Where do I go from here? first planted tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-27-2006, 03:26 AM Thread Starter
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Where do I go from here? first planted tank

I set up my first planted tank about 3 or 4 weeks ago. It is an Odyssea Cube 7. It looks much like a nano cube but without the sump in the back. It came with an internal filter.

ammonias - 0
nitrites - 0
Nitrates - 0
ph - 6.4

So far I have 2 pieces of driftwood with javamoss and riccia covering the largest piece. The riccia is placed about halfway between the substrate and the light so it gets good direct lighting. Around the sides of the tank I have some corkscrew vallisneria. For fish, I have 2 neon tetras, 2 black neon tetras, and 1 oto. The riccia seems to be growing very well. It has really stretched out and is growing up pretty tall. The vals I have been having to weed out, because they are slowly dying. I think the ones that I put toward the back at first were not getting enough light. Those didn't do so well. The rest is getting moderate to high lighting around the tank. I have an 18w light over the 7 gals which is just over 2.5 watts per gallon.

I have a DIY co2 bottle hooked up to an airstone and is pumping out co2 about 5 inches below the surface. The stream of co2 is usually only one little line of bubbles. But when I shake the bottle a bit, the bubbles start coming out crazy. There are bubbles coming out off almost the entire airstone. But when I leave it, it eventually goes back to a very small stream. Which should it be? Slow? or fast? I'm unsure of the actual ppm of co2 because the tank water has been buffered to a lower ph since i started the tank up. I've read that the little chart and calculator doesn't work if there is any ph down in the water.

My tap water pH is 7.8 and I buffer it to 6.4-7.0. Its usually about 6.8. The kH is 7 degrees and my gH is 11 degrees. Temp stays between 74 and 80. The substrate is ecocomplete.

I have been dosing Flourish comprehensive about twice a week for the last week or two.

Everything looks pretty good right now, but I need to know more about the macro nutrients that I need to add alogn with the Flourish. Which other test kits do I need? I have the freshwater master kit (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, ph) and kH and gH. Also, which fertilizers do i need to purchase to make sure my vals grow well. I will be adding more plants later too.

Like I said, this is my first planted tank, and would like any help on where to go from here. I don't want it to all crash because I don't exactly know everything about planted tanks. Please help if you can.
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-28-2006, 03:50 PM
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Sometimes people get kinda kranky and no so nice, i agree rex's guide is good but sometimes you need another opinion so

Ok here are my thoughts you have done a great job so far! better than me and my first tank if you can take out the carbon in your filter ( it removes nuitrients ) your water quality is great, The co2 bubbles are better if they come out slow and small, buffering is harmful to the fish but i wouldint go out and spend money on a RO system your co2 should buffer the water too. i doubt its lack of lighting for your vals in soft water they tend to not do so well. I find that whenever my water is soft they tend to melt... also they probabily dont have enough space to grow in a 7 gal... id love to see some pics though...


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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-28-2006, 04:15 PM
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dont worry about test kits for fertilizers. iron test kits dont work anyway. be more concerned with pH and KH to make sure you're gettng enough CO2. i suppose you know how to use the chart?

the way we add fertilizer these days is called the EI method. its like, you add more than enough fertilizer for the plants, but not too much, a few times a week or everyday. then you do a large waterchange once a week.

the WPG rule goes way up for smaller planted tanks. for example, i have 76 watts over my 10 gallon tank. a better way to measure how many watts you need is watt/sqft. there is a thread i was on just recently and it seems like most people have around 50 watt/sqft.

you really should read rex's guide again. alot of what you're asking is outlined in there. his website and steve hamptons website http://www.aquariaplants.com/ both helped me in big ways when i was getting started with planted tanks and continued to help me. you should always read and re-read and re-read again until you know this stuff cold. like its for a test for school or something..
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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-28-2006, 04:19 PM Thread Starter
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THank you

Thank you. I really appreciate a different opinion. And Rex....sorry about the last post. I'm just looking for simple answers...and yes your guide is good...but I'm just looking for simple answers to my questions. I have read your guide many many times now, but I'm looking for personal opinions based on different peoples experiences. I know that trying to learn a new section of the hobby (planted) takes a lot of reading and rereading. I know this. And I've been reading and rereading a lot around the web. I can't just rely on rex's guide.

My water is moderately hard - its 11 degrees gH, and 7 degrees kH. I never heard to take out the carbon from the filter....makes sense though since my plants want to eat up the nutrients. Thank you for answering the co2 question....the guide said nothing about the stream of co2 coming out. And yes I know not to buffer any more. I just thought I had to since my tap pH is so high. I moved some of my vals forward where they can get more light. I think most of the problem was that they weren't getting enough light in the back.

About dosing - do I need to buy potassium, phosphate, nitrogen, and iron supplements? I will look into the EI method too. Thanks again for getting this thread on the right track. I will see if I can post pictures later.
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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-28-2006, 04:40 PM
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Haha, "read the guide" "read the guide"... you guys... *sigh* lol

Rex, I know you get similar questions several times a day and it takes awhile to repeat yourself... Oh well, let's break it down and see if I can help:

Quote:
Why doesn't the wpg thing not work with smaller tanks? What does this mean for me?
WPG does not cover all the bases - it works best in the 10 gal - 100 gal range and doesn't apply as much outside those ranges. It also doesn't take into account things like how well your reflector works, how tall your tank is (makes a big difference) and the LUX rating on your lights. Power compacts tend to work better for longer than standard output florescents, so they don't really compare well. What does this mean for you? Well, stick to plants that can handle having only 18 watts 8" above them (I'm guessing on the height of your tank). I'll give ya a good list.


Quote:
My riccia is growing well, and it needs higher light than the vals.....so why wouldn't my vals be doing fine? Am I supposed to stick to the low light plants then?
There are several reasons the vals arent' working well. They get tall (I've had a V. americana with 8 foot leaves before), so too big for your tank. They like harder water (I grow mine in tap water - 8.4 before I add CO2, liquid ROCK!), so your pH down isn't helping them. Sometimes if you try a plant and it doesn't work, don't sweat it - just try something else and move on.

Quote:
I did find more about dosing chemicals (nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, and iron by Flourish) Do I need to buy all 4?
Plants DO need these things to grow and be healthy. You may already have sufficient potassium in your water if you use potassium salt in a water softener - in which case, dont' dose it. The others you're going to want to dose and keep within the recommended ranges (20 ppm for NO3, 1-2 ppm for P04, and dose as per the directions for the iron, since test kits for that are pretty much useless).

Quote:
Also, if I'm not buying a test kit for potassium and iron, how do I know whether I need to dose or not?
Potassium and iron test kits are worthless. This is where the EI method comes in - the lovely thing about it is that it eliminates the need for testing. You add enough of these things so that you KNOW there is enough, and then you do a water change ever week so that you KNOW there's not too much, and it isn't building up!

Quote:
So, are you saying that I only need to buy the phosphorous test kit (i already have nitrates).....and also buy the additives for all 4 - nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous, and iron?
Depending on your water softener, yes. Check out http://www.gregwatson.com/ - it will tell you exactly how much to buy to dose what, and Rex's Guide (haha, again you hear it - sorry!) tells you how much to add.

Hope this helps. Please feel FREE to ask more questions.


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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-28-2006, 04:45 PM
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Alrighty, let's see about that list of good plants for a 7 gal with 18 watts of light...

Hemianthus micranthemoides (baby's tears)
Microsorum pteropus (Java fern)
Vesicularia dubyana (Java moss)
Sagittaria subulata (dwarf sag)
Anubias nana or barteri
Limnophila sessiflora
Crypticorne wendtii

I'm sure there are a TON of others.

Let me know if you need anything - I can spare some starts if you don't mind paying the $4-$6 shipping (depending on weight).


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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-28-2006, 04:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeriB
I know that trying to learn a new section of the hobby (planted) takes a lot of reading and rereading. I know this. And I've been reading and rereading a lot around the web. I can't just rely on rex's guide.
Keri, IMO I'm one of the most skeptical people on this forum. I don't take anything at face value. But I can tell you this - Rex's guide is one of the most valuable information resources a beginner can have.

I don't personally agree with every single word in it. But any place where I might take a different position should be insignificant to a beginner. I would have gotten a better start myself if someone had told me "Read Rex's guide, absorb it, apply it, and after that start asking questions". I would have saved myself a lot of work and been better off.

Do what you want, but I advise following that guide. Ignore advice to the contrary until you have a lot more knowledge and experience under your belt. And then you can have some really fun discussions about alternate views.

But for now, I'd consider it a safe bet.

Steve - 33g reef and a 180g planted in need of a re-scape.

Last edited by scolley; 06-29-2006 at 12:26 AM.
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-28-2006, 04:59 PM Thread Starter
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Rex's guide

I'm not saying that I don't trust his opinions. I just want to hear something other than "read the guide" after every single one of my posts. Then I go look at the guide....and it still doesn't answer my questions straight forward....

This is what i've gotten so far....

don't use pH down or any buffer. my co2 will do that itself.

Vals are too big for such a small tank....do I give up on them and remove them?

the wpg thing doesnt work....so basically I have a low light setup?

by the way...why is my riccia growing well with such low light?

take the carbon out of the filter

buy kno3, kh2po4, and k2so4 dry fertilizers and dose using the EI method...
this comes out to using .21 g of kno3, .07 grams of kh2po4, and .7 grams of k2so4 (if needed).........how do I measure such low amounts...my digital scale doesn't read that precise I don't think. Those measurements are based on rex's guide to dosing based on 10 gallons and then adjusted to 7 gals using simple math. (see i do use rex's guide)

Then I can follow an EI schedule of dosing those every other day and then a 50% water change once a week.


Am i starting to get this right? Should I take out the vals and try some of the plants that jen the plant geek suggested?????
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-28-2006, 05:11 PM
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Quote:
Vals are too big for such a small tank....do I give up on them and remove them?
Yeah, give up on them. Sometimes plants work for you, sometimes they don't. Don't sweat it, just find something that does work.

Quote:
the wpg thing doesnt work....so basically I have a low light setup?
I'd say so.

Quote:
by the way...why is my riccia growing well with such low light?
Riccia thrives in high light, but that doesn't mean it needs it to survive. Your riccia will start to look different than its original form. It will grow a bit slower, grow a bit thinner, stretch out, get more space between the nodes of the branches, and get "leggier" if that makes sense. Monosolenium tenerum (Pelia) does the same thing. It just grows differently in low light. If it works for you - then just keep doing what you're doing and don't worry about the technicalities

Quote:
buy kno3, kh2po4, and k2so4 dry fertilizers and dose using the EI method...
this comes out to using .21 g of kno3, .07 grams of kh2po4, and .7 grams of k2so4 (if needed).........how do I measure such low amounts...my digital scale doesn't read that precise I don't think. Those measurements are based on rex's guide to dosing based on 10 gallons and then adjusted to 7 gals using simple math. (see i do use rex's guide)
One way to do this is to mix your dry solutions up in a container of known volume. Then calculate how many mL of this solution you need PER GALLON. THEN convert the mL needed into drops (Google has conversion charts). Then get yourself an eyedropper, shake up the container really good, and put however many drops per gallon you need. I did this conversion for Seachem Flourish and Flourish Excel - came out to roughly 1 drop/gal and 2 drops/gal respectively. For you, it will just depend on how potent you make your liquid mixture. The mL -> drops conversion is very helpful with nano-tanks.

Quote:
Then I can follow an EI schedule of dosing those every other day and then a 50% water change once a week.
You got it.


Quote:
Am i starting to get this right?
Absolutely! Let me know if you want to try any of the plants I suggested. If you see any other plants you like, post a want add in the swap and shop section - chances are SOMEONE has it and wouldn't mind selling or giving it to you, and hobbyst grown plants are FAR superior to anything you'll buy from an online store. You might also check out www.aquabid.com


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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-28-2006, 05:26 PM
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Jen is very helpful, I would take her up on that!
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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-28-2006, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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getting there

Okay....I'm starting to get there now....Thank you for your help!


Okay so to dose the nutrients I should:

add 16.8 g (3t or 1T) of kno3 into 250 ml.
add 7.2 g (1.5 t or .5 T) of kh2po4 into 250 ml.


Then once I have the mixtures...how do I calculate how many mL i need per gallon? Then how do I find the google chart to tell me how many drops that is? This part I do not understand.

Also....If I put another 18 W light in my hood (total of 36)....then could I grow more of the high light plants...or is my 7 gallons going to limit what I get just because of the size? I've seen some awesome planted nanos before.
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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-28-2006, 06:11 PM
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Ok, so let's see -

If you take the 16.8 g of KNO3 into 250 mL then you end up with 0.0672 g / mL, so since you want 0.7 g, then you'll want to add 1 mL. I didn't look up the conversion last time, but 1 mL is roughly 20 drops.

So let's say you instead put 5T into your 250 mL solution, or rougly 84 grams. You then have 0.336 grams per mL, so every drop (20 drops per mL) will have 0.0168 grams in it. Since you want .07 grams total, you should add 4.16 (round to 5) drops.

You can calculate this in a similar way for the other solutions.

It may be easier for you to make more concentrated solutions so you don't have to add as many drops (I find adding 5 drops tends to be more accurate than trying to count out 20!).


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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-28-2006, 06:13 PM
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Oh, and with 36 watts you'll definately have more options as far as plants go. I'd make sure you're getting your CO2 good and dissolved and you have lots of fast growing plants if you up the light though. More light tends to run the risk of creating algae blooms if you don't have plants to compete with it.


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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-28-2006, 06:27 PM
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^ Another note, I'm assuming that the addition of the dry ferts do not change the volume of the water. They will, a little bit, but rounding a bit won't hurt.


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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-28-2006, 06:28 PM Thread Starter
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Okay...once I see the calculations done....much easier to understand. Are all of these conversions for the KNO3? Because based on rex's guide and how much for 10 gals..(and then adjusted to 7 gals) it says I need .21 of Kno3, .07 of kh2po4 and .7 for k2so4. This is based on .3 kno3, .1 kh2po4, and 1.0 k2so4 - in 10 galls of water.

So if I add the 84 g (5T) which means I would have .336 grams/mL... then (.336/20)which is .0168 for each drop....that means I need 12.5 drops or 13 drops in order to get the .21 for kno3. Is this wrong or right?
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