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Old 07-26-2015, 07:08 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by jenelle View Post
Thank Aqua_Chem. I'll try not to bother you after this: I have the citric acid/bicarbonate in pop bottles set up. It's okay, but not great. I get very frustrated trying to regulate the bubbles. Speeds up, slows down to nothing; it has a very inconsistent dial. I get by with it, but also I've not been able to grow anything beyond the really basic plants (and I usually tear them all out due to algae every few months.)



When you say I'm underdosing, do you mean I'm under utilizing Flourish? (I'm following the directions)... how could I improve that if I stick with my finicky C02 system for now.



I'm not going to jump into a pressurized CO2 but I'm sorely tempted when I get another couple paychecks. I'm thinking of this sort of system - easy to set up for equipment-phobic people.

Complete CO2 Systems | CO2 Regulator - PH Controller - Cylinder

Does anyone of those systems appeal?



Thanks for your expertise.

Having shifted to pressurised co2 and a ph controller I'd never go back. Make sure you have a needle valve though for fine-tuning co2 delivery as I still find bps a useful check. Just in case you go down that road. The needle valve is good as a ph controller will turn co2 on/off at certain ph levels however the needle valve makes it easier to control co2 flow rate.

I'm not sure if it's just my bottle but I do find I need to adjust flow rate slightly as the bottle empties.

However even with a ph controller it's not quite set and forget (but close!). A ph controller does need calibrating every so often and I have a digital ph pen to check it. If the ph controller failed I wouldn't need to rush out and replace it (although would) so regard it as a 'useful to have'. A drop checker and bps counter will do most of it especially as you are used to co2 dosing anyway. So you could save funds there. Otherwise as suits.

Sort out co2 and next up the plants will run out of one of the ferts (grr). Potassium mainly for me. No worries, as above a ferts package will last for ages and once you get the dosing schedule sorted pretty easy. I tend to dose each fert separately now and check tank with test kits for water chemistry but I'm apparently in the 1% that likes doing that 😊

Then it's working through plants that will out-compete the algae. I always find the store plant doesn't do well until new leaves come up and it adjusts to the tank.

Substrate, substrate ferts and water flow are also I think important. I've had great growth rates with just little pots of soil capped with gravel under low light and no CO2. I think substrate is worth thinking about along with ferts, co2 and lights.

I think it just takes time to get sorted so now I do think if something is causing trouble, ditch it and replace as a planted tank is always a balancing act and you don't want something holding you back.

In lighter moments I confess I think I should of just got goldfish.

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Old 07-26-2015, 02:19 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by jenelle View Post
Thank Aqua_Chem. I'll try not to bother you after this.....
If you were barging into my living room while I'm drinking my morning coffee and reading Garfield to ask me questions about your tank, then we would need to have words. As it stands, people actually come to this site for the purpose of being bothered, so you shouldn't feel like you have to apologize.


Quote:
I have the citric acid/bicarbonate in pop bottles set up. It's okay, but not great. I get very frustrated trying to regulate the bubbles. Speeds up, slows down to nothing; it has a very inconsistent dial. I get by with it, but also I've not been able to grow anything beyond the really basic plants (and I usually tear them all out due to algae every few months.)
As I said, that system is a bit old school, and has largely been replaced with a yeast/sugar setup which is similarly cheap and might require less maintenance, although will still need to be attended to every 1-2 weeks.

Quote:
When you say I'm underdosing, do you mean I'm under utilizing Flourish? (I'm following the directions)... how could I improve that if I stick with my finicky C02 system for now.
Flourish products generally only supply micronutrients (Zinc, iron, etc) in appreciable amounts. You need to supply macronutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) via other means. Directly adding those nutrients as salts provided by that EI started package is the best way. In the case of your tank, you have micronutrients, light, and CO2, so your plants grow until they run out of macronutrients, as they are the most limiting factor. Running out of nitrogen (nitrates) stops the plant growth, and makes a great environment for BGA/cyanobacteria.

Quote:
I'm not going to jump into a pressurized CO2 but I'm sorely tempted when I get another couple paychecks. I'm thinking of this sort of system - easy to set up for equipment-phobic people.
Complete CO2 Systems | CO2 Regulator - PH Controller - Cylinder
Does anyone of those systems appeal?
I recommend none of those systems. They're nice. Really nice. Expensive nice, if you know what I mean. The Milwaukee m957 regulator is <$100 and will work reasonably well until you either break it by doing something stupid, you leave the hobby, or your house gets hit by an astroid. The GLA regulators are nice, but they're basically spinners and spoilers when you really just need a commuter car. Similarly, a $15 manual needle valve and drop counter, like what comes on the Milwaukee regulator, will keep a steady, reliable CO2 level, while the pH probe setups will be much more expensive (~$100 or so) and be less reliable in many circumstances.


You can be into CO2 for $150, including regulator, tank, and diffuser, if you really wanted to go down that route.
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Old 07-26-2015, 07:30 PM   #43
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Hi Jenelle. have you thought about a low tech planted tank? I have one, and it is so much easier. Low light plants are thriving in eco-complete, led light, and so far no ferts or co2. I am told that eventually the eco-complete will run out of nutrients, but I have mostly java ferns, vals and crypts, so not problem. Oh, I also have a common red leafed plant, ludwigia repens, which is also thriving.
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Old 07-26-2015, 07:45 PM   #44
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That's what I do too. Just learning about them but Low Tech planted tanks need almost no equipment or fertilizer or maintenance or anything. Feed the plants with extra fish food. I don't know why they are less known then the high tech way but I thinks it's the future for me.
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