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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So here is my tank, and my parameters are as follows:

I have a 150 gal that has been running for approximately 3 months that I do a 50% water change with gravel vac once a week, religiously.



Stock:
20 +/- harlequin rasboras, 4 otocinclus cats, 2 clown plecos, 4 black stripe minnows.

Lighting:
3 cool white Bridgelux Vero 18's and 3 warm white Bridgelux Vero 18's that I run 7 hours with a 30 min sunrise / 30 min sunset on a Typhon controller at 100%.
Not sure about PAR readings but its plenty strong (every plant pearls).
This light has only been operating for 3 days.

Substrate:
Medium grit black diamond blasting sand. Inert.

Nitrate: 7
Ammonia/Nitrate: 0
KH: 11
GH: 17
pH: 7.8 (before pressurized co2)

For ferts, I have API root tabs and GLA PPS-PRO / Plantex-CSM+B and have been dosing by following a pps pro calculator. I think I need to alter the solutions some what, but not sure what other test kits I should invest in or at what levels I need.
Noticed what I believed to be micro toxicity from holes in some plant's leaves as well as curly leaves. I do not think I should have been dosing micros with the tabs, and have stopped dosing micros which seems to be correcting that problem.
I have some (Hair, staghorn, and cladophora) algae, but not too much. Been spot treating with h202 right before water changes. Nothing in my tank has been consistent, and I blame that (still dialing in co2 with new lights).
Also, with my GH/KH, is my plant selection limited at all? I found some Pantanal for cheap and decided to give it a go. It's melting a lot, tips melted off along with leaves, but are trying to re grow. I would like to purchase some other "hard to grow species" once I have everything dialed in if my water parameters will allow it. I currently do not want to invest in a RO system and have too many tanks to even think about purchasing water.

Pantanal is to the right of the scarlet temple.


cladophora algae


Staghorn algae


Hair algae



Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Tank you
 

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Concentrate on keeping things consistent.

Consider reducing the intensity of the new light, and gradually increase the intensity over time.

The roots coming out of the stem plant in the water column is clear N deficiency. Try increasing N by 20% by adding a little more KNO3 powder to your solution bottle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
What should I reduce the intensity to? without a par meter, how can I know whether I have ample intensity? should I use pearling as a intensity measuring tool rather than waiting weeks to see if the plants are stretching?
I will mix up a small batch of macros with an increase in N. In order to verify that I have the correct ppm's of N, should I be testing the water after the initial dose and after the lights go off?

Bump: reduced the lights intensity to 60% and ill sit on this until I see change?
 

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The roots coming out of the stem plant in the water column is clear N deficiency.
I don't think this is correct. As far as I know, or have seen, stem plants all grow aerial roots. Some species grow more obvious aerial roots. Some grow bigger aerial roots, but all of them seem to grow them. Has anyone seen a test demonstrating that any concentration of nutrients affects those roots?
 

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Hi
If I understand, you have changed from low light to stronger light only three days ago. Your plants will react to this change and it will not look pretty during this adaptation time. Can you please use this Light Calculator and post your PAR value?

Your 11 degree of KH is not ideal for some plants but it is worth trying. Changing so much RO would be no fun.

What I would recommend is to get a cheap Conductivity Tester that reads from 0 to 2000 µS or similar and start keeping your water parameters consistent with proper water changes. Here is the description on how, look for How do I start PPS-Pro? section.
 

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What should I reduce the intensity to? without a par meter, how can I know whether I have ample intensity? should I use pearling as a intensity measuring tool rather than waiting weeks to see if the plants are stretching?
Do plants grow at the speed I require. Yes = ample, no = possibly not.

The real issue is, can I drive plants to the speed of growth that I want, with the intensity I want, without other issues.


I will mix up a small batch of macros with an increase in N. In order to verify that I have the correct ppm's of N, should I be testing the water after the initial dose and after the lights go off?
You're really just looking for some consistent measurement over time. If the reading consistently goes up between measurements, then you're adding to much, and if the reading consistently goes down then you're adding to little.

In my opinion, to ensure good plant growth in a high light tank, NO3 test (abusing the crap out of the solution bottles, and shaking the bejeebs out of the test vial) should be dark orange, tinging on red.
 

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Remove all algae that you can see as much as possible and online you can find R/o units fairly cheap to put under your sink. i run a tube outside the sink window to a recycle trashcan and use a pump to fill my tank with it
these 2 things will make much desired improvment.you could do 20% tap and 80% R/o ideally.Vacuming to much and disturbing the substrate on weekly basis might make you water never actually settle down into the clarity you really would want id vacuum really good every 2 months or so
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
So I think I am going to set up an RO system. Turns out I already have everything I need but the system itself. Just going to buy a small 50 GPD system I think, and make my 75 gal water changes 80% R/O, 20% tap.

Mixed together new ferts with additional KNO3. Added before the lights came on, then used my API nitrate test kit, and the results tested at 0 nitrates.
Side note: I lost my test kit instruction pamphlet and looked for it online. I found out that there is a old and a new test kit. Mine, I believe, is the new one; I've had it for about 6 months. The nitrate test is a two part. The instructions online say to use 10 drops of each solution, but my bottles indicate to use 8 drops.


Should I just add more KNO3 or more macro solution?
 

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Hi
I would dose Solution #1 (macros) 2 ml per 10 gallon. This adds 2 ppm of NO3 a day which must be enough for 150 gallon aquarium. If you want to go faster you can go 3 ml per 10 gallon but then be ready for a water change. No harm either way.

If you are not sure about your NO3 test kit readings you can test water made of 5 drops of PPS-Pro #1 Solution in 1000 ml of water which is 10 ppm of NO3. This can verify your test kit.

If you surely have zero NO3 in your aquarium, then dose solution #1at 3 ml per 10 gallon once a day. You may have so much of algae that it is sucking all of your NO3 and nothing is left for plants. Also, try the light calculator to find PAR energy level.
 

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Getting a zero nitrate reading when you know you should have some nitrate is almost a certain sign that you are not doing the test correctly. The second test reagent bottle has to be very vigorously shaken for at least 30 seconds before adding the 10 drops to the test tube. Then the test tube has to be capped and shaken equally vigorously for at least a minute. When you don't do these shake steps you get a zero nitrate reading.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Remove all algae that you can see as much as possible and online you can find R/o units fairly cheap to put under your sink. i run a tube outside the sink window to a recycle trashcan and use a pump to fill my tank with it
these 2 things will make much desired improvment.you could do 20% tap and 80% R/o ideally.Vacuming to much and disturbing the substrate on weekly basis might make you water never actually settle down into the clarity you really would want id vacuum really good every 2 months or so
When I vacuum the substrate, I'm only skimming the surface. I'm not sticking it into the substrate on a weekly basis. I only do deep vacuuming before adding root tabs or doing a re scape. I've found that my small carpeting species tend to grow algae quicker if I allow debris to build up. My reasoning behind inert substrate and regular vacuuming is that I want to be able to control the amount of nutrients in my tanks water column via solution and root tabs. Mulm and other organics break down, cause spikes, and alter the total amount of nutrients. Plus it looks gross. :wink2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I did a W/C today and am going to test now that ferts are well mixed. I added 30 mL of pps-pro solution, which has an increase of 20% KNO3 in it. I followed the steps properly last time, vigorous shakings, even used a timer for each step, but I will try again.
And as for that PAR calculator, I don't think it will provide a valid reading. I think there are too many variables that the calculator does not take in to the equation for a DIY LED system such as the your driver size, or what percent you are running each channel on.
I think I just need to get everything balanced out now.

Here are some other questions I have been wondering about that maybe someone could answer for me; It's about co2. From what I understand, we strive to make our co2 levels consistent, from the moment the lights come on to the moment the lights turn off, right?
So I want the co2 to turn on with enough time in advance to saturate the aquarium with 30 ppm of co2, and then once the lights kick on, the bubble rate needs to be high enough to replace what the plants use, without adding additional co2, which would mean as the day goes on, co2 levels would still rise (drop checker would be lighter at hour 8 than it was at hour 3).
For this aquarium, I have a sera co2 reactor Rated up to 150 gal, so its small for this tank, hooked up to a timer/solenoid. If I turn the co2 too high up, I get a lot of spray in to the tank which I'm not really a fan of.
I believe that now I do have my light intensity/ co2 in sync, but my method does not seem like other people's.
First I determined how high of co2 pressure gave me more spray than I could tolerate, and then bumped it down. As the light cycle went on, drop checker got darker, so I turned down light intensity. As of now, I have it so that an hour after the lights fire up, the drop checker is yellowish green (fauna is fine, not stressed. My harlequin rasboras and blue finned killis are breeding everyday),and when the co2 turns off (an hour before the lights) the drop checker is the same color.
Here's the kicker. My co2 comes on 5 hours before my lights. That seems way sooner than everyone else who uses a solenoid. The readout delay for a drop checker is 1-2 hrs, right? How often does the solution need to be changed? I do use 4 dkh solution.
 

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Do plants grow at the speed I require. Yes = ample, no = possibly not.

The real issue is, can I drive plants to the speed of growth that I want, with the intensity I want, without other issues.
This is a great and extremely simple way to phrase how planted tanks work.

You're really just looking for some consistent measurement over time. If the reading consistently goes up between measurements, then you're adding to much, and if the reading consistently goes down then you're adding to little.

In my opinion, to ensure good plant growth in a high light tank, NO3 test (abusing the crap out of the solution bottles, and shaking the bejeebs out of the test vial) should be dark orange, tinging on red.
This is good advice. Darker orange IMO is the ideal API Nitrate test color. When it gets into red you probably have too much. You really have to shake the crap out of the nitrate bottles. I do this with all my API bottles anyways.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Do plants grow at the speed I require. Yes = ample, no = possibly not.

The real issue is, can I drive plants to the speed of growth that I want, with the intensity I want, without other issues.




You're really just looking for some consistent measurement over time. If the reading consistently goes up between measurements, then you're adding to much, and if the reading consistently goes down then you're adding to little.

In my opinion, to ensure good plant growth in a high light tank, NO3 test (abusing the crap out of the solution bottles, and shaking the bejeebs out of the test vial) should be dark orange, tinging on red.
After doing my new test, it is dark orange, tinging on red. I think I was adding my solutions backwards, and shaking the wrong solution vigorously. How embarrassing. I took multiple readings too!
 

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I did a W/C today and am going to test now that ferts are well mixed. I added 30 mL of pps-pro solution, which has an increase of 20% KNO3 in it. I followed the steps properly last time, vigorous shakings, even used a timer for each step, but I will try again.
Are you adding 20% more KNO3 in the Solution #1? If yes than you may have problems dissolving it and lose the whole composition. The solution is already at 80% solubility which needs hot RO or overnight to dissolve.

Here are some other questions I have been wondering about that maybe someone could answer for me; It's about co2. From what I understand, we strive to make our co2 levels consistent, from the moment the lights come on to the moment the lights turn off, right?
So I want the co2 to turn on with enough time in advance to saturate the aquarium with 30 ppm of co2, and then once the lights kick on, the bubble rate needs to be high enough to replace what the plants use, without adding additional co2, which would mean as the day goes on, co2 levels would still rise (drop checker would be lighter at hour 8 than it was at hour 3).
For this aquarium, I have a sera co2 reactor Rated up to 150 gal, so its small for this tank, hooked up to a timer/solenoid. If I turn the co2 too high up, I get a lot of spray in to the tank which I'm not really a fan of.
I believe that now I do have my light intensity/ co2 in sync, but my method does not seem like other people's.
First I determined how high of co2 pressure gave me more spray than I could tolerate, and then bumped it down. As the light cycle went on, drop checker got darker, so I turned down light intensity. As of now, I have it so that an hour after the lights fire up, the drop checker is yellowish green (fauna is fine, not stressed. My harlequin rasboras and blue finned killis are breeding everyday),and when the co2 turns off (an hour before the lights) the drop checker is the same color.
Here's the kicker. My co2 comes on 5 hours before my lights. That seems way sooner than everyone else who uses a solenoid. The readout delay for a drop checker is 1-2 hrs, right? How often does the solution need to be changed? I do use 4 dkh solution.
I wouldn’t worry that much about it. I would set it to 5 bubbles or so per second and forget it.

Just for comparison. This is how Takashi Amano is doing CO2.

3.5 gallon or 13 L ...... 0.5 b / sec
5 gallon or 20 L ......... 0.5 b / sec
8 gallon or 30 L ......... 1 b / sec
15 gallon or 65 L ....... 1 - 4 b / sec
40 gallon or 150 L ...... 3 - 4 b / sec
45 gallon or 180 L ...... 3 b / sec
60 gallon or 245 L ...... 6 - 8 b / sec
160 gallon or 650 L ..... 3 - 6 b / sec
230 gallon or 900 L ..... 5 b / sec
375 gallon or 1500 L ... 5 - 10 b / sec
400 gallon or 1600 L ... 6 - 8 b / sec
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Are you adding 20% more KNO3 in the Solution #1? If yes than you may have problems dissolving it and lose the whole composition. The solution is already at 80% solubility which needs hot RO or overnight to dissolve.

I wouldn’t worry that much about it. I would set it to 5 bubbles or so per second and forget it.

Just for comparison. This is how Takashi Amano is doing CO2.

3.5 gallon or 13 L ...... 0.5 b / sec
5 gallon or 20 L ......... 0.5 b / sec
8 gallon or 30 L ......... 1 b / sec
15 gallon or 65 L ....... 1 - 4 b / sec
40 gallon or 150 L ...... 3 - 4 b / sec
45 gallon or 180 L ...... 3 b / sec
60 gallon or 245 L ...... 6 - 8 b / sec
160 gallon or 650 L ..... 3 - 6 b / sec
230 gallon or 900 L ..... 5 b / sec
375 gallon or 1500 L ... 5 - 10 b / sec
400 gallon or 1600 L ... 6 - 8 b / sec
Thank you, and I mixed up 250 mL of macros and micros using pps pro plus an additional 20% kno3. Someone suggested it so I was gonna give it a try for the next week or so till the solution is used up.

Does anyone have any suggestions for a decent digital tds/pH
tester(s) that wont cost me an arm and a leg?
 
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