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there's a film on the water...

This is a discussion on there's a film on the water... within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> Originally Posted by Byron A comment just to ensure we're on the same page. In a planted tank, the pH rises during daylight and ...

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there's a film on the water...
Old 03-05-2010, 10:23 AM   #11
 
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Originally Posted by Byron View Post
A comment just to ensure we're on the same page. In a planted tank, the pH rises during daylight and drops during darkness every 24 hours. This occurs regardless of the light, or perhaps I should say, provided the light is adequate in intensity for the plants to photosynthesize. If everything is balanced, meaning light (intensity & duration) and nutrients including CO2, nitrogen and minerals, plants will photosynthesize and pH will rise accordingly; in my aquatria this rise is about .4 each day. If the light is increased beyond this balance, algae will appear. I am not aware of anaerobic bacteria having any direct impact on this. Anaerobic bacteria occur in the substrate when oxygen is not available, and this occurs in all healthy substrates but not to excess. Your Malaysian snails will keep this in check.

On your last point, as Angel said you may have sufficient from the soil and minerals in the water. The plant growth rate and appearance will tell you that; yellowing leaves will indicate nutrient deficiency assuming your light is adequate.

Byron.
I thought the "bad" bacteria produced CO2?
(I took all the MTS out of the tank in question because of the ammonia- will put them back as soon as ammonia is 0)
Right now it's a plant-only tank.

I was going to test PH at the same time every day so the normal fluctiuation wouldn't affect the results.
It's really so I can figure out what amount of light is right, since, in my mind (I might be wrong)
substances in the soil produce CO2 as they decompose.
Would that be true?

Also, wouldn't internode length be a better judge of whether the light intensity is high enouugh?
(well I guess if light was too low, it would take too long for the growth to show :-/)
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Old 03-05-2010, 11:13 AM   #12
 
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I thought the "bad" bacteria produced CO2?
(I took all the MTS out of the tank in question because of the ammonia- will put them back as soon as ammonia is 0)
Right now it's a plant-only tank.

I was going to test PH at the same time every day so the normal fluctuation wouldn't affect the results.
It's really so I can figure out what amount of light is right, since, in my mind (I might be wrong)
substances in the soil produce CO2 as they decompose.
Would that be true?

Also, wouldn't internode length be a better judge of whether the light intensity is high enouugh?
(well I guess if light was too low, it would take too long for the growth to show :-/)

The pH in an aquarium will drop over time due to the acids produced by waste organic matter, respiration (fish and plants) and filtration (bacteria) processes. The carbonate hardness of the water can act as a buffer if it is sufficient, and the regular partial water change tends to keep this balanced if the hardness and/or pH of the replacement water is higher than that of the aquarium, which it usually will be.

The diurnal fluctuation is due to the photosynthesis of the plants, and you are correct to measure pH at approximately the same time each day to ensure you see any changes from the normal balance. Very soft water, such as I have, causes a greater diurnal fluctuation, about .4 in my case, but this is not harmful. Hiscock writes that a change under 1 point (e.g., from 6 to 7) is fine during this 24-hour process, and seldom will it be anywhere near that.

It is actually wrong to think of "bad" bacteria, because both aerobic (oxygen-using) bacteria and anaerobic (don't use oxygen) bacteria are essential for a balanced substrate which makes a balanced planted aquarium. That word balance is here again. As the aerobic bacteria use up oxygen in the substrate, it [the substrate] becomes anaerobic. Anaerobic bacteria either use no oxygen or make their own, and they can release toxic gasses such as hydrogen sulphide. But they also break down nutrient bonds by preventing the nutrients (which were produced by the actions of the aerobic bacteria) from binding with oxygen (which they would naturally want to do), thus making those nutrients available to the plant roots. The anaerobic bacteria use nitrates in this process, and this produces nitrogen, another necessary nutrient for the plant roots. Denitrifying bacteria use oxygen from nitrites and nitrates to produce nitrogen gas which is released through the substrate and water and into the air. Normally , all this is in balance so plants benefit and fish benefit from the plants.

When it gets out of balance, as when the substrate begins to compact (a danger of sand, but also gravel and soil) the anaerobic are more numerous and the plant roots rot due to the excess of substances like hydrogen sulphide. The snails, or poking the substrate, keep things balanced. With plain regular gravel (1-2 mm grain size) this tends more to look after itself, another reason I recommend small gravel substrates. There is less to go wrong.

The amount of light should be solely based upon the needs of the plants in relation to the available nutrients. In all new planted aquaria, some experimenting is sometimes necessary to achieve this balance. After a few gos, we tend to learn what will likely work, which is why I can set up a planted tank now and guarantee I will have a balance from day one. The only variable for me is the extent of additional mineral fertilization (liquid and/or substrate fertilizers) because this solely depends upon the amount available from the fish, and different tanks with different fish will be different. I know the minerals in my tap water, and I know they are inadequate, so I use a liquid fertilizer and over a few weeks may experiment with once then twice, or twice then once, observing the plant response. Plants tend to respond fairly quickly either way. I aim for the least amount of added nutrients, so it is better to start low and increase if plants show signs of nutrient deficiency.

Hope this helps a bit.

Byron.
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Old 03-05-2010, 11:27 AM   #13
 
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It does.
My 5G in question has a carbonate hardness of about... 1.
Probably less.

Would 8 watts be a good starting point for the light?
I'm pretty sure 8W will be the smallest CFL I can find, unless I manage to find an 8W Dimmable (in which case I would probably get a 14W dimmable so I can experiment a bit :p)
(don't worry, will be cool white)

Actually I may get the 8W dimmable since it is in a relatively sunny window... not real bright though, assuming I can find a dimmable 8W)

Right now, on my purchase list-
1 heater (for the 5G, I have a 10G heater in there ATM, but want to have a spare)
2 Cool white bulbs (one 8W for 5G and 1 8-10W for another tank)
1 air pump to make a sponge filter out of... (Do you think it's neccesary? and could I use packed filter floss instead of a sponge? would work the same I'd imagine. I'll post to DIY before I build it.)
5 Ghost Shrimp when the ammonia gets 0 (so I have something to watch)

I should probably post another topic, but I seem to have everyone's attention here, and don't want to turn the forum into "redchigh's questions"
would neons work in the 5G? Or would you still reccomend the Ember tetras? (I'll wait until water parameters are better)

Would the 8W in a lit window be enough light for dwarf baby tears? they are adorable and I'd like something tiny to be proportionate in a tiny tank...Plus I can get more snails from SA...
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Old 03-05-2010, 11:47 AM   #14
 
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The softness of the water will allow the pH to drop, that's good for acidic fish and plants; some do and some don't buffer it at some level, say pH 6, that depends upon fish and plants. That can come later.

Cool white is a good choice for single bulb, and the smallerst at 8w will probably work. If it produces more intensity than required, reducing the time can help, but I suspect it won't be a problem in that direction. A if insufficient, a higher wattage bulb will fix it, but with the window light this probably won't be an issue. Give it a couple weeks to settle, as I frequently write, new tanks need to settle down, not be fussed with.

In a 5g with plants and the way you're setting it up, I would not bother with a filter. I have considerable support from good authorities on this point.

Fish, while neons are often seen in these types of tank, I would myself prefer Ember Tetras because they max out at 1/3 the size of a neon in terms of bioload, and that means a group of 9 with a small group of dwarf corys would be perfect, in that water, with plants...wow.

I have an empty 10g (and a 20g too) sitting in my fish room, you're giving me ideas...

Byron.
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Old 03-05-2010, 12:02 PM   #15
 
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I guess if I give it a week or two the water will clear up... or I might make one and put it in for a few hours to clear it and then use it as needed... (The water is cloudy from suspended clay/dirt from planting the plants... I want to see my beautiful tank, and the plants might not get enough light if the waters not clear....)

I suppose I will go with the Ember Tetras... maybe 7 with a bunch of inverts... (will a ghost shrimp eat an ember tetra? I don't wanna spend a bunch on RCS for an experimental setup)

I'm worried corys would stir up the settled dirt on the bottom. I do NOT EVER wanna gravel vac this tank. I think a layer of gunk on the bottom would help provide a food source for future baby shrimps.


Would it be okay to use a filter "as needed" to clear up the water, for example, after moving plants around?
I'm hoping after beneficial bacteria colonise the substrate it might be more adhesive... right now it's pretty much silt.

Although, since we're trying to replicate nature, the substrate is behaving exactly the same as all the natural lakes I've swam in. one big step and the water turns muddy-looking.
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Old 03-05-2010, 12:39 PM   #16
 
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A temp filter is fine, good idea to clear initially. A sponge type connected to an air pump would be best, anything else will likely stir things up with current.

Good thinking on the corys. On the shrimp I can't answer as I've never had them... leave it for someone who has kept ghost shrimp to comment. Also the number, one site mentions one per gallon max, and fewer in tanks under 10g due to aggressiveness.
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Old 03-05-2010, 03:38 PM   #17
 
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I suppose I will go with the Ember Tetras... maybe 7 with a bunch of inverts... (will a ghost shrimp eat an ember tetra? I don't wanna spend a bunch on RCS for an experimental setup)

I'm worried corys would stir up the settled dirt on the bottom. I do NOT EVER wanna gravel vac this tank. I think a layer of gunk on the bottom would help provide a food source for future baby shrimps.
There's a few points here I'd like to add the experiences I had:
1) Ember and shrimp in the set up fine - Just be sure to let this tank establish first for few months before adding shrimp; adding them right now even if your readings drop to 0 will likely end fatal they do NOT like new set ups; let the tetra do their thing in there for a while, some mulm built up on the bottom then later add shrimp.
And no a ghost will not go after the Ember's nor eat them unless they'd be laying on the ground dead already then they'd roll in as the "clean up crew"
2) Cory I could see in the natural set up; but Cory & Shrimp i'd not mix on the ground from my experiences; specially if you're talking about wanting to raise newly hatched shrimp (which are dep on exact spices about 0.5-1mm "big") so that would be a nice snack for any Cory but you'd never raise any shrimp fry there - So really I'd suggest to make a EITHER OR decision there.

Oh another side note about adding a filter to clear it up; when I had set up my non-filter topsoil-sand mix tank there it took a lil less then 1 week for itself to clear up
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Old 03-05-2010, 04:29 PM   #18
 
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Well I might leave a 23W on it for now to make up for the 3-4 days the tank was sitting and not doing anything but produce ammonia.

When the ammonia level begins to drop and the water starts to clear I'll put the 10W I bought in it.
(I want to see my plants clearly for now to make sure I catch them falling ill before they die, incase something is off)

It might be my imagination, but maybe the cloudiness in the water is partly nutrients dissolved in the water?
I turned the 23W on it when I went to the store to buy the bulbs. Now, looking at it, even when the bulb is off the water seems a bit clearer.
(It was cloudy for days last time- I had to put the filter in it to see anything. I actually used a power filter that output the water right at the water level so there wasn't much "downward" flow, and it cleared up in about 10 minutes)
I'll try the natural approach this time though. (don't wanna have to replant everything)

Thanks for the help everyone.
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Old 03-05-2010, 10:56 PM   #19
 
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Well I might leave a 23W on it for now to make up for the 3-4 days the tank was sitting and not doing anything but produce ammonia.

When the ammonia level begins to drop and the water starts to clear I'll put the 10W I bought in it.
(I want to see my plants clearly for now to make sure I catch them falling ill before they die, incase something is off)

It might be my imagination, but maybe the cloudiness in the water is partly nutrients dissolved in the water?
I turned the 23W on it when I went to the store to buy the bulbs. Now, looking at it, even when the bulb is off the water seems a bit clearer.
(It was cloudy for days last time- I had to put the filter in it to see anything. I actually used a power filter that output the water right at the water level so there wasn't much "downward" flow, and it cleared up in about 10 minutes)
I'll try the natural approach this time though. (don't wanna have to replant everything)

Thanks for the help everyone.
In new tanks the cloudiness is usually sediment, minute particulate matter floating in the water. You notice it when lights are on because the particles reflect the light, in darkness (no tank light) they are not reflecting much as are less noticeable. Tou have this with gravel and sand substrates, it will settle; soil of course is going to take a bit longer because it is different stuff and yes, in this case (soil) is is nutrients of sorts.
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Old 03-06-2010, 02:46 PM   #20
 
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In new tanks the cloudiness is usually sediment, minute particulate matter floating in the water. You notice it when lights are on because the particles reflect the light, in darkness (no tank light) they are not reflecting much as are less noticeable. Tou have this with gravel and sand substrates, it will settle; soil of course is going to take a bit longer because it is different stuff and yes, in this case (soil) is is nutrients of sorts.
Well the water seemed cloudier before I had a light on it.... After having the light on for a while it seemed to be clearer. Ah well. I'll check on it tonight and see.
(haven't been home since yesterday afternoon)
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