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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all,

I'm Richard, I've long been into planted tanks, but haven't had a tank setup for a while. I've also been a real user of the 'ghetto'-tech planted tank ranging from DIY CO2, al foil reflectors and random DIY ferts... I've always had a few tanks:

2ftX18inch wide breeder, back in 1999 when planted aquaria in the west was still a mystery and the thought was that phosphates and nitrogen was BAD NEWS!
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v47/nornicle/tank2.jpg

4ft standard, back in 2000 when i only had one light and no fertilsation and no substrate
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v47/nornicle/planttank.jpg

6X2.5X2.5 some of you might remember this tank :D fish/ many plants/ much advice supplied by Slippery little suckers

It grew from this:



to this



Bigger picture in the link:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v47/nornicle/plants/fish1.jpg

Now I stumbled on a sweet deal from an old friend of mine, so it's time to go high tech (with some help from ADA)

The setup will be as follows:
Lighting: 96watt 6700k CF.
Fertilisation: probably dry dosing
Substrate: FULL ADA (!) Aquasoil, Powersand and 5 substrate powders.
Co2: Dupla 750gram bottle, Dupla Delta regulator, Dupla Magnetic Solenoid
,Looking for a bubble counter, with dupla diffuser leading to be reacted in the filter chamber
Heating: Looking at getting a Hydor ETH inline 300 watt
Filtration: Eheim 2217 with Cal Aqua Lab Lily pipes (sweet!!)

Here are some pics






I made a trip down to Slipper Little Suckers, they are a fantastic store supporting a fantastic hobby and best of all stocking ADA stuff.

Anyway picked up 2 bags of aquasoil (hope its enough!), a bag of powersand and some powders.

pictures soon!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
3X14X18

Some pics of the ADA products I'll be working with :)



I was working on some layouts tonight and came up with the following





thinking of going with this one



im not happy that the wood is so light, but in a few months it will become very dark. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
And now I started adding soils :/

Add ADA powders


Add Powersand


Add Duplarit G then cover with Aquasoil


Wah lah


Setup some equipment, alah test run of lily pipes, clear tubing, co2 mock setup. Still need to find a good diffuser or reactor...

 

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Sweet Jesus that must be a typo! 3'x14'x18' ?!

;)

Looks good so far.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I think i learned a valuable lesson since keeping tanks for a long time and rushing many things, is that the longer you wait to get everything you need, to nicer the finished product tends to be, or at least the maintainence becomes less with upfront planning.

This tank has taken nearly a month to gather all the parts and I'm not even there yet (lights to come)

Anyway I would like to riff a little about ADA soils

ADA Soils

Powders (Bacter 100, clear super, penac W, tourmaline and bacter ball)

To be honest I was a little skeptical at first like many people would be that the powders would help.

However, I think that they will help seed the substrate with what it needs to mature faster. There is definitely a thought process going on behind this, Tom Barr and many others have riffed on the fact that mature substrates are much better than new substrates, and if I can get bacterial colonies started earlier, then I am all for it.

In anycase, I will give it a go for this tank, and hopefully my substrate can mature faster.

Powersand

I read that you don't need this, but after spreading it out on the ground, I think everyone should get this as a bottom layer substrate, I think it is a concentrated fertiliser, mixed with pumice and peat. I feel alot more comfortable knowing I have a long term fertiliser down there, and you don't need that much I only used a 2l bag. Note I also added some Duplarit G I had lying around to add some iron to the substrate.

To those who use just aquasoil, power to them, but I have always believed in giving plants access to highly fertilised substrate below the main substrate.. whether this has been my own DIY mix, clay balls or Tetra initial sticks I think this is one reason i have always had crypts thrive.

Aquasoil

It's not as crumbly as I expected, it is quite a firm bunch of soil bits, I would definitely not be pressing on it all the time, but i can't imagine it losing its form in years to come

It smells like real earth which is something new, and it looks really natural,

I definitely recommend it, after considering eco complete, flourite, plain gravel and mixing my own, for the look and the results of others, I think aquasoil will be the winner.

I think people have to be careful with aquasoil though (and those that have stuffed up with it i think weren't careful and used it like gravel, which i stress, it is NOT) and follow the following tips:

a) Spray water on the top layer a few hours before planting to prevent the top layer floating.
b) fill water up to top of the aquasoil before planting
c) spread newspaper all over the bottom before filling up the tank to prevent any movement.
 

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Slipper Little Suckers??! Anyhow, I like your driftwood arrangement. What plants are you planning?
 

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I like your lily pipes! Ive been interested in trying out ADA too, cant afford it at the moment, maybe my next tank. Your not going to buy a ceramic diffusor? would complete the ada look. Good Luck looking forward to seeing some updates
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi guys,

Solomon : Yes I'm going to get a rhinox I think :D
KDahlin: Slippery little suckers is a LFS in Sydney that sells ADA and some pretty cool plants :D

Design elements of the hardscape

I want to speak a little about how i ended with the hardscape that I chose.

I have always used triangles and the golden ratio in my designs, and hopefully I can explain how I came up with this one.

I will also post a copy of one of my design articles in the main ADA forums.



If you initially look at my tank, the wood does not fit the general 3/5th golden ratio rule, however it does have triangles and it is assymetrical which gives the viewer instant complexity in the aquascape. Depth is initially hard to create in the hardscape, and it is a collaboration of variations in height of substrate, hardscape and clever plant selection and pruning that allows perspective and depth to be created.

Anyway back to the harscape. in point no. 1 I've created a point 3/5th of the way along but in the open part of the tank, I then create it again 2/5th of the way in on the left hand side in the wooded area.

A triangle is then created between all the focal points at varying heights, now in this photo the height is actually a little too stagnant, which is why i have an arrow next to point 1 where i will actually move the branch slightly lower when i fill the tank.

I'll riff more on triangles and golden ratios when i start planting :D

I think one of my biggest challenges will be to use the 14" width to the maximum, in the past all my planted tanks have been a minimum of 18" wide (which i recommend to anyone starting a tank!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·


this is a cabinet i built for my 2X18 which is destined to become a open top planted tank (when funds permit, as lights + substrate are expensive things!)

however what I'm showing here is are the filter's i'm seeding that will be going on the 3fter.. plants and ferts arriving tomorrow.

here is another shot of the cabinet.



interior shot


im getting quite attached to the tank, as it's almost like i've 'grown up' in the world of planted tanks.. and hopefully this will be successful. I have to get my water fert dosing right through because in the past I have always just 'underdosed' and used low light :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·


tank day 1. no i didnt photochop this pic, its as clear as day, i don't know WHY people are bad mouthing aquasoil.. I didn't even fill and refill, just 1 fill of water... this was taken while adding shrimp more on that later too!!

plants are from a variety of places, ebay/aquagreen/slippery little sucker, I'll pm you details :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
this is a post I had on another forum explaning why I don't think I will have an algae problem (unless the ammonia continues to ring alarm bells)

I hope tom can add his 2 pieces to this discussion :D

i've dropped the temp from 26 to 24.. I agre with you on the temp.. btw how do you keep your temps down in malaysia? do you keep your tanks indoors/in aircon?

I've added around 30 stems of rotala mexicana since that last pic and some more hygrophila polysperma, I'm actually quite happy with the plant load atm,

roughly speaking I'm going to be keeping my nutrients in the following range (following rexgrigg/ei etc)

nitrates - 10-20ppm, atm its around 10, and I intend on keeping it down
potassium - ~20ppm
phosphate - 1-2 ppm

You mention aquasoil is rich in nutrients, but I actually would disagree with you, giving it 24 hours to 'absorb' my water had only 0.5ppm phosphates and nearly no nitrates.

I initially when I first started keeping plants thought the same as you Kev, that stuffing the plants full at the start of the tank would reduce algal blooms, but I now realise it's to do with equillibrium and reducing the key indicators that lead to algal blooms. I first suspected this was possible when I saw Amano's tanks being created in his new 'style' with the decorative sand, which restricts a huge amount of space for stem plants to grow. Then I noticed lots of other hobbyists doing it.

I suspect the initial algae you are talking about is caused by NH4 being leeched without a sufficient filtration system to turn it to nitrate, I was very surprised to see the ammonia had gone up to 2-3ppm within a night. Algae thrives in an environment of NH4 and Phosphate (see below for explanation),

This worried me alot, and I was actually prepared for the aquasoil to leech some ammonia anyway, so I had fluidized bed filter that I had been running in tandem on another tank ready to switch over to... today I measured and had some nitrite, so i think there is *some* bacterial activity, but not as much as I expected, and may mean I will hook up a 2211 to it tonight.

Anyway I expect little to no algae outbreak due to the following factors:
* using submersed grown plants, whose leaves will a) not die off and b) be actively photosynthesing and surviving in water.
* 50% water changes every 3-5 days
* equillibrium between light, co2 and nutrients (balance of NPK and trace in the water)
* use of established biological filters
* use of otos (when ammonia drops down abit)
* use of algae shrimp - Caridinia longistrosis
* filtration with purigen

In regards to ammonia uptake, and why I think it causes algal blooms and is bad compared to NO3 uptake in higher level plants, I'll let Tom Barr do the talking (i actually just searched it just then, I knew in my head its bad, but didnt know the science, so here it is ) :

' NH4 needs 8 less electrons to be incorporated into
> Glutamine than NO3.
> This means it takes less energy. That does not mean a lot
> to a large plant
> with plenty of storage space and enzymes already in place
> to the same
> degree it does to small single celled algal spore.'

and

'> If you add the bacteria or a cycled filter, or also add a
> lot of
> plants(over stuff the tank), you also get the same result
> as an established
> tank.'


http://fins.actwin.com/aquatic-plants/month.200504/msg00069.html

All the plants came in with some small amounts of various alga on them, so we will see how they fare.

I could be all wrong and I might be staring at a green soup, hair algae mess in a week let's see, this is a learning experience for me dealing with high light and high ferts, in the past I could only theorise as I always 'under lit' and 'under dosed' my tanks to prevent algae (and back in 1999, dosing ammonia was considered the bleeding edge of fertilisation... now we know it's *ahem* not so good!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Anyway onto another 'topic' now :D

Dosing

As mentioned above i need to keep my nutrients within a certain range, and this includes dosing nitrates, phosphates (!) and potassium (the most important and most scarce as it is not really 'converted' from any waste going into the tank or from fish!)

So I give you my dry and wet dosing (courtesy of Dave @ Aquagreen):



I have calculated the ferts and the ppm it will move 35 gallons of water (which I have calculated my tank less substrate + wood equals, or 'guesstimated'), and can now dose by the ml or the gram!
 
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