3 Gallon Low Tech ADA Aquasoil II Experimental Tank ***Mar 09 Update
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Old 01-03-2009, 09:30 PM   #1
Homer_Simpson
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3 Gallon Low Tech ADA Aquasoil II Experimental Tank ***Mar 09 Update


When I set up an experimental tank, I usually do not like to post pictures until the 3-6 month period as I find that the true test of how well a tank does comes around the 3-6 months. IME, tanks usually start out doing really well, then one of two things happens. They continue to do well indefinitely or succumb to serious algae issues after 3-6 months. I am not talking about diatom green dust, or even green spot algae which is typical of most planted tanks. I am talking about Blue Green Algae, Black Beard/Brush Algae, hair or thread algae. I decided to post photos of this experimental tank prior to the 6 month mark. This tank of my latest experiment and has been up for only 3 weeks. It is a 3 gallon tank with 14 watt 6500 K compact fluorescent bulb with ADA Aquasoil II as a substrate, mini elite submersible filter, daily dosing of Seachem Excel for Carbon. Plants include: cardamine lyrata(floating), dwarf aquatic lily,java fern, anubias nana and coffelia, a rotala indica, Ludwiga repans, pygme chain sword, and Cryptocorne Wendtii(red). The green mesh in the background is my attempt at a java moss wall. I don't know how well it will do as I generally do not have any success with java moss(it turns brown and dies on me after a while; this is my 4th attempt at growing it). I have not put any fish in yet. I am waiting for the plants to get fully established and water parameters to test normal. The last thing I want to do is add fish/shrimp early on, only to find that I have to tear the tank down as it is turning into a dog's breakfast, I am not dosing ferts given the high nutrient value of the sediment and doing 50% weekly water changes due to ammonia leaching. My goal when water parameters test stable is to either put in a Zebra Nerite Snail/Amano Shrimp and or White cloud minnows. For anyone familiar with ADA Aquasoil, it is considered the cadillic of substrates and used by many hobbyists. Tom Barr who is well known in the Planted Aquarium world has set up numerous tanks with a variety of substrates and this is his substrate of choice. The only thing is that most have used Aquasoil have used it with pressurized or DIY c02 and high light. Few have experimented with it on a low tech, low light set up, so I decided to. I want to thank Tom Barr(AKA: PlantBrain) who was kind enough to give me suggestions on how best to proceed with this setup. I take no credit for the approach. Tom Barr further discusses his approach here:
http://www.barrreport.com/estimative...l-non-co2.html

I was initially going to try a combination of Tom Barr's emersed method combined with this method or the hybrid method that he describes in the link above. I decided against it as there were too many unknowns with how well the plants that I was going to use would grow emersed and survive the transition back to submersed.

We will see how well, she does. So far ludwiga and rotala have shown explosive growth, the pygme chain sword has sprouted 3 runners, and much to my surprise the cryptocorne Wendtii has not undergone a melt. Here are some photos. No further updates until April 09. Comments and feedback welcome, but please keep in mind that this tank is not an exercise or experiment in aquascaping but an experiment in aquarium plant growth.




Go to last page for Mar 09 update and pictures.

Last edited by Homer_Simpson; 03-13-2009 at 05:52 AM..
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Old 01-03-2009, 09:58 PM   #2
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i'm about to start a 5.5 in nearly the same fashion. i picked up some aqua soil of the sns just for this. i'm glad you tried this before me, can't wait to see how it turns out! keep us in the loop, please.

edit - i think homer has the biggest signature on here. it's like half the screen.
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Old 01-03-2009, 10:12 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldpunk78 View Post
i'm about to start a 5.5 in nearly the same fashion. i picked up some aqua soil of the sns just for this. i'm glad you tried this before me, can't wait to see how it turns out! keep us in the loop, please.

edit - i think homer has the biggest signature on here. it's like half the screen.
Will definitely update, but I want to give the tank enough time to play itself out. I am not too worried if I end up tearing it down. This is just an experiment and all experiments entail risk, but that is part of learning. "Nothing ventured, nothing gained as they say."

Okay as far as the signature goes, I will modify or edit if bothers people or mods
Edit: I trimmed it down.
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Old 01-12-2009, 11:03 PM   #4
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hi yea i want to convert my 5.5 into a nice nano planted tank i was wonder how much of the aquasoil should i get, how much did u get??
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Old 01-13-2009, 11:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldpunk78 View Post
i'm about to start a 5.5 in nearly the same fashion. i picked up some aqua soil of the sns just for this. i'm glad you tried this before me, can't wait to see how it turns out! keep us in the loop, please.

edit - i think homer has the biggest signature on here. it's like half the screen.
how much aqua soil did you get which bag the 3 or 9 liter?
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Old 01-14-2009, 12:15 AM   #6
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Somebody correct me if I am wrong, but I believe a 9 litre bag should be enough for a 20 gallon tank, so 1/2 of that 4.5 litres should be good for a 10 gallon tank. If my math is right, 3 litres should be enough for a 5 gallon with some left over.
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Old 01-14-2009, 01:19 AM   #7
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i haven't actually got the 5.5 yet. but i do have a 3 liter bag and a 9 liter bag of aqua soil sitting around. i stuck the 3 liter one into my eclipse 6 (witch i think has a smaller foot print than the 5.5) and it looked like i would need to add about another 1/3 of a 3 liter bag to get the depth i was looking for...

so in short, you could get away with one 3 liter bag of aqua soil in the 5.5, but i think you would actually want more.

edit - buy one, and if it's not enough, get more. (i just picked up what homer put down, lol.)
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Old 01-21-2009, 04:24 PM   #8
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No pictures yet as no major change in growth to report. I had to trim the rotala, ludwiga and dwarf aquatic lily leaves which were growing to the top and blocking off too much light to the plants below. However, diatom reared its ugly head and the tank is now in the midst of a diatom algae bloom. I was waivering on how best to deal with this. My options were: (1) throw in a otocat to feed off the diatom algae, or a amano shrimp, or nerite snail, or (2) just wait it out and continue with regular water changes with the hope the diatom algae will disappear on its own. I went with option (1) and added an otocat yesterday. He has already cleared the tank of 35% of the diatom algae in one day. Hope he makes it. He appeared pretty stressed with the acclimitization and transition judging from how much his color faded.
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Old 02-07-2009, 04:51 AM   #9
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I've always wondered about how AS would do in a super-low-tech setup, so I'm interested to see the results. No doubt it's do-able, but I wonder if there are any unanticipated issues that may arise...I guess we'll find out. Where did this idea come from? Curiosity I guess?

I might add that (for most people) it is counter-intuitive to think that a low-tech setup would actually be more difficult to maintain than it's high-tech counterpart, seeing as there are less variables to manipulate, you sort of have to just rely on the system itself. This will, no doubt, be eye opening for those who think that the less equipment, etc. the easier to maintain....It's not often that one sees high-tech tanks that are doing really, really poorly. I mean sure, we all have our occasional algae outbreak or whatever, but I've seen tons of low-tech setups that are just a mess, a disaster. (Not anyone here, of course).
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Old 02-07-2009, 05:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColeMan View Post
I've always wondered about how AS would do in a super-low-tech setup, so I'm interested to see the results. No doubt it's do-able, but I wonder if there are any unanticipated issues that may arise...I guess we'll find out. Where did this idea come from? Curiosity I guess?

I might add that (for most people) it is counter-intuitive to think that a low-tech setup would actually be more difficult to maintain than it's high-tech counterpart, seeing as there are less variables to manipulate, you sort of have to just rely on the system itself. This will, no doubt, be eye opening for those who think that the less equipment, etc. the easier to maintain....It's not often that one sees high-tech tanks that are doing really, really poorly. I mean sure, we all have our occasional algae outbreak or whatever, but I've seen tons of low-tech setups that are just a mess, a disaster. (Not anyone here, of course).
Thanks coleman for taking a serious interest. My discussions with Tom Barr actually sparked my interest in this. I know many folks use ADA AS with high tech benefits to get maximum benefit. I wanted to see what would happen with a low tech setup using ADA AS II. It is a given that ADA AS II is a highly nutrient dense substrate and in as part of a low tech setup, the plants in theory should utilitize nutrients even more slowly. I wanted to see how long(years) the tank would hold up without water column fertilization before nutrient exhaustion set in. The other issue is that role of light and nutrient imbalance with respect to algae. Would any leaching of nutrients from the substrate be enough to give rise to any algae with only 13 watts fluorescent bulb 6500K lighting. Given that I am doing weekly water changes, I don't think so, but we will see.

Other than a diatom algae bloom, which the otocat I put in has pretty much cleared up. I have noticed a little bit of green spot algae, which kind of surprised me given the 13 watts
is not something that I would consider high light and green spot algae is often an artifact of high light setups.

I will post updated pictures at the end of April 09. The java moss wall is taking forever to fill in. After 4 weeks, I did experience some melting of crypt leaves. The ludwiga repens, rotala indica, and pygme chain sword(has given off tons of runners) has grown faster than I have ever seen in any other tank. The otocat appears to be doing well. When I first got him, he appeared so stressed, his color really faded. Now, his color has returned and he appears fairly active. I also have some cherry shrimp in the tank, hoping I don't end up with a population explosion. They also appear to be doing well.
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:32 AM   #11
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i just wanted to say i think this is a cool experiment for low tech/ low maintenence tanks. i'm looking forward to april.
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:43 AM   #12
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i just wanted to say i think this is a cool experiment for low tech/ low maintenence tanks. i'm looking forward to april.
Thanks, so far so good. I just wish the java moss wall would fill in faster.
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Old 02-11-2009, 05:05 AM   #13
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I am interested to see how this works out. Neat idea.
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Old 02-26-2009, 02:53 AM   #14
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Subscribed. Thanks for all your experimental work Homer. I'm very interested in the results.
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Old 02-28-2009, 09:44 PM   #15
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Any update pictures?
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