10 gallon low tech build...thoughts? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-27-2020, 12:49 AM Thread Starter
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10 gallon low tech build...thoughts?

Hi everyone! Here we go with another of my crazy build ideas This time it's a low tech (but not walstad) planted tank. How does this sound?

Tank; A 10 gallon, filled about 9 inches high with water to create an improved surface area for gas exchange and to give more room for floating plants.
Filter; A homemade box filter with a homemade 'geyser' air lift pump. The filter will contain either poret foam cubes or seachem denitrate and will have prefilter sponges over the intakes for easily cleaned mechanical filtration.
Substrate; 1/2 to 1 inch peat moss, under 1/2 inch layers of sand and turface.
Lights; 2X 575 lumen 2700k LED bulbs, 5 hours a day to start (my schedule would make it difficult to implement siesta periods).
Ferts; Small amounts of KNO3, KH2PO4, KHCO3 (which doubles as a bicarbonate source for photosynthesis), and Plantex CSM+B over the week. Also, flourish excel would be dosed daily at a half dose.
Water changes; 40% weekly, in the morning (the photoperiod would start around 11 am). Will be double that for the first month or so after the plants are added to reduce the severity of algae issues.
Plants; TBD, but I want to shoot for a mix of plants with floating or emergent leaves (water lilies, frogbit, etc...going to need to figure out how to prevent these from covering the whole tank) and plants that can use bicarbonates as a carbon source (Vallisneria, for example...I actually got a decent list today if someone is interested).
Fauna; TBD, but since this tank would not be CO2 dosed and would likely be fairly alkaline snails would likely be included to help process detritus and decaying plant matter and thus minimize algae problems.

Thanks for your inputs
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-27-2020, 09:04 AM
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Hum....what are you looking for feedback on?

Very few water lilies are going to like that short of a water column height. Your best bet will be a banana plant.

If you're shooting for alkaline water...then why are you using peat moss? Wouldn't mineralized soil, or even a base layer of silica sand with osmocote/some sort of fertilizer be better?

It's super hard to find hardwater nano fish. CPDs are, of course, one of the few that adore it (gotta love the karst topography), so any fish taht originate from the same area should do the same.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-27-2020, 12:25 PM Thread Starter
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Hum....what are you looking for feedback on?

Very few water lilies are going to like that short of a water column height. Your best bet will be a banana plant.

If you're shooting for alkaline water...then why are you using peat moss? Wouldn't mineralized soil, or even a base layer of silica sand with osmocote/some sort of fertilizer be better?

It's super hard to find hardwater nano fish. CPDs are, of course, one of the few that adore it (gotta love the karst topography), so any fish taht originate from the same area should do the same.
Just wanted to make sure I wasn't doing anything stupid with this setup I'm paranoid like that.

Hardwater is not a requirement by any means...I just was thinking some bicarbonates would be helpful for the plants. Maybe I can keep bicarbonates at 2-3 degrees? That is enough to be helpful for plants while not creating issues for many (not all) nano fish.

I already have the peat moss lying around as excess from a blackwater tank I am setting up, and since it doesn't have much for nutrients I thought it could give me many of the benefits of dirt without most of the irritating nutrient spikes dirt is notorious for. Again, hard water is not a strict requirement...I just wanted some bicarbonates to aid the plants.

It is decidedly shallow for a water lily...I can stick to floating plants like frogbit or riccia instead. Any suggestions for keeping these contained? I've heard of using airline rings, but that then poses the issue of keeping the airline ring in place; I have also wondered whether those cheap turtle docks could be useful.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-27-2020, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Grah the great View Post
Just wanted to make sure I wasn't doing anything stupid with this setup I'm paranoid like that.

Hardwater is not a requirement by any means...I just was thinking some bicarbonates would be helpful for the plants. Maybe I can keep bicarbonates at 2-3 degrees? That is enough to be helpful for plants while not creating issues for many (not all) nano fish.

I already have the peat moss lying around as excess from a blackwater tank I am setting up, and since it doesn't have much for nutrients I thought it could give me many of the benefits of dirt without most of the irritating nutrient spikes dirt is notorious for. Again, hard water is not a strict requirement...I just wanted some bicarbonates to aid the plants.

It is decidedly shallow for a water lily...I can stick to floating plants like frogbit or riccia instead. Any suggestions for keeping these contained? I've heard of using airline rings, but that then poses the issue of keeping the airline ring in place; I have also wondered whether those cheap turtle docks could be useful.
Good old air line clips with suction cup. Make your airline ring and use the clips to hold it where you want to on top. Everything sounds good so far though!
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-27-2020, 02:38 PM Thread Starter
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Good old air line clips with suction cup. Make your airline ring and use the clips to hold it where you want to on top. Everything sounds good so far though!
Thanks! I wanted to try low tech again because yeast reactors (or perhaps more accurately the drop checkers I was using to tell if they had started properly) are starting to get on my nerves. Side note...how do you keep the floating plants in place during a water change? Do you just put the plants back when the water change is done?
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-27-2020, 03:28 PM
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Thanks! I wanted to try low tech again because yeast reactors (or perhaps more accurately the drop checkers I was using to tell if they had started properly) are starting to get on my nerves. Side note...how do you keep the floating plants in place during a water change? Do you just put the plants back when the water change is done?
Back when I had an abundance of floating plants, I changed my water out every 2 weeks or so. I threw a bunch out, changed the water and corralled them back up after the refill. You can place them in a bucket if it makes it easier for you. The floaters that weren't thrown out was free floating around the tank til I refilled. To me it was easier this way.

The other thing I did was I made 2 rings, a smaller one for Salvinia Minima and a larger one for Dwarf Water Lettuce. Duck weed was free floating outside of the rings.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-27-2020, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
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OK! I also came up with a dosing regime...how does this sound?

10 gallon 'low tech' dosing (for 29 liters/7.7 gallons)
OVER COURSE OF WEEK;
- .175 ml KNO3 (5.03 ppm NO3, 3.17 ppm K, 8.21 ppm TDS)
- .0875 (1/2 of .175 ml) ml KH2PO4 (2.35 ppm PO4, .971 ppm K, 3.33 ppm TDS)
- .35 ml KHCO3 (5.18 ppm K, 8.09 ppm HCO3, 13.28 ppm TDS)
- .0875 ml Plantex CSM+B (.169 ppm Fe)
- .5(?)ml excel/day (about 2.41 ppm TDS)

WITH WEEKLY WATER CHANGE (12 liters);
- 1.25 ml Calcium chloride dihydrate (20.44 ppm calcium, 56.6 ppm TDS)
- .625 ml Epsom salt (5.23 ppm magnesium, 12.2 ppm TDS)
- .625 ml baking soda (34.27 ppm HCO3, 37.2 ppm TDS)
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-27-2020, 05:55 PM
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So, what do you think your pH is going to shake out to with your peat underlayer and adding that much baking soda? And how stable do you stable do you think it will be?
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-27-2020, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
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So, what do you think your pH is going to shake out to with your peat underlayer and adding that much baking soda? And how stable do you stable do you think it will be?
I am assuming the baking soda will beat out the peat moss (which is mostly there for the CEC)...in my blackwater tank (not even two weeks old yet) this same bag of peat moss (as a substrate component) is having virtually no effect on the PH, and I had to add API PH down with the water change to push the PH down (and it's still only 6, so it has a ways to go...that tank is going to be for licorice gouramies or coccina complex bettas, both of which prefer considerably more acidic conditions). In my experience, it is FAR harder to reduce the PH than to increase it, even in extremely soft water.
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