Okay, since I’ve moved to my new apartment, I've been fiddling around with this newly set up tank for about two month now to get everything balanced and just right. It's been a learning lesson and I've been making slow progress. Made a lot of mistakes along the way but this forum helped me out a lot and give me a sense of direction. At first, I was too ambitious, I wanted everything to grow super fast and brought the best light I can afford which was the 48” Aqua light pro with 2x 150watt metal halide and 2x 96watt power PC. Later, I realize I had way too much light and instead of getting the growth I wanted, I had the opposite. I was humbled. Now, I’ve switched to something more modest, a 260 watt power compact.
My goal for this tank is to keep it fairly low maintenance. As you see from the picture above, I’ve built compartments to keep each specimen separate. In the rear I have three compartments (middle - Amazon Sword, Right – Crypt Spirilis, Left – Crypt Balanese). In the middle, I have four compartments, filled with four different crypt varieties. For the front, I want a nice grassy lawn of E. Teneullus.
My nute dosing have evolved a lot in the short two months all in the name of controlling algae. I’ve tried PMDD, EI, and EI hybrid. At the same time I’ve learned a lot about lighting and CO2. Lighting is like the gas pedal and the faster you go the faster you crash – I’ve learned that the hard way.
CO2 is so hard to get it right. When you think you have enough - you probably don’t. So here are my tank parameter and routine. Please critique and let me know if I can make it even better. As you see, my biomass is low, so please take that into consideration.
110 gallon tank – 30” tall and 48” wide
265 watt Power Compact – 2x 6500K and 2x 5000K (current photoperiod is 8-10 hours)
Substrate is complete Flourish
Heavy root fert for all crpt and amazons – using Flourish tab and Jobe’s stick for Fern
Co2 is injected via Aquamedic 1000 reactor, maintain above 30ppm.
2 Eheim Pro Canister filter with about 6 turnover per hour – spray bar is pointed downward
50% water change weekly. Use 10ml of Seachem Prime at water change
Tap water has less than 1 degrees of both KH and GH – TDS is around 40 and Phosphate is around 2ppm
Raise GH by using 1 tablespoon of Seachem Equilibrium per 50 gallon
Add 5ml of Flourish and 5ml of Flourish Iron every day.
Maintain NPK level stable at 10:1:20 (add a bit of NO3 every day, very low compared to EI because my tank only take up 1-2ppm of Nitrate per week)
Result, E. Tenullus is grow nice but slow. New leaf are reddish color. Crypt are growing very slow. One new leaf on the Crypt Balanese every week or so.
Leaves on the Amazon sword are very curly. I'm think i still need more water circulation - just brought an 800 GPH wavemaker/powerhead.
What I really want to know from you guys is if I'm within the general ballpark or if there are things that I should be doing differently? For example, should I increase my nitrate from 10ppm to 20ppm? Should I handle my photoperild a little differently, like running 130 watt for 5 hours then full 260 watt for the remaining 5 hours? Should I increase decrease my iron and micro dosing? You get the idea.
One last note, my R. Macandra is growing pale green instead of nice red. In the past, I dose very low Iron+micro and that could be the reason why. Now, I'm doing 5ml of both Flourish and Flourish Iron, so maybe in a week I'll see some more red. BTW, the carpet of E. Tenellus that you see in the front all started with one plant! I still got long ways to go before everything start fill-in nicely.
Yes, I have a drop checker with 4dKH. It's a nice lime green color. In the past, I've even used 100% RO/DI water and added Calcium Carbonate to get my KH to 2 degrees so that I can realiably use the KH/PH table to determine my true Co2 level.