Calling all water gurus~Please help - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-23-2010, 03:26 AM Thread Starter
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Calling all water gurus~Please help

I have so many random questions. Please help me to understand all this...

Started my low tech 125g in October and had been trolling here for at least a year before that, reading and reading.

This is where I am at:


125 gallon (72 x 18 x 23") I built into the wall. It is viewable from both sides with a hallway on one side and my bar on the other.

Fluval FX5 ~ Nova Extreme T5HO 4x 39 watt suspended 22" from aquariumplant.com's substrate ~ 2x 300 watt submersible heaters

~
Neon, Black, Glowlight Tetras
Danios
Guppies
Cory cats
Otos
albino bristlenose
"normal?" bristlenose
ghost shrimp
armano shrimp

Everyone seems happy

~

Micro Sword grown emersed before filling tank in Oct.
Pennywort
Anacharis
Java moss
coffefolia anabis
corkscrew valls
tiger lotus
wisteria
some random tall crypt
~Large chunk of Malaysian driftwood with more coming soon

I had to back the lights way off and add armanos to get rid of a ton of hair algae. The algae is now gone and I incrementally lowered the lights back down, the plants are slowly recovering, I am most disappointed with the tiger lotus. It was to be my feature plant but never has larger than quarter sized leaves low to the substrate, even when the tank was cycling and everything else was growing crazy. It is always putting out new leaves though. Everything grows so slow it is hard to tell where I am at in the long term.

The long term is where my questions lie…

Somehow in all my reading I missed that I wasn’t supposed to use my water softener water. This knowledge was obtained long after I plumbed the fill system inside the wall. I can change the source for the water but I am not sure what to do.

The well water has an extreme level of iron causing us to need a filter system. This is not the typical sand or carbon filter but is different.

http://www.hansonsoftwater.com/hanso...n_curtain.html

The filtered/softened water is amazing to drink and rivals any bottled or artesian water I have ever had but I am not sure of the effects of the planted tank. I have tested everything and after a few cracks from the wife over the multicolor test tubes all over the bar and my playing mad scientist, I can present everything and maybe all you water chemistry gurus can suggest a path for me.

Current regiment is 20% weekly followed by 1x dose of Kent Marine Iron and Manganese (It was the only fert in the LFS with K) and yes I do see the irony of removing the iron and then dosing it. I also have API root tabs (also with iron) under the lotus and the other root feeders.

Current tank parameters:

PH 8.2
Nitrate 5 (uncalibrated)
GH 2
KH 18-21 (tested 3 time by two people, not sure of test kit accuracy up this high?)

I believe this gives me very stable liquid rock? I am not sure if I have to trade my community tank in for cichlids eventually.

~
After a 1/3 W/C with softener bypass pulled (still filtered)

PH 8.2
Nitrate 5
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
GH 4
KH 19
This lowered tank temp to 72° down from 78°. I’m not sure if that is detrimental to any creatures but I am sure it took a ton of electricity to get it back.

Ultimately I have 3 W/C ~ top off choices:

  1. Keep as I have been through the filter and softener. Maybe dosing K??
  2. Pull it off after the filter before the softener. Only cold water.
  3. Pull it off “raw and stinky” straight out of the well.

I gassed off both the other options:

Filtered but not softened
PH 8.2
Ammonia 1
KH 18
GH 18

Well
PH 8.2
Ammonia 0.5
KH 18
GH 18

Could either of these options be supplemented with a small amount of hot (filtered/softened) water to keep the temp up?



Thank you so much for reading this far!! I have kept fish all my life but am finding this “planted thing” much more challenging and at the same time more rewarding then ever. This new house with new water, new tank and new aspect of my hobby has got me stumped.

Thanks again,
Ryan
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-23-2010, 01:34 PM
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I would keep it as it is, your fish can and will survive in that water just fine, they probably will never breed but if you want to do that I'd suggest setting up a different species tank with 50% R/O+tap.

I would change two things, first get more plants (a pic would help) most newer hobbyists stay in the lightly planted range without realizing it that will help your water quality and two I'd buy decent dry ferts for a tank that big which will save more money than turning down the heater. Greenleaf's "Green Fertilizer Package" costs $20.00 and will last you allot longer. I'd add Iron Chelate to that if it was me.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-23-2010, 01:36 PM
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Due to backflushing of the water softener system with brine water, the water that comes out after the softener will have some salt in it. This should not harm your fish or shrimp but might harm plants that cannot tolerate salt.

Read up on each plant species you have and find out which ones will not tolerate salt. Other than that, you should not have any problems.

p.s. I had a house with the exact same water problems: it was like liquid iron. The iron caused iron-eating bacteria to grow, expecially in our water heater (not plumbed to the water softener, don't know why), and the bacteria created the rotten egg smell (hydrogen sulfide). It was harmless to people, but smelled bad. Our lawn sprinklers (with high-iron water) also painted large rust-colored swaths on our house, very bad to look at.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-23-2010, 03:24 PM
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When the well water is that bad, yes, filter out most or all of everything that is in it, then add back just the things you want. It may sound weird to remove iron, then add it back, but that is what works.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-23-2010, 04:31 PM
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I suspect that most of your problems are due to having high light intensity - a pair of T5HO bulbs over the whole length of the tank - but no CO2. This causes the less CO2 competitive plants to be starved for carbon, while the competitive for CO2 plants can still grow. You need a pressurized CO2 system, or else raise the lights to about 30 inches above the substrate so you will have low light.

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-24-2010, 12:28 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input everyone. here is the tank...




The tank is viewable from both sides. The trim and door to cover the lights are coming soon.
(promises to wife and self again)

The eventual plan is to have a thick "jungle" held back by the driftwood to the open space.



Quote:
Originally Posted by bradac56 View Post
I would keep it as it is, your fish can and will survive in that water just fine, they probably will never breed but if you want to do that I'd suggest setting up a different species tank with 50% R/O+tap.

Do you think this would affect even the guppies??

Quote:
Originally Posted by bulrush View Post
Our lawn sprinklers (with high-iron water) also painted large rust-colored swaths on our house, very bad to look at.
I put the sprinklers and outside faucet after the filter for this very reason on some good advice from the well driller.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
I suspect that most of your problems are due to having high light intensity - a pair of T5HO bulbs over the whole length of the tank - but no CO2. This causes the less CO2 competitive plants to be starved for carbon, while the competitive for CO2 plants can still grow. You need a pressurized CO2 system, or else raise the lights to about 30 inches above the substrate so you will have low light.
I am reminded that you advised against these lights before I bought them. I can raise them as high as I need to and I wanted to be covered for what ever direction this tank took. I am wondering if the high light is actually the reason for the poor growth of the lotus (I figured after all that filtering a nutrient would be the limiting factor). I had the lights up at about 26"-28" to let the shrimp catch up on the hair algae before recently lowering them again. If that is the point of true "low tech" I will probably have to get rid of all the stems and look at some other types of plants. At that light level the pennyworts only had one hole ridden leaf on the top of their stems, the anacharis was 3/8" wide and the crypt was starting to look like swiss cheese. The pennywort now has leaves growing at every node and the anacharis is looking better. It is probably unrealistic to expect the plants to look like they did when the tank was cycling. But then...

Quote:
Originally Posted by bradac56 View Post
I'd buy decent dry ferts for a tank that big which will save more money than turning down the heater. Greenleaf's "Green Fertilizer Package" costs $20.00 and will last you allot longer. I'd add Iron Chelate to that if it was me.

- Brad
I was pretty sure I was going to have to dose something like this. I am assuming I would just dose it dry. I have no idea how much/often and if the water changes should continue? There is not nearly as much information on low tech dosing. I know there are probably as many methods and theory's as people but maybe a push in the right direction.


Thanks to everyone again for all the help!!
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-24-2010, 03:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
I suspect that most of your problems are due to having high light intensity - a pair of T5HO bulbs over the whole length of the tank - but no CO2. This causes the less CO2 competitive plants to be starved for carbon, while the competitive for CO2 plants can still grow. You need a pressurized CO2 system, or else raise the lights to about 30 inches above the substrate so you will have low light.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-24-2010, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhdedert View Post


Do you think this would affect even the guppies??

Nope guppies can survive and breed even outside of the tanks, I call them water cockroaches for a reason

Quote:
Originally Posted by rhdedert View Post


I was pretty sure I was going to have to dose something like this. I am assuming I would just dose it dry. I have no idea how much/often and if the water changes should continue? There is not nearly as much information on low tech dosing. I know there are probably as many methods and theory's as people but maybe a push in the right direction.
I would start out dosing EI according to the sticky here in this forum (first sticky post called "Dosing Regime's" that will get you headed in the right direction.

- Brad

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-26-2010, 02:12 AM Thread Starter
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I have a few more questions and the conversation about this tank was kind of continued over here.

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/fe...-question.html

I would really appreciate all your thoughts. Thanks again!!
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