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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Very nice! And a bit jealous. Guessing that tank size is the same as GreggZ's tank? What are you using for a light? Kinda looks like there is 5 bulbs but I am pretty sure thats not right.


Thanks!

It’s 4’x2’. I’m pretty sure @Greggz has a 5’ 120 gal.

I have 6 individual 4’ Sunblaster T5HO fixtures :)


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Ah yes, Gregg's is a 5' long tank that is 18" front to back. So, yours is 24" front to back :grin2: - nice!

Interesting thing with the 6 individual lights - you "could" have 6 separate timers and really play around with various lighting levels. Should be a fun build to follow along on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Interesting thing with the 6 individual lights - you "could" have 6 separate timers and really play around with various lighting levels. Should be a fun build to follow along on.
I'm currently using 3 timers and running my lights in banks of 2. We'll see if that changes :)
 

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I have the same bulbs, and the same tank. They are really a good bang for the buck. I've used them for a little over four years now, and I love the flexibility of individual bulbs.
 

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Love the new tank! And those Sunblasters are cool fixtures. Lot's of combinations you can come up with there.

I've got a feeling this one is going to be good! Expecting great things in that set up.

Looking forward to following along.

Subscribed!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Dog walk update (no pics because I don’t know how to do the Flickr shuffle on my phone):

The Good
- I think I’m getting a consistent 1.2 pH drop with only a few micro bubbles in the tank
- most plants seem to be growing

The Bad
- I can’t seem to get reliable check valves, so I can’t keep water out of my flow meter, so the gauge on it never shows the actual flow.
- stupid rotala bonsai - I planted a handful of clumps. Some seem to be doing ok, a couple have completely melted. They are all in the same place. I don’t get it.
- GSA/GDA on the glass - PO4 was around 10ppm when I tested, so I’ve reduced my photoperiod from 5 to 4 hrs. I might have to turn a fixture or two off while things are starting out. (I stupidly sent my PAR meter to slipfinger before testing my own tank haha)
- I’ve been having issue with both my micro and macro solutions, so my dosing has been very inconsistent. I think the iron I was using might have been an issue in my micros. And the issue with the macros was that I cracked the glass jar when stirring in the salts too aggressively haha.

The Ugly
- gross brown algae flourishing. I used half the sand from my old tank and half new sand. I think the new sand might not be helping. I’m going to try a few big water changes. If that doesn’t work I might tone down the lights.


Between school, my RO unit, my other tanks and my new shrimp project, I haven’t been able to fully devote my attention to this new setup. Hopefully in the next day or two I’ll be able to finish building my shrimp rack and also get my RO system fully set up. Then it’ll be time to focus on this garden. Just in time too, as I’ve got 2 plant shipments coming in the next two weeks :grin2:


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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Good to see a new journal started up. The 4ft 120G is something I have my eyes on, so looking forward to seeing where you take this one.


I’m a big fan of the 120 so far. But there certainly is a big difference once you hit 100+ gallons. Even completely empty, the tank was a struggle to get up on the stand with only 2 people. My homemade canopy is so heavy that I’m going to have to hit the gym for a week beforehand if I ever need to take it off.

The 4’x2’ footprint feels like just about the perfect canvas though :)


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Hi MCFC

It looks Oto arm really went to war against your algae bloom. Do you have any idea what caused it?. I'm really curious about your PH drop, are you aiming for a specific PH or just marking the change?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hi MCFC

It looks Oto arm really went to war against your algae bloom. Do you have any idea what caused it?.

The otos didn't really touch the brown stuff. That was all manual removal haha. It could have been caused by a number of things:

- inconsistent CO2 - I've been having issues with my flow meter and pH pen
- inconsistent ferts - I've been having issues with my solutions
- too much light too early - I was doing a 5hr photoperiod with all 6 bulbs on for 4hrs.
- unhappy plants - some plants have spent two weeks in a bin with no light, some plants are transitioning from emersed to submerged, and some are TC that need some time to adapt
- possibly something in the new or old sand
- the ghost of Takashi Amano is punishing me for not having any Amano shrimp in there yet

Who knows?? Haha

My attempts to rid myself of the algae:

- I've stopped fussing with the gauge on the flow meter and I'm now just using it essentially as a needle valve while I use my pH pen to see what's going on in the tank. Not my preferred method but it'll work for now.
- I ordered a whole bunch of new ferts a little while ago, including a different Iron. I'm going to try making my standard macro and micro mixes. Macro was just a container issue, so I bought a new one. Micros I keep getting a sludge forming at the bottom. If it happens again I'm going to try making an Iron solution and a Micros -Iron solution.
- I cut the lights down to 4hrs, with all 6 bulbs on for 3hrs. I might increase the hrs but reduce the number of bulbs.
- I can't do much with the plants but trim and wait.
- I'm going to do a few 50% w/c for a couple days or maybe a couple 80% changes over a week. I'm also switching over to RO water.
- I've got a handful of Amanos sitting in quarantine, waiting to get to work on this tank.


I'm really curious about your PH drop, are you aiming for a specific PH or just marking the change?
It seems like most people on the high-tech side of things aim for around 1.0 drop in their pH by the time the lights turn on. This should give you a ballpark CO2 level of about 30ppm. Because CO2 is so cheap, I want to push it closer to the limits. I've found that at around a 1.3 drop in pH my fish are gasping for air at the surface. So I see a 1.2 pH drop as being a happy medium between pushing the plants close to their limits without stressing out my fish too much. So I'm not aiming for any specific pH level per se, I'm more aiming for the specific drop.
 

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It seems like most people on the high-tech side of things aim for around 1.0 drop in their pH by the time the lights turn on. This should give you a ballpark CO2 level of about 30ppm. Because CO2 is so cheap, I want to push it closer to the limits. I've found that at around a 1.3 drop in pH my fish are gasping for air at the surface. So I see a 1.2 pH drop as being a happy medium between pushing the plants close to their limits without stressing out my fish too much. So I'm not aiming for any specific pH level per se, I'm more aiming for the specific drop.
I'm not sure of the exact relationship between CO2 and O2 in the water, but I don't believe they are mutually exclusive.

My pH drop is from 8.1 -> 6.6.

I found that to keep the fish from labored breathing in the morning, I run a venturi through the night that aerates the water. I figure this is also good for the plants.

Maybe an expert can correct my thinking, but I believe with proper aeration you can run high levels of CO2. That said, when I had alot of surface exchange (HOB filters), there was more aeration taking place (didn't need the venturi), but CO2 would gas off much quicker.

I think with some more aeration, you can keep CO2 levels high without hurting your fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
I'm not sure of the exact relationship between CO2 and O2 in the water, but I don't believe they are mutually exclusive.

My pH drop is from 8.1 -> 6.6.

I found that to keep the fish from labored breathing in the morning, I run a venturi through the night that aerates the water. I figure this is also good for the plants.

Maybe an expert can correct my thinking, but I believe with proper aeration you can run high levels of CO2. That said, when I had alot of surface exchange (HOB filters), there was more aeration taking place (didn't need the venturi), but CO2 would gas off much quicker.

I think with some more aeration, you can keep CO2 levels high without hurting your fish.
Dennis Wong did a great video on this. I think of it as mandatory viewing for anyone who wants to run a high-tech tank.


I run an airstone for a few hours at night and again for a few hours before my CO2 turns on. My canister outputs are also aimed along the top of the water, causing a fairly aggressive ripple. Without actively conditioning my fish for higher levels of CO2, I don't think there's much I can do. At the same time, given the state of my tank, I can't imagine seeing any benefit from increasing CO2 levels beyond a 1.2 drop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I think I'm slowly winning the algae war. Plants are starting to grow a bit better. Still haven't arranged any groupings yet. I'm not very artistic, so that might be the hardest part for me haha.








These plants all came in the same Tropica pot as Bacopa caroliniana. I think the first pic looks more like Bacopa monnieri maybe?



 

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The otos didn't really touch the brown stuff. That was all manual removal haha. It could have been caused by a number of things:

- inconsistent CO2 - I've been having issues with my flow meter and pH pen
- inconsistent ferts - I've been having issues with my solutions
- too much light too early - I was doing a 5hr photoperiod with all 6 bulbs on for 4hrs.
- unhappy plants - some plants have spent two weeks in a bin with no light, some plants are transitioning from emersed to submerged, and some are TC that need some time to adapt
- possibly something in the new or old sand
- the ghost of Takashi Amano is punishing me for not having any Amano shrimp in there yet

Who knows?? Haha

My attempts to rid myself of the algae:

- I've stopped fussing with the gauge on the flow meter and I'm now just using it essentially as a needle valve while I use my pH pen to see what's going on in the tank. Not my preferred method but it'll work for now.
- I ordered a whole bunch of new ferts a little while ago, including a different Iron. I'm going to try making my standard macro and micro mixes. Macro was just a container issue, so I bought a new one. Micros I keep getting a sludge forming at the bottom. If it happens again I'm going to try making an Iron solution and a Micros -Iron solution.
- I cut the lights down to 4hrs, with all 6 bulbs on for 3hrs. I might increase the hrs but reduce the number of bulbs.
- I can't do much with the plants but trim and wait.
- I'm going to do a few 50% w/c for a couple days or maybe a couple 80% changes over a week. I'm also switching over to RO water.
- I've got a handful of Amanos sitting in quarantine, waiting to get to work on this tank.




It seems like most people on the high-tech side of things aim for around 1.0 drop in their pH by the time the lights turn on. This should give you a ballpark CO2 level of about 30ppm. Because CO2 is so cheap, I want to push it closer to the limits. I've found that at around a 1.3 drop in pH my fish are gasping for air at the surface. So I see a 1.2 pH drop as being a happy medium between pushing the plants close to their limits without stressing out my fish too much. So I'm not aiming for any specific pH level per se, I'm more aiming for the specific drop.
I'm quite apprehensive about adjusting the PH. I've seen people throughout the years crash their PH and have a detrimental affect on their stock so I've always side steped that aspect of the hobby. That said, it's interesting to follow your progression on that front. As for the algae, do you remember how soon after everything was up and running that it appeared?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'm quite apprehensive about adjusting the PH. I've seen people throughout the years crash their PH and have a detrimental affect on their stock so I've always side steped that aspect of the hobby. That said, it's interesting to follow your progression on that front.
I think there's a substantial difference between temporarily dropping and then raising the pH with CO2 versus using other compounds and chemicals to permanently alter the pH, like in an African Cichlid tank. I don't know if that's what you're referring to when you mention the crash, and I'm no scientist so I can't speak to why it is that way. I seem to remember @Deanna being more knowledgeable/having more experience on that front (sorry if I'm wrong!).


As for the algae, do you remember how soon after everything was up and running that it appeared?
Sept 14 - Day 0 - Squeaky clean


Sept 29 - Day 15 - Sand is starting to get a little discoloured


Oct 2 - Day 18 - Sand is looking worse (front right), but still no brown fuzz


Oct 8 - Day 24 - Boom!
 
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