New 60l shrimp tank build from newbie - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-12-2012, 11:27 AM Thread Starter
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New 60l shrimp tank build from newbie

Hi all, what a great forum here!

A bit about me, normally i keep axolotls, fresh coldwater critters with no planting whatsoever, however recently i've setup 2 shrimp tanks, 1 a 200 litre for crystal reds, and the other a 60 litre, which is my experimentation lab, and will be my first planted.

This particular tank did have some lightin (15 watt tropical) and i was growing mosses well, the shrimps bred like mad, but now i want something nicer.

This setup is a budget setup, everything is either free, DIY or cheap.

So the setup:
  • 1 x Elite 60 litre tank and stand (paid £20)
  • 1 x lighting unit (150 watt metal halide, 2 x 15 watt tropical arcadia, suspended 30 cm from water surface) (paid £23)
  • 1 x cheapo compressed co2 system with vertical diffuser (paid £20)
  • air pump with sponge filter (paid £20)
  • cheap heater (free)
  • Oliver Knott Active substrate (similar to ADA ammazonia II) at a depth of 1" with sand underneath. (probably £30 worth)
  • 1 large rock which I've managed to get a flattened marimo moss ball to carper on the surface of like a cliff. (free)
  • 1 large 5" marimo moss ball (have been growing for an age)
  • 30 (approx red cherry test subjects) (cheap - £15)

I've recently started planting some hair grass at the back, i plan to use HC cuba at the front but wanted to get expert opinions on what else i may need to avoid wasting money as i suspect i may need to do some buffering and improve my co2 system.

What i really need help with is lighting, as you can see i have a fair amount available, but rarely see guides about metal halide. I paid £23 for the unit including bulbs so seemed like a good deal, even if just the t8's were used, but i do like the intensity of the mh.

My measurements are:

kh -2
gh - 5
ph - 6.8
ammonia - 0

From what i understand i need my KH to be higher at 4 so i can use more co2 and drop ph further. However this Co2 diffuser is one where you fill up the chambers and leave it, so can't give it any more forcefully so am planning a DIY reactor build.

What should I dose?

and how long / what configuration should i leave lights on for good growth?

Many thanks for any newbie help you can offer. Will get some more pics up soon.

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-12-2012, 11:54 AM
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CO2 is overkill with the plants you're growing, though if you're set on putting HC in there you will need it.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-12-2012, 11:57 AM Thread Starter
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Yes that's correct, I wish to grow HC cuba, however want to ensure I have lighting / ph / kh / co2 requirements met to avoid wasting money on killing the plant as it's very expensive.

That is why I'm asking advice, I appreciate that moss does not require such ott setup, the moss was grown int he previous setup, no co2 + 1 x 15w T8.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-12-2012, 12:10 PM Thread Starter
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Using this graph: I see I'm at 9 mg/l of co2.

I know HC Cuba is gonna want a lot more than that, 15 mg/l?

So i appreciate i need to get hardness up as atm the ppm is low, so when i start adding more co2 it is likely to make ph drop further and hold onto less unless the hardness is high enough (4 kh) so that it may hold onto the additional co2? (i think i have that right?)

Do i just buy some buffer to raise hardness? is there a more natural way to raise it?
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-12-2012, 04:08 PM Thread Starter
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I went to the aquatic store today and actually bought a bubble counter / proper ceramic fizzing diffuser.

I've got it hooked up to the 16g co2 cannister atm just for giggles and the difference in co2 is dramatic from the trapped co2 diffuser i had (the big thing still in the tank).

The ph indicator has now changed colour to green, it had been stuck on blue using the other diffuser so not enough co2.

The adapter on the co2 is hardly accurate and i appreciate it is going to be difficult to get stable bps, but the story will be the same for the diy setup i plan to build and so I suppose I'll just have to gauge it day by day until i can get a divers bottle etc.

The side of the tank looks scrappy atm, i appreciate. Once I've got a setup established I'll tidy it all up, but for now it's like a lab!

Also planted 5 more bunches of hairgrass, hopefully well help it take.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-12-2012, 06:00 PM Thread Starter
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While messing around with the setup and wondering how I may minimize unused co2 going to waste I've had a brain wave.

By placing the old collection based co2 diffuser above the ceramic bubble diffuser, any additional co2 created by excess if the diy system, or by pow control of the mini compressed canister will bubble up and then get caught within the collection diffuser for organic diffusion.

As that's how it's supposed to operate anyway, even if the bottom compartment fills, it then overflows into the top!

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