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Need help with new planted tank

Aquasheep

New Member
Joined
6 Dec 2021
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12
Location
Belgium
Hi all,

My new tank is setup for about a week now.
Since the second day all plants start to become browner and browner. At first I was thinking its diatoms since I can easily rub it off. Also sometimes it appears on the sand and then a few hours later its gone. But now that also the MC is so heavily affected and also melting, I'm afraid its something else. I went to my LFS and they tested the water and everything was ok.
The tank is 200l and I inject 2bps co2.

Any suggestions or is it just simply waiting ....

thanks!
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PARAGUAY

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13 Nov 2013
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2,746
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Lancashire
It looks a bit sparsely planted l would add some fast grower stem plants Keep on top of this with 50 per cent W/C for a week or two daily reducing to every other day A few floating plants and gently clean off brown algae off leaves ,run fingers through carpeting plants daily. Quite normal diatoms in a new set up when the tank has cycled first fish or shrimp IME algae crew. Keep your eye on CO2 add another or move drop checker around
 

arcturus

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6 May 2021
Messages
444
Location
DE
Run a surface skimmer or add a skimmer to your filter intake to remove the oily film residue on the water's surface. You will also need plenty of flow to distribute the CO2 all around the tank. If not, you will have issues. That surface film is an indicator that you have poor circulation. I suspect your water flow is not sufficient for a 200 litre tank with CO2. You should aim at ~2000 l/h of flow.

You will experience algae during the next weeks. This is normal.

Add floating plants and (a lot) of fast growing plants. These will provide a massive help during the first months. You can remove some of these plants later if you want. Check for some suggestions <here> and <here>.

That MC is not planted in the soil, right? The MC is not an epiphyte plant and usually will just melt away. Sometimes it manages to grow tucked between rocks or on wood if you have abundant fertilizers in the water (EI fertilization levels ) and a stable tank (which you do not have) as this increases chance of success. You might be able to save some of that MC if you plant it properly. Throw away all the yellow/brown parts in the process.

Btw, do you have any substrate under the gravel? And what fertilizers are you using?
 
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Aquasheep

New Member
Thread starter
Joined
6 Dec 2021
Messages
12
Location
Belgium
Run a surface skimmer or add a skimmer to your filter intake to remove the oily film residue on the water's surface. You will also need plenty of flow to distribute the CO2 all around the tank. If not, you will have issues. That surface film is an indicator that you have poor circulation. I suspect your water flow is not sufficient for a 200 litre tank with CO2. You should aim at ~2000 l/h of flow.

You will experience algae during the next weeks. This is normal.

Add floating plants and (a lot) of fast growing plants. These will provide a massive help during the first months. You can remove some of these plants later if you want. Check for some suggestions <here> and <here>.

That MC is not planted in the soil, right? The MC is not an epiphyte plant and usually will just melt away. Sometimes it manages to grow tucked between rocks or on wood if you have abundant fertilizers in the water (EI fertilization levels ) and a stable tank (which you do not have) as this increases chance of success. You might be able to save some of that MC if you plant it properly. Throw away all the yellow/brown parts in the process.

Btw, do you have any substrate under the gravel? And what fertilizers are you using?
Thanks for your reply!

I have a new Eheim 4 350. Which should be sufficient for my tank. Not sure how I determine if I have enough circulation. I can see the water wrinkle on 90% of the surface. Last night I added a skimmer (was busy with that already). It indeed removed the film from the surface! Under the gravel there is 2 cm of aquasoil. I use the premium nutrition of Tropica and just dose once a week based on the recommended amount that's on the bottle.

Also added the drop checker and the fluid this morning was still blue. I guess I should increase the co2 supply to see if it changes.

One question about the co2: I turn on the co2 1.5 hour before lights on and 1 hour before lights off I turn it off.
I want to keep crystal shrimps in the tank but read that swings in co2 (and therefore in PH) can harm the shrimp. I started looking at a PH controller but would like it if I could manage to do without it. Any thoughts?
 

PARAGUAY

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13 Nov 2013
Messages
2,746
Location
Lancashire
Most have a couple of hours of CO2 before photoperiod so enough CO2 is readily available. Good flow means CO2 all areas of the tank a good way to do this is move or add drop checkers in different parts. A gentle sway of plants in the flow not a deluge of movement. It could take a few hours or days to determine . I would be careful and take your time as it's CO2. Tropical Specalised is needed Premium is for low energy tanks. For CO2 most recommend daily dosing. Can't advise on shrimp
 

arcturus

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Joined
6 May 2021
Messages
444
Location
DE
Thanks for your reply!

I have a new Eheim 4 350. Which should be sufficient for my tank.
This is an excellent filter and will provide enough filtration capability for your tank. In any case, most of the biological "filtration" will be performed by the plants. This filter outputs a maximum flow of ~1000 l/h, which means the actual flow is going to be significantly lower due to filter media, pipes, and other inefficiencies.

In a tank with CO2, filtration is half of the story. You need to distribute CO2 all around the tank so that is consistently available to all the plants. For this you need water circulation. The guideline is a flow of ~10x the volume of tank water, i.e. 2000 l/h for your 200 l tank. Your filter is providing less than half of this. You might need to add a wave maker/power head to increase flow.

Not sure how I determine if I have enough circulation. I can see the water wrinkle on 90% of the surface.
That is a good sign for gaseous exchange! The plants (all of them) should be gently swaying, including the bottom plants.

Last night I added a skimmer (was busy with that already). It indeed removed the film from the surface!
Excellent.
Under the gravel there is 2 cm of aquasoil. I use the premium nutrition of Tropica and just dose once a week based on the recommended amount that's on the bottle.
With CO2 injection you will have to add more fertilizer than the recommended dosage, which is for tanks without CO2 injection. You should add the trace elements/micros (Tropica Premium) daily. The NPK macro nutrients (Tropica Specialized) should be added a few times per week. The actual NPK macro dosage will depend on how your plants develop. You should ask Tropica users how they are using these products and how much they are dosing in their tanks with CO2.

Note that Tropica fertilizers add a very low concentration of fertilizers to the water column and assume that you will have enough fertilizers in the soil.
Also added the drop checker and the fluid this morning was still blue. I guess I should increase the co2 supply to see if it changes.
One question about the co2: I turn on the co2 1.5 hour before lights on and 1 hour before lights off I turn it off.

It should be green when lights turn on. You will very likely have to increase injection rate. Your goal is to have a stable CO2 level from lights on to lights off. This will take time to adjust (a pH probe will help tuning CO2 - request help on this if needed). To get to a stable level, you will need to "waste" CO2, otherwise there will be fluctuations of CO2 levels, which are often a source of major headaches.
Please read this article from Dennis Wong. It provides very good input regarding <CO2 injection>, which is complemented <this video> and <especially this video>.

I want to keep crystal shrimps in the tank but read that swings in co2 (and therefore in PH) can harm the shrimp. I started looking at a PH controller but would like it if I could manage to do without it. Any thoughts?
Do not add any livestock until your tank is stable. The plants will need to be growing healthy and this will take several weeks. You also do not want any livestock in the tank while adjusting CO2.

pH fluctuations do not harm livestock. Natural environments experience large pH and CO2 swings during the day. With CO2 injection and plant photosynthesis and respiration, the water will always have a daily pH and CO2 swing. Your goal with CO2 injection is actually to force a pH swing (a drop of ~1.0 pH point during the day). What you need to secure is that the CO2 concentration as measured by the drop checker is in acceptable levels, i.e. it is between green and lime green (not lime yellow). There are plenty of threads around here this topic.

The pH controller is a complicated discussion. You need to understand what the controller is actually measuring and what can influence its measurements (basically, the controller indirectly estimates CO2 based on the measurement of water's pH, while the drop checker indirectly measures dissolved CO2 - and these values can be quite different). It you use it as a plug-and-play device you might harm the livestock. You can use a controller as a safety device, but you (not the controller) should be in full control of the maximum amount of injected CO2. Again, there are plenty of threads around here this topic, but this is a rather complicated topic.

I would first start with the basics and let the tank stabilize during the next weeks while you adjust CO2, fertilizer dosage, and deal with algae and plant growth. Then we can deep dive into the other topics...
 
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