New planted 48g tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-26-2019, 07:16 AM Thread Starter
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New planted 48g tank

5 days ago I set up a fresh water planted tank with the intent of transfering fish from an already established tank.

I'm relatively new to aquariums but in the last year or so I've been taking care of a 165L tank which wasn't being well maintained by a family member. The tank has been running for years, with good levels of everything and fish seem very healthy, just look like they need some more room.

I purchased a 182L (48g) aquaone horizon starter kit tank with a 36W LED light, hang on filter with a flow of 600L/ hour and a 200w glass heater.

The set up is
Soil - osmocote organic garden soil + (highest point is roughly 2.5" lowest point roughly 1.5") capped with Substrate - Aqua iron ( black sand) by Oliver Knott ( highest points 1.5" and lowest 1")
- Rocks & driftwood taken from the existing tank.

When I filled the tank with water I tried to use as much of the established tanks water as possible (thinking it was ideal). I filled it with about 40% and the rest with tap water (which is used in the established tanks water changes). The next day I did a 50% water change to clear some of the murkiness of the water and again added another 40% of the established tanks water and then probably another 20L of tap water.

At that time (few hours after the water change) on day 2 the readings were

pH 7
Ammonia 0.25ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
Nitrate 40ppm
(Apart from the ammonia these read exactly like the existing tank)

On the 3rd 4th and current day (5th) the readings have been

pH 7.6
Ammonia 8.0 ppm
Nitrite 0 ppm
Nitrate 40 ppm

I don't really know what the normal readings should be for a new tank but I know that the pH and the ammonia are too high for fish to live in ( I haven't put any livestock in the tank) and that the ammonia should turn into nitrite then to nitrate? But I'm confused because the nitrite is currently 0.

I have been running it with the filter on, heater on 28 celcius and light on for 8 hours a day.

The plants, honestly not quite sure what they are, picked them up from my local pet shop after researching hardy plants. They seem to be growing well sprouting new roots.

There also seems to be air bubbles in the soil that are visible from the sides of the tank and occasionally surface and bring with them tiny bits of the soil. I made sure to wet and compact the soil a lot before adding the substrate.

The water is also looking a little bit cloudy, sorta greenish.

So basically I would love some help with were to go from here, are the bubbles bad? Will the readings get better with time and frequent water changes? Should I get a quick start or not?

I plan on getting a water hardness tester kit also.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-26-2019, 07:51 AM
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Welcome to TPT.

a) the tank is cycling b) the potting soil is leaching c) you could use more plants.

Adding existing media from the old tank (if it is still running) will spead up the cycle.
Ammonia is toxic at ph above 7, I would do water changes to bring it down to around 4.
Don't worry about the air bubbles in the substrate, it's pretty common in a just filled in tank. The bubbles will escape to the surface over time.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-26-2019, 10:25 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help. What does it mean if the soil is leaching?
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-26-2019, 10:31 AM
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Thanks for the help. What does it mean if the soil is leaching?
The chemicals and organics from the soil are getting into the water column. Taller cap and / or finer material (i.e. small grain sand / gravel) is used to minimize the amount of leaching.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-28-2019, 11:21 PM Thread Starter
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Welcome to TPT.

a) the tank is cycling b) the potting soil is leaching c) you could use more plants.

Adding existing media from the old tank (if it is still running) will spead up the cycle.
Ammonia is toxic at ph above 7, I would do water changes to bring it down to around 4.
Don't worry about the air bubbles in the substrate, it's pretty common in a just filled in tank. The bubbles will escape to the surface over time.
Just an update. A few days ago I did a big water change about 70% and added probably another inch of substrate. Yesterday I added a few more plants too, planning on adding a lot more. ammonia is down to 4 ppm but the pH is still 7.6. should I just keep doing small water changes to get the ammonia and pH down? Still abit lost here haha.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 03:56 AM
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There is no lifestock in the tank, therefore, no rush. Personally, I would let the tank stabilize on its own. Maybe do 20-30% water change per week, just to get into the habbit. More ofthen if ammonia starts going above 4 ppm.

Ammonia is the preferred food by plants - let them and the bacteria get big and fat. The pH will come down and stabilize over time also. In short, let the nature work its magic.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 05:25 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the advice. I'm going to leave it for as long as I possibly can now. I honestly can't wait to put my fish in.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 06:35 AM
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You are very welcome.

Good things come to those who wait. Planted tanks are an exercise in patience. Do keep us updeted. I feel you can make this into a wonderful tank.

As a side note, the more plants you can stuff in at the beginning the smoother it will be down the line. Don't overlook floaters - they are great plants to keep the water stable and algae unwelcomed.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-03-2019, 04:43 AM Thread Starter
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Okay so a little update, after staring aLoT at my tank I noticed the log I have in the middle is covered in tiny weenie worms then noticed some of them are on other plants and some even just floating about. I think they might be detritus worms? But there's also sort of dark sandy looking spots on leaves, and also things that might be tiny snails but they're too small to make out. And a weird pile of sorta dusty looking stuff. Lots of weird stuff, hope someone can help out.

http://imgur.com/a/juZI7i4
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-03-2019, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Dumbfish View Post
Okay so a little update, after staring aLoT at my tank I noticed the log I have in the middle is covered in tiny weenie worms then noticed some of them are on other plants and some even just floating about. I think they might be detritus worms? But there's also sort of dark sandy looking spots on leaves, and also things that might be tiny snails but they're too small to make out. And a weird pile of sorta dusty looking stuff. Lots of weird stuff, hope someone can help out.

http://imgur.com/a/juZI7i4
Could be detritus worms, if so they are completely normal. Fish will make a meal of them at some point as well.
The stuff on the leaves. It looks like BBA black beard algae. I cannot be sure, but they look like small tufts of algae in one picture and that would be my thought. Try brushing them off with your hand (nearly wrote rubbing instead of brushing, innuendo avoided) and seeing if they are tufts or like a dust.
Vacuum the white. No idea what it is, but just get rid of it.
I'm with OVT I think you've got the beginnings of a lovely tank here. Good luck!


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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 11:32 PM Thread Starter
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Hello again my dudes. So after awhile of my ammonia being 8ppm and nitrite 0ppm it's now done a swaparoo and my nitrite is 5ppm and ammonia 0ppm (nitrate is 40ppm, pH 7, kh 53.7ppm, GH 107.4ppm)

My plants seem to be growing well however I am noticing that the substrate is still releasing bubbles and there is a film on-top of the water that sort of looks like oily. I read something about this being sulfur? And the soil being anaerobic, but my plants are still thriving.

Also noticing that those little snails seem to be almost indestructible living through all these spikes in ammonia and nitrite.

Some plants in the corner are decaying a little from my wavemaker incident. I bought a power head but it was wayyy to strong. Thinking that the tank definitely needs some more agitation but I like the look of a current more then an airstone.

Hope you guys can give me some advice thanks!
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