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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Happy Father's Day to me! Just got a 9 gallon fluval flex set up today. Ultimately I'd like to grow small chain swords, crypts and a few hygros. My wife would like a small colorful livebearer so maybe endlers in this tank. That's a few weeks off while we cycle.



The placement. The built in shelf is OSB under the wallboard with a 2x4 running back to front. Should be plenty for a 9 gallon tank.



The rocks. Had these from my crop of rocks for the 120gallon. These were more red and the 120 will have a heavy gray leaning in the hardscape so it worked out great.



Thing number one, helping me check out the new toy. The first gen had large overflow holes, big enough for most nano fish to swim back and forth through. The newest versions include this semi circle guard which reduces the size of the holes but I'm sure fry are still going to be able to go back and forth at will. I'll have to DIY a solution with some foam down the road.





The hardscape as I plan on keeping it for now.





The first crop of plants I bought... not the species I want long term but they were available and I can grow them out a bit to seed the next tank as well. Some bacopa, dwarf and Pygmy chain sword, a hygro and some ludwigia. Not sure on exact IDs, the crypts I want will be more specific but were unavailable today.



Sloppy planting. I miss my tweezers from forever ago. Ordering a new set asap.



As it sits now. Playing with the lights, adding a red or a pink to the white is probably the plan, since I've read the red spectrum is important. The cloud and thunderstorm settings seem pretty useless IMO, can't figure out why I would want flashy lights in my tank.

No heater etc yet, going to see where this levels out for the next week or two. Soil is ADA ammazonia light.


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Do those semi-circular guards come off? My Flex didn't come with them, I filled the back area with sponge to keep the Chile rasboras put of there

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*out of there. The pump's flow rate is too high on my Flex plus it isn't adjustable like it was on the Spec models. Did Fluval add an adjustable lever on your model's pump. Looks like your tank is the second generation of the model I have.

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Do those semi-circular guards come off? My Flex didn't come with them, I filled the back area with sponge to keep the Chile rasboras put of there

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Yes, they're a snap on accessory, I may still have to do the sponge trick, I've seen it on YouTube and it's pretty straightforward.



Closer view of my feature rock.


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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Tank is going to look great. Is that Quartzite rock?

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I got it from the rip rap pile at my local rock and sand dealer. It looks like a mix of granite and quartz. The rest of what I got for the 120 looks more basalt-like. I'm hoping the red streaks don't overdose the tank on iron. I'm not a geologist so who knows if my assumptions are good. Didn't do the acid test, will wait to see if algae covers this thing.


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That's the same thing I did for hardscaping my tank, rock yards are a great resource. I was also very worried about any leeching from the rock but they've turned out to be just fine.

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Looks like a good start!! Do you have anymore rocks? A traditional iwagumi should have an odd number, if that is what you are going for.

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Looks like a good start!! Do you have anymore rocks? A traditional iwagumi should have an odd number, if that is what you are going for.

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I've got more rocks, I may add one down the road. As far as style, I'm just going for what looks good to me. I like wilder more overgrown tanks so this has a looong way to go. Dosing excel, trying to figure this whole planted tank thing out again.


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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Got some plants in from Reddit aquaswap today. Too many for this tank but I have a coworker who is starting a flex as well that I'll be spreading the wealth to.

I was worried when I saw the package on my doorstep, found out via tracking info that it was delivered an hour prior in our breezy cool Arizona summer. No knock from the mailman, I was sitting in the next room the whole time!



Had some styrofoam, nothing else. Plants were pretty warm but not melted.



I had ordered a few crypts and anubias, got a bunch of bonus stems and some java moss as well. I'll likely pass on most of my stems and moss next week.



The messy, cluttered tank as is. I have a line on some blueberry shrimp and possibly endlers next week when I'm hoping to be cycled. My test kit hasn't come yet so I don't even know where I am in the process yet.


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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Just a quick update to a specific plant I love in here... growth update for hygrophila pinnatifida.



Day one, folded up with two small leaf buds on top.



Day five, opened up and the buds are noticeably larger.



Day six



Day eight, the former buds are now basically full leaves and there are two new buds sprouting.

The tank is using the stock lighting, soil is Ada Amazonia light and dosing is excel once per day... I know it's not a super high light plant but I love this species and I've very happy it grows well here! When it's a little taller I'll start trimming and planting to increase the growth.




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Discussion Starter · #14 ·


First tank I've tried to cycle in a loooong time. I will need to do the standard ph test since the high range doesn't apply (thanks aquasoil). My ammonia looks to be a spot on match for 0.25, my nitrite looks like zero and my nitrate looks to be 10-20.

I have two theories. My tank is cycled and the aquasoil is still leeching ammonia OR my tank is not nearly cycled and my treated tap water just came with nitrates.

Anyone have some input? If option one is true, how long does Amazonia light continue to dump ammonia?


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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ammonia is up to 0.5ppm, nitrates and nitrites are the same. I really wanted to put fish in today but I'm just not sure about my cycle being complete. I have a GH/KH test and the associated seachem boosters in case the Amazonia ate all my GH and is preventing the BB from growing.



Gave away some plants today and tidied up a bit. I have some translucent looking algae or bacterial something growing on many of the plants. Comes off very easily. Also some stringy hair algae on a few plants.


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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Got my API GH/KH test kit today. I'm just as confused, this measurement means nothing to me yet.

KH took one drop to be yellow, GH took five or six, I don't remember which. Instructions say there's a conversion chart to translate that but it isn't helping me understand... I guess I have some reading to do. I also have seachem equilibrium but that bottle says it only addresses GH (which appears to be fine?). The KH appears to need an alkalinity buffer, which may be my bacteria problem.

I also ordered seachem stability but I think I'm supposed to have fish to make that work.


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Got my API GH/KH test kit today. I'm just as confused, this measurement means nothing to me yet.

KH took one drop to be yellow, GH took five or six, I don't remember which. Instructions say there's a conversion chart to translate that but it isn't helping me understand... I guess I have some reading to do. I also have seachem equilibrium but that bottle says it only addresses GH (which appears to be fine?). The KH appears to need an alkalinity buffer, which may be my bacteria problem.

I also ordered seachem stability but I think I'm supposed to have fish to make that work.


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Don't need to translate anything. 1 drop = 1dGH for GH and 1 drop = 1dKH for KH. If it took just one drop for kh to then yellow instead of doing 5ml test do a 20ml test. So 4 drops would equal 1dKH. This way you can tell if you are .25, .50, .75, or 1. This is what I do and how I know my tap is 3.5kh.

I'm guessing you have a buffering substrate if your kh may be 0? Would make sense. In that case no need to test kh.

Wanted to add I read you have Amazonia and makes sense so it's purpose is to buffer your ph and it will make your kh 0. This is why it took one drop to be yellow. It's doing its job. Question I have is what is the kh of the water you are adding to the tank? Reason I ask is the higher the kh of the water you add the more work and faster the buffering capability will get depleted.


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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Alright, just finished testing tap vs tank.

TAP:
KH 7
GH 7
PH 7.8
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 5ppm

TANK:
KH 1 (possibly lower)
GH 5
PH 6.6
Ammonia 0.5ppm
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 15ppm

Makes me wonder if I should return the Amazonia in favor of Eco Complete for the 120 I'm building. I've never had to dose anything for GH/KH in the past and I've never used a buffering substrate before. I'm reading that PH is easily moved with a low KH, which seems dangerous for the fish and shrimp... and if my substrate is going to keep eating the KH, what do I do?
 

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Alright, just finished testing tap vs tank.



TAP:

KH 7

GH 7

PH 7.8

Ammonia 0

Nitrite 0

Nitrate 5ppm



TANK:

KH 1 (possibly lower)

GH 5

PH 6.6

Ammonia 0.5ppm

Nitrite 0

Nitrate 15ppm



Makes me wonder if I should return the Amazonia in favor of Eco Complete for the 120 I'm building. I've never had to dose anything for GH/KH in the past and I've never used a buffering substrate before. I'm reading that PH is easily moved with a low KH, which seems dangerous for the fish and shrimp... and if my substrate is going to keep eating the KH, what do I do?


That is the purpose of the Amazonia is to eat the kh and in turn keeps the ph stable. But with that high kh you have everytime you do a water change and add more kh it's going to again have to eat the kh down to 0. Having to get the kh down to 0 from that high is going to burn the buffering capability very fast. It's mostly meant for builds that you use RO water and remineralize the gh not adding any kh. This way with 0 kh it prevents ph swings which could normally happen with 0 kh. So it's highly recommended with that substrate to use RO and use gh booster and not add any kh to get the gh where you want and in turn the buffering capability will remain for a very long time. Otherwise not long at all at the rate it's going.


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