another newbie from across the water - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-09-2008, 09:00 PM Thread Starter
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Question another newbie from across the water

I have been brosing this site for a while in the wings and have finally taken the plunge and started a planted after keeping reef marines for years.

As you guys seem to be the oracle of knowledge i was wondering if you could help me by giving me your opinion on my set up and whether you think i could add to or change it for the better.
The following are my tank details and perameters as of 8pm gmt .

Tank 60" X24" x24"
filtration fluval 303
lighting 1x arcadfia series 3 twin 400watt (6600 kelvin) with 2 32watt tube
1x 36watt daylight plus
2x 54 watt t5 (14000 kelvin)
lighting on 12 hours a day with t5 and 36watt tube on 10 hours the 400mhs are not used
c02 4kg pressurised fitted to night shut off attached to fluval diffuser


phosphate .06ppm
iron .01ppm
nitrite .01ppm
nitrate 5ppm
kh 6
c02 10ppm


crypto diversen
echinodorus chrilieni
echinodorus mix
swords (background)
lilaepsis brasiliensis (carpet)


20 neon tetra
10 corydoras
5 ottos
1 small discus (rehomed from neighbour )


12 bags of various clay and gravel plant fertiliser substrates (bought all the shop had) covered with 2" 3mm black gravel.

The tank is controlled by a aquatronica pc controlled computer that controles top up /ph /and heating it also controles lighting times and duration.

I realise that you all get asked these sort of questions all the time but after reading as many posts as i could before i started it would be really good if you could spare the time to give you thoughts on the lighting and levels of this tank I have the option to use the 400 metal halides but have opted not to as the hair algae is a pain at the moment.

cheers for any help
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-09-2008, 09:24 PM
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Wow, that is quite the set up you have there. Looks like you're off to a great start. Welcome to the forum

One thing that does concern me is the presence of nitrite. 0.1 is not much, and might be due to error in testing, but the nitrite should really be at 0. Is this a new tank? The bioload does not appear to be that high, so I don't think you're overstocked. According to google, your tank is about 150 gallons.

The iron test you have is probably not accurate, because a good iron test does not exist yet for hobbyists. I would recommend you stick with pH, gH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and phosphate tests. Do you have a drop checker for your CO2 levels? I highly recommend getting one if you are running a pressurized system.

With regard to your hair algae, the cause is hard to address. Usually, one of your nutrients has bottomed out (you have run out of something). The other thing is that you could probably stand to increase your CO2 a little. With high light, a good amount to shoot for is 30ppm. I would also lower the lights a bit. That is quite a huge amount of light. Here is a primer on light:

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-09-2008, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
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The tank was set up about three months ago after a rather failed attempt pre co2 and substrate,

I was worried about upping the co2 level to high as the algae issue but will try to raise this if you think this would help ,also after looking at Rex's web i am still a little confused as to how much light i should have to grow a carpet along the front with the brasiliensis (really want this )what would you recommend would be a good level of light .

I do a 75 litre water change every 2 weeks at the moment and only dose iron once a week as iron level dose not raise much with the fert i am using (also worried about algae)should i increase these or decrease them

any help is gratefully received and is good to chat to a new keeper of the green(plant that is)
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-10-2008, 10:09 AM
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Hi dean

Dont worry theres a few of us Brits floating around (no pun intended).

You might find that its the low levels of nitrates etc thats aggravating your hair algae. I had a similar issue in my 360L tank. To combat it, I upped my level of CO2, increased my lighting, started dosing the tank with excel and added some siamese algae eaters.

In the space of about two weeks I now have almnost no hair algae and as an added bonus no BBA.

With regards to carpeting I have both dwarf hair grass and lilaepsis. I found that they struggled to form carpets and were prone to picking up debris and algae until i hit close to 2 watts per gallon.

Now they are holding their own and spreading nicely out in their respective areas.

I found the lilaepsis is a a slow grower while it is getting established, and actually reduced the amount i have becuase i wanted something a bit more vigorous.

My tank has directional filter outflow, so i also set things up so that the outflow blows the water comming out of the CO2 membranes straight at the foreground carpet.

I was slightly confused by which lights you have on and which are off, what is the total wattage you are running at the moment?


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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-10-2008, 07:04 PM Thread Starter
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hi Marc i have Watts on for about 10 -12 hours a day i have the option of using the metal halides but have left them off at the min.

I have just upped my c02 from 1bps to 2 bps to see if this raises the c02 level enough and also have ordered some exel as every one is raving that it kills hair nicely,

I have been a lover of the lilaepsis for a while so am hoping with the help of guys like your self i can attain a level of tank and growth that i could post here.

as always any advice is great.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-11-2008, 07:52 PM
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well i wont claim to be an expert as i havent managed to make much of a carpet with mine yet. This week was the first week i looked at it and thought "thats getting somewhere now".

that might have something to do with the SAE's I added a little while ago. Recently they shifted their attention to the lilaepsis and their maintenace has removed all the crud that got caught there and generally tidied it all up.

I seem to have cracked the hairgrass though. I have the startings of a nice carpet now.

I think you're fine with the halides off.

You may want to keep an eye on your nitrate level. Im using flourish to top up my ferts in general and since doing that ive had no problem with algae in that tank.

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-11-2008, 10:51 PM
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Forgive me for not reading this thread, but I notice your also British, Pop over to and join us, we're the only uk aquatic plant specific club.
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