75g Dutch Weed Farm - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 164 (permalink) Old 07-16-2017, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
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75g Dutch Weed Farm

I started this Journal on a another forum so it will look familiar to a few people but figured I might as well share it here as well.

I've been wanting to start a journal for sometime now, but documenting my progress either on paper or through photos has never been my strong suit and always seems to be an afterthought. I am one of those guys that brings his camera on vacation and doesn't take a single picture. But luck for me and you I did take a few random photos throughout the process.



Past History:

The tank has been up and running for roughly 9 months. For the first two months I dosed roughly ⅓ EI, then I flipped over to EI for the following three months. Had no clue what I was doing but read that you do not need to dose anywhere near full EI with new AS. From day one I have run Co2 where its a steady stream of bubbles through the counter, to hard to even count. At around the five month, life was a little busy and the tank was kinda left to its own accord. Dosing and trimming were very random, Co2 had run out at some point, and water changes pretty much came to a halt. As all this was taking place there was one constant, the lighting. Four of the six bulbs would come on religiously for 8 hours everyday. As you can imagine my algae growing skill far surpassed my plant growing abilities.

I finally had enough and I entered the tank with scissors in hand and clipped and pulled what ended up being over 75% of the plant material in the tank. When all was said and done I had a grocery bag full to the top of clipping. I restarted my Co2 system and set up a steady stream of bubbles as I had in the past. Lighting did not change, basically 4 bulbs, (two being 6400Ks, one ATI Blue Plus and one Zoo Med Flora) came on for 8 hours each day. Co2 came on one hour before lights on, and went off one hour before lights off. I started dosing full EI, dosing 6 days a week, alternating macros and micros and did a 60% to 70% water change on the 7th day. Plant growth was steady. I tried different plants here and there, of course some grow better than others. I had/have issues with AR mini, leaves curl and stunt, R. wallichii stunting after a couple weeks in the tank, but most other things ive tried grew ok with this routine, some even grew to good (weeds) and they ended up in the compost bin.

TL;DR;
  • Tanks been running 9 months.
  • I let the tank crash due to lack of care and time around the 5 month mark.
  • Cleaned tank up.
  • Started dosing full EI about 3 months ago.
  • Most things grew well.
  • AR mini curls and stunts.
  • R. wallichii stunts after a week or so in the tank.

The Basics and Current Set-up

Tank: standard 75gal 48 x 21 x 18
Stand: Homemade, 2x4 carcass, skinned with cabinet panels which are all removable giving me full access to equipment.


Carcass built and ready for black paint.


Cabinet with removable panels (skins) installed


Just in case someone is interested I used these little connectors to attach the panels.



Light: 6 bulb T5HO Tek light. Has to separate banks of bulbs, two outside bulbs on the first bank and the four middle bulbs on the second bank.




Bulbs: From front to back
  1. 6400K Sunblaster
  2. Zoo Med Flora Sun
  3. 6400K Sunblaster
  4. 6400K Sunblaster
  5. ATI Blue Plus ?
  6. Giesemann AquaFlora

Photoperiod: 8h total. Currently fixture sits about 8" off the surface.
First 2 hours and last 2 hours, two bulbs come on consisting of bulbs 1 and 6
Middle 4 hours, all 6 bulbs on.
I am trying to get a hold of a Par meter to take some readings. Ill update when I get my hands on one.

Filtration and Circulation: Hydro 600, intake and outflow (via a spray bar) setup on left side of tank. Flow is directed across the surface and runs the length of the tank.
On the right side, Ehiem Skimmer 350 that I have plugged into a cheap timer which comes on for half hour runtime multiple times a day.
A Koralia 850 circulating water left to right, aiming downward. This is a balancing act between not disturbing the substrate but keeping the water flowing back across the tank at the plant level.



Substrate: 4 or 5 9L bags (can't remember) of ADA Aqua Soil.

Co2: Custom made Harrison dual stage regulator, Clippard solenoid, Fabco needle valve and 20lb tank.
24" x 2" PVC DYI reactor, gate valve on the outflow to control flow and to create a little back pressure to help with dissolving Co2.
Co2 comes on 1.h hours before lights on and goes off 1 hour before lights off.


I think I might need a little cord management

Water Parameters
2016 Tap water report for my area.
  • Fe - 0.005 ppm
  • Mn - 0.0006 ppm
  • Cu - 0.008 ppm
  • Mg - 8.99 ppm
  • Zn - 0.0028 ppm
  • Mo - 0.0013 ppm
  • B - 0.023 ppm
  • dGH - 122mg/L ~7dGH
  • PH - 7.72
Tank water according to API Test Kit
  • dGH - ~7dGH
  • dKH - ~5dKH
  • PH - Forgot to replace the cap on my PH pen. Will update when I get a new one.

Current Dosing

Macro dosing is based on full EI, I based my calculation on a full 75 gallons of water using Rotala Butterfly.
Macros are dry dosed 3 days a week.
7.5 ppm KNO3
1.3 ppm K2PO4

Micros are currently EI which comes from Dutch Nutrient Formula Micro Mix. I mix these in a 500ml container and dose 10ml 3 days a week.
I dose an extra 5ml/.2 ppm of Flourish Iron on micro days.



Dutch Nutrient Formula Trace Elements

I will add some of my thoughts, concerns and goals, along with more pictures and my current and past plant lists (at least the ones I know the names of) in my next post.

Yes this layout looks very similar to burr's, and there is a reason for that. His journal template is easy read and follow. Also tank information is in one post and easy to find. Full credit goes to Burr740! I hope he doesn't mind because this took a crap load of time to write up.

Thanks for following along, comments, concerns, critiques, suggestions and questions are all welcome and encouraged.
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Last edited by slipfinger; 09-15-2017 at 12:36 PM. Reason: title
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post #2 of 164 (permalink) Old 07-19-2017, 12:54 AM Thread Starter
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Lets get this Journal up to speed.

Like a lot of people I have always had major issues growing Alternanthera Reineckii 'mini' or any of the Alternanthera varieties. Leaves never grow flat, most are stunted and twisted. Basically the same old story we hear time and time again.

Crappy beat up AR before.


It was suggested to me, because my tap water has so much of the minor elements already in it to try and reduce micros and only dose .1ppm Fe DTPA and .05ppm Manganese Sulfate. I was going to try this for 2 weeks and see how the tank and plants respond. The plan was to not change anything else going on with the tank. Same Macro dosing and photo period and intensity as before. Co2 will remain the same one point drop before lights on and tapping out with another .3/.4 drop before lights out and 70% WC once a week.
Well, things didn't work out as I had plan. I screwed up my calculation and only dosed .05ppm FE and .025ppm Mn for the first 2 weeks. The week before I started this, I dosed very little to no micros. So basically the tank went through a mini 'detox' for 3 weeks. Low and behold the AR mini showed improvement from what I guess was the low micros.

3 weeks after low micros


My next step is to continue with my original plan of dosing .1ppm Fe and .5ppm Mn. I'll keep you up to date.
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Last edited by slipfinger; 07-19-2017 at 09:40 AM. Reason: Spelling
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post #3 of 164 (permalink) Old 07-19-2017, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
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Still getting this journal up to speed.

As mentioned in my last post, I screwed up and the tank ended up going through a 'mini detox'. Up until this point the tank was religiously receiving full EI level of micros.

It's way to early to even say or realistically think that the flatting out of AR mini leaves is due to my new dosing. But what we can say with certainty is that the plant definitely liked the low levels of micros. Once I set up my other tanks (two 40B grow-out/experimental tanks) I'd like to continue with the very low levels of micros to see how AR mini responds. But this little experiment in my 75g is not all about low levels of micros. Its more about replacing/removing the EDTA chelating agents from the micro mix and and how it affects AR mini growth. Yes, I am only dosing half EI levels of Fe at .1ppm so I guess you can say I'm reducing micros but my original goal was to remove the EDTA chelating agents from the tank.

I'm keeping a very close eye on the tank looking for any deficiencies that might pop up because I am only dosing Fe and Mn on micro day. I'm hoping that all the rest of the minor elements the plants needs will come from my tap water. I am currently in the process of getting my hands on all the raw materials that make up CMS + B so if needed I can start to supplement my tap water.

So far only thing acting weird is Bacopa caroliniana. Some not all, stem are stunting which I've never seen in this tank. Again to early to say what might be causing this, but we'll keep an eye on it to see how it reacts once we get this 'new' dosing stabilized a little better.

Note stunting of the right stem compared to left stem.
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Last edited by slipfinger; 07-19-2017 at 10:46 PM. Reason: tweaking a few things
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post #4 of 164 (permalink) Old 07-22-2017, 02:28 AM Thread Starter
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Quick update.



Removed a few things and did a little trimming. Tried my hand at some streets, still have random plants here and there.







AR looking a lot better, even some of the Variegated is straightening out.



My original one and a half stems of Pantanal has already turned into four stems. The picture does not do the colour justice. They seem a lot greener in the picture compared to what they look like in the tank.




Hygrophila corymbosa showing some sign of deficiency, anyone have any ideas?

Macros
Kno3 = 1/2tsp 7.3ppm
Kh2Po4 = 1/4tsp 3.4ppm
K2So4 = 3/4tsp 7.5ppm

Micros
.1ppm DTPA Fe
.05ppm Mn
Rest for tap water
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post #5 of 164 (permalink) Old 07-22-2017, 02:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slipfinger View Post

Macros
Kno3 = 1/2tsp 7.3ppm
Kh2Po4 = 1/4tsp 3.4ppm
K2So4 = 3/4tsp 7.5ppm

Micros
.1ppm DTPA Fe
.05ppm Mn
Rest for tap water
Curious how often you add these.
I can't add that much PO4 to my tank. The water just turns to snow from precipitation with iron. Your water quality or pH is probably better than mine.
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post #6 of 164 (permalink) Old 07-22-2017, 11:26 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Belton View Post
Curious how often you add these.
I can't add that much PO4 to my tank. The water just turns to snow from precipitation with iron. Your water quality or pH is probably better than mine.
I dose micros and macros on alternating days.

Macros are always dosed on water change day and the cycle starts from there.

I've dosed as high as 1/2tsp Po4 and have had no ill effect.

I run injected Co2, off gassed PH is about 7.4. Peak drop is ~6.2.

Lately Gh has been ~10.5dKH and Kh has been a steady 5dKH out of the tap.
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post #7 of 164 (permalink) Old 07-22-2017, 01:23 PM
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I have that issue in my tank right now too. The white, dug-in looking spots on a broadleaf aromatica on only new growth.

It showed up during a nitrate spike and only affected 1 plant that receives the least light out of the bunch.

It appears to have solved itself after a few water changes.
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post #8 of 164 (permalink) Old 07-23-2017, 07:39 PM Thread Starter
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@Anchor does broadleaf aromatica = Limnophila aromatica?

I have Limnophila aromatica, its shows no signs of deficiency at all. The plant actually grows like a weed in my tank, love the look and colour, just hate that it doesn't grow straight. Twist and bends in the current and ends up growing all over the place.

Update of deficiency.

Since I was only dosing Fe and Mn and seeing if I could get enough of the other elements out of my tap water, I'm not to surprised to see some form of deficiency. Theoretically my tap water should have enough of the micro elements to supply the tank. But as was discussed on my other journal, are all these elements from the tap water in a useable state? Good question, and I have no clue.

On a side note, last week I did two water changes and never noticed any issues with the Hygrophila corymbosa. This week only one, which was last Saturday. Did I not notice it last week because I added more elements with the midweek water change? Or has the Hygrophila just now starting showing signs of deficiency due to the lack of supplemental trace dosing for the last three weeks?

Tap Water readings from my water report
Cu - 0.008 ppm
Mg - 8.99 ppm
Zn - 0.0028 ppm
Mo - 0.0013 ppm
B - 0.023 ppm

I bought some Flourish Trace and have started to dose it at the recommended label rate. I am also in the midst of ordering the individual elements so I can roll my own traces, I'd love to experiment and narrow down what element is causing the deficiency.

Co2 issues.

My Co2 has started to float around the last couple of days. I'm not to sure if its my needle valve (Fabco NV55) or if its my check valve built into my bubble counter messing up. Yesterday when I went to check on the tank, there was a ton of gurgling coming from my reactor and the Ph monitor was already showing a full one point drop in Ph and the Co2 had only been on for 20 minutes. The gas was flying through the bubble counter and I had to dial it down a fair amount. This morning I go down and Ph has only dropped .1 and Co2 had been on for half hour.

I am now on the hunt for a reasonable priced metering valve and a new bubble counter. Looking for recommendations?
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Last edited by slipfinger; 07-23-2017 at 09:24 PM. Reason: spelling
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post #9 of 164 (permalink) Old 07-23-2017, 08:07 PM
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Great looking tank, nice journal, and very well documented. Looking forward to seeing where it goes from here. Subscribed.

As to PAR readings, I would imagine yours is going to be quite high.

For reference, I have six bulbs over an 60" x 18" x 26" 120G tank. So 18" wide like yours, but taller. So my lights are about 26" from the substrate, and my par with all bulbs on is 135 in the middle of the tank at the substrate. Yours are probably even a bit higher, which is at pretty much nosebleed levels.

Like you, I stagger the lighting throughout the day. I only have all bulbs for 4 hours, and am slowly cutting that back to see the effect.


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post #10 of 164 (permalink) Old 07-23-2017, 09:05 PM
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Okay,

The check valve, even if it's leaking or not seating, or sticking, cannot be the cause of excess co2 assuming the check valve is after the needle valve

The needle valve Fiasco's people have,.. I won't go into it... But I would suspect your needle valve is OK .

So. That leaves pressure. Which is handled by the regulator on the tank. If the gauge for low pressure has any movement at alll, your regulator is bad (even if the movement is 2psi over 10hours)

Yes I was referring too limnophilia aromatics, sorry
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post #11 of 164 (permalink) Old 07-23-2017, 09:12 PM
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Quote:
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My Co2 has started to float around the last couple of days. I'm not to sure if its my needle valve (Fabco NV55) or if its my check valve built into my bubble counter messing up. Yesterday when I went to check on the tank, there was a ton of gurgling coming from my reactor and the Ph monitor was already showing a full one point drop in Ph and the Co2 had only been on for 20 minutes. The gas was flying through the bubble counter and I had to dial it down a fair amount. This morning I go down and Ph has only dropped .1 and Co2 had been on for half hour.

I am now on the hunt for a reasonable priced metering valve and a new bubble counter. Looking for recommendations?
That sux. When your reactor was full of massive CO2, did you do anything to vent it, or is that unneccesary?
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post #12 of 164 (permalink) Old 07-23-2017, 09:57 PM Thread Starter
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@Greggz

Thanks for the kind words. As for Par, I'm guessing its up there as well, hence only running all 6 bulbs for 4 hours. I will be interested to see how the different bulbs are effecting my par readings.

@Anchor

I too highly doubt its my check valve, just throwing that out there as I know mine is not seating right and letting a little water by. Reason I suspect its my needle valve is because if I just touch the dial my bubble counter changes and changes by a lot, almost like the port is/was blocked.

I'm pretty sure its not my reg, but I will keep a closer eye on it. It's a Harris 9296SS reg I bought new 8 months ago, doesn't mean its not working 100% but I set it to 20psi the day I set it up and I have never seen it move off the original setting.

@ChrisX

No, I don't do anything. It's usually gurgling after a few hours of Co2 anyways, I just leave it and by morning it's running clear again. Future plans are to try and make the whole Co2 system more efficient, but for now I run it like Co2 is free.
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post #13 of 164 (permalink) Old 07-24-2017, 12:59 AM
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Quote:
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Tap Water readings from my water report
Cu - 0.008 ppm
Mg - 8.99 ppm
Zn - 0.0028 ppm
Mo - 0.0013 ppm
B - 0.023 ppm
I would bet your tank could use all this up in a day if not less.

You need Flourish and not Flourish Trace.
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post #14 of 164 (permalink) Old 07-24-2017, 01:23 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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You need Flourish and not Flourish Trace.
@Ben Belton

Can you expand on this?
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post #15 of 164 (permalink) Old 07-24-2017, 02:06 PM
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When you say it's set too 20psi, are you reading the gauge supplied with the regulator? Or did you install your own gauge?

Please double check your reading a PSI gauge and not a PSIG gauge, because this would explain your issue with regulating flow.
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