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post #1 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-12-2009, 08:36 AM Thread Starter
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1st Planted Tank (Need Some Help Please)

Hello All,

So this is my first planted tank that I started about a week ago and needed some help. Here are the current spec's on this tank:

Tank Size: 10 gallons
Lighting: Life-Glo 18" 15W T8 6700K
DIY CO2 (Yeast-Sugar) Reactor
Current water temp: ~77 F

Plants:
Lilaeopsis
Rotala Macranda (pet store owner gave to me for free for some reason)

Well here are my questions. I did a pH test on this tank this afternoon and found the pH level to be about 8.2 or something like that (my pH testing kit only goes up to 7.6 so based on the color would be around an 8.2 or so). Is this bad for my plants? And if I ever wanted to put shrimp and or cardinal tetras in would this be harmful to them? If so how could I change the pH level without harming the plants? (I have another 10g tank with 1 angel, 4 corys, 1 loach, and two 6" sword plants at a pH level at around 7.6 and all have seemed to be fine for the past year).

I had 6 tetra that the pet store owner gave me as well but after putting them in the new tank had about an hour life before passing away and leaving me feeling really bad and wondering what is wrong with my tank. Could my DIY CO2 reactor be throwing off balance in my tank and causing my pH levels to go out of whack? Also, I am almost positive that the tetras needed more oxygen since all of them were at the top of the tank pretty much gasping their lasts breaths. I really don't know what to do since this is really my 1st planted tank and I know later in time would like to have fish and shrimp in my tank.

Please help me with any suggestions that yall might have in helping me with my new planted tank.

Thanks.
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post #2 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-12-2009, 08:50 AM
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I am new to planted tanks as well... I have done a lot of research prior to staring my tank (75gal) and have found it beneficial to cycle the tank prior to adding any fish... that being said I have added 6 SAES since day one and found them to be VERY hardy!!!! and excellent in the algae dept...

It has been almost a month and I have just added a pair of GBR (blue rams)...

dont know if thats your prob with the tetras but it might be....

****I just remembered when I bought my SAES MY LFS put a lemon tetra in the bag by accident... the next day all SAES were alive and the tetra was stuck to the filter!

this probably didnt help... oh well
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post #3 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-12-2009, 02:33 PM
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So just a few thoughts on what could have happened. First you de-chlorinated the water before adding fish correct? You mentioned you had another tank so I assume you did. So assuming the water was conditioned your ph sounds really high. I don't think tetras are usually recommended for much above like 7.6-7.8.

So if they were used to say 7.6 and if you didn't drip acclimate them then they probably didn't have a chance. I think if you slowly bring them from their ph to your tanks ph they should be ok. Probably the best way is to get another tank at your local tap ph/close to your lfs ph and then slowly add water from your planted tank until their ph's match then move the fish.

Another possibility is you need more oxygen in the water, do you have any surface agitation or is it pretty still? You may need to consider adding an air stone or reducing the co2 levels if they need more oxygen.

I belive c02 reduces ph usually. You mentioned DIY are you using baking soda/sodium bicarbonate in your mixture? If so if any of that mixture got into your tank it could explain the high ph. Also some types of rocks could raise your ph.

Here are a couple of threads that talk about lowing ph:
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/fe...ten-water.html

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...-safe-way.html

Sorry this isn't more helpful, but hopefully this gives you some places to start investigating.

Good Luck!
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post #4 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-12-2009, 03:12 PM
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What Substrate are you using? That can really affect PH, is it the same kind in both tanks.
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post #5 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-12-2009, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah I did de-chlorinate before adding fish. I pretty much did the same water conditioning procedure as I did with my other tank that I have had for quite some time.

As for the pH levels any suggestion is helpful. Not know what could be the problem I'm willing to take all the advice I can get to try to find what the solution could be. I currently do not have an air stone in my tank and there really isn't any surface agitation that could possibly release off some CO2 and put oxygen into the tank.

The DIY reactor just has 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 a teaspoon dry yeast, and filled the 1.83L bottle up 1/3 of water. I have not added any baking soda/sodium bicarbonate to the mixture at all. I also added a check valve to try to prevent the mixture from maybe syphoning into the tank.

As for the rocks this is what I use: (Use same for both tanks)
http://www.petco.com/product/107318/...um-Gravel.aspx

Also thanks for the other links I'll be sure to check them out.
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post #6 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-12-2009, 03:59 PM Thread Starter
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Recent pH test as of 10:50am:

10g Tank (One with fish): 7.6pH
10g Tank (Planted): 7.8 - 8.2pH
Tap Water: 7.0 - 7.2pH

Really don't know what could be altering the tank so much.
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post #7 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-13-2009, 02:16 AM
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Was the tank cycled when you added the tetras to the tank? I have killed so many fish because of that. lol. What kinda gravel are you using? If it is regular gravel, I suggest you buying some pretty good substrates like flourite, eco, As, etc. I was where you were when I started too. How big the the bottle you using for the co2?


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post #8 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-13-2009, 02:37 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddtran46 View Post
Was the tank cycled when you added the tetras to the tank? I have killed so many fish because of that. lol. What kinda gravel are you using? If it is regular gravel, I suggest you buying some pretty good substrates like flourite, eco, As, etc. I was where you were when I started too. How big the the bottle you using for the co2?
Yeah, I cycled the tank the same way that I did with my previous tank. Maybe not good enough though. I just bought some water conditioner so I am going to add that in and let my tank cycle for another couple of days before I add fish again.

I think that I will go ahead and buy some substrates when I get the extra cash but for now I am using: http://www.petco.com/product/107318/...um-Gravel.aspx

As for the CO2 bottle I am using it is 1.83L bottle almost 2L and I put in 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon yeast, and filled it about 1/3 of the way up the bottle with water. I really don't know how much CO2 its pumping out but it looks to be somewhere around 20 bubbles or more a min. (How many should be coming out)? Also, I just added a bubbler at the top of my tank as well to get some surface irritation like someone suggested to me as well on the forum. I am thinking about adding 'pH down' to the tank as well but also wanted some input on that if any of this will affect the plants I currently got in there.

Well let me know what you think. And if anyone else has suggestions please let me know so I can get this tank up and running . Oh and also how long should I leave my light on everyday? I was reading some people leave it on around 8 - 12hrs a day. Is this good?

Thanks.
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post #9 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-13-2009, 02:56 AM
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Do you have any live stock in there now? If not then take out the bubble counter. I never used the ph down but it might be harmful to the plants(not sure). I have mines about 1 bubble per 3 seconds, so that's 20 per minute also. I leave my lights on for 10 hours a day and I have a little algae here and there(high light tank). I recommend you getting a cheap drop checker to help check if your co2 is sufficient.


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post #10 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-13-2009, 03:09 AM Thread Starter
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By bubble counter do you mean turn off the bubbler?

And where could I get a cheap drop checker? I don't think I have seen one in the LFS just online at ADG and stuff and even that is really expensive.
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post #11 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-13-2009, 03:39 AM
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You picked a really unforgiving starter plant with the microsword (Lilaeopsis brasiliensis). It takes forever to get acclimated and I dont think your 15 watt lightbulb is going to cut it. Are you planning on increasing your lighting, or staying low light?

Either way, Id pack that thing full of plants (easy low light plants!) before algae can get a foothold. It looks good though. Keep us updated.
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post #12 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-13-2009, 04:22 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah,

After getting the plants and then reading about it I realized that I picked a very hard starter plant (especially the Rotala Macranda). After reading some sites they say the care for them is VERY HARD! But oh well. I will try my best for a starter, but you can beat free plants from the LFS.
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post #13 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-15-2009, 03:43 AM Thread Starter
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Hey All,

So after getting input from many of yall here on the forum this is what the tank looks like now .

As you can see from the picture I made some pretty major changes to my tank. First off I ended up taking out my black rock gravel and putting in some eco-complete planted aquarium substrate that I got at my LFS:

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...fm?pcatid=9087

I also added my drift wood that I had boiling for about 3 days now into the tank. (Also attacked some moss to it. Really don't know what kind it is just got it a the LFS). I also bought some more plants the the LFS employee said should not be to hard to maintain. I don't know what they are since they were not labeled at the store but maybe one of yall can tell me what it is. LoL. Its the tall planted section on the left side of the picture and the tall plant(s) on the right side of the picture. Another change that I ended up doing is I spread out my 'micro sword' along the bottom of the tank instead of having it in bushes. I heard that it would help with the coverage that I am trying t go for.

So, so far so good. The only plant that I am looking to get now is 'dwarf hair grass' if I can find any, but other thank that I am pretty sure my tank is good on plants. As for livestock I think for now I am going to go with a couple of CAE and some shrimp. I really don't know what kind of shrimp I am going to get yet. I know my LFS has 'Crystal Red Shrimp' as well as some 'Red Cherry Shrimp'. They also told me to come back in a week because they might be getting some others. What do yall think I should go with?

Well, thanks everyone for all the advice and maybe I will be getting more with this post . Let me know what yall think good or bad and also let me know if yall would recommend making changes and what they are.

Thanks.
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post #14 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-15-2009, 11:36 PM
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The tall plant on the left is probably a bacopa, and the one on the right looks like wisteria. I'm suspicious of the moss you have tied to the driftwood (same moss that was on the coconut, right?). It looks so yellow, it might be not be fully aquatic. Time will tell.

But amazing transformation. Nice job.
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post #15 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-16-2009, 12:06 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrostyNYC View Post
The tall plant on the left is probably a bacopa, and the one on the right looks like wisteria. I'm suspicious of the moss you have tied to the driftwood (same moss that was on the coconut, right?). It looks so yellow, it might be not be fully aquatic. Time will tell.

But amazing transformation. Nice job.
Thanks.
And yeah, I think it just might be the lighting of the picture because looking at it right now seems really green, but looking at the picture it really does look a little yellow.

So today I picked up one of those master testing kits that tests pretty much everything and this is my results:

pH: 7.5
GH: 14 dH
KH: 10 dH
NH3: 0 mg/l
NO2-: <0.3 mg/l

So far with what I have been reading it seems that my tank is in good condition to start adding some livestock. What do yall think? I am thinking about getting some RCS from this person off this forum selling them for about $5 per shrimp (grade A - S mix). I am also looking to maybe getting so other type of shrimp like CRS or something and maybe a couple CAE. How many shrimp would be to many shrimp in a tank my size (10g) and I guess what type of shrimp would yall recommend me getting with these test results?

Thanks.

Oh, also picked up some 'Flourish Excel' to go with what I am already adding the standard flourish product.
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