New 90 Gallon Planted Tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-06-2020, 04:49 PM Thread Starter
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New 90 Gallon Planted Tank

Hello! I am completely new to the hobby, so I thought I'd share my tank and look for feedback and/or recommendations.

Start Date: 12/24/2019
Volume: 90 gallons
Lighting: Finnex Planted 24/7 run on the default setting
Filter: Penn Plax Cannister 1500
CO2 System: None
Substrate: Fluval Plant and Shrimp Stratum
Root Tabs: Aquarium Co-op Easy Root Tabs placed 01/20/2020
Fertilizer: Aquarium Co-op Easy Green All in One Fertilizer (N 2.66% , P 0.46%, K 9.21%, Mg 0.7%, S 0.80%, B 0.015%, Cu 0.00%, Fe 0.13%, Mn 0.036%, Mo 0.00%, Zn 0.072%)- 9 pumps twice weekly (labeled for 1 pump/10 gallons twice weekly for medium to high light)

Plant Stock: Narrow leaf micro sword, Red wendtii, Aniboas frazeri, Anubias nana, Amazon sword, Java fern, moss ball, Vallisneria, Aponogeton, Banana plant
Current: Black neon tetra x 17, Betta (M) x 1, Narite snail x 2, Otocinclus x 9, Polkadot Cory x 7, Bristlenose Pleco (M)x 1, Apisto cacatuoidex x 2 (M/F), Porthole catfish x 3

The temperature is kept at 77 degrees. I used the API master test kit and check the water weekly - PH has been consistently 6.6, I have never had an ammonia or nitrite reading greater than 0, but I have had a little trouble managing nitrates after adding my last round of fish on February 22 which I think I have been managing appropriately with water changes.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-20-2020, 02:49 AM Thread Starter
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Help needed with 90 gallon tank

So.... I *thought* it was going well, but my plants are dying. And now I am losing fish - three otos and two corys. I am not sure what I am doing wrong...

Since my last post 5 weeks ago, I first lost one oto and didn't think much of it. About a week later I lost a cory and noticed that the Amazon swords were starting to have holes in them and turn yellow. Then I realized my Vallisnaria was getting crinkly and scraggly looking with no new shoots in quite some time. My Anubias have green spot algae and the Java fern have black spots on them and dark green tips. I had just ordered some new plants from Aquarium Co-Op: dwarf hairgrass, scarlet temple, christmas moss, and staurogyne repens along with some new Easy Green and Easy Iron, so I put those in the tank April 22. They have melted and all look terrible - the hairgrass is brown, the scarlet temple is a melted twig, the Christmas moss is brownish, and staurgyne is looking scraggly, but growing some new leaves.

Thinking I wasn't fertilizing the plants enough, and forgetting about the fish, I upped my fertilizer to 3x weekly and added iron twice per week. I lost another cory two weeks later and an oto today.

I had upped my feeding when the cory died thinking maybe they weren't getting enough food because both of the ones that died were small. I now am feeding 1 algae wafer, 2 sinking wafers, 3 tropical flakes, and 5 betta pellets morning and evening.

Water parameters today are:
Temp 76
pH 7.4
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 20
Phosphate 0

My pH has been steady at 6.8 until this reading. My nitrates have been at 20 for the past six weeks. I have been doing 50% water changes every 2 weeks. I just started testing the phosphate today after reading that the holes in the Amazon Sword could be phosphate deficiency.

I am wondering if I am reading the API nitrates wrong.... there is so little variation in color once you get to 20 ppm - I always second guess myself when reading it. Two weeks ago I checked nitrates before my 50% water change and thought it was 20, then after the change I got 5, then added the Easy Green and got 20 again so I was thinking that I was reading it correctly.

Clearly something is wrong... Suggestions would be much appreciated. I don't like my plants dying but I hate to be killing my fish.
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Last edited by emily.vondolln; 05-20-2020 at 02:51 AM. Reason: Added title
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-20-2020, 07:07 AM
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What is your change water source and what is PH, GH, KH of it right out of tap and also that same water after youíve let it stand in a bucket or glass for 24hrs?

In that tall of a tank Iíd put light at med at best, probably closer to low-med, especially around outer edges of tank.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-20-2020, 09:37 AM
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Whatís the default setting? 24/7 mode? Check to see if the lighting can go higher. Didnít really hear any fast growing stems in there. I would introduce maybe duckweed or another fast grower to help keep nutrients in check. Swords usually like decent light and lots of nutrients. Not super helpful I know but I worry your lighting isnít sufficient or your nutrients arenít. Consider dosing daily instead of weekly but at a smaller amount.


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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-20-2020, 12:42 PM Thread Starter
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I have ordered a GH/KH test kit this morning from Amazon, so I will answer those questions when it arrives.

The default setting on the light is 24/7 mode - it is confusing to change the automatic settings but I can turn it on "daylight" which I believe is just white light and as bright as it gets.

Regarding the duckweed - this may be a stupid question but I have tons of it in my drainage ditch outside. Can I clean that and put it in the tank? Won't the duckweed block the light or do I just remove it to keep only a small amount up top?
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-20-2020, 08:23 PM
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I myself avoid duckweed like the plague. There are larger, easier to manage floating plants like dwarf water lettuce, frogbit and red root floaters that will work just as well and not be a nightmare to keep under control. Large floaters like frogbit still let some light through between leaves if you keep it managed properly. Duckweed is like putting a blanket over your tank and once itís in there itís almost impossible to eradicate. Bringing it in from outside also a bad idea unless you quarantine it and treat it for parasites etc. You can get little starter cultures of floating plants on amazon and other places as well.

As far as light goes, go to 5:15 in this video to learn the setup of the custom 24/7 mode, you want more hours of stronger lighting across midday hours but still have some morn and eve ramp up and ramp down time.


Let us know the readings on GH/KH of both tank and tap water when you get tests. Also what are your phosphate and nitrate readings of both?
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-20-2020, 08:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveKS View Post
I myself avoid duckweed like the plague. There are larger, easier to manage floating plants like dwarf water lettuce, frogbit and red root floaters that will work just as well and not be a nightmare to keep under control. Large floaters like frogbit still let some light through between leaves if you keep it managed properly. Duckweed is like putting a blanket over your tank and once itís in there itís almost impossible to eradicate. Bringing it in from outside also a bad idea unless you quarantine it and treat it for parasites etc. You can get little starter cultures of floating plants on amazon and other places as well.

As far as light goes, go to 5:15 in this video to learn the setup of the custom 24/7 mode, you want more hours of stronger lighting across midday hours but still have some morn and eve ramp up and ramp down time.

https://youtu.be/9wSbjULcTMo

Let us know the readings on GH/KH of both tank and tap water when you get tests. Also what are your phosphate and nitrate readings of both?

He mentioned zero phosphates measured (easy green is very low) but food will probably give the phosphates required. Nitrates are 20ppm after his dosing. This is a reason I would switch to daily dosing.

There is no faster reproducing plant than duckweed which why I was saying put it in. And yes you would just scoop out what you donít want. I always hear people say itís hard to get rid of but it literally takes 20 min to scoop out of a large tank and your done. I used to produce it to make shrimp food. Not questioning the annoyance of it but itís easy to handle. Other floaters will prob do the trick but duckweed can be great also. The standard 24/7 mode grows plants but you may need at least a couple faster growers (plants) to balance things.

Itíll be funny if the issue is just that you donít have any magnesium or calcium. Easy fix that way. Do you drink the water out of the tap? If so, you may be a little low on minerals lol. Here in AZ we have very hard water and itís undrinkable.


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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-20-2020, 09:44 PM
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When was the last time you added fish to tank?

Six weeks ago, when you noticed high nitrates, how long had they remained that high?


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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-26-2020, 03:47 AM Thread Starter
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90 Gallon Planted Problems - Update

I received my GH/KH test kit this evening. Testing the current water in the tank both GH and KH took 2 drops to color change. Testing the water from the tap, both GH and KH took 4 drops to change. I have a sample of tap water sitting out overnight for the 24 hour check.

I am looking into the floating plants. Neither of my local shops had any floating options, so I am on hold with that one for now.

Thanks for the video on the light programming - I was able to get a custom cycle in with full strength light for most of the day rather than just the three hours programmed on the auto setting.

I have also started dosing the Easy Green at 4ml every day instead of 9ml 3x/week.

The fish are hanging in there, but the corys are lethargic. I see them eat, but I seem to remember they were very active when I first got them and they aren't any longer. Everything else seems to be acting normal. The otos are tough because they are hard to find anyway. I had one that seemed dead, but I went to get him with the net and he swam off and latched onto the glass. I did find a dead snail today.

The plants look terrible. The Amazon swords have green hair algae growing on them now that the light is up. The anubias are the only thing looking a little better - one has popped out two new leaves. I am pretty sure the scarlet temple is completely dead.

To answer the last question, my nitrates were at 40 maybe six weeks ago for a max of two weeks about two weeks after I added quite a few fish. I think I have a better handle on the nitrates since then and have been testing and doing water changes more frequently. I'll put my log down below in case it is helpful.


Fish Log
12/26 nitrates 5
12/28 nitrates 10
12/20 nitrates 5
1/2 0.25
1/3 nitrates 5.0
1/5 nitrate 10
1/11 nitrates 5, added 8 black neon tetras, male betta
1/13 nitrates 10
1/15 added micro sword, red wendtii, anubias, amazon sword, java fern, moss ball, vallisneria
1/16 nitrates 5
1/21 water change 50%
1/22 nitrates 10
1/25 nitrates 10, added snails, otocinclous, polkadot corys
1/27 nitrates 10
1/29 nitrates 20
2/3 nitrates 20
2/9 nitrates 20
2/11 added pleco and more tetras
2/13 nitrates 40, water change 30%
2/18 nitrates 30
2/22 added apistogrammas, porthole cats, more otos
2/24 nitrates 20
3/3 nitrates 20
3/10 nitrates 40
3/10 water change 30%
3/17 nitrates 40, water change 30%
3/24 nitrates 20
3/26 water change 30%
3/31 nitrates 20
4/4 nitrates 40, water change 50%
4/5 nitrates 20
4/7 nitrates 10
4/12 water change 50%
4/21 nitrates 20
4/22 added dwarf hair grass, scarlet temple, staurogune repens, christmas moss
4/28 nitrates 20
5/5 nitrates 20
5/12 nitrates 20
5/14 added danios
5/16 water change 50%
5/25 1 nerite snail found dead, GH 2, KH 2
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-05-2020, 03:43 AM Thread Starter
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No further thoughts?
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-05-2020, 10:09 PM
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If you do water changes once a month it's just not gonna look amazing. There is a balance you have to strike between how nice you want your tank to look and how much effort you're willing to put in.

Water changes don't just lower nitrates. They get rid of other organic compounds, fish waste, plant hormones, and algae spores. I do a minimum of 30% water change per week on my low tech tanks.

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-07-2020, 04:08 PM Thread Starter
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I don't have any problem putting in effort, but there are loads of conflicting information about how often to do water changes. It is difficult to wade through who is a reliable source of information and who has no idea what they are talking about. I based my water changes on recommendations from Aquarium Co-op. If that's wrong fine, but it isn't that I am not willing to put in effort - I am trying hard to learn how to do a good job.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-07-2020, 05:04 PM
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What do you have in your canister filter? Adding some fresh Mechanical/chemical filtration could be a big relief to your fish. New tanks can have a build up of all kinds of funky organics in the first couple of months. Using lots of activated carbon or Seachem purigen in the filter will help with water quality. It’s a bit of a balance and a catch 22 in some ways - you don’t want to mess with your filter media too much at the beginning as you are trying to establish a bacterial colony in your tank, but because you don’t have that bio system established, the chemical filtration is a huge help. Best practice is to start with as much Activated carbon as possible , then slowly replace with biological media after the first few months. If you can increase the chemical filtration without disturbing the biological media too much would be the best of both worlds. Maybe add a cheap Hang on Back Filter unit filled with carbon as a temporary fix?
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-08-2020, 08:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emily.vondolln View Post
I don't have any problem putting in effort, but there are loads of conflicting information about how often to do water changes. It is difficult to wade through who is a reliable source of information and who has no idea what they are talking about. I based my water changes on recommendations from Aquarium Co-op. If that's wrong fine, but it isn't that I am not willing to put in effort - I am trying hard to learn how to do a good job.
I shouldn't have implied it was due to laziness. There is a lot of questionable information out there (see above).

I love Cory, I buy all my fish from Aquarium Co-op and quite a few plants, and I've used Easy Green on my aquariums. That said, Cory's number one care is about the fish, and he has seems to have a certain disdain for "carefully aquascaped" setups. You might notice if you look at his fish rooms that all his tanks have at least some algae, and for his purposes that is not a bad thing. Algae is not bad for fish. If you want everything to be algae-free, it takes a more cleaning and consistent water changes. In the Aquarium Co-op article on changing water, he talks about schedule of changing 30% per week, which I think would be a good place to start. https://www.aquariumcoop.com/blogs/a...ater-correctly

The thing to keep in mind is that in the article above, Cory is talking about nitrate buildup as a proxy for the buildup of all fish wastes. In a fish tank that did not have plants taking up nitrates, that would be an appropriate proxy to use. But in a tank with plants, the evidence of all the waste being produced (nitrate) is being removed by the plants. This would lead you would assume that your water is cleaner than it actually is.

There is also the issue of tank stability. Plants do better in a stable tank. If you are changing the water in a sporadic manner and not on a schedule, those water changes are going to be more a shock to the water's pH, hardness, etc. This can cause stunting of plants and a subsequent algae bloom. I would suggest as a good source to use advancedplantedtank.com. I'll link a few articles below. The website and youtube channel are by Dennis Wong who was a featured speaker at the Aquatic Gardener's Association last year, is a frequent aquascaping contest judge, and occasionally posts on this board as well. His tanks are immaculate.

One of the great things about being on this board is you can go through tank journals, find someone's tank that you like, and ask them for advice. I think you'll find most people are doing at least a 30% water change per week.

https://www.advancedplantedtank.com/...ize-a-new-tank
https://www.advancedplantedtank.com/...ge-the-2hr-way
https://www.advancedplantedtank.com/...r-tank-cycling
https://www.advancedplantedtank.com/...01/101-lowtech
https://www.advancedplantedtank.com/...etup-checklist
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