Now, Ive checked my water....from the tap, after runnng it for awhile (copper pipes):
pH 6.7-6.8 (API test kit....havent used probe yet)
TDS 57 ppm
Cu about 0, (the dang test kit only goes down to .25ppm, and its less than that)
(I also have RODI water available, just want to avoid it)
My plan here is to add a bit of Seachem alkaline buffer into my mixing tank downstairs to give the water a bit of a nudge in pH prior to me lowering the pH with my CO2, and also to give the water a bit more buffering capacity. Ive got a heater in the mixing tank as well, with some old powerheads, so, in my perfect world, once the mix is done, I can just pump it upstairs to the tank. Using an inline heater for the tank itself, after the right hand 2217 (cant see it in the pic).
I managed to get some Ecocomplete cheap, will be using that (have 140 lbs). I havent started the tank yet, as I have been leeching 3 pieces of Mopani for a month now, changing the water every other day. I am coming to the conclusion that they will forever leech tannins. Cant boil them...too big. The aquascape? No idea yet. One pice of mopani at about 1/3, the other two at 2/3? Have to try it first, see what it looks like!
As for fish, inverts, plants...I will start the tank with nothing, get parameters straight first. Then, shortly thereafter, add plants. Looking at: Ceratopteris thalictroides, Ludwigia repens, Staurogyne repens, Crypt balansae, Prosperinaca palustris, Java Fern, HC, Alternathera reinecki, and Monoselenium tenerum for plants. Eventually, once cycled, adding Otos, Pygmy Cories, Nerites, and hopefully Cherry shrimp. Have to take my time with this though. If the shrimp establish themselves and I can get a breeding colony, then I would love to add Celestial Pearl Danios (my uncle, an Endler breeder, wants me to use Endlers). I know they wil llikely eat baby shrimp (Endlers AND CPD's), but hopefully I have enough plants to allow the young uns a place to hide! Im avoiding the Endlers as I dont want zillions of fry polluting my tank.
I will start fertilizing as soon as I add plants, with a starting photoperiod of 6-7 hours.
Here's the part where you folks who know ALOT more than me come in! If I am messing up, let me know! I usually learn the hard way, but would love to benefit from other peoples' failures before I make some of my own! Do I have screwy ideas for plants? let me know! Am I crazy for the fish and inverts I have chosen? let me know!
Nice job! Always glad to see a returning hobbyist. I will say that dry fert dosing is better for the long run price wise. Nilocg is the go to guy though. I've had great success with his/her (I don't recall) liquid ferts. I'm lost on the light, but all you can do is give it a shot and up it if it isn't enough (additional lighting). The rest looks solid. The two circulatory pumps may be overkill, but to each their own! Just remember that reef tanks and planted tanks share some things but differ greatly. Planted tanks are like the Honda civic of the fish community while the reef tank is like a Saab. One is a heck of a lot more complicated, but they share a lot in common.
If you need anything, quote me, tag me, PM me, etc. I'll fill you in wherever I can, if you need it!
Thank you so much! I got a pretty good deal on the 240's and felt maybe two of them would give me more options than 1 bigger one!