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Beginner appreciates advice

2413 Views 10 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Laith
Hi, i've been researching for awhile now, and i am planning to start my tank sometime next week. Im sure you guys can help me out.

Here is a template of my tank (not set up)

Tank Dimensions (LxWxH): 48 x 12.5 x 13 inches
Tank Volume (litres or gallons): 33 gallons, 128 litres
Lighting Intensity(No of Watts) : 2 x 65W, 130W
No. of Hours your light is on : 10 hours
Type of Lighting (FL/PL/MH) : Power Compact
Type of CO2 (DIY/Liquid/Tank) : Tank (pressured)
Method of Injection (e.g. Diffusor/Reactor): Diffusor, Glass ceramic disk
Tank Temperature : 26c, 78-79 fahrenheit
Substrate Used : Eco-Complete
How thick is your gravel : 2-3 inches
Type of Filter (overhead/internal/canister) : Eheim 2213 Canister
Other: Milwaukee Ph/CO2 controller

Bioload (Your Fish and Plants)

Paracheirodon Axelrodi
Caridina japonica
Otocinclus sp.

Elocharis parvulus

Describe your problem :

I'm not quite sure how i should answer the following?
What are appropriate CO2 levels, and water parameters for Elocharis parvulus?
What fertilizers do you advise?

CO2 Injection Rate (bps) : How can i control this? if i use the ph/co2 controller set at ph 6.8, it will adjust itself? - How does it work?
How Thick is your base fert : (is this necessary with eco complete?)
Liquid Fertilizers Used :
Frequency of fertilization :
Filter media used :

Chemical Properties (Fill what you can)
Carbonate Hardness (KH): 2?
Total Hardness (gH): 2?
pH : 6.8
NH4 (ppm):
NO2 (ppm):
NO3 (ppm):
PO4 (ppm):
Fe (ppm):

Thanks for the help.
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Welcome to APC!

What are appropriate CO2 levels, and water parameters for Elocharis parvulus? What fertilizers do you advise?
Sounds like you have all the equipment down pat. You'll want a CO2 level of around 30 ppm (for any plant). Temperature seems fine. Substrate seems fine. Try aiming for these levels with your fertilizers:

CO2: 25-30ppm
NO3: 5-15ppm
PO4: 1-2ppm

You can purchase the KNO3 (for NO3) and KH2PO4 (for PO4) at:

You'll need a micronutrient fertilizer, TMG or Flourish. You can dose about 5mL Flourish twice a week (total of 10mL weekly). After about a month of set up, start to ramp up your micronutrient regime until the plants no longer show any improvements over a period of several weeks.

Filter media used : in your Eheim, try using coarse sponges, Ehfisubstrat, and a layer of fine filter floss on the top.

Hopefully, someone else can help you with the pH controller. I have never used one.

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Thanks for helping me out Carlos.

Now that i've got everything, i kinda of need some help on the procedures to start

Since i got substrate (eco-complete) second hand, should i cycle the tank?

I am only planting it with Hairgrass, i dont think thats enough to absorb ammonia fast enough to prevent the cycle?

What about those algae buster sets, will i need those to prevent algae bloom? (or even the cycle?)

During first week of testing the system, should i put substrate in and leave it running for a week? or just leave the tank empty?

Finally, testing kits - strips or drops, or does it not matter?

Thank you for your time,
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I would get everything going full blast as soon as possible. The more fast-growers you start with, the less likely you are to have that initial algae bloom.

I don't take it slow with new tanks. I set everything up, fertilizers and all, on the first day.

I use drops.

I would, however, wait at least a few days to add fish.
You might read up on nutrient base layers in the substrate forum. There are many different methods to choose from. I have not used eco-complete myself but I know that Eric Leung uses a base mixture with it and that Luis Navarro thinks eco-complete requires modification for long term performance. If your substrate has already been run for 6 months in a strongly lit tank then you may benefit from additional substrate amendment. Although eco-complete is considered a bio-active product you might consider additional biological innoculation of your subsrate. Providing live mulm from a healthy tank is a practice endorsed by many aquarists.

With a pH controler you will only need to test dKH to determine your pH target. If your water starts at 2 KH you may not need additional baking soda. You could start with a pH setting of 6.7 safely. Your controller will open and close the solenoid valve on your regulator as neccesary to maintain the set pH. When using a controller, your injection rate and diffusion capacity should be fast enough to effect a pH change of .1 in about 40 minutes. Plant on day 1 but hold off on animals until you learn the tricks of pH regulation. Many find that new tanks do not provide steady daily KH measurments. You will want to keep an eye on this parameter for the first few months.
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The eco-complete has been set up for almost a year i think. also it is mixed with some shultz soil, or should i even add a layer of peat beneath it?

Also, becaues i'm only planting hairgrass, will that be enough to keep algae down? It's going to be a field-like setup with a hairgrass mat all the way across.

Or should i purchase some other plants temporarly until algae is controlled?

If so, what plants should i obtain?

Thanks for helping me out.. i'm learning alot
Rotala rotundifolia (sometimes R. indica) is a good one. Any Myriophyllum, Vallisneria, Egeria, Limnophila will do.

A layer of peat will not hurt. Use just enough to darken just the bottom of your tank, a handful or two at the most.
Tom Barr recommended to me, 1 handful of ground peat for a 10 gallon tank. if your tank is larger, base the amount of peat you use by square inches not gallons. You can see my post on this, with pic gallery attached, HERE

Error is right about those plants, of course, I would add to that list any of the Ceratopteris species. THey grow exrteemly fast, will float and are excelent nutrient sponges, especially C. thalictroides, aka watersprite. Hope that helps. Enjoy your new tank.
I was looking at the Ceratopteris thalictroides.
Since it is a floating plant, do i just throw them into the tank floating freely? will they get into filters?

and is it ok if i'm only using this plant to absorb nutrients?

How long do i need to leave the plants in before it's 'safe' to let the hairgrass grow on its own?

Also, since all my equipment is new, will i need to let it run abit first? or just set it up, throw plants in and start it up?

Sorry i'm asking so many questions.. i just want to be sure, i'm sure you guys understand.. :)

Thanks for all your help!
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I would set everything up and add a few species of fast-growing plants on the very first day, with CO2 and ferts and everything else on.

Starting about 2 weeks later, I always begin to gradually displace the fast-growers with slower growers. It seems to work faily well. Algae is not usually a problem with this method.
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