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Old 06-16-2005, 02:52 AM   #1
Oqsy
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considering low tech, need advice


i'm thinking about going low tech for my 20g that has anubias, java fern, r. indica, hygro polysperma, and lysimachia... i'm thinking the lysimachia will leave and ambulia will replace it. right now I'm running 4 x 18"t8 at 4x odno in series. pressurized CO2, and EI dosing. the indica is the only plant with noticable growth in this setup, and since I aim to keep the ferns and anubias, and would rather not pull tufts of hair algae from them once a week, or add more stems... low tech is looking pretty good. my question is, if I stop dosing ferts, and just let my fish food/waste be the only ferts, then how far back to I need to pull the lighting if I keep the CO2 around 30ppm? I have a sintered glass "diffuser" right now that bubbles into the HOB intake that will be replaced with a hagen ladder very soon. would halving my light and stopping the ferts still give the java and anubias enough to do what they do? (that would leave me with 2 x 18" t8 ODNO'd to 2x, 3x, or 4x (i've got 4 leads to play with). I'm just not sure where the "minimum light threshold" kicks in on a 20g with CO2 injection, and what lighting levels will benefit the plants but not algaes. Thanks for any advice

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Old 06-16-2005, 03:15 AM   #2
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by rex's minimum light threshold, i need about 4320 lumens to qualify as "low" light for this tank. that sure sounds like a lot of lumens... i wonder how many I already have. i can't seem to find lumens ratings for any of my bulbs online... most/all of them on this tank are zoo meds... ocean sun 10000k, and the ultra sun 6500k. zoo med site doesn't even list lumes... anyone with specs?

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Old 06-16-2005, 12:32 PM   #3
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I have a 20 High with a single AH Supply 55 watt kit over it. That's 2.75 wpg and as I recall right around 4400 lumens with the current bulb. It not quite a low light tank but just a hair above being one IMHO.
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Old 06-16-2005, 01:32 PM   #4
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The basic thing that drives EI is CO2 enrichment, not high light. If you want to stop dosing, pull the CO2 off the tank as well. With the plants you have, I think you don’t need CO2 anyway.

If it were my tank, I would cut the light to around 2.5wpg or a little less, and replace the stems with crypts.
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Old 06-16-2005, 02:22 PM   #5
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but if the plants are nitrogen, phosphorus, or potassium limited, would the co2 do any damage? is it not beneficial to lower light tanks, as I have read? don't get me wrong, I don't *want* to waste CO2, I'm just curious... thanks

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Old 06-16-2005, 05:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oqsy
but if the plants are nitrogen, phosphorus, or potassium limited, would the co2 do any damage?

Oqsy
No more than if the light remains high. Actually, somewhat less.

Put it this way. Those exact conditions resulted in an algae mess for me at 2.25wpg. After I pulled the CO2, the algae cleared up. That's not scientific method, just my observation, so ymmv. But Barr states dosing goes with CO2, even for lower light levels.
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Old 06-16-2005, 07:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquaverde
The basic thing that drives EI is CO2 enrichment, not high light. If you want to stop dosing, pull the CO2 off the tank as well. With the plants you have, I think you don’t need CO2 anyway.
Sorry, but I disagree with this statement. EI is based fundamentally on the concept of nutrient deficiency avoidance by dosing to slight excess, which includes CO2. Inappropriate limiting CO2 is just as damaging as inappropriate limiting of NO3. The actual driver is light. If you look at the parameters of the baseline EI 20 gallon tank you'll see that the illumination is 5.5wpg. I'm unsure exactly how Tom Barr arrived at this value. It could be that he considered that this would be the top end for most tank owners or, I suspect that it's more likely that his studies indicated that more light beyond this value does not significantly increase nutrient uptake.

Based on this maximum light level driving the maximum nutrient uptake the dosing levels guarantee that there will not be any dificiency. The NO3, PO4, micro and CO2 target levels in the dosing scheme are based on this maximum uptake level all driven by the maximum light.

The "low tech" (Non CO2) method was developed for those tired of living on the edge with constant dosing and pruning. The rule of thumb threshold level for being considered "low tech" is once again the light level. From 1wpg to 2wpg and with the deletion of gas injection, CO2 then becomes limiting and growth slows.

You needn't live on the extremes however. No one says that you can't have a "medium tech". As long as you stay below the 2wpg (more or less) to avoid engine revving, you can still inject C02 or add Excel and acheive 2 to 6 times more growth as compared to non carbon supplementation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aquaverde
After I pulled the CO2, the algae cleared up. That's not scientific method, just my observation

I'm hard pressed to belive that there is any correlation between CO2 deletion and algae removal. CO2 level increase is one of the main factors that trigger algae dormancy, so something else must have changed along with the loss of CO2. You can't draw this conclusion unless you can verify that all other variables remained constant and that only the CO2 changed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aquaverde
If it were my tank, I would cut the light to around 2.5wpg or a little less, and replace the stems with crypts.
Huh??? Stems do just as well as other crypts in low tech. They just don't grow as fast as stems in a high tech environment. Hygros, for example can dominate any setup if you allow them to. Of course that's assuming you dose the water column. If you don't dose, then yes, root feeders will have an advantage. You still dose with a low tech, you just don't have to dose nearly as often as with high powered laser beam setups.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oqsy
but if the plants are nitrogen, phosphorus, or potassium limited, would the co2 do any damage? is it not beneficial to lower light tanks, as I have read? don't get me wrong, I don't *want* to waste CO2, I'm just curious... thanks
Always remember that the damage is caused by the limiting factor. Wether high tech or low tech, if you tank for example is nitrogen limited then the damage seen will be nitrogen starvation. CO2 will not cause damage unless the concentration level is not held constant. Fluctuating CO2 levels give the advantage to algae because highe plants cannot adjust the level of their carbon uptake mechanism (certain enzymes) as quickly as algae can with theirs. The damage is therefore caused by having the CO2 level fall. Growth, reproduction and repair are put on hold while enzymes are re-configured to match the new environment. Therefore stability of CO2 levels is more important than the actual levels in a low tech tank.

Carbon is a nutrient and is always appreciated by plants. Stop thinking about CO2 in terms of toxicity, or whether it's more important/less important than some other parameter. Add it if you've got it, keep it stable and you'll see higher growth, period. If you don't want to add it fine, but keep that ambient level stable by reducing the water change frequency. A carbon alternative is Seachem Excel, (or, some plants can strip bi-carbonate from the water) so in that sense, no you don't "need" CO2 in a low tech tank, but you need to understand what carbon is and does and that way you can make the right choices (or at least understand the ramifications of your choices).

Cheers,
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Old 06-16-2005, 11:29 PM   #8
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i put the brakes on the tank today, removing the ODNO leads from the light, making it just 60w NO fluorescent. I will also stop dosing, wipe my javas and anubias clean of algae, and see where things go from there. is it a good or a bad idea to do a weak bleach dip to get the hair algae off my DW/attached plants with a strong dechlor soak? i know that rome wasn't built in a day, but nero did fiddle while it burned. (that didn't make sense... just let it go)...

anyway, i'm already seeing more of my apistos since backing the lighting down.

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Old 06-17-2005, 01:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Sorry, but I disagree with this statement. EI is based fundamentally on the concept of nutrient deficiency avoidance by dosing to slight excess, which includes CO2. Inappropriate limiting CO2 is just as damaging as inappropriate limiting of NO3. The actual driver is light.
And I must disagree with you. Light is not the driver. CO2 is.

EI is a method of nutrient dosing in a CO2-enriched tank without the use of test kits. It was developed for CO2-enriched tanks, regardless of whether the light level is “high” or “low”. EI is not appropriate if CO2 is not being used.

My point is simply that if you dose CO2, you need to dose nutrients. The statement from the latest version of EI on barrreport.com is, “This method is specific for CO2 enriched systems with higher light but works even better with lower light CO2 enriched tanks”.

Quote:
If you look at the parameters of the baseline EI 20 gallon tank you'll see that the illumination is 5.5wpg. I'm unsure exactly how Tom Barr arrived at this value. It could be that he considered that this would be the top end for most tank owners or, I suspect that it's more likely that his studies indicated that more light beyond this value does not significantly increase nutrient uptake.

Based on this maximum light level driving the maximum nutrient uptake the dosing levels guarantee that there will not be any dificiency. The NO3, PO4, micro and CO2 target levels in the dosing scheme are based on this maximum uptake level all driven by the maximum light.”
I think by assuming light is the driver, you have missed the point. Setting a max is based upon the revelation, “An important aspect of this method is the knowledge that excess nutrients do not cause algae blooms” (The Estimative Index). We don’t want to under-dose, so we set a max uptake level. “Overdosing” is not a problem. This is opposite to the approach that was taken for so many years (e.g. Conlin-Sears). Besides, this light level is not the max. There are some running 7 and 8wpg. They have a second mortgage to pay for the tanker truck of Flourish in the front yard, though (almost a joke).

Quote:
You needn't live on the extremes however. No one says that you can't have a "medium tech". As long as you stay below the 2wpg (more or less) to avoid engine revving, you can still inject C02 or add Excel and acheive 2 to 6 times more growth as compared to non carbon supplementation.
That’s not the point. The point is, if you bottom your nutrients your plants will stop growing. But guess what will grow! (We are talking specifically about CO2 injection, not use of Excel, which has algaecidal tendencies).

If you are expecting to get 2-6x growth rate and you don’t dose N and P, please explain where it is coming from to sustain that kind of growth.

Quote:
I'm hard pressed to belive that there is any correlation between CO2 deletion and algae removal. CO2 level increase is one of the main factors that trigger algae dormancy, so something else must have changed along with the loss of CO2. You can't draw this conclusion unless you can verify that all other variables remained constant and that only the CO2 changed.
My experience is anecdotal, by no means scientific proof, as I already stated. There have been studies done by Barr and some German aquarists that suggest high consistent levels of CO2 inhibit BBA. Inconsistent levels of CO2 (associated mostly with DIY) are known to trigger BBA. This is why Barr discourages water changes on non-CO2 tanks. I had DIY on my tank, and I believe the BBA (not the other types) was there due to inconsistent levels.

Filamentous algae just loves high CO2. Where did you get the idea CO2 level triggers algae dormancy?
Quote:
Huh??? Stems do just as well as other crypts in low tech. They just don't grow as fast as stems in a high tech environment. Hygros, for example can dominate any setup if you allow them to. Of course that's assuming you dose the water column. If you don't dose, then yes, root feeders will have an advantage. You still dose with a low tech, you just don't have to dose nearly as often as with high powered laser beam setups.
I was stating my personal preference. Didn’t actually go into why, did I?

Quote:
Always remember that the damage is caused by the limiting factor. Wether high tech or low tech, if you tank for example is nitrogen limited then the damage seen will be nitrogen starvation.
I’m curious. What would you advise for a low light CO2-injected setup that is nitrogen limited?

I don't fully understand what you're disagreeing with.
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Old 06-17-2005, 01:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oqsy
i put the brakes on the tank today, removing the ODNO leads from the light, making it just 60w NO fluorescent. I will also stop dosing, wipe my javas and anubias clean of algae, and see where things go from there. is it a good or a bad idea to do a weak bleach dip to get the hair algae off my DW/attached plants with a strong dechlor soak? i know that rome wasn't built in a day, but nero did fiddle while it burned. (that didn't make sense... just let it go)...

anyway, i'm already seeing more of my apistos since backing the lighting down.

Oqsy
The bleach dip was developed by Paul Krombholz specifically to handle filamentous algae. It works really well on tough species like Anubias, but stem plants can suffer. It's a lot of work, too, and to really get rid of the problem, you have to bleach all the plants as well as the tank and equipment. Considering how long Anubias leaves last, you might want to do the bleach thing for them, at least. Give you a clean start, so to speak.
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Old 06-17-2005, 02:37 PM   #11
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ok, now i'm really lost... let me put whole thing another way.
I have a 20H tank with 60 watts NO lighting and pressurized CO2 at ~35-40ppm. at this lighting level, what would the appropriate dosing schedule be? keep in mind I'm getting my macros from KNO3, KCl, and Fleet; micros from Flourish.

i cleaned up the anubias, java ferns, and driftwood with a very very diluted spray of bleach and some paper towels, rinsed very thoroughly, and dechlored. the other plants in the tank are virtually algae free, so I didn't risk burning them up with bleach... equipment is pretty much the same way. I know this doesn't eliminate the algae from the system(can't afford UVS at the moment anyway), but it helps give the plants the advantage if my other parameters are indeed correct.

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Old 06-17-2005, 02:59 PM   #12
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Hey, my brother's dog was named Nero.....

I have a 20GH with only 38 watts over it (the fixture and flo tube it came with along with a 30 inch flo strip light - I know it's ugly but I don't care) No CO2, no ferts, and only landscaping gravel). How's that for low tech?

I'm growing swords: amazon, ozelot, melon (?). Everyone/thing is happy. I truly think with the plants you listed, you can totally get away with nothing but fish poop. So sit back and enjoy your low maintenance tank!

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Old 06-17-2005, 04:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oqsy
ok, now i'm really lost... let me put whole thing another way.
I have a 20H tank with 60 watts NO lighting and pressurized CO2 at ~35-40ppm. at this lighting level, what would the appropriate dosing schedule be? keep in mind I'm getting my macros from KNO3, KCl, and Fleet; micros from Flourish.

Oqsy
Just dose per EI. Dropping the light to 3wpg shouldn't change things for your routine. What were you dosing up to now?
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Old 06-17-2005, 06:28 PM   #14
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i've been dosing:

odd days:
1/4 tsp. KNO3
4 drops Fleet
KCl solution dosed to an extra 10ppm K+ in addition to the K from KNO3

even days:
2.5ml flourish

day seven: nothing

50-60% WC weekly...

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Old 06-17-2005, 06:40 PM   #15
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I don't think I'd change anything. Everything's growing, right? (not talking about the Anubias)
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