75g first attempt, come for the journey - please participate! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-30-2019, 03:45 AM Thread Starter
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Hello,

Tank
Aqueon 75 gallon
pH - 7.6 to 7.8 (degassed)
kH - 9 to 10
GH - 190ppm

Lighting
Finnex Planted+ 24/7 (not CC or SE), on from 4pm to 11pm
Finnex Ray2 DS, on from 6pm to 8:30pm

Filtration
Sunsun 304b, 2 trays of Seachem Matrix, 2 trays of polyfill, 100mL bag of purigen, 250ml bag of purigen. Feeds into a Grigg's reactor.
Oase Thermomaster 600, 2 trays of Hel-X bio media, 2 trays of Seachem Matrix, 1 tray of biohome, 1 tray of 45ppi sponge, 1 tray of 30ppi sponge. Prefilter with 30ppi sponge.

CO2
Pressurized 5lb tank, dual gauge (NOT stage) regulator, comes on 2 hours prior to lights

Fertilizer
EI dosing standard KNO3, KH2PO4, K2SO4, DTPA Micromix, 11% DTPA Fe all from GLA. I check NO3 and PO4 daily with API test kits. If NO3/PO4 is above 20ppm/2ppm respectively, I skip KNO3 and KH2PO4 dosing and only dose K2SO4 according to Rotala Butterfly calculations. Macros and micros are dosed on alternating days.

Substrate
Black diamond blasting sand with root tabs from NilocG

Fauna
40 Neon tetra
25 Ember tetra
6 Panda corydoras
1 Bristlenose Pleco
2 Clown pleco
2 Siamese algae eater
5 Cherry barb
2 Apistogramma Cacatoudes
2 Apistogramma Hongsloi
6 Nerite snails

Flora
Dwarf hairgrass
S. repens
Amazon sword
AR mini
AR
Rotala rotundfiola
L. Inclinata Cuba
L. repens
L. palustris
Christmas moss
Buce Pedagang Japan
Red Myrio
Temple plant
Gratiola Viscidula

Schedule
2pm - CO2 kicks on, air pump turns off
4 - Finnex Planted+ turns on, I often check the pH for a 1 point drop
5:30 - Finnex Ray2 turns on
6 - Air pump turns on
6:30 - Air pump turns off
7 - CO2 turns off
7:30 - CO2 turns on
8 - Finnex Ray2 turns off
8:30 - CO2 turns off
9 - CO2 turns on
9:30 - CO2 turns off for the night
10 - I feed a tablet of Sera food (the kind that sticks on the glass) alternating daily between treat and veggie formulas
11 - Finnex Planted+ turns off, air pump turns on

As you can see, the CO2 turns on and off frequently. This is in an attempt to get the 1pH drop within 2 hours before lights on while not gassing my fish during the rest of the day. I believe I've struck a nice balance with degassing, etc. The Ray2 comes on for just a little while to provide an extra punch. I'd like to eventually have both lights on during the entire photoperiod, but I'd probably be at over 100+ par even at substrate. Want to make sure I have everything in balance first.

50% water change every week.

Problems:

The AR mini and Amazon Sword definitely has some BBA and maybe the S. repens also.

There is some brown algae on the L. palustris and S. repens. Perhaps diatoms. I can rub it off the leaves but it is not easy.

The S. repens algae is on old leaves from prior to my ownership. I figure this is part of melting.

The L. Cuba looks pathetic. May be that my water is too hard for it.

I may have killed the one buce by using too much super glue. We'll see if it bounces back.

I spot dose with metricide most nights of the week. It seems to help.

Pictures:
http://imgur.com/a/TdkcPK4

I think the tank should look fantastic once things grow in. I need to figure out the reason for the BBA. I believe I had a K deficiency for a long time, wrong chelate for my micros, suboptimal CO2 conditions and lots of organics from my bio load.

In the past month I have:

Increased CO2 to get a 1 pH drop prior to light's coming on.
Used an air pump to ensure oxygen levels are ok throughout the photoperiod and to help degas
Started dosing K2SO4
Added the Oase filter. I'm hoping this greatly improves things. I don't think my Sunsun was turning nearly enough water - especially with the Grigg's reactor attached.

Tomorrow new plants are coming. Several buce and a few Ludwigia. A crypt as well.
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Last edited by jcoulter; 05-31-2019 at 01:03 AM.
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-30-2019, 04:32 AM
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You have a Beautiful tank. I have some suggestions. Maintenance maintenance maintenance, pull your hardscape and do good gravel vacuuming where they laid. This will help keep organics down. A well maintained tank, leaves more room for error. It will keep some algae at bay. Hardscape is great at trapping debris. You may or may not have remove and vacuum under hardscape every water change. Once you get into the groove you will know how often to do so. Also would keep your aerator on a timer and only have it turn on as soon as your co2 turns off. If you cant achieve a 1 ph drop without an aerator, your circulation needs adjustment. Not to sound vague but just trying to save you some money and time replacing your co2 tank. Other wise I think your tank looks Beautiful, keep up the good work I hope you enjoy the ride.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-31-2019, 12:29 AM Thread Starter
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Some big changes today.

I lost probably 90% of my red myrio and AR tissue cultures. I planted them right next to each other on the right side of the tank. There should be a picture of them.

I don't know what caused it. The AR seemed to die from the stem upwards. My only guesses are that I did not break up the TCs sufficiently and planted them too close to each other. Or perhaps that part of my tank has something off about the substrate? I don't know.

My glatiola viscidula was from the same order and is a tissue culture. It looks to be doing really well.

I did a 66% water change today and pruned a bunch of leaves infected with BBA. Most of them were from old leaves on the S. Repens. I'm ok with bba on those leaves because they were from before being in my tank...so probably melting due to the new conditions. At least that's what I tell myself.

I cleaned out both cannister filters. Neither were super dirty, but new filter floss none the less. I also added more bio media. There's a ton of it now! The purigen bags have turned about half brown and they've only been in less than a month. My organics must be high. I need to feed less and clean more.

New plants arrived. I planted the stem plants but not the TCs. It's been a long day and I'll plant the TCs tomorrow. I probably want to move the stem ones I planted today to a different spot in the tank.

Some questions:
1) I'm seeing a good amount of brown algae on the L. palustris and the AR. Any idea why? The tank has been running for over a year now.

2) The L. Inclinata var. Cuba looks awful. Perhaps my water is too hard for it? One of the plants that arrived today is a TC of it. We'll see how it does.

3) Is there any truth to a relationship between potassium uptake and calcium (and/or magnesium or some ratio?)

4) I ask #3 because... Any leaf that looks bad almost always has what appears to be potassium deficiency. Basically holes with yellow edges. Can I dose like 2x the normal K without harmimg the flora or fauna?

5) Also, the L. palustris was definitely red when I got it but now is green. Iron deficiency? Not enough light? Thoughts?

Any thoughts?
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-31-2019, 12:35 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KZB View Post
You have a Beautiful tank. I have some suggestions. Maintenance maintenance maintenance, pull your hardscape and do good gravel vacuuming where they laid. This will help keep organics down. A well maintained tank, leaves more room for error. It will keep some algae at bay. Hardscape is great at trapping debris. You may or may not have remove and vacuum under hardscape every water change. Once you get into the groove you will know how often to do so. Also would keep your aerator on a timer and only have it turn on as soon as your co2 turns off. If you cant achieve a 1 ph drop without an aerator, your circulation needs adjustment. Not to sound vague but just trying to save you some money and time replacing your co2 tank. Other wise I think your tank looks Beautiful, keep up the good work I hope you enjoy the ride.
Thank you for the kind words 🙂

You are absolutely right about the hardscape being a detritus magnet. I definitely have to focus on them during maintenance.
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-01-2019, 05:47 AM
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I gotta say I am/was/still am guilty lack of proper maintenance. I believe its 1 of the most over looked processes of keeping a successful tank. Thanks to my buddy @Greggz, 1 of the few that really preaches, or atleast always reminds us of proper tank cleanliness. Another thing you may want to try, especially if you are trying to push your tank hard. Is to get your tank pass 1ph drop, and to push it harder around 1.2-1.4+ drop. Of course making sure your live stock is happy along the ride. Achieving a higher ph drop, proper circulation plays a big role. Goodluck and enjoy the ride
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-01-2019, 02:58 PM
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Hey there jcoulter, if you don't mind me asking, how old is this tank and how long have you been keeping high tech planted tanks? I ask because your first post was all the technical information down to the last dot, but little else about the tank that may show a deeper understanding of the underlying ecology, if you will, of planted tanks. Having an idea of where you're coming from will help us meet you where you are and better aid you.

Regards,
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-02-2019, 12:33 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Edwards View Post
Hey there jcoulter, if you don't mind me asking, how old is this tank and how long have you been keeping high tech planted tanks? I ask because your first post was all the technical information down to the last dot, but little else about the tank that may show a deeper understanding of the underlying ecology, if you will, of planted tanks. Having an idea of where you're coming from will help us meet you where you are and better aid you.

Regards,
Phil
Hi Phil!

I've had (and still have) a number of tanks in the past, but this one is both my first planted tank and only high tech tank. I didn't originally start this as high tech, but jumped that way after a few months of low tech. The goal is to have a nice showpiece in the living room. It's been up since early last year. March, I believe.

I love the dutch style. Perhaps not so formally structured as many of the articles make it out to be, though. For example, I'd be perfectly fine with the carpet pushing up against the front glass, or with different species of plants touching each other, etc. I basically want apistos, neons and lots of nice, healthy plants.

Was there something specific you wanted to know about the ecology? Just trying to gauge what you meant.

I'm definitely here to learn and make this a successful tank 🙂 I'd be lying if I didn't admit the BBA and some deficiency issues hasn't got me a little frazzled some times.

Thanks!
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-02-2019, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcoulter View Post
Hi Phil!

I've had (and still have) a number of tanks in the past, but this one is both my first planted tank and only high tech tank. I didn't originally start this as high tech, but jumped that way after a few months of low tech. The goal is to have a nice showpiece in the living room. It's been up since early last year. March, I believe.
I asked because your posts have ticked off all the parameter/number boxes on the list and your questions were immediately about deficiencies etc; classic well-read new person stuff. That's not bad in any way, don't get me wrong. Knowing that you've only got a few months' experience with high tech systems helps me know how to answer questions going forward. Ticking off the "Magic Numbers" is easy to do, but doesn't lead to full understanding of what's going on in that particular tank's background/ecosystem. It's like making a Beef Wellington via a recipe and having success but not knowing why you seared the meat beforehand, scored the pastry, or let it rest before cutting. Those are all things that come with time and learning enough to know what questions to ask. Does that make sense?

You've got a lovely looking tank and you seem to be hitting the marks pretty closely. Are you ready to jump down the rabbit hole?


Quote:
Originally Posted by jcoulter View Post
Some questions:
1) I'm seeing a good amount of brown algae on the L. palustris and the AR. Any idea why? The tank has been running for over a year now.

2) The L. Inclinata var. Cuba looks awful. Perhaps my water is too hard for it? One of the plants that arrived today is a TC of it. We'll see how it does.

3) Is there any truth to a relationship between potassium uptake and calcium (and/or magnesium or some ratio?)

4) I ask #3 because... Any leaf that looks bad almost always has what appears to be potassium deficiency. Basically holes with yellow edges. Can I dose like 2x the normal K without harmimg the flora or fauna?

5) Also, the L. palustris was definitely red when I got it but now is green. Iron deficiency? Not enough light? Thoughts?
1- Both of those plants are prone to getting algae on the leaves. They're a big flat space that gets a lot of light, so if you're going to get diatoms/brown algae they're prime real estate.

2-5: Don't worry about chemicals right now. Keep the supplementation routine you have and work on getting the tank clean then maintaining a regular husbandry routine. If, in three weeks, you're still having non-algae plant issues you've got a stronger base from which to make changes. It's entirely possible that some plants will work in your tank and others won't; that's a much, much, more common phenomenon than being one of the very few of us who are able to keep just about anything in a single system.

I'll leave you with two adages for planted aquarium keeping.

1- Work with the water you have

2- Biology before Chemistry


From inside the rabbit hole where it's comfortable and there are cookies,
Phil
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-02-2019, 11:46 AM
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Very nice start! How long has this been a planted tank now? I would echo a lot of what was said above, especially the maintenance. I learned a lot of these lessons about a year ago when I started with my first planted tank.

I see you are using the Oase thermometer 600. How do you like this filter? Pros and cons? Is it quiet operation?

I see them popping up all over YouTube these days!
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-03-2019, 07:59 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the inputs! Can I ask : does the tank look dirty from the pictures? Just curious if it is obvious, or that I've mentioned a couple times that I need to focus on cleaning. If it is obvious or you see something wrong, please do tell me! I want to make it as best as I can

@Grobbins48 the Oase filter is nice. Reviews often focused on the filter having not having strong enough flow, but imo it is definitely sufficient for my 75g. One thing I hadn't seen mentioned, is that the lily pipes that come with the filter have a little nozzle/dial on them that let you control the flow. Mine were set to about 50%. I cranked them both to 'Max'. If you're interested, I can take a picture of that when I get home.

I would say that it is quiet - at least, I haven't noticed enough noise to say otherwise. If it does make any noticeable noise, it has easily blended into the background. The filter is definitely well-engineered with high-quality plastics. It has some neat little features, too. Like for instance the handle must be in the "up" position in order for the filter to fully unlock. Nice safety feature. You can tell they put a lot of thought into designing it.
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-03-2019, 09:10 PM
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The tank looks pretty clean from the pictures, but it's the stuff you don't see that's the problem. All the crap that settles around the base of plants and in the filter when it's not cleaned regularly are the major culprits. Dead and dying old leaves on plants contribute a lot to organic load as well as they tend to leak stuff from the plant. Removing them before they fall off and become detritus helps a lot too. I try to make a habit of doing a thorough inspection when I feed the fish in the evening and do minor maintenance at that time.

I've never regretted over engineering a system, but often regretted under engineering one.
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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-04-2019, 12:52 AM
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What are your goals for this tank? I ask because the mix of plants suggests high tech with some showy flowers.

If that's the case, my guess is you have too little light, too little CO2, and too few ferts.

A quick search suggests that the Finnex Planted + is probably less than 50 PAR in your tank. And that's only right beneath the light, as LED lighting is very directional and falls off quickly when not under center. A single LED fixture on a 75G means most of the tank is probably getting far, far less than that. Makes sense as most of the plants are the same shade of green, other than the AR mini, and even that has very little color. Normal for having low light.

Plants like CO2 to be steady and plentiful. The way you have it set up seems like it is bouncing around a lot. You would be better off taking the time to find a rate that gets you to a consistent pH drop without all of the stopping/starting. And with a tank that size, I would consider using a Dwyer Flow Meter to fine tune your CO2 flow rate. Counting bubbles in a 75G is useless, and a flow meter will help you dial in a good rate. It's worth getting right, especially if you end up increasing the light.

Saying you dose standard EI is not really saying anything. There are lots of dosing that people call EI. Do you know how much you are dosing weekly in ppm? That is the universal language that people understand around here, and it's better to start thinking in those terms. You will find not many here are dosing strict EI, but some variation based on the needs of their particular tank.

You say you stop dosing when NO3 hits 20 ppm and PO4 hits 2 ppm.....Why?? I have a tank full of fast growing stems under high light, and if I stopped dosing at those numbers my tank would crash. I don't know of a high tech tank with inert substrate that can thrive at those levels. If you start providing more PAR and better CO2, I would keep an open mind and rethink that strategy. Some of the plants you have listed like a nutrient rich environment, and even more so if you increase the light.

If I counted correctly you have 81 fish in a 75G tank. The instinct would be to provide lots of food. I would try to keep limited as it will help keep the tank cleaner and easier to manage.

You asked why the L. palustris was red when you got it but now is green. It's the same for the Cuba, L. Repens, Red Myrio, and Rotala...........not enough light. Iron has nothing to with it. Those plants all like lots of light.....actually lots of everything.

But if you add enough light to color them up, then you better get CO2, ferts, and maintenance all in order.

Good luck and looking forward to seeing where things go from here.


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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-04-2019, 03:23 AM Thread Starter
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Hey Greggz! Thank you for taking a look over this way :-) I appreciate it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
What are your goals for this tank? I ask because the mix of plants suggests high tech with some showy flowers.
You more or less nailed it. I just want something nice in my living room. I'm not particular about a certain biotope...I'm not trying to go for an amazon tank or an SE asian tank, etc. Just something for my living room that looks pretty. I've stayed away from plants (I think!!) that require very soft water, like Marcandra.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
If that's the case, my guess is you have too little light, too little CO2, and too few ferts.

A quick search suggests that the Finnex Planted + is probably less than 50 PAR in your tank. And that's only right beneath the light, as LED lighting is very directional and falls off quickly when not under center. A single LED fixture on a 75G means most of the tank is probably getting far, far less than that. Makes sense as most of the plants are the same shade of green, other than the AR mini, and even that has very little color. Normal for having low light.
Did you see that I'm running both a Finnex Planted+ and a Finnex Ray2? Currently the planted+ is on for 7 hours and the Ray2 is on for 4 of those 7 hours. I'm hesitant to increase because I want to keep light as the limiting factor so as to prevent algae growth. I'm also currently reading about the "light compensation point" and trying to get a feel for exactly what that means for my tank.

Take a look at PAR values for Finnex lights. I should have about 150 PAR at substrate during that 4 hour span and 60 PAR when only the Planted+ is running. I think you definitely might be on to something, though. I saw new growth on my Rotala Rotundifiola has started to turn red today now that a) it is closer to the surface and b) I've had my Ray2 on for a longer period of time. I'll keep a close eye and observe.

I'll be completely honest, I'm a little scared of adding more light. Algae has been my bane and it has almost made me quit my planted tank before.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
Plants like CO2 to be steady and plentiful. The way you have it set up seems like it is bouncing around a lot. You would be better off taking the time to find a rate that gets you to a consistent pH drop without all of the stopping/starting. And with a tank that size, I would consider using a Dwyer Flow Meter to fine tune your CO2 flow rate. Counting bubbles in a 75G is useless, and a flow meter will help you dial in a good rate. It's worth getting right, especially if you end up increasing the light.
I generally don't count bubbles per second... I don't think I said anywhere that I do, hopefully! As you said, it is useless, and I'm injecting far more bubbles per second than I'm able to count. As for my current setup, I totally get what you are saying. I introduced those "bounces" because fish started gasping at the surface in the middle of the evening - even with a good amount of surface agitation! I spent a lot of time dialing in my needle valve trying to hit that exact "sweet spot", and once I came close, tried to fine-tune with these bounces. I agree that this is one spot in my setup that could use some improvement. I'll make this a priority in coming days/weeks. Do you think that I am "close enough" for now and should fine-tune other aspects and come back to this later? I think maybe, but would like your thoughts.

I plan to look into a flow meter, such as the one you suggested. Edit: Hmm, this looks interesting. Could you link me to something you use, or something you'd recommend?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
Saying you dose standard EI is not really saying anything. There are lots of dosing that people call EI. Do you know how much you are dosing weekly in ppm? That is the universal language that people understand around here, and it's better to start thinking in those terms. You will find not many here are dosing strict EI, but some variation based on the needs of their particular tank.
I do know the ppm I'm dosing! But I know it from using the calculator on Rotala Butterfly. When saying I dose standard EI, I was just trying to give y'all here the best info that I thought I could.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
You say you stop dosing when NO3 hits 20 ppm and PO4 hits 2 ppm.....Why?? I have a tank full of fast growing stems under high light, and if I stopped dosing at those numbers my tank would crash. I don't know of a high tech tank with inert substrate that can thrive at those levels. If you start providing more PAR and better CO2, I would keep an open mind and rethink that strategy. Some of the plants you have listed like a nutrient rich environment, and even more so if you increase the light.
Ok, AWESOME! This is fantastic info! I stopped at 20ppm because I thought going much over that was a big no-no as far as fish is concerned. This is one of the questions I've had for a long time and really would love an answer to it, so thank you for providing! I often would have phosphates above 5ppm (because of over-feeding, I'm sure), and would try to make sure to not feed so much so as to not increase the PO4.

Also a large factor in my decision making process is that, a) I have a high fish bio-load, so lots of NO3 should come from there and b) The Rotala Butterfly's calculator shows a "range" of what to have NO3 (and other nutrients at). That range, btw, is 10-30ppm I believe. I need to determine how much nutrients my plants uptake during a given day. Is it okay if my NO3 is already at 20ppm and I dose 7.5ppm on Monday? Then on Wednesday it is at 40ppm and I dose another 7.5ppm? And then Saturday the same thing, until I change 50% water on Sunday? In other words, I test my NO3 so often and I always feel like it is higher than it should be. Perhaps that indicates my plants aren't uptaking as much as they should be and something else is wrong. I do not know. I do know that I test my water frequently (daily? close to it...) and the fertz are never at 0ppm (or close to 0). Hint! Increasing my PAR may drastically affect this.

Your response and the responses of a few others have made me decide to keep a log journal of fert levels and how much I dose. I'll start doing that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
If I counted correctly you have 81 fish in a 75G tank. The instinct would be to provide lots of food. I would try to keep limited as it will help keep the tank cleaner and easier to manage.
I have definitely been guilty of this in the not-too-distant past. I have since moved to feeding less. I currently alternate between one of the Sera treat/veggie wafers each night. These ones. I think those work really well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
But if you add enough light to color them up, then you better get CO2, ferts, and maintenance all in order.

Last edited by jcoulter; 06-04-2019 at 04:30 AM. Reason: Adding more info
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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-04-2019, 04:12 AM Thread Starter
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I just wanted to take a post here and say that being able to bounce a lot of my thoughts off of you guys and get your feedback has really helped me understand what's going on with not only my tank but planted tanks in general. I feel like I've been reading and reading and reading constantly every single night about why this or that isn't happening in my tank correctly.

Thank you all who've taken the time to read my posts and double-thanks for those who are helping me to be a better aquarist
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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-04-2019, 01:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcoulter View Post
Hey Greggz! Thank you for taking a look over this way
No problem that is what this board is for, sharing experiences and furthering the hobby.

The choice you have to make is how far down the rabbit hole you want to go. You mentioned "Dutch" in your original post, and that usually means high light high tech fast growing flowery stems. And trust me that requires a commitment to getting everything right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcoulter View Post
Did you see that I'm running both a Finnex Planted+ and a Finnex Ray2? Currently the planted+ is on for 7 hours and the Ray2 is on for 4 of those 7 hours. I'm hesitant to increase because I want to keep light as the limiting factor so as to prevent algae growth.

Take a look at PAR values for Finnex lights. I should have about 150 PAR at substrate during that 4 hour span and 60 PAR when only the Planted+ is running.

I'll be completely honest, I'm a little scared of adding more light. Algae has been my bane and it has almost made me quit my planted tank before.
In your opening post you said the Ray2 was on 6 to 8:30, which is 2 1/2 hours. And when adding more light, you do not double the PAR, that is not the way it works.

Here is the chart you linked to:



A 75G is 21" tall, so I would figure the light is maybe 3" above the surface of the water and maybe 3" of substrate, so the light might be around 21" from the substrate (you can measure to be sure). Even it's a bit closer, it would be slight improvement in PAR.

The PAR levels above are taken in open air. The actual PAR under water will be less, from what I have read about 25% less.

So the Planted + at 21" shows 57 PAR, but under water that might be closer to 43 PAR under water. And the Ray shows 76 PAR at 21", but might be closer to 57 PAR under water. Now keep in mind these numbers are only directly under the light. With LED's the drop off is significant when not directly under center. So you are nowhere near 150 PAR, and likely not even close to 100 PAR.

The only way to really be sure if measure PAR with a meter. I can tell you the most successful planted tankers that I follow know what their PAR is, and have purchased/positioned lights to reach a particular value.

And in general, you need to be thinking making plants happy/healthy and not defeating algae. Those stems look to me like what I would expect in a low light tank. Surviving but not flourishing.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jcoulter View Post
I agree that this is one spot in my setup that could use some improvement. I'll make this a priority in coming days/weeks. Do you think that I am "close enough" for now and should fine-tune other aspects and come back to this later? I think maybe, but would like your thoughts.

I plan to look into a flow meter, such as the one you suggested. Edit: Hmm, this looks interesting. Could you link me to something you use, or something you'd recommend?
Many with larger tanks use a flow meter. The Dwyer RMA-151-SV should be sized right for you tank. It would make adjusting your flow rate much easier. With CO2, the first thing is to get an accurate reading of your degassed pH reading, preferably with a calibrated pH probe. Then you want to get a steady drop through the lighting period. Most high light tanks are dropping pH more than 1 point, more like 1.2 to 1.4. But that is with high light and loads of plants.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcoulter View Post
I do know the ppm I'm dosing! But I know it from using the calculator on Rotala Butterfly. When saying I dose standard EI, I was just trying to give y'all here the best info that I thought I could.

Ok, AWESOME! This is fantastic info! I stopped at 20ppm because I thought going much over that was a big no-no as far as fish is concerned. This is one of the questions I've had for a long time and really would love an answer to it, so thank you for providing! I often would have phosphates above 5ppm (because of over-feeding, I'm sure), and would try to make sure to not feed so much so as to not increase the PO4.

Also a large factor in my decision making process is that, a) I have a high fish bio-load, so lots of NO3 should come from there and b) The Rotala Butterfly's calculator shows a "range" of what to have NO3 (and other nutrients at). That range, btw, is 10-30ppm I believe. I need to determine how much nutrients my plants uptake during a given day. Is it okay if my NO3 is already at 20ppm and I dose 7.5ppm on Monday? Then on Wednesday it is at 40ppm and I dose another 7.5ppm? And then Saturday the same thing, until I change 50% water on Sunday? In other words, I test my NO3 so often and I always feel like it is higher than it should be. Perhaps that indicates my plants aren't uptaking as much as they should be and something else is wrong. I do not know. I do know that I test my water frequently (daily? close to it...) and the fertz are never at 0ppm (or close to 0). Hint! Increasing my PAR may drastically affect this.

Your response and the responses of a few others have made me decide to keep a log journal of fert levels and how much I dose. I'll start doing that.
Your dosing level should all be relative to your light/CO2/plants, etc. If you have those right, along with good maintenance, then you have much more leeway with fert dosing.

If your NO3 is always high, you likely have an issue with overstocking and overfeeding. If you are going to keep that many fish, I would up the water change to more like 70%. And get into the habit of regular gravel vacs, filter cleanings, and prompt removal of any dead or decaying plant matter. The maintenance aspect can not be overstated. An uber clean tank will make your planted tank life easier, there is no question about that.

If this sounds complicated it's because it is. When you see tanks here full of flowery stems, that didn't happen by accident. Those folks take every aspect of their tank seriously, and work harder at it then most.

A good thing for you might be to find some journals of tanks you would like to emulate, then study their methods. The success of others here is like a road map of how to get there.

Good luck and I will be following along.


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