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Libba's 30cm Cube

Libba

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12 Jan 2021
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Location
Australia
As this is my first post here I'll begin with a very brief intro:

I have recently decided to get back into planted tanks after having a break for a few years. My first planted tank was 40L in which I began to learn about how to keep plants alive under water. My current circumstances will have me spending more time at home so I've decided to delve a bit deeper into this hobby.

I picked the 30cm size because it requires less upfront financial commitment. The goal of this tank will be the experiment and learn about how to grow healthy plants and to avoid algae. I'm less interested in the aquascaping side of things and more interested in the science. Since the majority of the research material I have consumed has been from Dennis Wong's excellent website I'll first be attempting his method (rich substrate, lean water column dosing). It's going to be a reasonably high-energy system because I want to be spending a lot of time on the maintenance and tinkering and I want fast results. Equipment and plant list as follows:

Gear:

30cm low-iron cube
Chihiros WRGB 2
Sunsun603b with glass skimmer
Cheap unbranded CO2 regulator and 2.6kg gas bottle with twinstar diffuser
ADA Amazonia version 2

Plants:

HC Cuba
Staurogyne Repens
Pogostemon Helferi
Rotala sp. Green
Rotala Bonsai
Rotala Colorata

I'm currently dark-starting the tank while I wait for my plants to ship in about 3 weeks. The plan is to hopefully use tap water which is 7.2pH, 3dgh and 3dkh. The Amazonia has buffered the water down to 6.4ph. I bought the Amazonia before doing any research and have since read that the version 2 is lacking in nutrients. Once the nutrients from the Amazonia supplement sticks run out I will try to enrich the soil with osmocote while dosing APT complete.

If anyone has any suggestions about how I could do things better please let me know. I'll update in a few weeks once plants are in.
 
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jaypeecee

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21 Jan 2015
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Bracknell
The goal of this tank will be the experiment and learn about how to grow healthy plants and to avoid algae. I'm less interested in the aquascaping side of things and more interested in the science.

Hi @Libba

Welcome to UKAPS! It's good to have another member from 'down under'.

You and I presently share the same current objective - "to grow healthy plants and to avoid algae". The science is fascinating. My background is in the physical sciences but I'm thoroughly enthralled by the Life Sciences embodied in the aquatic world. I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I'm doing.

JPC :)
 

Libba

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Something interesting happened with this tank in the early stages. I originally had a sand substrate in the tank before deciding to switch to a soil substrate. I'd been cycling the tank using ammonia and had about 1ppm of Nitrite in the water. When I changed out the substrate I kept the water because I didn't want to lose the presence of nitrites. This water was heavily stained with tannins from the driftwood. Within 24 hours of adding the ADA Amazonia the tannins were completely gone and the water was crystal clear. I'm not sure about the mechanics of how this happened but my only guess is that the Amazonia "absorbed" the tannins from the water.
 

Libba

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So there was a mix up with my plant supplier and they were sent to me while I was away on holiday and consequently were in a state of decomposition when I got home. My supplier is inundated at the moment so I decided to source my plants from somewhere else for now. I've changed my plant list to the following:

Monte Carlo
AR mini
Limnophila sp Mini Vietnam
Rotala H'Ra
Rotala green
Hemianthus Micranthemoides

The plants are coming from two different sellers and unfortunately I received the first bunch a week earlier than the second. So far it's just the H'Ra and the HM planted at the back. I've been running CO2 24/7 and doing daily water changes of 50-90% depending on how patient I'm feeling. I've also been dosing with Excel heavily as the rotala had some green thread looking algae that has me a bit spooked as I know how hard that algae is to get rid of. For nutrients I'm just dosing APT Zero for now. Light is running on 60% for six hours daily with 30 minutes ramp up/down. I've also changed my piece of driftwood to one I find more aesthetically pleasing. I have a vision for what the tank will look like once everything is grown in and trimmed so hopefully it all goes to plan.
 
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Libba

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Hi @Libba

May I ask - what's the rationale behind that?

JPC

I just find it easier to leave it on 24/7 for now to be honest. When I have more time to tinker with it I'll probably set the timer up. For now I just want to keep the CO2 as stable as possible. With such a small tank the CO2 used is negligible anyway.
 

jaypeecee

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I just find it easier to leave it on 24/7 for now to be honest. When I have more time to tinker with it I'll probably set the timer up. For now I just want to keep the CO2 as stable as possible. With such a small tank the CO2 used is negligible anyway.
Hi @Libba

I suspect that your plant(s) may find it challenging to adapt to a continuous supply of CO2. But it would take a plant biologist to confirm my hunch and in what way it may affect the plants.

JPC
 

Libba

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The rest of the plants went in last night. Also got some small Buces which are stuck in the wood. I'm going to call this day one.

IMG_20210218_125017_942.jpg
IMG_20210218_125014_173.jpg
 

alto

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24 Dec 2014
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I suspect that your plant(s) may find it challenging to adapt to a continuous supply of CO2.
I always end up running my kitchen nano this way: at ~0.3bps it’s just easier
Any higher bps and my poor shrimp end up distressed (and that’s with gentle surface movement)

I often run my larger tanks this way for the first few weeks (old Amano interview) - there’s an old ukaps journal with photos (not mine, 1 of the Ian’s I think)
Note my aquariums are in rooms with significant ambient (sun) light
 

Libba

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I've done a lot of mucking around with it but I can't seem to get enough flow from the 603B to get good CO2 distribution around the tank. I've tried taking off the glass Lily pipes and taking out all of the media but it's still insufficient. At the moment I've got a 4w 400lh power head in there doing a great job moving much more water for me. Any advice on a good filter with the right amount of flow for a 27l tank? I'm currently looking at getting the Eheim 2215.
 
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alto

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FWIW I always end up running my kitchen nano ADA 30cm cube, with an Eheim mini up filter EHEIM miniUP and Tropica diffuser (I keep saying I’ll buy some proper glass diffusers but these are unbreakable :p )

Though if you create those aquascape designs where half and more of the glass box is hardscape, “good” flow is much more challenging ... I like to keep livestock in even my nano, so leave lots of room for “water” and “space”
 

Libba

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Day seven. Decided to dose APT complete rather than APT zero. I will experiment with starving my plants of nitrates later but for now I'm just doing everything I can to maximize my chance of success. Daily water changes of 50% for now. I'm planning to do this for at least the first 2-4 weeks. I still haven't decided on the filter so just a powerhead and a skimmer at the moment. I'm leaning towards a 2215 with the spray bar at the back. Increasing the light intensity by 5% this week.

IMG_20210224_181124_219.jpg
IMG_20210224_181124_232.jpg
IMG_20210224_181124_260.jpg
 
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