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Total Novice First Tank

Discussion in 'General Aquascaping and Planted Tank Discussions' started by Di Sen, Jan 14, 2015.

  1. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    the plants could be adjusting if the new growth looks good. Give it some time to see if this is the case.

    Do you have a drop checker or pH, KH test kit? Something we could use to estimate your CO2 injection. Since you do not have fish or shrimp at the moment you could up your CO2 injection as well. I'm going to assume for the moment you have adequate light.
     
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  2. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    looking back at Mr_Ed's comments, you likely may not have enough CO2.
     
  3. Di Sen

    Di Sen New Member

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    Thanks again for all the help! I don't have have a drop checker, i'll pick up up this weekend. I don't have any testing kits, I would also like to get something so I can start getting a grip on water testing. Do I need to get three different testing kits? or an all in one kit?

    I'm not sure about my lighting, unfortunately the documentation that came with my tank is pretty much useless. I'm assuming it's probably a crap light, but it seems fine for my current goals.

    I'm planning on getting a proper tank in the near future 60x30x33 a proper light and a canister filter, but this is a topic for another day! there are still many thing I need to get an understanding of before I proceed.

    Edit: I'm pumping much more c02 now than previously seen in my older picture.
     
  4. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    drop checkers aren't the greatest to estimate, but its what we have. There is a long lag time from the measurement you see and whats in your tank. The checker should be green to yellowish green when your light turns on and hopefully stay there. This is an estimate, your tank could need more or less, so you will have to observe.

    Not really a need for test kits, I don't use them. If you had those tests we could estimate your CO2 a little more accurately over time using the pH, KH, CO2 chart.
     
  5. Di Sen

    Di Sen New Member

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    So are you saying i'll never have a need for test kits? you mentioned pH and kH, should i be testing my tap water?

    As i mentioned before I'm planning to try a bigger project, if you mind I'd love to pick your brain a bit while I got your attention :)
     
  6. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm not sure if Chinese municipalities/water companies provide information on tap water. Here in the states we can access a report that will tell us what is in our tap.

    For keeping plants most water parameters from the tap will be fine. It will also be fine for most common fish in the aquarium trade. Some sensitive fish may require specific parameters. Breeding can require specific water parameters, but general fish and plant keeping shouldn't require it.

    So no not really a need to test. I don't really test. I bought a nice KH test kit a while ago to do a little posting on here about the chart and track my CO2 over time, but never got around to it. Testing just isn't that important. Not to mention common hobbyist kits are rubbish.

    Feel free to PM or post here with any questions. If you post here others can read and may have similar questions.
     
  7. Di Sen

    Di Sen New Member

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    Understood! Tomorrow I will ask the guys at the shop were I get every about Shanghai tap water. Based on what I've read, when cycling a new tank daily testing is required. When i get my new tank and filter would it be ok just to let it run for a month or so before adding fish? I've read many guides on cycling all mention testing water for ammonia, nitrate, and nitrites.

    My next question would be regarding ferts. My impression is that EI dosing would be the easiest for me to follow. However so many guides mention specific brands of the ferts they are using, I think it's going to be hard for me to find them here. Basically i'll need something to cover Macros and something for trace elements, is that correct?

    Last question for this post, would this thread be a good place to get advice on the new tank/light/filter I plan to buy or should I start a new thread?
     
  8. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    The reason lots recommend testing for ammonia and nitrites is to determine if the cycling has completed. This generally takes 3-4 weeks in a brand new tank. If you do not put any critters later you won't need to test. It wouldn't hurt to test once before adding fish.

    EI is fairly simple and cheap. You are correct, macros (potassium, phosphate, and nitrate) along with a micro mix (Iron, boron, etc) Commercial ferts come in all shapes and sizes. Some comprehensive solutions others have different bottles for varying macros and micro.

    I think you can continue with this thread. The title still works.
     
  9. Di Sen

    Di Sen New Member

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    My current vision is to have a school of 20-30 very small fish, 2 slightly larger algae eaters, and some of the algae eating shrimp (amano shrimp i think)

    I just ordered a drop checker. Unfortunately I couldn't get a nice glass one, I had to settle for a plastic one. I also picked up local brands of Macro and Micro nutrient bottles, I'll start experimenting with these and logging observations of the results.

    The new tank I'm looking at is 60x33x33 or a total capacity of 59.4 liters, the light I'm looking at is a hood/reflector housing with two fluorescent (I think) bulbs inside, rating at a total wattage of 55.

    I know lighting considerations can get quite in depth, but does that sound roughly like a good starting point?

    Edit: I discovered Shanghai tap water has a pH of approx 7.5
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2015
  10. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    pH isn't really too important when looking at parameters. It is an indirect measure of other more important factors. Its nice to know how much calcium and magnesium is in your water in case you need to add some with dosing. It is also nice to know the hardness, but you may not do anything about that so...

    What type of bulbs in your light? 55 watts will be on the higher end.

    Once you get CO2 figured out better you could remove the drop checker.
     
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  11. Di Sen

    Di Sen New Member

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    Once again, thanks for taking the time to help will all my random questions!

    I believe they are t5's and they look like this "two in one" type, I'll need to double confirm that though.
    [​IMG]

    One more question! if you look back at the picture of my red stem plants you can see a lot of dead leaves, which we discussed. Would it be ok for me to pull them out of the tank and properly and totally remove all the dead leaves? I'm afraid that constantly taking stems out of the substrate and putting them back in will somehow stunt their growth or harm them.

    With the way the are in the tank now it's very hard for me to get in there and properly remove all the dead leaves!
     
  12. greenfinger 2

    greenfinger 2 Active Aquascaper

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    Hi Di Sen,

    With the stem plants cut them off about 1/2" above the substrate and leave the rest in place.They will regrow new tops.
    Then trim off the dead leaves leaving 1 " 1.1/2" of bare stem replant this into the substrate. They will grow new roots.
     
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  13. Di Sen

    Di Sen New Member

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    Will do! I'm guessing the "bottoms" take a long time to grow new sprouts on on them?
     
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  14. greenfinger 2

    greenfinger 2 Active Aquascaper

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    Hi Di Sen, The bottoms do take longer as they have to make new leaves. Where as the other part only has to shoot new roots.
     
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  15. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Roy

    How very true plants have a mind of their own when it comes to growing as they do.

    Keith:):)
     
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  16. Supercoley1

    Supercoley1 Moderator Staff Member

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    A few points from reading through :)

    I think the tank looks lovely in the first page. I can see though why you removed the rocks as it is a small tank and you can focus on the plants better with the rocks out of the way.

    If it is indeed a 55W PL light that is a massive amount of light over the tank. I would personally reduce the photoperiod to 4-6 hours straight away and preferably find a way to raise it up higher or replace it with something closer to 10W !!!!

    The CO2 needs to be turned on a couple of hours before the light not at the same time. An hour or so before turn on and an hour before the end of the photoperiod it can be turned off. Another timer to do this would be best or you would be relying on remembering :)

    Like said above while there are no fish in there you can add more CO2. The drop checker is a good idea so you can push on past green and into yellow. Once you are ready for livestock you would need to slowly reduce it bit by bit daily until one day the DC is green at lights on.

    My final thought is on your idea of 20-30 little fish. I wouldn't put any fish in a 20 litre. In my opinion it is just too small for fish. It isn't about how small fish are, It is about how much swimming room they need and many people seem to think they can put smaller fish in smaller tanks when often they need much more space to swim. I would personally stick to shrimp in that size tank.

    Andy
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2015
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  17. Di Sen

    Di Sen New Member

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    Hi Supercoley1,

    Thanks for dropping in! The 55W light and the reference to 20-30 little fish was in context of the next tank i want to get (a 60x33x33) 60 Litre tank. The current tank I have now has an LED light. I bought this tank from an aquarium shop and I'm now realizing it's not suited to my needs at all! It has a built in filter system which is dreadfully slow. I have no idea what the wattage is on the LED light which came with the aquarium, but now that I've done a lot more research about things I would say it seems like a "toy" grade light.

    I have a drop checker now, I followed the directions on the packaging and added and used tank water to fill it. I found it strange that it was always a shade of green. Upon reading up about drop checkers it seems I should be using kh4 water :O

    I'm having a hard time while doing research as everything I read about ferts, lighting, drop checkers, etc.. all references popular brands which are all very hard for me to find here in shanghai. All the shops here only stock Japanese and Chinese products.
     
  18. Supercoley1

    Supercoley1 Moderator Staff Member

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    Looking from the pictures which I know can be misleading it looks like the 'toy light' is fine for at least a lower light setup.

    I would guess the melting problems you have rather than being light are a CO2 problem. More a case of CO2 not getting to the bottom areas due to the filter not being able to push the CO2 all along the substrate level. I wouldn't worry about that too much because you can prune the tops of the plants weekly and replant and remove any of the bad looking part. Then follow that with a large water change. Always do a water change after disturbing the substrate.

    Once you get the CO2 sorted these sort of issues should diminish and once you've master the knack of dialing things in you shouldn't need to be disturbing the substrate at all.

    Its a common problem with newbies because they fiddle, moving plant from here to there, moving rocks from here to there because they change their minds on positioning and the disturbance releases ammonia and detritus from the substrate and that causes a lot of these problems. Water changes will remove a lot of that from the water and minimise the effect of the disturbance. With you having no fish and it being a small tank you could do almost full tank water changes.

    I would place your diffuser on the back left just to the right of where the filter output is. I would also situate it very close to the substrate:
    Red line is moving the diffuser, green arrows are the flow direction from the output back to the filter box, white dots is CO2 following the flow.
    [​IMG]

    Of course the above diagram is pretty much an idealistic version of what you want to be achieving. You will probably need to move the diffuser very slightly several times until you get the desired effect and also I would point the output very very slightly down from pointing straight across. So rather than the water firing out straight across it would be point 2 thirds up the opposite glass pane.

    Then watch where the bubbles go and clean the diffuser regularly to maintain the small bubbles.

    Once a week take the diffuser out (turn the CO2 off first of course) no need to disconnect it, just remove it from the tank and sit it (on a plate or something) on the table or even just stick it to the outside of the glass which might be a better idea if it has a round bottom.

    Then put a little bit of bleach/water mix 1:3 on the disc. Just a few mm. After 10 minutes rinse it off and add the same of water and dechlor onto the disc. Rinse again and repeat the water dechlor mix. Rinse and return to the tank. The CO2 should look like smoke is coming out of it for the first hour or 2 after this process but it will eventually settle into a fine mist and the bubbles will of course get larger as the week goes on. Discs can be a nightmare for this but it's all part of the fun.
     
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  19. Di Sen

    Di Sen New Member

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    Thanks for the very helpful response! I totally understand your diagram. I just tinkered with the position and although it's much better now, my filter output just doesn't have the power to get a nice downwards current as you displayed.

    I can definitely see another reason why good filtration is so important.
     
  20. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Di Sen

    It would make a beautiful Shrimp tank.

    Start off with a few cheap common Red Cherry Shrimp then move on to the more exotic as you learn.

    Keith:):)
     

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