Problem with plants in new tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-13-2012, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
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Problem with plants in new tank

My wife & I decided to move from a 10g to a 55g setup and also decided to give a planted tank a try.

The setup:
55gallon aquarium
30-60 aqua-tech HOB filter
48" Nova Extreme 2xT5HO - Freshwater Light

Plants:
Green Mondo Grass
Water Wisteria
Anubius (2 different types)
Amazon sword
Red Ludwigia
Ludwigia needle leaf

Fish:
Guppies, Platty's, Molly's, Cory's, swordtails, tetra's, dwarf gourami, Pleco, ghost shrimp, small spiral shelled snails.
Total fish is probably around 30


We bought a bunch of flourish products: iron, potassium, phosphorus & have been using them as directed. We also got a bunch of other conditioners, such as zyme start etc that we use as directed.

We got a Hardness test kit and master test kit. We have been mixing distilled water and tap water 50/50 to get the KH between 50-100, but the GH has steadily been going up starting around 170 and its now at about 240. We do small water changes at least once a week.


The ammonia kept going up so we started using ammo lock every other day because we lost 2 dwarf gourami. The tank has been newly setup for about 3 weeks now and nitrite and nitrate still read 0. She does a water test every other day.

Ammonia is currently at 4.0


We had the light on a timer keeping it on for 12 hours and we also had a 18" bubbler on all day. The plants started looking really bad and I found out the bubbler was a bad idea and the light was on too long. I adjusted those things about a week ago and I reduced the light time to 9 hours and only turn the bubbler on at night after the lights go off then it turns off before the lights come back on the next day.


I took the carbon out of the filters a week ago and yesterday I added a mesh bag of purigen in the HOB filter.

I also got some co2 booster liquid and started using that yesterday.
I also added a Hagen Nutrafin co2 system on tuesday with a glass/ceramic diffuser. I don't know how much of an impact it will have though.


I'm looking for input and advice on everything in general: light time, co2, water cycle, etc.

Last edited by kyleax1; 09-13-2012 at 08:22 PM. Reason: more specific info added on ammonia level
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-13-2012, 08:39 PM
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I hope you did NOT do all of those setup in a week or so....

Slow and steady wins the race for the planted aquarium...and I recommend you setup the plants first, and when the water and your tank system (when filteration system stablizes with bacteria and nitrogen cycle starts to kick in) seems working OK, and then it is not too late to add your favorite fishes in there.

I think adding up of all these (plants, fishes, light, CO2, other plants minerals) goodies in the first setup is not a good start.

So if you have extra tank, separate the plants and fish temporarily, build up for the planted aquarium environment and add fishes later when it gets stablizes.

If you are about to add CO2, no bubbler plz~

Hope this helped!
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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-13-2012, 08:47 PM Thread Starter
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I've read mixed opinions about adding aquarium salt to distilled water during water changes in a planted tank....Do I add it or not?

We were doing 50/50 (distilled/tap) with salt added until we read not to use salt and now that we didnt add salt the last water change the KH went down to around 40 so we are thinking if we don't use salt the mix should be 40/60 (distilled/tap)


Day 1 -water, gravel, filter, lights, planted
Day 2- a few wish
day5- more fish
day 10- more plants more fish
day 14- remove carbon from filters, stop using bubbler during the day
day 21- add co2 & purigen


That's a rough estimate of how we did the setup. impatient would be a key name we are familiar with. But we also read that there are 2 options:

A: setup a fishless tank and the cycle can take 4-6 weeks
B: setup a tank and let the fish push through it & the cycle will go faster

We went with B


Current tank readings are:

PH: 6.4-6.6
Ammonia: 4.0 (have been using ammo lock so this may not be accurate)
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
KH- slightly changed colors at 2 drops, completely changed colors at 3 drops (so maybe 2.5?)
GH- 214 (12 drops)

Last edited by kyleax1; 09-13-2012 at 09:06 PM. Reason: adding detail on salt and levels
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-13-2012, 10:10 PM
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Unfortunately the tank is not yet cycled and with ammonia at 4 your fish are likely suffering. Ammonia removers are not needed; water changes are. Take a look at this link: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...06&postcount=4


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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-13-2012, 10:23 PM
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If your tank isn't cycled, which it doesn't seem like it, then with such a high ammonia value your fish will suffer very badly and probably die. Safest way is to cycle a tank with ammonia for about one month then add fish.

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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-13-2012, 10:24 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by librarygirl View Post
Unfortunately the tank is not yet cycled and with ammonia at 4 your fish are likely suffering. Ammonia removers are not needed; water changes are. Take a look at this link: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...06&postcount=4

That link helps a lot.
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-13-2012, 10:25 PM
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GH is very high and WAY to many critters.
After the LARGE water change consider adding Baking Soda (I use Arm & Hammer) to raise the KH value and pH sadly low pH values will slow the cycle but also why your fish aren't dead yet. <7.0pH ammonia is less toxic.
FYI ammonia burns the gills and not only are ya killing the fish but also not winning many friends on the forum (if you care).

Measurements are in leveled spoons
To increase KH
1/8 TSP : 6.5gallons = 1dKH
1/4 TSP : 13.21gallons = 1dKH
1/2 TSP : 26.42 gallons = 1dKH
(most filled and scaped 55g tanks hold about 43g of actual water volume)

When nitrites start appearing on water tests
sea salt or 1 level teaspoon uniodized salt per 10 gallons will eliminate brown blood problems. Higher doses can cause plant problems.

Water changes can't be stressed enough! daily if not more to keep the levels down.

Try to keep the pH above 7.0 but just slightly.

good luck to the fish.


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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-13-2012, 10:30 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkndracer View Post
GH is very high and WAY to many critters.
After the LARGE water change consider adding Baking Soda (I use Arm & Hammer) to raise the KH value and pH sadly low pH values will slow the cycle but also why your fish aren't dead yet. <7.0pH ammonia is less toxic.
FYI ammonia burns the gills and not only are ya killing the fish but also not winning many friends on the forum (if you care).

Measurements are in leveled spoons
To increase KH
1/8 TSP : 6.5gallons = 1dKH
1/4 TSP : 13.21gallons = 1dKH
1/2 TSP : 26.42 gallons = 1dKH
(most filled and scaped 55g tanks hold about 43g of actual water volume)

When nitrites start appearing on water tests
sea salt or 1 level teaspoon uniodized salt per 10 gallons will eliminate brown blood problems. Higher doses can cause plant problems.

Water changes can't be stressed enough! daily if not more to keep the levels down.

Try to keep the pH above 7.0 but just slightly.

good luck to the fish.

Thx for the info. We will do a large water change tonight.
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-13-2012, 10:49 PM Thread Starter
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wkndracer, I ran into this post:

"in acidic water (pH below 7), ammonia automatically changes to ammonium. Ammonium is basically harmless. Nitrosomonas bacteria still consume ammonium as ammonia, so the cycle will establish normally. Live plants if you have them prefer ammonium as their source of nitrogen, so even better especially in new tanks [won't delve into this topic now]. Test kits like API's tread ammonia/ammonium as ammonia, so it will still show "ammonia" although it may be ammonium.

If the pH should rise back above 7, the ammonium immediately changes back into toxic ammonia. This may be sufficient to stress the fish, or even kill them if high enough. This can occur during the next water change if the tap water is basic; the tank can shift up in pH quickly."



If the above is correct wouldn't I want to keep the PH just below 7?

So what does ammolock do? Does it keep ammonia no toxic at all PH levels?

Last edited by kyleax1; 09-13-2012 at 10:57 PM. Reason: word correction
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-13-2012, 10:57 PM
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ammo-lock binds ammonia and ammonium ion both i believe. and renders them less harmful to fish. It is one of those products that shouldn't ever really be needed, but if things go sideways can be helpful in a tight spot.

Also until ammonia levels are gone keep pH low.
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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-13-2012, 11:02 PM Thread Starter
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Alright, the co2 is keeping the PH lower. At night the co2 still runs because its a yeast setup. I worry that since it keeps running and the plants & fish need oxygen that if I don't run the bubbler that the fish will suffocate over night, but by turning on the bubbler it increased the PH.

I would like some insight on this topic.

Last edited by kyleax1; 09-13-2012 at 11:10 PM. Reason: word correction
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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-13-2012, 11:32 PM
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You've put yourself in a bad spot stocking a new tank like this. No good choices.
The catch 22 is that even below 7pH the filth is building up in the water, you can't avoid that.
Also I'm not going to spit hairs on bactor production when all studies show the lower the pH the slower the production / reproduction occurs.

Starting soil based tanks with old filter seeding materials and a ton of plants I've done it several times without ever seeing a cycle on the system. This is not your case in point. Not enough fast growing plants and way too many fish.

Ride out this storm however you choose but hope you learn from it.
I tank quality fish and treat them as carefully as I do my champion Doberman.

I don't believe you can complete the entire cycle without a WC and I don't believe the fish will survive trying it.

again, good luck.

edit; in this situation any water changes should be belly draggers meaning you leave just enough water for the fish to swim and replace it with clean. No filth remains (or very little) done this way.
And don't clean any tank surfaces until the cycle completes because bacteria grows on all surfaces not just the filter materials.


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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-13-2012, 11:49 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkndracer View Post
You've put yourself in a bad spot stocking a new tank like this. No good choices.
The catch 22 is that even below 7pH the filth is building up in the water, you can't avoid that.
Also I'm not going to spit hairs on bactor production when all studies show the lower the pH the slower the production / reproduction occurs.

Starting soil based tanks with old filter seeding materials and a ton of plants I've done it several times without ever seeing a cycle on the system. This is not your case in point. Not enough fast growing plants and way too many fish.

Ride out this storm however you choose but hope you learn from it.
I tank quality fish and treat them as carefully as I do my champion Doberman.

I don't believe you can complete the entire cycle without a WC and I don't believe the fish will survive trying it.

again, good luck.

edit; in this situation any water changes should be belly draggers meaning you leave just enough water for the fish to swim and replace it with clean. No filth remains (or very little) done this way.
And don't clean any tank surfaces until the cycle completes because bacteria grows on all surfaces not just the filter materials.

Well as soon as I get home from work we will be doing a large water change. Im guessing based on what your saying about 75%.

I don't want to put the fish in danger, that's why I am on the forums.
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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-13-2012, 11:59 PM
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Wow! what a mess this is. However, planted tank members are being nicer than I thought when I read this post before anybody commented. Did you use any seeded material from the 10 gal tank. Gravel? Filter sponge? That would help speed up the cycle, even then I waited 6 wks to add livestock to my reef tank that I cycled with live sand, live rock and shrimp from the grocery store.

I run my diy co2 24/7 and never gassed my fish and I hate to say but the only co2 systems worth spendin cash on is pressurized. Diy bottles produce way more bps than most yeast systems you can buy.

For now try to save the fish and get your tank established.
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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-14-2012, 12:05 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by let's.get.tanked View Post
Did you use any seeded material from the 10 gal tank. Gravel? Filter sponge? That would help speed up the cycle

I don't think so.
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