Eco-Complete and Water Chemistry Problems - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-10-2010, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
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Eco-Complete and Water Chemistry Problems

Hello everyone. I am new to planted tanks and have been at it for about 8 weeks now. I posted this question on another forum, but its been a few days, and I cant get a response =( I am hoping to find an active forum, as I need some guidance I have had many trials and tribulations since I started and have re-worked my tank numerous times to correct mistakes. I think I am finally getting there, and want to ask two questions.

First question is about Eco-Complete substrate. I changed my substrate to about 3 inches of Eco-Complete two weeks ago, and topped it with about an inch or so of inert gravel, giving me about a 4 inch base. Since then my water Chemistry has been acting crazy. My GH was 10 before, out of the tap, and about 9 in the tank. Now it is 7 in the tank, which is odd because my PH went from 6.8 to 7.8 since the change. I thought if the water was softer the C02 would lower the PH easier. I am using gas like crazy, and it just doesn't seem to want to drop. My drop checker used to turn light green at just under 2 bubbles per sec, now im at almost 4 and it still wont drop, the drop checker gets dark green at best. I read that the Eco-Complete can mess with water chemistry. If so, has anyone who used it know how long it lasts? or is there something I should do?

Second question will make all you pros and vets just shake your head and sigh >< I have been dosing the full seachems line since I started. One mistake I made was adding my first plants with a Gibecep Pleco in the tank, so no big deal, I moved him to another. Then the gates of algae hell opened up....... I went to my LFS and got 2 (real) SAEs and a couple of ottos. I have since added 3 cherry shrimp as well, and a clown pleco (Im a pleco junkie I cant help it >< ) So the guy at my LFS has two huge gourgeous C02 injected tanks that are just beautifull. He tells me stop dosing Phosphorus and use Chemi pro Elite in my filter. He says he has done it for years and look at his show tanks. Now I have done this for a while, and the result seem pretty good, the gates of Algae hell have been closed for a month. But its nagging me that Phosphorus is a macro, and the carbon is probably taking all the iron out of my water and I want to do whats best for my plants. So I get a phosphrus test kit, to start dosing it again, and im at .5 PPM How that is I have no idea. My tap water tests at 0 ppm, I feed very lightly every 2nd or 3rd day, and have the chemi in there to boot. Can this be from the Eco-Complete as well?

So those are my questions, sorry for the long post. Hopefully I can stop doing my carbon and phosphorus voodoo dance soon, and get my C02 right. Here are some set up specs as well. Thanks.

29 Gal
Eco-Complete substrate
Fluval 305 canister filter
Coral life compact mini 2, 65 watt bulbs (11 hours a day, one light at a time, with a 5 hour overlap in the middle. so 4wpg 5 hours in the middle, 2wpg begining and end)
Red sea C02 gas injection with reactor

Plants:
Rotala Macandra
Red Ludwigia
Moneywart
Flame sword
Cardinal plants
Dwarf Brazil sword
Cryptocoyne Parva
Dwarf Baby tears

Fish:
6 cardinal tetras
2 ottos
2 SAE
1 clown pleco
3 cherry shrimp
1 powder Blue Gourami

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-10-2010, 10:28 PM
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Looks like the start of a great tank

Your plants can use both GH and KH lowering your tested readings but it's not a fast process but,,, within a week my injected tanks drop NO3 from 15ppm to 4ppm and PO4 from >2ppm to 1ppm. With good light and CO2 plants eat (when I forget to dose)

The basics are covered in a really good straight forward format here.
http://www.rexgrigg.com/

My Eco Complete tank has been set up for 2 yrs. and I don't remember issues with a parameter swing sorry.


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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-11-2010, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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Wow! Thanks for the fast reply! I went to Rex Griggs website, and I think it was really helpful. I have to say the way he says things like "if you cant get it thrugh your thick skull" really makes some of his points sink in I like that guy. I think my problem is that I am not dosing enough and what little I am, was being sucked up by the carbon. I was following the Seachems excell chart that I plugged my tank info in for, and was getting hardly any readings when I tested my water. I adjusted my Nitrates, (now at 10 PPM) and Phosphates (now at 1 PPM) I added 15 ML of iron in 5 ML doses as I re-tested, and still cant even get a reading on my test kit. I have a red sea test kit, and have read they may not be very accurate. I am going to order some dry ferts from Rex. After reading how much liquid ferts cost compared to dry, and seeing how much liquid fert I really need to actually get to minimums... I am going to dry ferts. Going forward I just need to get some better test kits I think, and dose dry ferts and test the water every few days to stay at the levels I need for my tank. I am sure after a while I will have a better idea what to dose and it will be easier. Thanks for the feedback, and if anyone can recommend a good Iron test kit, I would appreciate it. Any more advice or feedback is very welcome.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-11-2010, 04:10 PM
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(IMO) Forget Fe test kits! Dose to a known ppm based on tank volume (water not listed size) versus material added and leave it at that. K2SO4 is the same way (no kits).

I test TDS, NO3, PO4, Ca, GH, KH and pH on the unmonitored tanks about twice a month. TDS, NO3 and PO4 weekly. API test kits while getting a bad rating here on the forums have done well by me. There is a sticky thread on how to make reference solutions to test the test kits. Each time I open a bottle I check the color range against the reference. Most here on TPT do not test. Testing does not bother me so I test.
PO4 kits I usually have two maybe three colors close to the card and mark the card with each bottle used.

Dry dosed or making your own solutions with dry ferts is WAY cheaper long term.
*Tip* Excel is great for adding to your ferts if you mix your own. Adding 30ml to a 500ml bottle I never have any fungus growth in the bottles.


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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-17-2010, 04:10 AM
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Eco does have a tendency to fluctuate water parameters for a few months, though things are supposed to level out after a while.





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