Newbie, new 20g, could use an evaluation (pics added) - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-28-2006, 12:46 AM Thread Starter
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Newbie, new 20g, could use an evaluation (pics added)

Tank has been set up for approx 5 days. 3 of those with full light. CO2 running for a few days.

20 gallon high (12x18x24)
Eheim 2026
Eco-Complete as substrate
65 watts CF (10 hour photo period)
Hagen yeast CO2 with bubble ladder (currently 3-4 bubbles per minute)
Various crypts, vals, swords, cabomba, rotala indica, micro swords, anacharis, java fern, sagittaria, aponogeton
No fish (yet)

pH 7.5 (Hanna tester)
GH 120-140ppm
KH 90-100ppm
Nitrites .25ppm
Nitrates 10ppm
Phosphates 1.0
Iron undetectable
Copper .15-.25ppm
CO2 6-7.5 (using Chuck’s calculator)
Ammonia .25-.50
Temp 70’F

I've read many of the basic guides over the past few weeks. Hopefully the questions asked won't be seen as a disregard for reading the 'starter' info. I’ve read that the tank should sit idle for approx 4 weeks before adding ferts. I have the Seachem products ready to go (Nitrogen, Potassium, Flourish). I don’t have Phosphorus, but it looks like my specs are okay in this area anyway. Eventually I will probably graduate to the GW ferts.

pH has dropped very slightly (-.10) over last day or two…probably due to the CO2 being added.

Couple questions:
1) How are my current specs?
2) Do I need to try to measure the level of potassium, or just assume 0 and dose per instructions?
3) Not sure how the ammonia is in there, unless some of the roots/plant material is decaying. I do have the Sagittaria in which a few leaves are getting soft (melting). Should the ammonia level be of concern? Partial water change, or let it run the cycle.
4) Should I wait the 2-4 weeks as suggested before dosing?
5) What next?

Thanks for your time.

Edit: pics added, BE NICE!!!
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e1...ce/dayone1.jpg

http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e1...ce/dayone2.jpg

http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e1...ce/dayone3.jpg

Last edited by Bombay; 03-28-2006 at 05:46 PM. Reason: added pics
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-28-2006, 12:56 PM
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1. specs look good, except copper and ammonia. I know ammonia should and will read zero eventually after cycling, but did you go buy a copper test kit? Never heard of that for freshwater, but it seems like those levels would be unsafe for many fish/shrimp. Also of concern is your co2 levels, they are low. 4 bubbles per minute might not be enough to fend off algae. Try DIY'ing a couple two liter bottles together instead of the little canister it comes with. Lastly, 70 degrees might be low depending on your stock.

2. Potassium test kits are not necessary. I'd just dose according to the bottle.

3. I wouldn't worry about the ammonia. With lights and co2, the plants should use it up just as fast as the bacterial colonies! I wouldn't bother with a water change.

4. Not too sure here. I've not really followed this advice in the past, but I think I should have. You seem like a test-kit kind of aquarist, so you can always just wait, test, and watch for algae or signs of deficiencies in your plants.

5. I'd say you really should look into getting more co2 into the tank.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-28-2006, 02:29 PM
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New tank, no fish - but you have ammonia.
Have you tested your tap water for ammonia and nitrite ? Or did you use water conditioner - your water might contain chloramine.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-28-2006, 02:56 PM
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4 bubbles of c02 a min will get you hardly anywhere in a 20 gallon.
Try the 2 litre pop bottle diy C02,that really will give you heaps more gas,you can still use the bubble ladder.
Or if you want to keep using the hagen canister,try placing it on a heatmat (the ones used for winemaking)..i used that in the past and was gettin 20+ bubbles a min & that was giving me better c02 levels,but not quite 30ppm,which is the target.
But in the end i went for the 2 litre pop bottle,its cheap and will work great in a 20 gallon.

ps DONT go buying the hagen refill boxes,all thay are is 1 tespoon baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon yeast.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-28-2006, 03:08 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys.

Ernie: I appreciate the time and guidance. I purchased a copper kit a couple years ago since I dosed Coppersafe for an ich problem in another tank. Worked well. Either my test kit is off, or there is some copper in either the bottled reverse osmosis water I used (unlikely), in the eco-complete substrate, or front the water I used from another tank to help seed this new tank. I didn't use any tap water on this tank. I tried to benefit from the bacteria and nitrates in the older tank. So, I will have to run the copper test on the tap water and the reverse osmosis water to see if maybe my test is off. I just did the copper for grins.

Potassium. I hear ya.

Ammonia: Some of my sagittaria seem to be 'melting'. This could account for the ammonia. Otherwise, I am at a loss. The tank that I used some of the water from has read 0 for the past couple years. The test kit seems okay since it registers 0 on one tank and .25-.50 on another. I'll just monitor it.

Temp: will be raised to 74'F. I haven't added the heater yet.

C02: I do intend to stick to the diy C02 for this tank. With this small tank, I do intend to continue to use bottled RO water...and mix in a little tap. My tap water specs are more inline with keeping cichlids. I assume that if I can get my pH down a little more (it seems to have dropped a little with the C02) then the C02 saturation level should rise basis on the C02 chart referenced. Is this correct? I have also considered supplementing with Excel. What is your opinion on that. The last resort would be to add bigger C02 bottles.

I've also read, the lower the temp, the higher the dissolved gas levels. A glass canopy (I read) is also supposed to help with the C02 levels...all else being equal.

Green: I use a conditioner on my tap water when used. I use the AP brand for chlorine and chloramines. I used use the AmmoLock to tie up any of the ammonia that is released from breaking the chloramine bond (I think that is how it goes?). But like I mentioned in this thread, I haven't used tap water in this tank. Not positive where the ammonia is coming from.

Thank you both for the thoughts. Any more are appreciated. I've read all the beginner stuff...but then it seems you are on your own. :-)
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-28-2006, 03:14 PM Thread Starter
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Wickerman: Thanks. Ok, looks like the verdict is more C02. I will seriously consider adding more bottles to get it there. I do REALLY like the look and feel of the Hagen bottle...maybe a couple more of them.

Also, would it make sense just to use the current C02 setup and add Excel to supplement?

So is 30 bubbles per minute (bpm) the same thing as 30ppm (or roughly the same). How many bpm should I be aiming for in this size tank?

I won't be buying the hagen refills. I've read plenty about them. My wife bakes quite a bit...and baking soda is always around too. I've read many of the secret recipies on this forum also.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-28-2006, 03:36 PM
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So is 30 bubbles per minute (bpm) the same thing as 30ppm (or roughly the same). How many bpm should I be aiming for in this size tank?

No it dont work like that,you could have a very small tank with 30 bpm and that would result in a very high c02 level...likewise 30bpm in a 90 gallon tank would be very little c02...also it depends on how many plants you have in the tank.
I know how you feel,starting off and are a bit warry of maybe using a 2 litre pop bottle,but IMHO you will be throwing money away on more hagens....BUT if you want to use them, get a heat mat,this really will make them run full steam...i had 2 systems runnin on heat in a 25 gal set up and my ph fell to under 6...i then had to raise my kh to keep the ph at 6.5.(each ladder had 20 bpm)
Look for homebrew shops online,you can pick them up real cheap,and cost pennies to run

Excel is good to add,if your c02 is under 30ppm..but if you c02 is 30ppm or over i wouldnt bother adding any..that stuff is $$$$$
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-28-2006, 07:10 PM
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Can i just say off-topic for a second, you're aquascaping is pretty awesome, i love the driftwood and the planting arrangements. Nice one!
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-28-2006, 07:19 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks LB101. I appreciate the encouragement. I have to say that I have been inspired by folks like you...and all you share. I am sure I will change things around (improve) as some of the plants grow, etc. I may also replace some of the lighter colored rocks. Eco-complete is composed of small volcanic like pebbles, so the black lava rocks might work better than the standard river rock. Thanks again.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-28-2006, 08:52 PM
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Ooooh, pics now! I love it - open top tanks + eco-complete is a winner in my book. Plus, healthy plants and great driftwood selection. That lower piece looks like a cozy home for a loach or two . . .
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-28-2006, 09:04 PM Thread Starter
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Yep, you got it. There is actually a hole going all the way thru the piece of wood at the bottom of the tank. It will be their hide and escape route. I have three loaches that I intend to place here. Two zebra loaches and 1 yo-yo. They are funny to watch. They kind of remind me of dogs.

Really interested in the 'chemistry' of the tank at the moment. Any additional comments about the Co2?

C02: I do intend to stick to the diy C02 for this tank. With this small tank, I do intend to continue to use bottled RO water...and mix in a little tap. My tap water specs are more inline with keeping cichlids. I assume that if I can get my pH down a little more (it seems to have dropped a little with the C02) then the C02 saturation level should rise basis on the C02 chart referenced. Is this correct? I have also considered supplementing with Excel. What is your opinion on that. The last resort would be to add bigger C02 bottles.

I've also read, the lower the temp, the higher the dissolved gas levels. A glass canopy (I read) is also supposed to help with the C02 levels...all else being equal.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-28-2006, 10:42 PM
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Nice tank, i like really the drift wood. Question, how much eco complete did you put in your tank?

Tank: 20 gallons, 62 watts t5, DIY CO2

Unemployed, poor, and still living off the parents.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-28-2006, 10:45 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cardinal Tetra
Nice tank, i like really the drift wood. Question, how much eco complete did you put in your tank?
Hi CT, Thanks you! I put 2 bags in the tank. I have about 4" in the back sloping down to about 1.5" in the front.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-30-2006, 05:11 PM Thread Starter
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Hey everyone, I dosed for the first time last night. Based on the specs above, I just dosed seachem potassium and flourish. I think my nitrates are up high enough for now. Also, still some ammonia in the tank so didn't think I needed. I do believe I need to get some iron though. The amount in flourish is probably insignificant. I didn't dose phosphates either do to the specs above.

My cabomba is doing great!
My crypts are just hanging there...not good or bad. I guess that is good actually.
My sags are...well sagging. I've had to trim a bunch of dead leaves. I may pull them out.
The plant in the right hand front corner has lost a couple leaves...they have skeletonized. ? This plant has a bulb. Should the bulb be mostly above the substrate?
Amazon swords not doing too well. They are behind the driftwood (can't see them). They are a little yellow (maybe lack of iron / chlorosis)? Some brown spots.
Vals are just sitting there for the most part.
I also have a couple reddish plants in there. I think they were called 'red dragons' or something along that line. These may not be true aquatic plants...and are losing some leaves...but otherwise they are doing okay.

Any thoughts/comments/suggestions?
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