Spencer's 55 gallon wannabe dutch - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-22-2018, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
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Spencer's 55 gallon wannabe dutch

I have been lurking on the site for a while now and am marveled by all these wonderful tanks and decided to start a journal to fuel the motivation for my own tank .
I don't really know how this journal stuff works so i am just gunna give it a go.

My tank is a 55 gallon that has been up for five years now and only in the last year or so have i started to become obsessed with planted tanks.
Since then I have learned so much, more information than i thought was possible for a fish tank.

Tank specifics

Co2 - 5lb co2 tank, aquatek regulator, co2 is injected through a 250 gph powerhead. PH drop of 1.3-1.4 points (7.2-5.8). Co2 starts at 1 and turns off at 9pm.

Lighting - 6 ghetto desk lamps with 1500 lumens per bulb, on for eight hours. Lights come on at 4pm and go off at 10pm.

Substrate - Just sand, i am looking to switch to Black diamond blasting sand because of how amazing it looks in other members tanks.

Filter - Fluval 406, i have two additional power-heads, one sun-sun 500gph and one 180gph aquatop for surface agitation.

Temp - 78

Fish - 6x Rainbowfish, 3x anglelfish, 8x rummynose tetras, 5x cory catfish, 3x otto catfish and 3x electric german blue rams.

Plants - limnophila aromatica, monte carlo, pogo erectus, ludwigia mini red and rubin, AR mini, bacopa carolina and colorata, red stem myriophyllum, mermaid weed, lobelia cardinalis,
Hydrocotyle tripartita, some barely hanging on ammannia gracilis, an unknown species of plant on the far left and green cabomba

Water - I am using RO-DI water and reconstitute it to a KH of 2 and add 30ppm of CA and 15ppm of MG to 25 gallons for my 50% weekly water changes.

Dosing - I am currently dosing EI macros with 1/2 of EI micros and I am planning to lower micros gradually until my fussing plants are happy. The AR mini and ammannia have shown
improvement since i started lowering micros.

Plants I want to add - pogostemon helferi, limnophila indica and cabomba furcata.

Future Plans - Find a better lighting solution. Order a inline diffuser or make a reactor. Create a scape for the tank and switch to BDBS.

Current Problems - Cyanobacteria covering the monte carlo , hair algae on ludwigia red mini and lobelia cardinalis, poor ammania gracilis growth and twisted AR mini leaves.

additional info - I have two other tanks besides this one, a 40 breeder and a nano saltwater aquarium.

PLEASE if you have any criticisms or suggestions feel free to share them or any helpful information. I would appreciate any feedback! .

I will post a picture of the tank in its current state, nothing impressive however, it has come a long way. I still need to create a scape but for the time being i am trying to get everything to grow well. I will also try to post a picture of the previous scapes and plants the tank has had in the past.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-22-2018, 02:38 AM
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Wow! I love the variety of leaf shapes and colors, and you've distributed them beautifully. My only slight criticism: The left side looks a little bit bare, but that might be for the sake of swimming room. Also, some might say something like "less is more" in terms of plant species; others, however, feel that "variety is the spice of life." At any rate, your tank is gorgeous. 🙂
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-22-2018, 02:58 AM
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Beautiful!!!
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-27-2018, 05:03 AM Thread Starter
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I bought some BDBS and put it in the tank yesterday and also moved some things around. This took forever. It amazed me how much of a difference it made though. The BDBS made the plants and fish pop so much more and I am glad i switched to it. I also ordered an inline co2 diffuser which should come this week and will allow me to get some of the power heads out of the way and plant more on the left side. I am still trying to get the AR mini's leaves to grow well but so far they have made an improvement. Ludwigia red mini is not doing as well as i would like, some leaves have hair algae and BBA on them, the plant itself is also frail. Pogo erectus has started doing 200% better in the past weeks and is now sprouting side shoots. Hopefully with the cleaner sand and overall conditions the cyano will not return on the monte carlo. The previous sand was basically untouched for years because I knew nothing about fish tanks lol and I have a suspicion that's what was causing it. The 'scape' is still not final and will continue to change until i figure out which plants grow the best / are my favorite and the plant variety will eventually decrease. Once again please share any criticisms or suggestions !
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-03-2018, 04:15 AM Thread Starter
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Update: Things have gotten worse after adding the BDBS however, i do not attribute it to the sand. I also added an inline co2 diffuser from GLA and removed a powerhead that was annoying me because i couldnt plant anything under it because it wouldn't get any light. I added some limnophila indica on the right too. Hair algae has gotten way worse and is affecting almost every plant, the ludwigia species have it the worst and they never grew well for me in the first place. I do not know what could be causing it and its upsetting. I have high light with a 1.4 ph drop and my fish start to gasp before the co2 shuts off. I am dosing EI and 1/2 EI micros with extra flourish iron. The only thing i can think that would be causing it is that i'm missing a micro-nutrient. I am using CSM+B and after researching a little it seems i'm missing things like Chlorine, sodium, nickel and things like that due to my RO water. I am thinking of switching to flourish comprehensive and trace to see if that will fix it. Another problem is some of the leaves have just broke in half it looks like, especially on the lobelia and the blyxa. It looks like something was eating them but i do not think that is the case. I added some osmocote pellets underneath to see if that will help. If you have any idea what could be the cause of the hair algae or broken leaves please inform me .
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-03-2018, 11:09 AM
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I am converting my 55 African cichlid tank to a planted tank, and have been considering changing my pool sand out for BDBS, and I think you may have just convinced me. Thank you for sharing the before and after, it it's looking really great.

I recently went to pressurized on my 29 gallon from DIY CO2 and my nutrient uptake has taken off. I didn't up my ferts and after a couple days had zero nitrates. Now working on a more balanced fert schedule. Could your plants be up taking more ferts than you think, running you low on nutrients between doses, thus giving the algea a chance to thrive? Did your old substrate possibly have nutrients loaded in it just from being in there over time and now with the BDBS it's empty of anything? Not saying these are the answers, but I though might be worth posing the questions for you.

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-03-2018, 01:28 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grobbins48 View Post
I am converting my 55 African cichlid tank to a planted tank, and have been considering changing my pool sand out for BDBS, and I think you may have just convinced me. Thank you for sharing the before and after, it it's looking really great.

I recently went to pressurized on my 29 gallon from DIY CO2 and my nutrient uptake has taken off. I didn't up my ferts and after a couple days had zero nitrates. Now working on a more balanced fert schedule. Could your plants be up taking more ferts than you think, running you low on nutrients between doses, thus giving the algea a chance to thrive? Did your old substrate possibly have nutrients loaded in it just from being in there over time and now with the BDBS it's empty of anything? Not saying these are the answers, but I though might be worth posing the questions for you.

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Thank you for the compliment and i'm sure you will love the BDBS .
I thought that the EI dosing method would cover the macros however i might try to up the dose if the flourish comprehensive and trace doesnt work out. I think I will also test parameters daily to see if they are running low since i never really test them.
I did add the osmocote pellets underneath some of the root heavy plants for that sole reason, hopefully it works out.
Thanks for the feedback nd goodluck with your 55!
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-09-2018, 11:58 PM Thread Starter
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Update: Hair algae is out of control, it must be something major i'm doing wrong although i'm completely clueless so I changed some things. Last week i added water from my tap at a 1:5 ratio of tap to Ro to see if that would help, it didn't. So, I went up to EI for 60-80 gallon tank, upped KH from 2 to 4. Upped the ca and mg from 15/5 to 30/10 ppm and got flourish comprehensive, trace and excel. I dosed flourish comprehensive for .11 Fe and added another .1 fe from flourish iron, I added 3 caps of trace per directions and finally added 4 cap-fulls of excel for initial dose. If none of these things work i have no idea what else to do. My only concern is flourish comprehensive has lower levels of micros compared with csm+B when i compared the values given to me by the calculator from dosing for .11 Fe. Rotala macrandra has some stunting, lobelia still has the weird bitten looking leaves, ludwigia's are in horrible shape and mermaid weed is stunting and detaching from stems, also monte carlo will no stay planted no matter what i do. Today is my birthday so if any of you want to give me a present, tell me what i'm doing wrong lol.

The FTS and other pics are before water change.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-10-2018, 01:03 AM
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You said you have high light, but I am wondering how you came to that conclusion?

Lighting - 6 ghetto desk lamps with 1500 lumens per bulb.

Does anyone have any idea if this is high, med, or low light? I really have no idea, as I've never seen a set up like that before. It would be helpful to have some idea, as it pretty much drives everything else.

And when you say EI or 1/2 EI dosing, what does that mean? Would be curious as to the PPM you are dosing.

When you changed the substrate, did you test for ammonia? Very often a substrate change will start a new cycle, with elevated levels of ammonia. That would explain much of what you are seeing now.

But all in all, it looks like plants are growing, so hopefully you can get things fine tuned a bit.

And of course, love the Rainbows!!


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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-10-2018, 01:47 AM
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Would first check for pH drop.
De-gassed sample vs. 2 hours into photo-period.
Looking for a full 1.0 pH drop to equal about 30 ppm.

Drop photo-period to 6 to 6.5 hours.

Hair algae is not stringy and going everywhere, this is most likely BBA in early stages.
Green, black or purple tufts are attached to leaves not stringing about everywhere.
BBA grows well in high flow areas from my experience.

A norm would be to target 10:1 ratio of NO3:PO4
Don't need to keep raising KH, 1 to 2 will work.

Stepping down from soapbox now!
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Growing is not that difficult.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-10-2018, 05:02 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
You said you have high light, but I am wondering how you came to that conclusion?

Lighting - 6 ghetto desk lamps with 1500 lumens per bulb.

Does anyone have any idea if this is high, med, or low light? I really have no idea, as I've never seen a set up like that before. It would be helpful to have some idea, as it pretty much drives everything else.

And when you say EI or 1/2 EI dosing, what does that mean? Would be curious as to the PPM you are dosing.

When you changed the substrate, did you test for ammonia? Very often a substrate change will start a new cycle, with elevated levels of ammonia. That would explain much of what you are seeing now.

But all in all, it looks like plants are growing, so hopefully you can get things fine tuned a bit.

And of course, love the Rainbows!!
Hey Greggz. I kinda just generalized however i came to that conclusion after my first post on here where people were telling me i had high light and to keep my photo period @ 6 hours because i had loads of algae. I stuck with that idea and since i bought a beamswork and a nicrew led fixture and replaced the desklamps with them and my plants had a bad reaction, my rotala mac and ludiwigia red lost a lot of color and grew slower so i guess i just figured what i was running before was better and higher light. I don't have a par meter so i don't really know.

Ppm's - Last week - MACROS - 7.5 ppm KNO3 , 2.6 ppm of KH2PO4, and 2ppm of K2SO4, all these 3x a week. MICROS - 1/16 tsp of CSM+ B which is .12 ppm of Fe, 0.021 B, 0.035 Mn, 0.001 Mo, 0.007 Zn and 0.002 Cu. I also added an additional .1 ppm Fe from Flourish Iron.

This Week - Macros - 12.8 ppm of KNO3, 4.2ppm KH2PO4, and 3.8 ppm K2SO4, 3x a week. Micros - .11 ppm Fe ,0.00309 B, 0.39531 CL, 0.00406 Mn, 0.00031 Mo, 0.00024 Zn from flourish comprehensive, 15ml of flourish trace or 0.006736 Mn, 0.002219 B, 0.000024 Co, 0.002536 Cu, 0.000238 Mo and 0.013394 Zn. also an additional .1 ppm Fe from flourish Iron. I didn't know if u wanted all the ppm of micros but there they are .

I just tested ammonia, it was at 0.0 - 0.25. I did have the hair algae and cyano before the substrate change but it wasn't nearly as bad.

Thanks for the complement on the rainbows . They are my favorite, especially the Melanotaenia Parkinsoni.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-10-2018, 05:21 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
Would first check for pH drop.
De-gassed sample vs. 2 hours into photo-period.
Looking for a full 1.0 pH drop to equal about 30 ppm.

Drop photo-period to 6 to 6.5 hours.

Hair algae is not stringy and going everywhere, this is most likely BBA in early stages.
Green, black or purple tufts are attached to leaves not stringing about everywhere.
BBA grows well in high flow areas from my experience.

A norm would be to target 10:1 ratio of NO3:PO4
Don't need to keep raising KH, 1 to 2 will work.

Stepping down from soapbox now!
Hey, thanks for the info.
My co2 drops to 1.1/1.2 and proceeds down to 1.4 from when the lights come on till they go off. My co2 had been inconsistent for the past week or so but it has been inconsistent as of being too high rather than too low. I just installed an inline diffuser last week and have been trying to get that setup right, the fish have been showing signs of stress.

I forgot to update that, my photo-period has been @ 6 hours for the past two weeks because of the algae, 4-10.

I do have BBA in my tank already however the BBA is much harder to get off the leaves and is black where this algae is way easier to remove and is slimy/green. I might try to get some better pictures tomorrow.

I don't have a 10:1 KNO3:PO4 ratio, i will try to change that next week if things continue the way they are. Thank you .
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-11-2018, 03:18 AM
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Raise lights a few inches.


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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-12-2018, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spencernw View Post
Thank you for the compliment and i'm sure you will love the BDBS .
I thought that the EI dosing method would cover the macros however i might try to up the dose if the flourish comprehensive and trace doesnt work out. I think I will also test parameters daily to see if they are running low since i never really test them.
I did add the osmocote pellets underneath some of the root heavy plants for that sole reason, hopefully it works out.
Thanks for the feedback nd goodluck with your 55!
When switching over to the BDBS, after you put it in the tank, did you re-introduce the fish right away? I am in the process of washing 100lbs of it now, and want to switch the substrates over tomorrow. It seems it is good to put the fish back right away, but figured I would ask you experience. Thanks!
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-12-2018, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grobbins48 View Post
When switching over to the BDBS, after you put it in the tank, did you re-introduce the fish right away? I am in the process of washing 100lbs of it now, and want to switch the substrates over tomorrow. It seems it is good to put the fish back right away, but figured I would ask you experience. Thanks!
Yes, i reintroduced them right away and they are doing fine . I did rinse the sand pretty heavily before adding it though and once added, it did not discolor the water. Goodluck !
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