Is a high tech tank possible with being gone 4-5 days at a time? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-01-2014, 05:15 AM Thread Starter
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Is a high tech tank possible with being gone 4-5 days at a time?

Been a long time since I've kept an aquarium and have long since wanted to get into the planted tank side, but money got in the way. Finally I feel I am in a good spot to get started again in the hobby, but I am typically gone for five days and then home for three. At first I thought this would be no problem, just do weekly maintenance when i get home, but now I am not so sure. If my gf tells me she notices algae starting to bloom or something, can i just have her turn lff CO2 and keep lighting to a minimum to essential freeze things until I get home? Seems like if things are running properly it would be doable, but the set up and getting all the levels stable sounds like you need daily attendance.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-01-2014, 03:27 PM
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What are your goals? A Dutch style setup, nature aquarium, just want to grow plants?

High tech to me doesn't necessarily mean high light. Light is the driving force to how quickly things can change in the tank. A medium light tank would be your best bet if you're not able to check it frequently.

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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-01-2014, 05:56 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Overfloater View Post
What are your goals? A Dutch style setup, nature aquarium, just want to grow plants?

High tech to me doesn't necessarily mean high light. Light is the driving force to how quickly things can change in the tank. A medium light tank would be your best bet if you're not able to check it frequently.
Really just grow plants with some schooling fish. Going to medium light would probably best bet. I just dont know enough about the actual plants and was planning high light just so i know i wouldnt have to worry too much if the plant would be compatible or not, but i like the idea of maybe looking into going medium
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-01-2014, 06:23 PM
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If you're gone a lot, stick to low tech. One thing can go wrong in a hi-tech and you'd come home to dead fish and an algae farm.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-01-2014, 10:52 PM
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if your goal is just to grow plants, why not just go low tech? i have a 40g and a 90g and both of them are low tech and everything is thriving beautifully
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-01-2014, 11:05 PM
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If you automate water changes and fertilizer dosing, you can leave a high tech tank on its own for weeks. Daily feeding is overrated - if not overstocked, fish will do fine for extended periods in a properly sized planted tank.

Not just talking out of my behind... I have left my tanks on their own for over 3 weeks a few times and came back to an overgrown jungle and happy fish.

Lights work great on a timer, so does CO2.


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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-01-2014, 11:10 PM
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I'm going on vacation for a month and I have a high tech dirted tank, and need advise. I'm going to have my sister prune my plants and dose excel while I'm away. My gh is at 14, so would a high tech setup deplete the calcium and magnesium really fast without water changes? How can I setup an automatic doser to dose liquid co2 for me?

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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-02-2014, 01:52 AM
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I have a high-tech tank and am gone frequently. No big deal. I have my wife feed the fish once a day and squirt some ferts in, but both are pretty flexible. Lights and CO2 are on timers. (By the way, you definitely do NOT want to turn CO2 off if you're having problems with algae, you want to jack it up to promote plant growth, which suppresses algae.)

Ultimately, if you have a ton of plants and those plants are in good shape, they will help stabilize the entire aquarium. My set-up is in theory "high-tech," but in practice it's pretty darn low-maintenance.

I do water changes every week, but it's been as long as two and I didn't see anything wrong with the tank. Could probably go 3 or 4 with little adverse consequences, not that I would.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-02-2014, 02:59 AM
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I like to automate everything I can so that the tank is as stable as possible, and there's nothing different about a high tech tank that I think would make it more difficult to automate. So my answer to your question is yes, though with the caveat that I haven't actually kept a high tech tank while being out of town for most of every week.

Automating feeding, if you're OK using pellets and/or flakes, just means using one of those eheim auto-feeders from Amazon. The auto-feeder can feed the fish for up to six weeks at a stretch, and it has its own clock/timer. My tank's lights are on a hardware store timer, and the pressurized CO2 will be on the same timer once I get it set up. Water changes on the tank are a DIY ATO along with a submersible water pump on a timer (though I'm still building that system as well, it's not fully functional yet). Personally, I'm holding off on ferts because my tank is dirted and because I want to fix up a dosing system with a Arduino, which is a project I'm not quite up to tackling at the moment, but that'll obviously be automated, too.

I tried to do everything on a relatively tight budget, but still, the only maintenance that I have to do manually is refilling the WC reservoir (weekly, at this point), and periodically cleaning the filters (etc). Eventually I'll have to make sure to refill the CO2 tank and the fertilizer bottles. I don't count "fun" stuff like pruning, planting, trying out live foods, or even vacuuming the substrate, etc, as maintenance, because it doesn't really have to be done on any specific schedule and I basically do it as the mood takes me.

I think that the only issue you might have is that just having your eyes on the tank a lot can be helpful in terms of nipping problems in the bud. But if your gf is going to be in the house, that probably won't be such a problem (even if she's not into tanks, she's going to notice a bunch of dying fish or that the water is suddenly the wrong color or that the floor is getting flooded!). If she really doesn't want to deal with it or if you're still going to find yourself getting stressed, though, there are ways to monitor tanks remotely. I think there are quite a few Arduino projects that'll allow you to either literally see the tank remotely or track its stats remotely, and I'm sure there are ready-made tools you can buy as well. Honestly, the only things that I think could be really dangerous for the fish are if your CO2 goes nuts (which mostly means you should get a good regulator if you go that route, I think) or if your heater goes nuts (which means you should get one of those heater controllers to shut off power to the heater before it cooks your fish). Otherwise, since you're still going to be around the tank every week, nothing is likely to happen so fast that it'll get out of control before you miss it or require more frequent maintenance than you can give, I think.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-02-2014, 04:28 AM
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I don't think there is any question that it can be done. You can setup the tank lighting and CO2 with timers, either have someone else feed the fish, or just let the forage for a week, and there is a good chance nothing bad will happen. But, I do remember that someone who is very likely the most experienced, most knowledgable, and most "green thumbed" did this a few years ago and came home to a disaster. It only takes one unexpected thing to happen and every thing just escalates then. For example, suppose there is a power outage for 6 hours? Suppose a CO2 needle valve gets plugged with a tiny bit of debris? Suppose one big fish has a heart attack, or whatever is the fish equivalent?

If you are nice and cool headed when things go south on you, then by all means try it. But, if you fall to pieces and start tossing tanks out the window when that happens, stick to low-medium light.

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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-02-2014, 04:40 AM
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Many of the key issues that appear in several posts here are related to overstocking. If your tank has a rather low fish stock, you don't have to worry about a power outage - things will continue when the power is restored. No worries about a dead fish - shrimp and snails will make a quick meal of them.
Few fish also don't need to be fed that frequently, and you may be able to avoid the risk of having someone think them poor beasts are still hungry and find more food. Some don't understand that too much is worse than too little.

In high light tanks, you can always turn things down a notch by reducing the light levels and/or duration.


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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-02-2014, 05:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wasserpest View Post
Many of the key issues that appear in several posts here are related to overstocking. If your tank has a rather low fish stock, you don't have to worry about a power outage - things will continue when the power is restored. No worries about a dead fish - shrimp and snails will make a quick meal of them.
Few fish also don't need to be fed that frequently, and you may be able to avoid the risk of having someone think them poor beasts are still hungry and find more food. Some don't understand that too much is worse than too little.

In high light tanks, you can always turn things down a notch by reducing the light levels and/or duration.
I am going to be away from home for a month. I have a 10 gallon dirted tank, and am getting about 46 par at the substrate. I dose daily with carbon co2. I run my lights for 8 hours a day, so in your opinion, what's the lowest I can lower my lights to on a high-tech setup?


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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-02-2014, 10:08 AM
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Go low tech and you can pretty much ignore your tank once its stable.
The more tech you add, the more problems you are likely to face
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-02-2014, 01:14 PM
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Set your tank up with a garden soil (not miracle grow based) and add high light and CO2. When the tank settles down it will self-maintain for years with no fertilizer additions. You can grow any type of plant even the "hard to grow" species. I've used this method many times over the years with great success.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-02-2014, 02:21 PM
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Never will understand why folk's think they need high light with or without CO2.
Or..why those injecting CO2 think they need high light to achieve lush growth.
Have seen examples of med light and CO2 at APC,UKAPS.org,Barr report.
Why let the cart (light) drag the horse.?
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