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Discussion Starter #1
Algae Grower

So I am almost ready to start up my new 45g corner bowfront tank. The stand is being delivered tomorrow. I have a 2 x 65 w Coralife fixture for the tank, pressurized co2, shultz aquasoil substrate, fluval 304 canister filter, 2 x 100w heaters.

Also have some cured driftwood from ebay ready to go in. The filter is well seasoned on my other tank so is biologically active. My other tank also is packed full of plants and will be all moved to the new tank. Lots of giant hygro, java fern, alternanthera, and sunset hygro.

So not having done CO2 before and an official planted tank (I'm hoping 2.8 wpg w/ co2 will do it); i'm not sure how to start this beast up.

Options:
1. fill the tank with water, filter, heater and start up co2 to determine flow rate and ph shifts. Our water is neutral ph 7 and very soft (alkalinity of 20 mg/L CaCO3 or so). I am expecting that the pH will shift dramatically and am worried about controlling this swing. I don't have a bubble counter for the CO2 but a good needle valve from rex and a glass diffuser and ph checker for in the tank. With this option I would hope to keep my fish from the stress of crazy pH swings and that I can sort it out in a couple of days. I won't really know what's going to happen untill I turn it on.... Any suggestions here??? The reg also comes with a solenoid so I can plug the solenoid into a timer and see what kind of pH swing I get if the co2 is off at night.

2. Second option would be to load her up, move all the plants and fish and filters, turn on the lights and let things settle down for a week or two before adding the co2 and then just start low and go from there.

3. ?? Not sure if there are any other options.

I would like to keep the co2 running 24/7 so plan on putting a pump on timer as well to aerate the tank at night.

I'm really nervous about starting this tank as It's the first planned planted tank ever and I don't want any disasters.
Any help, advice or don't do's would be greatly appreciated. I will post pictures of the progress once it's started.

Kara
 

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It makes it much harder to adjust your CO2 level without a bubble counter. Your drop checker takes time for the two solutions to equalize so you could be blasting the tank with CO2 and it would be awhile before you'd know it. (I guess one way you'd know it is all your fish would be at the surface but you do NOT want to do that.) One thought is putting the end of the tubing in the water and adjust your needle valve that way (maybe starting off at 1 bps), then you can connect it up.

HTH
 

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pH changes caused by CO2 do not harm fish.

Most likely your glass diffuser will also function as a bubble counter.

Running a air pump at night while running CO2 is counter productive. You will either have no real effect or will drive out the CO2 thus raising the pH. But once again, pH changes caused by the addition or removal of CO2 have no effect on fish.
 

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Just get a bubble counter with some of the clippard check valves so you can see the gas. But rex is right, maybe your diffuser can be your bubble counter - for now. But if you ever decide you are tired of cleaning out the diffuser of algae, and many do, then you will want a bubble counter to go with a reactor. I personally think reactors are the easiest/no maintenance way to put gas in the water column.

BTW, it sounds like you have planned well and are off to a great start. Good luck! :proud:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So any more specific advice, do's don't's for this set up? I'm leaning towards loading her up and slowly tweaking with the co2 in a week or so.

Kara
 

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Thanks Rex - if I am reading correctly, the pH drop resulting from CO2 is not a problem becase it was NOT the result of a change in kH and TDS... is this correct?

If so, it would seem to me that pH by itself must not be a very reliable indicator without also knowing something about the factors contributing to any given pH level.

Also - I did not want to hijack this thread for this particular discussion, so I trust it is interpreted as a point of clarification with regard ti pittiepride's original question.
 

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If you haven't used CO2 in the past and don't have a bubblecounter you may want to wait until you get the CO2 levels correct before adding fish. You don't want to gas your poor fish and it may take you several days to figure out the correct setting (especially if you are not home all day to watch the fish). If you won't be going anywhere for the first few days you should be fine adding the fish as long as you keep an eye on it.
 

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It makes it much harder to adjust your CO2 level without a bubble counter. Your drop checker takes time for the two solutions to equalize so you could be blasting the tank with CO2 and it would be awhile before you'd know it. (I guess one way you'd know it is all your fish would be at the surface but you do NOT want to do that.)
KATHY, this is exactly the opposite of what we told you to do this weekend at this sfbaaps meet in order to figure out how much co2 to put in the tank. what other way have you figured out to determine if the water has adequate co2 in the tank? drop checkers are ok, but aren't as effective monitoring the fish. when the fish gasp, turn down the co2. bubble counters are useless when you use fish as the canaries in the coal mine.

pittiepride, new non ada-tank setup? here is how i would go....
1.no fish.
2.fill tank with water from an established tank on first fill to get some bacteria and ammonia in there..
3.use an established filter.
4.do as many wc's as you can till your ammnonia is down to 0 for the first few weeks, maybe even charcoal in the filter during this time.
5.blast co2 till the plants start growing, lights on 6hrs per day minimum, increse light as plants start growing.
6.when plants are obviously growing, now its time to add fish. start slow, maybe only one at first. adjust co2 so you see no fish gasping for a week while still seeing good plant growth... then add more fish.
 

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Hi, I'm a new member on this forum and I'm pretty new to aquariums in general. I had an idea that probably won't work, but I'm wondering if anyone has ever tried it. Is it possible to "cycle" a tank without the tank? I don't have room in my current apartment for the 55 gallon tank that I have wrapped up in storage, but I will have room when I move to my new apartment in August. However, with classes starting in September, I'd like to have the tank up and running sooner rather than later so it won't be tempted to constantly check the tank and get distracted. I am planning to plant the tank, but I've never done it before, and despite doing a ton of research, I'm sure I'm going to run into problems. Anyway, my question is, is it possible to to "cycle" a tank artificially by placing gravel in buckets with water and an ammonia source (i.e. fish food) and use it later? Can this idea be used with sand? Does substrates like ecocomplete and flourite need to be cycled to build up bacteria colonies? And can you build a colony in a filter by cycling a filter in a garbage bin (i.e. filling a clean garbage bin with water and adding an ammonia source such as fishfood, and running the filter)? I realize this is a huge hassle, but I would be willing to move buckets and buckets of cycled water and substrate to set up a tank faster.
 

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Hi, I'm a new member on this forum and I'm pretty new to aquariums in general. I had an idea that probably won't work, but I'm wondering if anyone has ever tried it. Is it possible to "cycle" a tank without the tank? I don't have room in my current apartment for the 55 gallon tank that I have wrapped up in storage, but I will have room when I move to my new apartment in August. However, with classes starting in September, I'd like to have the tank up and running sooner rather than later so it won't be tempted to constantly check the tank and get distracted. I am planning to plant the tank, but I've never done it before, and despite doing a ton of research, I'm sure I'm going to run into problems. Anyway, my question is, is it possible to to "cycle" a tank artificially by placing gravel in buckets with water and an ammonia source (i.e. fish food) and use it later? Can this idea be used with sand? Does substrates like ecocomplete and flourite need to be cycled to build up bacteria colonies? And can you build a colony in a filter by cycling a filter in a garbage bin (i.e. filling a clean garbage bin with water and adding an ammonia source such as fishfood, and running the filter)? I realize this is a huge hassle, but I would be willing to move buckets and buckets of cycled water and substrate to set up a tank faster.
why not? if it seems that much easier to you, and you are sure that the water you will be filtering has adequate ammonia in it to start the cycle it seems like it should work. but, also seems like a lot of work.

why not cycle the filter in a smaller setup initially?
 

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to be honest, my girlfriend would kill me if I got another tank. :icon_redf Otherwise, I would totally run the filter in another tank.

But would it work? Just putting gravel in a bucket with water and ammonia source? Obviously, I would have to be very careful transporting the gravel and water so as not to destroy the bacteria colony.
 

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KATHY, this is exactly the opposite of what we told you to do this weekend at this sfbaaps meet in order to figure out how much co2 to put in the tank. what other way have you figured out to determine if the water has adequate co2 in the tank? drop checkers are ok, but aren't as effective monitoring the fish. when the fish gasp, turn down the co2. bubble counters are useless when you use fish as the canaries in the coal mine.

Excuse me Andrew, but I have been maintaining planted aquariums for 15 years. It was 10 years ago I bought my first CO2 set up. It doesn’t matter what SFBAAPS told me THEY do, it’s not what I have learned to do. It is also, I believe, contrary to what most people who run CO2 on their tanks, do.

You told me to set the CO2 level on my 20 gallon aquarium by cranking it way up and watching for the fish all coming to the surface and then at that point, turn it down a little. You said that everyone in the club sets their CO2 this way and that you lose a lot of fish in the beginning but after awhile, once you have it down, you stop losing fish. You said everyone at SFBAAPS maintains very high CO2 values and that this is the secret to vibrant growth and combatting algae.

I found that absolutely appalling. SFBAAPS may ascribe to that method but I DO NOT. Not only is it wantonly cruel, but it is to achieve a state that is freaky and unnatural. It’s not what I had in mind when I got into planted aquariums. I guess it depends on what your objectives are. I say, a little algae is not always a bad thing. Your system as a whole is unhealthy and I say that coming from a biologist’s training.

There was a prior post from someone on the forum who heard about your method and was trying to apply it, one of the respondents likened it to determining “the correct bath temperature for baby, keep turning up the hot water till the babies skin turns red and starts to peel off. You will know at this point the water is too hot.”
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/equipment/47300-properly-adjusting-co2.html?highlight=gasping
 

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Excuse me Andrew, but I have been maintaining planted aquariums for 15 years. It was 10 years ago I bought my first CO2 set up. It doesn’t matter what SFBAAPS told me THEY do, it’s not what I have learned to do. It is also, I believe, contrary to what most people who run CO2 on their tanks, do.

You told me to set the CO2 level on my 20 gallon aquarium by cranking it way up and watching for the fish all coming to the surface and then at that point, turn it down a little. You said that everyone in the club sets their CO2 this way and that you lose a lot of fish in the beginning but after awhile, once you have it down, you stop losing fish. You said everyone at SFBAAPS maintains very high CO2 values and that this is the secret to vibrant growth and combatting algae.

I found that absolutely appalling. SFBAAPS may ascribe to that method but I DO NOT. Not only is it wantonly cruel, but it is to achieve a state that is freaky and unnatural. It’s not what I had in mind when I got into planted aquariums. I guess it depends on what your objectives are. I say, a little algae is not always a bad thing. Your system as a whole is unhealthy and I say that coming from a biologist’s training.

There was a prior post from someone on the forum who heard about your method and was trying to apply it, one of the respondents likened it to determining “the correct bath temperature for baby, keep turning up the hot water till the babies skin turns red and starts to peel off. You will know at this point the water is too hot.”
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/equipment/47300-properly-adjusting-co2.html?highlight=gasping

kathy, you told me you had just gone pressurized, so i was remembering when i had first setup the tank, i was afraid to let the co2 get up too high cause i was afraid i was going to be putting in too much co2, and as a result i was low on co2 for a long time.

i still maintain that unless you use the method described to you, you are only guessing how much more co2 you can put into a tank. sorry!

but since you seem to know how to figure out how much co2 to put in, how do you do it? is there a rule you are following? what technique are you utilizing? just using a drop checker set to KH of 6.5 just doesn't tell you the whole story.. but with 15 years of auarium keeping, im probably just regurgitating info you are already aware of.

lastly, the only thing you said was to not use fish gasping as a monitor.... you mentioned no actual method.. so please elaborate here....
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Do you think with a well established filter and a large bioload of plants that I am still apt to see an ammonia spike and cycling of the tank?

Fishscale: I would think that your idea may work a little but microbiology is complex and without mimicking an aquarium I doubt that your efforts are going to be rewarded. Your buckets would need gravel, filter, oxygen, and ammonia and water changes to be effective to my understanding. You can talk to your lfs and see if you can find some seasoned filter media or even gravel. Often they will have display tanks that are healthy and maintained that you can get media from.

Thanks. Keep the ideas coming.

So far I am leaning towards setting up and planting and minimal lights, full spectrum for less time, and a few of my dither fish (danios) to the tank. Let itself establish (maybe 2 weeks or 3) and then add CO2 slowly turning up the volume as well as liquid ferts. I will dose macros from the beginning 2-3x per week and micros at water changes

kara
 

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kathy, you told me you had just gone pressurized, so i was remembering when i had first setup the tank, i was afraid to let the co2 get up too high cause i was afraid i was going to be putting in too much co2, and as a result i was low on co2 for a long time.

i still maintain that unless you use the method described to you, you are only guessing how much more co2 you can put into a tank. sorry!

but since you seem to know how to figure out how much co2 to put in, how do you do it? is there a rule you are following? what technique are you utilizing? just using a drop checker set to KH of 6.5 just doesn't tell you the whole story.. but with 15 years of auarium keeping, im probably just regurgitating info you are already aware of.

lastly, the only thing you said was to not use fish gasping as a monitor.... you mentioned no actual method.. so please elaborate here....

For the record, I didn't say i had just gone pressurized. I said I just converted my 20 gallon over to CO2. I guess you assumed I was a newbie. My 56 gallon has been pressurized for some time and my 29 is low tech.

The rule I follow is to aim for 30 ppm but to tinker with it. I use a drop checker. Before that I used the CO2 charts. I play with it, though, until my plants are looking vibrant and healthy. I watch the algae. I NEVER come near to bringing my fish to the surface.

Granted, having injected CO2 is unnatural in of itself but having an aquarium maintained just below the level to where the fish can stand it is a whole different ballgame.
 

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The rule I follow is to aim for 30 ppm but to tinker with it. I use a drop checker. Before that I used the CO2 charts. I play with it, though, until my plants are looking vibrant and healthy. I watch the algae. I NEVER come near to bringing my fish to the surface.
well, i think the point here is that you have enough experience to not need to be told how to do it. your recommendations would be almost useless for someone just getting into things. yes, i thought you said you just got into pressurized co2..

if the only thing you as an aquariust can recommend to someone on how to do something boils down to to your own ability to make critical observations based on personal experiences, developed over the duration of the time you have been in the hobby, then IMO the advice you are giving is only understandable to others who are at a similar experience level. its not helpful to beginners at all.

it might be true, and it might be useful to you, or someone else with your same experiece level.. but for someone new to the hobby, im not sure add co2 till your plants look OK there is no algae present, and the fish don't gasp is gonna cut it.
 
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