geektom's sanity tank (20g regular) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 95 (permalink) Old 07-16-2017, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
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geektom's sanity tank (20g regular)

Hi friends- well, it looks like the 150g project is going to be delayed for some time, so to keep myself sane, I will be creating a small tank.

The tank is a standard 20g from Visio- nothing fancy.

The goal of this tank is to keep a few fish, maybe some shrimp other than Amano (which would be a first for me), keep some stem plants that I have not kept before (which is most of them) and learn about E.I. dosing (I have never used a regimented fert schedule before)

You can see in the pictures I am going with a very simple scape. I started DSM on the S. repens two weeks ago in anticipation of using them in the big tank, I will probably go another 2-3 weeks if I can be patient.

The rocks are thin and leave me more space to plant behind them than you might expect looking from the front.

Substrate is organic potting soil, then Fluorite, then capped with sand. I didn't plan on this being a display tank, which is why you can see the soil, but I will go back in and fix that.

I will be using a 50/50 mix of RO and tap for my water, and will post the water parameters once I measure them- but it should give me a good baseline to start.

I will be using a Finnex 24" FugeRay Planted + for lighting.

I will be using CO2 and an in-tank diffuser.

I think that is all the specs I have from now.

I would appreciate any and all feedback on my goals, especially on plant selection.

I know that I want to try AR mini between the repens and the rocks, some bushy stems (primarily on the left side), and something interesting but not tall on the right side.

Other than that- I am completely open and would love to hear your suggestions!

Thanks!
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post #2 of 95 (permalink) Old 07-17-2017, 04:11 PM Thread Starter
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Added some AR mini cultures to the DSM last night. Still open to any other suggestions for the back of the tank.


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post #3 of 95 (permalink) Old 07-17-2017, 07:32 PM Thread Starter
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Try not to be jealous of my mad photo-editing skills: this is what I am thinking of. Open to feedback.


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post #4 of 95 (permalink) Old 07-19-2017, 04:24 AM Thread Starter
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Bump! Would love some feedback.


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post #5 of 95 (permalink) Old 07-21-2017, 09:03 PM Thread Starter
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Hey all, some updates:

From another local person on the boards I got an Ehiem 2215, inline heater, 5lb CO2 tank, and a regulator, along with some glass pipes.

My Finnex light should arrive tomorrow.

I have EI dosing ferts on order and they will arrive before I am ready to fill the tank.

I decided to go with film rather than spray to frost the back of the tank- I will be applying it tomorrow.

I am trying to dive in and understand the EI method, but I have to admit I am still a little confused regarding how to get *started*.

A few questions:

* Ok, please don't laugh, but what liquid medium do I mix the ferts in? Distilled water?

* How much impact does my starting tap water have on my dosing? Am I wasting time and water to create RO water?

I have 20g of RO water ready to go. My initial plan was to mix the RO and tap until I achieved the correct GH.

I will be hopefully be filling and planting the rest of the tank in two weeks!

So far the S. repens is doing great with the DSM- the AR mini does not show any growth yet after 5 days, but no melting, either.

I found a nicely shaped manzanita branch for the corner- it is soaking now.

Hard to be patient, no matter how many years I have been in the hobby!



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post #6 of 95 (permalink) Old 07-21-2017, 09:40 PM
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I've been lurking this journal and I have to compliment you. It's nice to see another Californian getting crazy with the hobby. I personally don't offer suggestions on how others could improve their tank designs. I feel each presentation is a representation of that person's artistic vision. But if you need technical information I can help with that.

You really don't want to use tap water in your tanks. Tap water is highly chlorinated water that also has chloramine in it as well. The calcium content is usually crazy and you will concentrate it in your tank, evaporation will leave white lines signifying an abundance of dissolved calcium in the water.

Also I'm pretty sure there's a ionic aspect that I'm overlooking. Just forget the headache and use R/O or Distilled water.

Here is a great thread explaining EI dosing

Are you injecting Co2 into the tank yet? I don't think the AR Mini will grow much at all without high light, ferts, and co2.

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post #7 of 95 (permalink) Old 07-21-2017, 11:05 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks- I actually posted my questions in the same thread. It helped me understand a lot (except how to get started). Apparently I need to be "given a fish" and not "taught to fish", lol.


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post #8 of 95 (permalink) Old 07-21-2017, 11:08 PM Thread Starter
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I am not injecting CO2 into the tank yet- it is still in DSM mode. I heard from some folks that they had success dry-starting the AR mini. If that is not true, I may just flood the tank early, since the S. repens is already doing well after 2 weeks.


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post #9 of 95 (permalink) Old 07-22-2017, 01:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geektom View Post
Thanks- I actually posted my questions in the same thread. It helped me understand a lot (except how to get started). Apparently I need to be "given a fish" and not "taught to fish", lol.
So you want a fish from the bucket eh? I have tried a few different fertilizer methods, namely root tabs, premixed liquids, packaged powders. They all work great, but nothing quite compares to EI dosing for specific plant species.

Essentially EI dosing is just mixing your own % of nutrients for your tank and then doing regularly water changes to balance micro and macronutrient levels. You determine how much of each nutrient you want in your weekly dose, mix it into a dosing bottle with as pure water as you can get, dose 2-3 times weekly depending on how concentrated your solution is. and then changing the water regularly to reset the levels of unused nutrients in the tank.

A good dry powder that a lot of people love to use is Nilocg

Quote:
Originally Posted by geektom View Post
I am not injecting CO2 into the tank yet- it is still in DSM mode. I heard from some folks that they had success dry-starting the AR mini. If that is not true, I may just flood the tank early, since the S. repens is already doing well after 2 weeks.
Oops silly me, I could tell that from the photos. Indeed there is a lot of success with emersed AR, just make sure to keep the humidity high or the tops might start mushing. As for flooding I think you should let the AR and Repens fill in a bit more before flooding it, these plants grow a lot faster in their emersed forms and it'd be easier to propagate and replant them later on if you mature them early.

They also breathe a lot so if you flooded early you would limit growth and require your Co2 tank to be set up.
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post #10 of 95 (permalink) Old 07-22-2017, 03:17 AM Thread Starter
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I understand the basics of EI dosing at this point, with the glaring exception of how to get the tank started. I must be missing something obvious. Does it just not matter, as long as you start dosing according to your daily calculator? In other words, "day 1" is dosed the same way you would dose an established tank?


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post #11 of 95 (permalink) Old 07-22-2017, 03:30 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, backing is on the tank, CO2 tubing and tank are in place (with the exception of the bubble counter, which is on its way), filter and inline heater are set up with new tubing.

One misstep- the frosted backing won't allow the auction cups for the glass pipes to adhere to the back of the tank. Whoops. I had to rig some on the inside, which means I was able to use clear auction cups, but had to black clips because I don't have clear ones (the pipes had attachments built in on the outside where they don't work now).

It also makes the lily pipe outlet tilt in an odd way- I think it may end up pointed too far towards the surface once the water is running.

A lot to fit into the small stand I am using, mostly because I have some awkward, large timers (one for the light, one for the CO2). I can't find smaller ones that accommodate a three-prong plug).

Anyone know if you can buy more of the little suction cups that the CO2 tubing goes through?


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post #12 of 95 (permalink) Old 07-22-2017, 05:07 PM Thread Starter
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I got a fresh master test kit today to compare my Tap water to the RO I created.

Someone told me that RO water would stabilize at a pH of 7 after 48 hours- mine certainly did not. I tested it several times to be sure and got in the mid-6's every time.

Keeping in mind that I will be injecting CO2, which will lower the pH, am I better off going with the 50/50 mix, to give more of a buffer against the pH going too low?

Tap:
KH: 13 drops (off the charts- 12 drops = 214 ppm)
GH: off the charts
pH: 8.0
Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 20 ppm


RO:
KH: 0
GH: 0
pH: 6.4
Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 0 ppm

75/25 mix of RO/Tap:
pH: 7.0
KH: 4

50/50 mix of RO/Tap:
pH: 7.2
KH: 6








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post #13 of 95 (permalink) Old 07-23-2017, 05:50 AM
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I suspect the rocks might be messing with your kH and gH, are they inert? Do you know what minerals they are?

hi

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post #14 of 95 (permalink) Old 07-23-2017, 05:54 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AVN View Post
I suspect the rocks might be messing with your kH and gH, are they inert? Do you know what minerals they are?

Thanks for responding.

The test is not from my tank- that is directly from my tap, believe it or not.

No water in the tank yet- trying to determine the best way to go when I am ready to fill it.

I don't know what minerals the rocks are, but they are inert as far as the fizz test goes...


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post #15 of 95 (permalink) Old 07-23-2017, 06:08 AM
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Alright had to ask.

Your tap water is a huge issue. I think over time it will concentrate a lot of calcium and magnesium in your water column. The Fluorite should be buffering kH and pH, but if you used that tap water it would quickly deplete the buffering capabilities of your substrate.

When you finally do flood your tank, I think you could get away with a 75/25 RO/tap mix (as long as you prepare the tap water). When you dose though you should use 100% RO water to avoid affecting the kH and gH too much.

Your pH should be 6.4-6.8 and your kH should be around 3-4, you'll want your kH to be 0 though since you have a buffering substrate. You still need to figure out what your gH is going to be, and you want that around 4-6 if you want to keep shrimp.
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