new 75g planted and stocked
The more posts I read, the more nervous I get.
I have a 3 week old 75g tank that I planted (swords, crypts,water wisteria-or is it water sprite?-a sunset hygro and anubia). Canister filter Eheim2217, lights 2x54W HO T5.
Run it empty for 3 days, then, started adding angelfish juveniles (6 weeks old), few at a time, few days apart. I have over 60 angels there right now. Fish are happy, plants are growing (I mean, realy growing inches a day some of them) and all tests look perfect Zero amonia, zero nitrites, zero nitrates. Always. I checked old tank to make sure my tests are working since I was expecting at least the nitrates to start showing in the new tank.
It looks too good to be true. My question is: is it possible that plants are using all nitrogen up to the point that my biological filter did not establish? I read a little bit about "silent cycle" but I cannot believe my readings.
I fertilize with Seachem Comprehensive and also use Exel
Sorry, I meant to start a new thread. How can I move it now?
I moved your posts to a new thread.
The nitrification bacteria will still establish but in fewer numbers because of the live plants. The plants will grab much of the ammonia to use as their nitrogen source, but some will still get by for the bacteria.
Nitrates may or may not appear. You have some fast growing plants and they are heavy feeders, especially as you have bright light and are also dosing nutrients including liquid carbon. This is not at all a bad thing; most tropical fish occur in waters having nitrates so low they cannot be measured if they exist at all.
By the way, you do realize that those 60 angels will outgrow this tank fairly soon?
Thank you Byron. I can sleep better tonight.
Yes, I realize I have to look for a new home for them. I was not expecting that many (I still have about 20 left with the parents) and I did not lose a single one but the fish store will not take them until they are a quarter size so I have to grow them somehow. Some are big, other not. I am not a breeder and I try my best.
BTW, I keep a close eye on chemistry as well and I notice KH dropping (also the pH) from about 4 degree to 1.7. I still have some buffering, so it's not that bad. It it how quick it got there (3 weeks) and whether will eventually crash. GH stays there, at about 8 dGH. Should I attempt to boost the KH? Can I safely do it without changing pH or GH? I noticed a lower pH first thing in the morning (6.8 versus 7.2-7.4 later on). Tap water has a a bit over 4 dKH, so a water change will do. Anything else for long term?
As for the pH, this is very different. The level of KH "buffers" the pH, and depending how high the KH is, the higher the more it buffers. This keeps the pH relatively stable. With a low KH, the pH will tend to lower, which is normal. This is due to the acidification of the water. The breakdown of organics by bacteria and the respiration of fish, plants and bacteria all produce CO2 (carbon dioxide) which causes carbonic acid, thus lowering the pH as the water becomes more acidic. This is not an issue unless it drops drastically, and also depending upon the fish; hard water fish like livebearers would have difficulty with soft acidic water.
There is also another pH fluctuation that occurs more in planted tanks, and this we call the diurnal pH fluctuation. It is similar to the above. As plants photosynthesize, they consume CO2 and without going into the complicated chemistry, this causes the pH to rise as the carbonic acid is removed from the water. This happens during the day; during darkness, the opposite occurs, when CO2 is being produced but not taken up by plants, so the increase in carbonic acid causes the pH to lower. This is why one should always test pH in an aquarium at approximately the same time each day, to get a better feel for any more m major changes from day to day or week to week. I always test in the morning, just after the lights come on, when the pH will be at the lowest.
The GH can be affected along with the pH in planted tanks, depending upon the plants species and how heavily the tank is planted. Some plants will use bicarbonates (from calcium and magnesium) as a source for carbon, if CO2 is exhausted or insufficient. But this is minimal. Even the pH diurnal fluctuation will to be m ore than a few decimal pints. And this occurs in natural waters too, and the fish have no issues.
I use both API and Nutrafin Hagen liquid test for Kh. It takes 3 drops to change color from blue to yellow. Substrate is Seachem Flourite red (and some Fluval Stratum underneath as I did not have more than 4 pounds). I have some wood as well. 5 swords (2 amazon and three "assorted")- doing poorly. Lots of crypt wendtii red (I purchased 3 bunches not realizing that there are lots of plantlets in one bunch)-doing good, growing new leaves good color.Sunset hygro also doing well but new leaves much bigger and not much pink in them. Even Anubia got a new leaf. Now comes the monster of all: the water sprite (or water wisteria) that reached the surface already with daily new branches that grow one foot long in 4-5 days...
Could any of them assimilate carbonate/bicarbonate?
In CO2 makes H2CO3 acidifying the water in the absence of a buffer, what happens to H2CO3? From my chemistry knowledge, it is a weak acid, likely to decompose back to CO2 and H2O at normal pressure and temperature. Or is it behaving as an acid, thus donating a proton to whatever base is there (say water or NH4OH) making HCO3- and adding to the KH?
To the plants, the light may be an issue. Can you detail what you have. And are you adding any liquid fertilizers to this tank, and if so, which and how often?
It is H2CO3. Carbonic acid. I wrote it this way to make my point:
H2CO3 <---> H2O + CO2(gas) or H2CO3 ---> H+ (proton) + HCO3- (bicarbonate)
Chemistry used to be my strenght but I am new to aquarium chemistry and I don't seem to be able to connect the dots, its more complicated by many variables involved.
I am also reading that the carbonate is not the only buffering system. The phosphates are stabilizing lower pH value.
As for the lights, I am in total darkness. All I can tell is that I ask the clerk to sell me lights for plants, or else....Did he ever...All I know is that are AquaticLife, it has 2 tubes (one pink, one blue-ish) and two different absorbtion bands 460/620 and I am not sure if they are not for saltwater. They are 48" and 54 watts each. Less than 6000 kelvins. I wish I kept the original box
On the pH/KH issue, the diurnal fluctuations/changes I mentioned previously are not dramatic. And they go one way and then reverse every 24 hours.
On the light, this may be part of the plant issue you mentioned. Your light is quite intense, about 1.5 times more than what i have over my 70g, though this may be out with those tubes, more in a moment on this. How often do you use Flourish Comprehensive? I have to dose it twice a week to balance my light. And i have Flourite substrate in this tank too, which frankly has been very disappointing. I have not seen evidence of any substantial nutrient assimilation by the plants from this, in comparison to my plain sand or gravel substrate tanks.
If this were me, I would dose Flourish Comp twice weekly, and forget the Excel; the harm this stuff does and can do is not worth it. On the light, I wold suggest replacing the "pink" tube with a full spectrum/daylight with around 6500K [it will have to be T5 which means HO so it will be bright]. Can you use just one tube, i.e, remove one and will the other still light?
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