Getting some things right, and some things wrong
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Old 07-07-2014, 06:31 AM   #1
spuloo
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Getting some things right, and some things wrong


Hi guys,

I've got a 45 gallon bowfront, and its my first attempt at a planted tank. I made a pretty specific My Tank profile if you can access it. I'm a little lost on how to post it as a link here.

INFO
Size - 45 Bow Front (33gal water volume)

Date Started - 4/2014

Lighting - Odyssea t5ho 4x36", 39w per bulb. They work on two time banks with two bulbs each. I run bank 1 (78w) from noon til 5:15pm. I run bank 2 from 2:45pm til 8pm. This gives me an average light wattage of 100w t5ho 8hrs a day. Lights have 16" of water to penetrate at lowest point in substrate, and sit 3" off the tank.

Equipment - Fluval 306 canister filter (1st basket eco sponge, 2nd basket ceramic Biomax, 3rd Polishing Pad w Biomax)
Hydor 300w In-Line Heater w/ second Hydor Electronic Thermostat
Air stone at night

CO2 - 5lb bottle, Aquatek Regulator, Bubble Counter, Aqua World Super Diffuser positioned at the bottom of the tank under the filter output.
Single drop checker w 4dkh solution. CO2 Target: 30ppm

Substrate - Aquarium pebble bottom contour w/ 3 inch cap of Eco-Complete.

Parameters - pH - 6.6, kH - 3-4 ºdKH, gH - 3-6 ºdGH, NH3 - 0ppm, NO2 - 0ppm, NO3 - 5ppm

Fertilization - 2.5ml Flourish/day, 7.5ml Flourish Trace 2x/wk, Flourish root tabs cut in half (1/2 dose recommended on box)

Plants - Dwarf Hairgrass (Eleocharis acicularis), Spiralis (Cryptocoryne spiralis)

Inhabitants - 10 - Cardinal Tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi), 6 - Black Skirt (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi), 2 common, 2 long fin, 2 white, 3 - Otocinclus

Comments - Reverse osmosis water w Seachem Acid Buffer for kH and Equilibrium for gH. Weekly cap of Seachem Freshwater Trace. I do 45% water changes (15gal out of the tank's 33gal volume) with my hairgrass trims every 1-2 weeks. Rocks are petrified wood. Looking for the perfect manzanita branch for a moss tree in the back left corner. Trying to source a blue sky vinyl background.

Anyway, I'm about 2 months into the setup. Running CO2 only for the last 3 weeks.

This is a video taking you around my tank just before a DHG trim.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mr4_HLaos4

As the title says, I think I'm doing a lot of things right. DHG is growing like mad. Fish are happy. Stable water parameters.

But, I know I'm doing some things wrong. The biggest thing I'm looking to figure out right now is the hazy green cloud type of algae hanging out in my DHG at around 1:06 to 1:30 in the video. My only algae team is 3 oto's, and I've been wondering if this sort of algae would be handled by Amano shrimps.

Next, I'm not sure if I should worry about my hairgrass runners jumping in and out of the substrate. Whenever the water is low during a water change, I've been putting the roots that pop out back into the substrate, but if this is normal or benign, I won't worry about it.

Third, since I've got the CO2 running, I can't seem to keep nitrate levels higher than 5ppm with the Seachem Flourish and Flourish Trace products. What would you recommend? The liquid nitrogen, or one of those dry fert packs? What would you dose given my setup?

I've done what I can, I think, as far as applying the general techniques I've read about for this hobby. Now I just need a little bro help so I can tune my specific setup in.

Still dreaming of the perfect manzanita branch for a moss tree in the back left.

Last edited by spuloo; 07-07-2014 at 06:51 AM.. Reason: More information
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Old 07-07-2014, 07:02 PM   #2
klibs
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+1 for a manzanita branch or something. Get some background plants in there! Ebay has some good pieces for < $50 shipped if you look. I really dig your layout and it will be awesome once the DHG comes in nice and thick.

As for your algae issue I've never had DHG but others say that it is very prone to getting attacked by algae like yours is. Maybe tone it back on your lights and dose some excel in order to try to kill it off? Or do a 1-2 punch and cleanse your tank. If it becomes rampant then you could run into trouble. If it's getting worse rather than better you need to kill it ASAP because it will become hell if it takes over.

EDIT: Now that I look at your light specs I don't know if you need that much light given how few plants you have in that tank. I would drop it to 3 bulbs or less, I think that is why algae is taking over. You're all out with ferts/CO2/light but you just don't have the plants to use it all right now! (so the algae is) Your DHG should be fine if you cut back but again I've never grown DHG so I'm not positive. High growth isn't worth it if you get a mess of algae along with it IMO
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Old 07-08-2014, 02:18 AM   #3
spuloo
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I'll try cutting back the time the two light banks overlap. Thanks for the advice on that.

I need something in the background, but I'm looking to keep it low. I'm trying for a miniature perspective kind of thing, so the selection of plants I can use is limited to ones with smaller leaves and such.

I got a vinyl sign shop that's gonna make me a blue sky background, and a nice moss tree on the back left with a branch extending out toward the viewer, and keeping the hairgrass short should make it look landscapey.

Last edited by spuloo; 07-08-2014 at 02:20 AM.. Reason: edit
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Old 07-09-2014, 03:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spuloo View Post
Anyway, I'm about 2 months into the setup. Running CO2 only for the last 3 weeks.

The biggest thing I'm looking to figure out right now is the hazy green cloud type of algae hanging out in my DHG
Green algae is normal in a new tank. It seems to love your DHG, though. I think weekly water changes and lights 2 bulbs on 6hrs will help. Also scrape what you can off. At present doens't seem to be doing any harm but looks like it might eventually suffacate the plant.
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Old 07-09-2014, 09:59 PM   #5
spuloo
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I cut the lights back to 2 bulbs 8 hours. That cuts out the 3 hours of 4 bulbs. I'll see how that goes.

The algae so far has only gotteen to the point shown in the video. I swipe the water change tube through the hairgrass on water changes, and that's been enough to dislodge it and suck the majority out without removing substrate. I'd say a water change cuts it back close to 90%.
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Old 07-09-2014, 10:11 PM   #6
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I have found hair grass to be a nitrate hog. Thus dosing KNO3 would help it out compete the algae. Target is 5-10ppm. Supplied by dosing KNO3 (potassium nitrate). You have to increase it gradually or the fish will be affected. Local source of it is Spectricide stump remover. It is 100% KNO3. Solution is 30 ml (3 tsp or 1 Tbs) of KNO3 into 1 cup of water. 1ml = 1.08 ppm of NO3 in 10g of water.
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