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Hello, World! (NE)

Discussion in 'Introductions and Greetings' started by mon1ker, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. mon1ker

    mon1ker New Member

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    Location:
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    Hi all, I've been lurking a bit so decided to make an account and start a project log.

    I've begun cycling my first aquarium, a 20gal-high. My girlfriend has kept a few small ecosystems including an axolotl, beardies, and a couple aquascapes w/fish & inverts. She's keeping me sharp on the basics while I continue to research competitions and those whose names are 'larger' in this realm to expand my knowledge of the plants, substrates and animals we have to use as well as the ways people have gone about with custom tanks and stands.

    I've a knack for DIY projects, small engineering challenges and other types of design, so I hope to really get into this, invest some time and money and eventually build my own impressive setups from scratch.

    I already consider myself a minimalist in most areas so I have already become attracted to many specific styles of 'scapes, though I think this first tank will be more of a busier "part of a larger picture" theme.

    I'll attach what my girl put together for now, this is just after the first water change, 1wk after filling:
    [​IMG]
    Aqueon 24" 15W 8,000K T8
    Aqueon Pro 100W heater
    Fluval 105 w/spray bar
    Argentine Sword (Echinodorus argentinensis) (back/mid-left)
    Water Wisteria (Hygrophila difformis) (back-right)
    Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus) (on driftwood)

    We have EXTREMELY hard water here in this side of Omaha (we're talkin 250 wth a pH of ~9), but the 15% change cleared that up and actually seemed to boost NO2/NO3 levels slightly. The tank has kept a steady 76°F with a GH of 125, 0 Cl, 80 KH, and a pH of 7.2 for a few days now. Hoping to maintain. Using StressCoat & StressZyme + Flourish and CO2 tablets.

    I have a tiger lotus, some flame moss and a few Marimo balls in the mail, along with some more fine black substrate ASAP. A rescape will commence with the new plants/substrate and a water change. The wisteria and sword will be moved to start covering the backside of the tank and the java fern will be moved wherever most aesthetically pleasing. I'll be covering half a coconut husk in flame moss in the back-left with the marimo, the tiger lotus in front of that in the foreground, and the driftwood will shift a bit with a hill built behind it (and eventually some flame moss on/around it once I have enough grown to move around).
    My basic goal flow is for the eye to start either at the driftwood, moving left to the back-mid then further left to the marimo and forward to the red lotus... or to start at the lotus, move to the marimo and across the back wall of taller plants to the driftwood and let the wood lead the eye back forward to the front-right corner where the eye meets substrate, following the substrate "path" between moss hills back to front-mid, mid-mid, and back-right under the driftwood arch.

    Down the road I'm looking to get 10-15 bumblebee & red cherry shrimp, 1 clam, and eventually 2 German rams to finish this 20gal off.

    I'll start a project log and continue this in there. Immediate concerns would be if my light is way off what I should be using or if any of my plant/animal combination seems off. Thanks for all your help, everyone!
     
  2. bowman

    bowman New Member

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    welcome! I am lovin the tank so far, def seem to have a good take on things so far. Cant wait to see this as it deveolps more!
     
  3. gamma

    gamma Guest

    Hi to Omaha!

    Welcome to ASW :welcome: and enjoy!

    WHAT??? kH 80 and gH 125???? Do you have other mesurements in the states? That's incredible! Wonder, if anything grows. And so your setup is vera clear.

    Have you ever tried with rain water or destilled water to lower the hardness?

    cheers
    Eva
     
  4. Flo

    Flo Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Welcome to ASW. :welcome:
    i agree with Eva, i m wondering that your plants look so good with such a super high kh and gh.
     
  5. mon1ker

    mon1ker New Member

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    [​IMG]
    NO3 ~2 / NO2 0 / GH ~200 / Cl 1.0 / KH ~90 / pH ~8.8
    I just ran this under my tap 5mins ago. Note the NO3 is higher than in my fishtank...? And the pH is so high the test doesn't show that shade of pink.

    *shrug* beats me, no idea what numbers are like in other places, though I assume GH & pH are much lower in some. Confused as to the high KH comments as my test kit shows an even higher KH than I have as ideal... All I can say about how my plants are surviving in such conditions is that they were-assumedly-bred & raised in this area and sold at a local pet store, so that's what they're used to; just as some fish will tolerate higher or lower levels than their natural habitats if they were raised elsewhere.

    But any tips on lowering hardness are assuredly welcome.


    Test strip for the tank today came out to NO3: 1-5 / NO2 0-.5 / GH 175 / Cl 0 / KH ~90 / pH 7. Nitrates are rising [:
     
  6. Flo

    Flo Aspiring Aquascaper

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    i would recommend you a liquid test kit. these stripes are not allways correct, if the are to old they show anything but not your water conditions :D. for the conditions of your local tap water ask google. ;) search for "your town+tapwater".
     
  7. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Have you looked for a local water report online? your municipality should have it available somewhere.

    You want to have a level of nitrates in your water with a planted tank. These are not a cause of algae in a freshwater planted tank.

    Lowering hardness is not a fun game to play. My recommendation it to pick plants that grow well in hard water, fish that do not mind hard water. There are plenty to choose from.

    The most reliable way to reduce hardness is with an RO water filtration system. I did this for a while. A huge PITA. Ironically when I discontinued I had less troubles and my fish didn't mind. These were soft-water fish like blue rams and cardinal tetras.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is don't get too concerned about testing and hitting a narrow range of parameters unless you are planning on breeding fish.

    The reliability of hobbyist tests kits can be questionable, especially when you do not have a means of calibrating them or reference solutions to be sure you are reading the measurements correctly. Your water report should be the most accurate testing available to you for tap water. Tank water has more things going on, buffers, acids, bases, and biological processes that can influence hardness and pH.
     
  8. gamma

    gamma Guest

    Hey!

    Ok, I see: It's measured in ppm.

    So for us germans we need to divide the 125 with 17,8 = 7°dH.

    That's not so much as we thought;), sorry, it was my fault.

    cheers
    Eva
     
  9. mon1ker

    mon1ker New Member

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    googling "omaha municipal water report" returns a 3M report (just under Metropolitain Utilities District, MUD, our water&utilities monopoly) showing pretty horrendous results; then the 4th result is this article showing that our water reports allegedly can't even be trusted.

    E-very-thing in this city is based on politics. I'm sure some group let the bad results into the numbers to piss off someone else, compliment their own agenda, or receive funding to "correct" the "problem," and now actual agencies are looking into getting a real result. Either that or those are the actual numbers and some group of people here is trying to make it seem like they're not to conceal just another corrupt thing going on in town (allowing the water supply to indicate toxic levels of chemicals, etc). Middle America at its finest n.n'

    But going off the numbers that are in the current report, we're ranked "94th out of 100 water utilities serving populations greater than 250,000," and I'd believe it. Water comes out the tap this hard and alkaline all over town. It's horrendously irritating (phyiscally and mentally... always scrubbing hard water stains off all the dishes and bathroom/kitchen/aquarium areas).

    I'll look into liquid test kits, but right now I've sprung all my expendable income for the next few weeks on my light, heater, plants, test strips, chemicals, and Smithwick's. Not too worried as none of these levels are immediately important until I have live organisms aside from plants in the tank, the way I see it. I assume getting more plants in there soon will help cycle faster as my substrate wasn't pre-treated and there's not much living or dying in there to help this along right now. Not feeding the tank with fish food either.


    Right, I am aware that plants consume nitrates and thus the nitrogen cycle continues, but I found it odd my tap had a more potent result for NO3 than my freshwater aquarium with plants...

    Awesome, I'm looking to get German Rams!

    Right, right. I'm a bit-very-OCD and it comes out full throttle when jumping into new projects, so I'm just making sure to monitor everything I can. Keeping in the back of my mind that most of the living creatures I put in the tank will be more tolerant to levels than .1 measure, though.


    No problem, glad to clear that up!
     
  10. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    The water report you have is actually not a water report, it is a pseudo report by a company who wants to sell you water purification equipment, household filtering, etc. They have an agenda. The second news article refers to an environmental group findings that are independent of your municipality who had some "poor sampling" techniques and were thus criticized.

    Anyways, this is the link to the report you want: http://www.mudomaha.com/water/10.ccr.pdf

    Nothing stands out to me as "horrible". I would say you do not need a GH booster. An in-home water softener may help with the other hard water issues, hard water stains

    Your tap has more nitrates probably because the plants are consuming the nitrates in the aquarium. Are you dosing nitrate?

    Liquid test kits aren't any better than strips. Its all hobbyist grade. Even highly sensitive lab testing equipment requires calibration and reference. Its the nature of the beast. Hobby kits can give you a general idea and a "range". but what is pink to you may not be as pink to me, so the result is also relative. Liquid reagents can go bad, react differently over time.. I only use a test kit when setting up a new tank. I test for nitrites and ammonia before adding critters. I have a ph probe to log ph change as it compares to CO2 but only for a rough reference for my CO2 levels. Basically a fancy drop checker with a quicker reading.

    Nothing wrong with some good enthusiasm! but testing and retesting can sometimes take the fun out of this hobby, wrestling the water parameter dragon is not any fun. G
     
  11. mon1ker

    mon1ker New Member

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    Thanks [: You seem to know your stuff. Really loving your "Savanna Sunset" forest scape.

    I'll look into a water softener for the house, how would I dose NO3? By feeding the tank fish flakes and stuff and letting the cycle happen or are there actual NO3 dose kits?
     
  12. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    For your tank and its needs I would look into the Seachem flourish line of fertilizers. If you start to add more plants, CO2, and (only after adding pressurized CO2) more light, then I would suggest looking into EI (estimative index) dosing. Its super cheap and easy for nutrient demanding tanks.

    Seachem Laboratories Flourish - 250mL

    Seachem Laboratories Flourish Excel Co2 Plant Supplement,

    One of each of those linked above, is what I would recommend. Dose according to the instructions.

    Your tank will not need much in the way of fertilizing at this point. Those swords on the left will get HUGE. Those are actually emmersed growth leaves, so not the type of leaf you get when the plant grows submerged.

    And thanks for the compliments on the tank. That was actually my first high tech planted tank. I'm currently procuring all the needed equipment for a replacement to that tank. I should share my other tanks but don't get around to making my own updates. This link has more on what I've done with the 37. http://www.aquascapingworld.com/for...on-my-first-fully-planted-high-tech-tank.html
     
  13. mon1ker

    mon1ker New Member

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    Ahh! I love the trees! And the stones too. Do you know what kind they (stones) are?

    I'm already using Flourish once/week according to instructions for dosage. The swords have lost about 4 larger (higher) leaves already, but there's about 6 new sprouts at the bases of 2 of them so I know they're doin okay.
    I briefly looked this up, so does that mean they're tall and lanky now and when those new sprouts grow in they'll be shorter and bushier and fuller? Or does Argentine Sword grow back differently submersed?
     
  14. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    if you are seeing new leaves that is a good sign. The new leaves tend to be large without a long stalk. These plants get large, very large.

    The stones are seiryu stones. It is very hard to find good stones here in the states. I ordered them from Aqua Forest Aquarium (Aqua Forest Aquarium, ADA USA, Aqua Design Amano). There are a bunch of different stones there. However its expensive to ship rocks.

    Another good place to look for hardscape is on The Barr Report (Aquarium Plants - Barr Report - Subscribe to the Barr Report) Tom Barr collects manzanita wood and routinely has very nice pieces for sale. I have a set from him that are going to go into my new tank. Manzanita wood is very cool and that is what is making up the trees in that scape. I tied fissidens fontanus to the ends.
     
  15. tardis

    tardis New Member

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    first off. welcome!!! you've found a great place and lots of awesome people on here! these guys will give some of the most sound advise you'll ever get! 2nd i noticed you were planning to add shrimp to German rams. i tried that once and it was much like the experience alderan had with the death star...(if your a star wars fan you'll get that) in that specific tank i had over 60 shrimp and within 3 days had maybe 4 left... luckily i breed shrimp so the seemingly tragic loss was just chocked up as a lesson learned and i didnt lose any money in the process just all my cull from my breeder batch at the time lol. they made a nice snack for my rams though. now some people do have some success with mixing these two together with tolerable losses but my case was like adding a trio of homicidal maniacs with knifes into room full of people lol. i suggest using 2 or 3 shrimp as sacrificial lambs before spending a lot of money on an expensive snack. if the few you add first live go for it and test your luck! one of my friends has them and his tank is amazing. so its not impossible. im actually going to attempt it again soon myself.
     

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