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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently purchased/collected some new plants for the aquarium...I also purchased a water test kit (Tetratest Laborett).

The water is still cycling (I hope), I have tested it and have results. I also added the following plants.

Java Moss
Anacharis
Java Fern
Anubias Nana

My water test results show:

Ammonia: 3.0mg/L
General Hardness: 3
Carbonate Hardness: 2
No2: 3.3
pH: 6.5
CO2: 21

I have a cloudy water picture and a picture of my new DIY CO2 Producer (working well!!!)

Is this tank cycling appropriately? Do I need to take some steps other than 20-30% weekly water changes?

Help? =)

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Looks like its moving along, those goldfish should speed up things, the are, im sure putting off plenty of waste, and that co2 generator is making bubbles like crazy, how are you regulating how much co2 it injects??
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The tank has been set up for about a week and a half, however, it has been altered (driftwood and plants...gravel) twice. The filter has not been cleaned since it has been running. I was told to leave it alone and let it build up the natural bacteria that is meant to be in the tank. That right?

Haha, sorry to mislead you Jim, but most of the bubbles you see in the picture are from my aerator and aerator bars underneath the gravel. If you're referring to the buildup of the bubbles in the 2 liter bottle, yeah, lots of CO2 being produced. It has been growing steadily over the last couple of hours. I'll need to put some kind of filtering system together for the co2 line. You can't see the CO2 output in the pictures, but I'm getting a fine mist of bubbles every 20 seconds. I don't have anything to regulate the output of the CO2 yet, however, I plan to put an in-line control valve.

Hopefully the plants drop my ammonia levels? The fish are doing nicely, and yes, I hope they help.

I'm also using a plant growth additive called Flora Excel or something. (on internet at friends house and don't see my bottle).
 

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The plants will help seed the tank with beneficial bacteria, they'll come in the form of hitchhikers. The plants will pick up at the caboose of the nitrogen cycle and use up the final by-product.
Dont clean the filter, exactly. Let it get dirty as that "dirt" will be full of the bacteria that you need so dearly right now. Once your Nitrite starts to drop you are rounding third base of the cycle. So keep your eye on that. When that hits zero, hopefully your ammonia is zero also, then get the comets out and start planning the real community of fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The plants will help seed the tank with beneficial bacteria, they'll come in the form of hitchhikers. The plants will pick up at the caboose of the nitrogen cycle and use up the final by-product.
Dont clean the filter, exactly. Let it get dirty as that "dirt" will be full of the bacteria that you need so dearly right now. Once your Nitrite starts to drop you are rounding third base of the cycle. So keep your eye on that. When that hits zero, hopefully your ammonia is zero also, then get the comets out and start planning the real community of fish.
Excellent! I was hoping the cycle was performing as it should. I'll monitor the levels every other day and watch for the Nitrites to drop. I have read that amm. and nitrite levels are usually similar, so hopefully the ammonia drops also. The comets will be replaced by a couple of oto cats, and perhaps some breeders. I'd like to run a breeder tank and see how juvenile fish take the setup. After that, I'd like to do some barbs and shrimp.

I brought the crawdads back to the local river, as I noticed they weren't doing that well. I made sure they were not just stuck in a molting phase before returning them. All 3 of them eventually molted in my tank, and consumed their own molt (eww:p).
 

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That is a nice looking tank gonathan85. You will want to lift up on the anubias until only the roots are under the gravel and the rhizome is above it. Otherwise the plant will die on you fairly quickly. It is one of those plants where a buried rhizome shortly means a dead plant. That is the reason that you usually see the plant tied to apiece of driftwood with the roots reaching down toward the gravel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That is a nice looking tank gonathan85. You will want to lift up on the anubias until only the roots are under the gravel and the rhizome is above it. Otherwise the plant will die on you fairly quickly. It is one of those plants where a buried rhizome shortly means a dead plant. That is the reason that you usually see the plant tied to apiece of driftwood with the roots reaching down toward the gravel.
I'm actually in the process of doing just that right now. I might tie it to the driftwood or use small rocks near it to anchor the rhizome above the gravel.
 

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The top plant you posted above looks a lot like Trichomanes javanicum (common name aqua fern). I'm not 100% sure and maybe someone else can chime in, but if it is, that will rot and die in your aquarium. Here's a link:
Aqua Fern

The bottom is a Java Fern I'd say. Which should really be tied to a rock or driftwood similar to an anubia. Try not to bury the Rhizome.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The top plant you posted above looks a lot like Trichomanes javanicum (common name aqua fern). I'm not 100% sure and maybe someone else can chime in, but if it is, that will rot and die in your aquarium. Here's a link:
Aqua Fern

The bottom is a Java Fern I'd say. Which should really be tied to a rock or driftwood similar to an anubia. Try not to bury the Rhizome.
Thanks for the reply! ERG local fish store...how dare you sell me non-aquatic plants!

It seems that most aquarium plants don't like to be planted in the substrate...
 

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Thanks for the reply! ERG local fish store...how dare you sell me non-aquatic plants!

It seems that most aquarium plants don't like to be planted in the substrate...
Yeah, it's unfortunate that some stores sell non-aquatic plants for use in an aquarium. Angers me to no end!

Basically, plants that have rhizomes shouldn't be buried in the gravel. However, having the roots in the gravel is fine. Rooted plants (such as Crypts and Swords) and some stem plants (like Wisteria and Ludwigia) need to be planted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yeah, it's unfortunate that some stores sell non-aquatic plants for use in an aquarium. Angers me to no end!

Basically, plants that have rhizomes shouldn't be buried in the gravel. However, having the roots in the gravel is fine. Rooted plants (such as Crypts and Swords) and some stem plants (like Wisteria and Ludwigia) need to be planted.

Sounds like a relatively easy rule to follow. I took your suggestion and tied the Java Fern to my driftwood. I used a strand of hemp to secure it. Sorry that the anubia is taking all the credit in the picture, but you can see the Fern in the background. Also, to an updated (bad clarity) shot of the tank. I think I still have bacterial bloom from cycling.

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Most of your plants are low light, slow growers that have rhizomes. Keep them all on the surface or on your driftwood. For that one fern, you might be able to tie it to the top of the driftwood and have it growing out of your tank. Fishing line works great and is see through.

Now the other issue. Your tank is very cloudy. Some of that might be bacteria bloom, but I wold strongly suggest cleaning your filter (if it looks dirty and is outputting slower) and doing more than regular water changes until your ammonia and nitrite is down to 0. I suggest 25% 2-3 times a week until it goes down. The majority of your bacteria is in your gravel so don't worry too much about the filter.

One last thing...Keep in mind that CO2 gets lost a lot faster when your air bubblers are on. Most people with DiY CO 2have the bubblers on a timer so that the only come on at night when your plants don't need CO2. Having it on during the day means that you are loosing half your CO2.....I am not sure how you are calculating your CO2 BTW, but chances are it is not accurate at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Most of your plants are low light, slow growers that have rhizomes. Keep them all on the surface or on your driftwood. For that one fern, you might be able to tie it to the top of the driftwood and have it growing out of your tank. Fishing line works great and is see through.

Now the other issue. Your tank is very cloudy. Some of that might be bacteria bloom, but I wold strongly suggest cleaning your filter (if it looks dirty and is outputting slower) and doing more than regular water changes until your ammonia and nitrite is down to 0. I suggest 25% 2-3 times a week until it goes down. The majority of your bacteria is in your gravel so don't worry too much about the filter.

One last thing...Keep in mind that CO2 gets lost a lot faster when your air bubblers are on. Most people with DiY CO 2have the bubblers on a timer so that the only come on at night when your plants don't need CO2. Having it on during the day means that you are loosing half your CO2.....I am not sure how you are calculating your CO2 BTW, but chances are it is not accurate at all.
To your suggestions, I re planted the anubia and java fern so either the rhizomes are above the gravel, or they are tied to the DW. I attempted to grow the one ferm out of the tank, and within 15 minutes, it had already shriveled up and died. I placed the rhizome/roots in a glass of water to see if they would sprout new growth.

As far as the cloudy water goes, I suppose that I was just dealing with a bacterial bloom. At this point in time, my tank is clear and looking great! No more cloudy water for me.

C02 responses:

I am calculating the ppm C02 levels using a chart that came with my test kit. The chart uses the measurement of KH (hardness), and the pH levels to zero in on a specific concentration of C02 in the tank. How accurate is it? I'm really not too sure. I'll work on setting up a timer for the bubbles. I purchased a glass hand-blown diffuser that will allow me to "count" the bubbles instead of them just freely flowing out of the diffuser stone.

Thanks for the continued responses guys!
 

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C02 responses:
I purchased a glass hand-blown diffuser that will allow me to "count" the bubbles instead of them just freely flowing out of the diffuser stone.

Thanks for the continued responses guys!

Glass diffusers require quite a bit of pressure to be really effective (i.e. a pressurized CO2 system). The best way to deliver DIY CO2 to your tank would be to hook the CO2 line up under the intake of a canister filter or power head, letting the impeller mix it into the water. You can also create your own DIY CO2 reactor. There's some info here.

Also if your have a waterfall effect (looks like you have) from your HOB filter, you are allowing a lot of CO2 to escape into the atmosphere. Most HOBs churn the waters surface enough to allow alot of escape. This can ruin the point of using DIY Co2 in the first place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Glass diffusers require quite a bit of pressure to be really effective (i.e. a pressurized CO2 system). The best way to deliver DIY CO2 to your tank would be to hook the CO2 line up under the intake of a canister filter or power head, letting the impeller mix it into the water. You can also create your own DIY CO2 reactor. There's some info here.

Also if your have a waterfall effect (looks like you have) from your HOB filter, you are allowing a lot of CO2 to escape into the atmosphere. Most HOBs churn the waters surface enough to allow alot of escape. This can ruin the point of using DIY Co2 in the first place.
I have a friend with a tank that is using a pressurized system. He agreed to buy the glass diffuser in case it doesn't function properly for me.

Is there any way that I can modify the waterfall effect of the HOB filter to reduce surface agitation?

My plants are happy as can be at this point.
 

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Keep the water level high so the HoB will not "waterfall" into the tank.

The kH to pH chart is pretty inaccurate. For instance if you are not using any CO2 and you take the kH and pH, the table will probably still say you have CO2 in your tank even though you really don't. The kH here is only accurate if it is measuring carbonate hardness alone but if you are using tap water the kH is being altered by other buffers like phosphates, sulfates, and silicates.

As far as measuring CO2, the best way is with a dropchecker and distilled water at a kH of 4. You get the kH to 4 by adding Sodium Bicarbonate as the only buffer (this is baking soda).

For what you need, I would just look at your pH out of the tap vs your tank first thing in the morning and right before lights out. Do not let the pH fluctuate over 0.8 or so. For example if your tap is 7.0, your reading in the morning might be 6.2 and by night 6.6. Also keep an eye out on your fish. If they look funny, or gasping, aerate more and change out some water.

GL with your new setup!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Keep the water level high so the HoB will not "waterfall" into the tank.

The kH to pH chart is pretty inaccurate. For instance if you are not using any CO2 and you take the kH and pH, the table will probably still say you have CO2 in your tank even though you really don't. The kH here is only accurate if it is measuring carbonate hardness alone but if you are using tap water the kH is being altered by other buffers like phosphates, sulfates, and silicates.

As far as measuring CO2, the best way is with a dropchecker and distilled water at a kH of 4. You get the kH to 4 by adding Sodium Bicarbonate as the only buffer (this is baking soda).

For what you need, I would just look at your pH out of the tap vs your tank first thing in the morning and right before lights out. Do not let the pH fluctuate over 0.8 or so. For example if your tap is 7.0, your reading in the morning might be 6.2 and by night 6.6. Also keep an eye out on your fish. If they look funny, or gasping, aerate more and change out some water.

GL with your new setup!!!
Excellent! I'm continually impressed with your (and this forum's) knowledge!

At this point in time, I'm averaging a KH reading of 4. The fish seem to be in a healthy state at this moment. I called the local water company and asked them to send me a water test report (free), and I'll cross-check it with my readings.

I'm heading to the LFS later today, and will ask about a dropchecker.

Thanks again, D.

nate
 

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Very interesting post.

Some of it/most was over my head.

Got me thinking though when i start up my own tank again for earnest.

Davey.

:)*Glasses**#3
 
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