A newbies insight of TPT... - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-04-2006, 04:43 AM Thread Starter
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A newbies insight of TPT...

I have been a member here for a couple of years now. When I first joined, I was intrigued by the way alot of the members had scaped thier tanks into things of beauty. Just jaw dropping inspiration. I figured, if I was going to have an aquarium, why not have an awsome looking one.

I started reading, an reading, then I read a little more. I figured it was time to jump right in an introduce myself. A whole host of mods jumped right in. Hey welcome to TPT!! Made me feel right at home!

Buck stepped right up, M.lemay, an Scolly as well. Come to find out they were all close by. Buck literally planted my tank for me, M.lemay sent more Java fern than I knew what to do with. Scolly sent me a big package as well!!

Now that I had all these plant, all I had to do is get the ferts an co2. Of course Buck, an Marcel stepped up again an sent me all i needed as far as ferts were concerned. An Mr. Fender himself sold me the co2 system. All I needed to do was start dosing. I had several members tell me what I needed to do as far as dosing goes, so I started the dosing regime. This is where it got really ugly!!

I have a 55G with 110w's (Ah supply 2x55). Not a whole lot of light, but it would grow some weeds. I started the dosing with 1/2 tsp kno3, 1/4 tsp of k2so4, 1/8 tsp of po4 every other day.The co2 was around 30 ppm. I would dose the micros alternate days.

The result was devastating!! I simply grew every king of algae u can think of.I had more algae than plants..No matter what I did I could not for the life of me get rid of this algae.

Craig stepped in an simply said you are over dosing your tank. Cut everything back. I had given up by this point. Scrapped the whole PT hobby. Let the tank just sit for practically 6 months. Discouraged was an understatement.

I was determined to figure this out! I am not gonna let this kick my butt! I started reading...Then I read somemore. Then when I was done reading, I read some more!

There are so many people on here that have been doing this for years. Experimenting with everything. They have it down to a science! It is just plain second nature to em.

I sat back an thought to myself, I will try this once more. I have 2 wpg, co2, an ferts. Lets do this. I ordered a butt load of fast growers from one of the sponsers here, an planted them. Kicked the co2 into high gear, an let it just go for a couple of weeks. Tested everything, an found that N was at 10 ppm, PH was 6.2, KH was at 2, GH was at 2. I had close to 40 ppm of co2 goin. P was at 1. Things were lookin good. All this an I hadn't dosed anything.

A week went by. I did a 50% water change. After testing I found that the KH, an the GH had fallen. The N stayed the same, an so did the P. I added 2 tsps of baking soda, an 2 tsp of epsom salts. The KH an GH rose to 3.5. PH rose to 6.4. I am still pretty much where I was before. N was the same, an the P was the same. After 3 weeks.

PH....6.4
KH....3.5
GH...3.5
N.....10 ppm
P.....1 ppm
co2 40 ppm

I still havent dosed anything. A week goes by, 50% WC...2 tsp of baking soda, 2 tsp of epsom salt. Let it sit for awhile an test.

PH....6.6
KH....3.9
GH....3.9
N......05
p......1 ppm
co2...30 ppm

I add 1/4 tsp of N

To stipulate...I am adding what I need. It is one thing to get a dosing schedule from someone, but everyones tank is different, everyones tap water is different. No two tanks are the same. dose what you need, not what someone tells you need to dose.

Testing is an important part for getting the feel for your tank!!

Thanks for all the help guys an gals!! Ya dont know how much it has been appreciated!
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-04-2006, 07:28 AM
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Mark, you nailed it on the head. On my tank, every time I dose NO3 or Phosphates I get spanked way hard. I just prep my soft water and dose traces, iron and root tabs. Too many fish and I feed them too much is my guess.

This is some hard earned and valuble advice you just shared. Big Kudos from me for sharing and I hope a few dozen newbies read this thread... because it could save them some big headaches. Everyone's water column and tank parms are unique. On one size does not fit all!





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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-04-2006, 11:38 AM
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Well said and well done!

Your words gives me more motivation not to give up some of those plants that I still cannot get them healthy (of course I dont mean those extra soft water ones because my water is already medium-hard).

Of course I have gone thorugh those mess of algae like you did and learn hard here and there and eventually managed to control it.

For all newbies out there (I'm also still a newbie, really. With just 7 months of hard earned experience and that is all) learn hard, work it out, dont give up and earn your work!


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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-04-2006, 03:58 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks alot for the thumbs up!! I kinda felt like I was just rambling..

I finally figured out that if you stick with a dosing regime, an your plants aren't using it up as fast as you are adding it for what ever reason. Not enough plants, not enough light, insufficient c02 for the plants, or a combination of the three, something else has to use it up. Algea has no problem doing that!

I have a tank stuffed with plants at the moment, an I dont have to dose P04 till water change day. I have to add 1/8 tsp KN03 mid week. I also add traces twice a week. I might have to add a little more N03 during the week since the plants seem to be eating it up a little quicker now.

I just really believe that if you are new to the hobby, a little testing goes along way till you get a feel for your tank an plants.

This is all my opinion however..
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-04-2006, 04:20 PM
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bastalker, such a great post!

Inspired me to post my recent humbling albeit pleasureable experience:

I thought I'd gotten things pretty much under my belt. Maybe not "down to a science" but more in tune with my gardening intuition.
Well, one day, not paying enough attention to what I was doing, I put in two TABLESPOONS of yeast into my DIY 2 liter CO2 bottle.

BAM! CO2 started pumping so fast into my tank my fish were all gasping for breath at the surface and I wanted to grab my hair and pull it out!

But, it was the last sugar in the house and I didn't want to waste it, so I just plugged in an airpump and it seemed to equalize the amount of air in the tank. Fish started swimming normal again, amidst bubbles and bubbles of CO2 and O2.

I went to work, came back, and my stem plants had all grown1 to 2 inches. No lie. DUDE! In fact, I've got to sell them or else they'll choke my crypts!

But also, that same week, I'd decided to double my macros, just to see what would happen. Seriously - I double dosed the macros for curiousity's sake.

So, what did I learn from just a beginner's curiosity and an accident? That the light I'm using would be great if I doubled my macros and got pressurized CO2.

Neat, huh?
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-04-2006, 04:23 PM
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If all test kits were reliable I would agree 100% with you. Unfortunately, most of our testing is not reliable. Something as basic as a PH test is only as accurate as your ability to match the color of a tube of water to a colored piece of plastic, and the colors are not that much different. KH can mean a lot or very little, depending on the source of alkalinity in your water. And the nitrate and phosphate test kits are notorious for being inaccurate, unless you calibrate them regularly and correctly. So, as good as it would be to know just what is in your tank, in the real world it is not at all easy to do.

Hoppy
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-04-2006, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahbobarah
So, what did I learn from just a beginner's curiosity and an accident? That the light I'm using would be great if I doubled my macros and got pressurized CO2.

Neat, huh?
I probably dont have enough light...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy
If all test kits were reliable I would agree 100% with you. Unfortunately, most of our testing is not reliable. Something as basic as a PH test is only as accurate as your ability to match the color of a tube of water to a colored piece of plastic, and the colors are not that much different. KH can mean a lot or very little, depending on the source of alkalinity in your water. And the nitrate and phosphate test kits are notorious for being inaccurate, unless you calibrate them regularly and correctly. So, as good as it would be to know just what is in your tank, in the real world it is not at all easy to do.
I agree that all tests kits are not reliable.. For someone that has never done this, there has to be a starting point somewhere. I wouldnt suggest to someone setting up a planted tank for the first time not to test thier parameters. Thats why they sell the test kits. Once you have a handle on whats going on in your tank, you can throw em out if ya want.

I was recommended a couple of dosing regimes by a few members here for the particulars of my tank (very close). I religously stuck with it for a few weeks. I started gettin all sorts of algae. Eventually getting test kits an testing, I found out that my N03, P04 were thru the roof. I was in fact over dosing the tank. My plants just could suck up the ferts fast enough.

There was a number of things that I probably did wrong.
1. Over feeding the fish
2. Not cleaning dead things in the tank good enough during water changes.
3. Leaving the lights on to long
4. Not taking precise measurments on the ferts
5. Not having enough co2 cranking

I am alot more careful now, but if it were not for the test kits, I would have never known what was going on.

How do you know how much c02 saturation you have? Test kits...
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-04-2006, 07:58 PM
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Mark--are you talking about my tanks?
Quote:
Originally Posted by bastalker

There was a number of things that I probably did wrong.
1. Over feeding the fish
2. Not cleaning dead things in the tank good enough during water changes.
3. Leaving the lights on to long
4. Not taking precise measurments on the ferts
5. Not having enough co2 cranking
My experiences are similar to yours. I run lower intensity tanks and they don't suck up the ferts at the EI rate. Using EI as a starting point and pairing it up with a little testing has allowed me to dose without testing, but at a much lower rate. When the tank gets wonky, I clean the filters and reduce the plant mass to make sure the water can circulate. If it's still acting up, it's time to pull the test kits back out to get on handle on where I'm at.

Every tank has its own balance. I have tanks that are the same size, shape, and have the same equipment. Because of how they're planted, they use up ferts at different rates--the dosing that works for one, doesn't work for the other.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-04-2006, 09:53 PM
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The best way to determine if you have enough CO2 is to gradually raise the bubble rate a bit each day, watching to see if the fish get distressed. If they don't, keep raising it. When they do, drop back a notch to where they aren't distressed. That is the correct amount of CO2 for your tank and fish. The trouble with going by the PH/KH/CO2 chart is that you can have a lot less CO2 than you think you have, especially if your KH (actually alkalinity) is mostly from something other than bicarbonates. The plants and fish actually are another "test kit", and a very accurate and customized one. You should test PH occasionally just to be sure you aren't driving it way too low. If so, add some baking soda to get more KH which will raise the PH.

Hoppy
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-04-2006, 11:13 PM
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Good points Mark...

I always tell ppl to wait a few weeks before starting to dump fertilizer into their tanks. There is a huge difference between a tank that is established a long time and one that has just been planted (a few days or weeks). As plants grow dense, they can suck up amazing amounts of fertilizer. But not from the beginning. Many planted tanks are home to a few tetras, otos and shrimps, that's it... others are full of big poopers.

Measuring and dumping in fertilizers can work, but it can also screw things up big time. Every tank is different!


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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-05-2006, 02:40 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy
The best way to determine if you have enough CO2 is to gradually raise the bubble rate a bit each day, watching to see if the fish get distressed. If they don't, keep raising it. When they do, drop back a notch to where they aren't distressed. That is the correct amount of CO2 for your tank and fish.
I am still here to learn!! I had the tank set up for about 3 weeks. No fish just plants. I finnally introduced 18 tetras, 2 algae eaters, an 4 ottos. Now of course I have been testing, an hover around 30ppm of co2. They are were doin great! A couple weeks later I decided to add 3 small angle fish to the mix. They immediately started gasping for air once released. I did a 50% water change, and they were all right after that. They also did great for about a week. The other fish in the meantime are doin jus peachy. This morning I bumped up the co2 a bit.

A couple of hours before lights off 2 of the angles are gasping for air. The other fish are still doin fine, just the angle fish seem to be havin a hard time with the co2 level. I dropped it back down a tad, so we will see how they are doin in the AM. After lights out they seen to relax a little. Then I did drop the c02 down abit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wasserpest
I always tell ppl to wait a few weeks before starting to dump fertilizer into their tanks. There is a huge difference between a tank that is established a long time and one that has just been planted (a few days or weeks). As plants grow dense, they can suck up amazing amounts of fertilizer. But not from the beginning.
I forgot to add that to the list of things I did wrong!!

6. Added ferts right away before plants were established.

I waited a couple of weeks this time around. I was however testing the whole time...
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