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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone! I set up a 5 gallon tank yesterday night to replace the one my female betta smaragdina, Prisca, is in. Here are the specs so far;

Substrate; 1/8th inch turface
Heater; I have not plugged it in yet, but a 50 watt aquaneat heater.
Light; Again not in use yet, but a 575 lumen, 2700k BR20 led bulb. It will be set to be on 6 hours a day when I add plants to this setup; I may eventually increase the photoperiod and/or get a stronger bulb if I can keep this tank algae free.
Filter; An aquaneat internal filter, at 50 GPH (this will also be a makeshift CO2 reactor/diffuser). It has a filter sponge just inside the intake, followed by about 20 ml seachem denitrate and 10 ml purigen.
CO2; From a yeast reactor. I will use a 1.25 liter yeast reactor with this tank (in contrast to the 591 ml reactors for my current 5 gallon tanks), allowing me to go four weeks without changing it due to the small amount of yeast required for a tank this size (it takes only .45 ml instant yeast to give high tech CO2 levels in my current 5 gallon tanks)
Fertilization; Will be present. Exact amounts are TBD, but I will dose macros and micros opposite days of the week and will not fertilize on water change day.
Plants; TBD

I am going to cycle the tank for about a month before adding any plants, and let the tank mature for another month before adding Prisca. This time I am using cleaning ammonia to cycle the tank instead of fish food...I added 1 ppm ammonia last night, and interestingly it was already all consumed by this morning (prompting me to add another ppm). Once the tank starts processing 1 ppm ammonia within 6 hours, I will double that to 2 ppm, then to 3 ppm, and so on...I want a very robust cycle on this tank to ensure it can process ammonia before any algae does. When I add the plants, the tank will receive biweekly 40-50% water changes for the first month, after which water changes will be reduced to once a week; I will also be very conscientious about removing detritus from this tank with a large pipette (or more accurately, using the pipette to put the detritus within easy reach of the gravel vacuum).

I don't have a tank picture yet, but will try to post one later today. Thanks for viewing :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Nice. A lot of times simplicity is key to everything.
Very true. This also spares me the trouble of dealing with the copious amounts of ammonia inevitably produced by soil and with having to clean up dirt particles whenever the substrate is disturbed. Also, turface has a fairly good CEC of about 30 meq/100 grams; after finding and plugging in the density of 1/8th inch turface, it came to about 21.14 meq/100 ml - not all that much lower than many soils.
 

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Very true. This also spares me the trouble of dealing with the copious amounts of ammonia inevitably produced by soil and with having to clean up dirt particles whenever the substrate is disturbed. Also, turface has a fairly good CEC of about 30 meq/100 grams; after finding and plugging in the density of 1/8th inch turface, it came to about 21.14 meq/100 ml - not all that much lower than many soils.
With careful hands and time, dirt won't kick up so much. I've been uprooting plants to give to my friends with minimal mess.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi everyone! Just a small update...I tried to set up a yeast reactor several times over the past few days, but not one of them seemed to be adding CO2 to the tank (no PH drop, the drop checker was deep blue...). I was getting quite frustrated, but today I realized why I was having so much trouble...like my other yeast reactors, this one is going to be diffused by the filter. The aquaneat filter this tank is using can be set to either 50 or 80 GPH, but setting it to the 50 GPH setting cuts off the only way for the CO2 to reach and be diffused by the impeller...I set the filter to 80 GPH to see if that is indeed correct (CO2 is visible in the tubing near the filter, so that was most likely the problem).
 

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Hi everyone! Just a small update...I tried to set up a yeast reactor several times over the past few days, but not one of them seemed to be adding CO2 to the tank (no PH drop, the drop checker was deep blue...). I was getting quite frustrated, but today I realized why I was having so much trouble...like my other yeast reactors, this one is going to be diffused by the filter. The aquaneat filter this tank is using can be set to either 50 or 80 GPH, but setting it to the 50 GPH setting cuts off the only way for the CO2 to reach and be diffused by the impeller...I set the filter to 80 GPH to see if that is indeed correct (CO2 is visible in the tubing near the filter, so that was most likely the problem).
Nice. You might not see the drop checker move at all. But I'm certain in the early stages of your mix, that it will give you a decent amount of co2. Anyway keep us posted if it does change foe you though!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Nice. You might not see the drop checker move at all. But I'm certain in the early stages of your mix, that it will give you a decent amount of co2. Anyway keep us posted if it does change foe you though!
In my other tanks, this mix is strong enough to turn the drop checker green or even yellowish green. I'm hoping this fixes my problem...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi everyone! I finally got pictures of this tank a few minutes ago...due to difficulties posting pictures on this site, I will direct you to my other journal of this tank; https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfishforum/threads/the-prisca-pad-version-2-0.470969/#post-4730835

Anyhow, I finally got the CO2 working properly and the drop checker is no longer deep blue; however, I opted to use a spray bar on the filter to try to more evenly distribute the CO2 in the tank (my 5 gallon persian killifish tank is not using a spray bar, and I noticed that the Rotala H'ra right in front of the output had algae problems and did not look healthy...likely because they were in a spot with very little CO2). As a result, the drop checker is more bluish (presumably due to lower CO2 levels) in this tank than the persian killie tank, and I am working on a PH drop test to see roughly how much CO2 is in this tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi everyone! The tank is still cycling and will probably not be ready for plants until October, but I was giving thought as to what plants I want to keep in it...how do these sound?
- Christmas moss (pseudo carpet, likely divided into clumps and glued to a number of pebbles)
- Crypt wendtii (midground, to the sides of the christmas moss)
- Ludwigia 'super red' (background)
- Riccia fluitans (floating)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hello everyone! Not much to report, but the cycle appears to be progressing nicely...I upped the ammonia dose to 2 ppm a day yesterday after observing from testing that the tank processed 1 ppm within 7 hours at most (I meant to test at the 6 hr mark, but I was out of the house at the time). Once 2 ppm ammonia is processed within 6 hours, I will increase ammonia to 3 ppm; and once this is processed within 6 hours (and the accompanying nitrite is processed within that time), I will add plants.

By the way...once plants are added, should I continue dosing ammonia to maintain the cycle? If so, how much? I was thinking of dosing 1-1.5 ppm ammonia just before I go to bed after the plants are added...I just wanted to check whether that would encourage melting in the plants. Thanks :)
 

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Hello everyone! Not much to report, but the cycle appears to be progressing nicely...I upped the ammonia dose to 2 ppm a day yesterday after observing from testing that the tank processed 1 ppm within 7 hours at most (I meant to test at the 6 hr mark, but I was out of the house at the time). Once 2 ppm ammonia is processed within 6 hours, I will increase ammonia to 3 ppm; and once this is processed within 6 hours (and the accompanying nitrite is processed within that time), I will add plants.

By the way...once plants are added, should I continue dosing ammonia to maintain the cycle? If so, how much? I was thinking of dosing 1-1.5 ppm ammonia just before I go to bed after the plants are added...I just wanted to check whether that would encourage melting in the plants. Thanks :)
I believe you should keep dosing ammonia, to keep the beneficial bacteria well fed, up until you get little critters in there. You can start planting asap actually. Plants will use some of that ammonia up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I believe you should keep dosing ammonia, to keep the beneficial bacteria well fed, up until you get little critters in there. You can start planting asap actually. Plants will use some of that ammonia up.
Good to have an answer on that front :) Ammonia is one of the primary triggers of algae, so I would still like to get the tank thoroughly cycled before adding plants (even after the plants are added, I don't want to dose the ammonia during the photoperiod for that reason). Since most vendors sell their plants emersed, that will also give me more of a buffer if some of the plant leaves decay (decaying or unhealthy aquatic plant leaves are the very worst algae magnets...the sugars, proteins, ammonia, and other compounds they leach encourage algae to spawn on those weakened plants, where they will not be outcompeted).
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hi everyone! The tank is cycled to my satisfaction and I just purchased plants for it :) They will be shipping out next Monday from Buceplant. Here are the plants I ordered;

- Hygrophila corymbosa 'compact' (2 bunches)
- Ludwigia natans 'super red' (4 bunches)
- Echinodorous Hadi 'Red pearl' (2 plants)
- Large cup christmas moss

Let's hope these plants do well :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks! It occurs to me I have not updated this thread in a while, so here is a link to its sister thread on fishlore where the pictures are posted; https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfishforum/threads/the-prisca-pad-version-2-0.470969/#post-4762611

I got an order of plants from Buceplant a few days ago, but it went awry...they did not send me two swordplants I ordered (they said they were not up to their standards), and the Ludwigia natans 'super red' was mere mush. I got refunds for these plants. However, the christmas moss and Hygrophila coymbosa 'compact' I ordered arrived alive (curiously the latter arrived with pink on the new leaves...not sure if that will last or not), and these I planted. The moss was planted by dividing it into 15 portions and tying each to a river pebble, simulating a carpet. In the meantime, I ordered more plants from a seller I have purchased from a number of times online, so let's hope this transaction ends with me being able to fill the tank properly.
 
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