Keating1's 55 Gal Tank Journal - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 298 (permalink) Old 12-18-2018, 12:41 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by TheLordOfTheFish View Post
I have a very similar setup, 55 gallon, 18inches high and running 2x satellite pro plus with similar CO2 output. I'm running the lights 8h and getting some BBA and small amount of green algae. My planeload is probably even higher than yours. Your tank looks pristine. Do you have any advice in terms of lighting length and strength? Are you running the satellite pro pluses at 100%?
The front Satellite Pro + runs for 6:15 hours. That includes the 15 minute up and down ramp times at start and finish. Other than the ramp up and ramp down periods, it's on at 100%. The Finnex back light is on for 5 hours at 100%. For your set up, try reducing the photo-period down to what I have.

"My plant load is probably even higher than yours." Remember, that 1st post is when everything is being shown at it's best! LOL.

Below is when I let the tank go into "Jungle Mode". The plants were thick enough such that it blocked a lot of light as can be seen in the darkness in the photo. Sometimes it just fun to let it go into jungle mode and see what happens. The disadvantage is the fish tend to hide a lot in jungle mode, so my current practice is to keep it cleaner with more open spaces. But that's difficult with a 55 due to the limited depth.

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post #17 of 298 (permalink) Old 12-18-2018, 01:02 AM
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The front Satellite Pro + runs for 6:15 hours. That includes the 15 minute up and down ramp times at start and finish. Other than the ramp up and ramp down periods, it's on at 100%. The Finnex back light is on for 5 hours at 100%. For your set up, try reducing the photo-period down to what I have.

"My plant load is probably even higher than yours." Remember, that 1st post is when everything is being shown at it's best! LOL.

Below is when I let the tank go into "Jungle Mode". The plants were thick enough such that it blocked a lot of light as can be seen in the darkness in the photo. Sometimes it just fun to let it go into jungle mode and see what happens. The disadvantage is the fish tend to hide a lot in jungle mode, so my current practice is to keep it cleaner with more open spaces. But that's difficult with a 55 due

to the limited depth.

Let me rephrase myself Your tank has more planeload than mine...I'm running both at 90%. I'll go down to 7h as a start and maybe pump to 100%. I just planted some baby dwarf tears, they will like that. I wish I could ramp it down to 5% or so for 3h in the evening. It's really the only thing I don't like about this light, the limited amount of control when it comes to ramp time. Thanks for the answer.
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post #18 of 298 (permalink) Old 12-18-2018, 01:13 AM
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To be honest, I'm not sure if the success we have with our tanks would be possible without the help or knowledge of others. I shudder to think what my tank would look like if I had to figure it out all my myself.
True words Ken.

I've said before I have learned more than I can repay............and am still learning all the time.

I will say one thing I have noticed lately. There are more and more high quality tanks, like yours, popping up with greater and greater frequency. It's a good thing for the hobby, and I am glad to see it.

Every success (and sometimes failure) provides a new opportunity to learn, and we all benefit from that.

So thanks to everyone who shares, and keep at it.
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post #19 of 298 (permalink) Old 12-18-2018, 01:19 AM Thread Starter
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@TheLordOfTheFish: A couple of other issues I forgot to mention regarding BBA and green algae. I keep the aquarium very clean with constant changing of the pads and 50% WC every week. Now interestingly, I changed the ferts dosing amounts in Nov and minor BBA started to show up in the gravel(in the shady spots, low flow spots of all places) and the leaves on the anubia's started to pick up some green algae. Other plants started to have reduced growth. I changed the dosage levels and the BBA and green algae started to go away. My side my side comparisons are per below. Red cells are where I made the dosing changes.

Hope this helps.


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post #20 of 298 (permalink) Old 12-18-2018, 01:55 AM
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Excuse my language, but HOLY CRAP!!! Simply amazing. Stunning healthy plants and fish!! Making of a California burr!!!

Definitely intrigued with the VV reactor...can you share the pipe lengths, dimensions etc.

Bump: Excuse my language, but HOLY CRAP!!! Simply amazing. Stunning healthy plants and fish!! Making of a California burr!!!

Definitely intrigued with the VV reactor...can you share the pipe lengths, dimensions etc.
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post #21 of 298 (permalink) Old 12-18-2018, 02:03 AM Thread Starter
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True words Ken.

I've said before I have learned more than I can repay............and am still learning all the time.

I will say one thing I have noticed lately. There are more and more high quality tanks, like yours, popping up with greater and greater frequency. It's a good thing for the hobby, and I am glad to see it.

Every success (and sometimes failure) provides a new opportunity to learn, and we all benefit from that.

So thanks to everyone who shares, and keep at it.
Gregg, a lot of the sharing and communication on this site is due to your effort in asking others to contribute, plus your ability to be very informative and helpful in your posts. I'm on other non-aquarium forums, some of which can be a little on the aggressive side sometimes, but I can't recall any individuals that keep the conversations, threads and discussions in such an positive "we're all in this together, let's work together" attitude as well as you do. Funny, when I first approached you about making spreadsheet changes I was concerned about how you would react to someone suggesting changes on a spreadsheet that you had developed and had been using , but you jumped right in with the attitude "what can we do to make this work for all parties". I really appreciate the effort you've put into this forum and your effort in making this such a communicative site, you've done a great job!
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post #22 of 298 (permalink) Old 12-18-2018, 03:45 AM Thread Starter
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Excuse my language, but HOLY CRAP!!! Simply amazing. Stunning healthy plants and fish!! Making of a California burr!!!

Definitely intrigued with the VV reactor...can you share the pipe lengths, dimensions etc.
Now, that's funny! There can only be one burr!! Earlier I stated 'I shudder to think what my tank would look like if I had to figure it out all my myself.' I should of added "I also shudder to think what all our tanks would look like if it wasn't for burr!

See below for the VV Reactor dimensions. Let me know if you would like any more information.

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post #23 of 298 (permalink) Old 12-18-2018, 04:18 AM
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Well I'd be literally NOWHERE without others who shared their experience before. That's how I learned too and still am. Its definitely a collective effort
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post #24 of 298 (permalink) Old 12-18-2018, 04:05 PM
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Thanks, I'll compare my Fert dosing to what you have. Is that some sort of public layout you are using for the Fert chart? I'll post a sideway pic to my tank tomorrow. Generally everything going great except some small amount of BBA but it still bothers me I turned on my two lights to 100% today and went down to 6.5h light period from 8. Also lowered CO2 by 0.2 ppm as it was at 1.2 and I'm getting some RCS tomorrow...don't want to welcome them with a solid dose of deadly gas.
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post #25 of 298 (permalink) Old 12-18-2018, 05:24 PM Thread Starter
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Is that some sort of public layout you are using for the Fert chart?
Send me a PM with a email address and I'll send you the spreadsheet file. Anyone else can feel free to send me a request also.
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post #26 of 298 (permalink) Old 12-18-2018, 05:39 PM
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What aquarium stores do you like to go to in Sacramento?
My favorite store used to be Capital Aquarium, but, sadly is long gone.
I typically go to Aqua-works now.

180 g. low tech w/ wild South American cichlids, corydoras eques, and African Congo riverine tetras.
60 g. low tech w/ F1 Alenquer pair /Stendker "Tefe" discus and wild Altum Angels
30 g. low tech w/ Wild Tucano tetras
30 g. low-tech African Biotope
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post #27 of 298 (permalink) Old 12-18-2018, 06:54 PM Thread Starter
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What aquarium stores do you like to go to in Sacramento?
My favorite store used to be Capital Aquarium, but, sadly is long gone.
I typically go to Aqua-works now.
Yes, all of us in the area definitely miss Capital! It's still hard to believe they closed their doors permanently.

Stores I go to:

Aqua-Workz, 80% of the time. I talk to James, their plant person, quite a bit.
Splash Aquarium, 15%
Aqua-Life Aquarium in Roseville, 5%. Would go more often if it was closer.
Aquarium Depot, Exotic Aquarium and Rivers to Reef(Davis): Will stop by if I happen to be driving nearby.

Others store not as close by but that I really like, especially because of their planted tanks:
Aqua Forest Aquarium in San Francisco(unbelievable tank displays, beautiful)
Albany Aquarium in Albany
Neptune's Aquatics in San Jose


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post #28 of 298 (permalink) Old 12-18-2018, 07:02 PM
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I buy my frozen foods, some plants, and the occasional fish at Aqua-Works.
It is my favorite store in the vicinity.
I bought my 180 gallon tank/stand and substrate from the guys at Splash. I dont routinely go here though.

I have been to River to Reef when I was going to UC Davis- I had forgotten about them. I think they have moved to a new location since I last went there.
I have been to the store in Roseville- very nice store... bought two Discus from them. Were sickly, unfortunately. Never ate well and persistent HHLE. Had to euthanize.

I will look into the other out-of-town aquarium stores you've listed- thanks for the tips.
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180 g. low tech w/ wild South American cichlids, corydoras eques, and African Congo riverine tetras.
60 g. low tech w/ F1 Alenquer pair /Stendker "Tefe" discus and wild Altum Angels
30 g. low tech w/ Wild Tucano tetras
30 g. low-tech African Biotope
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post #29 of 298 (permalink) Old 12-18-2018, 09:26 PM
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Now interestingly, I changed the ferts dosing amounts in Nov and minor BBA started to show up in the gravel(in the shady spots, low flow spots of all places) and the leaves on the anubia's started to pick up some green algae. Other plants started to have reduced growth. I changed the dosage levels and the BBA and green algae started to go away. My side my side comparisons are per below. Red cells are where I made the dosing changes.
Ken first let me say you are doing a great job on documentation. When I got started, I didn't document anything. Changed fert dosing on a whim (whack-a-mole), and couldn't remember what I was doing when or why. Now like you, I track every single thing I can think of. When you are trying to make decisions based on cause and effect, those notes will serve you well.

Had a chance just now to look over your numbers more carefully. FWIW, I'll give you my thoughts.

First is that I doubt micro changes made much difference. Your numbers are on the low side for many micros, and nothing looks anywhere near toxic numbers, at least to me. Is there a reason you lowered B/Cu and raised Zn?

I did note you reduced K via lower K2CO3 dosing. So you went from total K per week of about 51 down to about 37ppm. I did exactly the same about 3 weeks ago, and have also seen a positive response. Theory is N & P are more available with lower K (Mulder's chart).

Also noted you lowered Ca/Mg. I may be going in that direction as well, so will be curious to hear about any other changes you have noticed in the tank.

Now all that mumbo jumbo being said, could also be related to reduction in plant mass. Did you notice some of the improvements when you beat back the jungle? Couldn't tell when you were at peak mass or when you trimmed it down.

Anyway, all interesting stuff and good food for thought.
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post #30 of 298 (permalink) Old 12-19-2018, 01:02 AM Thread Starter
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Ken first let me say you are doing a great job on documentation. When I got started, I didn't document anything. Changed fert dosing on a whim (whack-a-mole), and couldn't remember what I was doing when or why. Now like you, I track every single thing I can think of. When you are trying to make decisions based on cause and effect, those notes will serve you well.

Had a chance just now to look over your numbers more carefully. FWIW, I'll give you my thoughts.

First is that I doubt micro changes made much difference. Your numbers are on the low side for many micros, and nothing looks anywhere near toxic numbers, at least to me. Is there a reason you lowered B/Cu and raised Zn?

I did note you reduced K via lower K2CO3 dosing. So you went from total K per week of about 51 down to about 37ppm. I did exactly the same about 3 weeks ago, and have also seen a positive response. Theory is N & P are more available with lower K (Mulder's chart).

Also noted you lowered Ca/Mg. I may be going in that direction as well, so will be curious to hear about any other changes you have noticed in the tank.

Now all that mumbo jumbo being said, could also be related to reduction in plant mass. Did you notice some of the improvements when you beat back the jungle? Couldn't tell when you were at peak mass or when you trimmed it down.

Anyway, all interesting stuff and good food for thought.
For Zn, I decreased the amounts, from 0.03 down to 0.006. I though it said 0.06 when I looked at it after your comment, but on the second look I realized it was less.

The Jungle Mode photo was taken back in Sept. I haven’t let it get to that mode since, I sort of like seeing the fish!

Up until Oct 19 I was dosing CSM+B for micros and Aquavitro Mineralize for kH/GH boosters. On 10/20/18 I started with custom recipes with ferts I purchased from @burr740. In addition, on Nov 2, I stopped using Minerailze and started to use K2CO3, CaSO4.2HO and MgSO4.7H2O. At first, the plants did well, but by Nov 10 I was noticing some issues, the java moss became a little messy, say straggly, and the japan carpet lost a little color and stopped growing as fast as it had been growing. I made some corrections, but by the end of November maybe 60% plants were not growing near as well. But the other 40% were doing better. Because I had increased the dosage amounts of Micros and GH/KH boosters all roughly the same time, there was no way to tell what was causing the issues. So, I looked at what my ppm’s were when I was dosing CSM+B, when the tank was going really well, and I figured that I could probably still be good at 50% greater ppms, so I reset the recipe to approximately 150% of my old CSM+B amounts and substantially lowered the KH/GH amounts, which is the 12/2/18 version. With that things went back to normal. Looking back, most likely the cause may have been too much K, Ca and Mg.

This was really a good learning experience, because what I learned was don’t increase everything at once, because if an issue arises, it’s impossible to pinpoint what’s causing the issues. The other thing I learned is we’ll never obtain the perfect dosing regime because different plants react differently to the ppm’s in our aquariums.

You mentioned that I was not close to toxic amounts, but I’m thinking we need to have a term, say tolerance level, for our plants, because I believe some plants respond differently to certain ppm amounts. As and example, my monte carlo carpet really like the 11/2/18 recipe, but the HC hated it.

I had a local laboratory test the water right before the last water change and right before I switched to the 12/2/18 recipe, out of curiosity to see what the results were. The test results are per below, with a comparison to my dosing amounts following afterward. Any comments or suggestions from all would be appreciated.







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Last edited by Ken Keating1; 12-19-2018 at 04:20 AM. Reason: Grammar
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