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Learning Curve!

Kimbubbley

Member
Joined
22 Dec 2020
Messages
52
Location
Farnham
So having been totally obsessed, binging YouTube videos 24/7. Stalking all your threads. Collecting scape stuff since before Xmas. And waiting out the Brexit issues to get plants.... tomorrow is "The Day".
I've kept fish before. I have a Biorb running atm. I'm looking forward to moving the fish out of it.

This is my collection of kit so far:-

TANK Superfish Scaper 90 60 x 40 x 38cm 91.2ltrs
FILTER Oase Thermo 350
CO2 CO2 Art Pro SE with intank diffuser
LIGHTS Comes with the tank. LED says 269 PAR for Advanced plants. But who knows?
SUBSTRATE Tropica soil with soil powder top
HARDSCAPE Dragon stone and Redmoor Root
TWINSTAR M5 Expensive water smoke maker
S2 PRO Dimmer

Scape Pic1.jpg


Scape pic2.jpg


The tank has been sitting like this for the last 2 months. Waiting for Tropica plants and Brexit. Actually, its got to the point i'm scared of the plants coming! I've got used to it looking like this. There are no worries about algae. Or CO2. Or canister filters and lily pipes. Or melting plants. All of which I have ZERO experience with. Algae I think is the biggest fear. Keeping fingers crossed. If i need to shout for help, UKAPS is the place to do it!

Cabinet pic.jpg


Finally got round to sorting out the cabinet tonight ready for 'The Day'. Have left the filter pipes longer so I can pull it out in front for maintenance. No kinks so hoping this will be ok. Plumbed the CO2. No gaseous explosion or asphyxiation. Phew! That's one worry less! 🥳

I could do with some lights advice and CO2 if possible. I think I read, if no livestock head for lime green/yellow on the drop checker to help the plants acclimate?
I also think I read start lights low 50%.... or less?? With a 6 hr photo period. There's no livestock, so do plants need a ramp up and ramp down? Included in this 6 hours? Or either side of it?

So that it, its bedtime on Plantmas eve... when I wake up tomorrow its Plantmas!!
 

Libba

Member
Joined
12 Jan 2021
Messages
166
Location
Australia
So having been totally obsessed, binging YouTube videos 24/7. Stalking all your threads. Collecting scape stuff since before Xmas. And waiting out the Brexit issues to get plants.... tomorrow is "The Day".
I've kept fish before. I have a Biorb running atm. I'm looking forward to moving the fish out of it.

This is my collection of kit so far:-

TANK Superfish Scaper 90 60 x 40 x 38cm 91.2ltrs
FILTER Oase Thermo 350
CO2 CO2 Art Pro SE with intank diffuser
LIGHTS Comes with the tank. LED says 269 PAR for Advanced plants. But who knows?
SUBSTRATE Tropica soil with soil powder top
HARDSCAPE Dragon stone and Redmoor Root
TWINSTAR M5 Expensive water smoke maker
S2 PRO Dimmer

View attachment 164167

View attachment 164168

The tank has been sitting like this for the last 2 months. Waiting for Tropica plants and Brexit. Actually, its got to the point i'm scared of the plants coming! I've got used to it looking like this. There are no worries about algae. Or CO2. Or canister filters and lily pipes. Or melting plants. All of which I have ZERO experience with. Algae I think is the biggest fear. Keeping fingers crossed. If i need to shout for help, UKAPS is the place to do it!

View attachment 164173

Finally got round to sorting out the cabinet tonight ready for 'The Day'. Have left the filter pipes longer so I can pull it out in front for maintenance. No kinks so hoping this will be ok. Plumbed the CO2. No gaseous explosion or asphyxiation. Phew! That's one worry less! 🥳

I could do with some lights advice and CO2 if possible. I think I read, if no livestock head for lime green/yellow on the drop checker to help the plants acclimate?
I also think I read start lights low 50%.... or less?? With a 6 hr photo period. There's no livestock, so do plants need a ramp up and ramp down? Included in this 6 hours? Or either side of it?

So that it, its bedtime on Plantmas eve... when I wake up tomorrow its Plantmas!!

Keen to follow this one! Hardscape looks great.

The general consensus seems to be that you should start your lights on a low intensity with a short photoperiod. This is because the plants will need time to establish themself and adapt to their new environment so they won't be able to utilise a lot of light right away. Excess light seems to be the surest way to get algae.

Run the CO2 on the higher side to start with and then you can start easing it down to around the 30ppm mark once you're ready for livestock. Inject enough to turn your drop checker yellow and let it run 24/7 to begin with to keep things stable and to make sure you're at peak CO2 whenever the lights come on. I believe this is what @Siege recommends. Once it's been going for a while you can optimise the timing by doing a daily pH profile etc. The thing about drop checkers is that they are very slow to react so they aren't a great tool for knowing how long it takes your CO2 levels to rise.

I'd have a read through @Geoffrey Rea's journal for "New decade, new decadence" to see how he starts a setup. He's doing 50% daily water changes for the first month which some people might find excessive but I'm giving it a go at the moment and my system is flourishing. You really want to minimise organics in the water as much as you can until you have a large biomass of plants to outcompete any algae.

What will be your fertilising regime?
 

Kevin Eades

Member
Joined
24 Jan 2021
Messages
203
Location
Portsmouth
Looking great. Will look stunning when planted im sure. I'm sure you are aware about the nitrogen cycle already owning fish but make sure your not tempted to put the fish in too early. New aquasoil leaches ammonia so need to clear that with the water changes. You probably know this already but I'm surprised how many people pop up on here without doing it and get fish loss. Looks like you have all the right kit and as you said you've done a lot of research. Looks like you are on the path to success.
 

Kimbubbley

Member
Thread starter
Joined
22 Dec 2020
Messages
52
Location
Farnham
Keen to follow this one! Hardscape looks great.

The general consensus seems to be that you should start your lights on a low intensity with a short photoperiod. This is because the plants will need time to establish themself and adapt to their new environment so they won't be able to utilise a lot of light right away. Excess light seems to be the surest way to get algae.

Run the CO2 on the higher side to start with and then you can start easing it down to around the 30ppm mark once you're ready for livestock. Inject enough to turn your drop checker yellow and let it run 24/7 to begin with to keep things stable and to make sure you're at peak CO2 whenever the lights come on. I believe this is what @Siege recommends. Once it's been going for a while you can optimise the timing by doing a daily pH profile etc. The thing about drop checkers is that they are very slow to react so they aren't a great tool for knowing how long it takes your CO2 levels to rise.

I'd have a read through @Geoffrey Rea's journal for "New decade, new decadence" to see how he starts a setup. He's doing 50% daily water changes for the first month which some people might find excessive but I'm giving it a go at the moment and my system is flourishing. You really want to minimise organics in the water as much as you can until you have a large biomass of plants to outcompete any algae.

What will be your fertilising regime?
Thanks @Libba. Seems like I'm on the right track then. Fingers crossed! Will read thru 'New decade, new decadence' with interest. I will for sure be keeping up the large regular water changes for an extended period. I do a third of a tank every 3 days on the Biorb even after its been running 6mths. The whole thing seems much healthier and happier with regular changes. So planning 50% twice a week with this one once the soil has settled for the long term.
 

Kimbubbley

Member
Thread starter
Joined
22 Dec 2020
Messages
52
Location
Farnham
PFirst and most important question @Kimbubbley

Is that wood glued down so it doesn’t immediately float the moment you fill the tank?
Hi Geoffrey, your tank is beautiful. Wood is glued into one big piece with cig filters. Then glued underneath to the dragon stone in the same way. I've seen one, 2 hours after being planted, still break away and float even tho fixed the the same way. o_O I've got some rock on hand. Still waiting on buce, so don't have to worry about squishing that. Can't lift it out if I try gently. So can only hope that this is enough. I THINK I've done what I can! whispers small pray to aquascaping gods
 

Kimbubbley

Member
Thread starter
Joined
22 Dec 2020
Messages
52
Location
Farnham
Looking great. Will look stunning when planted im sure. I'm sure you are aware about the nitrogen cycle already owning fish but make sure your not tempted to put the fish in too early. New aquasoil leaches ammonia so need to clear that with the water changes. You probably know this already but I'm surprised how many people pop up on here without doing it and get fish loss. Looks like you have all the right kit and as you said you've done a lot of research. Looks like you are on the path to success.
Hi Kevin, yep all good with fishless cycling. Not expecting to put fish in for atleast a month. Maybe more. They are happy in the other tank indefinitely. I've grabbed some Seachem stability incase and can seed from my running tank. But read adding ammonia not needed due to soil and plants. Seems counter productive to add ammonia, when you spend the first month or more doing massive water changes to clear or out and prevent algae? But I stand to be corrected :)
 

Wookii

Member
Joined
13 Nov 2019
Messages
2,536
Location
Nottingham
Nice starting scape @Kimbubbley - if I were you, I wouldn't wait for the plants to come - get it filled with water and run it with the lights off. Consider it an opportunity to get rid of that initial burst of ammonia from the soil (especially if you are planning on adding Buce), allow the wood to start soaking and go through its 'fungus' phase, and test your filter and pipework.

Then when your plants arrive, just drain it and start planting.
 

Geoffrey Rea

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UKAPS Team
Joined
27 May 2017
Messages
1,568
Location
Cambridgeshire
Wood is glued into one big piece with cig filters. Then glued underneath to the dragon stone in the same way.

Coolness 😎

Such an obvious thing that is easily missed in all the excitement.

Love the scape and looking forward to seeing the setup planted out.
 

Kimbubbley

Member
Thread starter
Joined
22 Dec 2020
Messages
52
Location
Farnham
Well, it's been a VERY long day! Plants arrive at 9.30am sharp. Took me til 2pm to prep them all.
IMG_20210305_120638495.jpg
Quick emergency call to AG to make sure I was planting the Monte Carlo right. A minor moment of panic but seems I was doing it alright already. Panic averted, thanks AG! Then it's been a long slog all day. Just sat down at 10pm!!
IMG_20210305_155243286.jpg


Moss first. Some tied some glued. No white marks of glue to see, so please with myself. Last time (also first time) I glued moss I had green tipped fingers for days and the moss was a total hash :joyful: This time much easier, probably due to the lovely quality of the moss.
IMG_20210305_193109184.jpg

Anubis carpet and crypts in. Wasn't quite sure where to put the crypts. Quick google and YouTube mid planting and the just put them in and have fingers crossed. Think they will be ok.
IMG_20210305_193125382.jpg

Stems in. Ludwigia mini super red first. On the third behind the wood. Rotala Ro' coming towards the viewing edge. And pearl weed in the back corner. Also sporting a particularly attractive tie wrap rock as after all that planting and @Geoffrey Rea's reminder. I decided it wasn't worth the risk of not tying one on just incase!
IMG_20210305_203230112.jpg

Super slow fill up and all was good. Not one floating plant!! Refitted the lilly pipes and primed the filter. LOVE the filter, really impressed. So easy to prime and set going. And super quiet!
So although a really long day. All in all a good one. No problems yet! Haven't set a light programme yet. Or set the co2 going. Had enough for today. Hopefully they will be ok until tomorrow when I will have more patience again. Still have lots of plants left. And tripartita plus verticularus (is that it? Cba to get up again to find the label, too plum tuckered!) But hoping if I keep them damp and cool they will be ok to put in tomorrow when I do the water change.
Smiling!
 

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Kimbubbley

Member
Thread starter
Joined
22 Dec 2020
Messages
52
Location
Farnham
So today I did the first water change and set up the CO2. And
I planted some plants that I couldnt decided where I wanted them yesterday. I learnt a few things!
I learnt if you use one of the syphons that has a hand pump bit to get it started and you aren't being super careful, you blow the monte carlo out of your substrate. And you have to uncover the plants you buried. Fill in the hole and replant all the floating monte carlo... Doh! :rolleyes:
I also learnt that I don't have to have a mini panic attack and open the windows. Or put the dog in the bedroom safe. I am not going to gas us all with CO2. Atleast not today! :hilarious:
The water was a little milky this morning. I'm guessing a bacterial bloom. I changed 2/3 of the tank water and it was better but not crystal. I called AG for settings for CO2. They have the patients of a Saint and were really really helpful. Not only will I not gas myself, I can run my drop checker yellow with my hard water for a while and I won't gas the plants! :thumbup: So now I have a plan for a couple of weeks while things settle...including myself. I've been up and down all day checking the drop checker and watching the flow all day.
I don't like the bacterial bloom. I feel like I should drop the water out and do another water change tonight, rather than wait until tomorrow. Any advice on this would be greatfully received. But I will go and search the threads. Today's pic... A progressively milky tank this evening. The pic doesn't do it justice. It's pretty milky!
IMG_20210306_195519823.jpg
 

Libba

Member
Joined
12 Jan 2021
Messages
166
Location
Australia
If it won't clear despite frequent water changes you could look into a product like Seachem's Clarity or ADA's Clear Water. I haven't used either product though so can't recommend them.
 

Tucker90

Member
Joined
28 Feb 2016
Messages
359
Location
Derby
So today I did the first water change and set up the CO2. And
I planted some plants that I couldnt decided where I wanted them yesterday. I learnt a few things!
I learnt if you use one of the syphons that has a hand pump bit to get it started and you aren't being super careful, you blow the monte carlo out of your substrate. And you have to uncover the plants you buried. Fill in the hole and replant all the floating monte carlo... Doh! :rolleyes:
I also learnt that I don't have to have a mini panic attack and open the windows. Or put the dog in the bedroom safe. I am not going to gas us all with CO2. Atleast not today! :hilarious:
The water was a little milky this morning. I'm guessing a bacterial bloom. I changed 2/3 of the tank water and it was better but not crystal. I called AG for settings for CO2. They have the patients of a Saint and were really really helpful. Not only will I not gas myself, I can run my drop checker yellow with my hard water for a while and I won't gas the plants! :thumbup: So now I have a plan for a couple of weeks while things settle...including myself. I've been up and down all day checking the drop checker and watching the flow all day.
I don't like the bacterial bloom. I feel like I should drop the water out and do another water change tonight, rather than wait until tomorrow. Any advice on this would be greatfully received. But I will go and search the threads. Today's pic... A progressively milky tank this evening. The pic doesn't do it justice. It's pretty milky! View attachment 164292

I’m not an expert by any means, but the last 4/5 tanks I’ve had all go the same milky colour, and your wood Will fungus up within 2 days.

Keep up with the daily water changes and it’ll soon clear the water.

As for the fur, toothbrush and syphon work a treat, or just leave it, it soon sods off!

Scape looks great by the way! Really like the flow of the wood!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Kimbubbley

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Thread starter
Joined
22 Dec 2020
Messages
52
Location
Farnham
I’m not an expert by any means, but the last 4/5 tanks I’ve had all go the same milky colour, and your wood Will fungus up within 2 days.

Keep up with the daily water changes and it’ll soon clear the water.

As for the fur, toothbrush and syphon work a treat, or just leave it, it soon sods off!

Scape looks great by the way! Really like the flow of the wood!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Hi @Tucker90. Thanks for the reply and the lovely compliment! This is very good to know. I kept fish lots of time over the years. But low tech and never had a bacterial bloom before. So the advice is very welcome :) There's something else I've noticed with this tank this evening that I've not noticed before. The water chemistry is dramatically different to the tap water I put in. I expected a drop in pH. But both the KH and GH have dropped massively. Do you know if this is a permanent effect, or does it gradually go back to tap specs. The KH I understand due to the co2 and pH change. But the GH I am very surprised by. If these are a long term changes, the tank would be suitable for my fish without diluting my tap water with RO. Which is what I was expecting I would need to do before moving the livestock in.
 

Wookii

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Joined
13 Nov 2019
Messages
2,536
Location
Nottingham
The KH and GH are being buffered down by the soil, that is normal, especially when it’s fresh, so don’t worry about it.

Just keep doing large (80%+) water changes for at least a week or two. to get rid of any ammonia, and it will also help clear the bacterial bloom you are seeing - which is also relatively harmless and will go on its own as the tank matures.

You are obviously in good hands with Steve (@Siege) and Dave from AQ. As they’ve advised you, you can run the drop checker yellow to start with as you have no livestock, and you won’t kill the dog lol - he/she is breathing out more CO2 than you’re injecting into the tank. Then just slowly dial it down over a few weeks, one adjustment at a time (the drop checker can take two hours to react to changes in CO2 levels), until you get the right green colour in the drop checker fluid.

Just make sure you start the CO2 injection early enough that the drop checker is the correct colour before the lights come on, and remains the right colour until the lights go off.
 

Kimbubbley

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Thread starter
Joined
22 Dec 2020
Messages
52
Location
Farnham
If it won't clear despite frequent water changes you could look into a product like Seachem's Clarity or ADA's Clear Water. I haven't used either product though so can't recommend them.
Hi Libba, how are you doing? I owe you an apology. I missed that you asked me what ferts I was planning for the tank, in an earlier post. I'm not sure. I have TNC complete and TNC light. I'm think probably TNC complete til it's gone. Then dry salts are most likely. I did wonder about using S. Clarity, but I think for now I will stick with all these massive water changes and see how I go. Theres purigen in the filter. Which should also clear the water I believe. I put it in to clear tannins while to wood soaks. I hate yellow water. Luckily I like water changes! :) If it's not doing any harm for the moment I'll let it do its thing and see what happens for a while.
 

Kimbubbley

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Thread starter
Joined
22 Dec 2020
Messages
52
Location
Farnham
The KH and GH are being buffered down by the soil, that is normal, especially when it’s fresh, so don’t worry about it.

Just keep doing large (80%+) water changes for at least a week or two. to get rid of any ammonia, and it will also help clear the bacterial bloom you are seeing - which is also relatively harmless and will go on its own as the tank matures.

You are obviously in good hands with Steve (@Siege) and Dave from AQ. As they’ve advised you, you can run the drop checker yellow to start with as you have no livestock, and you won’t kill the dog lol - he/she is breathing out more CO2 than you’re injecting into the tank. Then just slowly dial it down over a few weeks, one adjustment at a time (the drop checker can take two hours to react to changes in CO2 levels), until you get the right green colour in the drop checker fluid.

Just make sure you start the CO2 injection early enough that the drop checker is the correct colour before the lights come on, and remains the right colour until the lights go off.
Thanks @Wookii 80%+ it is. I did wonder if @Seige was Steve. He will think he has a stalker. I'm sure they must take bets on whether that's me on the phone again. And who's going to pull the short straw and answer it! :lol: They've been fab and plants were perfect. Going to start putting some spreadsheets together for the new tank parameters just out of interest and to set up the co2. If anyone has any technical info on the exchange between the soil and water or any links to papers, I would be interested to look into it.
 

Kimbubbley

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22 Dec 2020
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Location
Farnham
Day 2 of the tank up and running. This morning as advised I did as big a water changed as I could do. I syphoned almost right down to the substrate, with just enough room to get my finger on the syphon hose to stop any back flow blowing out the monte carlo. No MC was disturbed today, so I must be a quick learner after yesterday :D. The drop checker is running yellow. Not lemon yellow, more like a very light yellow/green. With the CO2 and Twinstar the tank is pretty fizzy :)
There is a back corner which I wondered if the flow was reaching as it needs to go round the hardscape and thru the stems. I moved the drop checker there and opened the flow on the surface skimmer so it draws from the bottom and not from the skimmer. To see if this increases the flow back out from the lily pipe and round the tank. The verdict was, I haven't a clue :D and suspect not. There wasn't a noticeable difference. The skimmer is still skimming. I have left it open for now. But a fine dust film is collecting in the tube of the skimmer. So either this is just how they normally get dirty, or the suction from below isn't strong enough to wick it away? If someone could let me know that would be fab :)
IMG_20210307_212750185.jpg
As you can see the drop checker in the questionable flow area is still yellow. Once the light came on today I can see that when the Twinstar mists, the mist eventually makes it milky there too. So I guess there is some flow there. I expect the water is probably CO2 saturated to within an inch of its life.
There is a problem I can see and not sure what to do about it :( The cig filters are beautifully attached to the wood still, but with small pieces of dragon stone glued to it where it has flaked off. So the wood is no longer attached to the stones. I think this has caused a very slow slip so that the wood has slid along the glass under the soil and is butted up against the glass :( not the best picture to see from as the pic throws out the perspective you see with the eye. But that was a flat bed with MC in it. And you can see how I think the slipping wood has pushed the soil and MC over the top of it. Like a knife into butter. I'm worried about any weight on the glass. Especially as its being held down by a big tie wrapped stone.
Tomorrow I have to go to work and won't be able to do a water change in the morning as I have been doing. So I'm going to do it now quick. Then again tomorrow evening. So far I've done my water changes in the morning before the lights go on. Seeing as co2 is running 24/7 atm still, I guess it didn't matter when. But will need to do them after work from now on.

Please can I ask, once the photo period is done in the evening, is it OK to just drop the water out and do the water change straight away? After tomorrow I have to run a yellow drop checker, but time it to the photo period instead of 24/7.

I don't want to go to go to work. How will the tank cope alone without me fretting over it all day?!
Ps just checked the wood. It's not heavy its light. Maybe I blew the soil and MC like that when I did yesterday's water change. I've scraped the soil off it and will look again after work tomorrow :)
 

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Kimbubbley

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22 Dec 2020
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52
Location
Farnham
IMG_20210307_212750185.jpg

Pictures failed to load. Dirty skimmer :)
IMG_20210307_212442744.jpg
Slipped wood??
IMG_20210307_214223996.jpg

Pearling plant about to sleep? Forgot to say, the bacterial bloom was cleared by the water change this morning :) And tiny MC roots are trying to come thru the substrate!!
 

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