125 gallon mold farm extravaganza - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-29-2008, 09:19 PM Thread Starter
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125 gallon mold farm extravaganza

Ok, if you look to the left, you see I'm a noob. Sorry folks it happens. The reality is that I'm a botanist and have worked in pet stores for 5 years, but I have never really gotten into planted tanks. At least we're not starting at complete zero, huh?

I was handed a 125 gallon that sits in a greenhouse under glass glazing, and in the winter months, I can have some large HID lights over the tank but they'll be about six or more feet away from the tank. The temperature holds between 65 and 90 F.

My problem is that tank has single distilled water in it, it has a few sickly plants in it, and the most lush growth of fungus I have ever seen in an aquatic set up. It's honestly amazing!

I spent a good chunk of a day doing a 90% water change and pulling out an unknown bacopa and literally 3 gallons of solid fungus. It covers the substrate, the plants, the glass, clogs the filters...

Now then, I'd like to get a nice SIMPLE display of aquatic plants going. I'm willing to read anything you'd like to share, from ideas to plant suggestions. The caveats are that I can NOT have any animals in the tank. I can CO2 inject with a 12lb bottle, and I'd like to keep the substrate, if possible, which is turface, gravel, sand, and some commercial substrates which are unknown.

I can add supplements but I don't have infinitely deep pockets for this project.

Input?

Thanks.

Christian

You did something because it had always been done, and the explanation was "but we've always done it this way." A million dead people can't have been wrong, can they?--- Terry Pratchett
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-29-2008, 09:45 PM
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65 is too loo and 90 is to hot. You need temp control and if you have fungas I would just start over

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-29-2008, 11:37 PM
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Another Pratchett fan I see....VERY INTERESTING.

My 2 cents worth (canadian mind you so it's more in USF

Nuke it all and start again, you can keep the substrate but lose everything else, scoop out the substrate, rinse it in peroxide a million times and then bake it in an oven (or solar oven...black box covered in plastic)

You will need a heater of some sort to keep the temps constant, pick one around 76"F and go with that.

Get your CO2 started as soon as you get your plants in (buy lots of stems and over plant to start...you can always sell them later.)

Read up on dosing PMDD and buy some Excel. Keep reading and see all the millions of things you can learn and adapt for your own style of planted tank.


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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-30-2008, 02:02 AM
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I agree that you'll probably need to start over to get rid of that fungus. I'd bleach the tank and boil the substrate. Run any driftwood/rocks/etc through the dishwasher on sanitize cycle with no chemicals.

Then I think you're going to need a light fixture and a heater. Don't think that lights 6' away are going to cut it, and that temperature fluctuation is pretty extreme. Did you say this tank WAS in a greenhouse, or IS in a greenhouse? It can be tricky setting up a tank to avoid algae when the tank gets sunlight... though it can be done if you stuff it with enough plants.

You'll need to have the lighting and temp situation figured out in order to make good plant selections.

Dry ferts will be the way to go, and are pretty cheap.

What are the dimensions on the tank?





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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-30-2008, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
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It's a standard 125 gallon, and I can try to get the lights lowered. The temperatures do fluctuate a bit. Is that a problem for aquatic plants? I am not hoping to keep delicate Amazon basin species, just a nice planted tank. It is IN a greenhouse, as I said, I've inherited a mess. As of right now the Aquaclear 110 which was on it is not functioning, so I may need filter advice also. I think the diatoms and algae in the water column can be controlled by UV, but I may be wrong... a pond sized sterilizer? What about trying to drop the pH with wood to control the fungus? I don't think that volume of substrate can be dealt with very easily. I think the fungus came from a sudden algae and plant proliferation which then in turned died leaving too much organic waste hanging around. Now that I've done a 90% water change, I don't see it coming back as quickly... I suspect it's in the greenhouse or airborne or something, and bleaching/tear down will not remove it, just get it out of the tank until it's reintroduced. I'd rather remove it with a change in my cultural methodology if possible. Thanks for the input. Christian

You did something because it had always been done, and the explanation was "but we've always done it this way." A million dead people can't have been wrong, can they?--- Terry Pratchett
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-30-2008, 06:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h2osanity View Post
Another Pratchett fan I see....VERY INTERESTING.

My 2 cents worth (canadian mind you so it's more in USF

Nuke it all and start again, you can keep the substrate but lose everything else, scoop out the substrate, rinse it in peroxide a million times and then bake it in an oven (or solar oven...black box covered in plastic)

You will need a heater of some sort to keep the temps constant, pick one around 76"F and go with that.

Get your CO2 started as soon as you get your plants in (buy lots of stems and over plant to start...you can always sell them later.)

Read up on dosing PMDD and buy some Excel. Keep reading and see all the millions of things you can learn and adapt for your own style of planted tank.
if it is getting to 90 a chiller as well.

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-30-2008, 06:56 PM
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I would just dump bleach into the running tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by lauraleellbp View Post
I agree that you'll probably need to start over to get rid of that fungus. I'd bleach the tank and boil the substrate. Run any driftwood/rocks/etc through the dishwasher on sanitize cycle with no chemicals.

Then I think you're going to need a light fixture and a heater. Don't think that lights 6' away are going to cut it, and that temperature fluctuation is pretty extreme. Did you say this tank WAS in a greenhouse, or IS in a greenhouse? It can be tricky setting up a tank to avoid algae when the tank gets sunlight... though it can be done if you stuff it with enough plants.

You'll need to have the lighting and temp situation figured out in order to make good plant selections.

Dry ferts will be the way to go, and are pretty cheap.

What are the dimensions on the tank?

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-30-2008, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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Oh! I'm sorry! In the summer the pad and fan cooling tries to keep the greenhouse lower than 90F, but it can reach a bit higher than 85F, and should never get below 73F or so. I also asked about the status of the lights in that bay. I have access to a 1000 watt metal halide which currently is 10 feet above the tank, but I can lower it a bit. Finally, the turtle moves.

You did something because it had always been done, and the explanation was "but we've always done it this way." A million dead people can't have been wrong, can they?--- Terry Pratchett
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-30-2008, 07:32 PM
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And stop using distilled water while we're at it. Plants like the stuff that's in regular tap water (minus chlorine).


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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-30-2008, 09:06 PM Thread Starter
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The normal tap water is not what I had thought of as a good water source. The pH ranges from 7.4-8.4 depending on the time of year. When it is more alkali, the water is acidified with sulfuric acid. Also, the DI water supply is just that, the tap lines are run with hoses which are used to supply liquid fertilizer. My concerns about algae and diatoms become much worse when I know there are traces of fertilizer 20-20-20 for example in my tap water. I know this is a pain, and if any of you want information on tarantulas, I'm here to help, but planted aquaria... total noob. Christian

You did something because it had always been done, and the explanation was "but we've always done it this way." A million dead people can't have been wrong, can they?--- Terry Pratchett
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-30-2008, 09:34 PM
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Quote:
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And stop using distilled water while we're at it. Plants like the stuff that's in regular tap water (minus chlorine).
not if you fertilize, then distilled is better

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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-30-2008, 09:44 PM
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1000W!!! that nice! Maybe not as nice as it would be like 4 feet above the tank but I think it would suffice. thats like 8W per G. If I am correct, high lighting is considered around 4W per G. If you get it up and running I think It would look Pretty nice.

Btw, Is it on a stand or on the ground?

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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-01-2008, 01:04 AM Thread Starter
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It's on a "stand" which is plywood and cinder blocks. Again, it is in a greenhouse. Yeah, the nice thing is the 1000watt MH, the bad thing is the temperature and uncontrolled sunlight... I'm also interested in plant species ideas and sources. Thanks.

You did something because it had always been done, and the explanation was "but we've always done it this way." A million dead people can't have been wrong, can they?--- Terry Pratchett
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-01-2008, 05:23 AM
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You've got such a unique setup that I think plant selection is going to really boil down to trial and error.

Start with some easy fast-growers, especially stems, to get the tank established and out-compete algae. Then you'll be able to experiment a bit with that lighting, and try to get all the parameters you can control as stable as possible (develop a fert regime, photoperiod, CO2 levels, temperature, etc.) Plants tend to do best in stable environments.

I'd start out with low light plants, and see how quickly they grow. There's a great list in the sticky at the top of the low light forum.

As far as places to get plants, mine have all come from the Swap and Shop here on the forum. Some commercial online places that have pretty good reputations include:

www.AquaticPlantDepot.com

www.AquaBotanic.com

www.AquariumPlants.com





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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-01-2008, 05:34 AM
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Why have MH when you have the sun?

you're a botanist, you know what plants need. Aquatic plants just need less of it like in the ppm range. And provide CO2 & ferts since you have that much light. Stay away from NH3/NH4 as a nitrogen source since that'll trigger algae. And plants tend to do better with a finer substrate. They will draw nutrients from the leaves and or the roots.

that's pretty much all I know.


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