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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Instead of asking a bunch of questions, I thought I would make one video and show you guys how my first ever tank is doing.

Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RM3L8NYGYlY

Like I say in the video, please give me any helpful advice that you see or help answer my questions about the plants...But try to keep it pretty basic because I am just starting out.

This tank has been going for about 7 days now.
 

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Tank looks great. Awesome job with the DIY CO2, getting a ton of output. I could never get DIY to work that great for me. I didn't really watch the whole video so I don't know if you covered this, but when you are ready to add fish, you may want to grab a drop checker so you now how much CO2 you're putting in. You don't want to accidentally gas your fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Tank looks great. Awesome job with the DIY CO2, getting a ton of output. I could never get DIY to work that great for me. I didn't really watch the whole video so I don't know if you covered this, but when you are ready to add fish, you may want to grab a drop checker so you now how much CO2 you're putting in. You don't want to accidentally gas your fish.
Thanks, I'm still tinkering with it, I hadn't been having much luck until today with it.

I haven't even researched putting fish in it yet, trying to take this one step at a time. BUT I do have currently in shipment a bubble counter/air check, drop checker, and GH/KH test, so that I can more effectively and safely meter the CO2 out!

I want the tank to be very stable before I think about putting fish in.
 

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Very nice! I like the rock arrangement!

First tip, You have quite a lot of surface agitation. All that surface agitation is letting co2 escape (pretty much making injecting the co2 pointless if it all gasses off). Reduce agitation to just a light surface ripple (you might need to increase surface agitation for more oxygen once fish arrive).

For the co2 levels. Use a KH/PH co2 chart.
http://www.barrreport.com/forum/barr-report/co2-enrichment/11862-co2-ph-kh-table
Most shoot for a 1 point pH drop (ph 7 without co2, to ph 6 with co2), to have co2 concentration around 30ppm.
Since you are doing a DIY co2 set up, I am pretty sure you are inject co2 24/7, so you would want to test pH and KH from your tap water (let the tap water sit for 24 hours or run an airstone in it to off gas the co2 within it) and then test the pH and KH of your tank water. As mentioned, most go for a 1 pH drop. I haven't done DIY co2 so I don't know how achievable that is.

Make sure to post another thread again before you add fish, just to make sure all the dangers are addressed before you go about adding fish (too much co2, or too little oxygen can kill the fish).

The emersed leaves will melt off (you can go ahead and cut the decaying ones off) and submersed leaves should slowly start to grow while the plant transitions.
I'm not very knowledgeable on lighting, but I think it sounds strong enough to grow all your plants.
Around 6500K (cool white) is the general Kelvin/temperature bulb most use on planted tanks. 10,000K is more for saltwater tanks if I'm not mistaken. But hey, I am sure it still works and the color of light emitted doesn't look bad at all. The Kelvin is really just for visual appeal in the color emitted for the most part though, so it's more so personal preference.

Can't say I know what the rocks are. Don't think it looks like any granite I am used to seeing. You can test it by having water (tap) with know pH, KH, GH, then place the rocks in the same water and seeing if pH, KH, or GH rise. If they don't it's inert and safe. If it does rise, you water can get "harder" and/or more alkaline. Not always a bad thing, but not always desired or preferred for most applications. Another way to test is to drip an acidic substance on the rocks (out of water) and see if there is a reaction (will fizz/produce bubbles). Some use white vinegar, but it's not that strong of an acid, so some use Muriatic acid, but do be careful in handling. If no fizzing, the rock is inert/safe.

You could probably do with using more root tabs, 5 is not much really. People often use Osmocote+ as root tabs (cheaper and better). It would be recommended in getting dry powder fertilizers. You can get dry ferts from Nilocg, a member on this forum. He can advise you what to get (micros and macros - NPK and CSM+B).

For the DIY co2, I'm not sure if the lines are getting kinked/folded, or if they just need to be placed lower to have more up lift room to create enough pressure to push through the diffuser.

Regarding the surfactants in the ammonia product, I have no idea really. It's good you had the activated carbon/charcoal (chemical filtration) as that would of helped remove it out of the water. Not sure if the surfactants would kill the beneficial bacteria or not. I don't know if they would have absorbed into your substrate making your substrate toxic/retaining the toxins in your tank/water. I guess the only way to find out is after you add fish. So I would get only one or so "tester" fish before getting all the other fish, just to make sure it's safe.

As for pH range, I like to have it generally at neutral (pH 7) to slightly alkaline (up to 7.5). With a 1 pH drop, 6-6.5 would be alright. I personally wouldn't keep inverts (snails, shrimp) in that acidic water range though. Yeah, many have/do keep inverts at the mentioned water parameters, but still, it is acidic and not so great for their exoskeletons. I guess if you had naturally 8-8.5 pH and 1 pH drop to 7-7.5, keeping most inverts would be fine.

The nitrIte test actually looked to have some detection, was the turquoise/teal that 0 ppm is. Good thing as far as cycling goes (ammonia converted to nitrite). The Tim's One and Only bacteria is the nitrfying bacteria, so dosing that is like jump starting the cycling process, so you can add fish much sooner than normal.

By the way, great "How to change valve stem caps" video. Very helpful :D hahahaha

And oh yeah, GO HAWKS!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Very nice! I like the rock arrangement!

First tip, You have quite a lot of surface agitation. All that surface agitation is letting co2 escape (pretty much making injecting the co2 pointless if it all gasses off). Reduce agitation to just a light surface ripple (you might need to increase surface agitation for more oxygen once fish arrive).

For the co2 levels. Use a KH/PH co2 chart.
CO2/pH/KH table - Aquarium Plants - Barr Report
Most shoot for a 1 point pH drop (ph 7 without co2, to ph 6 with co2), to have co2 concentration around 30ppm.
Since you are doing a DIY co2 set up, I am pretty sure you are inject co2 24/7, so you would want to test pH and KH from your tap water (let the tap water sit for 24 hours or run an airstone in it to off gas the co2 within it) and then test the pH and KH of your tank water. As mentioned, most go for a 1 pH drop. I haven't done DIY co2 so I don't know how achievable that is.

Make sure to post another thread again before you add fish, just to make sure all the dangers are addressed before you go about adding fish (too much co2, or too little oxygen can kill the fish).

The emersed leaves will melt off (you can go ahead and cut the decaying ones off) and submersed leaves should slowly start to grow while the plant transitions.
I'm not very knowledgeable on lighting, but I think it sounds strong enough to grow all your plants.
Around 6500K (cool white) is the general Kelvin/temperature bulb most use on planted tanks. 10,000K is more for saltwater tanks if I'm not mistaken. But hey, I am sure it still works and the color of light emitted doesn't look bad at all. The Kelvin is really just for visual appeal in the color emitted for the most part though, so it's more so personal preference.

Can't say I know what the rocks are. Don't think it looks like any granite I am used to seeing. You can test it by having water (tap) with know pH, KH, GH, then place the rocks in the same water and seeing if pH, KH, or GH rise. If they don't it's inert and safe. If it does rise, you water can get "harder" and/or more alkaline. Not always a bad thing, but not always desired or preferred for most applications. Another way to test is to drip an acidic substance on the rocks (out of water) and see if there is a reaction (will fizz/produce bubbles). Some use white vinegar, but it's not that strong of an acid, so some use Muriatic acid, but do be careful in handling. If no fizzing, the rock is inert/safe.

You could probably do with using more root tabs, 5 is not much really. People often use Osmocote+ as root tabs (cheaper and better). It would be recommended in getting dry powder fertilizers. You can get dry ferts from Nilocg, a member on this forum. He can advise you what to get (micros and macros - NPK and CSM+B).

For the DIY co2, I'm not sure if the lines are getting kinked/folded, or if they just need to be placed lower to have more up lift room to create enough pressure to push through the diffuser.

Regarding the surfactants in the ammonia product, I have no idea really. It's good you had the activated carbon/charcoal (chemical filtration) as that would of helped remove it out of the water. Not sure if the surfactants would kill the beneficial bacteria or not. I don't know if they would have absorbed into your substrate making your substrate toxic/retaining the toxins in your tank/water. I guess the only way to find out is after you add fish. So I would get only one or so "tester" fish before getting all the other fish, just to make sure it's safe.

As for pH range, I like to have it generally at neutral (pH 7) to slightly alkaline (up to 7.5). With a 1 pH drop, 6-6.5 would be alright. I personally wouldn't keep inverts (snails, shrimp) in that acidic water range though. Yeah, many have/do keep inverts at the mentioned water parameters, but still, it is acidic and not so great for their exoskeletons. I guess if you had naturally 8-8.5 pH and 1 pH drop to 7-7.5, keeping most inverts would be fine.

The nitrIte test actually looked to have some detection, was the turquoise/teal that 0 ppm is. Good thing as far as cycling goes (ammonia converted to nitrite). The Tim's One and Only bacteria is the nitrfying bacteria, so dosing that is like jump starting the cycling process, so you can add fish much sooner than normal.

By the way, great "How to change valve stem caps" video. Very helpful :D hahahaha

And oh yeah, GO HAWKS!!!!
Wow amazing reply thank you SO much!!!



Gotcha, I will try and adjust the placement of the pump spout so that it isn't causing such disturbance.

I have seen those charts and I am planning on using one when my gh/kh test kit come in the mail (today). I'm currently turning the CO2 on/off and only running during light times but that may become a nuisance and in that case I will look into the airstone stuff.

Exactly -- I was planning on making another post and going over all the water chemistry before I order any critters.

I found a lot of mixed reviews Googling. People tended to agree 6500-6700 best, 10000 ok, blue actinic bad...So I just replaced the blue actinic bulb it came with, with the 6700 and left the 10000 is came with for extra light intensity.

I will cut the melted leaves off the plants that is nice to know that it does look like they are transitioning and that I'm not killing them by doing something wrong!

I did test the rocks with vinegar and go no reaction, they also did not flake or break apart easy.

I placed the root tabs every 4-6 inch radius circle per instructions, but I would have no problem putting the other half of them out to help them along.

The lines weren't visibly kinked so I am inclined to believe maybe what you are saying about the pressure is the culprit. I just haven't been able to maintain a good flow like that for more than about 30 seconds when the bottles are in the cabinet.

I agree the pH is one thing I am worried about right now and that's why I have all the testing kit stuff coming so I can dial that in to a safer number, I want a couple shrimp.

You're right it did look like the nitrite was slightly elevated I noticed that after I made the video. Fingers crossed that it's working. I am debating buying the nitrifying bacteria but I am in no rush, still so much to learn before I try and put some critters in.


Again thank you for all these amazing replies. And yes it was a joke between my dad and I, we said -- "Everyone has a how to video on YouTube, we should have one too!" :D
 

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Looks great and you have been given some very good advice and you have the most important quality on your side PATIENCE,also a great video and very helpful for getting good responses.Welcome to the hobby and prepare to move the couch out to make room for more tanks lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks! So guys, I came home today and I was met with this....This was not as noticeable yesterday...In fact I didn't even notice it at ALL until I got home today. My video confirms it was there yesterday but it was not nearly as noticeable.


Any advice?
 

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Most new setups where algae appears are met with the same questions, how much light are you running, how long are the lights on for and if your running good light are you dosing fertilizers. Most newbies run their lights way to long and don't dose the right fertilizers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Most new setups where algae appears are met with the same questions, how much light are you running, how long are the lights on for and if your running good light are you dosing fertilizers. Most newbies run their lights way to long and don't dose the right fertilizers.
Fertilizers are the flourish root tabs (5) and lighting being run all day while I am awake, which now that I think about it probably is 15 hours per day... 70 watts...I certainly fit the newbie description.

I take it I should tone the lights duration down?
 

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Yes, you are a newbie!! :)

Your running good light way too long. Generally lighting duration is around 8 hours on a mature tank (could be longer or shorter depending on setup) on a new tank like yours with good light it should start around 5-6 hrs.

You also fall into the mistaken belief that Root tabs will provide the necessary ferts. Root tabs are micro/trace ferts and are the same product as Seachem Flourish. These products can provide ferts in a lower light tank where the primary ferts (macros Nitrogen/Phosphate) are provided by fish waste and food. But in a higher light/co2 enriched tank, the light drives the plants to grow fast but the tank (gas tank) is empty, so the plants just stall. That was my newbie demystifying statement if you couldn't tell.

The eco-complete is far from complete. It's hard for the plants to get at what's in the eco, but again mostly micro ferts.

So you need to reduce the lighting hours drastically and provide macro ferts, which can be purchased online for next to nothing. If you stay on the present coarse your tank will look like a scene from a Tim Burton movie very soon.

Doing this doesn't mean the algae will stop on a dime, but it will put you on the right coarse. Once the algae starts growing it will take a while before the plants when the battle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yes, you are a newbie!! :)

Your running good light way too long. Generally lighting duration is around 8 hours on a mature tank (could be longer or shorter depending on setup) on a new tank like yours with good light it should start around 5-6 hrs.

You also fall into the mistaken belief that Root tabs will provide the necessary ferts. Root tabs are micro/trace ferts and are the same product as Seachem Flourish. These products can provide ferts in a lower light tank where the primary ferts (macros Nitrogen/Phosphate) are provided by fish waste and food. But in a higher light/co2 enriched tank, the light drives the plants to grow fast but the tank (gas tank) is empty, so the plants just stall. That was my newbie demystifying statement if you couldn't tell.

The eco-complete is far from complete. It's hard for the plants to get at what's in the eco, but again mostly micro ferts.

So you need to reduce the lighting hours drastically and provide macro ferts, which can be purchased online for next to nothing. If you stay on the present coarse your tank will look like a scene from a Tim Burton movie very soon.

Doing this doesn't mean the algae will stop on a dime, but it will put you on the right coarse. Once the algae starts growing it will take a while before the plants when the battle.
Gotcha, I will get some macro nutrients in there ASAP and cut the lights down to 5 hours a day.

Question: If you can only run the high lights so long every day, do you guys just leave your tank blacked out the rest of the time, or do you have a low wattage LED or something like that so you can still see it?

Thanks.
 

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The 5-6 hours is what I recommend for startup. Eventually as the tank matures you should be able to get it up 8-9 hrs without issue after that most just black it out. Some of the newer LEDs you could reduce to very minimal light so you could still see the tank, but 15 hours is way to long.

You could also experiment with a split schedule by having the lights on a few hours during the day and then back on when your home or whatever schedule you have. The standard is the 8 hour light period, but people do different things to adjust to their lifestyle.

BTW with plants you really don't have to add the ammonia to cycle. Any decaying leaves will produce ammonia and their is bacteria all over the plants. It might take longer, but the tank will cycle and you should never rush fish in anyway. Once the plants start to really grow and their is a maturing bio-filter the tank will be ready for fish. Adding the ammonia to the high light tank will probably aid the algae more then the plants especially during the startup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Water parameters over the last 3 days since I added some ammonium. Looks like things are headed in an OK direction given my basic knowledge, can you guys weigh in? What should my move be from here?



 

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It's been a long while since I have done a complete new cycle so I don't remember how in what time frame, dosed ammonia, should be convered down to nitrite then lastly nitrates before being considered fully cycled.

For instance if you dosed, 1 or 2ppm of ammonia, how long would it take to completely be converted down to nitrates?
@Diana if you know, can you please mention? I would like to know, myself.

From what I see right now, you technically have the Nitrosomona (convert ammonia to nitrite) and Nitrospira (converts nitrite to nitrate) bacteria there to complete the cycle (looks like that Dr. Tim's One and Only works!), but it looks like the Nitrospira need another day or two to grow to a larger population to handle the nitrites quicker, so they don't build up too high.

Even if completely cycled, I would still dose the same amounts of ammonia everyday or every other day (assuming it's all converted within a timely manner, so each dosing you start back at 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites) until you are ready to get fish. That way you keep the bacteria fed until then. Do a big water change before getting fish to remove the built up nitrate levels.

In the mean time, before getting fish, get that co2 balanced out and research your fish options.

I haven't done DIY co2 before, can you really turn it off/stop injecting at night? Does enough pressure build up (while the valve is closed) that the hoses/lines would pop off, or the bottle would explode?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
It's been a long while since I have done a complete new cycle so I don't remember how in what time frame, dosed ammonia, should be convered down to nitrite then lastly nitrates before being considered fully cycled.

For instance if you dosed, 1 or 2ppm of ammonia, how long would it take to completely be converted down to nitrates?

@Diana if you know, can you please mention? I would like to know, myself.

From what I see right now, you technically have the Nitrosomona (convert ammonia to nitrite) and Nitrospira (converts nitrite to nitrate) bacteria there to complete the cycle (looks like that Dr. Tim's One and Only works!), but it looks like the Nitrospira need another day or two to grow to a larger population to handle the nitrites quicker, so they don't build up too high.

Even if completely cycled, I would still dose the same amounts of ammonia everyday or every other day (assuming it's all converted within a timely manner, so each dosing you start back at 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites) until you are ready to get fish. That way you keep the bacteria fed until then. Do a big water change before getting fish to remove the built up nitrate levels.

In the mean time, before getting fish, get that co2 balanced out and research your fish options.

I haven't done DIY co2 before, can you really turn it off/stop injecting at night? Does enough pressure build up (while the valve is closed) that the hoses/lines would pop off, or the bottle would explode?


I haven't used the One and Only from Dr. Tims, just the fishless cycling ammonia. I have only given 1 2ppm dose and nothing since, per his instructions on the product.I'm just following them (minus the One and Only) which are in video form here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKszPMYhONo.

The DIY CO2 doesn't continue to build pressure. It's holding at 15PSI for me... But the problem I am having right now is I just can't get a steady reliable flow out of it so my pH/dosing is pretty much impossible to get to remain stable. To better explain the problem, the window for the 'sweet spot' where I am getting 2 bubbles per second or so is insanely small, hard to find with the crude twist-pin style pressure adjustment....and quickly fades back down to more like .2 bubbles per second after a few minutes of finding it.

Don't worry, I am going to get all these issues (algae/water chem/co2) sorted out before I get fish. For now this is my aquatic garden.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hey guys, so I got the macro nutrient fertilizers that I believe I need. I got Seachem phosphorous, nitrogen, and potassium. I have fixed my CO2 system and I am getting a consistent output now. I also have a good bacteria population built up, since I added the ammonia they got rid of all the ammonia into nitrite and now have gotten rid of all the nitrite. I added another dose of ammonia now. I am only running my lights ~ 5 hours a day now. My question is about this algae. It appears to still be growing and is all over my sand in the front now. It is in the form of long brown strands. Do you guys think this will come under control eventually? Should I try to manage this in the mean time by removing it? Any tips help, thanks.
 
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