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Old 10-26-2012, 05:49 PM   #1
Jim_PA
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Downgrade from High Tech to Low Tech


Long story short, I need to downgrade my system to Low Tech, need to decrease the amount of money I am spending on plants, ferts, and the tank in general or deal with the wrath of my wife

Tank is 125 Gallon
Sump is 55 Gallon

Few questions
CO2 - High Pressure CO2 and Reactor, should I shut them down and take them out of the mix or do I still keep them running?

Substrate - aquarium plants dot com substrate, it would not break my heart if I pull it (Contains minerals and nutrients and rich in iron. Provides optimum fresh water aquatic plant growth) Right now it loaded with root tabs and bunch of other stuff from same company. Would I be better off to start with something new? I need to keep it cheap so was thinking black diamond?

Lights - T5 HO, my light is total of 320 watts. 4 Bulbs 80 watts each. I only ever run 2 with my High Tech setup. Can I just put some type of screen under the light to cut back? I really don't want to get rid of the light as it was rather expensive.

Thanks for your time.
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Old 10-26-2012, 07:25 PM   #2
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I would just cut back on the light cycle instead of screening it, I can't comment on what else to limit.

I would think even if your substrate is rich, limiting light would slow down growth some.
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:18 PM   #3
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I never kept a high tech tank, but it seems to me that you can keep your substrate (which will be even cheaper than getting black diamond) and, if suspending it is an option, elevate your lighting and/or reduce the photo period. Reduced lighting will allow you to reduce your CO2 as well.
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Old 10-26-2012, 11:52 PM   #4
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I think of substrate as a sort of passive participant in faster plant growth - important but not by itself as much a stimulant to algae. Light and CO2 are different IMO.

I'll tell you why I clicked on this thread though: "downgrade". I have both CO2 injection ("hi-tech" in my book) and low tech tanks. I do not consider low tech a downgrade, it is just slower growth and cheaper. I belabor this point because I think the correct healthy outlook is required for either approach. Just click on the show-and-tell thread to see dozens of very fine tanks that are downgrades to no other approach. It has its own challenges so make sure you will enjoy it!
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Old 10-27-2012, 01:13 AM   #5
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I'm pretty sure your substrate will be fine, and probably better then blasting grit. Get some cheap/free plants in there to start with, just to help keep nutrients in check. floaters are great, as they can be easily removed as your desired plants fill in.

I'd set the CO2 aside, there is a chance once you get some better experiences and some time in the hobby, you may set up a high tech tank later.

Sometimes it takes a while for plants to get started, and they may go through an adjustment period getting used to the conditions in your tank.

If you can, see if a library in your area has Walstad's book, or can get it through ILL. If you have the time, it's definitely worth reading, and has a lot of good info.

here's the amazon link:
http://www.amazon.com/Ecology-Plante.../dp/0967377307

Good luck
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Old 10-27-2012, 02:52 AM   #6
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As I understand it, your goal is to reduce your expenses. That immediately means don't replace anything you now have, unless you can sell what you have for more than you will pay for what you would replace it with.

Your monthly plant related expenses include electricity, CO2, fertilizers. Your light is way too much for a low light tank. If you can sell it for a good price you could save a little there. Or just run two widely spaced bulbs, put a layer of fiberglass window screen over the light (cuts the PAR by 40%) and have it at about 24 inches from the substrate.

Since you already have the CO2 system I would keep it, and reduce the bubble rate so you have around 20-30 ppm of CO2 in the water. That should cut down on your CO2 refill costs. You can then reduce your fertilizing to about half or less of the EI dosages, slightly reducing that cost.

None of those cost reductions will amount to much, but you should then have to do far less tank maintenance, spend a lot less fighting algae, and save a little more that way. I think I would just sell this change on the reduced work involved, the more relaxed approach to tank maintenance, and therefore more time to wine and dine your wife (killing all of the cost savings, but greatly reducing the wrath.)
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Old 10-27-2012, 05:27 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lochaber View Post
I'm pretty sure your substrate will be fine, and probably better then blasting grit. Get some cheap/free plants in there to start with, just to help keep nutrients in check. floaters are great, as they can be easily removed as your desired plants fill in.

I'd set the CO2 aside, there is a chance once you get some better experiences and some time in the hobby, you may set up a high tech tank later.

Sometimes it takes a while for plants to get started, and they may go through an adjustment period getting used to the conditions in your tank.

If you can, see if a library in your area has Walstad's book, or can get it through ILL. If you have the time, it's definitely worth reading, and has a lot of good info.

here's the amazon link:
http://www.amazon.com/Ecology-Plante.../dp/0967377307

Good luck

Thanks for the advise, my main concern is with the substrate to start with. The reason being it has a lot of the following, and wondering if it will cause problems?

Iron Pellets
Phosphate Pelets
Trace Pellets

Substrate is loaded with them, I am going to move tank anyway as this seems like a good time anyway since all my plants are dead, I guess I could take the substrate out and wash that stuff out of it? Is the aquarium plants dot com substrate better way to go than the black diamon at this point, I am thinking yes if I wash it out. Thoughts?
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Old 10-27-2012, 05:34 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
As I understand it, your goal is to reduce your expenses. That immediately means don't replace anything you now have, unless you can sell what you have for more than you will pay for what you would replace it with.

Your monthly plant related expenses include electricity, CO2, fertilizers. Your light is way too much for a low light tank. If you can sell it for a good price you could save a little there. Or just run two widely spaced bulbs, put a layer of fiberglass window screen over the light (cuts the PAR by 40%) and have it at about 24 inches from the substrate.

Since you already have the CO2 system I would keep it, and reduce the bubble rate so you have around 20-30 ppm of CO2 in the water. That should cut down on your CO2 refill costs. You can then reduce your fertilizing to about half or less of the EI dosages, slightly reducing that cost.

None of those cost reductions will amount to much, but you should then have to do far less tank maintenance, spend a lot less fighting algae, and save a little more that way. I think I would just sell this change on the reduced work involved, the more relaxed approach to tank maintenance, and therefore more time to wine and dine your wife (killing all of the cost savings, but greatly reducing the wrath.)
Thanks for the input, I think it more than reduce expenses, but also reduce the time working on the tank each week. Not much time as it is now, and that only to be less soon. What are your thoughts on substrate with info I posted above? So with the light I would just wrap the screen around it? checking now with the light I am at 23 1/2 from the substrate, no room to go any higher. In regards to the ferts I would be fine not having to do anymore of that. Is that any option, but assume I would need to do away with CO2? My CO2 now, I don't even know how many bubbles I have, cannot count, but does change my drop checkers to light green. Sorry for all the questions, just trying to get this right this time.
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