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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have just become the proud owner of a 48"x18"x18" aquarium & cabinet. The tank holds 4x 40watt T8 bulbs plus reflectors, has a Eheim 2026 ext. cannister filter a 300 watt heater & will use a DIY yeast CO2 reactor.

The tank will be mainly a planted tank, although I will be keeping a selection of Rams (blue, gold & bolivian) plus SAE's & Amano shrimps.
I intend to use a substrate of 2" powdered clay/sand/gravel mix (bottom layer); 2" flourite (middle layer); 1" gravel & sand (top layer).
I hope to grow Riccia Fluitans, Glossostigma Elatinoides & Rotala Indica to name just a few. I am a particular fan of Takashi Amano & love his open setups using the Riccia 'rolling hill' effect.
With this in mind can anyone tell me if there are any problems with my intentions. The main things I am concerned about are (1) how do I make the lovely rolling hill effect using the substrate without it all collapsing into a lose pile? (2) Do I need to use loads of lumps of rock to attach the Riccia to or can I use a handful & let the Riccia spread & join the gaps?
(3) I would like to have a GH & KH of about 3d or 4d, how do I go about this as my tap water has a GH of about >16d. And finally (4) Am I going to have to buy lots of different test kits to measure things like the Co2 levels, phosphate levels etc, etc...

All help is appreciated as I don't want to make any silly mistakes.
 

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4) Test kits you will need are PH, KH, N03, P04. Use your kh/ph readings to get your C02 readings using Chucks calculator.

3) You can lower KH by adding peat to your filter.
 

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Peat is inconsistent for softening water. To make your life easier invest in an RO unit, and then you can control it to whatever parameters you like.
 

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I'm not too sure how the Glosso will do with only about 2.5 wpg (calculating that your tank is 65g).

Also, thought you might want to know that if you plan to go DIY, you will most likely need more than 1 bottle to get some results :)

3) I agree, you will most likely need to invest into an RO system if you really want to bring down your gH consistently
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Trenac but I'm reluctant to use peat as I have heard that it stains the water, is this true?

I had no idea that the Rams would eat my Shrimps Janlo, I will watch out for that

Darkblade 48, I take it your calculation of 65 gallons is based on US gallons, as I have been working in UK gallons & work the volume out at 55 UK gallons giving me about 3 watts per gallon if you include the extra brightness provided by the reflectors.
How many watts do you recommend for Glosso?
 

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1) The only way that substrate hills will stay is if you bind it down with roots. This is pretty much the same as errosion control.

2)Riccia will fill out a fair bit...usually 1-2" max. More than that and you start getting too brittle.

3)RO really is the only option I'd use to bring down the GH and KH. You might be able to soften the water some with driftwood or peat based substrated. ADA and Flora base might help here. Before you go to the extreme of RO for lowering GH and KH...is there any hard reason you want to do this for? You can easily grow healthy plants with the current GH and KH.

4) During cycling: Nitrate, Nitrite and ammonia are the only tests you need to wory about (I never did as I cycled with lots of plants which really softens the cycle).
At early stages, you MAY want to get the following test kits: pH and KH (for CO2), GH if you are trying to controll GH, and NO3, PO4 for nutrients.
Since I have a bit of experience on my side, I almost never use a test kit unless something doesn't look right and I can't figure it out without a test kit. Tom Barr will tell you that most test kits are a waste if you follow the Estimative index (I agree for the most part here). If you are going to micro manage your tank with the PPS method, then test kits are quite important.
 

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for growing glosso, you ca get away with as little as 2 watts per gallon with PC lighting AND GOOD reflectors such as those from www.ahsupply.com. Otherwise, I'd shoot more for the 3wpg and higher. Remember, that horizontal glosso puts you in the high light arena which means you need to worry about CO2 and all your nutrient dosings.

If you want to try lower light, then marsilea minuta is a great glosso alternative.
 

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Nick, peat will give your water a brownish tint.
 

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creating rolling hills

You can use small rocks to help keep your substrate in place to create your rolling hills. In time your plants should grow over and around them. The root structures of these plants will help keep the substrate mounds in tack. Just remember that it may not look like what you want at first, but when the plants begin to take hold and grow then you will see the results. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks guys I appreciate the help.
GOMER I think you are right, I dont want to be tied down to constantly uing test kits to examine every minute change, I will concentrate on PH,NO3,NO2, Ammonia & KH for the CO2 levels. I'll check out the alternative to Glosso & see what I think. In answer to your question about why I want low GH levels, it is because I want to keep Rams in my tank which appreciate soft water conditions, also Takashi Amano seems to always have low GH & KH levels in his tanks. Do you think under these circumstances I can get away with out such soft conditions?

With regards to the suggestion of using Peat, if I were to use it in the substrate instead of in my filter, would I avoid the 'water staining' usually experienced or will the 'tea colour' still leech into the water?
Does he presence of CO2 automatically lower the water hardness?

Many thanks Nick.W
 
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