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Old 03-04-2007, 06:00 AM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Where in S.E. WI are you?
I have simular water parameters as you, living in Milwaukee
Glad to see a fellow cheese-head in the hobby! We seem to be few and far between from my observations. I am living up here in picturesque Port Washington and probably using the same Lake Michigan water as you. I am very relieved to see that my water is going to work out here...I have read a ton of conflicting info on what exactly is needed and what is best for plants and the 'normal' planted tank type fish....which of course, is par for this hobby.

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KH of 70 as in ppm or 4KH using the German scale? That should be fine with CO2 injection.
I am sure it is ppm...using the Hagen/Nutrafin master test kit that I typically use on my salty tanks but they do have the freshwater color charts with them. Typically, I don't pay all that much attention to Kh, Gh, or pH other than to keep them all as stable as possible and acclimate my fish to my water and my tanks....of course, saltwater is a bit different but my water, coupled with Instant Ocean salt mix, is nearly perfect for that application.

That said, I guess my main concern is if I will have the ability to keep things stable in this planted tank. I have read that plants do not use, or use CO2 differently at night time, and so based upon my other experience, that could cause issues with fish and osmotic shock if the effects of CO2 on my tank change to much or too frequently. I know that I may be stressing out about this a bit too much, however I have also hard a lot of horror stories about people losing an entire tank full of neon tetras or even rummy nose tetras from time to time with no explaination...which is obviously what I want to avoid.
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Old 03-04-2007, 08:09 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Not to worry. Many of us turn CO2 off at night and back on in the morning. The pH swing associated with this is associated with a dissolved gas - not a dissolved solid and so it doesn't really affect the osmotic load of the water. Only a minute fraction of the dissolved CO2 converts to carbonic acid, creating an ionic solute.

Fish seem to tollerate this CO2/pH swing without any observable stress. My CO2 comes on with the lights and drops the pH by 0.8 units over less than an hour. They'll spawn right through it, hardly noticing.

Now, when it comes to KH/GH/osmotic load, I absolutely agree with you - consistency is the key to keeping the system happy. Fortunately the majority of FW fish and almost all plants are capable of adapting to a wide range in conditions, if the change is made slowly. Overall, it's more forgiving than a SW setup in many respects.

I second what neonfish said regarding N,P, & K. You'll fail miserably with that much light and CO2 without macro nutrient supplementation. Actually adding NO3 & PO4 to a tank really bothers most people new to keeping plants but they won't like you if you don't.
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Old 03-04-2007, 08:09 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Unless you're maxing out on light and CO2, the pH should not stress out the fish. If you're paranoid, then reduce the ppm of CO2 in the tank and also reduce the intensity and photo period. My light is on about 6 hours per day.
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Old 03-04-2007, 08:44 AM   #14 (permalink)
 
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Well that sounds good then. I am glad to find out that this may not be as hard or as complicated as it was at first glance. Generally, I am only against using man made or unnatural chemicals to my tanks (e.g. meds, pH buffers) and so that is why I really want to try doing this without having to mess with those. My goal has always been to refrain from becoming a slave to one product or another, but of course, supplements are different and I obviously use them in my saltwater tanks all the time.

My PO4 levels in my tap water alone, believe it or not, have caused me a ton of trouble in my saltwater tanks initially and so that was my main basis for going to RO/DI water. I have had no issues with algae in my freshwater tanks though, but only because my stocking was generally based upon herbivores and if algae sprung up, I would simply feed less and poof, the fish would clean up for me.

As far as products go, do you have any recommendations on which are better? Brand names would be good to know, but otherwise I am wondering if, for example, liquid supplements are better than dry varieties or the type that I would just push into the substrate. Also, connecting the dots a little bit here, I would assume that carbon filtration would take some of those supplements out of the water or is this not an issue? In the past, I have not used carbon...well, I would use it but I never replace it. Obviously right now, with the brand new filter, I also have fresh carbon in there, so I am wondering if I should just take it out or not worry about it at all like I have in the past?

Thanks again for all of the great help! I am starting to feel like a kid at Christmas all over again!
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Old 03-04-2007, 10:46 AM   #15 (permalink)
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With carbon, it's maybe a good idea to run it right after setup for a few days, but then remove it once the tank is planted. It does tend to bind nutrients needed by the plants.

As far as additives, I'd recommend this:

For KH and GH, mix RO and tapwater as desired.
For nitrogen, use dry bulk KNO3.
For phosporus, use dry bulk KH2PO4.
For traces, use either a dry bulk trace mix, Seachem's Flourish, or Tropica's TMG, recently re-labeled as Plant Nutrition Liquid.

You can get all the dry bulk ferts at Greg Watson's site. It's VERY inexpensive compared to comercial mixes. Check out our "Sponsors" page. For recommended doses, concentrations, fert schedules, check out the "Science of Fertilizing" section.
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Old 03-04-2007, 05:51 PM   #16 (permalink)
 
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I will take out the carbon for sure then...to be honest, I never really felt that it was as worth as much as a lot of people advertise. I never really used it like I said and so I am glad that I asked about it since otherwise I would probably would never have thought about it.

When you say that NO3 is good in this application, how does that affect the amount of fish you can stock in a tank? Thinking about it logically, it would seem to me that overstocking could almost be a good thing...however I have read some other posts on this forum, many of them speaking about the inch per gallon rule or an equivallent, and so I am assuming that this is not going to be true about the overstocking or at least highly stocking a planted tank.

In the past, I have overstocked intentionally with cichlids because of the benifits as far as aggression is concerned, but of course, I used additional filtration to balance that out. In this tank...which has been empty minus one fish for an entire week, I am certain that if I was to stock it right now, or prior to the plants being in, I would have a mini-cycle, if not a near complete cycle because of that. I also took out nearly 2/3 of the substrate that was established in this tank as well so I am hanging on to little if any benificial bacteria right now in the form of old filter media. I have dosed a very small amount of pure ammonia this week, but nothing at levels which would benifit me all that much in the form of fishless cycling.

The reason I bring this up is because I am working on the assumption that in this about to be heavily planted tank, I should not have very many problems as far as a cycle goes because the plants, from what I have read, will feed off of the ammonia and nitrites and help me out. Is this a proper assumption or am I in for a rude awakening?

My plan for fish in this tank has changed a little bit...because I want to order them from Drs. Foster and Smith's website. My 'featured fish' will be four Denison Barbs (which are on back order, so I have time to make adjustments before adding these relatively expensive fish to my tank). Because of the minimum order amounts with most of these online stores, I am pretty much stuck ordering more fish than one may suggest as an appropriate stocking 'speed'. My situation is such, and I know that neon fish is probably in the same situation, that if I want a particular fish, even very common fish like neons or rummy nose tetras, I am at the mercy of the LFS stocking or have to go to some very expensive stores to buy them in the numbers that I am looking for. To add to that, buying a semi-rare fish like the denison barbs would cost me, and this is the multiple fish discount, over 120 dollars for three of them. On Drs. F&S, I can four of them for 100 dollars or 24 dollars a peice. If you havent see them, check them out here. They look amazing in a tank, especially planted tanks from the one I have seen them in, but they are still a 'new' fish to the hobby and just a couple months ago, these fish were over 70 dollars a peice. Anyways, (sorry for rambling), in order to keep things economical and stock with the exact fish that I want, I almost have to order them all in two batches. I am just looking for opinions, info, or ideas on if this is going to work out for me. The only other option I really have is to start setting up and cloning 10 gallon quarantine tanks, which may be worth paying 120 dollars for three fish IMHO.

I will look into your sponsor's website for those chemicals. The experience from members here has been positive for the vast majority of the time? I am sure that this site would not keep them as a sponsor if things were not good with them, but it never hurts to ask!

Thanks again,
MD
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Old 03-05-2007, 06:23 AM   #17 (permalink)
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If it's heavily planted then no cycle is necessary - the plants will soak up all the ammonia. A small caution about this though... The plants only soak up NH3 when they're actively growing, which assumes they're in good condition, that you have an adequate plant mass, and that all of their other needs are being met. If that is the case then a full traditional cycle won't be needed.

People seem to get into algae troubles when the tank gets too heavily stocked. Fish waste is high in NH3, which mostly converts to NH4+ in low pH conditions. NH4+ seems to cause algae blooms.

Denison barbs are fabulous, but I'd wait until the tank is stable before adding them.

Greg Watson is a great source for bulk dry chemicals. I'm not aware of a single order problem from his site.
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Old 03-06-2007, 12:01 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Try joining the Yahoo! group named Anubiasdesign. He gets in a lot of fish and as far as I know, there is no minimum order. Check his stocklist by going to Files, and open the Excel document in there. Not sure if he has denison barbs right now, but it's worth checking out.

Also, at a certain point (about 4-6 months in) it won't be necessary to dose nitrates or phosphates anymore if you have a decent bioload, unless you have plants that are extremely nitrate/phosphate hungry. You'll still have to dose potassium though.
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Old 03-06-2007, 06:21 PM   #19 (permalink)
 
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Thanks for the tip erijnal! I will definetly check that out.

Well....today was the big big day! Amazingly enough, I went to work and my boss decided to quit at noon! So, I got home in time to almost catch the FedEx guy...but my wife was home and so all my plants and fish arrived alive and doing very well. I took the time to acclimate all the fish using the same methods I would use for fish and corals in my salty tank so that should get me started off on the right foot. I also found an LFS in my area which had 5 rummy nose tetras and I brought them home and they are now in the tank and doing great too! So, now the pictography of this tank starting with "planted day one"!


The tank as a whole^^^


The left side^^^


The middle of the tank^^^


The right side of the tank^^^
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Old 03-06-2007, 06:24 PM   #20 (permalink)
 
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Now, a couple of the plants...by the way, sorry that things are not as clear as normal. I had a lot of leaves and detrius float into the water column and I am using a HOB filter with some fitler floss to get that out of the tank ASAP. I tried netting it out and felt that I was just creating more so I went to the fitler idea.


Rotala Magenta (I think)^^^


Water Sprite^^^^ (If I am wrong on any of these, please correct me!)


MIcro Sword ^^^


Dwarf Grass^^^
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