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Discussion Starter #41
Thanks! This is my very first aquascape...spent a lot of time doing it...I am personally speaking, not too happy with it. I feel I have too small a tank, too over crowded looking.
I do not like the Dutch style / jungle look anyway....but this is starting to look like one. I do need to reposition some plants and maybe take out the really large ones.


Inspiration
Well, I read up on sumps mostly on saltwater forums, looked at designs and guidelines people post...Internet has a wealth of knowledge people share. For example I read and used these:


Aquarium Plumbing Basics - Reef Aquarium


https://expertaquarist.com/freshwater-sump-filter/


https://gmacreef.com/reef-aquarium-sump-tank-design/



I did try to stay away from what (IMHO) saltwater guys shoot themselves in the foot with....socks! Yuck!

Instead I talked to Swiss Tropicals' Stephen Tanner who nudged me towards sock free, vertical Poret filter design...which I then modified to my personal needs....full details are here:
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/9-equipment/1309419-please-help-design-rebuild-sump.html


The late Mr. Ken Keating's thread also inspired me big time.


The white cabinet design - theme is inspired by another guy's rather expensive and VERY nice tank setup, I think I mentioned it in a post above here somewhere.


Automatic water change system notes:
Although I do not have the AWC system running yet...here are some of my notes...




As for Algae, yeah I am reading up on similar threads here. For example this one is a very good read, but I have not finished reading it yet:
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/...lthy-plant-growth-algae-driving-me-crazy.html


Answers to your Qs:
I am already doing daily water change, only 2.5 gallon. Water is RO-DI so is absolutely zero everything, nitrates,m nitritess, etc. That is what was filled in the tank first day...re-mineralized of course with Seachem equilibrium...raised to 3GH



No floating plants, and not sure if I want them....won't they block the light?



Congratulations on getting to this stage of the build. The refurbish is really impressive. I have not seen/read much about using sumps in planted tanks. Could you share some links/resources that inspired your handiwork?

I like the echoes you've got going on between the dragonstone on one side and driftwood on the other, looking forward to seeing the scape grow in.

On the algae front, I'm sure you're researching all the things, but seeing as water changes seem easy could you up their rhythm? Do you have some floating plants in there?
 

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rajdude's "house of horrors" tank! Saltwater to freshwater conversion.

Looks at pictures..
Looks at my tank..
Looks back at picture..
Cries.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #43
Looks at pictures..
Looks at my tank..
Looks back at picture..
Cries.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Ha ha

Come on! Mine is not that good!

There are many others out here whose photos I look at and go...how do they get their tanks so clean...no algae, beautiful plants...how? How?

Sent from my H8314 using Tapatalk
 

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Thanks for sharing the inspo/info for the sump build. It helps to have a "finding guide" to navigate the vastness of the www. Sump build is definitely beyond my skill set for now, and likely for some time, but I will still enjoy learning what I can from the design process and about water cycling generally!

On the scape front, if you're not happy with where this version is going I suspect you'll keep tinkering until you get there. Is there a way this combination of plants can help you diagnose some of the other issues you are having, so that if/when you replace them with others that have similar needs/growth patterns you'll be a little further along in your process? These plants could then function as starter plants to get you cycled and algae under control as you make decisions about whether you're going to go heavy on stems, crypts, buce, all of the above etc.

For the HC Cuba, what I am seeing is that it is mostly in some of the harder to light parts of the tank (front edge, low substrate). Pointing out the bleeding obvious there, but if you rescape and want this to be a focus, you might think about burying some of that rock/wood in substrate to open up more field for the HC to play in.

On the floating plants front, yes they will cut down on light but you can calibrate this so that it's not all light. From what I've read, the advantage of floating plants is that they take in CO2 from the air and nutrients from the water column and so can out-compete algae for growth in early stages as other plants are expending more energy on establishing root structures and so on. So it's not necessarily a long-term thing, unless you want it to be. Walstad talks about it in this short piece and over on the UKAPS forum they talk a fair bit about monitoring using a "duckweed index"
 

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Discussion Starter #45
Bunch of questions

Well, rather than asking the same old questions in yet another new thread.....I found a good thread where I have just posted my problems.....
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/...th-algae-driving-me-crazy-7.html#post11394001


Just for reference, I am cross posting the same things here:

I was wondering if someone can tell me in a concise and straightforward way what is this "balance" we planted tank guys talk about. I mean the "golden equilibrium" people talk about....I guess that is between, Fertilizer - CO2 - Light. How do we achieve that?

I have a new tank which is having similar troubles as the OP here. Lots of BBA and hair type algae

Here is my list of questions:
  1. To reduce algae, which of these three things do I reduce: Fertilizer - CO2 - Light.
  2. Do I push CO2 24 x 7?
    People talk about varying CO2 causes algae. But then.. many recommend turning on CO2 one to two hours before lights come on, and turning it off an hour before lights off. Note: my CO2 levels drop dramatically during the night, checker turns totally blue in the morning.
  3. What about temperature?
    Right now I am at 75F
I know there is a lot of talk in this thread about very granular control of water parameters. I am not sure if I would be able to do that myself.

Here is what I have and do:
  • Start: 2-3 weeks back
  • 75 gallon DT with a 30 gallon sump
  • Using RO-DI water, re-mineralized to 3GH using Seachem equilibrium
  • Inert substrate with root tabs
  • Doing PPS pro fertilizer schedule, NilocG Aquatic Labs' micros and macros every morning
  • 2.5 gallon water change every evening, re-mineralized.
  • Lots of water flow in DT, ensured using two wave makers (heard stagnant water causes algae).
  • Two very high PAR capable lights (sb reef lights, freshwater version).
    I made the mistake of leaving them on for 6-8 hours a day for a week, algae went crazy. Now I am down to 4 hours a day....at around 50% warm white + 25% blue-white Plants pearl just fine.
  • CO2 injection, high pressure
  • Have tried dosing Metricide (Excel) Helped a bit

Problems/Issues:
  1. Algae grower expert. Mostly BBA and hair algae.
  2. Most plants are doing reasonably well, growing fast, other than the ferns, which are BBA infested. Sprayed them with 50% Metricide (approx=straight excel).....that helps, but they get infested again, within days.
  3. HC is not doing good.
  4. Many plants are growing roots from everywhere, yuck! What do I do? Cut them off?


Thanks for any and all suggestions! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #46
Thanks for the tips. I agree, this one is my first serious planted tank and is a journey and education also.
Aqusacape......I think it needs more color, reds and purples.......and I do have some red plants.......just they are not growing fast enough. I think that is because the seller gave me cuttings instead of established plants.

Totally agree about location of HC cuba. I have also noticed that my lights do drop off quite a bit from the center out.

Will check out floaters. My lovely wife has a ton of Pothos plants around the house. I hear that is also good for extracting too much organics from the water and helps reduce algae........not sure how much of that is actually true.


As for the sump, it can be as simple as you want it to be or as complicated as you can make it....mine is surely a little bit more complicated with the manifold and other stuff.
But don't let that scare you off from sumps. I have seen many which are very simple.

Thanks for sharing the inspo/info for the sump build. It helps to have a "finding guide" to navigate the vastness of the www. Sump build is definitely beyond my skill set for now, and likely for some time, but I will still enjoy learning what I can from the design process and about water cycling generally!

On the scape front, if you're not happy with where this version is going I suspect you'll keep tinkering until you get there. Is there a way this combination of plants can help you diagnose some of the other issues you are having, so that if/when you replace them with others that have similar needs/growth patterns you'll be a little further along in your process? These plants could then function as starter plants to get you cycled and algae under control as you make decisions about whether you're going to go heavy on stems, crypts, buce, all of the above etc.

For the HC Cuba, what I am seeing is that it is mostly in some of the harder to light parts of the tank (front edge, low substrate). Pointing out the bleeding obvious there, but if you rescape and want this to be a focus, you might think about burying some of that rock/wood in substrate to open up more field for the HC to play in.

On the floating plants front, yes they will cut down on light but you can calibrate this so that it's not all light. From what I've read, the advantage of floating plants is that they take in CO2 from the air and nutrients from the water column and so can out-compete algae for growth in early stages as other plants are expending more energy on establishing root structures and so on. So it's not necessarily a long-term thing, unless you want it to be. Walstad talks about it in this short piece and over on the UKAPS forum they talk a fair bit about monitoring using a "duckweed index"
 

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My lovely wife has a ton of Pothos plants around the house. I hear that is also good for extracting too much organics from the water and helps reduce algae........not sure how much of that is actually true.
I've used Pothos in a sump before. Zero nitrates. That's was exactly what I was aiming for with my Mbuna tank, it might not be want you want in a planted tank. :- ) But I guess it is about finding a balance. I guess you can throw a piece in and monitor it. It is easier to remove if if it is in a chamber without other media since the roots will become intertwined with the media. Not impossible to remove it, just messy. You'll leave roots behind and that's unsightly, which, given the clean setup you have, wouldn't be appropriate.

And you've really inspired me for a future build out. Thanks!
 

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Hi Rajdude! Read through your impressive rebuild of this setup. Kudos. It all looks great! Saw your question in the other thread as well, but for these things, it may help more to have it in your own journal so you can go back to it.



I was wondering if someone can tell me in a concise and straightforward way what is this "balance" we planted tank guys talk about. I mean the "golden equilibrium" people talk about....I guess that is between, Fertilizer - CO2 - Light. How do we achieve that?
So, I'm sure you have, but if you haven't, take a visit to the 2Hr Aquarist's site. It's pretty much required reading these days for new hobbyists! This section would probably most relevantly answer your question: 2Hr Aquarist: 3 Growth Pillars And you can click through to delve deeper into each topic. The gist is that well, it's 3 pillars, or termed in another conversation, a 3 legged stool? Something you want balanced if you want to achieve good results. Some have brought in the 4th leg/pillar and that is good maintenance. Or maybe that's the foundation to the whole thing? Anyway, how do we achieve it. Haha. We spend the rest of the hobby trying to achieve it! IF you did already, there'd be no hobby! I suppose that's only the way I view it. Perhaps you feel that you've gotten balance just because you can get rid of your algae. In that case.... let's carry on.


I have a new tank which is having similar troubles as the OP here. Lots of BBA and hair type algae

Here is my list of questions:
  1. To reduce algae, which of these three things do I reduce: Fertilizer - CO2 - Light.
  2. Do I push CO2 24 x 7?
    People talk about varying CO2 causes algae. But then.. many recommend turning on CO2 one to two hours before lights come on, and turning it off an hour before lights off. Note: my CO2 levels drop dramatically during the night, checker turns totally blue in the morning.
  3. What about temperature?
    Right now I am at 75F
I know there is a lot of talk in this thread about very granular control of water parameters. I am not sure if I would be able to do that myself.
To reduce algae, I always approach light as the first thing to reduce. The gas pedal of a car analogy is used quite often around here and also again, at the aforementioned site : 2Hr Aquarist: Prevent Algae Growth. The gist is, less light, you go slower and you have less of a chance of running into trouble when your plants run short of the other two : co2 and/or fertilizer. Co2 is beguilingly hard to get right sometimes. Fertilizer/Nutrients can be sneaky too if you miscalculate or misdiagnose. You're already ahead of the game in this dept by going RO as you've cut out the variable of what's in your city's water but you've got a different can of worms of maintaining/optimizing the RO supply and so on.

Co2 24x7 is a mere preference around here. Success is found both ways and the rationales for doing so vs a timed period vary, BUT, the timed period fluctuation is not what you're interpreting. The varying CO2 that causes algae is mostly when you can't maintain it well enough DURING the lighting period. This is DURING the stressed growing period of the plants where they need to be absorbing as much CO2 and nutrients as they can so the goal is to never run out of either. You may think, oh, just inject so many bubbles, how can I run out? Well, it's not so much running out but rather various things that can cause a plant to experience fluctuation. Sometimes its all plants, sometimes it's only some plants. There's all sorts of issues such as surface agitation, flow patterns, proper dissolution -- even something as inane as a clogged check valve. This is discussed here: 2Hr Aquarist: Optimizing CO2

Temperature is not as sensitive as the others I believe. I know the Green Aqua youtube channel (another awesome resource, btw) generally recommends tanks to be below 75 based on their experience, but I feel from the vibe over the years that that is one of the finer optimization tweaks.. Does it help? Maybe, but you'd get much better bang for the buck in the beginning by working on the other 3 pillars first.

Here is what I have and do:
  • Start: 2-3 weeks back
  • 75 gallon DT with a 30 gallon sump
  • Using RO-DI water, re-mineralized to 3GH using Seachem equilibrium
  • Inert substrate with root tabs
  • Doing PPS pro fertilizer schedule, NilocG Aquatic Labs' micros and macros every morning
  • 2.5 gallon water change every evening, re-mineralized.
  • Lots of water flow in DT, ensured using two wave makers (heard stagnant water causes algae).
  • Two very high PAR capable lights (sb reef lights, freshwater version).
    I made the mistake of leaving them on for 6-8 hours a day for a week, algae went crazy. Now I am down to 4 hours a day....at around 50% warm white + 25% blue-white Plants pearl just fine.
  • CO2 injection, high pressure
  • Have tried dosing Metricide (Excel) Helped a bit

Problems/Issues:
  1. Algae grower expert. Mostly BBA and hair algae.
  2. Most plants are doing reasonably well, growing fast, other than the ferns, which are BBA infested. Sprayed them with 50% Metricide (approx=straight excel).....that helps, but they get infested again, within days.
  3. HC is not doing good.
  4. Many plants are growing roots from everywhere, yuck! What do I do? Cut them off?



Thanks for any and all suggestions! :)

Sometimes, some of these imbalances are just due to your tank being new. As another poster said, it looks awesome already. Just sit back and enjoy it a little. You did a great analysis and resolution by reducing your lighting in response to your first algae occurrences. BBA is one of the trickiest algaes and don't feel bad if you have a time with it. The best established tanks on here still deal with it on an ongoing basis. You know, however, you're okay if your plants are not infested with BBA. However, as you stated, your ferns still have them, so yes, they need continued work, but like you said "most" plants are doing reasonably well. That's half the battle already! So, the thing about plants, once a leaf is damaged/leaking to be bba infected, it can't really heal itself. It works all leaky and creaky for the plant until it grows new leaves. This is likely why you kill the existing BBA and new ones just grow on it again. So keep optimizing other things until you get enough new leaves to safely just cut these old ones off. This is what most mean by ... grow the plants, not fight the algae. As you may have noticed, the BBA is not picking on the plants that are doing "reasonably well."


Growing plants mean more than just supplying the right nutrients. You have to consider that perhaps your hardscape is affecting flow of CO2 and/or nutrients or causing too much accumulation of organics. Perhaps there's too much shade or not enough shade. These are all things considered in terrestrial gardening and it holds true here.

I've never grown HC, but I've grown monte carlo ( an easier alternative ) and as mentioned in the 2Hr Aquarist's site, it generally desires good light, good co2. It's almost a reliable indicator that you're either not getting enough --- whether its the entire tank or maybe just that localized area due to flow issues.

Plant roots.. umm, I think that's just something you have to cope with for stem plants. It's what they do. Some see this as a time to pull them up, remove the bottom up to the first ring of roots, and replant. As a person who is looking to grow plants well, I tend not to remove all the roots when I do this as you'll cause the plant to work itself to grow a new round of roots before it continues to worry about growing new leaves. Perhaps in time, you will find more suitable plants with similar looks that behave differently, less prone to shooting out roots. Sometimes, with the right mix of nutrients, they behave differently. Or, you learn to hide them as you start working with your scapes.

Yeap, these rabbit holes get deep and that's what makes continued dedication to the hobby fun? Interesting? or frustrating to others and they move on.

Well, I definitely supplied a story when maybe you've asked for more direct actions... IF it were my tank (and take it with a grain of salt, as my track record hasn't been the best ;) ), maybe my set of actions going forward would be:

1) Play with the lighting even more. You may ask, how do I reduce more? I can't see the tank anymore if I do! I don't know how programmable the sbreeflights are but some people around here adopt a "midday spike" lighting profile. So, say, you want a 6 hour lighting period (or more, cuz well, you want to enjoy the tank too right?). You set hours 1-2:30 at maybe eh 20%? 2:30-3:30 at 80% so all the plants get their growth in 3:30-6 back at 20%. Just numbers pulled out of thin air. You may play with them as you watch what works with your plants.

2) Focus on CO2. focus on flow, focus about agitation, focus on everything there is to worry about for co2 and think about it some more :)

3) Keep up your fastidious maintenance and watch out for challenges that your scape may bring you.

Anyway, you're off to a great start already -- much better than my start many years back. so

4) Good luck and enjoy the ride!
 

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Discussion Starter #49
thanks!

Thank you very much for the detailed answers to my questions.

CO2:
I think I am pretty sure I am not having stable CO2 levels during the photo period. It takes too long to ramp up CO2 in this sump'ed tank, due to off gassing during the night. I have regularly seen blue bulb for a couple of hours AFTER lights went on, even though CO2 was on an hour before lights were turned on.
I will experiment with CO2 on 24 x 5 now.


Another thing I can do is this procedure, I read in another thread here:


A simplistic attempt to describe balance would be as follows: The level/intensity of light you have will trigger the need for a certain level of both CO2 and nutrients. High light will stimulate a high rate of photosynthesis, thus requiring high concentrations of CO2 and ample nutrients (to build up the plant matter). At low light levels, the requirement for CO2 and nutrients is dialed back accordingly. So balance is when you supply enough CO2, and enough nutrients that the light demands. It is easier to balance when the light is lower.

The uptake of CO2 is during the photo period, so like many others do, concentrate on getting optimum CO2 levels during this time.

What is the correct CO2 level, and how do you arrive at it? It is generally accepted that growth improves when you reach CO2 concentrations of around 10ppm. Consider that if inject no CO2 the level is closer to 2-3ppm. Growth is even better as you approach higher levels in the range of 30ppm (or higher). You have a limit to how high you can go because of the toxicity to the fish, although higher levels of O2 allow you to push the Co2 level higher.

If your CO2 unit is effective at dissolving CO2, with a high enough bubble rate, you will be able to achieve your target. How do you know when you reach it? This is not easy, and I'm not sure anyone can confidently say what their CO2 level is in ppm. That said, there is an approach which will help, and it is based on the fact that the concentrations of CO2 will alter the ph level (equilibrium established based on your aquarium's buffer).

So start by measuring your pH in the morning before your lights go on (and your CO2 was off all night). You might get around 7.6. Adjust your bubble counter to 1 bps (or more aggressive if you have experience running safely at a higher rate) and let the pH settle. This may take a few hours. Measure the pH. How much did it move? Over a period of several days, slowly increase the rate each day until you get a pH drop of about .8 to 1.0 drop (continue to monitor your fish for stress). Some people keep this process going UNTIL the fish show signs.

It is at this point that you have done the best you can to stabilize CO2 at its maximum level for your tank, and should not need to adjust the nozzle any further. You can safely turn off the CO2 at lights out, and turn it back on again 1 hour prior to lights on. No need for a controller in this case. The use of a drop checker will also help determine when your CO2 levels have reached an adequate level, but I still think a pH measurement is a more disciplined approach.

Flow:
Since I have a high flow rate return pump (adjustable) I think I have enough flow turnover through the sump. Additionally, I have two wavemakers in the DT, which create crazy water movement in the DT. They are programmed to run alternatively, creating a left-right movement for the plants to "enjoy". Sill I will observe it carefully for any dead flow areas now.

Lighting:
Yes, experimentation is needed. I think I am going to try the "siesta" time some people talk about.
My lights do not have a ramp up-down feature, but I can turn on-off the warm-white and the blue white "banks" in the lights separately and both are on wi-fi timer devices, easily programmable via an app.







Hi Rajdude! Read through your impressive rebuild of this setup. Kudos. It all looks great! Saw your question in the other thread as well, but for these things, it may help more to have it in your own journal so you can go back to it.





So, I'm sure you have, but if you haven't, take a visit to the 2Hr Aquarist's site. It's pretty much required reading these days for new hobbyists! This section would probably most relevantly answer your question: 2Hr Aquarist: 3 Growth Pillars And you can click through to delve deeper into each topic. The gist is that well, it's 3 pillars, or termed in another conversation, a 3 legged stool? Something you want balanced if you want to achieve good results. Some have brought in the 4th leg/pillar and that is good maintenance. Or maybe that's the foundation to the whole thing? Anyway, how do we achieve it. Haha. We spend the rest of the hobby trying to achieve it! IF you did already, there'd be no hobby! I suppose that's only the way I view it. Perhaps you feel that you've gotten balance just because you can get rid of your algae. In that case.... let's carry on.




To reduce algae, I always approach light as the first thing to reduce. The gas pedal of a car analogy is used quite often around here and also again, at the aforementioned site : 2Hr Aquarist: Prevent Algae Growth. The gist is, less light, you go slower and you have less of a chance of running into trouble when your plants run short of the other two : co2 and/or fertilizer. Co2 is beguilingly hard to get right sometimes. Fertilizer/Nutrients can be sneaky too if you miscalculate or misdiagnose. You're already ahead of the game in this dept by going RO as you've cut out the variable of what's in your city's water but you've got a different can of worms of maintaining/optimizing the RO supply and so on.

Co2 24x7 is a mere preference around here. Success is found both ways and the rationales for doing so vs a timed period vary, BUT, the timed period fluctuation is not what you're interpreting. The varying CO2 that causes algae is mostly when you can't maintain it well enough DURING the lighting period. This is DURING the stressed growing period of the plants where they need to be absorbing as much CO2 and nutrients as they can so the goal is to never run out of either. You may think, oh, just inject so many bubbles, how can I run out? Well, it's not so much running out but rather various things that can cause a plant to experience fluctuation. Sometimes its all plants, sometimes it's only some plants. There's all sorts of issues such as surface agitation, flow patterns, proper dissolution -- even something as inane as a clogged check valve. This is discussed here: 2Hr Aquarist: Optimizing CO2

Temperature is not as sensitive as the others I believe. I know the Green Aqua youtube channel (another awesome resource, btw) generally recommends tanks to be below 75 based on their experience, but I feel from the vibe over the years that that is one of the finer optimization tweaks.. Does it help? Maybe, but you'd get much better bang for the buck in the beginning by working on the other 3 pillars first.




Sometimes, some of these imbalances are just due to your tank being new. As another poster said, it looks awesome already. Just sit back and enjoy it a little. You did a great analysis and resolution by reducing your lighting in response to your first algae occurrences. BBA is one of the trickiest algaes and don't feel bad if you have a time with it. The best established tanks on here still deal with it on an ongoing basis. You know, however, you're okay if your plants are not infested with BBA. However, as you stated, your ferns still have them, so yes, they need continued work, but like you said "most" plants are doing reasonably well. That's half the battle already! So, the thing about plants, once a leaf is damaged/leaking to be bba infected, it can't really heal itself. It works all leaky and creaky for the plant until it grows new leaves. This is likely why you kill the existing BBA and new ones just grow on it again. So keep optimizing other things until you get enough new leaves to safely just cut these old ones off. This is what most mean by ... grow the plants, not fight the algae. As you may have noticed, the BBA is not picking on the plants that are doing "reasonably well."


Growing plants mean more than just supplying the right nutrients. You have to consider that perhaps your hardscape is affecting flow of CO2 and/or nutrients or causing too much accumulation of organics. Perhaps there's too much shade or not enough shade. These are all things considered in terrestrial gardening and it holds true here.

I've never grown HC, but I've grown monte carlo ( an easier alternative ) and as mentioned in the 2Hr Aquarist's site, it generally desires good light, good co2. It's almost a reliable indicator that you're either not getting enough --- whether its the entire tank or maybe just that localized area due to flow issues.

Plant roots.. umm, I think that's just something you have to cope with for stem plants. It's what they do. Some see this as a time to pull them up, remove the bottom up to the first ring of roots, and replant. As a person who is looking to grow plants well, I tend not to remove all the roots when I do this as you'll cause the plant to work itself to grow a new round of roots before it continues to worry about growing new leaves. Perhaps in time, you will find more suitable plants with similar looks that behave differently, less prone to shooting out roots. Sometimes, with the right mix of nutrients, they behave differently. Or, you learn to hide them as you start working with your scapes.

Yeap, these rabbit holes get deep and that's what makes continued dedication to the hobby fun? Interesting? or frustrating to others and they move on.

Well, I definitely supplied a story when maybe you've asked for more direct actions... IF it were my tank (and take it with a grain of salt, as my track record hasn't been the best ;) ), maybe my set of actions going forward would be:

1) Play with the lighting even more. You may ask, how do I reduce more? I can't see the tank anymore if I do! I don't know how programmable the sbreeflights are but some people around here adopt a "midday spike" lighting profile. So, say, you want a 6 hour lighting period (or more, cuz well, you want to enjoy the tank too right?). You set hours 1-2:30 at maybe eh 20%? 2:30-3:30 at 80% so all the plants get their growth in 3:30-6 back at 20%. Just numbers pulled out of thin air. You may play with them as you watch what works with your plants.

2) Focus on CO2. focus on flow, focus about agitation, focus on everything there is to worry about for co2 and think about it some more :)

3) Keep up your fastidious maintenance and watch out for challenges that your scape may bring you.

Anyway, you're off to a great start already -- much better than my start many years back. so

4) Good luck and enjoy the ride!
 

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Discussion Starter #50
CO2 tuning

All right, so today here is what I did/observed:

  • CO2 was off all night
  • Drop checker was solid blue in the morning
  • Lights came on at 11 am
  • I kept CO2 off because I was planning to measure pH
  • At around 12:25 pH was 7.2 and CO2 was off < yeah :-( got late in measuring pH. Had some office meetings.
  • Started injection at the rate of (maybe) 5 bps or 10; cannot really tell. But I know my tank-sump system needs a huge injection rate of CO2 because of off-gassing.
  • At 3:15 PM, pH measures 6.7
  • So in approximately 3 hours, pH dropped by 0.5
  • Now lights are going off, so I turned off CO2 also.
  • Fish seem to be ok, not gasping
Will rinse-repeat tomorrow :smile2:

and shoot! I forgot to put ferts today morning :-(





Two observations:

* I find it interesting that the drop checker did not change much today. Usually, it is light yellow by this time. I must be pushing more BPM earlier. Today I adjusted the rate.



* In my system, the usual advice of turning on CO2 about one hour before lights will not work...because CO2 will not reach the optimum ppm level in one hour. I am guessing it will take 4-5 hours or even more.


Should I think of keeping CO2 on 24 x 7 instead?
(and of course bring down the bubble rate.)
 

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Discussion Starter #51
Day 2, parameter testing

ok so today I found out a very interesting thing:


GH has gone crazy

Tank water's GH is off the charts. I had to put 7 drops to change the color.
API test kit's chart goes only to 5 drops :surprise:
I did the test twice and got same results


KH changed at 2 drops


Then I checked my RO-DI water's GH and KH. Both changed at the first drop...which is expected. What made the GH get so high? The rocks?


History:
First time fill with RO-DI water: 0 GH tested
Estimation of water capacity of the system: 68 gallons total




To raise it to 3 GH, this calculator says add 163 grams

https://www.seachem.com/calculators.php

12/10/2020 night time : I added 100 grams Seachem Equilibrium




I have no record of testing GH after that until today, so maybe that 100 grams of Equibrium was too much?





CO2 tuning:


8 AM:
pH = 7.1

turned on CO2 injection and adjusted BMP to little bit higher than yesteray.


11 AM:
Lights came on



2 PM:
pH = 6.4
CO2 off
Fishes are fine, not gasping.



Hence:

Change of 0.7 pH in 6 hours.


This is not making any sense.
Yesterday, pH dropped by 0.5 in 3 hours
Today, pH dropped by 0.7 in 6 hours.


Maybe plants are consuming CO2 too fast for the system to cope up?


Ideally the 0.8 to 1 pH drop should have happened by the time the lights come on, right?
That means I should turn on CO2 at 5 AM, and that may give me more drop since plants are not photosynthesizing until 11 AM, that is when the lights come on.
 

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Discussion Starter #52
More CO2 notes

1/10/2021 CO2 notes:


7:30 AM CO2 started manually
pH = 7.1


2:30 PM lights off
pH = 6.6


So this was a drop of 0.5 pH in 7 hours, but note that lights were on, so CO2 was being consumed by the plants.
 

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Discussion Starter #53
Another update from today...

6:30 am - co2 on, assuming off gassed pH of 7.1

10:00 am - lights on, pH = 6.4
Means 0.7 pH drop in 3.5 hours

2:00 pm - lights off, pH = 6.4

Hey! That is good, right?
I mean no pH drop during the photo period

Tomorrow, I'll have the co2 turn on at 6 am, automatically using the WiFi enabled outlet controllers.

I also notice reduced BBA algae growth, but thread type algae is still there.


Sent from my H8314 using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #54 (Edited)
Scheduled

All right, I fixed the problem with the Wi-Fi network and the switched outlets today (basically had to separate the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands) and they are now online.


I have set schedule as follows:


CO2:

On at 5 AM
Off at 3 PM


White light: (blu-ish light, set to dim level)

On at 10:45 AM
Off at 3:15 PM


Warm light: (bright light, main photo period)

On at 11 AM
Off at 3 PM



So this should give us 4 hours of photo period and enough CO2 during it.
The start and stop of photo period has 15 minutes of dim light, in the hopes to give the fish a little less shock.
 

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Discussion Starter #56
Thanks for reading my journal and your feedback.


I do have a 55 gallon RO water reservoir in the basement. It is kept full by the valves-controllers there. Water is brought upstairs and into the sump using a demand pump (I should do a "write up / show and tell" for that system).

I am following a small daily water change regimen instead of a weekly large water change, which most people do. According to my calculations, taken from this calculator, I am doing around 25% water change per week.






Your water changes seem super small. Have you thought about making a R/O reservoir to do larger water changes?
 

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Ah, I didn't realize you had a R/O reservoir. I think you should probably include the volume of the sump in your calculation as well, rather than just the tank. It looks like that would put water changes closer to 20%. With 20% weekly water changes, PPS pro dosing, and assuming no uptake of nitrogen or addition due to fish waste (big assumption here) then that would put your maximum NO3 accumulation at roughly 35 PPM in the water column. Not that that's a problem, just some food for thought in case you ever want to try to lower nitrates. Greggz has a cool accumulation worksheet in his signature under "Google drive files."

For my own tank I need to change at least 5 gallons just to be able to vacuum the top of the soil, siphon the detritus from the plants, and pick up any leftover food and free floating algae. If you're just siphoning from the sump, you are getting the "dilution factor" of your water changes, but not necessarily removing the physical mulm that builds up in the bottom of the tank. I'd be willing to bet if you gave the substrate a good vacuuming once a week, maybe 5 gallons' or so, you would see a decrease in the hair algae.

I'm not a prescriptivist about water changes, I know a lot of folks don't do the large water changes and it works out just fine. For me though it really seems to help with keeping the tank in top shape.
 

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Discussion Starter #58
Thanks

Thanks for the good information! :) I am not familiar with the spreadsheet you mention, but will look for it.


I am including the water in the sump in the 68 gallons I estimate. Just double checked it...here is my calculation...


Estimation of water capacity of the system: 68 gallons total --



Sump: 18 gallons

Filled area 12 x 12 x 29"



Tank: 50 gallons

Filled area 47" x 17" x 19" = 65 gallons

Maybe 25% is taken by furnishings

So it contains approximately 50 gallons








I have not vacuumed this tank's substrate yet, mostly because

1. The roots of many plants have not 'taken' yet and
2. Most of the substrate is covered up by plants now


I do plan to do maintenance once a week: vacuum, cleanup, trimming plants etc. I am thinking of using one of my old unused canister filters to help with sucking up debris and maybe even plant trimmings. Trimmings become a total mess!



I totally agree about doing water changes. However, I feel that small frequent water changes (once or twice daily) are better than large water change once a week. Read some articles about that on the 'net...I think that makes more sense for keeping the water parameters more stable. Once I have the AWC system setup, I could easily program it to do WC twice a day. That should easily top 5 gallons a day.




Ah, I didn't realize you had a R/O reservoir. I think you should probably include the volume of the sump in your calculation as well, rather than just the tank. It looks like that would put water changes closer to 20%. With 20% weekly water changes, PPS pro dosing, and assuming no uptake of nitrogen or addition due to fish waste (big assumption here) then that would put your maximum NO3 accumulation at roughly 35 PPM in the water column. Not that that's a problem, just some food for thought in case you ever want to try to lower nitrates. Greggz has a cool accumulation worksheet in his signature under "Google drive files."

For my own tank I need to change at least 5 gallons just to be able to vacuum the top of the soil, siphon the detritus from the plants, and pick up any leftover food and free floating algae. If you're just siphoning from the sump, you are getting the "dilution factor" of your water changes, but not necessarily removing the physical mulm that builds up in the bottom of the tank. I'd be willing to bet if you gave the substrate a good vacuuming once a week, maybe 5 gallons' or so, you would see a decrease in the hair algae.

I'm not a prescriptivist about water changes, I know a lot of folks don't do the large water changes and it works out just fine. For me though it really seems to help with keeping the tank in top shape.
 
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