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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
mike, the hygro does not look as good as it did in your tank. do you think it will come back to form once the tanks settles in more?

also, i still do not know how good my light can grow "high light" plants. after things get going, should i try some HC or some other carpet plant or do i simply not have enough intensity down at the bottom of the tank? to me the tank looks very bright but i always read that people are using 4-5 wpg to grow hc and glosso. i know this is not a hard and fast rule but it must mean something otherwise people would not even mention it.

i am curious how much co2 is in the water. is a drop checker the best method to determine the co2 concentration?
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 · (Edited)
been almost 72 hours and did another 10-15% WC and even more clear.



also. i took a short video of the tank. you will notice that i spent most of the time viewing the hagen filter, i was trying to show the co2 mist and finally as i made it around the tank near the end of the clip you can see the fine mist of bubbles. this is with one jug. i added a second jug today with a t-valve. i have no idea what my co2 concentration is.
here is the video:
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
i have kh2po4, k2so4, kno3, and plantex csm+b for traces. dry ferts. what to do? just go by the EI method?

i am getting some melting on some of the plants. i haven't added any ferts as you told me not to. you tell, ill try to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
did you see the co2 mist at the end of the video?!? i think its lots of co2. i added another jug today....i hope more co2 wont hurt. i am getting a little more than 1 bubble per second. yep, you can hear it from 5 feet away as you said. that diffuser rules, thanks for making the thread in the DIY section. help me out with the ferts niko. =D i just tried calling you but straight to your voicemail. just let me know what to do and ill add the ferts right now.

oh, and the recipe i used for that batch of co2 was about 1.5 cups of white sugar, 3/4 teaspoon of rapid rise yeast, 2 teaspoon baking soda, distilled water about 3/4 full in the jug. its awesome.
at one point today i heard the co2 rate really speed up, it only lasted for a few minutes but out of no where i was hearing about 3-4 bubbles a second hit the impeller. it was crazy. co2 mist galore.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 · (Edited)
ok, there might be a problem. looks like i have these little jelly looking things, kinda transparent. they are definitely moving. they are very small, a little bigger than an angelfish egg. baby snails? they werent noticeable yesterday and today i can count atleast 20 of them. they are mostly on my tank walls. what do i do?

edit: did some reading and found out that it is snails and probably came in on a plant i bought at the store. crap! how to get rid of them when they are all around the tank? i just went through and smashed about 30 of them but there are more!

maybe this explains my drop in GH? could these little guys be stealing calcium to make their shells? 2 days ago i had an extra 0.5ppm of GH in the water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
everything was doing good until i tried to hook up a second jug for co2. i was going to use a t-valve but found that i had the wrong size. long story short, my first co2 jug which was pumping out co2 like crazy is now dead it seems. maybe exposing it to air did this? the second co2 jug that i just started this evening was going but it got exposed to air and seems to have died off. looks like i will get some more drinking water from the grocery store tomorrow to start a new batch. also, i have noticed a bit of algae growing on my wood. it looks like a couple of small "puff balls" about the size of half a dime. maybe i should not turn on the lights again until i get my co2 in order. thanks for the tip on the snails tex gal, i was worried about an explosion of baby snails but you made me feel better about it. mike, i will add some more k2so4 now, i only put 1/16 tsp in earlier.
 
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