Newbie needs help with a small planted tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-19-2005, 10:32 PM Thread Starter
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Newbie needs help with a small planted tank

Hi all,

I decided to start a planted tank over the weekend, and so far.. not so bad.

Here's a rundown:

10 gallon tank lightly planted w/ some red hygro, anacris, a moss ball and a few other things I don't know the name of.

Using a duetto 50 w/ DIY co2 in the intake

I have a current dual lamp setup, 2x40watt (10k and 6.7k bulbs)

Water chemistry is as follows:

ph 6.2
kh 40ppm
gh 300ppm
nitrite 0
nitrate 0
water temp is about 84 (it's hot in here!)

I had a little problem with the DIY co2 injection on day two, my tubing was dipping into the yeast mixture, and I awoke to find that it had pumped an unknown amount into the tank (not a whole lot I don't think). I did a 60% water change, and the water cleared up a bit.

Right now I'm seeing a lot of cloudiness, and I'm not sure if it's because the tank hasn't cycled yet, or because there is still some left over yeast-nastiness in the water. The two red tiger somethings I have swimming around in the tank seem to be doing OK, but I'm worried.

I tested the water in another tank (turtles) and while the nitrate level in the turtle tank is off the scale (no surprise there), the other numbers look the same.

I'm wondering about the cloudiness. Usually when I'm setting up a tank it goes away in about 24 hours time, but it seems to be taking much longer in this tank. I've also noticed that the water seems to be very aerated, so I'm thinking that could be because of the co2 injection (the duetto seems to do a good job at breaking up the bubbles).

Can someone give me some advice? I'm worried about my gh, wondering if I'm going to have to soften up my water a bit.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-19-2005, 10:53 PM Thread Starter
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I found a co2 level calculator online, and based on my ph and kh, it says I have 41.643ppm. Is that possible? That seems very high!
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-20-2005, 12:33 AM
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Hi Kyle, welcome to the Planted Tank!

Sorry to hear about the yeast accident, with a few water changes things should clear up soon.

The amount of light has sparked my interest. 80W over a newly established 10 gal tank is an awful lot of light. Together with zero Nitrates (and ?? not sure how dense planting) things could go downhill quickly. Just for perspective, I had 20W over my 10gal tank for a long time, and recently upgraded it to a whopping 26W!!

Your water chemistry looks not-quite-right either... Very low kH and relatively high GH, possible, but not common. If that is really the case, you might want to bring up the kH to 70-80 ppm to have a little more buffer against pH crashes.

So here is what I think... I don't think you need to worry about softening the water. I think your kH needs to be verified, normally it isn't that easy to overdose CO2 with lots of water movement. I think 80W is way too much light for a 10 gal tank, although I am not sure what kind of bulbs you have, I am more familiar with 36W bulbs, one of those would be a good choice for a medium/high light tank.


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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-20-2005, 12:50 AM Thread Starter
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Wasserpest, thanks for the reply. The light I have is the model "1012" 20" model. Specs here: http://www.current-usa.com/products/satellite.html

It came with the bulbs I currently have in use, all I know about them at the moment is that one is a 6,700k and one is a 10,000k bulb. I was wondering if it was overkill, but the person I talked to at Aquatic Creations here in NYC suggested this fixture. I suppose it's possible that I could only use one of the two fixtures at a time, as 80 watts might be too much (it's awfully bright!).

I'm using one of those quick dip 5 in 1 tests, and I could be off in the kh, but it looked like it was somewhere between 40-60ppm. I did a 10% water change today, and I'll give it another test tomorrow to see if it changes any.

Oh I forgot to mention that my substrate is Seachem Fluorite w/ some fine natural gravel on top, about 2"-2.5" all around.

I'll also get the model #'s off of the bulbs tonight and dig up the specs on them.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-20-2005, 01:10 AM Thread Starter
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Bulb info:


40W Dual Daylight 6700K/10,000K SunPaq (Current) Item Number: UR0022
SunPaq dual daylight lamp combines a 6,700k and a 10,000k

40W Dual Actinic 420/460nm SunPaq Lamp (Current) Item Number: UR0021
Dual actinic lamp combines a SunPaq 420nm and 460nm

Produces 3 times the light output of standard fluorescents with double the life (12 months).

Give your tank beautiful, ultra crisp white light with SunPaq replacement lamps. Three times the output and double the life of other lamps, SunPaq delivers fantastic lighting to increase bioluminescence, activate photosynthesis, or simply recreate the warm tropical sun of the photic zone. SunPaq lamps are the new standard in quality aquarium lighting. SmartPag lamps are side-by-side combination blue actinic and daylight all in one lamp. Dual lamps contain side by side bulbs all in one of either blue actinic or daylight.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-20-2005, 03:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle
Bulb info:


40W Dual Daylight 6700K/10,000K SunPaq (Current) Item Number: UR0022
SunPaq dual daylight lamp combines a 6,700k and a 10,000k

40W Dual Actinic 420/460nm SunPaq Lamp (Current) Item Number: UR0021
Dual actinic lamp combines a SunPaq 420nm and 460nm

Produces 3 times the light output of standard fluorescents with double the life (12 months).

Give your tank beautiful, ultra crisp white light with SunPaq replacement lamps. Three times the output and double the life of other lamps, SunPaq delivers fantastic lighting to increase bioluminescence, activate photosynthesis, or simply recreate the warm tropical sun of the photic zone. SunPaq lamps are the new standard in quality aquarium lighting. SmartPag lamps are side-by-side combination blue actinic and daylight all in one lamp. Dual lamps contain side by side bulbs all in one of either blue actinic or daylight.

Drink the Kool-Aid. 40 watts is 40 watts. I don't care what the marketing liars say.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-20-2005, 03:46 AM Thread Starter
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Well, I'm not buying the 3 times output crap, but is this rig outputting 80 watts, and is that too much? The one is an actinic bulb for whatever that means, does that have any bearing on my setup?
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-20-2005, 05:17 AM
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Actinic bulbs are for saltwater tanks. Take it out altogether and run one 6700/10000 bulb - that's plenty of light for your tank.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-20-2005, 12:39 PM Thread Starter
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Roger that! Nice thing about this light is the independant controls, I just don't have to switch that bulb on
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-20-2005, 03:48 PM
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Dip strips are not very precise. Maybe you should upgrade to some liquid tests. There are titration tests for kH, where you just count the number of drops until the sample changes from one color to another. Pretty foolproof, for most of us Similar for pH testing, dip strips are not good enough to determine pH for CO2 calculation purposes.
I think one of those bulbs would be more than enough for the tank...


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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-20-2005, 03:54 PM Thread Starter
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I've got liquid tests for Nitrate, Nitrite, Ammonia and PH, but not KH. I picked up the dip strips because my LFS was out of the liquid KH tests. I'll stop by another store on my way home tonight and get one.

I'm going to test my PH again tonight, if it is stable, I'm going to do another 10% water change, and try dosing 1/4th of a teaspoon of baking soda and retest to see if my KH climbs a bit.
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-20-2005, 10:49 PM Thread Starter
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I came home, did a 20% water change, dosed the tank w/ 1/4th tsp of baking soda. Ph went from 6.2 to 6.4/6.8 (it was a tough call) and dKH went from 3-4 as expected.

I skimmed off some nasty film on the top of the tank, I'm thinking its leftover from my yeast infection. Plants seem to have an invisible slime on them, but are green. Fish are doing ok, but water is still pretty cloudy.

I'm assuming my nitrate levels will go up in a week or so, there really isn't much of a bioload in the tank as far as fish go. Can someone offer me advice as to what kind of dKH/ph level to shoot for? I've read a ton of FAQs, but none seem to have much in terms of #'s to shoot for for your average tank.
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-21-2005, 05:19 PM Thread Starter
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Oh wise ones, please bestow your knowledge upon me
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-21-2005, 06:14 PM
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Haha, you are funny...

Hope your yeast infection is getting better

As for average levels, a kH of 4 to 5 degrees is considered the optimum, and a pH between 6.6 and 6.8 would indicate optimal CO2 levels for a high-light tank like yours.


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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-21-2005, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
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Excellent, that's what I was hoping. I've got my lighting on a timer and I'm out of town till monday, hopefully my tank will finish cycling and the nitrate levels will go up a notch.

I'm not sure what I'll end up doing as far as fertilization, but I imagine I'll have to dose the 1/4th tsp of baking soda every few weeks or so to keep my dKH up.

The yeast infection does appear to be getting better, the amount of scum on the tank seems to have decreased greatly. I really don't think much at all got in there, but it did make quite a mess.

The two fish I have in there are fine, but I got a dozen or so red rosies to feed my turtles, and I figured I'd toss em in the tank for a few days to help cycle the tank. They were more or less dead within 5 minutes of tossing them into the tank! Of course that didn't stop my turtles from eating them when I tossed them into the other tank
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