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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Tankers! This is my first post here. I'm a Real Noob only about 8 mths of experience.

These are the details of my Low Tech Tank:
120 gal ( standard 48x24x24) Glass Tops
SunSun 704B (525 gah)
Hydor fan (425 gah)
MicMol Aqua Air 1200 (LED 96w) https://www.micmol.com/download/G2 Aqua Air Catalog.pdf (setup on a 8hr ramp up and ramp down, staying within the Red, Green, Blue Spectrum minimal white)

Eco-complete soil (2.5' - 3" depth)
Dosing with Thrive once a week, one day after WC
No Roots yet (but open to suggestions, I've looked at Thrive's Tabs)
Dosing Equilibrium on WC day (more on why to come)
roughly 30% WC every week
I'm using Tap Water
Tank runs right at 76 degrees

Bio load:
12 Rummy-nosed Tetras
1 Black Scaled Betta
5 Assassin Snails (because I'm a noob and didn't handle the pond snail on in coming plants)

Plants:
2 Amazon Swords
10 Jungle Val, Corkscrew Val
15 Cryptocoryne Wendtii Red
15 Dwarf Sagittaria
10 Hygrophila (don't know which species but I know it's two different ones)
1 Pearlweed
1 Pennywort (propagated once)
1 Bacopa Caroliniana (propagated once)
2 Alternanthera reineckii (regular)
3 Java Fern
1 Red Tiger Lotus
1 Gaint Hair Grass

Testing:
I test every-other day, these are the parameters as of late..
Ph: 8.2 - 8.3
Nh3: 0 ppm
No2: 0 ppm
No3: 0 ppm
Kh: 14 dkh
Gh: 3 dgh (it was 2 dgh that's why I started this week dosing Equilibrium, goal is to raise it 1 degree a week until I hit the target zone of 3 - 6)

Fe: 0.01 - 0.02 (This has me stumped because the only 2 additives I'm use having Ferric & DTPA Iron)
Po4: .33 ppm


Wow that was alot! haha
Before I move on those numbers have been solid for well over a 2 mths. I've felt as though I've had decent growth with minimal beginner issues, moving on, done a trim, golden! But...

Problem 1: Staghorn algae showed up and brought his buddies with him, green spot & diatom. I felt like thing were progress well but its just a mess now!!

Problem 2: Kh is reading High, I know I could use a Acid Buffer that would convert Kh to Co2 that the plants would use and lower the Ph (<-which is High but that's NC for ya!)

Please any all feedback would be appreciated! I would really enjoy a conversation about planted tanks. I'm a nerd rowing my canoe blind
 

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Welcome Robk!

Been out of the hobby for a while and just starting to visit forums again to plan my return so take my advice with a grain of salt.

A kH of 14 is a high but if I would caution against chasing it and pH with by adding acid. I used to try and lower pH with acid but with tap water of kH over 18 it never worked for me and just made my old tank really unstable. A better options would be to cut your water with RO water to bring it down but that isn't practical for everyone. If your fish and plants are growing I might just leave it as is. My old tank was very happy with pH above 8 and kH around 9 (I was cutting my tap with 50% RO).

For you iron readings your water tap water might be high in iron or it could just be a bad test. I recall reading a few years back that Iron tests tend to be inaccurate but I might be remembering wrong.

You might want to pump your nitrates up a bit, your plant does have a lot of root feeders but running with nitrate in the water column doesn't hurt anything and your stems and Java fern would appreciate it. The happier your plants are the better they can out compete algae.

For root tabs I used to make my own out of red clay and osmocote plus. I would make a little ball filled with a pinch of osmocote and let them air dry till they were hard. You can also use big gel caps if you don't want the mess of clay. The osmocote worked well for me and a jug will last you a life time but the little beads do tend to work their way to surface of the substrate which isn't the most attractive.

I originally tried a low tech tank and it never worked out for me (although it does work for many) and I ended up using CO2. I started dosing excel which helped a lot but can be a bit expensive in a big tank, although there are off brand options like metricide. Some plants also don't tolerate it well but something to think about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Thenoob...welcome back to the hobby, I'm really enjoy the science of it.
These are the conversations I've been needing to get an understanding. Reading and researching is one thing but being able to talk it out helps alot. I think I'll research the RO route, seems to make sense (being the RO is absent of everything). I recently came across a post on another forum about Iron test being faulty as well. Honestly it's nice to have feedback thanks again, very much appreciated
 
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