Nano Cube Reboot - Page 6 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #76 of 116 (permalink) Old 05-27-2020, 03:16 AM
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My understanding is that the wood will reduce pH.

Additionally, water out of the tap may off gas over time, eventually settling at a lower ph. Mine comes out around 8.5 then settles close to 7. Is your reading directly out of tap?


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post #77 of 116 (permalink) Old 05-27-2020, 06:05 AM Thread Starter
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If they are test kits with a reagent then yes, chances are you need new ones.

Have you considered shortening the length of tubing?

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My understanding is that the wood will reduce pH.

Additionally, water out of the tap may off gas over time, eventually settling at a lower ph. Mine comes out around 8.5 then settles close to 7. Is your reading directly out of tap?


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Thanks both!

@Crazygar - yes I did consider shortening the tubes at one point but in the end just couldn't be bothered. Do you think I should though? It takes longer for the CO2 to reach the diffuser but I can just set the solenoid the open earlier to account for that. If it does make a difference though then I'll go ahead and shorten it the next time I do a water change.

@cubecrew - yes, the tap water reading was directly out of the tap. Might make more sense for me let some of it sit overnight before I test the pH.
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post #78 of 116 (permalink) Old 05-27-2020, 08:43 AM
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Thank you both your comments and for trying to help! Wish my cube could look half as good as your cubes.

The brown, wispy stuff does look a lot like diatoms. Even though I set up the tank in late March I did end up replanting most of it at the start of this month and added fresh aqua soil to parts of the tank, so the tank is stil in its very early stages and probably going through some things, although I hope I manage to find the balance sooner rather than later.

As far as the water goes, I managed to test pH earlier today before the lights turn on and the CO2 kicks in. Tested kH and gH just now, probably 4 hours after the CO2 started. I'm not sure if I should test the kH and gH before the CO2 starts. Anyway, pH was 6.4 earlier today before the lights turned on. It's been about 3 hours since then, pH tests as 6, although API's kits only go down to 6 so it could be lower than that. pH of the tap water is 7.6 though.

No appreciable kH and gH in the water at all. I'm using JBL's kits and I understand that I'm supposed to add drops of the stuff until the water changes colour from blue to yellow and red to green or something like that. The water doesn't even change colour since for the kH test I get yellow on the first drop and for the gH I get green on the first drop. I kH and gH on the tap water and got similar results. The water is really soft where I'm from. In any case there's aqua soil in

I also have a TDS meter, although i'm not very certain how accurate it is. Tap water tests at 53ppm. Water in this cube tested at 70ppm.

As far as lighting and CO2 goes... I've reduced the photoperiod and intensity quite a bit. Right now i'm set it up so that the lights come on at 2pm and ramp up over an hour to hit 35% brightness. Then from 8pm it ramps down over an hour and shuts off at 9pm. I have the solenoid timed so that it opens at about 1230pm, it then takes a bit of time for the CO2 to go through the tubing but I get a steady stream of bubbles in the tank by 1pm. The solenoid then closes at 730pm since it takes a bit of time for all the CO2 in the tube to get into the tank. If and when the algae does start to die down i'll probably start adjusting the timers and brightness bit by bit. I still haven't gotten round to getting a drop checker, I should probably get on that soon.

As far dosing goes, I've been trying out APT Complete since I've heard a lot of good things about it since it was released. The one I have comes with a pump which I was told it dispenses about 1.5ml per pump. I've just gone and measured it myself and it dispenses more like 2ml. Maybe I've been dosing way too much of this stuff for the volume of water and amount of plants in the tank. I was dosing 3 times a week but now that I've reduced the lighting somewhat, I'll probably be dosing just twice a week.

EDIT: Since the tap water is so soft, would it be a good idea to pick up something that can boost GH? I'd like to leave KH alone as much as possible since the aqua soil will reduce KH to 0 anyway.
Singapore has very soft water from what I've heard, same as we have in my area. The pH from the tap may be high, but with no buffering capacity due to 0 kH that's gonna drop as soon as it hits your tank. For reference, my tap water is around pH 8 but my degassed tank water is 6.2-6.4. The good thing is low KH isn't really an issue for plants and fish, you can essentially ignore your kH and to a certain extent your pH.

Low kH does mean that it's very hard to measure your CO2 levels through the kh-pH relationship as liquid test kits have trouble measuring very low pH. Your water will have a pH around 5.2 at 30 ppm CO2, which is out of the working range of many liquid pH test solutions. The easiest way to go is with a drop checker.

Definitely get some GH booster though. The all in one fertilizers don't contain nearly enough calcium for healthy plant growth, and are probably short on magnesium as well. I don't know about K levels on APT Complete but it probably wouldn't hurt to have a little extra as well. I aim for 4 GH.

Related to stirring up dirt... If it's causing an algae bloom to disturb the surface of the substrate that means you should be doing it more often, not less. I clean the substrate with either a gravel vac or turkey baster every time I do a water change. You have to pick up all those algae spores and mulm in there or the slightest imbalance will cause an algae bloom.



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post #79 of 116 (permalink) Old 05-27-2020, 10:24 AM
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As for CO2, I have mine going on one hour before lights on. It should not take more than a few minutes to see some CO2 bubbles out of your diffuser.

Gary
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post #80 of 116 (permalink) Old 05-27-2020, 12:50 PM Thread Starter
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Singapore has very soft water from what I've heard, same as we have in my area. The pH from the tap may be high, but with no buffering capacity due to 0 kH that's gonna drop as soon as it hits your tank. For reference, my tap water is around pH 8 but my degassed tank water is 6.2-6.4. The good thing is low KH isn't really an issue for plants and fish, you can essentially ignore your kH and to a certain extent your pH.

Low kH does mean that it's very hard to measure your CO2 levels through the kh-pH relationship as liquid test kits have trouble measuring very low pH. Your water will have a pH around 5.2 at 30 ppm CO2, which is out of the working range of many liquid pH test solutions. The easiest way to go is with a drop checker.

Definitely get some GH booster though. The all in one fertilizers don't contain nearly enough calcium for healthy plant growth, and are probably short on magnesium as well. I don't know about K levels on APT Complete but it probably wouldn't hurt to have a little extra as well. I aim for 4 GH.

Related to stirring up dirt... If it's causing an algae bloom to disturb the surface of the substrate that means you should be doing it more often, not less. I clean the substrate with either a gravel vac or turkey baster every time I do a water change. You have to pick up all those algae spores and mulm in there or the slightest imbalance will cause an algae bloom.



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Originally Posted by Crazygar View Post
As for CO2, I have mine going on one hour before lights on. It should not take more than a few minutes to see some CO2 bubbles out of your diffuser.

Gary
Thank you both for the help!

@gjcarew - yeah, water in Singapore is really soft! I'll get myself a drop checker ASAP, probably the one from CO2 Art. I gather than positioning the drop checker closer to the substrate is the best position for it but I'm not really sure if there's space in there for one. I'll have to think about where to put it.

I think I'll also start stirring up the soil with a pipette and siphoning it up each water change. I don't have a turkey baster but a pipette is essentially the same thing anyways.

Having to mess with the GH every water change sounds like a major pain but I did bring it up in the first place. Shooting for 4 dGH as a start sounds like a pretty good plan. APT Complete probably doesn't have a whole lot of calcium or magnesium in it and my tap water definitely won't have enough... The most easily available product here is probably Seachem Equilibrium, but I'm not sure if it's any good. It also has potassium in it since you mentioned it. Just for reference, 1ml of APT per 2L of water is supposed to add 4ppm of K. I really have no idea what is an optimum ppm to shoot for, which is why I'm using an AIO fert in the first place but I'm wondering if there's an alternative to Equilibrium that doesn't have quite so much potassium in it. If Equilibrium is as good a product as any other than I'll probably just get that.

Also, do I add the booster directly into the tank after I'm done with my water change? I'll kind of have to do it by trial and error but since water straight out the tap has nearly 0 GH i could probably just add the appropriate amount into the tank. I reckon after taking into account all the stuff in the tank that the actual volume of water in there is 23L or so.

@Crazygar - I'll take a note of how long it takes the CO2 to hit the diffuser tomorrow. The last time I took note of this was quite a while back, but I recall that it took nearly 30 minutes. But then again I wasn't watching the diffuser the whole time. I think I'm using nearly 2m of tubing as well and the cylinder is actually located just below the tank so I could probably shorten the tube a fair bit.

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post #81 of 116 (permalink) Old 05-27-2020, 05:20 PM
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Drop checkers are fairly approximate anyways, I don't think where you put it is super significant.

I use Equilibrium as well (at least until this bottle runs out). It's really not hard-- just figure out how much you need and put that in at every water change. I do a half tsp per 10 gallons (sorry for the freedom units - 2.5 mL per 40 L) of water changed, and just dump it in there after the water change. I think it's helped. I haven't done any side by side comparisons to isolate it as a factor but I've had less stunting and less algae issues (probably due to less stunting) since I started remineralizing with Equilibrium.

Based on your dosing you are probably adding about 12 ppm K throughout the week- I don't think there would be any issues adding additional K. That's on the light side.
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post #82 of 116 (permalink) Old 05-28-2020, 04:27 AM Thread Starter
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Drop checkers are fairly approximate anyways, I don't think where you put it is super significant.

I use Equilibrium as well (at least until this bottle runs out). It's really not hard-- just figure out how much you need and put that in at every water change. I do a half tsp per 10 gallons (sorry for the freedom units - 2.5 mL per 40 L) of water changed, and just dump it in there after the water change. I think it's helped. I haven't done any side by side comparisons to isolate it as a factor but I've had less stunting and less algae issues (probably due to less stunting) since I started remineralizing with Equilibrium.

Based on your dosing you are probably adding about 12 ppm K throughout the week- I don't think there would be any issues adding additional K. That's on the light side.
Sure, I might as well give Equilibrium a shot since Seachem is available almost everywhere. Were you thinking of trying out a different product after you finish your current bottle?
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post #83 of 116 (permalink) Old 05-28-2020, 05:01 AM
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Well the Equilibrium lasts forever so there's no reason not to get it again. I have thought of mixing my own since I'm using all DIY ferts otherwise.

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post #84 of 116 (permalink) Old 05-28-2020, 05:51 AM Thread Starter
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Well the Equilibrium lasts forever so there's no reason not to get it again. I have thought of mixing my own since I'm using all DIY ferts otherwise.

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Oh, that's actually not a bad idea, I might try doing that too. I think I have some epsom salt lying around which is basically magnesium sulphate right? I could probably get some potassium sulphate and calcium sulphate too.

Although I might just end up getting Equilibrium anyway lol. We'll see what happens.
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post #85 of 116 (permalink) Old 05-29-2020, 05:08 AM Thread Starter
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As for CO2, I have mine going on one hour before lights on. It should not take more than a few minutes to see some CO2 bubbles out of your diffuser.

Gary
I paid attention today to my CO2 system today since it's been a pretty slow day at work so far. It did take nearly half an hour for the CO2 to hit the diffuser. I have the solenoid on one and a half hours before so CO2 gets to the tank 1 hour before the lights turn on.

Might not be ideal so I'll go ahead and shorten the CO2 tubes soon and have the solenoid open later. I'm using unnecessarily long tubing for the CO2 hahaha, here's the current situation with the tubes

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post #86 of 116 (permalink) Old 05-29-2020, 05:40 AM
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Easy solution is a check valve closer to the edge of the tank. They are super cheap

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post #87 of 116 (permalink) Old 05-29-2020, 10:46 AM
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Use the Rhinox (Brass ones), as the plastic ones, CO2 just destroys quickly.

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post #88 of 116 (permalink) Old 05-29-2020, 11:02 AM Thread Starter
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Easy solution is a check valve closer to the edge of the tank. They are super cheap

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Use the Rhinox (Brass ones), as the plastic ones, CO2 just destroys quickly.

Gary
Thanks both. Yeah I'm using a cheap check valve closer to the tank. It is a plastic one unfortunately, one of the LFS here gave it to me for free when I ordered some stuff recently. I'll look into getting a proper one soon. I'm actually thinking of visiting my usual store to get some Equilibrium and a drop checker tomorrow so i'll see if they have any decent check valves while i'm there.
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post #89 of 116 (permalink) Old 06-07-2020, 12:54 PM Thread Starter
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Update! I did a large water change yesterday and siphoned as much algae as I could. There was still quite a bit of the brown gunky looking algae yesterday plaguing my plants but for some reason the tank is looking uncharacteristically clean today. I'm not sure why but hopefully I can keep this going.

Other than the water change and siphoning yesterday I also added a couple more plants. Went out to get some more rotala varieties from the local store. I picked up this interesting rotala variety from them probably two weeks ago that grows really red and they also appears to be doing a lot better than the regular rotala rotundifolia in my tank for some reason so I went ahead to grab a couple more. Also picked up this lovely green rotala with rather fine leaves. They labelled it as rotala 'Bangladesh' but I guess it's a rotala mexicana cultivar after looking it up online.

I also decided to remove the monte carlo since it started to do very poorly and planted staurogyne repens in its place. I'm also happy to report that the pogostemon helferi seem to be doing well. They are still small but have grown quite a bit since I last posted a picture of them.

But anyway, here's a full tank shot. The stems look really short but I did trim them not too long ago.

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post #90 of 116 (permalink) Old 06-08-2020, 09:51 AM Thread Starter
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Thought I would share a picture of how the pogostemon helferi is looking at the moment:



They are still pretty small but a far cry from how they originally looked a couple of weeks back:

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