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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,

First time poster, long time reader.

Anyway, I just got a new 120L/30gallon tank and I used the canister filter from my old tank. It's a 3 tray filter with minimal mechanical media at the bottom and top. The rest is filled with Seachem Matrix and bio balls. I cleaned the mechanical media before moving the filter to my new tank.

It's a pretty densely planted tank save for the Stauro carpet that's still incomplete. I've been reading on using cycled filters on new tanks and most forums say that the cycle get a big boost. It also often reads that the filter can support the same amount of livestock in the new tank as in the old. It just doesn't say anything about the effects on delicate plants.. I often read that I should avoid delicate plants until the tank is cycled to avoid melting plants due to Ammonia. Does anyone have experience this? Should I take them out again for now?

I also placed 4 cardinals in the new tank because I feared the bacteria in the filter would die off without any bioload.

Going for the "George Farmer setup water change method" using RO water.

1st week 50% water change every day
2nd week 50% water change every 2 days
3rd and 4th week 50% water change every 3 days
Starting from the 5th week going back to weekly 50% water changes

What's in the tank:

48 watt full spectrum hpl lights (40 lumen/liter)
Bucephalandra mini
Java fern
Staurogyne
Cryptocoryne
Christmas moss
Ludwigia sp. Red
Amazon swords
Anubias nana petite
Anubias barteri
aponogeton crispuscrispus (behind the wood)
Still waiting on some tiger lotus but there was delay in delivery there.

1027605
 

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60-P high tech, 45-P low tech
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Nice work! It looks like you may have been watching Green Aqua videos with those root details on the larger wood pieces.

Others can chime in if they feel differently, but because you're doing the 50% daily water changes 1 week, then every other day week 2, every 3 days week three, you're effectively removing the harmful amounts of ammonia being built up, so your plants would be fine. This is the water change regimen that ADA themselves describe when first using their Amazonia substrates. I wouldn't necessarily put the cardinals in just yet, the ammonia and frequent water changes in a new tank would stress them out more compared to the plants. The bacteria will also be feeding off the ammonia being produced by the substrate as well as any decaying matter from the plants. If you were concerned about not having enough decaying matter, a popular way to add it before it's safe for fish to be introduced is to sprinkle in a little fish food each day, which will break down and help. And to prevent algae the best thing you can do from the start is to plant heavily, so I wouldn't be shy about that. Some people will even introduce fast growing hungry plants like stems when their tank is new simply to outcompete potential algae for nutrients, and then once the tank is balanced out, they remove them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I may have actually been influenced by Green Aqua for the roots yeah.Never thought about it that way, they do use a lot of roots and root like designs in their hard scape. I am fan of their work and their workshops gave me amazing insight in designing as well. It's hard to keep track of who influences what though, too many amazing aquascapers on YouTube.

Didn't know that ADA advises you to do the same water change regime, I'm using Master Soil now. ADA is difficult to come by here in Bali, as are most aquascaping and fish keeping materials to be honest, and incredibly expensive as well.

I am seeing some melting on some of the staurogyne plants and some of the leaves on my amazon swords are turning yellow at the tip. Some articles say this is normal due to the plants acclimating to the tank but I've always had difficulties growing stauro in the past. So hopefully they grow some new leaves soon.
The Ludwigia sp red, and aponogeton crispuscrispus are the fastest growing plants I have in there, not sure if that's enough to offset the algae growth though.. It's a high tech tank by the way, so maybe that will help the plants grow fast enough to outcompete the algae.

I do my water changes after lights out so the fish generally aren't that stressed out, they tend to be and stay asleep during that time. But if there's still enough ammonia build up now that could shock them then using my established/cycled filter and media doesn't do all that much right? If so, might be better to take out the Cardinals now and perhaps add some food to substitute waste. Would be a shame, they seem incredibly happy and they've gotten a lot brighter in colour in the few days they've been in this tank.

Do you have any advise on using ferts during these water change heavy weeks? Seeing as I inject CO2 I keep wanting to add ferts but especially in the first week with all those water changes I wasn't sure if it's worth it. Also not sure if I would be feeding the algae or the plants as they are still acclimating and probably won't be as efficient in taking the nutrients.
 

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You seem to have a handle in it. Yes my repends did that too when acclimating, and one they finally root in (it was a couple weeks for me they shed some of their weaker leaves and really sprang back and started showing healthier growth. If the cardinals seem healthy then yeah I don’t see the harm keeping them in. To your point, you do have an established filter. While it may not have enough beneficial bacteria yet (some could have died between tanks), it’s still better than starting with 0. I’m personally lazy with fertilizers the first two weeks and don’t even bother. Since we mentioned Green aqua, they would say to start from day one, but in my experience it didn’t really matter too much if I waited a bit to start. The soil does have nutrients too which should keep your plants healthy in the short term. Your tank seems lightly planted right now with a good amount of slower growers, so I would ease into fertilizing as well as your lighting period and intensity over these next few weeks. Others may say differently, but that’s worked for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Do you have any tips on how you managed your repens? I've been reading up on the guides online and I'm trying to keep my water parameters as close to what those say it should be. This my 3rd and probably final attempt at them, they've failed twice before but I just don't really know where it goes wrong.

I generally don't like to plant to densely cause I lose sight over to properly manage the plants. I may not look like it though but there about 150 repens in there with still a lot of plants behind the wood. Pretty crazy actually to see how this is still seen as lightly planted, a good thing to hear too as I already find this fairly heavily planted. Of course, the empty spots in the front should have been planted as well but I didn't have the budget to buy yet another 50 repens.

I did go for more slow growing plants because of the medium light. I had a high tech, high light setup in my 20 gallon but that tank spun out of control so fast and so hard that I can't even manage to get it running properly after weeks of corrective water changes and care. So that tank needs a full reset down to changing out the soil after this one is stable and fully cycled... On the bright side though, new opportunity to create a better design.

Anyway, thanks for all the replies and help so far. If you have any tips and tricks I could benefit from I'd love to hear them!
 
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