Advice on 18g planted tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-14-2018, 09:49 AM Thread Starter
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Hey guys, as I’m slowly building my 260gallon, I decided to experiment with DSM on my 18gal.

I’ve planted Monte Carlo and hair grass into organic garden soil with a coarse sand cap and painted some java moss into the rockscape.
After 6 weeks I deemed it a success and flooded the tank, it’s been flooded for 2 weeks and has had no die-back and the plants continue to grow.

Stocking is as follows:
8x neon tetras
3x corydoras
11x Red cherry shrimp

Would you guys add anything else?

The small issue I’m having is slightly cloudy water, I have barely any algae and I’m doing around 30% water change every couple of days. I’m dosing flourish excel and flourish as well as seachem stability. Water parameters are perfect and PH level is 6.8.
I don’t believe the cloudy water is due to algae bloom, I think it may be my filtration. I am using an aqua one 300 HOB filter and in 2 days I will have a small wave maker to help create more flow. I have a bad feeling it may be the soil leeching into the water? When I change the water it’s slightly brown in the bucket and when I refill the tank it looks fine for about a day then it’s slightly dirty again. Do I need to get a small canister filter? I’ll attach some photos of my journey.
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Last edited by Fish-jitsu; 07-17-2018 at 04:40 AM. Reason: Spelling
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-14-2018, 11:22 AM
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WOW that growth looks good. Hard to say if the cloudy water is from unwashed substrate dust or fertz that are being added. Muck in the HOB is a good thing - that is why you have it ;-).

What I would look into is 1) Protecting the shrimps form the HOB intake - maybe add an open cell sponge or some sort of mesh on the intake - sponge works better when they have babies and it creates a feeding station for them.
2) Another DIY trick is to use batting ( white material for insulation in clothing or filter material at the pet shop ) for the HOB - that becomes a water polisher to trap very fine floating particles. Don't have a aqua one 300 HOB but see if you can fit one. Are you running carbon ? If you are I would remove that.
3) I know you say you not seeing any algae - maybe see if you can get some otocinclus catfish ... they will help keep thing very very clean.
4) That slightly brown water might be the leaching form the garden soil .. I assume it is not mineralized soil - only fix I can think might help if it bothers you and you want crystal clrea water is to investigate using seachem purigen, but this might not be what you had planned for.

Don't rush things - not that it is flooded everything needs to adapt - you are building a long term system, well that is what using the garden soil suggest, have you read up on the walstad method ?

Later Ferdie

F is for fish (with plants) - the more I see the more I like. Need more pictures
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-15-2018, 07:08 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for the advice! I made an intake filter out of an old sponge filter I had lying around and slipped that over the intake and the water is crystal clear this morning and the shrimp are sitting on the sponge eating. Worked well! I’ll try to track down some of those otto’s too. Thanks again!
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-15-2018, 07:16 PM
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Ah excellent ... glad pimping your HOB worked.

Always good to get feedback on these matters.

Later Ferdie

F is for fish (with plants) - the more I see the more I like. Need more pictures
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-17-2018, 12:07 AM
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Omg. Is that MC in a low tech setup? I am regretting my microswords now...
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-17-2018, 04:39 AM Thread Starter
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Omg. Is that MC in a low tech setup? I am regretting my microswords now...
Yes it sure is, I wasn’t sure how it would go but it has worked beautifully. It’s still growing surprisingly fast and I’ve already given it a trim.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-17-2018, 05:05 AM
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What is the filter media in the filter? Did you add all the fish and shrimps at once?
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-17-2018, 05:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fish-jitsu View Post
Hey guys, as I’m slowly building my 260gallon, I decided to experiment with DSM on my 18gal.

I’ve planted Monte Carlo and hair grass into organic garden soil with a coarse sand cap and painted some java moss into the rockscape.
After 6 weeks I deemed it a success and flooded the tank, it’s been flooded for 2 weeks and has had no die-back and the plants continue to grow.
Hey there! I'm about to flood my tank after about 6 weeks of dsm for monte carlo as well! I found it super awesome that you had no die-back, as I'm really worried that my monte carlo will melt/have a bad transition. Do you think you could give me some tips on what you did to achieve this? Did you double-dose excel in the beginning? Did you reduce your photoperiod and/or light intensity after flooding? What was your process right after filling in regards to water changes, and are you still doing water changes frequently? Thanks

Btw, your tank looks amazing
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-18-2018, 10:56 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Uncle_Zhi View Post
What is the filter media in the filter? Did you add all the fish and shrimps at once?
Itís just the standard carbon cartridge that comes with the aqua clear 300. Iím trying to source something else I can put in there in the meantime. Iím going to upgrade the filter to a external canister real soon.
No, I added the fish and shrimp in stages and I ran my filter in a mates tank for a couple of weeks before I added into my tank to try and build some beneficial bacteria.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fish-jitsu View Post
Hey guys, as Iím slowly building my 260gallon, I decided to experiment with DSM on my 18gal.

Iíve planted Monte Carlo and hair grass into organic garden soil with a coarse sand cap and painted some java moss into the rockscape.
After 6 weeks I deemed it a success and flooded the tank, itís been flooded for 2 weeks and has had no die-back and the plants continue to grow.
Hey there! I'm about to flood my tank after about 6 weeks of dsm for monte carlo as well! I found it super awesome that you had no die-back, as I'm really worried that my monte carlo will melt/have a bad transition. Do you think you could give me some tips on what you did to achieve this? Did you double-dose excel in the beginning? Did you reduce your photoperiod and/or light intensity after flooding? What was your process right after filling in regards to water changes, and are you still doing water changes frequently? Thanks :-)

Btw, your tank looks amazing :-)
No problem mate i was also dreading flooding my tank as it looked so nice and Iíd heard that it would melt without cO2 injection. Iíll try and give you all the details.

I used an organic garden soil with a coarse river sand cap, I was misting with water and organic liquid ferts during DSM.
I was running my lights for 12-14 hours per day and after flooding I reduced them to about 6 hours per day, I double dose excel every day and use flourish once per week. Iím doing 30% waterchanges 2x per week and a 50% waterchange once per week.
I have a good amount of flow in the tank as I purchased a small wave maker 1000-2000lph and thatís really important for algae prevention and ensuring nutrients are carried throughout the tank.
My tank is growing really well, Iíve noticed so much new hair grass growth popping up around the tank and my java moss is getting really green and long.
Thankyou for the compliment of my tank and good luck with your own!

Last edited by Darkblade48; 07-18-2018 at 02:48 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-18-2018, 02:52 PM
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As f-fish has already said, remove the carbon filter and put some sponge and ceramics.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-18-2018, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Fish-jitsu View Post
No problem mate i was also dreading flooding my tank as it looked so nice and Iíd heard that it would melt without cO2 injection. Iíll try and give you all the details.

I used an organic garden soil with a coarse river sand cap, I was misting with water and organic liquid ferts during DSM.
I was running my lights for 12-14 hours per day and after flooding I reduced them to about 6 hours per day, I double dose excel every day and use flourish once per week. Iím doing 30% waterchanges 2x per week and a 50% waterchange once per week.
I have a good amount of flow in the tank as I purchased a small wave maker 1000-2000lph and thatís really important for algae prevention and ensuring nutrients are carried throughout the tank.
My tank is growing really well, Iíve noticed so much new hair grass growth popping up around the tank and my java moss is getting really green and long.
Thankyou for the compliment of my tank and good luck with your own!
Thank you for the great advice! I hope I can achieve the same results
Although did you do an initial water change to wash out any gunk that built up in the substrate during the dsm period? And also, how important do you consider the wave maker to be in your flooding success? The wave maker sounds really awesome but the fish I'll be getting for the tank prefer slower moving waters/less current. Do you think the wavemaker is something I should still go with or avoid? Thanks so much!
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-18-2018, 05:44 PM Thread Starter
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I didnít really have any gunk build up but I think I did a 50% change the next day. Iíve read some really good articles on how underrated flow is in a planted tank, Iím not talking rapids here, just enough flow that you can see all your plants moving a little, that helps keep algae from growing and pushes nutrients around the tank to your plants, helps stop dead spots etc especially if you have rocks in the tank as they are current breakers. I think itís extremely important.

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Originally Posted by Uncle_Zhi View Post
As f-fish has already said, remove the carbon filter and put some sponge and ceramics.
Will do

Last edited by Darkblade48; 07-19-2018 at 12:16 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-18-2018, 06:28 PM
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I didn’t really have any gunk build up but I think I did a 50% change the next day. I’ve read some really good articles on how underrated flow is in a planted tank, I’m not talking rapids here, just enough flow that you can see all your plants moving a little, that helps keep algae from growing and pushes nutrients around the tank to your plants, helps stop dead spots etc especially if you have rocks in the tank as they are current breakers. I think it’s extremely important.
Wow, thanks so much for the helpful advice. I had no idea that flow was so important but now that you say it, it only makes sense! I'm searching for a wavemaker right now

Oh also, did you find that the large and frequent water changes affected your cycle? My cycle is only partially complete (I've been cycling my filter in a bucket for a few weeks) and I don't know how it will turn out if I'm constantly changing the water out. I've heard some people recommend 50% wc everyday for the first week, which I don't know if that's helpful or will just stall my cycle.

Added: It seems like most wavemakers are too powerful for a 10g tank which wavemaker do you use? I can't seem to find a reasonable one that has a low flow. I read that airstones or bubbler bars can be another way to increase flow in the tank. Do you think that's a better option for a smaller 10g tank? Thanks

Last edited by waterblossom; 07-18-2018 at 08:07 PM. Reason: Adding
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 02:05 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Fish-jitsu View Post
I didn’t really have any gunk build up but I think I did a 50% change the next day. I’ve read some really good articles on how underrated flow is in a planted tank, I’m not talking rapids here, just enough flow that you can see all your plants moving a little, that helps keep algae from growing and pushes nutrients around the tank to your plants, helps stop dead spots etc especially if you have rocks in the tank as they are current breakers. I think it’s extremely important.
Wow, thanks so much for the helpful advice. I had no idea that flow was so important but now that you say it, it only makes sense! I'm searching for a wavemaker right now <a href="https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/images/smilie/icon_smile.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smile" >:-)</a>

Oh also, did you find that the large and frequent water changes affected your cycle? My cycle is only partially complete (I've been cycling my filter in a bucket for a few weeks) and I don't know how it will turn out if I'm constantly changing the water out. I've heard some people recommend 50% wc everyday for the first week, which I don't know if that's helpful or will just stall my cycle.

Added: It seems like most wavemakers are too powerful for a 10g tank <a href="https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/images/smilie/icon_sad.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Sad" >:-)</a> which wavemaker do you use? I can't seem to find a reasonable one that has a low flow. I read that airstones or bubbler bars can be another way to increase flow in the tank. Do you think that's a better option for a smaller 10g tank? Thanks <a href="https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/images/smilie/icon_smile.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smile" >:-)</a>
I didn’t notice any change with waterchanges. I did see some small 600lph wavemakers on eBay but a tank that size a bubbler should be sufficient.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 02:32 AM
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I didnít notice any change with waterchanges. I did see some small 600lph wavemakers on eBay but a tank that size a bubbler should be sufficient.
Awesome, thanks so much!
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