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.
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
Dwarf Brazil sword
Dwarf Baby tears
6 cardinal tetras
1 clown pleco
3 cherry shrimp
1 powder Blue Gourami