Xz's 3ft High tech + low tech nano experiments - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 360 (permalink) Old 09-26-2014, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
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Post Xz's 3ft High tech + low tech nano experiments

Current 2 tanks that I'm maintaining:




First old post from a couple years back:
Hello,

I have been reading the forum for a couple of years, and find the community really supportive and encouraging. Today I would like to share my 47g tank.

The tank has grown out quite a bit since being planted on 25th July, so I can provide a "fast forwarded" view for those impatient to see changes.

Pic in mid sep:






When the tank first started I played with rock arrangements in the tank:
Two large 150w industrial metal halides; a brute force method for sure, but despite the lousy spectrum, I found that they grew plants quite well. Eventually they would be switched out for BML XB leds.


About a week plus after being planted; many of the plant positions are not meant to be final. Some weeds like L. Repens are used as nutrient sponges while other stuff grew. The backbone bushes; Ludwigia arcuata at the back, Hemianthus glomeratus bushes in the mid and left have not been replanted since the start, only trimmed. Often I like to grow out plants, cut and replant the submersed portions, then throw away the entire original(poorly grown) portion from the shop.


on 14th Aug, roughly 3 weeks, still changing out hardscape to find more suitable rocks. Yellowish tinge because of metal halides:



19 Sep: Changed out rocks again. Algae on rocks because of high lighting used, spot dosed some with excel and lowered lighting. Lighting changed to BML Leds now; better colors are shown when only 1 fixture is turned on; 2 washes out colors. Also reds come out more strongly because of BMLs spectrum. Dosing of phosphates and Iron increased as tank stabilized.


Substrate lighting etc:
Lighting was 2 X 150w MH for first month
switched to BML XB dutch + BML XB 10k + CFL warm white 20w (for visual purposes as I find the BMLs still cool; warm white helps to render orange/yellow tinges). The 10k is raised 6 inches off the tank, and is on only 4 hours in mid day.

Substrate is dirt over iron rich clay + peat, capped by ANS planted tank substrate (a brand of aquatic substrate sold here).Dirt is there to save cost, disregarding costs, I would have probably chosen ADA's substrate. I prefer capping with planted tank substrate than gravel as I find it more adjustable.

Fertilization: Modified EI, water change 25% every 5 days.

Some Eheim filter, + generic CO2 system with inline diffuser.

At the same time I'm running this tiny 3 gal non-CO2 dirt tank. Tank has not been cleaned since the first day, I kept it this way to demonstrate that even if it takes higher lighting to grow carpet plants, it does not necessarily mean an automatic algae farm. For those having trouble growing carpets in dirt/non-CO2, sometimes increasing the light (carefully) may help. Having stem plants to provide plant competition against algae is advisable as well.

It has been run for about a month, and the DHG is filling in nicely. I find that dirt + reasonably good lighting in a shallow tank with some nutrient dosing grows DHG quite well.


On running higher lighting on low tech tanks; I find that if tank is kept stable, higher lighting helps growth and doesn't contribute to algae growth
The factors that I find contribute to tank stability (for a low tech tank);

- If not using CO2, then substrate impact is large; soil gives much better growth compared to commercial substrates. This may be due to soil decomposition giving rise to slightly elevated natural CO2 levels. There should be a balance of organic/inorganic composition of soil. Too high levels of organics might give ammonia spikes that trigger algae growth, too little and the dirt substrate is much less effective.

- Plant densely at the start and choose suitable plant species; some stuff really don't do as well in non-CO2 tanks. Some competitive species such as fast growing stem plants help a lot against algae. A portion of the tank should be dedicated to such species. Having 80% of floor space planted for example, is much more effective against algae than say 10% planted with hardscape making up the rest. Volume matters also, larger clumps of stem plants that stretch the height of the tank makes a bigger impact than say just using hairgrass.

- Shallower tanks seem to give better results; better gas exchange?

- Wait for at least 1-2 months for plant growth to settle in before adding any lifestock; plants would have filled in by then and bacteria action stabilized

- Find balance in the frequency of water changes (which are de-stabilizing if tap water has very different chemistry from tank water) and the need to remove organic waste through water changes. Running a very clean tank initially before the plants dig in prevents algae from becoming unmanageable.

- Consistent pruning to ensure plants are in constant growth space. Good pruning methods allow density without compromising that much on growth space

- Lower bio-load helps.

- Even though higher lighting is used, light should still (always) be adjustable. Adjusting lighting is one of the largest factors that influence growth/tank balance.

- Overall stability is important; should not changing growth variables rapidly which causes plants to re-program between fast and slow growth states

This pic is taken after freshly planted:


After few months of settling in


This pic is of an older tank with glosso carpet, with similar methods


Detail shots of large tank:



16/7/2015 - Collated most of the past pics in this post

47 gal rescaped in 2015


47 gal Hi-tech under Metal halides



15 gal Hi-tech with CFLs lamps



5 gal Hi-tech with Metal Halides


1 gal Low tech Nano rectangle Ikea vase under Metal Halides



2 gal Low tech Nano rectangle Ikea vase under CFL desklamp


1 gal Low tech round Ikea vase under CFL desklamp


3.5 gal Low tech under CFL desklamp


3.5 gal Low tech under CFL desklamp


5 gal sold at exhibition/grown under MH


Another tank (sep 2015) - still making changes to this one


15 gallon stone arc


with different lights


6 gallon seiryu stone scape


46 gallon lava rock scape


65gallon with seiryu stone


Regards, Dennis [
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Last edited by Xiaozhuang; 03-27-2017 at 09:03 PM. Reason: Added more stuff
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post #2 of 360 (permalink) Old 09-26-2014, 11:24 PM
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Are the lighting for those non co2 tank 23W CFL 6500k ? Can you tell us a little more about your dosing/ water change schedule when you first set them up?
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post #3 of 360 (permalink) Old 09-26-2014, 11:44 PM Thread Starter
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Hmm actually I think that they're phillips CFL 23w, warm white which would be 2700k or so. The pics are not color corrected, so they actually don't look as yellow as one might think ?.

For the non-CO2 tanks, I pre-soak the soil for a couple of weeks before using, and as per habit, add some base fertilizer, iron rich clay. Dosing wise, I dose 20ppm nitrates(KNO3) and about 1ppm phosphate (k2HPO4) every 2 weeks, combined with a 50% water change. I don't dose Fe until I start to see deficiencies or slowed growth. The temperature of the tanks are quite warm though (its the tropics here), all tanks run above averagely 80f, with highs of 84f-86f. Its not a static system though, dosing changes as plant reaction changes. I.e. If I see GSA on the glass, I'll increase phosphate dosing.

Regards, Dennis [
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Last edited by Xiaozhuang; 09-26-2014 at 11:51 PM. Reason: grammar
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post #4 of 360 (permalink) Old 09-27-2014, 12:29 AM
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Beautiful colors on the big tank! The reds really pop against all the greens and different textures. The smaller tank with the glosso is gorgeous.

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post #5 of 360 (permalink) Old 09-27-2014, 12:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xiaozhuang View Post
Hmm actually I think that they're phillips CFL 23w, warm white which would be 2700k or so. The pics are not color corrected, so they actually don't look as yellow as one might think ?.

For the non-CO2 tanks, I pre-soak the soil for a couple of weeks before using, and as per habit, add some base fertilizer, iron rich clay. Dosing wise, I dose 20ppm nitrates(KNO3) and about 1ppm phosphate (k2HPO4) every 2 weeks, combined with a 50% water change. I don't dose Fe until I start to see deficiencies or slowed growth. The temperature of the tanks are quite warm though (its the tropics here), all tanks run above averagely 80f, with highs of 84f-86f. Its not a static system though, dosing changes as plant reaction changes. I.e. If I see GSA on the glass, I'll increase phosphate dosing.
Wonderful! Thank you!
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post #6 of 360 (permalink) Old 09-27-2014, 02:12 AM
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Awsome. Always something to be learned
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post #7 of 360 (permalink) Old 09-27-2014, 02:29 AM
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Beautiful tank. I really like the way you have red plants scattered around throughout the scape. Thanks for sharing.

All matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death life is only a dream which is an imagination of ourselves. Bill Hicks
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post #8 of 360 (permalink) Old 09-27-2014, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks all~ Some people say that the red is a bit too fragmented (more on the right side than left); I'm thinking of a way to make things less scattered, and may move/remove some of the AR on the right. Will also probably prune the ludwigia red in the center more aggressively, it sticks out a bit too much now. Some of the downoi is also getting quite large; the ones in the front are starting to block the rocks; I'll remove some but keep growing a smaller number larger.

Regards, Dennis [
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post #9 of 360 (permalink) Old 09-28-2014, 06:28 AM
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Hey xiaozhuang, can u give your recepie for dirt? Im looking to grow runners like hc, glosso, dhg, etc. Also have u added fish or shrimps to ur setup?
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post #10 of 360 (permalink) Old 09-28-2014, 07:41 AM
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Awesome tank. Maybe one day I can do a non co2 tank like that.


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post #11 of 360 (permalink) Old 09-28-2014, 03:44 PM
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Dude, your tanks are awesome. You say on the big one you are running a dutch BML XB and the 10,000K XB? Which one do you use in pictures?

Also, gotta ask, your grow those altherneria so well, why'd you never get the variegated one?

My 75 gallon High Tech Tank:
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post #12 of 360 (permalink) Old 09-28-2014, 07:36 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nanomania View Post
Hey xiaozhuang, can u give your recepie for dirt? Im looking to grow runners like hc, glosso, dhg, etc. Also have u added fish or shrimps to ur setup?
I have dirt capped with aquarium substrate. There is peat and iron rich clay below the dirt; thats about it. The substrate isn't particularly well fertilized; I was supposed to add osmocote but I forgot. I do most of the fertilization through the water column.

I have a few cherry shrimps inside, and about 15 celestial pearl danios.... they used to be quite shy, though now they rise to the water surface to feed when they sense that its feeding time.

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by HybridHerp View Post
Dude, your tanks are awesome. You say on the big one you are running a dutch BML XB and the 10,000K XB? Which one do you use in pictures?

Also, gotta ask, your grow those altherneria so well, why'd you never get the variegated one?
Thanks man; I only run the Dutch when taking pics, and on top of that I use a 24w CFL warm white 2200k to bring out the orange/warmer tones.

I do have the variegated one (I think). I have the AR rosanervig, highlighted in white circle: you can see the white veins



It is more pink/magenta, while the AR minis are darker red. It also grows taller. Seems to be picker though.

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Last edited by Xiaozhuang; 09-28-2014 at 07:43 PM. Reason: added pics
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post #13 of 360 (permalink) Old 09-28-2014, 11:25 PM
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Very nice. My lights are too cool (BML 10k Planted) and reds don't look vivid.

20G Low tech
67G High tech
ADA 60P Starting/Holding tank
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post #14 of 360 (permalink) Old 09-28-2014, 11:37 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoGo98102 View Post
Very nice. My lights are too cool (BML 10k Planted) and reds don't look vivid.
Send them back man. I think they do exchanges; at least the customer service is good, and the fixtures do produce a lot of PAR. Personally, I find even the dutch too cool (hence the supplementary warm white CFL).

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post #15 of 360 (permalink) Old 09-29-2014, 12:49 AM
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Looks awesome as hell man!!! Great work. I agree with your low tech methods. Exactly what I am hoping for with the S. repens carpet-which should be easy, easy plant. I once had a glosso carpet in a high tech tank and a low tech tank. Dirt with occasional fert dosing is great, I still prefer Aquasoil with Osmocote Plus pellets in the substrate. Either way, they both work. Right now I don't do anything to my low tech except pluck the occasional old or dying leaf and do bi monthly water changes. Super easy and fun tank to maintain. Your high tech tank is looking outstanding! Thanks for sharing man.

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