Need advice on starting up tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-19-2004, 11:57 PM Thread Starter
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Need advice on starting up tank

I actually have a few questions that I tried calling some LFS's to get the answers to, but they all gave me different answers

1) RO water - I use this water instead of Tap water because it is very hard here in Dallas. I use "RO Right" (I make the water low-medium in hardness) to get the nutrients back in the water. I also use Flourish after each water change. Is there anything else I should do while using RO water?

2) For my DYI co2 Injector, I will be using a 2L bottle, 1 packet of yeast, and 1 cup of sugar. Is this good? How often will I need to add sugar &/or just start all over with the mix? Should I change out the water fairly often?

3) Oxygen - should I get rid of my bubble wand? It puts a lot of bubbles throughout the tank, and my filter mixes it together pretty hard. Can I ahve "too much" oxygen is what I am getting at?

4) Iron - I am having trouble keeping my Iron at .1. I will add a cap full during the day, but the next day it is back to Zero. I use Flousish Iron for this. Why wont it stay up? should I comtinue to keep adding the Iron?? or is this not too important, or is there a better way around doing this?

I probably have other questions, but will worry about getting these important ones answered first! Thanks in advance!

Cliff

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-20-2004, 12:32 AM
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Welcome Spar

1) I have heard that RO water for a planted tank is not needed unless your tap water is very bad (cotaminated).

2) I use 2 cups of sugar in all my DIY C02 bottles. The amount of yeast I use depends on the size of the tank. For example in my 20G tanks I use a teaspoon full of yeast.

3) Get rid of the bubble wand it will cause you to lose C02 because of the surface aggitation.

4) Be careful dosing iron it can cause algae outbreaks if over dosed. Don't relay on test kits but on your plants for dosing iron. If your plants are staying green and not turning yellow then your iron levels should be good. I would start by dosing iron once a week after water changes, then adjust if needed.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-20-2004, 12:35 AM
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1) Hard water isn't bad for growing plants... Unless you are breeding Discus, I would simplify things and use tap water. Or, if it is too hard, mix RO and tapwater say 50/50. Then you wouldn't need to worry about reconstituting it.

2) A packet of yeast should yield a couple of bottles/batches. Usually a quarter teaspoon is what's recommended. You let the mixture bubble until it runs out of breath, which is after 2 to 4 weeks. Then you start over, with a brand-new mix!

3) There is no danger of too much oxygen, but the surface agitation resulting from the bubbles will drive out all of the CO2 that you added. Unless the tank is grossly overstocked, you shouldn't need a bubble wand.

4) Forget iron test kits. Follow instructions on the Flourish Iron bottle (if that's what you're using) and observe your plants, if they look good, you're good, if they look yellow/pale, it might be lacking, if you get all sorts of weird algae, you could be overdosing.

Good questions!


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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-20-2004, 12:36 AM
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trenac is the faster typist!


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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-20-2004, 01:58 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the fast responses!

I will start using 50/50 RO/Tap. I just have the convienence of having an RO unit at my house, so I have always just used that. How important is it to use de-chlorinator prior to adding the water to the tank? can I fill it up with a Python siphon and then add the Amquel (or similar product) after? I know it has a different effect on plants than it does on fish.

The bubble wand it out

The plants already look a little yellow after being in there for 3 days! Yet I have added the Flourish Iron every day so far. The instructions on the bottle don't actually say anything about how often to add it. It just says to use whatever makes a .1mg/l reading in the tank. I get that reading, and then it is back to Zero the next day. I asked my LFS about that, and they said adding that much Iron will lead to over-fertilizing the plants and kill them... not sure if it is true though since they are using all of it quickly. I am not worried about an algea break-out. I have 5 algea-eaters in the tank, and lots of cory's and botia's. THose together will take it down for me

That said, with my Iron problem, what is "too much" on adding Flourish Iron. Once I start adding Tap water at 50/50, this should help out as well, but... how will I know if I am adding too much Iron.. when the algea break-out happens? Is that the only consequence of it?

For my DIY co2 injector, can I just put a air-stone at the end of my tubing, and place it under/near my filter intake? I can't fit the tubing directly into my filter intake because of a protective cap that I can't get to (due to my background) without risking disaster. Otherwise, what is the smallest possible defuser (spelling?) that I can make myself??

Now that round-2 of questions are over... hit me up with some answers and I will hit ya'll with round 3

Thanks again!

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-20-2004, 02:00 AM
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-20-2004, 02:03 AM
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I fill my tanks right from the Python and use Prime to treat the water. As per the instructions I dose for the whole tank at the beginning of the fill.

If you have a clay based substrate then chances are it's absorbing the iron. It's really hard to get a iron deficiency in a tank. So you can lay off the iron dosing. And the test kits aren't worth a bucket of warm spit IMHO.

Do not use an air stone with DIY CO2. It can/will clog and can/will cause the bottle to burst. Makes a really nasty mess.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-20-2004, 02:09 AM
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Actually I would wait dosing ANYTHING for the first few weeks of a planted tank. Plants turning yellow shortly after planting can have many reasons, mostly because they are coming from very different conditions compared to where they are now (some might have been grown emersed, you know, out of the water). So rather than being able to adjust their existing leaves, they shed them and the new growth will try to make the best out of what you provide. So the new leaves are what you will need to watch. Initially they should come out green (duh) and after a few weeks you might start to see the first signs of deficiencies. This is when you whip out a micro mix like Flourish, and start to measure NO3 and PO4.

Regarding the Anti-Chlor, I guess you just throw whatever is needed into the tank. I don't use any myself, but I would not recommend that to anyone.


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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-20-2004, 02:11 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Grigg
Do not use an air stone with DIY CO2. It can/will clog and can/will cause the bottle to burst. Makes a really nasty mess.
Sounds like a good prank to pull on the wife when going out of town!

I do have cement blocks in the tank, but no clay. I will just rely on Flourish 2x per week and Flourish Iron 1x per week, and see how that goes. Seems like plenty of Iron would go in there.

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-20-2004, 02:12 AM
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Cement blocks? Pray tell why? Cement blocks can play havoc with your water chemistry.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-20-2004, 02:16 AM Thread Starter
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It was a "genious" (note the sarcasm) idea on my part to hold down my driftwood in the tank, which would not sink or stay at the bottom worth crap. I drilled some screws (whatever the non-rust material was that those come in) through the bottom and into the wood. Worked well... but, obviously it had problems.

If I could get some encouraging words that the wood would now sink for sure (after being submerged for a year), then I would take out the cement... what do yall think???

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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-20-2004, 03:04 AM
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The cement blocks are going to wreck havoc on your water parameters.

Cement is full of lime!

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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-20-2004, 03:29 AM Thread Starter
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I will remove them for sure then, and do a greater water change than normal tomorrow.

What is your opinion on whether the driftwood (it is actually ghostwood I think) will sink now that it is so water logged?

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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-20-2004, 12:45 PM
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Only one way to find out. And if it still floats get some slate slabs to anchor it.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-20-2004, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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Done!

In some ways that was easier than expected, and in some ways it was much harder!

Neither sank, go figure.

So I went to Home Depot and picked up some slate slabs. My first piece of driftwood sank right away with a small piece of slab attached to it. The larger piece decided to still float even with a much larger piece of slate! So I doubled it up, and it sank fine.

I will have to wait until the tank clears up before assessing the # of fish deaths. I wouldn't be surprised if my curious bottom-dwellers decided to jet under the slabs while I was burying it Hopefully all went well though!

If the cement was what was absorbing my Iron, when should I start being able to assess whether it is getting enough Iron in teh tank now? When new leaves that are green start popping up?

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