New and frustrated- help? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-26-2018, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
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New and frustrated- help?

I'm new to planted tanks, not to aquariums. I've got a good handle on nitrogen cycle, but that's about it.

Few weeks ago I decided to replace gravel and do controsoil and try a planted tank.

I'm hating the soil. Plants won't stay down (monte carlo mostly) and the soil keeps dropping my ph too low. (6.3-4) Would it be insane to replace the soil with sand already? I think I prefer and inert substrate so that I can control water parameters myself. I have to use 100% RO because we don't have a single bypass faucet and have a softener.

Also g=dealing with a lot of algae. I know I don't have the lighting, co2 and ferts balanced, but honestly have no idea how to balance them.

So, switch to sand or stick it out? And, is there a "dummies guide to balancing a planted tank"?
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-26-2018, 05:13 PM
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I'm new to planted tanks, not to aquariums. I've got a good handle on nitrogen cycle, but that's about it.

Few weeks ago I decided to replace gravel and do controsoil and try a planted tank.

I'm hating the soil. Plants won't stay down (monte carlo mostly) and the soil keeps dropping my ph too low. (6.3-4) Would it be insane to replace the soil with sand already? I think I prefer and inert substrate so that I can control water parameters myself. I have to use 100% RO because we don't have a single bypass faucet and have a softener.

Also g=dealing with a lot of algae. I know I don't have the lighting, co2 and ferts balanced, but honestly have no idea how to balance them.

So, switch to sand or stick it out? And, is there a "dummies guide to balancing a planted tank"?
The soil is supposed to do that to the pH. Nothing wrong with 6.4 / 6.3

Use RO is needed with that soil so as to not exhaust it. Dose the RO water up to 4 - 6 degrees gH. Google rotalabutterfly and use the calculator to determine how much of what product to add. You can use Seachem Equilibrium or a combination of CaSO4 and MgSO4. # or 4 : 1 Ca to Mg is generally recommended as a ratio for remineralizing RO water.

What lighting, what sized tank how much CO2 are you using. Generally you would want a 1.0 - 1.3 point drop in pH from CO2.

So degassed water with a pH of 6.4 would need a pH of 5.4 - 5.1 when the CO2 and lights are on.

"No Ice? Just Freeze Some Water"

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-26-2018, 05:23 PM Thread Starter
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The soil is supposed to do that to the pH. Nothing wrong with 6.4 / 6.3

Use RO is needed with that soil so as to not exhaust it. Dose the RO water up to 4 - 6 degrees gH. Google rotalabutterfly and use the calculator to determine how much of what product to add. You can use Seachem Equilibrium or a combination of CaSO4 and MgSO4. # or 4 : 1 Ca to Mg is generally recommended as a ratio for remineralizing RO water.

What lighting, what sized tank how much CO2 are you using. Generally you would want a 1.0 - 1.3 point drop in pH from CO2.

So degassed water with a pH of 6.4 would need a pH of 5.4 - 5.1 when the CO2 and lights are on.
Thanks. It's a 15 gallon with an 18" satellite pro light. I can adjust the light however I want, if I knew what I wanted. lol

Co2...I'm trying to get a handle on that. I'm dosing about 40-45 drops per MINUTE but the drop checker has never turned green. I have a better system on the way, the fluval mini is about impossible to adjust right.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-26-2018, 05:25 PM
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Thanks. It's a 15 gallon with an 18" satellite pro light. I can adjust the light however I want, if I knew what I wanted. lol

Co2...I'm trying to get a handle on that. I'm dosing about 40-45 drops per MINUTE but the drop checker has never turned green. I have a better system on the way, the fluval mini is about impossible to adjust right.
3 x that bubble cont will likely be needed for a 15 gallon. I was at 1 bubble per second in a 5.5 gal with about 4 gals of actual water.

If you can get the CO2 to drop the pH by a full 1.0 then you can run that light @ 100% for 5-6 hours a day to start.

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-26-2018, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
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3 x that bubble cont will likely be needed for a 15 gallon. I was at 1 bubble per second in a 5.5 gal with about 4 gals of actual water.

If you can get the CO2 to drop the pH by a full 1.0 then you can run that light @ 100% for 5-6 hours a day to start.
Thanks!

So I thought ph lower than 6 was problematical for fish and the beneficial bacteria?
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-26-2018, 05:30 PM
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Thanks!

So I thought ph lower than 6 was problematical for fish and the beneficial bacteria?
Explain all the ADA tanks on the internet they all run aquasoil which will drop the pH plus CO2 which will drop the pH even more

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-26-2018, 05:52 PM Thread Starter
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Not a chance! I can't even explain my light at the moment lol
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-26-2018, 06:41 PM
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Here's your Planted Tank for .. well.. more than just Dummies

https://www.advancedplantedtank.com/


as 'advanced' as the site name sounds, there's actually a good section that sort of explains things out in an orderly manner.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-26-2018, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
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Here's your Planted Tank for .. well.. more than just Dummies

https://www.advancedplantedtank.com/


as 'advanced' as the site name sounds, there's actually a good section that sort of explains things out in an orderly manner.
thanks!

Bump: I just wonder if I'll be happier with an inert substrate as a beginner....
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-26-2018, 10:44 PM
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Why not cap the soil with something like sand? Might be easier and help the pH swing.

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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-26-2018, 11:04 PM Thread Starter
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What would be the benefit of keeping the soil and capping it? (Not trying to be a pain, just learning)
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-27-2018, 12:09 PM
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Don't cap the soil, it will create way more problems than it will solve. Messy, definitely not help with the pH (if you are using RO water why fight the soil? let it do it's intended job).

"No Ice? Just Freeze Some Water"

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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-27-2018, 07:52 PM Thread Starter
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So should I not be buffering the water I add back in? Just remineralize and the soil will do the buffering? Confused.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-27-2018, 08:09 PM
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The soil will offer the buffering for the pH. so no need to boost kH.

I would boost gH up to 6 degrees via CaSO4 and MgSO4.

"No Ice? Just Freeze Some Water"

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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-29-2018, 07:21 PM
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The soil is fine. No need to cap it or replace it. You can and should ignore the pH other than checking the relative change to get a handle on CO2 levels. AS, Controsoil, Tropica all buffer the water.
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