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1200L High Tech Planted Tank

RickyV

Member
Joined
8 Nov 2022
Messages
125
Location
Texas
I wish I had started a journal on this tank when I first started it, but better late than never. As you will see my tank has gone through a lot of change in the past 2 and a half years.


This right here is my old 567 liter (150 gallons) tank. This tank ran for about two years before it stared to leak. I thought this was a great opportunity to get a bigger tank lol.
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I ended up getting this 1200L tank. This is the tank when first filled. I was really unsure of how to scape such a big tank and was limited to what I had in my previous tank.
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Fish in the tank now and a few plants as well. The tank right now is running on pretty low light and no CO2.
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A little while after I found a deal on lots of amazon swords and thought they would be a good way to fill in the tank without spending so much money on hardscape. Also gave away the parrot cichlids as they would pick at plants too much and would really limit my choices. Somehow the Severum was very picky when it came to what plants he likes to eat. Unfortunately this limits my plant choices but he is everyone's favorite fish so I cant give him away.
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Some time later I found an LFS with amazing prices on plants so I was able to fill in my tank a lot more.
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A few months later this is what the tank looks like, I neglected the tank a bit before this picture so many of the plants disappeared, or shrunk down and got lots of nutrient deficiencies. However as you can see the plants that really thrived during this period is the giant Vallisneria.
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2 months later I did a bit of maintenance and cleaning up of the scape since it was looking a little messy. As you can see the big amazon swords I once had shrunk down to tiny swords you can barely see due to not paying attention to the tank.
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Two weeks later I was still a little unhappy with the scape so I trimmed the vals a little more and I added a few more plants to replace the shrunken down unhealthy plants. Little did I know trimming the vals this much would soon cause most of them to melt away. This is maybe one of my favorite versions of the tank, but the scape would not last long.
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About 8 months later I decided to add CO2 to my system. Not much happened in these 8 months, plants went through a cycle of shrinking and growing due to my inconsistency. This was the tank on the day I decided to add CO2. This was on June 2022 a few months ago.
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After adding CO2 I saw an explosion in plant growth, and I began to dose EI and doing 50% water changes. I became the most consistent I have ever been with the tank ever since adding CO2. The fast change each week in plants made the tank a lot more fun for me, and the success I was finally seeing made me enjoy the tank much more. Here is the tank one month after adding CO2. As you can see the tiger lotus grew to a monstrous size and the tiny amazon swords are much more visible now. Vallisneria also shooting off lots of runners.
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About another month later and the tank has turned into a jungle. I have the most plants I have ever had without adding any new plants. The giant tiger lotus was trimmed and moved back.
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A little over a month later I decided to clean the scape up a little and I added some rotala rotundifolia to the scape and got rid of most of the vals as some of them were getting up to 8 feet long...
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About one month later I decided to upgrade my old cheap amazon LEDs to 3 Chihiro's WRGB II 90 pro. I was in love with how tanks looked underneath these lights so I finally decided to get the lights I've always wanted. This is the tank under the Chihiro's. I want to say this is the point were problems I already had started getting a little worse. Nutrient deficiencies were getting more obvious and I was starting to see an increase in GDA. I guess the lights were making problems I already had happen much faster.
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This is the tank another month later, tank isn't doing too bad, but I am getting tired of the GDA. I did a lot of reading on this forum and the Barrreport and figured CO2 might be my problem. I increased my CO2 to more proper levels, reduced temp, and reduced light in order to reduce CO2 demand and make sure plants were getting proper CO2. Somehow during this time I was ignoring the obvious sings in my Brazilian pennywort that had new leaves that looked like they were getting bleached. Some with very dark veins while the leaves were almost white.
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This is the tank today. The photo looks a little washed out from all the CO2 bubbles since I increased CO2 injection. My reactors are also very undersized and I plan on getting something much bigger. It was around this time that I made some a post asking about CO2 optimization since I thought CO2 was my main problem Optimizing CO2 in 1200L tank. More recently a few days ago I made a thread asking for advice on GDA Persistent GDA on plants. It seems the deficiencies in my plants are most likely iron (Fe) and maybe magnesium (Mg). I have relatively hard water so my plants do not have much iron available to them. I plan on adding Fe DTPA since I now know I need a chelator to prevent the iron from immediately precipitating from the water column. I also have a pH meter so I will be working on making sure my CO2 is at optimal and stable levels. I will receive the iron chelator in a few days and I will start dosing magnesium with Epsom salts today. I will soon update with how the plants are affected.
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Last edited:
I wish I had started a journal on this tank when I first started it, but better late than never.
This is great @RickyV, It might be a good idea to reiterate your tanks details, dosing regime etc. from the Persistent GDA thread. I suggest you just sum up the whole thing in one post.

Cheers,
Michael
 
It might be a good idea to reiterate your tanks details, dosing regime etc. from the Persistent GDA thread.
Good idea!

Here are my current tank details.
Size
Aquarium is 244 cm x 71cm x 71cm (96 in x 28 in x 28 in). Tank volume is around 1200 liters (315 gallons). The sump has around 200 liters (55 gallons) so the total system volume is close to 1400 liters (370 gallons).

Filtration
My sump starts with a pre-filter basket that has a 50 micron pad (or poly-fil). Water then passes through another 50 micron pad (or poly-fil) and then goes through 100 pot scrubbers and then 10 gallons of static K1 media. It is static because it works well enough and I do not like the noise of a fluidized K1 media bed. Water then goes to the return pump chamber which has a 20,000 LPH (5300 GPH) pump, though I estimate the actual flow is at most half of that.

CO2
I use a 20lb CO2 tank that I go replace around every 6 weeks. The CO2 feeds into two Ista max CO2 reactors that I run in series. The CO2 reactors are fed water through a small pump, and the return from one of the reactors is fed directly into my return pump to the display. The second reactor in series also has an airline to free built up CO2 directly to the return pump. These reactors are pretty undersized for my tank as my tank looks like it is using a diffuser. I will be getting something bigger. CO2 is turned on 2.5 hours before main lights on. And turned off 2 hours before main lights off (there is a lot of left over CO2 in the reactors even after turning off the solenoid).

Lights
I use 3 Chihiro's WRGB II pro 90, and 2 120 cm (4ft) nicrew skyled for the front of the tank since my tank is too wide for the Chihiro's to give proper coverage front to back. I currently run the nicrews the first and last 30 minutes of the photoperiod as they are pretty dim. The main lights are on for 10 hours.

Fertilization
20221121_111542.jpg 20221121_111549.jpg
I currently use this DIY EI mix. I dose 80ml 6 times a week, slightly under the suggested dose. I do a 50% water change on the last day of the week.

Water
waterReport.png
This is the water report for the tap water I use in water changes. In the GDA thread I learned that the high calcium content makes it hard for iron to stay in the water. So I plan on adding chelated iron. The magnesium in the water report and in my fertilizer is pretty low, so I plan on adding Epsom salt.

Hopefully can fix this GDA algae once the plants start perking up again from the Magnesium and Chelated iron. I also have a pH meter now so I will be measuring the pH throughout the day and find out if there can be any improvement in that area.
 
In the Persistent GDA on plants thread we discovered one problem in my tank was indeed the CO2. Here is my pH profile that I shared on that thread. As you can see I was not getting to a full pH drop until 6.5 hours and my pH did not reach a point of equilibrium, it looked like it would continue to drop in the day.
350gpH.png

To solve this I angled my return pumps slightly towards the water surface and I added two wave makers near the surface to increase gas exchange using a lot of surface agitation. I also increased the injection rate so I can reach a 1 pH drop faster than before. In theory these changes would help me reach a 1 pH drop quickly and find some equilibrium where the CO2 is staying stable. Here is a video of what the surface looks like now.

Below are the pH readings from yesterday after making these changes. I got lucky and got increased the injection and agitation just enough that I was at a 1 pH drop right at lights on. As you can see the pH is very stable now.. There is a small dip around 3 PM but it looks like it was going to stabilize. Unfortunately I did not get to collect more data after 6:00PM. I think I will be sticking with how I have my CO2/flow setup for now unless anyone thinks there is still room for improvement.
pHprofile112322.png

I did get a chance to add Epsom salts yesterday to increase magnesium (Mg) around 10ppm. My Fe DTPA should be arriving in a few days.
 
I just got a response from NilocG on what type of iron is in my fertilizer. They said the iron used is Fe EDTA. This totally explains the iron deficiency in my plants since I have a high pH and hard water which degrades the iron and keeps my plants from using any of it. I ended up getting iron gluconate and iron DTPA to dose in addition to my micro mix. I am thinking of frontloading all the macros right after water change and dose iron/micros daily after that since the gluconate I hear has a very short lifespan in the water. I think I will mostly use iron gluconate as the DTPA seems to add a subtle yellow tint to the water.
 
The mist being produced from my two small reactors is driving me nuts lol. It really makes viewing the tank less pleasant. Can anyone point me to a thread or video with a CO2 reactor I can build that will get close to 100% dissolved CO2 bubbles? I'm guessing I will need something pretty big or more than one reactor since I am injecting huge amounts of CO2 into my tank. I originally wanted to get this reactor NA Cerges Style Reactor but the guy that makes them told me it wouldn't be big enough to completely make the mist disappear. I guess I just need to make a bigger version of this reactor, but how big?
 
You said you dose pretty much daily micro ? Just dose when your ph is under 7 and the iron should be available during the co2 injection period with edta.
Yes I started dosing micros 6 times a week. I have started dosing at the beginning of the photoperiod when the pH is close to its lowest. However recently my tap water pH has been reading between 8 - 8.3. So my aquarium does not get much below a pH of 7. Its possible my pH is not very accurate though since I have a pretty cheap pH probe. But it gives me a reliable change in pH throughout the day.
 
Keep in.mind gliconate may cloud your water with high ph. I have high ph myself and i can't use gluconate.
Oh that makes sense since I have heard of seachem iron clouding tanks with high pH. I am not sure if I have noticed with my tank though. I will keep an eye to see if the occasional clouding in my tank is from the gluconate.
 
I just finished my college semester so I will be posting an update on how the aquarium is doing soon.
 
So a lot has happened in the last month. As suggested I began dosing chelated iron DTPA. I also started dosing iron gluconate. I started front loading all my macros after my water change and the other 6 days I dose my micro solution and each day I'll dose half a teaspoon of gluconate and a pinch of DTPA. I'm honestly not sure If I've seen a significant difference but you can judge for yourself in the video.

Another change in fertilization is that I bought some pottasium chloride which I began to dose on top of my macro solution. I've noticed people dose much higher pottasium than what is in my pre-mixed macro packet. I now dose an extra 20 ppm pottasium.

I was getting tired of looking at the GDA coating my plants so I did something many of you may disagree with. I bought an algaecide. I used API algaefix and within a few days most of the GDA that was on my plants melted away. I now have pretty clean plants with no algae except on a few older leaves. I haven't noticed the GDA return on the plants but time will tell if it comes back. I think the plants look pretty healthy but you guys can tell me if anything looks wrong with them. I am noticing a small film of GDA returning on the glass but I'm just happy it's not on the plants.

I also added an army of snails to help manage any algae that may come back or is still there. I added 200 olive nerite snails, 50 mystery snails, 100 ramshorn snails, and 300 malaysian trumpet snails. I've noticed the malaysian trumpet snail babies are amazing at eating GDA on plants, but they only clean up to the bottom third of the tank. Hopefully that's where the ramshorns come in. The nerites are great at cleaning larger surfaces. The mysteries I am not sure if they are good algae eaters, but they are the most fun to look at.

During this time period my tank came under attack from ick. I think I somehow cross-contaminated from my aunts fish tank that had ick. I treated the tank with API ick super cure. Weirdly only the plecos, severum, loaches, and live bearers where affected by the ich. The angelfish did not get a single speck and acted completely normal. I unfortunately lost a few baby plecos and my three clown loaches. But as of now all the fish look healthy and recovered.

I tested my GH and KH and this is what I have. GH: 15 KH: 8. After adjusting my CO2 to reach the proper level and increasing surface agitation I am now going through 5lbs of CO2 per week. I am curious how much does everyone pay for CO2 around the world? I'm currently paying $30 to exchange my 20lb tank. I considered getting a 50lb tank which has $60 refills. But I am not sure if It'll be too heavy to be practical.

Here is what the tank currently looks like, I will be trimming my rotala bushes sometime this week. I'm also planning on replacing a bush or two with rotala blood red and ludwigia super red. I have some on the way so I may consolidate two of the rotala bushes into one.
20221221_131428.jpg


Here is a video of the tank so you guys can get a better idea of how the plants are doing.
 
Here is what a stem of rotala rotundifolia that's right below the light looks like. I took the picture in natural sunlight to give a more accurate representation.
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I forgot to mention, but does this plant look like rotala blood red? It's sold from buceplant as rotala narrow leaf sp. red. But I have not seen this name used anywhere else. It looks a lot like blood red to me. Especially since I have nitrates between 10-20 ppm and its still pretty red. Some of the stems in the picture are stunted but I am assuming it had to do with the ick medication or the algaecide.
20221221_151637.jpg
 
I forgot to mention, but does this plant look like rotala blood red? It's sold from buceplant as rotala narrow leaf sp. red. But I have not seen this name used anywhere else. It looks a lot like blood red to me. Especially since I have nitrates between 10-20 ppm and its still pretty red. Some of the stems in the picture are stunted but I am assuming it had to do with the ick medication or the algaecide. View attachment 198961
At this point I have almost entirely given up on rotala identification, ESPECIALLY The rotundifolia types. It doesn’t help that they all look basically the same emmersed. Buce plant is notoriously bad at IDing rotala . So I’d say there’s a fair shot you have rotala blood red.
 
So a lot has happened in the last month. As suggested I began dosing chelated iron DTPA. I also started dosing iron gluconate. I started front loading all my macros after my water change and the other 6 days I dose my micro solution and each day I'll dose half a teaspoon of gluconate and a pinch of DTPA. I'm honestly not sure If I've seen a significant difference but you can judge for yourself in the video.

Another change in fertilization is that I bought some pottasium chloride which I began to dose on top of my macro solution. I've noticed people dose much higher pottasium than what is in my pre-mixed macro packet. I now dose an extra 20 ppm pottasium.

I was getting tired of looking at the GDA coating my plants so I did something many of you may disagree with. I bought an algaecide. I used API algaefix and within a few days most of the GDA that was on my plants melted away. I now have pretty clean plants with no algae except on a few older leaves. I haven't noticed the GDA return on the plants but time will tell if it comes back. I think the plants look pretty healthy but you guys can tell me if anything looks wrong with them. I am noticing a small film of GDA returning on the glass but I'm just happy it's not on the plants.

I also added an army of snails to help manage any algae that may come back or is still there. I added 200 olive nerite snails, 50 mystery snails, 100 ramshorn snails, and 300 malaysian trumpet snails. I've noticed the malaysian trumpet snail babies are amazing at eating GDA on plants, but they only clean up to the bottom third of the tank. Hopefully that's where the ramshorns come in. The nerites are great at cleaning larger surfaces. The mysteries I am not sure if they are good algae eaters, but they are the most fun to look at.

During this time period my tank came under attack from ick. I think I somehow cross-contaminated from my aunts fish tank that had ick. I treated the tank with API ick super cure. Weirdly only the plecos, severum, loaches, and live bearers where affected by the ich. The angelfish did not get a single speck and acted completely normal. I unfortunately lost a few baby plecos and my three clown loaches. But as of now all the fish look healthy and recovered.

I tested my GH and KH and this is what I have. GH: 15 KH: 8. After adjusting my CO2 to reach the proper level and increasing surface agitation I am now going through 5lbs of CO2 per week. I am curious how much does everyone pay for CO2 around the world? I'm currently paying $30 to exchange my 20lb tank. I considered getting a 50lb tank which has $60 refills. But I am not sure if It'll be too heavy to be practical.

Here is what the tank currently looks like, I will be trimming my rotala bushes sometime this week. I'm also planning on replacing a bush or two with rotala blood red and ludwigia super red. I have some on the way so I may consolidate two of the rotala bushes into one.
View attachment 198958

Here is a video of the tank so you guys can get a better idea of how the plants are doing.

Looks brilliant! Does your Severum not eat any of the plants?
 
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