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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I am in Bryan and looking for a nearby planted aquarium club to make friends/trade plants/ etc. I am a newbie to planted tanks and will shortly be setting up a 50G ( 36x18x18 ) high tech with pressurized CO2 and 2x96W 6700K PC. I have two brothers who work in Dallas as well as two good friends in the IT/software industry so my trips up there are not too infrequent.

I am also an electronics engineer in the audio industry if anyone shares an interest in that. I also do a lot of hobby electronics (building my own audio amps, etc).
 

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Bryan,

Welcome to the hobby!

It appears that you like to do your research before diving into something and this is a really, really good thing in this hobby :)

In another thread you mention the tank and equipment you are going to use. It all looks fine to start a planted tank.

The CO2 system will run you about $150. It will include:

- 10lb. CO2 bottle
Buy the bottle locally from a welding shop. Don't buy the 5lb. bottle because the 10lb. bottles are only $10-15 more and last twice as long. But if you can't fit the 10lb. bottle under your tank then you have to get the 5lb. Good shop is:
http://www.gosweldingsupply.com/contactinformation

- Double gauge regulator
From beveragefactory.com:
http://www.beveragefactory.com/draf...ressure_double_gauge_beer_co2_regulator.shtml

- Needle valve
From me. Free.

- Internal reactor
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/...s/44053-tiny-super-efficient-co2-reactor.html

You mention fertilizing. I assure you with the Aquasoil you don't have to worry about fertilizing for at least 2 months after setting up the tank. After that you will start fertilizing very little and very careful. It's no rocket science and the Aquasoil will take care of most of the plant nutrition.

One other thing to consider is water changes. Because the local water contains a long list of chemicals it is best to run the tap water through an activated carbon filter. Ask if you are interested in using carbon.

--Nikolay
 

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Welcome. Nice size tank you're starting with. IMHO, perfect size for landscaping and to be able to move around in for maintenance. I will be getting one myself as soon as I close down a couple of my smaller ones.

Looks like you're between Houston and Dallas. Both cities have great clubs - NASH and DFWAPC.

Hope you can attend the next meeting.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi Niko,

Yes, I like to do quite a bit of research before diving into something. Sometimes I think I like learning about things more than I enjoy the actual thing itself :)

I haven't decided on a substrate yet. I was actually leaning towards Flourite Black with root tabs as a substrate supplement, with PPS Pro as a water column fertilizing technique. I don't know if this will be adequate for a high light/CO2 setup or if I should try something more aggressive like EI. I like the fact I can vacuum the flourite easily and that it will never break down, although it probably won't help develop the root structure like AS will.

Bryan's water supply is very soft in terms of Ca/Mg, but has a super high KH. It is liquid bakind soda. I have purchased a Typhoon RO/DI system from AirWaterIce to correct the issue. So I will be starting with 0 TDS water. Remineralization/buffering is something I am wondering about just to stabilize it and make it appropriate for water changes in a planted tank.

Thank you both for the warm welcome, and when is the next meeting in Dallas?

Mark
 

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Speakerguy,

There is a thing called "the internet aquarist". It's an individual that rejoyces more in talking about aquariums than actually having them and maintainting them, haha.

I think that there is no question about what substrate you should get. Aquasoil has nothing in common with any of the substrates on the market. Actually you could say that there is Aquasoil and then there is everything else, neither good nor bad. You can have a wonderful tank with any substrate, but the first few months will usually turn out to be frustrating so the best bet is the Japanese dirt, as Mike calls it. But this "dirt" is not a miracle component either - it does not allow you to fill the tank with water and forget about it until it gets full of beautiful plants.

EI or PPS are just two hyped up ways of running a planted tank. Both of them do not guarantee success. If either one of them did everyone would be using it by now. Careful management of the photoperiod, water changes and as little fertilization as possible works every time. No testing, no running after concentrations, very little effort.

If you have to use RO water the best approach is to mix it with about 30% tap water. But that assumes that your tap water is not as crazy as Bryan's. Reconstituting RO with dry chemicals turns out to be a headache in the long run. Also you will be creating a system that is lacking certain components. Basically an artificial, unstable system. You can do it but it will always be shaky. To reconstitute you should use Ca and Mg and trace elements. How much of each is impossible to tell without trial and error.

The next meeting is on August 16 or 17. Details to come soon.

--Nikolay
 

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Bryan's water supply is very soft in terms of Ca/Mg, but has a super high KH. It is liquid bakind soda. I have purchased a Typhoon RO/DI system from AirWaterIce to correct the issue. So I will be starting with 0 TDS water. Remineralization/buffering is something I am wondering about just to stabilize it and make it appropriate for water changes in a planted tank.
Oooh! Ooooh! Mine too! It is wretched. I have tried to grow plants in the tap water and always go back to RO.

Cheryl
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
The water here is TERRIBLE! Out of the tap it is 480ppm TDS (my meter came today and I measured it) and it is all Sodium, Bicarbonate (large amounts) and Chloride (not as bad as bicarbonate leves). So our water contains baking soda with about 1/4 as much table salt added to it. No other significant contributors. Ca/Mg combined is 10ppm or less.

I just rigged up my new RO/DI system and am getting great rejection rates out of the RO unit alone, I may hook it up without the DI. It is knocking my 480PPM water down to 12PPM at >150GPD using AirWaterIce's standard $150 Typhoon with the new 150GPD 98% rejection FilmTec. I am actually seeing 97.5% but who cares :) We have good water pressure and it is warm outside so my production levels are actually well above the 150GPD spec. Also I am getting about 30% recovered RO water to 70% waste product, which is decent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
My wastewater line will be going out to the front patio, where it will be used for flowers/fern/etc in the summer months.
 

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Well, I have a planted tank and like to play through an amp, but I must confess to not knowing much about the technical aspects of amps.
 

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Speakerguy: I'm right next door in College Station. I have a 75 gallon and can understand the water problems. The good thing is that most of the plants have been doing fairly well and there are only a certain that you and I probably couldn't have.
 
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