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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-11-2019, 03:25 PM Thread Starter
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New Hobbyist with a Planted Tank

I've had my tank up for about 8 months and finally wanted to transition from plastic plants to live plants. I did a overhaul and used the following:

30Gal tank that is low-tech
I am dosing Seachem Flourish Excel for CO2 daily
I am dosing Seachem Flourish Iron daily
I am dosing Seachem Flourish Advance for micro nutrients daily

Currently I am doing a 25-50% water change every few days due to it being freshly planted and the wood is still leaking tannins.

I have a HOB filter that pumps about 5x the aquarium every hour and a Aqueon OptiPlus LED Light.

Currently I am letting the light run for about 6 hours a day for white light and 8 hours a day for RGB and Blue light. I have about 14 hours of no light for my photo time period. Also I am only letting the light intensity on 60 because the lack of CO2 I have.

Substrate: Caribsea Eco complete black planted tank substrate
Hardscape: 2 pieces of Fluval Mopani wood
Plants: 3 amazon swords, 1 Argentina sword, 2 anubias, flame moss and dwarf hair-grass

I'm trying to lower my pH/kH/gH quite a bit because I have been using tap water vs. purified/ro water, thus the mopani wood. The reason is because I want to add 12 cardinal tetra's and 10 Harlequin Rosbara's and a handful of cherry shrimp for cleanup. The fish I have in there now I plan to give away or give back to my LFS to re-sell so that way I don't run into an overstocking issue.

Currently my water parameters are:

pH: 6.6
Ammonia: 0 or .25ppm (it was hard to tell)
kH/gH: 50-100ppm (took 6 drops to turn from blue to yellow per my test kit)
Nitrate: Between 20-40ppm (it was hard to tell)

To my understanding my parameters are pretty good, my dosing is good and I should be ready to put the newly selected fish in. However I had a few questions for some experienced hobbyist's because this is my first tank and I'm pretty green to the hobby.

1. Most of my plants seem to be browning slightly and have holes in the leaves. I figure this is pretty normal from all the research I've been doing since I planted about 4 days ago and they are still adjusting to the new environment. Is that true? If so, how long does it typically take for the plants to look healthy and grow well.

2. Since the tank is freshly planted the growth of the plants is pretty minimal at this time. My understanding is that Rosbara's and Cardinal Tetra's like heavily planted tanks. Should I wait to put them in there until the plants grow more?

3. Will I have an overstock issue with my selection of inhabitants?

Looking for some good constructive feedback for stocking, making sure my plants live and any suggestions on my set up. Please excuse the clouding. I took this before I cleaned the excess plants from the surface and just a hour after I put Seachem Clarity in the tank.
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Cody Hale
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-11-2019, 05:00 PM
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Kh and Gh are 2 different things. What test took 6 drops?

A kh of 6 doesn't correspond to a 6.6 pH unless you are adding something to lower it like co2 so something is going on. Maybe you measured gh?

My experience with eco complete is that it adds kh. I wouldn't worry though, my tank with eco complete is breeding red cherries and has very nice cardinal tetras in it.

Your not adding macro nutrients for plants. Do that first before working about micro and iron

Lower your nitrates. Maybe your tap has nitrates?

My 2 cents

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-11-2019, 07:53 PM Thread Starter
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I appreciate the feedback! I was using a API master kit to test the pH of the tank and then I got a API kH test kit but on the instructions it seemed to use kH and gH as though they were the same. I must of misunderstood and just measured the kH.

One of the biggest problems I have in the hobby is that i'm color deficient so I can't tell certain shades of color apart. So I really just kind of best guess when it comes to reading my parameters a lot of the time. I think my tap is really hard water so I may start buying some RO water to help and see how that goes.

Would you mind explaining the macro nutrients? I thought the Seachem Flourish Advanced was a source of those nutrients? What am I dosing then if I'm not dosing macro nutrients with the Seachem Flourish products?

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-11-2019, 10:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiSiNGTiD3 View Post
I appreciate the feedback! I was using a API master kit to test the pH of the tank and then I got a API kH test kit but on the instructions it seemed to use kH and gH as though they were the same. I must of misunderstood and just measured the kH.



One of the biggest problems I have in the hobby is that i'm color deficient so I can't tell certain shades of color apart. So I really just kind of best guess when it comes to reading my parameters a lot of the time. I think my tap is really hard water so I may start buying some RO water to help and see how that goes.



Would you mind explaining the macro nutrients? I thought the Seachem Flourish Advanced was a source of those nutrients? What am I dosing then if I'm not dosing macro nutrients with the Seachem Flourish products?
That would be tough to read test results with a color deficiency! I have trouble with nitrate readings sometimes. Can't imagine what it would be like with a color deficiency. :-)

Macro nutrients are nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. You have plenty of nitrogen with your nitrates. Most will tell you too much. But there is a ratio between these three that's needs to be kept and of course is different for every tank/plants kept.
Do a search on here for Seachem Advance. It's more of a root growth promoter then a typical plant fertilizer. May not be the worst with the plants you have in your tank but it's not providing all that is needed. If you have enough light for fertilizer then it might be worthwhile to look at something like NiloCG Thrive or similar. Heck with your root heavy plants even substrate plant tabs would be better than the Seachem iron and advanced.

The browning of your plants is probably normal sword shock although the anubias shouldn't do that. Remove the leaves before they get too bad as they will add to bio load (nitrates). I've seen swords loose all their leaves then bounce back nicely. It helps to prune.

Since you didn't mention it. What is the model of your light? LED right?

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-11-2019, 11:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiSiNGTiD3 View Post
One of the biggest problems I have in the hobby is that i'm color deficient so I can't tell certain shades of color apart. So I really just kind of best guess when it comes to reading my parameters a lot of the time.
A dear friend of mine has the same issues. She has several fish tanks and also an inground swimming pool.


When she can't get a neighbor to look for her and tell her the readings, she takes a pic of the reading and sends them to me by text pic (along with the chart to compare to in the same pic). Works out great!
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 02:34 AM Thread Starter
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Im glad Im not alone with the color deficiency. It makes it pretty difficult at times. Usually I rely on my wife but shes been working. I tested again tonight and got some results I think maybe fairly accurate.

pH 6.8
kH 50-100ppm
Ammonia 0
Nitrate 20

The light I use is the Aqueon OptiPlus LED w/remote.

I do have some Seachem Flourish that says it has Micro nutrients. The plants I have though are root feeders so liquid fertilizer may not be the best?

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 04:17 AM
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Sorry, finally read this on a computer instead of my phone and I realize now you had mentioned the light you are using in your first post. Atleast that's the excuse I'm using, lol! Plus the pic!

I don't have experience with that light but it looks to me like it will do the trick. They even give par values at 12" which are not too bad.

The kh is still a big range but really I don't think it matters that much. As I said I'm running a tank right now that has a kh of 107-125ppm and the shrimp are breeding and plants growing. The best thing, no matter what value you decide to keep the tank at, is to keep it steady.

Yeah, see you have a bunch of micro nutrient, specialized fertilizers/supplements. Nothing that accounts for the big 3 (nitrogen, potassium and phosphate). Since you have predominantly all root feeders you can probably get away with just root tabs. I know the swords will love it! And the dwarf hairgrass is going to need all the help it can get. Having just seen your photo I couldn't tell if the anubias were attached to the wood or not but if they are in the substrate make sure their rhizomes are above the substrate line or they will rot.

I think the fish that you mention will be fine, once the plants start growing (that's the key). It might even be beneficial to find a fast growing plant to soak up those nitrates. Something like hornwort, depending on where you live. You don't need to keep it in there forever. Just in the beginning to try and help any algae blooms while your swords recover.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 08:52 AM
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A lot of tetra and Rasboras actually like/prefer tannic waters. Swords and Anubias wont complain about it either.

If you completely replaced your substrate you are basically starting over on your main bio filter so be cautious with fish load for about 4-5wks. The tannins in water is what is bringing your PH down to 6 range and probably also keeping ammonia at bay.

Id say your doing good, nitrates are bit higher than Id want to see but that could also be the wood.
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