
After sitting around a day or so the PH drops to approximately 7.6. PH in the tank reads approximately 7.5. Ammonia and Nitrates/ Nitrites are presently undetectable.
Flora: Sagittaria subulata, Vallisneria americana gigantean ‘Jungle Val’, Crinum thaianum ‘Water Onion Plant’, Echinodorus amazonicus ‘Amazon Sword’, Microsorum pteropus ‘java Fern’, Anubias barteri 'Nana', Cryptocoryne crispatula 'Balansae' and wild watercress from a local stream (Nasturtium officinale, N. microphyllum).
Fauna: Apple snails, ramshorn snails, Otocinclus
To Add when the tank settles down: White Cloud Mountain Minnow and maybe Red Cherry Shrimp.
My questions to the group.
So far I am pleased with the tank and the redo. All of my plants did well with the move, and I detect no melting. No algae outbreaks or any of the troubles usually associated with tank cycling. Tannins from the peat are turning the water a nice tea color. The fish seem to like it. If I wanted to darken it further I guess I could throw in some old oak leaves?
Those containers at the top of my tank are my half arsed effort to introduce a riparian element to the tank. Just dwarf horsetails in a mixture of dirt and bio balls.
|04-27-2012, 05:46 PM||#2|
Fresh Fish Freak
Welcome to TPT!
Did you also lower your light level with discontinuing CO2?
Cherry shrimp are pretty adaptable and hardy, I'd just go ahead and give em a try if you want them.
I don't see any issue with leaving your CO2 reactor in there.
I think watercress will only grow submerged for a finite amount of time. If you planted it emersed then you might do OK with it? IDK I've never kept it, personally...
|04-27-2012, 11:11 PM||#3|
Planted Tank Guru
This can't be a "low tech" tank with 2 T5HO bulbs lighting it. It has to be a high light, therefore high tech tank. Or, the light fixture has to be about 30+ inches above the substrate, to reduce the intensity to low light. Or, you need to put some fiberglass window screen over the light to reduce the intensity considerably.
|04-28-2012, 01:52 AM||#5|
Thank you all for the responses.
The light intensity without CO2 injection was a concern of mine as well. I moved the light fixture up, and it is now hanging approximately 31 inches above the substrate. The extra distance has reduced the overall lighting quite significantly.
Hoppy, it was your chart that inspired me to hang my light fixture well above the tank once I dropped the CO2. Thanks for your input!
The riparian plants in the back also shade the tank a bit in the back. Hopefully they will continue to grow and shade the lower tank a bit more. I am watching for troublesome algae outbreaks, but so far so good.
I should be adding a dozen or so shrimp this weekend to complete my clean-up crew. Fingers crossed that they will develop into a breeding population.
The watercress was growing completely submersed in a local stream in January. I am in New Hampshire and was surprised to see anything growing green in the middle of the winter. It seems to have adapted, but I am surprised it has lasted this long.