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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
greetings,

3 days ago, i had setup a planted tank for the first time after hours of research.
Coming from a mechanical background, my knowledge about planted tanks are close to zero.
Before I proceed, here are my specs;

Lighting
-Aquazonic T5 60cm-24w, 12000K x2(independent switch)

Substrate
-Mineralized top soil(sprinkled crushed shells at the base) capped with black grain size gravel.

CO2
-pressurized system with ceramic diffuser
-Sera co2 tester w drop checker

Ferts
-Nutrafin Plant Gro

Flora
-4 guppies, 1 otto, 4 snails

Fauna
-Riccia, Java moss, Java fern, Rotala (red),*others(dont know their names) please see pic;

Filtration
-submersible powerhead with filter on top of the tank

Tank size
-2ft x 1ft x 1ft (15 gallons?)

Given the specs above,
i would like to seek your advice to fine tune my setup to behave more like a low tech planted tank but with a pressurized co2 system.
Infrequent dosing if possible avoiding it. i dont mind doing watter change and would gladly do some pruning.is it possible to
have this kind of setup?
1)tweak co2 ppm for low tech setup? =X
2)lower lighting? (since my two lights have individual switches)
3)..?

im sorry that i did not include my water parameters as i had not purchased any water test kit yet.its quite pricey and I also learned a lesson to always purchase water test kit first before setting up.

Any suggestions or advices are highly appreciated. thanks in advance and have a nice day.

regards

sorry for the low quality picture.
 

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You have at least 4 times as much light as you can easily handle for even a high light tank. You would need to raise that light about 30 inches above the top of the tank to get down to low light. Until you do something about the light you won't be able to do a low-tech tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Firstly, thanks for viewing and replying.

I think you have a really nice looking tank. But what's the thing on the bottom showing the red?
Thanks DishyFishy. the Red thing showing at the bottom is my soon to be riccia carpet.

You have at least 4 times as much light as you can easily handle for even a high light tank. You would need to raise that light about 30 inches above the top of the tank to get down to low light. Until you do something about the light you won't be able to do a low-tech tank.
Hi hoppy, 30 inches would be hanging high in the air. Now i know that i have high lighting. Is there any other alternatives like for example switching only one of the two lights and raise the lights about 15inches? speaking of that, what is usually the light requirement for a low tech tank but would support the plants i have in my tank

thanks and have a nice day

regards
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
after somemore intensive research, i found a lighting chart from Hoppy(you truly are a master planter)

...With reference to Hoppy's Lighting Chart, i assume that low tech tanks falls under low lighting. Since my lighting is T5(i assume its T5NO?) & my tank height is 12 inches, would be safe to place it 4 inches above the top to create a low lighting so that it behaves more like a low tech tank? Besides that, what type of lighting specs do you recommend to be a low tech tank but also support the plants that i currently have in my tank. I have read the sticky topic on low light plants and i would say the plants that i know their names are in good coverage. a have few other species that i dont know their names especially the red one on the far left corner near the powerhead.

thanks

Reference
Hoppy's Lighting Chart,
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/lighting/105774-par-vs-distance-t5-t12-pc.html
 

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The way to tell T5HO from T5NO is to look at the wattage. A 24" T5HO bulb is 24 watts, and a NO bulb is 14 watts. You obviously have T5HO. Your reflector isn't the best, but it is still good enough to make that light much too bright for a low light 12 inch high tank. It might work raised 12 inches above the top of the tank, with only one bulb turned on. You can put a layer of fiberglass window screen over the light to filter it some, reducing the light by 40%. Then it should give you low light at only 8-10 inches above the top of the tank.

A 12 inch high tank really works best with a single bulb T8 light if you want a low light, non-CO2 tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
thank you very much for the reply Hoppy... Really appreciate your assistance. Based on my limited knowledge about planted tanks, i have all the equipments to create a high tech planted tank; pressurized Co2 system, T5HO lightings. The only thing that is stopping me from aiming towards that is "dosing" which brings me goosebumps. daily/frequent dosing of Macro & Micro-nutrients sure sounds a lot of money,time,effort not to mention **"knowledge"**.

Back to the topic, i ll try to get a single tube T8(assuming the watts are the same for T8 standard) tomorrow. So that also means that i have to unplug my co2 rite? what about aeration? do i need to aerate my tank?

My maintainence strategy,
-top off water only
-dose Nutrafin plant gro only if the plants shows deficiencies(Micro-nutrients).
-8-10hrs photoperiod


advice & suggestions are highly appreciated.
thank you very much and have a nice day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You could also throw in a ton of floaters to diminish the lighting some. Frogbit, salvinia, red root floater, ect. Just don't get duckweed.
Hi BradH, firstly, thanks for replying.assuming that i wanted use single tube T8 lighting, would you recommend floaters? or just throw in those floaters for a single tube T5HO lighting?

On a side note, after unplugging my co2 and switching on only one of the two T5HO, my plants arent pearling heavily as it used to.i guess this is normal for a low tech tank?

here are the plants that i already have in my tank which will soon have a T8 lighting low tech setup
1)unknown species(Not sure the name of this species)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
2)Java fern (pass the list)
3)Java Moss (Pass the list)
4)Riccia fuiltans (not mentioned in the list-looks like i have to take it of? =( but ill giv it a try
5)unknown (dont know the name of the species)
6)unknown (dont konw the name of the species)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

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Hi BradH, firstly, thanks for replying.assuming that i wanted use single tube T8 lighting, would you recommend floaters? or just throw in those floaters for a single tube T5HO lighting?

On a side note, after unplugging my co2 and switching on only one of the two T5HO, my plants arent pearling heavily as it used to.i guess this is normal for a low tech tank?

here are the plants that i already have in my tank which will soon have a T8 lighting low tech setup
1)unknown species(Not sure the name of this species)
If your going to downgrade your lighting, then I would skip the floaters. I would keep the co2 going though. Your plants will like it, even in a low light setup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
If your going to downgrade your lighting, then I would skip the floaters. I would keep the co2 going though. Your plants will like it, even in a low light setup.
with T8 lighting coupled with a pressurized co2 system, do i have to dose the tank daily? what im trying to say is can we have a mid-tech tank? Most of the dosing regime's out there requires daily dosing. From what ive read, adding co2 system must come with a dosing regime. is that right?
 

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You don't have to dose daily but it isn't much trouble doing so anyway. Just dose when you feed the fish. I pack up a pill minder with dry ferts when I am waiting for the water to drain during water changes and just dump one section daily. If I miss a day no big deal as the estimative index method is over fertilizing anyway. Either dosing daily or once a week works best so you don't forget too often. My little tank got dosed once a week with a very scientific measure of a pinch of this, a pinch of that, it had medium light and I used Excel according to directions. Tank was spotless and plants grew very nicely. My big tank gets dosed daily when I feed the fish.

Dry ferts dosing is simple and not expensive. Get a complete set, scrounge up a set of measuring spoons and a pill minder. Start out with the dosing from this thread. http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/fertilizers-water-parameters/21944-_dosing-regimes_.html I wonder if people are put off by the alternating of micros and phosphate? That is only because the phosphate will bind the iron in the micro and take it out of solution. I open every other compartment of the pill minder and fill with nitrate and phosphate, close those and open the empty ones and fill those with micros.

If you decide to go with a T8 then you may only need the bottle from the LFS that contains potassium and micros and only need to dose it according to directions. Even with CO2.
 

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with T8 lighting coupled with a pressurized co2 system, do i have to dose the tank daily? what im trying to say is can we have a mid-tech tank? Most of the dosing regime's out there requires daily dosing. From what ive read, adding co2 system must come with a dosing regime. is that right?
You'll have to experiment to find out, but I would try using root tabs, which will probably needed to be added every 3 to 4 months. Then dose some ferts in the water maybe twice a month. I would basically take the "non co2 method" and modify it a little bit to account for the fact that you do have co2.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I would like to thank all of for supporting me in this hobby.Its more complicated than what i had anticipated. Given the info's, what i am planning to do is go with a low tech setup first and gradually move to a higher setup to see the effects of adding stuff. Kathyy, you had surely enlighten me on dosing.

the changes that i am planning to the is unplug the co2 and change to a single tube T8. i had already added root tabs by spreading it evenly in my MTS substrate. i am not planning to dose any micros or macros at the moment(although i had bought them already). Maintenance wise, I would only top off water and thats about it. I will gradually add fertz,co2 basically moving to a higher setup one at a time to see the effects in the upcoming months.

BradH, I was thinking about floaters and i have to admit your idea is a great one. before i start tearing up one of my lights to be fitted with a T8, do you think adding floaters and raising the lights as suggested by Hoppy would curb my high lighting issue?

I really appreciate your replies and thank you very much. tell me what do you think about it if you have the time.

p/s:my riccia carpet is growing quite fast.

Have a nice day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
As I was looking at Hoppy's chart & Bradh's suggestion of adding floaters to reduce the light intensity, an idea cameup.

According to Hoppy's chart: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/lighting/105774-par-vs-distance-t5-t12-pc.html

i would need to raise 12 inches (above the water surface i guess) to achieve low lighting condition. what if i raise it lets say 6 inches and add floaters enough to cover the surface with the ones capable of producing flowers( i saw one at a plant nursury but excuse my noobness in naming the plant). it is definitely more aesthetic compared to switching to t8 lightings. What are your thoughts?
 

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If it were me and I already had all of the equipment and stuff that you have I would use it. If you raise the light and put a bunch of floating plants in there, then it will definitely cut back all of the light that is going into your tank. It would be easier and cheaper then have to build a new light and then you wouldn't be wasting money that you spent on all that fancy co2 equipment. Plus, if you take way the co2 I think a lot of the plants that you have in there are going to die.

Basically I'm saying if it were me I would use what you got. Raise the light up some and add a lot of floating plants to help with light issues as well. That's just my opinion though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Also, to clarify. I don't mean you can't have plants without co2. I just mean that riccia and some of the other plants you have usually don't last without it.
you have a good point BradH. My Monthly budget is shaken badly because of the Co2 setup. I just cant afford to waste more on specific stuff like this.

As for my setup, i think i'll plug in my Co2 (Since i plug off my co2 earlier, i notice that my plants didnt pearl as much, in fact i can hardly see any of them pearl maybe the java fern). Raise the lights about 6 inches and cover the water surface with floaters to reduce the light intensity even more. (floaters are dirt cheap at plant nurseries).

As for dosing, i would follow your recommendation. i 'll also read thoroughly again the link to Barr report.

basically, i have a low tech tank with co2 now. My light will be the limiting agent now rite? My limited knowledge tells me that the plant nutrient intake will also be reduced possible means lower dosing frequency. lets see how it goes.

thanks BradH for the advice. Greatly appreciate it

p/s: thanks for the link too it has tonnes of information.

EDIT: the barr report link u sent me suggest that i have to maintain specific ppm of co2. does this apply when the lights go out too?
 
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