Transformation from tank with plants to planted tank - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-26-2006, 11:53 PM Thread Starter
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Transformation from tank with plants to planted tank

I have a 29G with small aquarium gravel now. Hodge podge of fish, Orbit dual 65W light and several plants (some of which are in slotted pots with laterite). I would like to transform into a planted tank. I have a beautiful lace rock to introduce as well. So here is my plan (AND questions) - shoot it down if you can. I'd rather have the input now than be asking how to fix a big mess later.

Push front 1/3 of gravel to back and introduce 1 inch of laterite using the PVC pipe method of distribution. and covering with 1 inch of gravel. Plant that and add the lace rock with "clinger" plants on it and let it go for a couple of weeks and repeat for other sections of the tank.

Q1) I rinsed laterite for my pots and it never rinsed anything close to clean. I think I ended up with 1/2 of what I started with because I kept rinsing and it kept washing away. Did I get some cheap stuff or what? Should I mix anything else with it?

Q2) An inch of gravel seems like a lot for roots to have to go through to get to the laterite, especially for foreground plants. Is that the right proportion?

Q3) I struggle with a high PH (7.8) and from what I read, this is going to make the problem worse. I add PhDown almost every day. My tap water is softened and about 7.2 and because of an algae bloom, I was changing water every other day and it is still very high. The algae bloom is gone. Is this going to be a permanent part of my routine - adding PH down every day? I just recently introduced CO2 (DIY) and it did not lower PH much at all - thought it would.

Q4) I've read the actinic light in the orbit is pretty useless for plants. Should I replace that with another dual daylight and if so, do it now or after I have more plants to reduce algae growth?

Thanks for any and all advice.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-27-2006, 12:57 AM
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Laterite is not really meant to be rinsed. Nor is it meant to be placed in layers 1" thick. The normal usage of laterite is 1 ounce per gallon.

Lace rock can profoundly affect your water chemistry. Mainly raise the kH and pH.

Take a few minutes and read my Guide. You are creating a witches brew by adding chemicals to lower the pH. Before you take another single step you need to get a much better grasp of water chemistry than you seem to have. And don't get fixated on a "magic" pH. If the DIY CO2 did not lower the pH it is due to one or both of A) It's not working or creating enough CO2 B) You have so messed up the water chemistry by adding the pH down that you can't get a true reading. I can not stress enough that you understand how water chemistry works. I cover this in my Guide and give links that have very detailed explanations.

Cut back the light to 65 watts till you get a handle on the tank. Then replace the actinic bulb with one more suitable for plants.

Also I see nothing mentioned about your fertilization regime. This is most likely the cause of your algae bloom. That and the pH down. Fertilization is covered in my Guide.

And for a 29 gallon tank with 130 watts of light over it DIY CO2 is more wish than reality.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-27-2006, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info - it seems I have read so much that I am forgetting what seems to be basic.

So first things first - CO2. If I pitch the DIY (oh break my heart and miss out on the closest thing I've done to cooking in a long time....), and go with a cylinder, I look at your site and see lots of parts but can't seem to find anything on actually putting them together to make it work (i.e., a diagram, drawing....) You say "A bubble counter is very nice to have and if you want to automate the system a solenoid and pH controller" but how do I put that together? Also, a question about the reactor - what does "inlet" and "outlet" hook up to? Are you using your filter pump or an additional pump? I'm sorry to be such a ditz. I do OK with tubing and fittings, but when we get to solenoids & controllers, I'm in over my head (blub, blub, blub)... Thanks for your help - I really do appreciate it.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-27-2006, 02:25 PM
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It's pretty self explanatory once you get everything in front of you.

The Regulator hooks to the cylinder. Only fits one way.

A bubble counter is either built into the regulator or placed on the CO2 feed line after the regulator and check valve and before the diffusion method.

A solenoid is part of the regulator. It either plugs into the wall, a timer, or a pH controller. Plugging it into the wall means you are most likely going to inject CO2 24/7 and did not need a solenoid at the time. Into a timer means it is most likely timed with the lights, lights on CO2 on, lights off CO2 off. Plugged into a controller means that the pH controller controls the flow of CO2 based on the pH setting.

On a reactor the inlet is where the water comes into the reactor. The outlet is where it leaves. I place my reactors on the outlet side of the canister filter.
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