mid-tech 20H... how am I doing so far? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-14-2011, 07:09 PM Thread Starter
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mid-tech 20H... how am I doing so far?

first off, hello again!

I was out of the planted tank hobby for a while, but have set up a 20gal tall that has been going (somewhat) well for the last two months or so. I do have a few basic questions, but I also plan to post some specs/pics (eventually) just to make sure I am on the right track. So....

------------------------------------------

CURRENT SETUP

20 gallon tall
Fluval 205 canister filter
24" T5 light w/two bulbs (24w I think)

5 black neon tetras (A. anisitsi)
2 blood fin tetras (H. herbertaxelrodi)
2 emerald cory cats (B. splendens)

3 temple plants (H. corymbosa)

a somewhat large piece of driftwood and a few sm/med rocks make up the thrown-together aqua scaping

additives:
flourish excel
iron supplement (I do not remember the brand. small cheap bottle)
stress coat (added with new additions/water changes/filter mntc)

feeding is done on an almost daily basis and includes:
small pellet food
sinking wafers/sinking algae tablet
frozen brine shrimp

I try not to feed more than two days in a row to give a sense of variety, and to let certain fish have the advantage at different meals

----------------------------------------------

a few quick concerns of mine...

given all of the above info/conditions, all fish seem to be happy and healthy... all that survive at least. I have had multiple oto cats die on me, yet the tank does have some algae and the algae tablets are used regularly. the most recent death prompted me to get a PH test kit. I figured that is something I should already have, and could possibly lead to me problems. well, as it turns out, my PH is extremely high... a whopping 7.8, possibly even 8.0

could the high PH be a reason why my oto's dont seem to last? what is an effective way to lower my PH? it is my tap that I have been feeding the tank with, and I do not miss my reef days of dealing with RO... is that my only option?

my three plants have done some rather impressive growing since I originally setup the tank. I chose these plants because I had good success with them in previous tanks, and I remember them growing quickly. they have even produced two mini plants that appeared after some time, which is a first for me although they seem to be healthy, I have some brown spots developing on the leaves. I havent given it too much concern because the plants seem to be doing well otherwise.

should this be a concern? I realize this will be much easier to diagnose with pictures... which will be up soon

also, given everything listed above, could I try getting some shrimp? I always liked having shrimp in my SW tanks, and have had my eye on the amano shrimp for a while. would the cory cats harass them at all? the largest bloodfin is the self crowned king of the tank... will he be a problem?



a big thanks to all who read this and reply. for the most part, things seem to be going well. I just realized a have a rather high PH and, after correcting that, would like possibly try adding shrimp and a few other low-mntc plants

any and all feedback/suggestions are appreciated!

i have three main interests: home audio systems, aquariums, and cars ...the first two get all my money
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-14-2011, 07:22 PM
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I love the 20 tall! How long has the tank been set up (oops just saw that it's been up for 2 months, sorry)?

What Substrate are you using?

I am not expert but it looks like you might be needing more nutrients - are you doing the full line of Flourish products or just the ones you mentioned? the Amano should be fine in the tank as long as it's cycled.

Though I must leave the rest to the experts! Lets us know on the items above - that should help others as well in answering your questions.

Duff


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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-14-2011, 07:23 PM
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Oh - and post pictures soon - we all love pictures!


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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-14-2011, 07:29 PM
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IME, messing with pH creates more problems than it fixes. 7.8-8.0 really isn't that bad. I also have a high pH in my tanks, and all tetras, rasboras, angelfish are doing great with a regular feeding and water change schedule. If it really concerns you, you can add some peat pellets to your fluval 205 like i have done. You will eventually get tea colored water and a slightly lower pH. not much though. The brown spots on your hygro sounds like some sort of nutrient deficiency. It is somewhat hard to tell without pictures. Also, what kind of light are you using? that could be a factor as well.

Other than that, it sounds like you are off to a good start! good luck,

Ryan
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-15-2011, 01:14 AM Thread Starter
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thanks for the replies! unfortunately, close inspection of the plants today revealed hat the stuff on my plants has eaten away at one of the plants; there are a few small holes in the leaves.

But on the bright side I have pics! Unfortunately this is all done through my phone, so forgive the so-so focus on the camera......... I'm having trouble posting pics, please stand by

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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-15-2011, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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sorry for the delay everyone. my laptop is sick at the moment, so the previous posts were done through my phone. oddly enough, I cant post pics when using my browser, and still cant post pics even even buying the android app for using this forum. best $3 I've spent...

anyway, enough ranting. PICTURE TIME

the first four pictures are highlights of the brown "stuff" affecting the plants. also included is one of the baby plants that has it too. bummer....

any ideas? sorry about the so-so pics
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-15-2011, 01:19 PM Thread Starter
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there is a bit of brown algae on the rocks, is this what is also on the plants? a bit of casual forum stalking told me that brown algae is more or less just the result of a new tank settling in... can anyone agree or disagree?

below are left and right views, and the all important FTS. exposed equip and scratched tanks dont really bother me, and you can probably tell.

any feedback on the tank, as well as some low mntc plant recommendations would be appreciated! also, please do not be afraid to suggest additives or equipment I may need. I have been doing lots of co2 thinking lately, although it still seems scary for now.

enjoy the pics! all comments are welcome, and feedback on my situation would be GREATLY appreciated
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-15-2011, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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also, as the pics point out, Flourite is the only substrate used.

the Fluval filter has the usual foam and carbon, as well as ceramic rings and another bio media (I forget the name, it came in a bag and loos like little brown rocks the size of food pellets)

i have three main interests: home audio systems, aquariums, and cars ...the first two get all my money
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-15-2011, 02:47 PM
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crypt melt? have they melted and grown back yet?? if not, then it is nothing to worry about. crypts are very hardy, yet all mine seem to melt even with the smallest change like changing a light bulb. they will bounce back quickly. I don't see any hygro corymbosa in there though. The plants in there look like cryptocoryne undulata to me. A common potted plant sold in many pet stores.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-15-2011, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan10517 View Post
crypt melt? have they melted and grown back yet?? if not, then it is nothing to worry about
thanks for the info! although they havent seemed to grow back/reverse this just yet, the plants still seem to be doing well. the plants are apx 6 weeks old or so, and have literally doubled in size. the plant on the left in the FTS was absolutely nowhere near that driftwood branch when first planted, and now the plant touches the branch with little effort... can plants give effort?

would additional supplements help this? I used flourish potassium in a previous tank, and I also noticed flourish makes an iron additive as well. If I plan on keeping a few other basic plants, would that trio of additives suffice for a basic setup with healthy plants using my current equipment?

i have three main interests: home audio systems, aquariums, and cars ...the first two get all my money
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-15-2011, 04:32 PM
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If you are running a 2 bulb T5HO lighting fixture on top of your 20H tank with both bulbs on, your lighting might be too much, especially if you are not injecting CO2. Below is a link to a table that can serve as a reference (starting point). YMMV, depending upon a number of factors including quality of the reflector, height of substrate, height of the light fixture above the substrate, etc.

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/li...t5-t12-pc.html

I have a 2 bulb T5NO light fixture resting on top of the glass cover on my 20H tank and only use 1 bulb. No CO2 injection and only sporadic Excel/Comprehensive dosing. When I experimented with 2 bulbs for a period, it was open season for algae - way too much and much of it the wrong types for my team of Ottos. My plants are primarily slow growing ones, such as Anubias, Java Fern, and Crypt Wendtiis, but I also have a few Sword plants.

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Last edited by dwc13; 07-16-2011 at 12:50 AM.
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-15-2011, 07:13 PM Thread Starter
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dwc - thanks for the info. being a former reefer, the term "too much light" hasnt been in my vocabulary much. I had never thought of that... do you think that would cause the plants to melt like that? what K rating is your bulb you use?

PS your sig is the funniest/truest thing I've read all week!

i have three main interests: home audio systems, aquariums, and cars ...the first two get all my money
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-15-2011, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by cwilson View Post
dwc - thanks for the info. being a former reefer, the term "too much light" hasnt been in my vocabulary much. I had never thought of that... do you think that would cause the plants to melt like that? what K rating is your bulb you use?

PS your sig is the funniest/truest thing I've read all week!


IIRC, City of Chicago water is PH 7.4 - 7.8 at the main pumping station near Navy Pier. We use the same stuff, as I am also in Chicagoland. I would not be concerned with PH 7.8 or 8.0, nor would I recommend using chemicals to change the PH; just don't plan on keeping a wild caught fish from the Amazon that is extremely sensitive to PH levels and you should be fine. Fortunately, most tropical fish -- especially the captive bred ones -- are relatively tolerant of varying water conditions.

I hear what you're saying about reef tanks and never having too much light - that's what my friends who maintain those types of setups tell me. It's a bit different in the freshwater/tropical planted tank world. If you have too much light and not enough CO2 available for the aquatic plants, you'll likely have algae. And if you couple that disparity with excess (i.e., not consumed by the plants) nutrients, you'll probably have lots of algae. As I understand it, algae growth is less CO2 constrained than aquatic plant growth so it grows better than plants when there is a shortage of CO2 relative to the amount of available light. That might be what is (slowly) happening in your tank. Despite the current high level of light in your tank, there probably isn't enough CO2 available for the plants so they're not growing as fast as they could. With slower growth, the plants aren't consuming as much nutrients. This leaves nutrients -- and high light -- available for algal growth. You have a reef background, so you're probably pretty good at not overfeeding the fish. Hopefully you have carried on that practice with your current FW planted tank, as not overfeeding ultimately helps to reduce the amount of nutrients in the water column.

On the 20H, I am using a single 6700K "plant friendly" T5NO bulb. My plants have low/medium light requirements. I also want just a bit of algae on the glass so that my Ottos will have something to eat. If your light fixture is T5HO, perhaps you can try 1 bulb and, if needed, raise the light @4" above the top of the tank so that you're not in the "high" light range. The alternative is to maintain "high" light by using 1 bulb but keeping the light fixture on top of the glass cover and then starting CO2 injection and an EI dosing regimen.

As for the plants (you had indicated H. corymbosa; kind of looks like a Crypt to me, but my eyesight isn't what it used to be), perhaps they are adjusting to a new or changed environment (or even new location within the same tank). My understanding is H. corymbosa likes a nutrient rich substrate. Did you add root tabs? Give them a chance to recover and more than likely they'll be fine. BTW, I use Flourish root tabs spaced throughout the substrate of my aquarium b/c I don't know where the next plant will be planted or relocated. It's just easier that way for me.

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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-18-2011, 03:01 PM Thread Starter
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we use the same stuff, as I am also in Chicagoland. I would not be concerned with PH 7.8 or 8.0, nor would I recommend using chemicals to change the PH

If you have too much light and not enough CO2 available for the aquatic plants, you'll likely have algae. And if you couple that disparity with excess (i.e., not consumed by the plants) nutrients, you'll probably have lots of algae. As I understand it, algae growth is less CO2 constrained than aquatic plant growth so it grows better than plants when there is a shortage of CO2 relative to the amount of available light. That might be what is (slowly) happening in your tank. Despite the current high level of light in your tank, there probably isn't enough CO2 available for the plants so they're not growing as fast as they could

On the 20H, I am using a single 6700K "plant friendly" T5NO bulb

thanks for all of the info! great information

I took out one of the bulbs in my light, I am now using a single 14W HO T5 6700K bulb. The difference doesnt seem to be very drastic to my eyes, but I'm sure having 50% as much light will help with the conditions.

That makes sense in regards to the light/nutrients staying in check with each other. This weekend I FINALLY found a local source for other Flourish products, I will now be using Flourish Excel, Potassium, and Iron. After noticing the bottle, I recall using both excel and potassium in a previous tank... glad to have them all now. I'm still hunting around for root tabs, if I continue to have rotten luck I'll just pick them up online. When the tank was originally set up, I put 4 or 5 tabs in the substrate in areas where I knew I would be putting plants; so although I am out now/havent replaced any, the tank did initially have root ferts in it.

For now, I plan on keeping the light lower and adding all of the supplements. I plan on doing this for a few weeks and just keeping an eye on things, I'll be sure to post some casual progress, even if I may still have a bit of a delay in my replies

On a side note, I am getting more and more algae as time goes on with no cleaning crew. I hat eto keep buying ottos that just die after a week or so... and ideas/suggestions? Will shrimp be tolerant of my conditions? and will shrimp legit take care of algae, or just look cool and pick at stuff every now and then.


a HUGE thanks to all the replies thus far. as always, chime in as you please!

i have three main interests: home audio systems, aquariums, and cars ...the first two get all my money
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-18-2011, 03:30 PM
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Looking good! For the Algae you might want to try Nerite Snails and Amano Shrimp. They do a pretty good job for me. I tried otto's years ago and had not luck keeping them happy.


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