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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
ok, i am going to start my new tank today. aquasoil amazonia so i know that i will be dealing with ammonia for a bit. i am going to use DIY co2 and lower lighting. i have all the dry ferts at the house already. the only plants i will have on hand is hygrophilia. anyone have any tips or suggestions on what i should do when starting the tank?

i know that once i get going i am doing the EI fert method. i will be doing weekly 50% WC's and i will have my lights on a timer, probably start out at 8 hours on per day.

do i start fertilizing right away? do i start with the lights right away?
 

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I would cycle the tank first and then plant. If you have the plants already then you have to plant your tank on heavy side first for less algae. Cycling the tank is still the best IMO. What I did on my planted discus tank low maintenance type. I cycled my tank injected it with bacteria and when my amonia and nitire is 0 put alot of plants then put my cleaner fish then my discus.
About fertilizing i put it right when i plant i.e. flourite tabs. I ran my light 10hrs. Do you have a tank thats already running.?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
the new tank isnt really new, its just new to having plants. its been cycling for about a month and the ammonia is zero and nitrite about 0.25 ppm. i am using amazonia so i am going to get a heavy ammonia spike as it is. im not going with any fish, just plants for now...until the toxins are gone and then ill start adding my fish.
 

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This may be not be the norm with Amazonia, but I have setup 2 new tanks with it over the past 7 weeks and have not had any ammonia spikes but have had a high Nitrite spike in both tanks. One tank is 7 weeks old and the other tank is 1 week old tomorrow. I planted both tanks heavily at the start, they both have CO2, high light and I dose EI. So far, no algae. The Nitrite spike lasted a little over 2 weeks in the 7 week old tank and I did 3 water changes a week for the first 2 weeks. The 1 week old tank is not going to get but 1 water change a week and I will see if that affects how long the Nitrite spike lasts.

Anyway, this has been my experience with 2 tanks. YMMV. BTW, I used 2 different ammonia detection tests on each tank, the Seachem Ammonia Alert and Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Ammonia test kit. Nitrite testing was also with 2 different test kits.
 

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One of the things about ADA AquaSoil that makes it so amazing is that the ammonia spike jump starts the plants. By having the A.S. without plants you don't take advantage of that feature. Not to say that the plants won't still love the A.S. but you've missed an amazing opportunity. Because the plants will grow so well you probably won't have an algae outbreak. I do recall having a little BBA but that was because I had trouble with the company that was filling my tanks with CO2. If I had been able to get my CO2 running consistently I don't think I would have even had the BBA. My plants still grew amazingly fast and the BBA was gone in less than a week. CO2 was up and running and plants out competed the algae. I had amanos and mollies in the tank to eat it all up as it died.

I say - plant heavy. Let the plants feed on the ammonia. And then sell, sell, sell and buy all those plants you want for the long term. :D

Great to see you get going StuckinTexas!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
ok, everything is in and the tank is running...boy that was a long process. thanks mike for all of the plants. i stopped by the percula on the way home to grab a part and ended up grabbing two more plants. i also traded some mollies that were in the tank before i planted for some micro sword at petorama. ill take pics as soon as the water clears and i get my lights running (hopefully monday). i had a hard time finding places for all of the plants but i got them in. also, amazonia is tough to keep the plants in, my most shallow substrate is about 2.5 inches and the deepest part in the back is about 6 inches. i was using really long tweezers to push the roots all the way down and that helped but some plants were just stubborn on me. i ended up getting them all down though. ok, im off for now. thanks for the help mike and niko.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
finally go the lights going and took some pics. niko, you were right about those lights. they are bright! the water is not clear and i assume its the aquasoil leaching something in the water? i used a plate when i filled the tank and i made sure not to disturb the soil as much as i could. hopefully this will clear up soon. ill do a 75% change tonight or tomorrow and see how that works.

ammonia is through the roof, probably higher than my test kit can read which is 7ppm. only going to run the lights for 3 hours for now. co2 bubbles are moving around nice so i think thats good for now. i cant wait for the ammonia to drop and the tank to clear so i can add some fish.

I am not going to dose any ferts for now. niko, you stated that with amazonia, i should not have to dose for 2 months. Does anyone else have anything to say about this? oh, todd at the true percula suggested that i add some iron to the water and to keep it at 0.1ppm but i dont have iron right now...will i be okay without it for a while? i also do not have a test kit to know where my iron content stands right now.

about the lights, i have them over the glass top right now. niko i know you suggested that i do it without the glass and i will try that. anyone else think i should go with an open top?

thanks.

anyhow, here are the pics.






 

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Looking good. Sounds like you have a good plan for the cloudiness. Frequent water changes are the norm for about 2 weeks. I think you said you are getting in some Rotala Rotundafolia. That will be a good addition. They are fast growers. If you need a few more, let me know.
 

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I think I might have my light running at least 6 or 7 hours. Your plants need light to grow and take up the ammonia. You have everything there for them to take off- ferts in soil, & CO2. Don't cut the light back or they will not be able to take up the ferts in the soil. ... two cents... :D
 

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Dave,

Don't worry too much about the clouding. If you can - add some activated carbon to your filter. It will remove a lot of this cloudiness and in 2-3 weeks it will stop working and become a great place for bacteria to colonize.

The Ammonia from the AquaSoil may persist longer than you want it. Be patient and keep up with your water changes. It's better to do smaller water changes but more often (as opposed to 75% every week or something like that). I'd change 10-15% of the water every other day. Make sure you dechlinate well too.

Do not add any fertilizers. Nada, zero. What you have at this point is stressed plants that have been recently moved and they are not going to need much more than what's in the water and in the AquaSoil. Also your plants come from Mike and they are fat and healthy so they have stored nutrients for several days.

Keeping the iron at 0.1 is a funny suggestions because the Iron is hard to detect with the test kits we have. You can dump a whole teaspoon of dry chelated iron in your tank and the test will show zero. Basically don't worry about numbers - it's simple - do your small water changes every other day and watch things happening right. This tank received no ferts whatsoever for more than 4 months after starting. Look at the thing!
http://picasaweb.google.com/ddasega/DaveS#

The lights must go above the tank with no glass under them. As I told you - if you put a glass in front you are filtering part of the spectrum that the Germans designed specifically to grow plants. Your plants will grow even with the glass under the bulbs because these "measly" 48 watts of light you got over your tank are putting much more light than we think. But you probably prefer to get the maximum benefit from the specificaly engineered spectrum of these amazing bulbs.

The light fixture fits very well over the tank. Could you take pictures of the fixure itself, I'm curioUs to see it!

--Nikolay
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
thanks tex gal. i just did a water test and its kinda interesting.

three days ago - bare tank with 4 mollies that have been in the tank for about 4 weeks, not completely cycled but was getting close. parameters were: PH=7.4, NH3/NH4=0.25, NO2=0.25, NO3=9, GH=7, KH=4.

today - aquasoil, co2, plants, running for a little over 24 hours...lighting running for 3 hours, today was the first day of light. yesterday the tank was completely broken down beffore adding soil and everything else. parameters are: PH=6.2, NH3/NH4=6, NO2=0, NO3=0, GH=4.5, KH=3.5.

looks like the aquasoil dropped the PH down more than a whole point...maybe CO2 played a part in this as well? the aquasoil also jacked up the ammonia and my seeded filter sponge and ceramic rings cannot keep up. the aquasoil dropped my GH from 7 to 4.5.

NIKO, i will take some pics now. remember, i do not have the clips so it looks a bit ghetto right now. i have emailed reefgeek and hopefully i get a response during business hours tomorrow. i will also try calling them if i dont get an email by lunch time. for now i used insulated wire (from the workhorse 3 actually) and created loops to hold the ends of the bulb that does not have a reflector. the other bulb is held up by twisty ties and that is just until the clips come in. i will be posting the pics in a few minutes.
 

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la la la

--Nikolay
 

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I agree with TexGal, you can try to run the lights for more than 3 hours. But PLEASE watch the tank very carefully. At the first, I mean very first, a hint, of algae immediately cut back to 3 hours.

At this early stage of the tank development if you see even a 1/8 inch long strand of algae you are risking being taken for a long and quite enjoayble ride.

...or should I say "swim"?



--Nikolay
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
ok here goes the pics. dont laugh at the electrical tape on the stand, i am paranoid that my cats or dog could knock the fixture off the tank while im gone, id hate for the fixture to hit the ground or worse, fall in the tank...thats why i taped this thing down so if they hit the power cord or something, nothing will happen, i hope. i know this thing looks ghetto but i believe it will serve its purpose and that is growing plants and thats what i care about. looking at it on top of the tank, it doesnt look bad...these are close up pictures and the looks of it in these pics are way different than looking at it from a few feet from the tank. the flaws in my build are not really noticeable when you are just looking at the tank from anywhere in the room. also, i think the light under the reflector will be even better when i get my clips in. right now the light isnt at the focal point of the reflector but it still works nice.

here are pics of the fixture:



you can see the aquarium sealant at the bulb ends and the electrical caps and tape on the wiring.





electrical tape...animal proof i hope, haha.


a quick easy way to hold the ballast onto the stand, its in the back so you cannot see it. ghetto!




and a few more pics of the tank, i think it is clearing a bit...not alot but just a bit.






 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
well i just checked some KH/PH CO2 tables and 3.5deg KH / 6.2 PH gives 65ppm CO2 which is super high. this cant be right. anyone have an explanation?

i use an API test kit and its directions say that each drop added is one degree of KH. I add drops until the water turns from orange to green. tonight, it turned at 3 drops and turned green even more at 4 drops so i went with a value of 3.5deg.
 

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Those tables don't work. They assume that the only dissolved solids in the tank are Ca and Mg. There could be many dissolved solids in there. That's why people use drop checkers.

Your plants should take off! Your Cabomba Frucata is beautiful! (Can you flip photos so we can see them better?) :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
yea, the cabomba is great and it came from mike's tank. i love the maroon color on them.

ah, you say the plants should take off...any particular reason?

thanks tex gal. oh and ill try to flip the pics.
 

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yea, the cabomba is great and it came from mike's tank. i love the maroon color on them.

ah, you say the plants should take off...any particular reason?

thanks tex gal. oh and ill try to flip the pics.
You have all the ammonia spikes from the Aqua Soil and you have high light and CO2. Perfect combination!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
i see, this is high light? i thought i was having low to medium light at best. hmmm, maybe i will be able to grow a carpet sometime.

how much is a drop checker for co2 and where can i get it?
 
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