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Discussion Starter #21
Nice! See you are going with the LED + T5HO combo again. Should provide some nice color.

Tank looks algae free so far!:grin2::grin2:
Had to take advantage of the nice weather this week! Scrubbed the tank out on the back patio, rinsed out 20 lbs or so of black sand, cleaned the lights up and gave the reflectors a nice polish.

The LED is a 48" Fluval 2.0 that I bought used off a hobby friend - we know each other by face, not by name and we buy / sell / swap things together all the time and see each other at local auctions - really knowledgably guy, used to import snails / shrimp / fish and breed them, plants and general aquarium goods until his wife had enough of strangers coming over to buy / look at things LOL >:)

The T5 is a 48" 2 x 54 watt Current USA from an old reef tank my old man bought years and years ago. He has since switched to black box LED's and gave me this light for free. The bulbs are 2 x FlorSun from Zoomed - They are caked with hardwater buildup so I will replace them.

I am planning another 1 or 2 T5's, for the front of the tank, SunBlaster or maybe I can grab a used 48" double bulb fixture online or something, add some blues or reds and play around, I want the fish to look just as good as the plants with this tank.

If all else fails I can take off the LED and fully go T5, but I liked the colours I was getting last time with the combo, so I'll try it out again.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
2 shipments of plants in + me changing up micros and macros all at once = algae took a strong hold 2 weeks or so ago.

Things are shaping up this past week however. I was just going to let the tank settle out and ride the algae wave, usually I let things ride out and the algae takes a back seat, but this time it kept growing and growing...

Only 3 days of dosing Excel at the "after water change" rate 1 x daily and all the thread algae has gone red / white and dying, no staghorn to be seen, just some old and new GDA to deal with (usually I'm stuck with GDA unless I trim off infected plant tissue).

Don't mind the floating debris in the photos, I just performed a large water change and stirred up some of the old frozen plants that turned to mush (removed as much as I could).






 

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Discussion Starter #24 (Edited)
I will say that is some of the best algae photography I have seen. You really captured the essence!
They weren't kidding about the new Iphone 12's camera :grin2:

It's a wonderful sight to see it all go red / white in a matter of days with only a mild daily dose of Excel, I must have been growing a very susceptible variety of hair algae.

I'm hoping I can leave things as is now... daily micros and Excel again, consistent macros, consistent CO2 and weekly water changes. Fingers crossed the plants will perk up and I'll have to keep a sharp set of scissors around until I get that 55 all set up and running.

Current specs in case anyone is wondering:

Ludwiga ovalis
Ludwigia palustris
Macrandra
Wallichii
Mermaid Weed
Didiplis diandra
Java fern 'windelov'
Anubias nana 'petite'
Crypt flamingo
Crypt lutea 'hobbit'
Blyxa japonica
Red cabomba (piauhyensis)
Myrio tuberculatum
Mayaca fluviatilis
Rotala spec 'Pearl' ???? (1 teeny tiny stem lived from my frozen shipment, it's BARELY hanging on)
Lagenandra meeboldii 'Red'
Lindernia rotundifolia (variegated)

Estimated 1.0 drop in pH - pH probe loses calibration over night (setting up another Drop Checker as soon I have time to confirm)
2 x 23 watt 6500K CFL in a DIY hood + 32 feet of LED tape lighting - PAR = ???? 60-70 I would guess... 7 hours / day.

Weekly 60-70% water change:

1.0 dKH
25ppm Ca
10ppm Mg

NPK - incoming water @ 20-15-39 roughly, TDS ~180ppm.

Custom micros daily @ 0.5ppm Fe / week.

Excel @ high rate daily.

Inert coal slag, no tabs (I might make some up and do some experimenting with the crypts)

No livestock (might get a shrimp colony started shortly once I can get the plants going again)

Eheim 2213 with an Ista inline turbo reactor.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
Shrimp ordered. I used FedEx Overnight just in case... and I'm having it shipped to my folks place so there is someone home to receive it, I drive past their house on my way home from the office everyday so I can grab them.

I went with some higher grade Blue diamond shrimp, not a super stable strain but I'm okay with culling if I have to. I figured I should get a colony going in the 10 gallon as I begin to set the 55 up and get it thriving.

Also ordered an Aflame Sword (Echinodorus Aflame) tissue culture cup that I'll hopefully get 1 or 2 to live long term, really cool looking smaller sword plant according to google. And grabbed some Ludwigia repens 'rubin' to try out (never kept the 'rubin' version of L. repens).

Couple photos (not scaped at all, just a holding tank basically with decent PAR but not nice on the eyes / very washed out colour):

FTS:



Red Cabomba and Myrio just barely hanging on from a frozen shipment:



Crypt flamingo starting to bounce back with new growth (algae is almost gone):



Ludwigia ovalis just starting to colour up:

 

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Discussion Starter #26
Piece my piece I'm getting somewhere...

Ordered 10 with overnight shipping, was sent 9 with 2+ days in transit... But, the quality of these shrimp are fantastic and the packaging was the best I've ever seen. Healthy mix of males / females. 2 more plant species as well, Ludwigia repens 'Rubin' was in fantastic shape and the TC cup of Aflame swords is in great shape as well, easily the best quality plants I've ordered in recent memory.

Here they are drip acclimating (4 hours total). Funny thing was the water in the bag and my tankwater was only off 6ppm, but I wanted to drip acclimate just in case. I'm going to assume the bag water had higher KH and less ferts...

CO2 has been off for 2 days, no lights on either (otherwise I would grab photo's of them in the light). I'm home all tonight so I'll turn on the CO2 at a slightly reduced rate and watch carefully., adjust up over the next week or so.

I won a photo of the month contest on another forum and received a gift card, so I ordered a new NO3 test, I'm curious to where this tank is sitting. Went with API liquid drops strictly because of availability and I only ever use it for ballpark referencing anyway. Salifert would have been nicer... one day I guess.

 

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Discussion Starter #31
Algae is starting to climb back, I'm not really phased by it really. I stopped the Excel dosing once I got the shrimp. I guess I could go at a reduced rate and see what happens... Or I can buy some shades for that window blasting the tank with sunlight each day >:)

Other news, shrimp keepers would understand. Hydra have taken residence, so I'll mix up a fenbendazole solution and dose the tank. I'm going to ensure all plants I receive from now on get a good shot of fenbendazole prior to me adding them to the tank, I hate having to dose meds into my tanks :nerd:
 

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Discussion Starter #32
For anyone curious on fenbendazole dosing for Hydra, here is how I successfully do it with no significant impact on pest snails, and no impact at all on shrimp:

Safegaurd fenbendazole, 1 gram "dissolved" in 100mL's RO water.

Shake well to suspend any undissolved medication. Dosing rate is 0.1 grams per 10 gallons (10mL's of solution per 10 gallons of aquarium water).

Dose directly into the tank - dose a second time 12 hours later - dose a third time 24 hours later - perform a water change after another 24 hours if you want.

If you still see some Hydra hanging on 24 hours after the third dose, dose a 4th time, but I've never had to.

Keep some solution around for dipping new plants prior to adding them to the tank if you want.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
What I've accumulated over the holidays.

SpectraPure RO unit w/ auto shut off kit.
27L ADA Amazonia V2.
Substrate additives.
Transfer pump for water changes.
10lb CO2 tank.
American Marine Pinpoint CO2 regulator (they shipped me a Milwaukee, so mine is still in the mail).
CO2 tubing / Check valves.
Glass intake / output with surface skimmer.



Things will start to pickup once our current lockdown regulations are lifted, it's hard to find suitable water storage and plumbing parts exclusively online (all non-essential businesses are completely closed to the public, online shopping or curbside p/u only for a month).

Things I'll grab over the next few weeks / months:

Water storage system.
Dwyer flow meter.
T5 tube inventory.
Glass intake / output pipes (for the other filters).

Hopefully everything goes smoothly!

 

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Discussion Starter #36
And so it begins!!

What size tank is this all for?

Sounds like a great set up, and you are leaving no stone unturned!

I am really looking forward to seeing where this goes.
I recently moved and found a new job that is home office based, so I furnished a home office for myself, and couldn't help but stare
at an empty 55 gallon I had. This hardware is for that tank for now.

I don't think I'll ever want to run a 6' high tech tank in the near future, but a larger 4' tank would be manageable. I'm going to use this 55 gallon with standard black trim as a building block to gain all the hardware needed to run a 4' tank. Eventually I would like a rimless tank 48" x 20" x 20" or a custom rimless tank 48"L x 24"W x 20" / 22" tall, but those are pricey. So, by using this "free" 55 gallon to gain all the equipment needed for a 4' tank, the sticker price won't hurt as much when I'm ready to upgrade to a larger fancier tank! :nerd:

I can use this time to cut my teeth again with an active substrate, gain more experience with a high light larger tank etc. etc. all while building up assets I can further use in the future, all while enjoying the plants, shrimp and fish!

I've been using a low quality regulator atop a paintball CO2 for my entire aquaria career, this is my first time with a "real" CO2 system, super exciting for me!

I've always slung 5 gallon pails for water changes, now I'll have a dedicated RO water change system setup in the basement with a feed line directly to the tank, super exciting for me!

I've always used inert substrates (except for a brief stint with a 10 gallon tank in University where I used Fluval Stratum incorrectly), now I'll have a larger tank with a nice quality active substrate, super exciting for me!

I've always kept my tanks away from popular areas of the house, either stuffed away in my bedroom when I lived with my folks, or in my basement / spare rooms in my own house, now I'll have a tank front and center to me every single day, super exciting!

As you can see I'm really looking forward to setting up this tank. I'm planning on having the exact plants, shrimp, fish, equipment, tank, stand etc. etc. that I've always wanted. But, I'm going to take my time, read into journals on here (I've already started that), make notes, plan things out correctly, and not rush straight into this. :grin2:
 

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That's a LOT of super excited!!

I am excited for you too.

My tank is also in what was intended as a home office. Now it's just a relax and watch the tank room.

I do think there is something to having it where it is easily observable. There is extra motivation to keep everything in top notch condition, plus you get to enjoy it more.

Keep the updates coming!
 

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Discussion Starter #38
RO was installed last night, I wasn't planning on fully setting it up but once I cut into my water supply I guess there was no turning back now!

I bypassed the DI cartridge at the end, and I flushed out the sediment filter and carbon filter until it ran clear and then flushed a little more to be safe, hooked up the line to the RO membrane and the pressure gauge read 85 PSI, which is above what the unit is rated for. I dialed back my supply line valve to just under 80 PSI to be on the very top end of my units operating pressure. I had access to a free booster pump if needed which I figured I would have to use, my house turns 151 years old this year LOL! I guess I did a decent job when I replumbed the entire house.

It's installed and drained under my sink, but the production line is ran through my basement 20 feet or so on a mostly downward slope to where I will be storing the water. There was no convenient place for the drain line in the basement. Next step is to rinse out the storage totes and install my auto shut off's float valve and make a full batch.

RO water was at 19ppm of TDS, not perfect but I hope it will get a little better as it breaks in... is that a thing? Incoming TDS at the tap is over 500ppm, so 96.2% effective.



Little 10 gallon is getting full, the pic below was as of last week, it's completely full of plant mass at the moment. No idea how many shrimp are still alive. I see no buried females but I haven't ran across a dead carcass ever since counting 7 of the 9 I received.

I also decided to paint the stand for the 55 gallon to better match my house. I hope to tackle the sanding and priming tonight. Eventually I'll put doors on the stand, but sometimes I like looking at all the equipment under there so long as I have it staged well ;)

 

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RO water was at 19ppm of TDS, not perfect but I hope it will get a little better as it breaks in... is that a thing? Incoming TDS at the tap is over 500ppm, so 96.2% effective.









Nice update!

I'm wondering if there is any particular reason you decided to not put an extra filter inline instead of bypassing the DI filter housing. I belive that by doing so, you'll be able to get your TDS down to under 5. I run the same Spectrapure system with the first filter a sediment filter and the remaining filters as carbon blocks. I also run an additional RO filter which gives me about twice the output with half the waste water. I do this for the obvious reason of saving a ton of water but mostly because I presently lack any room for a holding tank and change a minimum of 55 gallons weekly. With this setup, running a booster at 90psi, I have an input TDS of 420 with an output of 1-2 TDS and make 10 gallons of RO an hour. BTW, it is strongly recommended to have a break-in period of 2 hours after putting in new filters.




Sent from my mobile device using Tapatalk Pro
 

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Discussion Starter #40
Nice update!

I'm wondering if there is any particular reason you decided to not put an extra filter inline instead of bypassing the DI filter housing. I belive that by doing so, you'll be able to get your TDS down to under 5. I run the same Spectrapure system with the first filter a sediment filter and the remaining filters as carbon blocks.


it is strongly recommended to have a break-in period of 2 hours after putting in new filters.

I am planning on running another carbon block, I just wasn't sure on the setup just yet.

Do you run the water through the sediment filter - carbon filter - RO membrane - carbon filter or sediment filter - carbon filter 1 - carbon filter 2 - RO membrane?

Could you elaborate a bit more on the break in process?

I have a full storage tote / mixing tote with transfer pump in the basement (> 100 gallons volume), so 90 gallons per day is lots for me (30-40 gallon water changes weekly for now).
 
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