Saltwater vet... First Freshwater Tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-02-2010, 07:25 AM Thread Starter
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Saltwater vet... First Freshwater Tank

I have recently acquired a job at a local fish store mostly dealing with saltwater/reef systems. I got into the hobby with salt and was fascinated with the rich variety of fish and corals.

After starting my job, it wasn't long till I became equally as fascinated with the diversity and simple beauty of freshwater. I had many of the spare parts already and began to plan my first freshwater tank....

Tank Size:
10 gallons (~20x10x12)

Lighting: 2 x 65w PC lighting (one bulb 10k, one bulb 6700k/roseate)

Filtration: AC 20 HOB filter, running pre-cut filter media and a layer of poly-filter media.

CO2 System: Up 'charming aquarium' disposable CO2 system. Takes 135ml canisters at I run it at roughly a drop every 5-10 seconds.

Heater: 50 watts

Substrate: 20 pounds of Eco-Complete Substrate

Decorations: One piece of Mopani wood and a zebra-striped rock.

Parameters:

NH3: 0
NO2: 0
NO3: 10
gH: 50-75
kH: ~80
Ca+: >5ppn
pH: 7.4
Temp: 80

The tank uses RO water

Stocklist:

Fish:
3x male 'Royal' Endler's Livebearers (bright red dorsal/tail fins, red torso and dark black abdomens)
1x Peacock Gudgeon

Im also thinking about getting a sweet pair of apistogrammas as well. Not sure what kind, so many options!

Plants*:
- Vallisneria
- Sagittaria
- Eleocharis acicularis
- Hygrophila angustifolia
- Microsorum pteropus
- Lilaeopsis
- Myriophyllum
- Flowering Caboma

(*plants are new to me and im still trying to learn the scientific names. My ID's may not all be right...)

Lighting: I do not keep both lights on at once, I prefer the look of the 10k much more.

10ks


6700k/roseate


Both


Here are the endlers, sorry about the quality. Its a cellphone shot




The CO2 system.


Also here are my other babies:

200 gal system:


40 gal system:



Planted tanks are a refreshing change of pace from reef systems and much less of a headache too! Comments much appreciated.


One Love,

Marc
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post #2 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-02-2010, 01:50 PM
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Welcome to the hobby!

It looks like you might need to do a little bit of research about the role of lighting in freshwater planted aquariums. That is an insane amount of lighting for this type of tank. It seems to be a pretty common mistake for saltwater folks to overestimate the amount of lighting that is needed to grow healthy plants and avoid algae. Honestly, even one of those bulbs is too much lighting for that tank, IMHO.

Light drives plants to grow. The higher the light, the more CO2, Macro, and Micronutrients are needed to allow healthy growth. If this balance is not met, the plants can't grow properly, but algae will thrive.

For example, I used to run a 10g (the one in my sig) with 36w of PC lighting. I needed very good high/consistent CO2 and Estimative Index fertilization to prevent algae from taking over. It took me a while to find the right balance by adjusting my CO2 upwards before I was able to achieve good, healthy growth and conquer the algae outbreaks.

Take a look around at some of the articles and posts on here to get a better idea of how others have found success with a tank like yours. Good luck!

Mike


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post #3 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-02-2010, 02:00 PM
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Oh man, like mpodolan said, you really need to probably change that lighting.

I will put it this way, I have that over my 20G tall tank, suspended like you, and I still have issues with algae. And that is with me having timers that only allow one of the bulbs to work at a time. You will likely get some major algae issues very soon.


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post #4 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-02-2010, 02:29 PM
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A 2x T5NO would be a much better light level for your tank setup.





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post #5 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-02-2010, 03:01 PM
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or 2 15W T-8 bulbs will work great for a 10G tank.


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post #6 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-02-2010, 03:16 PM
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nice endlers, BTW i want that little CO2 system
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post #7 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-02-2010, 03:27 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msnikkistar View Post
Oh man, like mpodolan said, you really need to probably change that lighting.

I will put it this way, I have that over my 20G tall tank, suspended like you, and I still have issues with algae. And that is with me having timers that only allow one of the bulbs to work at a time. You will likely get some major algae issues very soon.
The lighting used to be on my SPS reef, which is why I had it lying around. I just moved the tank to a real stand and unfortunately broke the leg handles on my fixture. Im stuck with either suspending the light a couple feet over the tank or finding something else. Im not doing T-5s, the smallest those come are 24" and it would stick out awkwardly.... I do have a couple 150w HQI Metal Halide bulbs. I could hang that 3 feet above my tank.

Algae hasn't been an issue so far. I left both lights on and went to work and my tank turned into pea soup. I do regular 3-4 gallon w/c's a week and im trying to run a pretty nutrient low system.

Im also taking advice on fertilizer suppliments. As a rule, I do not anything to my tanks unless I know exactly why i'm using it and that I can test it regularly.
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post #8 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-02-2010, 03:33 PM
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My advice would be forget everything you know about reefs. It doesn't transfer to planted.
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post #9 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-02-2010, 03:33 PM
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Low nutrients + super high light + what sounds to be insufficient CO2 (this is just purely a guess) = algae. Nutrients are a good thing in planted tanks. The more light you have, the more nutrients (including CO2) you need

How long has this tank been set up?

As for ferts, read up on the Estimative Index method (there's a sticky in this forum). Dosing dry fertilizers is the cheapest way and this method also includes large weekly water changes (which seems like it would fit with your style) to "reset" the system.

Mike


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post #10 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-02-2010, 04:01 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Low nutrients + super high light + what sounds to be insufficient CO2 (this is just purely a guess) = algae. Nutrients are a good thing in planted tanks. The more light you have, the more nutrients (including CO2) you need
Not enough CO2? Elaborate please...

The tanks been running for about 3 weeks and was cycled with microbe-lift. I need to raise my nitrate and phosphate levels (as I reef keeper, just typing that out sent my shivers down my spine). Can I just allow to my fish to help raise my levels of dissolved waste? Will the plants benefit from that? Would it be better to just use a combo of potassium nitrate and/or mono-potassium phosphate? What about iron?

Lastly, What would you recommend for a small clean up crew? My endlers were having a difficult time eating their NLS pellets and a few have been sinking to the ground. I think my gudgeon has ruled out dwarf shrimp, but what about some nerite or spixi snails? Perhaps an otto or C. Siamensis....?
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post #11 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-02-2010, 04:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Funkateer_1 View Post
The lighting used to be on my SPS reef, which is why I had it lying around. I just moved the tank to a real stand and unfortunately broke the leg handles on my fixture. Im stuck with either suspending the light a couple feet over the tank or finding something else. Im not doing T-5s, the smallest those come are 24" and it would stick out awkwardly.... I do have a couple 150w HQI Metal Halide bulbs. I could hang that 3 feet above my tank.

Algae hasn't been an issue so far. I left both lights on and went to work and my tank turned into pea soup. I do regular 3-4 gallon w/c's a week and im trying to run a pretty nutrient low system.

Im also taking advice on fertilizer suppliments. As a rule, I do not anything to my tanks unless I know exactly why i'm using it and that I can test it regularly.
Here's the thing, chances are, your tank hasn't been running very long. Everything you know about reefs, doesn't apply to planted aquaria. You are pretty much starting from scratch here.

Even with just one bulb at a time, you still have a "high" light tank. Unless you suspend it a lot higher than what you are planning on doing. When you use that about of lighting, you will have to supplement with nutrients and co2. The plants will demand that in itself because of the lighting. Without it, you will eventually end up with GSA, diatoms, and probably (I am guessing your pea soup reference) cloudy water from algae as well.

I would go with the suggestion of T-8 bulbs as well, since you do not want to do T5NO, and you want to keep it at what it sounds like "low tech".

Quote:
Originally Posted by xmas_one View Post
My advice would be forget everything you know about reefs. It doesn't transfer to planted.
Spot on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mpodolan View Post
Low nutrients + super high light + what sounds to be insufficient CO2 (this is just purely a guess) = algae. Nutrients are a good thing in planted tanks. The more light you have, the more nutrients (including CO2) you need
^Agreed.


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post #12 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-02-2010, 04:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Funkateer_1 View Post
Not enough CO2? Elaborate please...

The tanks been running for about 3 weeks and was cycled with microbe-lift. I need to raise my nitrate and phosphate levels (as I reef keeper, just typing that out sent my shivers down my spine). Can I just allow to my fish to help raise my levels of dissolved waste? Will the plants benefit from that? Would it be better to just use a combo of potassium nitrate and/or mono-potassium phosphate? What about iron?

Lastly, What would you recommend for a small clean up crew? My endlers were having a difficult time eating their NLS pellets and a few have been sinking to the ground. I think my gudgeon has ruled out dwarf shrimp, but what about some nerite or spixi snails? Perhaps an otto or C. Siamensis....?
I am just guessing that you don't have enough CO2 because you have so much light. I could be totally wrong, but I'm making an educated guess, based on personal experience and the amount of time I've spent observing my tanks/reading the available info and research on this topic. I'd seriously considering lowering the light, as others have suggested. Raising the lights can help, but I'm not a true lighting expert, so I'll defer to others. I just know that the setup you have right now is too much

Yes, with high light, you'll need to supplement nutrients via fertilizer. In lower light tanks, many people can get away with allowing the bioload in their tank to supply the necessary nutrients, as growth/nutrient uptake is slow. KNO3 and KH2PO4 are excellent choices, IMO. You'll also need Micro nutrients. Many of us use CSM+B for this. This contains iron as well, but some choose to supplement extra iron. It is necessary in some tanks, not in others. Every tank is different. GLA (a sponsor on this site) sells combo packs of these nutrients which are a great deal.

I'll let others take the cleanup crew question, as I've never used snails for this purpose. Otos are a good choice, IME

Mike


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post #13 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-02-2010, 04:35 PM Thread Starter
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I will most likely hang my light a few feet above my tank. I could buy a 18" CF fixture but their going the way of the dodo and its already tough to find replacement bulbs. I do have a 150w HQI pendant that I can hang several feet above the tank as well, though I think that would be even more overkill. I will pick up some fertilizer at my work today and start getting on that regiment. Details soon.
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post #14 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-02-2010, 05:02 PM
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nice endlers, BTW i want that little CO2 system
Me too! I never thought I'd say this... but it's cute

Quote:
Originally Posted by xmas_one View Post
My advice would be forget everything you know about reefs. It doesn't transfer to planted.
This^^ pretty much... lots of us made/making this awkward transition. Learning to take things away instead of add.
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post #15 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-02-2010, 05:06 PM
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hahaha so true,

I started as a reef head, now i only keep freshwater.
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