29 all in one matten style corner with diy cave

John58ford
Member
Hi all, I never finished the write up on my network tanks and rack, but I'm still not happy with my weirs on those top tanks. I'll finish it once I solve the issue.

In the mean time: Here's a quick and easy one I put together in a week so I could adopt a friend's fish as he's getting ready to move across the country. This sits in the bottom right of my 6 tank rack; the cave I detail in this, as well as the black out treatment matches the theme.

First I set up the all in one, it's powered by a 130gph pump. I used a polypropylene trash can to make the corner filter holder. The one inch thick sponge gave more resistance than expected so I ended up siliconing the thing in a second time after drilling stitching holes around the edges as silicone doesn't stick to polypropylene very well.

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When I do my black outs, I use craft acrilic paint, thinned slightly with water. Once it dries, I cover it with packing tape to prevent scratches.

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John58ford
Member
Next, I washed some black diamond blasting sand and filled it up:

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Then it was break down day at my friend's home, fish were coming whether I liked the tank or not.

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It looked kinda cool but... I tried salvaging some of his plants and just didn't have enough height. Also, his guppy was a brute and continuously nipped at the Cardinals so.... Time for more fish if I'm going to run a medicated QT anyhow (some of his fish are destined for my other tanks, but he has recently had some illnesses in his tank and a drastic reduction in stock)... and then Sorg67 gave me a unique idea so I built a cave, and added a still converting sword with a matured runner from one of my other tanks to break up the line of sight:
First made a template and gathered/cleaned some rock. I had some abs pipe laying around so I cut it to 5", and a taper on one end.

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John58ford
Member
I hot glued layer by layer staying within the template until it was 5" tall.

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After it all cooled I rinsed it. Use cold water if you do this, hot glue, while generally aquarium safe, will release it's hold in real hot water.

Then I carefully scooped the corner into 2 Tupperware containers and buried my new cave:

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Most of the clouding is from replanting, if you use the lid on your containers whole adding sand it clouds very little
Hopefully this little guy decides my cave is worthy:

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It was a pretty straight forward build, I seeded it with sponges from my wet/dry system so I think it'll be ok with some attention to the water quality as should always be the case anyhow. Wish my new fish friends luck getting medicated up and healthy, if all goes well they will be mixed in within 3 months as I re-arrange and adjust my networked tanks.
 
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John58ford
Member
Clown did indeed give in and move into the new cave, I lured him out with a a wafer chunk. Here are a couple pictures after the water settled from planting:

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Sadly the water is now that classic shade of blue, I am treating for suspected worms or parasites (possibly why he had random deaths for the last 6 months), and ich that was observed on some of the rummynose school. I'm running basically the co-op med trio. The overly aggressive guppy has been put into a large breeder net for the duration of treatment and once clear I will try him with some silver tips or rasbora. He had continuously attacked Cardinals, even after increasing their school size to near appropriate (I didn't want too many more, I have seven that will be joining then after the tanks qt) today I even saw him dividing the school and chasing them down one at a time, multiple fins on multiple Cardinal were damaged within a minute or so, in came the jumbo net. I believe he has an aversion to blue for some reason, I have not seen him chase a rummy, or an Otto, and hopefully he will get along well with fish if a different color in one of my species tanks.

Anyhow, thanks for checking out this build, I will update here if the hardware has any issues so if you follow along on your own build watch this thread for updates. Enjoy the build.
 
FinalFins
Member
I'm following, that cave in pretty unique and I might steal that
 
Utar
Member
Very creative and good looking tanks.
 
NBettas83
Member
I really like that! I love the cave idea. I might want to try that someday.
 
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John58ford
Member
Update on this tank; it has filled out nicely, the cave had held up very well until I got it allot too hard with a siphon. I managed to knock one rock off the face but it's hardly noticable.

Here's the best recent photo of the thing:

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jake37
Member
Hum... those plants are still pretty small. What'cha gonna do when they quadruple in size ?
 
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John58ford
Member
jake37 said:
Hum... those plants are still pretty small. What'cha gonna do when they quadruple in size ?
Funny enough I've already been pulling plants. That larger sword had the runner when I moved it down from one of my 20 longs. Well, that runner had a runner lol. So one of them is the one you see in the rear right now, the larger runner has been moved into the other 29 (the 3d tank) on this rack. I've started propogations of the rotala in a 20 long now and am weekly cutting them down and replanting in here. The 2 chunks of Lily turned out to be 3, so one of the larger ones also made a pilgrimage to the other 29. Funny part is it's been printing these divisions and runners like paper but I don't really expect much out of this tank as I still am not "fertilizing" it. I take about a gallon by volume of plant matter out if it weekly trimming the Lillys, around the outside row of the sword, and various trimmings on the crypts and rotala.

I have started working with re-mineralization so there isn't as much calcium deficiency as the other tanks, and am using potassium bi-carbonate as a buffer for my kH, clearly adding to the plants as well, but I'm still only bringing it up to 6 degrees total gH with a 2:1 blend of calcium chloride/magnesium sulfate, and dabbing in the potassium bi-carbonate to get up to 5 degrees kh. This is to get my 2-3 degree tap water up high enough to make it a week without bottoming out. (On month 3 or so I was getting to borderline pH crash weekly) I'm still not supplementing nitrogen, carbons, phosphate or any of the metals like zinc, iron etc. It is definitely letting the tank do what the tank do though lol. The rest of the tank rack is still all natural, at least until it runs into the same issues, luckily most of the planting in the other tanks are way less needy and slower growing so they leave some calcium by the end of the water change cycle.
 
jake37
Member
I'm not sure where it is determined that plants need calcium. Chanyi was just posting in another thread that plants like very soft water (which would have almost no calcium). To be honest it make sense that most SA plants naturally occur in near 0 kh water (though they do have richer substrates). I have no clue about african plants like anubia.


John58ford said:
Funny enough I've already been pulling plants. That larger sword had the runner when I moved it down from one of my 20 longs. Well, that runner had a runner lol. So one of them is the one you see in the rear right now, the larger runner has been moved into the other 29 (the 3d tank) on this rack. I've started propogations of the rotala in a 20 long now and am weekly cutting them down and replanting in here. The 2 chunks of Lily turned out to be 3, so one of the larger ones also made a pilgrimage to the other 29. Funny part is it's been printing these divisions and runners like paper but I don't really expect much out of this tank as I still am not "fertilizing" it. I take about a gallon by volume of plant matter out if it weekly trimming the Lillys, around the outside row of the sword, and various trimmings on the crypts and rotala.

I have started working with re-mineralization so there isn't as much calcium deficiency as the other tanks, and am using potassium bi-carbonate as a buffer for my kH, clearly adding to the plants as well, but I'm still only bringing it up to 6 degrees total gH with a 2:1 blend of calcium chloride/magnesium sulfate, and dabbing in the potassium bi-carbonate to get up to 5 degrees kh. This is to get my 2-3 degree tap water up high enough to make it a week without bottoming out. (On month 3 or so I was getting to borderline pH crash weekly) I'm still not supplementing nitrogen, carbons, phosphate or any of the metals like zinc, iron etc. It is definitely letting the tank do what the tank do though lol. The rest of the tank rack is still all natural, at least until it runs into the same issues, luckily most of the planting in the other tanks are way less needy and slower growing so they leave some calcium by the end of the water change cycle.
 
StarGirl
Member
John58ford said:
Update on this tank; it has filled out nicely, the cave had held up very well until I got it allot too hard with a siphon. I managed to knock one rock off the face but it's hardly noticable.

Here's the best recent photo of the thing:

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OK so do you not clean inside the cave? I have always wondered this.
 
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John58ford
Member
StarGirl said:
OK so do you not clean inside the cave? I have always wondered this.
I actually do not. I have ramshorns, gold mysteries, Otto's, and the clown pleco in there so it stays pretty clean. I do investigate it with an inspection mirror (automotive type extendable) every now and then. I knocked the rock off the one and only time I shoved a siphon in there. I shoved the siphon in because my ~3 year old momma mystery decided to go in there and die the clown pleco gave her away by staying out in full light that day.
jake37 said:
I'm not sure where it is determined that plants need calcium. Chanyi was just posting in another thread that plants like very soft water (which would have almost no calcium). To be honest it make sense that most SA plants naturally occur in near 0 kh water (though they do have richer substrates). I have no clue about african plants like anubia.
Not all plants are calcium hungry, my crypts grow like fire and use very little. I have grown sword both aquatic, and long before starting keeping terrestrially. When they show veins, the skin gets clear/holey and they struggle in height they are typically lacking calcium. I used to grind egg shells and let them release in the soil for this. Works great on taller plants of the primary root varieties. You can find gardening guides that help you diagnose deficiencies all around visually based on the condition/color of the leaves. I'm sure if you have a harder water source it would rarely be an issue though.

Here's one such example, though I do not follow any one internet guides lore:
"Freshwater Plants: Nutrient Deficiencies - AquathusiastAquathusiast"


I just diagnose my plants as my mom taught me(on terrestrial plants). She was awful at fish, cleaned too much and never let my little tanks cycle; but she was in the "Japanese Gardner's club" and won yard of the month religiously. Calcium, via egg shells, potassium via banana peels, and magnesium via avaocado peels in addition to buried dog feces regularly grew competition worthy rose bushes at my house.

My swords in the network tanks are too "thin skinned" with holes from being soft enough the snails can get them. A good hardy plant wouldn't be holed.

As far as the buffers I chose, I was following a planted tank guide when I chose them based on their byproduct, the idea is in a heavy mixed planting you would follow a 2:1:0.5 ratio of calcium, magnesium, and potassium. My mix ends up running heavy on the potassium but it's by choice to keep it soft water friendly, but still get enough bi-carb to keep the cycle and pH happy. I will not use sodium bi-carbonate (baking soda) for kH as I have some sodium sensitive inverts, and honestly do not see any benefit to raising salinity: you won't find sodium on any plant charts I've seen and the only thing we used it for in the gardens was to kill... Snails...

So I guess, if the visual indicators match my giant array of testing gear, I add calcium.

Edited to add, I am also a fan of Chanyi advice on plants and re-mineralization, I used some of his numbers from a recommendation to Sorg67 as a starting point when I was bucket testing. To clarify further, after buffers, my water is still very soft, though not "crashing soft"; to keep the parameters at my natural 2-3dgh, 2dkh it would take daily supplementing, or twice weekly changes at 50%. Much easier and fitting of my fish room to add a couple grams of magic dust at the water changes.
 
StarGirl
Member
John58ford said:
When they show veins, the skin gets clear/holey and they struggle in height they are typically lacking calcium.
This is what my Swords always do. I have hard water. I can grow Vals and crypts like no tomorrow. The Bacopa and Guppy grass are doing ok but not growing gangbusters like everyone says. My pH 8.2 KH 9, GH 15
 
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John58ford
Member
StarGirl said:
This is what my Swords always do. I have hard water. I can grow Vals and crypts like no tomorrow. The Bacopa and Guppy grass are doing ok but not growing gangbusters like everyone says. My pH 8.2 KH 9, GH 15
Well you know what they say about Michigan water, if it's not trucked in, I won't drink it. I lived on the u.p. for a few years and the water up there was salty, liquid rock hard. Maybe you are on the magnesium/iron/potassium deficient category. I know your other plants look awesome, almost ordered some vals a couple weeks ago when you had that bundle but I know my water wouldn't do them justice yet. I actually am not sure on the specific differences in vals and sword nutrient wise but there may be a significant lighting difference. My swords do better when partially shaded by the lilly, in my adjusted tank, and my super soft tanks. Though I get significantly less holes with the calcium, magnesium, potassium blend I have been using in the adjusted tank. I only have one val, it was given to me when I started this tank and was very thick and hardy. It's now just as thin as my sword. The donor tank came from a hard water city treated area about an hour from here, otherwise they are very similar in set up.

Have you ever done the specific calcium and magnesium tests? I wonder about that michigan water honestly, so much salt and mineral it could easily be one or the other.
 
StarGirl
Member
John58ford said:
Well you know what they say about Michigan water, if it's not trucked in, I won't drink it. I lived on the u.p. for a few years and the water up there was salty, liquid rock hard. Maybe you are on the magnesium/iron/potassium deficient category. I know your other plants look awesome, almost ordered some vals a couple weeks ago when you had that bundle but I know my water wouldn't do them justice yet. I actually am not sure on the specific differences in vals and sword nutrient wise but there may be a significant lighting difference. My swords do better when partially shaded by the lilly, in my adjusted tank, and my super soft tanks. Though I get significantly less holes with the calcium, magnesium, potassium blend I have been using in the adjusted tank. I only have one val, it was given to me when I started this tank and was very thick and hardy. It's now just as thin as my sword. The donor tank came from a hard water city treated area about an hour from here, otherwise they are very similar in set up.

Have you ever done the specific calcium and magnesium tests? I wonder about that michigan water honestly, so much salt and mineral it could easily be one or the other.
No nothing besides the usual suspects. I may pick something like that up because I do struggle with supposed to be easy plants.
 
jake37
Member
I'm actually confused by why you would need to clean it out. In my case my cave was made by the fishes (kribs dug a 2 1/2 inch hole under a piece of driftwood). I observed that they clean their cave nearly every day. I would presume in nature that any fish that cared for a clean cave would clean it themselves. I would not be surprise if some fishes actually prefer a dirty cave.

Btw i do run hamburg mitten filters on my 3 smaller tanks (29,29,40). The two 29 are now around 16 months old and so far i haven't bothered to clean the sponges. One of them could use a good cleaning (not from fish waste but other gunk has built up on it) but i'm hopeful that i can wait another year before addressing the issue and then clean it when i move.
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Mine are not as creative as yours - i cheated and used these:

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The reason i bring this up is in context of the cave since the area behind these filters are effectively caves (though unlike a fish cave water flows through them).

John58ford said:
I actually do not. I have ramshorns, gold mysteries, Otto's, and the clown pleco in there so it stays pretty clean. I do investigate it with an inspection mirror (automotive type extendable) every now and then.
 
jake37
Member
Was thinking which is never good but why did you cover one end of your cave in plastic? If you leave unsealed and place rocks at one end with substrate then water could flow through it. Would this not be more natural?
 
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John58ford
Member
jake37 said:
Was thinking which is never good but why did you cover one end of your cave in plastic? If you leave unsealed and place rocks at one end with substrate then water could flow through it. Would this not be more natural?
I thought about doing it open on both ends (tunnel) but I really wanted to raise that corner of the tank. I don't really know if a large diameter would work for a tunnel either, was thinking cave into a rock face to hide in vs tunnel through an obstacle to swim through. Would probably make it a tunnel if I was building it for a betta though. Seems if you wanted to give a little clown pleco a fair sense of security in a tunnel vs a cave the diameter would need to be narrower, like the tunnels/tubes they sell for loaches. To prevent stagnation though my cave is cut at a sight angle, and since it's right by the filter intake on the same plane it does have some natural eddy flow.
 
JayAlva
Member
Just went through this whole thread very good quality build John58Ford! Love seeing diy that you can tell put in the real effort
 
jake37
Member
I think you misunderstood my comment. I was not suggesting a tunnel but rather the blocking of one end with porous material (rock and substrate) as oppose to plastic.

John58ford said:
I thought about doing it open on both ends (tunnel) but I really wanted to raise that corner of the tank. I don't really know if a large diameter would work for a tunnel either, was thinking cave into a rock face to hide in vs tunnel through an obstacle to swim through. Would probably make it a tunnel if I was building it for a betta though. Seems if you wanted to give a little clown pleco a fair sense of security in a tunnel vs a cave the diameter would need to be narrower, like the tunnels/tubes they sell for loaches. To prevent stagnation though my cave is cut at a sight angle, and since it's right by the filter intake on the same plane it does have some natural eddy flow.
 
Chanyi
Member
In terms of aquaria, soft vs hard means low KH vs high KH water. Many people associate Hard vs Soft water as Ca and Mg (GH) because house hold water softeners strip the water of those ions, but leave the KH (carbonate hardness). When a website describing water parameters for livestock / plants, soft vs hard water is linked to KH thus pH, not GH.

Plants prefer water with a very low KH, and a moderate GH level. That's why plant specific substrates like Aquasoil / Tropica soil / Contrasoil etc. strip the water of all KH, and release humic acids to slightly drop the pH.

KH is carbonate hardness, and generally a high KH leads to a higher PH. Soft, acidic water is water with little to no KH, which allows CO2 and humic acids to drop the pH into slightly acid levels. This is what plants like.

Ca and Mg are plant secondary nutrients. They need these nutrients in lesser quantities than macro nutrients, but in higher quantities than micro nutrients. Having a moderate amount of Ca and Mg in the water is essential for fertilizing the plants.

GH is general hardness, the sum of Ca and Mg in the water.

My tapwater has a GH of 17 degrees, but I still GH boost because of the 17 degrees, 15-16 degrees are Ca alone, meaning I need to GH boost with an Mg product (MgSO4 in my case) to avoid Mg deficiencies.

It's also worth noting that soft, slightly acid water is where the most amount of nutrients are available for plant uptake. When pH's are much higher or lower than 6.5 - 7.0, nutrients are far more likely to be bound in compounds that plants cannot uptake. When pH is within that 6.5 - 7.0 range, nutrients are much more likely to be bound in compounds that plants can actually uptake and utilize.
 
jake37
Member
Interesting. I guess I'm just lucky in that my water is 3 kh and 7 gh with 7.1 ph. Naturally i don't know the composition of the gh but it sounds better than - for example - mich. water - but then again not as nice as oregon water.
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I was going to ask about testing water but it occurred to me that many places add Ca - right? I was looking at the water report for our city but they don't mention Ca or mg; actually the list calcium as 79 mg/L but don't list magnesium but someone else tested it as 6 ppm vs 31 ppm for ca. Hum. Maybe one does need to do their own testing.
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Arrrggggg don't tell us we have to do more poor colour comparisons from water test. Geez i'm tried of trying to guess if this is super light blue, light blue, blue, or super duper light blue.

Chanyi said:
In terms of aquaria, soft vs hard means low KH vs high KH water. Many people associate Hard vs Soft water as Ca and Mg (GH) because house hold water softeners strip the water of those ions, but leave the KH (carbonate hardness). When a website describing water parameters for livestock / plants, soft vs hard water is linked to KH thus pH, not GH.

Plants prefer water with a very low KH, and a moderate GH level. That's why plant specific substrates like Aquasoil / Tropica soil / Contrasoil etc. strip the water of all KH, and release humic acids to slightly drop the pH.

KH is carbonate hardness, and generally a high KH leads to a higher PH. Soft, acidic water is water with little to no KH, which allows CO2 and humic acids to drop the pH into slightly acid levels. This is what plants like.

Ca and Mg are plant secondary nutrients. They need these nutrients in lesser quantities than macro nutrients, but in higher quantities than micro nutrients. Having a moderate amount of Ca and Mg in the water is essential for fertilizing the plants.

GH is general hardness, the sum of Ca and Mg in the water.

My tapwater has a GH of 17 degrees, but I still GH boost because of the 17 degrees, 15-16 degrees are Ca alone, meaning I need to GH boost with an Mg product (MgSO4 in my case) to avoid Mg deficiencies.

It's also worth noting that soft, slightly acid water is where the most amount of nutrients are available for plant uptake. When pH's are much higher or lower than 6.5 - 7.0, nutrients are far more likely to be bound in compounds that plants cannot uptake. When pH is within that 6.5 - 7.0 range, nutrients are much more likely to be bound in compounds that plants can actually uptake and utilize.
 
Chanyi
Member
jake37 said:
actually the list calcium as 79 mg/L but don't list magnesium but someone else tested it as 6 ppm vs 31 ppm for ca. Hum. Maybe one does need to do their own testing
79 mg/L = 79ppm
79ppm / 17.9ppm / 1dGH = 4.4 dGH from Ca.

The remainder of your GH is likely Mg.

jake37 said:
Arrrggggg don't tell us we have to do more poor colour comparisons from water test. Geez i'm tried of trying to guess if this is super light blue, light blue, blue, or super duper light blue.
API Ca test kits for reefs can be used, you need to dilute the sample size to measure more accurately in fresh water. It's a titration test so.... same style as the KH and GH tests (drops = a certain ppm per drop = count the drops until a colour change occurs).
 
jake37
Member
I might be mistaken but it is almost certain the water will have a high concentration of Ca; so isn't it more important to measure Mg? Yes you could attempt to compute the Mg from gh-ca but that seems even more flawed than trying to match colours.

Chanyi said:
79 mg/L = 79ppm
79ppm / 17.9ppm / 1dGH = 4.4 dGH from Ca.

The remainder of your GH is likely Mg.



API Ca test kits for reefs can be used, you need to dilute the sample size to measure more accurately in fresh water. It's a titration test so.... same style as the KH and GH tests (drops = a certain ppm per drop = count the drops until a colour change occurs).
 
Chanyi
Member
jake37 said:
I might be mistaken but it is almost certain the water will have a high concentration of Ca; so isn't it more important to measure Mg? Yes you could attempt to compute the Mg from gh-ca but that seems even more flawed than trying to match colours.
No Mg test that I know of that we can use.
 
waterpat
Member
Chanyi said:
No Mg test that I know of that we can use.
My Salifert kit for my reef gives results in 30ppm increments. Is this sensitive enough? What is a Mg concentration to shoot for in a planted tank?

Chanyi said:
In terms of aquaria, soft vs hard means low KH vs high KH water. Many people associate Hard vs Soft water as Ca and Mg (GH) because house hold water softeners strip the water of those ions, but leave the KH (carbonate hardness). When a website describing water parameters for livestock / plants, soft vs hard water is linked to KH thus pH, not GH.

Plants prefer water with a very low KH, and a moderate GH level. That's why plant specific substrates like Aquasoil / Tropica soil / Contrasoil etc. strip the water of all KH, and release humic acids to slightly drop the pH.

KH is carbonate hardness, and generally a high KH leads to a higher PH. Soft, acidic water is water with little to no KH, which allows CO2 and humic acids to drop the pH into slightly acid levels. This is what plants like.

Ca and Mg are plant secondary nutrients. They need these nutrients in lesser quantities than macro nutrients, but in higher quantities than micro nutrients. Having a moderate amount of Ca and Mg in the water is essential for fertilizing the plants.

GH is general hardness, the sum of Ca and Mg in the water.

My tapwater has a GH of 17 degrees, but I still GH boost because of the 17 degrees, 15-16 degrees are Ca alone, meaning I need to GH boost with an Mg product (MgSO4 in my case) to avoid Mg deficiencies.

It's also worth noting that soft, slightly acid water is where the most amount of nutrients are available for plant uptake. When pH's are much higher or lower than 6.5 - 7.0, nutrients are far more likely to be bound in compounds that plants cannot uptake. When pH is within that 6.5 - 7.0 range, nutrients are much more likely to be bound in compounds that plants can actually uptake and utilize.
So, would it be more useful to measure dKH (alk) + Ca + Mg separately rather than dKH and GH?
 
Chanyi
Member
waterpat said:
My Salifert kit for my reef gives results in 30ppm increments. Is this sensitive enough? What is a Mg concentration to shoot for in a planted tank?
Not accurate enough in 30ppm increments, diluting can help but.... I'm not seeing it being advertised for freshwater use??



waterpat said:
So, would it be more useful to measure dKH (alk) + Ca + Mg separately rather than dKH and GH?

Yes, on plant specific forums we generally list out dKH and dGH along with Ca and Mg in ppm separately, especially when many are swapping over to 100% RO water and remineralizing.
 
waterpat
Member
Chanyi said:
Not accurate enough in 30ppm increments, diluting can help but.... I'm not seeing it being advertised for freshwater use??






Yes, on plant specific forums we generally list out dKH and dGH along with Ca and Mg in ppm separately, especially when many are swapping over to 100% RO water and remineralizing.
Okay. A person could double the sample volume, and that would give 15 ppm increments for example.

Another option is to send a sample off. An ag lab can run a sample for a few bucks. Or send a sample for ICP analysis. Both of those options are a pain, and expensive.

Another option would be, like you hinted, start with RO and add Mg and Ca via Epsom salt and CaCl.
 
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John58ford
Member
I sadly seem to have hit my limit on this tank with re-mineralization only.

I believe I am at full stocking for a peaceful community 29.
11 rummynose
6 purple harlequin
2 cardinal tetra (I'm moving away from them)
2 male endler (couldn't catch them lol)
4 otto
1 clown pleco 4" adult
3 full grown mystery snail
Handful of ramshorns
If it is believed I can up the stocking I may try it.

To get my water up to 6 degrees gH, from 3 degrees, of mostly calcium, I am adding 6 grams MgSO4, and 2 grams CaCL2. I am using about 2.5 degrees gH weekly.

I'm running out of kH every ~3 days, adding 8 grams KhCO3 to increase ~2 degrees kH up to 4 total. This is leaving excess potassium if my math is right, it out

The higher amount of KhCO3 is definitely an imbalance in my Ca:Mg:Kh ratio that will increase dramatically if I were to skip changes our do small ones. This leads to my issue at hand, and why I think I may need to thin the tank.

I cannot build up above 10 ppm nitrate to save my life in this tank. I let it run 2 weeks trying to move my nitrogen baseline up, re-mineralizing as required by testing to maintain 6 deg gH, and 4 deg kH, and here's the results: (2 days since last dosing)
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 10
pH: 7.4
gH: 5
kH: 3
Phosphate: 1.5 ppm
All other tests I have available (iron copper etc) are trace/0

So, with what I have, and a big fat pile of fish poo, I have enough phosphate built up to handle 15+ppm of nitrogen byproduct, but am actually losing nitrate. If I continue to buffer without changes to build up nitrogen, with what I have I will end up with a 2:1:20+ Ca:Mg:Kh ratio... And it will likely continue to drop the nitrate, or get spot algae.

This is the first tank I have pushed this hard, and it's the first one I've ever heard the scraper crunching on spot algae.

That said it's activity time. For the non-chemistry interested, which sword, or lilly would you remove astheticly? Which crypt? I will be pulling one item from each group. (Number 3 is the lilly behind the middle sword, I would not remove that largest sword without serious persuasion).

20201118_093024~3.jpg



For the chemically minded, what kH buffer agent would you consider using other than potassium or sodium that might help me get a little farther without having to reach for a nitrogen supplement? Alternative thought is that I could reduce my lighting intensity by about 15%. I do not want to reduce this tanks photo period as it is on my display rack, the lights run together and the b other 5 tanks are not being pushed like this one. I am not sure that reducing lighting would even be of benefit though as the algae is not significant, nor affecting the plants.
 
jake37
Member
I have a side question; do you get any BBA ? I have a weirdness in that my guppy tank (a 29); has no bba but my other tanks have a little. The chemistry isn't controlled like yours but it has some similarities where the nitrate doens't seem to increase but the population density is close to 2x what one would think would be tolerable for a 29. It also doesn't get algae or bba (i suspect the guppies eat the algae); I do underfeed the fishes (which has caused someone to snack on the guppies from time to time).
 
  • Thread Starter
John58ford
Member
jake37 said:
I have a side question; do you get any BBA ? I have a weirdness in that my guppy tank (a 29); has no bba but my other tanks have a little. The chemistry isn't controlled like yours but it has some similarities where the nitrate doens't seem to increase but the population density is close to 2x what one would think would be tolerable for a 29. It also doesn't get algae or bba (i suspect the guppies eat the algae); I do underfeed the fishes (which has caused someone to snack on the guppies from time to time).
Very Little, in this tank, here are the 2 "worst" examples:

20201118_103129.jpg

20201118_103136.jpg

The matten had some when I first set it up but it's been gone for a long while now:

16057244954295887952472963684909.jpg

I did intentionally try to add some to my ugly pre-filter in my qt, this is all I could grow over ~6 months with similar tactics/husbandry but no real push to plant heavily (you never know when you might have to burn the QT with fire).
16057246417478673528028683818697.jpg


One of the tanks on my network (not the 29 in question) gets some long thread algae occasionally, not much. I just put the tongs in there and swirl it up like cotton candy. I can't get it to photograph today since it's so thin, but it's like wispy hair, usually hanging off my taller plants, and maybe there's enough to pull out of there once every 2 weeks while I'm triming anyhow(it's in the 20 long of you're familiar with those tanks).

I think maybe in my 29 all in one either the mysteries, or the pleco decimate what there may have been. I do not have either of those in the QT. The stuff I tried to hide the pre filter with in qt survived a pair of Otto's for 3 weeks so I don't think it is the Otto's eating it in the 29.
 
jake37
Member
ok thanks. I have to figure why some of my tanks get bba. I suspect it is phosphate triggered and the guppy tank avoids it due to low feeding.
-
regular algae isn't so bad in any of my tanks. My 40B was getting a little but i reduced the light duration while increasing the intensity and that seemed to have fixed the issue. Once i resolved the black beard algae trigger i'll be golden (the duration without regular algae has been close to a year).
 
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John58ford
Member
Still running great and looking good:

20201206_195351~2.jpg
 
jake37
Member
Yea. I have them in 3 of my 4 tanks. I didn't make mine like yourself but rather used swisstropical. The two older ones are around 18 months. How old is your oldest? Have you found they get very dirty ?
 
  • Thread Starter
John58ford
Member
jake37 said:
Yea. I have them in 3 of my 4 tanks. I didn't make mine like yourself but rather used swisstropical. The two older ones are around 18 months. How old is your oldest? Have you found they get very dirty ?
I have a matten as a pre filter in my 3D tank from when I decided to scrap my SS strainers, it's been in there about about a year and I've never cleaned it. The one in this tank has a piece of poly fill stretched behind it since week 2 since I didn't like the fine filtration and wanted to protect the sleeve in the UV sterilizer. I have never cleaned it, and have been watching for a difference in water level from the side of the tank as an indicator. So far so good.

I think the amano is the one keeping it moss/hair algae free though, I've been watching close to figure that out. The 3d tank filter is moss/algae free and it only has mystery and ramshorns though so who knows who's cleaning it for me, but it's clean

I'm currently trying to figure out how to build corner mattens as pre filters for my top two tanks that still run SS strainers. Catch is I need to install them with the tank running lol.
 
jake37
Member
I'm not sure what a SS strainer does. I use the corner mattens as my only filtration (well i have sponge filter on the other side). I'm found after 18 months one of them needed to be cleaned as the water level was dropping behind the filter where I keep the heater. The other one is not nearly as bad but i suspect after 24 or 30 months it too will require cleaning.
 
  • Thread Starter
John58ford
Member
I'm my other tank designs I used a stainless steel (SS) chemical rated strainer material to pre-filter my sump and weirs. The thought was that it would basically shake clean when I shut the flow down. The reality was that films (snail slimes and biofilms) impacted them severely, and that heterotrophic bacteria and micro organisms had no home so I had to shake them, allot more than expected.

In this 29 the goal was to use just the matten, I ended up designing the sterilizer so I could house known diseased fish with less chance of cross contaminating and spreading. It's a true sterilizer, as a water clarifier it could do a swimming pool. So far I have managed to keep the issue contained.
 
  • Thread Starter
John58ford
Member
Most recent pictures:

20210314_191923~2.jpg


20210328_200500~2.jpg
 

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