40 gallon planted tank with DIY LED and CO2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-04-2015, 10:36 PM Thread Starter
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40 gallon planted tank with DIY LED and CO2

I decided to get back into keeping a planted tank after a gap of 6 years. I got a SeaClear acrylic 40 gallon which is 36L x 15W x 16H. I have always kept my planted tanks below 18 inches high and like them longer than deeper.

- I have one 36 inch Finnex FugeRay and added 2835 SMD LEDs 600 in total divided in two parts of 3 rows each that sit on either side of the FugeRay. The 600 2835 LEDs are around the same brightness level as the FugeRay. (See the last image below)

- I am using Caribsea Eco-complete as the substrate, no dirt.

- Inserted some Flourish root tabs to give a kick start.

- I have DIY CO2 using citric acid and baking soda that is diffused in the tank using a CO2 ladder.

- For filteration I use an Ehiem 2213 cannister filter with sponge, plastic and glass bio media

Here is the plant list:
- Hygrophila angustifolia
- Telanthera Cardinalis
- Rotala rotundifolia
- Rotala Nanjenshan
- Ludwigia inclinata pantanal
- Cryptocoryne undulata
- Nymphaea lotus
- Anubias barteri
- Java fern
- Echinodorus tenellus
- Pogostemon Helferi
- Ranalisma rostrata

The plants have really taken off well as you can notice with the explosion of the Ludwigia in the back center.

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Moved the spray bar to the left of the tank for better circulation. Its a pain working with a tank that has a broad frame attached to the top which makes it really difficult to attach filter intakes and outlets. You can also see the aluminium blinds on either sides of the FugeRay to which the LEDs are stuck on.
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Cheers,
Hari

Last edited by haril; 04-26-2015 at 12:19 AM. Reason: title
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post #2 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-05-2015, 09:52 PM Thread Starter
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The hair / thread algae is spreading fast on to a lot of the plants. I think it came with the wild ludwigia when I collected it from a pond. I thought I cleaned it up as much as possible. Added 4 Amano shrimps for now and they have been going at it but doubt they will make a dent. I am removing manually as much as possible but tough to remove it from the ends of leaves. I guess new tank woes... sigh!

Last edited by haril; 03-05-2015 at 09:52 PM. Reason: edits
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post #3 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-05-2015, 10:18 PM
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The hair algae should also be susceptible to peroxide or excel if you've got some around. That's assuming it's hair algea and not green thread algae (spirogyra), if it's the later, peroxide and excel do nothing to this algae and there's no in-tank treatment for it other than algaefix (or similar product).

I had the regular hair algae in my 12 long tank and the army of amanos I had made surprisingly quick work of it with no effort of my own other than initially removing as much as I could and dimming my lights.

Good luck! Scape looks really nice as it's growing in!

Old tanks, all torn down:
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Hope to get a new tank (or two) up soon...
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post #4 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-05-2015, 10:29 PM Thread Starter
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I think I've got both. I see 1/4 inch long strands on the leaf edges of the slower growing plants and all over the drift wood. I am assuming this is hair algae. I have also got long 3 to 5 inch strands that I see entangled with some short plants. I am also getting green spot algae on my anubias.. Aargh! I'll try and get some photos with my macro lens and post them here. How many Amanos did you have and how big was your tank?

I want to avoid any chemical as far as possible to upset the balance of the tank. I stopped dosing flourish. (I dont have excel). CO2 is one bubble a minute (I would say 75% is getting dissolved) and I get lots of pearling (from the algae as well) within 1 hour or so after turning the lights on. I am wondering if its too much light and not enuf CO2? I will do a ph / Kh test and post it as well.

Thanks

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Originally Posted by ChemGuyEthan View Post
The hair algae should also be susceptible to peroxide or excel if you've got some around. That's assuming it's hair algea and not green thread algae (spirogyra), if it's the later, peroxide and excel do nothing to this algae and there's no in-tank treatment for it other than algaefix (or similar product).

I had the regular hair algae in my 12 long tank and the army of amanos I had made surprisingly quick work of it with no effort of my own other than initially removing as much as I could and dimming my lights.

Good luck! Scape looks really nice as it's growing in!
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post #5 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-05-2015, 11:41 PM
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Well I guess pictures would be helpful. The 1/4 inch long stuff could be bba. Is it strands or more like tufts, like little furry patches? Green thread algae makes really long, twisted clumps that can grow INCHES per day (I can speak from first hand experience, haha). When you pull some out of the tank, it's vividly green and feels very slimy to the touch.

My tank was a 12 gallon long from Mr Aqua. 36" long x 8" x 9" (I forget which of the last two is width or depth, but you get the idea). I believe I got about 10 amano shrimp to take care of this. I later moved most of them to my bigger tank.

Old tanks, all torn down:
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Hope to get a new tank (or two) up soon...
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post #6 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-05-2015, 11:45 PM Thread Starter
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Its definitely not BBA. I am pretty certain its hair algae and initial stages of thread algae. The thread algae is growing by inches a day like you mentioned. I am also thinking platies. I saw a couple of videos on YouTube of platies enjoying eating hair algae.

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Originally Posted by ChemGuyEthan View Post
Well I guess pictures would be helpful. The 1/4 inch long stuff could be bba. Is it strands or more like tufts, like little furry patches? Green thread algae makes really long, twisted clumps that can grow INCHES per day (I can speak from first hand experience, haha). When you pull some out of the tank, it's vividly green and feels very slimy to the touch.

My tank was a 12 gallon long from Mr Aqua. 36" long x 8" x 9" (I forget which of the last two is width or depth, but you get the idea). I believe I got about 10 amano shrimp to take care of this. I later moved most of them to my bigger tank.

Last edited by haril; 03-05-2015 at 11:46 PM. Reason: typos
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post #7 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-06-2015, 01:47 AM Thread Starter
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Here are some pictures I took with a macro lens.

This is an Anubias flower and you can see the hair algae on it. I am assuming this is hair algae:
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Another shot of the hair algae on the driftwood. You can also see one strand of the thread algae above it from an anubias leaf:
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This is what I feel is thread algae. This is a shot of P.helferi and you can see it wrapping around it:
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Another shot of a bunch of thread algae growing out from some ludwigia. looks almost like staghorn:
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Are my assumptions correct?

Thanks in advance,
Hari
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post #8 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-06-2015, 02:37 AM
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I'd say your biggest problem here is CO2, those ladder defusers are really innificant, and it's a largish tank for one of those.

If I were you I would do one of two things.

1. Reduce the light and do away with the CO2 running it low tech. My 10G is like this, I have a fuge ray with the light output reduced about 20% and it runs 8 hours per day. This tank is happy and Algae free, but my plant choices are limited. The whole tank is covered in Java Fern, Anubius, Moss, Bolbitus, and Crypt. All of those plants love it and are very happy.

2. Step up the CO2 using a powered reactor, and if you can a pressurized setup. This gives you more plant choices but is more pricey and more maintenance.

Whiskey

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post #9 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-06-2015, 04:30 AM Thread Starter
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You may be right that the CO2 is not enough in the water for the amount of light I have which is equal to probably a little over two 36 inch FugeRays but I still feel it's the correct medium lighting for my 36 x 15 x 16 tank where I want to keep the plants on my list. I just noticed that a lot of the thread algae is starting to die off and rot. The plants are probably catching up and the tank is balancing. I am getting a ceramic diffuser tomorrow and will hook that up and post. I will measure CO2 levels before and after along with other params.

Thanks for your inputs.

Cheers,
Hari

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiskey View Post
I'd say your biggest problem here is CO2, those ladder defusers are really innificant, and it's a largish tank for one of those.

If I were you I would do one of two things.

1. Reduce the light and do away with the CO2 running it low tech. My 10G is like this, I have a fuge ray with the light output reduced about 20% and it runs 8 hours per day. This tank is happy and Algae free, but my plant choices are limited. The whole tank is covered in Java Fern, Anubius, Moss, Bolbitus, and Crypt. All of those plants love it and are very happy.

2. Step up the CO2 using a powered reactor, and if you can a pressurized setup. This gives you more plant choices but is more pricey and more maintenance.

Whiskey
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post #10 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-07-2015, 06:47 AM Thread Starter
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I switched from the co2 ladder to a fluval ceramic diffuser placed under my spray bar which is pointed at a small angle away from the surface. Within an hour or so my plants were pearling like crazy.

Whiskey, you were bang on when you said the ladder is not efficient enough for this large a tank. I measured my Kh and ph before the ceramic diffuser and after and found that CO2 has increased from around 13 ppm to 22 ppm in the safe zone as per the co2 charts. Hope this will give the algae a good beating for now.

I however noticed that now Nitrites are 0.5 ppm. Is that ok? Ammonia is 0 as well along with no Nitrates.

I will keep you posted along with some more pictures.

Cheers,
Hari

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Originally Posted by haril View Post
You may be right that the CO2 is not enough in the water for the amount of light I have which is equal to probably a little over two 36 inch FugeRays but I still feel it's the correct medium lighting for my 36 x 15 x 16 tank where I want to keep the plants on my list. I just noticed that a lot of the thread algae is starting to die off and rot. The plants are probably catching up and the tank is balancing. I am getting a ceramic diffuser tomorrow and will hook that up and post. I will measure CO2 levels before and after along with other params.

Thanks for your inputs.

Cheers,
Hari
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post #11 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-09-2015, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
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My driftwood is still leaching a bit.


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Last edited by haril; 03-11-2015 at 09:23 PM. Reason: video link
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post #12 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-10-2015, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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Light update

I decided to remove one set of the 300 2835s as I feel it is too much light as the algae is not giving up and is growing better where there is more light falling on plants and the driftwood. So the light setup now is one set of 300 2835 LEDs towards the back of the tank and the FugeRay sitting towards the front. Damn, I wish I had a PAR meter. Its so difficult to realize how bright your lights are especially with black gravel.

I also bought an acrylic sheet to cover the openings on top to avoid evaporation. I cracked it up a bit trying to cut it. Lotsa lessons learnt the hard way.

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The Ludwigia palustris has reached the surface and time to trim it. The chain swords are throwing a lot of runners and I try and keep them towards the foreground. I will probably move some plants around in the foreground this weekend. I want the pygmy chain swords in the front corners and the P.helferi more in the center than the left corner.

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Cheers,
Hari


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post #13 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-11-2015, 09:22 PM Thread Starter
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Shrimp grazing algae on driftwood

Here's a short video of these hardworking Amano shrimp in my tank:



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post #14 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-12-2015, 02:05 AM
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I'm glad more of the CO2 helped!! Good move on reducing the light a bit too. These things are really more of a balancing act than anything.

In time if you can upgrade to pressurized CO2 you may find you have more luck striking that balance. I say this because you can set the CO2 and keep it consistent day in and day out. With the DIY it tends to fluctuate a little bit more.

That being said, I have had fantastic results with DIY, but it was typically in tanks with more moderate light, using T8 or T12 NO bulbs.

Whiskey

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post #15 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-12-2015, 02:28 AM
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sweet looking tank
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