Ryan's 20g tank transformation! **UPDATED 10/26/05** - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-06-2005, 05:28 AM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Ryan's 20g tank transformation! **UPDATED 10/26/05**

Hello to all
This is my second attempt at a planted tank (first was very low tech), but anyway, I set *this* 20g (24" x 12"D x 16"H) a little over a month ago now. When it was initially setup, I had 2 x55w PCs on it and that proved to be too much light, as the algae was popping up out of control (see the first few pics below)...I had BGA, hair algae and green spot. The BGA is gone and the hair algae and green spot are now starting to go away. I heard from some people that adding extra PO4 gets rid of it, but no matter...that's what the snails and otto are for!

Take a look at the below pictures (brace yourself, they're pretty ugly -looking).
The 1st pic was taken on 3/8/05 and the 2nd and 3rd were on 3/16.

I don't think I've ever seen algae pearling -- it would be nice if the plants were doing this well!!
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Last edited by ringram; 10-27-2005 at 07:28 AM.
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-06-2005, 05:42 AM Thread Starter
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**A few days ago, I decided that I really wasn't too happy with the tank, so I started doing a lot of reading and looking at pictures on various web sites. Finally, I decided that I would discard the driftwood (save for a larger tank later on!) and get a couple pieces of slate rock to *attempt* a little terracing... I say *attempt* because I've never actually tried it, but the idea was to try and add more depth to the tank and make it look less crowded.

So, I went down to the LFS and got 3 pieces of slate rock(@ $2/lb) and ended up grabbing 1 bunch of rotala indica & echinodorus sp.(not even sure what its called)...

I took all the goodies home, took ALL the plants out, moved the fish into a bucket 1/2 full with tank water and started working. I was working on this thing for about 5-6 hours --- Wow, didn't realize how long it can take! I finally got something I'm fairly happy with, plus I removed *most* of the algae from the tank and plants, did a 30-40% water change (no dosing that day) and rescaped. I'm sure its obvious that I trimmed a lot too, as the tank has 2 new plants, but it looks a lot less full. Even the glosso is thinner, as I removed the algae-ridden clumps and tried to seperate and replant the nice pieces.

The most recent water test results, which were taken last night were:
ph = 7.0
kh = 9.0 dkH (Co2 = 25-26 ppm)
gH = 8.0 dGH
NH3, No2 = 0
No3 = 20-40 ppm (hard to distinguish the diff shades of red)
Po4 = 0.5 - 1.0 ppm

One noteworthy thing is, after taking these test results, I dosed 1/2 tsp K2So4, 1/2 tsp "Fleet"(Po4) and I turned up the Co2 *just a smidge*. I guess all I have left to do is let it grow out and manually remove algae when it gets to be too much for the cleanup crew. I'm not adding No3 for now, as its already a bit high, plus my water source has around 5ppm in it.

Fauna:
4 x SAE
1 x otto
2 x sunset fire platy (male/female)
2 x black neon swordtail (male/female) -- bred once, had 6 babies 2 days ago, but can;'t find any now.

Flora:
Wisteria, L. Repens, Bacopa (?), didiplis diandra, Stargrass, Green cabomba, Red foxtail, Red tample, Echinodorus sp(?), Anubias coffeefolia, petite nana, java fern(2 tiny plantlets), cryptocoryne wendtii(red), Rotala indica, Glossostigma.

Equipment:
*20g high (24x12x16)
*100% fluorite
*Eheim Pro cannister #2222
*~100w heater
*1x55w 6700k PC (ah supply retro) -- its actually a 2x55w, but I had to remove one of the bulbs b/c the tank was getting algae too fast.
*10lb Co2 tank, JBJ regulator/needle valve/solenoid/bubble counter, Co2-grade tubing, Eheim in-tank diffuser
*Lights and solenoid hooked up to timer on 12 hr photo period.

Dosing:
*a few broken up root tabs in the substrate, for the crypts mainly.
*KNO3(1/4 tsp). K2So4(1/2 tsp), "Fleet Enema"(1/2 tsp) (macros) -- dose every other day
*Plantex CSM+B(extra iron) - 4-5 mL every other day (solution: 1 TBSP in 250 mL H2o). (every other day, staggered w/ macros)


The below pictures are more recent (ie, after the re-scaping on Sunday). The 1st pic was taken on 3/3 right after I finished (hence the cloudy water from stirring up the flourite). The 2nd and 3rd were taken today, 3/5, about 20 minutes ago.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-06-2005, 05:42 AM
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Tank is looking good so far, I hope you solve your problem with the algae.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-06-2005, 06:04 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you. In fact, the algae seems to be on the downswing. I think the root cause of the algae originally was that the nitrates were way too high. I was dosing 1/4 tsp every other day in addition to decent fishload, fish food and tha already-existing nitrates (5ppm) in both the bottled and tap water that I use(I use a 75-80% bottled mixed with tap, since the tap water is extremely hard).
For anyone who cares or has heard also, I believe that high nitrates can actually slow down the growth of plants(I read this somewhere) and perhaps this is the reason why some of my plants aren't growing much...such as didiplis diandra and red temple...

Two more things I thought of:
1)I noticed some of the red plants not showing quite as much red recently -- is this because the lighting is too low? If so, I had another 55w PC I can put back on, but I'm afraid of algae again.

2)Some of the new growth, particularly on the anubias coffeefolia has yellow-ish leaves. This can't be a lack of iron, as the roots are in 100% flourite and I dose CSM+B(extra Fe) every other day (1 TBSP / 250 mL water). Any idea what this deficiency is?

Other plants are doing quite well, such as the Wisteria, Stargrass, Cabomba, Crypts...even the glosso (minus the algae it used to have).

As soon as the tank settles more, I have ideas for tankmates...1 or 2 more ottos, bristlenose pleco, a handful of neon or rummynose tetras...possibly try amano or cherry shrimp, but that's a big maybe.

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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-06-2005, 06:16 AM
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The tank looks great. As far not showing much red, I though in order to bring out reds of some plants, you have to keep the nitrates low like 5PPM

The algae looks like BGA to me...if you dont happen to get rid of them, you can always use antibiotics.

All in all, it looks great
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-06-2005, 06:17 AM
 
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hey

well i think that 55watts is good enough for a 20 gallon...yea i think hte dosing in the beginning got urself an algae bloom! and so yea hold off on some dosing till ur tank is settled....maybe if u got ur lights on for more than 10 hours maybe bring it down a little...and this might help reduce the algae from outbreaking even more...i have also tried siesta periods...this isi where u set ur timer to go off i nthe middle of the day for 2 hours...aquatic plantst begin to use the light within 10 minutes...but algae usually gets cranked up after a few hours...so if u have a siesta period in the middle...this might help prevent the algae from growing...just a little tip if u wanna try.

I think that ur tank is looking pretty good...i personally would like to fill in the left side with a few more plants, and let that glosso send runnners everywhere...

Goodluck
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-06-2005, 06:18 AM
 
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the yellowing might be solved with potassium i think
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-06-2005, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
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Based on what I've been reading, I'm thinking it may be a Potassium deficiency...I've been dosing 1/2 tsp every other day, but I dosed yesterday as well(making it 2 days in a row) and I dosed 1/2 tsp(roughly) of "Fleet"(PO4), but I held off on the No3, as my nitrates are still a bit high @ 40ppm as far as I can tell. I'll be doing a water change today to try and bring them down. After dosing the Po4, my phosphates were reading 1 - 1.5ppm.

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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-20-2005, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
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It's been a couple weeks since I added an update, so I thought I'd post a few pics of the tank's present state. I just did a 5g water change, light trimming and wiped spot algae off the glass. **Part of the reason I'm posting(aside from updating my journal) is to get some suggestions on a few things:

1)Green spot algae has been growing rampant on the glass and tops of plant leaves. I know that people say increase Po4 to combat it, but I just tested the water(after the change) and Po4 ~ 2.0 ppm and No3 = 5.0ppm. Should I still add some Po4?

2)The Anubias "coffeefolia's" most recent leaf is a little red? It this a deficiency? Or, is the leaf getting burned from too much light? It also may be a result of the plant coming uprooted and my not doing anything about it for a day or so. It is quite hard to keep buried in the substrate as the root mass is fairly large and unflexible, so it tends to "bounce" back up after planted.

3)There is a small piece of Petite nana and a tiny plantlet of java fern wedged between pieces of slate rock -- will these ever attach? Doesn't seem like they will...maybe I need wood or porous rock to accomplish that. Or, is there a better place to put them?

My recent water test a few days ago (for ph, Kh, Co2) resulted in:
ph = 6.9
Kh = 6.0 dKH
Gh = 6.0 dGH
Co2 ~ 24-25 ppm (according to Chuck's chart).

Any and all suggestions are welcome. I'm glad its finally starting to grow in. The glosso and microsword are sending runners like crazy --- especially the glosso! man, that stuff spreads fast!! The didplis diandra isn't doing so hot (left foreground) and I may remove it if it doesn't improve, since the lack of growth and fine leaves have been attracting hair algae....same with the rotala indica. The Red temple *was* in the back and not doing real well, but since I moved it more to the middle area a couple weeks ago it has recovered pretty well.
-Ryan
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-20-2005, 11:59 PM
 
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Nice Ryan! Quite an evolution - looks like you're on your way to me!

It is really fun to watch these tanks come together!
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-21-2005, 03:10 AM
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I agree. It looks like you're definitely heading in the right direction. Stay the course!!

Brian.
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-21-2005, 05:51 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the warm replies and words of encouragement!
Anyone have replies to either of the three questions I proposed? Basically, to summarize:
1)I have green spot, but Po4 ~ 2.0pppm (and No3 = 5ppm)....should I still add some Po4 to combat the green spot?

2)Anubias coffeefolia's newest leaf is reddish --- burned from high light, or a deficiency?

3)This one isn't crucial, but the petite nana and tiny java fern plantlet don't seem to be attaching to slate rock and I was just looking for suggestions or confirmation that it will or won't -- I've had great luck with java fern & wood in the past.

Regards,
-Ryan

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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-21-2005, 06:11 PM
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My java fern is attached to a peace of rock although its not slate it is very similar make sure you tie the fern to the rock using something such as cotton and it should grow onto the rock over time eventually the cotton will rot away
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-24-2005, 07:36 AM
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Peter Hiscock ( "Enclyclopedia of Aq. Plants") suggests to use black thread as it looks just like the roots of a java and no one will be the wiser till its covered up or rots away. Its a very nice book.

At 5ppm, I think you might be over limiting your Nitrates. Alot of people report their KNO3 is being used like crazy and phophates barely touched. I am thinking if you up your nitrates to 15 to 20ppm, the plants will outcompete the greenspot, and start using more phosphates too. A nitrate shortage may be a limiting factor. Its kind of difficult to explain. I'm having trouble with greenspot and a diatom bloom at the present time in a new 90. But in my smaller established tank which has a heavy bioload ( or did till I moved a bunch of fish out to the new tank) when I upped the phosphates all my algae went away! The limiting factor there was a phosphate shortage. Like over night it cleared right up - it was a wispy film algae on the glass that had been hassling me for months. A shortage or excess (limiting factor) of either one can precipitate algae hassles, I believe.

Regards iron from flourite, I am not sure about this, but I think it takes some months with CO2 before the plants can pull the iron they need out of flourite. IME, bumping your CO2 upto 30 to 45 ppm won't hurt the fish at all with so much O2 pearling, but it will control any BBA. BTW, your Parms look sweet on GH KH pH etc. good job. bob





Three Tanks...Eheim 2128 & XP3-90G, Eheim 2128-65G, Eheim 2232-25G.... Tek 4x54 watt T5-90G, Aqualight 96watt PC 65G low tech, 65 watt Aqualight-25G.... Hydors-90G & 65G ... Flourite in 90, 65, & 25 Gallons, .... Auto Water Change/Auto dosing on 90 & 65 gallon..... AGA member......
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-16-2005, 05:03 AM Thread Starter
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Here is the recent picture of the tank, shot today. For a couple weeks there, I was negecting the tank, letting it go without a water change for over a week and not dosing enough at all -- wife and I are buying our first house, so I guess that's a good enough excuse! Well, I had a GW outbreak(go figure), which I saw wasn't getting any better, so on Thursday I decided to shut the lights out completely. After three days of blackout, I did a 50% water change, trimmed some of the plants (red temple and stargrass were growing to the surface almost!) and turned the lights back on. I also dosed macros (1/4 tsp KNO3, 1/2 tsp Phosphate(Fleet) & 1/2 tsp K2SO4) \. The tank looks a little hazy, but that's just due to the water change -- the gw is gone and the algae problems are almost gone. I barely had to scrape any spot algae off the glass and its been a good two weeks since I've wiped any off!
Well, here's a current picture of the tank:
(Now I just need to work on my photography skills)
-Ryan
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