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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I seem to get different answers from everyone I ask :? . Maybe you can sort things out for me once and for all!

When setting up a new tank (540 liter) with (to begin with) mostly fast growing plants:
1. When should I start adding fertilizers?
2. When should I start adding DIY CO2?
3. When should I start having full (2wpg) light?
4. When should I add fish?

Thanx!
 

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There is no definitive answer. Trial and error will tell you whether you agree with this or that person's advice, eventually. Everyone has slightly different circumstances, water chemistry, substrate preferences and characteristics, lighting etc. There are general principles which some people like to give (Tom Barr's advice on keeping CO2 levels constant and suitably high), but you have to pick and chose for your own situation, your own tank size, and your own plant selection.

My 2 cents:

1. When should I start adding fertilizers? - that depends on your substrate and water chemistry. If it is an inert substrate, I would start dosing after a week or more; if it is a fertile substrate, I would dose later than that. If your water is very soft, I would dose lighter than some labels suggest. Learn to read your plants. Get a water report to find out what is in that aqueous media.

2. When should I start adding DIY CO2? - getting DIY CO2 constant can be tiresome. If the tank is heavily planted, then perhaps start it earlier and dosing shortly thereafter. How will you inject CO2? via a Hagen Ladder? via a cannister filter intake? The effectiveness of DIY CO2 is related to the method you select to inject it into the water.

3. When should I start having full (2wpg) light? - how large is the aquarium? If it is small, 2wpg is low. If it is large, then it is adequate. I am inclined to keep photoperiods somewhat shorter in the earlier days and then extend them from, say, 8 hours to 9-10 hours.

4. When should I add fish? - I would add shrimp and ottos early on in reasonable numbers. The piscine decorations can come later as the tank grows up. They are a low priority to me.

Andrew Cribb
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanx pineapple!

The water is quite soft, about 3 KH. Ph is about 7. This means my Ph would be very unstable when I start with CO2 (DIY).
I'm thinking of adding bicarbonate to increase KH (and Ph). When later adding CO2 the Ph whould then decrease to a suitable and more stable level. Am I right?
Havn't decided how to insert CO2 yet, probably via the external filter.

I won't be using a fertile substrate, so I guess I could start with fertilizers after about a week then. Will be using Nutrisi micro (0,1 ppm Fe), KNO3 (5 ppm NO3)and KH2PO4 (0,5 ppm PO4).

The aquarium is 540 liter, that is about 145g, and I guess the light will be slightly lower than 2wpg.

Plants from start would probably be, stargrass, hygrophila polysperma, lileaopsis brasiliensis and vallisneria americana. Maybe some Rotala Rotundifolia and Vesicularia dubyana aswell.

:arrow: Please give me your thoughts about this setup.
 

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The water is not as soft as I have it here in New York. I cannot get any GH/KH readings here. I should think yours would be stable enough with CO2 without additions. But I leave that for someone else to comment on.

The aquarium size is perhaps too large for a DIY CO2 system to work. 2 2-litre bottles on a 120 litre aquarium seems to work. Multiply that out and one wonders whether DIY CO2 can actually do the job for a 540 litre tank. Add up the cost of sugar, yeast and etc needed to maintain consistent CO2 supply and you might well find it is cheaper to use a pressurized system. Certainly, it would be a tedious process ensuring constant CO2 supply via the DIY method.

The fertilizers you suggested seem to be reasonable.

Stargrass and Hygrophila polysperma grow fast. My experience of Lileaopsis brasiliensis is that it doesn't grow fast unless you have the right (and I'm not sure what) substrate. Eleocharis sp. once they get going provide a grass-like groundcover which grows faster. Rotala Rotundifolia is a fast grower.

Andrew Cribb
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have understood that the L. brasiliensis has a quite slow-average growth. It would be added mostly because I want it to start covering the substrate.
But I'll look into the use of Eleocharis sp. instead of the brasiliensis aswell.

I was afraid the yeast method might be insufficient for my aquarium. But I think I'll give it a shot for a while. Instead of multiple 2 litre bottles I'll have one or two 5 litre cans.
 

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Cans might work - not as elastic as plastic bottles. If you run the CO2 into the cannister filter, you will get more CO2 into the water than by using, say, a Hagen Ladder. The Ladder works well enough on smaller aquariums though.

Keep us updated with a photo. It's interesting to see what happens.

Andrew Cribb
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Will do!
I hope to get started asap, but at the best it'll be in early January.
 
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