60" 120 high tech community planted tank journal - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 206 (permalink) Old 11-15-2016, 08:51 PM
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I got it! Pics are in to my OP. Thanks, Greggz (on different thread).
psh! I was like, Thanks Greggz!? haha

glad you got it figured out.
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post #17 of 206 (permalink) Old 11-15-2016, 10:25 PM
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Right; so... does your reactor atomize the bubbles? I mean... the bubbles come into the reactor pretty good sized, right? Do they then dissolve enough to be invisible to our eyes merely by spending time in the water column of the reactor?
Yes, the bubbles (more like a stream) dissolve in the water column, and there are no visible bubbles in the tank.

I find your set up interesting. If I'm correct, you have the inline diffuser on the intake side of the filter, and the smaller bubbles flow into the filter, then back out up over the side of the tank, then down the tube into the 6 outlet manifold?

I'll be honest I have no idea how it will work, but am look forward to finding out. If you are getting a good ph drop with no bubbles, you may have created a really good system. Rather than a manifold, I split the output from my Cerges output to both ends of the tank. Yours is a similar idea.

I injected the co2 into the inlet of one of my XP3's filters for quite awhile. It worked well enough, but eventually was too much trouble to keep the flow just right. When it slowed down at all, I would get large bubbles that would belch out all at once. Only time will tell if there is the same effect with the Eheim.

I guess the only way to find out is to try it. Good luck, it might work just perfectly.


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post #18 of 206 (permalink) Old 11-16-2016, 12:12 AM Thread Starter
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Yes, the bubbles (more like a stream) dissolve in the water column, and there are no visible bubbles in the tank.

I find your set up interesting. If I'm correct, you have the inline diffuser on the intake side of the filter, and the smaller bubbles flow into the filter, then back out up over the side of the tank, then down the tube into the 6 outlet manifold?
No... the intake water goes into the siphon, and through the filter, then on the OUTflow of the canister, the inline diffuser adds CO2 to the outflow, and then the flow takes it to the manifold. Here's the problem: overall, we're not getting enough CO2 to the tank. My drop checker turns green on the top 1/4 of the reagent, but that's all in an 8 hour photoperiod. Meanwhile, algae is gaining.

So, so far, it's not working as a CO2 delivery system. Question: if a reactor is just a water column, might it "work" to put CO2 directly into the canister outflow (maybe using a T connector stepped down with brass fittings) and thence to the manifold, bypassing the atomizer? I've been thinking that larger bubbles wouldn't diffuse properly... is this a concern?

Or, I've been thinking maybe of putting one of our more powerful pumps from old saltwater days onto the manifold, and just allowing the canister filter to return via spraybar, if the problem is not enough umph in the canister return flow?

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Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
I'll be honest I have no idea how it will work, but am look forward to finding out. If you are getting a good ph drop with no bubbles, you may have created a really good system. Rather than a manifold, I split the output from my Cerges output to both ends of the tank. Yours is a similar idea.
Yeah... I don't know if it will work either. So far, not really, I guess. But I'm willing to tinker with it a bit more. The gentle flow from the jets works well to keep detritus and food off the substrate for a good while so that the siphons can grab it. That in itself is worthwhile. Possibly I'll just replumb the CO2 in a more conventional way... we'll see.

Tanks a bunch!

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post #19 of 206 (permalink) Old 11-16-2016, 12:44 AM
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OK, got it now. My gut guess is that you just need to crank up the co2. With the set up you have, I don't see any reason you shouldn't be getting a good concentration of co2 into the tank.

Do you have a ph meter? If so, I would leave a glass of water out to de-gas for a couple of days and then take a ph reading. In the tank you should see a ph drop of about 1 point when you reach a co2 concentration of 30ppm. So if de-gassed water is 7.2, adjust the co2 to try and get it to drop to 6.2.

When I started, I bought a cheap ph meter and mounted the sensor in the tank. The reading gave me a better understanding of the relationship between the co2 flow rate and the ph drop. In reality, it's not perfect science by any means, but it gives you some numbers to start working with.

In the end, I went with a ph controller, which allows you to crank up the co2 even higher, and not have to worry so much about the exact flow (bubble) rate. Once again, there are always debates about this sort of thing, but this is just works well for me.


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post #20 of 206 (permalink) Old 11-16-2016, 01:39 AM Thread Starter
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OK, got it now. My gut guess is that you just need to crank up the co2. With the set up you have, I don't see any reason you shouldn't be getting a good concentration of co2 into the tank.

Do you have a ph meter? If so, I would leave a glass of water out to de-gas for a couple of days and then take a ph reading. In the tank you should see a ph drop of about 1 point when you reach a co2 concentration of 30ppm. So if de-gassed water is 7.2, adjust the co2 to try and get it to drop to 6.2.

When I started, I bought a cheap ph meter and mounted the sensor in the tank. The reading gave me a better understanding of the relationship between the co2 flow rate and the ph drop. In reality, it's not perfect science by any means, but it gives you some numbers to start working with.

In the end, I went with a ph controller, which allows you to crank up the co2 even higher, and not have to worry so much about the exact flow (bubble) rate. Once again, there are always debates about this sort of thing, but this is just works well for me.
That's encouraging! I have two old ones... would need to reup their probes and calibrate... might be more worth it to get a new controller. I've read about issues with them... like all automation, they can make us lazy and have issues. Open to debate, as you said. I tested the pH difference a day or two ago... no discernible drop. But that was with chemical reagents, not a meter. Hmmm. Points to ponder, for sure!

Does anyone have any thoughts on bn pleco vs. otto cats?

Tanks a bunch!

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post #21 of 206 (permalink) Old 11-16-2016, 07:44 AM
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Hello Tanks! I love the size of your tank, really looking forward to watching it mature!
I would say ottos, but I guess it comes down to personal preference, and perhaps other species that will be in the tank.
Good luck!
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post #22 of 206 (permalink) Old 11-16-2016, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
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Hello Tanks! I love the size of your tank, really looking forward to watching it mature!
I would say ottos, but I guess it comes down to personal preference, and perhaps other species that will be in the tank.
Good luck!
Right. My plan is for a non-aggressive, community tank. I have already got 5 Sterbai Corydoras cats, and 3 Denison Barbs, as well as 3 Nerite snails. I'm planning on adding rainbows and angelfish, as well a few more Denison Barbs.

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post #23 of 206 (permalink) Old 11-16-2016, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
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psh! I was like, Thanks Greggz!? haha

glad you got it figured out.
Yeah, while I REALLY appreciated the time and effort that you took to help, it was Greggz method that worked for me. :-)

Tanks a bunch!

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post #24 of 206 (permalink) Old 11-18-2016, 02:28 AM Thread Starter
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WELL!!!!! I say "HOORAY and HALLELUJAH"! My manifold is operating as I planned and dreamed--at LAST! Tonight, we had millions of micro bubbles... too many to look good, but that's okay... that's okay! We can turn them DOWN; it was getting them UP that was such a pain! FWIW (in case anyone encounters similar road blocks) our troubles stemmed from:
1. GLA CO2 check valve that needed "cracked" by running the psi of the CO2 at 45.
2. Ditto the atomic diffuser from GLA.
3. Our own stupidity in not opening the flow valves when turning the manifold canister back on after confirming that the drop checker, check valve and diffuser were operating properly (we took it all apart, piece by piece, and ran each part separately in a glass of water so if the check valve or diffuser blew out we wouldn't have a mess, and plus we could see bubbles).

It's been very frustrating, but now we have it. Lots of CO2 flowing in the canister outflow, and down into the manifold, and out into the tank. I had it up pretty high for about 2 hours... maybe 5-6 bps... and the drop checker finally turned green about a half hour before lights out. We turned it way down to about 3 bps, and the tank cleared up beautifully (no more 7 Up look). So, I think we're good to go with our innovative system. Whew!

So, now I get to play with balancing the tank and fighting the algae that's been building up without the CO2 working right.

I also decided on Oto's: got 4 from PetSmart last night (my only "local" choice--still an hour away) and they are all going at the algae today! (I've heard so much about how fragile they are that I decided to overstock them... Has anyone had success with supplementing their diet if they eat all the algae to a standstill?)

One thing that I didn't see tonight was plants pearling... when/how does that happen, now that I have some CO2 to work with?

(SO EXCITED! )

Note to self: tomorrow I need to do a water change and start seriously tweaking EI/root tabs.
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Tanks a bunch!

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Last edited by Tanks!; 11-18-2016 at 04:04 PM. Reason: clarification
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post #25 of 206 (permalink) Old 11-18-2016, 02:30 PM
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WELL!!!!! I say "HOORAY and HALLELUJAH"! My manifold is operating as I planned and dreamed--at LAST! Tonight, we had millions of micro bubbles... too many to look good, but that's okay... that's okay! We can turn them DOWN; it was getting them UP that was such a pain! FWIW (in case anyone encounters similar road blocks) our troubles stemmed from:
1. GLA CO2 check valve that needed "cracked" by running the psi of the CO2 at 45.
2. Ditto the atomic diffuser from GLA.
3. Our own stupidity in not turning the manifold canister back on after confirming that the drop checker, check valve and diffuser were operating properly (we took it all apart, piece by piece, and ran each part separately in a glass of water so if the check valve or diffuser blew out we wouldn't have a mess, and plus we could see bubbles).

It's been very frustrating, but now we have it. Lots of CO2 flowing in the canister outflow, and down into the manifold, and out into the tank. I had it up pretty high for about 2 hours... maybe 5-6 bps... and the drop checker finally turned green about a half hour before lights out. We turned it way down to about 3 bps, and the tank cleared up beautifully (no more 7 Up look). So, I think we're good to go with our innovative system. Whew!

So, now I get to play with balancing the tank and fighting the algae that's been building up without the CO2 working right.

I also decided on Oto's: got 4 from PetSmart last night (my only "local" choice--still an hour away) and they are all going at the algae today! (I've heard so much about how fragile they are that I decided to overstock them... Has anyone had success with supplementing their diet if they eat all the algae to a standstill?)

One thing that I didn't see tonight was plants pearling... when/how does that happen, now that I have some CO2 to work with?

(SO EXCITED! )

Note to self: tomorrow I need to do a water change and start seriously tweaking EI/root tabs.
Congrats!

Sinking algae wafers can be eaten by Otos, it's the only food I have ever been able to use to supplement their diet and it has taken them a while to realize they were food. Other people have had good luck with blanched zucchini for them but they have always ignored it for me.
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post #26 of 206 (permalink) Old 11-19-2016, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
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Congrats!

Sinking algae wafers can be eaten by Otos, it's the only food I have ever been able to use to supplement their diet and it has taken them a while to realize they were food. Other people have had good luck with blanched zucchini for them but they have always ignored it for me.
Yes, I hope they will eat them! All four of them are constantly chowing down, cleaning glass, plants, and driftwood. I'm totally sold on them. I just hope they don't run out of algae, and/or can learn to eat sinking pellets. I already feed these to my Cory cats.

Speaking of these, I have troulbe counting them, but it seems that one may have gone missing. I bought 5, but can't seem to see all of them at one time. They are excellent at hiding, so I may be just not seeing it. I did a massive tank cleaning/re-scaping/55% water change today, and didn't see a corpse, so hopefully it's my bad.

The work today resulted in a big change of the driftwood position. I found that I liked rainbow fish tanks (like Greggz) that have horizontally oriented driftwood, rather than vertical. I had originally thought that a vertical orientation would serve to make regions for the fish to claim, but since I'm planning a peaceful community now, I don't think I need that.

I also installed new light bulbs on the tank today: again, I'm stuck with my VHO T12s for now, and there's precious little selection of bulb spectra. I did the best I could by ordering Aquasun 10,000K bulbs, and I must say that they are making my reds far more visible than did the aged Actinic 12000K ones that I've had so far. I'm thinking of adding some warm light via strip LEDs, but that's for a different day.

The water change gave me a surprise: my nitrates, which had been running high, were only 20 ppm when I got done. I did vacuum all the substrate (shallowly) and re-position the driftwood, so hopefully there are no festering pockets of waste. I plan to reduce my dosing of EI ferts by about 3/4 for the next week; Burr told me that I've een overdosing, especially micros.

There are pockets of hair algae here and there, and there's some GSA and brown diatomes, but I expected all that, especially since I had so much trouble getting my CO2 under control. It's such a good feeling to finally have control over all major aspects of the tank. Now, to learn to play them like a well-made violin!

Pic below isn't very good, but it gives you an idea.
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Last edited by Tanks!; 11-19-2016 at 09:50 PM. Reason: Add pictures
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post #27 of 206 (permalink) Old 11-19-2016, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
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The driftwood on the left side is just waiting for playmates (more driftwood) that's on the way. Been waiting for it for awhile. All the anubias and buce that are parked up on the spraybar are waiting (oh so patiently) too!

Tanks a bunch!

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post #28 of 206 (permalink) Old 11-20-2016, 06:56 PM
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I would caution you on the angels, they tend toward aggression in my experience (i kept them for 5-6 years when i was younger). i personally will never keep them again because f that. I only mention it because you are going for low aggression in your tank.
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post #29 of 206 (permalink) Old 11-20-2016, 10:11 PM
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I plan to reduce my dosing of EI ferts by about 3/4 for the next week; Burr told me that I've een overdosing, especially micros.
The best advice I can give is to listen to Burr740. 'Nuff said.


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post #30 of 206 (permalink) Old 11-26-2016, 02:03 AM
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Does your drop checker have 4 dKH water (distilled water with just enough baking soda to get to a KH of 4 degrees) in it? And, do you use pH reagent, like API pH test kits come with, in that 4 dKH water? Is it a transparent dark blue color before you put it in the tank?

One thing that might help you get started is to dilute your 4 dKH water 50-50 with distilled water, to make 2 dKH water. If you then use that instead of the 4 dKH, it will be green at about 15 ppm, and yellow-green at about 30 ppm. If it goes to yellow you will probably have too much CO2 for the fish to live with.

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