Fishproblem's FIRST High Tech Planted (6g)

Fishproblem

Member
Hey everyone,

I've been slow accumulating materials for a high tech planted tank, and finally last week pulled the trigger on everything I need to get started. All the gear is arriving in the mail now, so it's time to start this thread! My next post will include photos. In the meantime, here's what I've got for the setup:

Tank:
6 gallon Waterbox Aquarium

Lighting:
Fluval COB Light

Filtration:
Eheim Classic 250 Filter
Jardli Glass Inflow
Jardli Glass Spin Outflow

CO2:
Valken CO2 Aluminum Tank 20oz.
FZone CO2 Regulator - Triple Stage with DC Solenoid and Bubble Counter (also came with paintball converter )
Rhinox black CO2-proof tubing
Stainless Steel Check Valve
Jardli U Shape Diffuser

Substrate:
ADA Power Sand Basic
ADA Amazonia II
ADA Bacter 100
ADA Clear Super
ADA Tourmaline BC

Other Equipment:
Hydor Adjustable Heater
NilocG Drop Checker/Solution
Landen Hang On Thermometer, Clear, 6mm

It's safe to say I'm absurdly excited. I'm getting the hardscape materials this week. Thinking lots of small driftwood with elephant stone.
Once I set up the scape, then I'll buy plants. I'm not sure if I'll dry start or not yet, but I'm open to either option. This is all replacing a 5.5g diy rimless tank as a new home for my plakat betta. I'm also not sure if I'm going to use remineralized water, or how I'll dose ferts. It's a big scary, very scientific world out there.

Cant wait to set up the hardscape and fill the paintball tank so I can put together the CO2 setup! I desperately want to see it all assembled. I do also need to buy two timers so that I can take advantage of the solenoid and properly stagger the CO2 and lighting. Coming from low tech everything, this is an absurd amount of gear!

Pics to come this week when I get the hardscape. In the meantime, questions and suggestions are welcome!
 
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Coradee

Moderator
Member
Sounds like a great project, look forward to seeing the pics :)
 

Chanyi

Member
Fishproblem said:
Coming from low tech everything, this is an absurd amount of gear!
Oh... you're only just getting started with gear when going high tech ;)

Great start, now it's time for pH controllers / aquarium controllers, RO water systems, custom fertilizers, real-time tank live streaming, excel spread sheets and expensive camera gear to catch the moment ;)
 
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Fishproblem

Member
Chanyi said:
Oh... you're only just getting started with gear when going high tech ;)

Great start, now it's time for pH controllers / aquarium controllers, RO water systems, custom fertilizers, real-time tank live streaming, excel spread sheets and expensive camera gear to catch the moment ;)
Incredibly, I actually found a discarded, perfectly functioning RO system on the side of the road a few months ago, so it's there when I'm ready for it lol. I'm going to TRY to keep it all as uncomplicated as possible, but I'm sure you know better than I how that's gonna go :p
 
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Fishproblem

Member
Excuse my reflection - I said I’d have a photo this week, and here it is. I got this super piece of spiderwood from pacific aquarium in manhattan. Unfortunately they didn’t have any elephant skin stone, and I have my heart set on it. I ordered 2lbs of the stone from buceplant the other day. Anxiously waiting for the order to be fulfilled so I can move on to anxiously tracking the package. This is also the paintball tank I’ll be using. I thought it looked pretty sharp.


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-Mak-

Member
Looking good! You may end up wanting more than 2lbs though! Depends on what they send over
 
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Fishproblem

Member
-Mak- said:
Looking good! You may end up wanting more than 2lbs though! Depends on what they send over
Thanks! We'll see what I end up with when the rocks show up. I want to build up the substrate toward the back and plant really heavily, so I'm trying not to overfill the layout with hardscape. Saving that for the other tank I'm about to set up. ;)
 

Danny002

Member
I love that wood! I've never been a huge fan of spider wood but that one is really nice. Also I just googled elephant skin stone- super cool! I can't wait to see how this develops.

Also, any idea on what plants you want yet?
 
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Fishproblem

Member
Danny002 said:
I love that wood! I've never been a huge fan of spider wood but that one is really nice. Also I just googled elephant skin stone- super cool! I can't wait to see how this develops.

Also, any idea on what plants you want yet?
Thanks! I took an an absurd amount of time picking it out. I'm super excited to see the stone in person, too.

I definitely want some alternathera reineckii, but not a ton - I love the look of just a little splash of red, and I plan to plant some in a low tech tank of mine, too. Bucephalandra is really cool too, though I'm not sure yet I'll have a place for it in here. For the foreground I actually like the idea of competing carpets of dwarf hairgrass and monte carlo, but midground and background plants are up in the air. I love the look of tanks with a huge variety of leaf shapes and textures intermingled. Definitely will want some kind of moss, but I've been burned by java moss and want something more delicate that won't overtake the tank. As soon as I've hardscaped, I'm going to spend a lot of time on buceplant figuring out the details.
 
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Fishproblem

Member
The last piece of equipment has arrived - I got my Jardli spin outflow in the mail yesterday. I frequently ship glass at work, and I have to say they do an awesome job with their packaging. Low profile but very safe. It's gorgeous!

Now I'm just waiting for the stones. Apparently USPS attempted delivery yesterday, but had "No Access to Delivery Location". Curious, given that I live in a 100+ unit apartment building that they deliver to daily. (My local USPS office is one of the worst in the country. I'm perpetually simmering over it.) They should be attempting delivery again today, and I made a specific request that they leave the stinking package at the mailboxes through the USPS site, so cross your fingers for me!

As soon as the rocks arrive, I plan to finish tearing down my existing 5.5g betta tank and put the fish in a temporary holding tank so I can set up the new one in its place. Then I'll set up the substrate and hardscape!

One snafu - I was going to get my CO2 filled at Dick's Sporting Goods. They aren't filling paintball tanks until they reopen the stores, thought. Now I'm trying to find an essential business that can fill the tank for me!

Really hoping to be able to post a cool progress photo soon!
 

Danny002

Member
Fishproblem said:
One snafu - I was going to get my CO2 filled at Dick's Sporting Goods. They aren't filling paintball tanks until they reopen the stores, thought. Now I'm trying to find an essential business that can fill the tank for me!
You could check out a couple local hardware stores, big or small. I'd call first but they might be able to do something for you.
 
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Fishproblem

Member

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It’s finally here! I love this rock. I would really like to break this rock into two rocks, but the hammer has proven pretty ineffective. We’ll see how it goes.
 
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Fishproblem

Member
Picture time!! I finally took the protective plastic off the tank and put it where it’s going for good, so it’s really happening now! I set up the substrate this afternoon, using the ADA additives as a base layer before my one liter of power sand basic (5 scoops tourmaline bc, and 1.5 scoops each of bacter 100 and clear super). Then I poured in the power sand and topped it all off with ADA Amazonia II.


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Then, I got started on the hardscape. The elephant stone is too hard to break in my apartment, so I tried it out in one piece. I love it! Only problem is, now the wood is too big. So I’m cutting that in two to place around the stone, along with another few small pieces of spider wood. Does anyone know where to get truly small pieces of elephant skin stone?

So far, we look like this:


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It’s about time to order plants. Does anyone use the dry start method? It sounds like a good idea for letting carpets take hold.
 

Danny002

Member
You could try to find some smaller pieces on ebay or something. Maybe take out an ad in the local paper haha. Then of course there's always the option of LFSs and landscaping companies. Or, if the place you originally ordered from has an option to just buy 1 or 2 pounds of rock, you could select that and then just get multiple orders. It might cost you a bit more than buying in bulk, but it might be worth it.

If you're still down to break up the piece you have, you could try wrapping it up in an old tshirt or towel, taking it into a nearby parking lot (with little to no traffic obviously) and just hitting it as hard as you possibly can with the hammer. Maybe even throw it on the ground a time or two?
 
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Fishproblem

Member
Two updates in one day: I ordered plants


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Fishproblem

Member
Danny002 said:
You could try to find some smaller pieces on ebay or something. Maybe take out an ad in the local paper haha. Then of course there's always the option of LFSs and landscaping companies. Or, if the place you originally ordered from has an option to just buy 1 or 2 pounds of rock, you could select that and then just get multiple orders. It might cost you a bit more than buying in bulk, but it might be worth it.

If you're still down to break up the piece you have, you could try wrapping it up in an old tshirt or towel, taking it into a nearby parking lot (with little to no traffic obviously) and just hitting it as hard as you possibly can with the hammer. Maybe even throw it on the ground a time or two?
Unfortunately, it's looking like elephant skin stone is kinda specialty, so I have to keep looking. We'll see how the hardscape looks with the wood in, first. I wouldddddd go nuts on it on the sidewalk, but the texture is from like, years of weathering so I worry about screwing that up and getting a flat side I don't want.

I was originally thinking of doing the one piece of driftwood and having lots of smaller rocks all around, but now it looks like I'm going to do the reverse: one big rock surrounded by driftwood! Let me just finish taking this dull hacksaw to this very hard, thick piece of spiderwood.... :dead:
 

Danny002

Member
Fishproblem said:
Unfortunately, it's looking like elephant skin stone is kinda specialty, so I have to keep looking. We'll see how the hardscape looks with the wood in, first. I wouldddddd go nuts on it on the sidewalk, but the texture is from like, years of weathering so I worry about screwing that up and getting a flat side I don't want.

I was originally thinking of doing the one piece of driftwood and having lots of smaller rocks all around, but now it looks like I'm going to do the reverse: one big rock surrounded by driftwood! Let me just finish taking this dull hacksaw to this very hard, thick piece of spiderwood.... :dead:
Ahhh I see. Somehow I didn't think about the inside being flat!
 
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Fishproblem

Member

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Breaking the stone may not have worked out, but sawing the wood in half did! I plan to have a lot of stem plants growing in and around the hardscape elements, eventually sortof overgrowing so the wood is much more subtle. I’m pretty happy with this, but I still might add one more small piece of wood to finish it off. I can’t wait for the plants to arrive! They should ship out from CA tomorrow.
 
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Fishproblem

Member
Plants arrive via FedEx tomorrow! Excuse my excitement, but I am so stoked this is finally happening.

However, the complications are endless. We have a rabbit that will 100% chew through the cord and hoses for the Eheim filter, so I ordered braided steel sleeve to protect it from curious teeth. Hopefully it arrives soon, because I can't run the filter until it does. That's okay though, because I think I'll be trying to dry start to give the carpeting plants a chance to take hold.

There are still no open stores in NYC that refill CO2 paintball tanks. That's okay, I'll just drive to Jersey this weekend, I guess. :dead:
 

MaximumRide14

Member
Following! I'm starting my own high tech planted tank too, and your aquascape looks really cool so far! I've got my last test today and then I'm going to start fixing up my old tank.I like the raised substrate in the back, so I might take inspiration from you lol. The only problem is that the only extra substrate I have is black rocks (what I was planning to do) and some natural looking coarse gravel, so I'm not sure if I can transition the substrates in a natural-looking way.
 
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Fishproblem

Member
MaximumRide14 said:
Following! I'm starting my own high tech planted tank too, and your aquascape looks really cool so far! I've got my last test today and then I'm going to start fixing up my old tank.I like the raised substrate in the back, so I might take inspiration from you lol. The only problem is that the only extra substrate I have is black rocks (what I was planning to do) and some natural looking coarse gravel, so I'm not sure if I can transition the substrates in a natural-looking way.
Thanks! Take as much inspiration as you like - it's coming secondhand from James Findley anyway lol. If you haven't watched his aquascaping videos on youtube, go look them up! They're some of my favorites.

I bet you can transition the substrate pretty nicely. I've found that finding smaller pebbles to transition from larger rocks to sand or gravel is really effective (and can be totally free!)
 
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Fishproblem

Member
The photo heavy post I’ve been waiting to write is here: Plants came today! It sure is a pain to plant a carpet of dwarf hair grass!



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everything arrived from Buce Plant looking great, some even flowering!

the alternathera reneckii bunch was really tall, so I trimmed the stems before planting. Double the plants instantly!


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Next on deck was the bacopa caroliniana. The stems look great and it’s such a gorgeous plant, but not a root in sight?


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that made me a bit wary, but I decided not to worry and just planted them.


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Then came the prosperpinaca palustris. I’m not in love with this plant yet, but we’ll see. This was the smallest bunch I received. (There are a few stems hiding between the alternathera and the bacopa here.)


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Next up, the midground! Planted some staurogyne repens (UNS tissue culture) to soften some edges.


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Finally, four lead bunches of dwarf hairgrass, with tiny little buds! It took ten years to plant all this, but it feels worth it. I hope it carpets well! The roots stunk like straight up manure, so I assume they were grown in some heavily fertilized substrate.


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and that’s all for now! Flooded the substrate, misted it heavily, and covered in Saran Wrap. I’ll be away for the weekend hiking, so hopefully everything is alright while I’m gone!
 
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Fishproblem

Member
long update:

Well I guess they do say that noting worthwhile ever comes easy... even covered with Saran Wrap, it wasn’t warm enough in my apartment to keep the tank humid and the plants wet. I partially flooded it to try to keep the humidity up over the weekend and it.... kinda worked. The bacopa that was under the waterline is melting. The prosperpinaca melted too, but less so. Dwarf hairgrass, alternathera, and staurogyne repens all look good. I got worried that the melting was happening either because of still water or lack of flow, and there’s only one of those things I can do something about, so I flooded the tank today and set up the filter.


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the filter won’t be on top of the table forever, but I need the steel mesh sleeve I ordered to show up before it can go on the ground. Then, I’ll cut the hoses to an appropriate length and move the lily pipes from the back to the side.

I don’t want the plants to go without co2 for too long, so tomorrow I’m journeying to the nearest open paintball shop to fill my tank. Excited and anxious about that.

You’ll see also that the spider wood is missing... it floated, as I should have guessed. It’s been boiling now for two days straight, and I’m finally close to it sinking. My apartment is incredibly humid and my girlfriend wants to murder me, but I have gotten myself a quart of coffee colored tannin staked water out of it. Good news for my blackwater nano tank! Hoping I’ll be able to put the wood back tomorrow.

regarding the melting plants, does anyone think this bacopa is gonna be okay? Im not sure if it comes through clearly in the photo, but almost every leaf is melting.

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I also trimmed the dwarf hairgrass. Not sure what it accomplished but it made me feel better.

The spin outflow works great to reduce the flow from the eheim, which you can see is sort of huge compared to the tank. 6 gallon tank, and the filter holds a gallon of water. i think my plakat betta will manage the flow just fine.

another update tomorrow when I set up the co2!
 
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Fishproblem

Member
Guess I’ll keep talking to myself here! Finally sunk the spider wood after lots of boiling and with a small assist from the lead left over from my plant bunches. Will be removing that and doing a large wc before I put my fish in.


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not really related to the build, but I just saw my model of filter for sale new for $170 and my jaw dropped. I know they went for over $100 but I bought mine gently used for $60 without really checking the actual retail. Feeling pretty good about that now!
 
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Fishproblem

Member
CO2 tank filled! I only had to drive 40 minutes to the nearest open paintball shop... not terribly "shelter in place" friendly, but it was a five minute transaction in which everyone hand sanitized and wore surgical masks so I'm convincing myself it was okay.

Now i have to set it up without messing it all up! wish me luck...
 
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Fishproblem

Member
WELP. I'm close, but not there yet. The CO2 is all set up, thanks to a little help from folks on here! (thanks Chanyi !)

Unfortunately, I've got leaks at the connection points on either end of my check valve, and where the tube connects to my diffuser. I'm super discouraged and VERY grumpy about is because I can't figure out how to fix it. I put it out to the people on a new thread, so hopefully I get some help soon!

Why is my Rhinox CO2 tubing leaking? Help - | 459314 | Freshwater Aquarium Discussion
 

Danny002

Member
In regards to the bacopa, it should end up fine. I had the exact same situation with my rotala from buceplant and it melted pretty bad but now it's all putting out new growth. I'm pretty sure they send trimmings so that would explain the lack of roots. I can't help out with the co2 tubing but I hope you can get it working soon!
 

AcornTheBetta

Member
Your tank looks great!
 

Ryz

Member
This tank is gonna be soooo dope ^_^_^_^_^_^_^
Rootin for yah!
 
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Fishproblem

Member
Danny002 said:
In regards to the bacopa, it should end up fine. I had the exact same situation with my rotala from buceplant and it melted pretty bad but now it's all putting out new growth. I'm pretty sure they send trimmings so that would explain the lack of roots. I can't help out with the co2 tubing but I hope you can get it working soon!
That's encouraging to hear! It's such a nice plant, I'd hate to lose it. The only happy leaves I have on it rn are the newest growth at the very top. I'm rooting for them!

FishGuy4563 said:
Your tank looks great!
Ryz said:
This tank is gonna be soooo dope ^_^_^_^_^_^_^
Rootin for yah!
Thank you thank you!!! And I really hope so! I've never gone after planting with this much intention (or $$$) behind it, and I really hope it's a success

The ever incredible Chanyi patiently held my hand and walked me through figuring out what to do about my leaky CO2, and clued me into the fact that hose clamps in insanely small sizes exist. Rather than buying a new length of CO2 hose only to find it also leaks at the connections, I have a pack of itty bitty clamps heading my way in the mail. They'll be here by Sunday, and I absolutely can't wait to tighten the connections and get this ball rolling.

I think that was the first instance where this forum has really just been 100% the difference between feeling really defeated and not knowing what to do, and having a voice of experience to help me come to a solution. I appreciate all of you guys so much, because I don't have anyone irl to go to about things like this, and most importantly, just to geek out and be excited about my tanks to. With that, here's a small success! The hairgrass is sending out runners!


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Fishproblem

Member
I've been absent! Busy in NYC at protests in my spare time, so not a lot of bandwidth for the forum this week. I live in Flatbush, which has been pretty heavily featured in the news for not all the right reasons. A few big photo updates to come, but in the meantime...

Still haven't gotten the CO2 hose to stop leaking. Ordering new hose and maybe a new check valve. And as of last night... DIATOMS.

Small problems in the grand scheme of things.
 
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Fishproblem

Member
Ooookay fish friends. The prosperpinaca palustris and bacopa have melted away to nothing. Diatoms are having a bit of a ball. Dwarf hairgrass is sending out runners, and althernathera reneckii is growing well but not like a weed.

I have yet to be able to get my CO2 running, but en route I’ve got jardli tubing that I certainly hope will fit the same brand diffuser with no leaks, and a dennerle check valve with screw cap connectors. The valve was $30 for a piece of German engineered plastic, but if it lets me get to injecting CO2, it’s worth every penny in my book. My betta is in the tank now, as I didn’t want to keep him in his 1 gallon mobile home any longer. The og plan had been to get the CO2 dialed in and pH stable before I moved him in, but I’ll just have to scoop him back out for a couple days when it’s CO2 time.

though I feel like I’ve been going crazy paying attention to my tanks, I guess this is all the update I have for this one so far. I’m really bummed the bacopa melted entirely. I assume it was grown in a high tech setting and couldn't handle the lack of CO2. I’ll try again with it when I’ve got that set up.

And now, photos!


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happy alternathera


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grumpy fish ft. Yagote drop checker


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(hairgrass has grown MORE since this was taken a few days ago)


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fts!


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sad sad bacopa that since then turned brown/grey and pretty much dissolved. Oh well.
 
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Fishproblem

Member
Well after spending about three minutes fiddling with the knobs on my regulator and quietly suppressing total panic, I plugged in the solenoid :banghead: ...and WE HAVE BUBBLES!

I'm injecting pretty low levels right now because I was just testing the Jardli hose, but it WORKS! I'm going to go read some articles and threads to brush up, but does anyone have advice for dialing in the right amount of CO2? I have a NilocG drop checker in but I know it's not an immediate read. Input on how many BPS I should be shoot for to start would be great!

The Dennerle check valve I ordered from Marine Depot Friday night has yet to ship, so it will be a few days until I can add it to the line. In the meantime, I think the built in check in my bubble counter will have to suffice.

I'm also thinking about fertilizers. -Mak- I've seen you talking about Tropica around the forums, do you have any thoughts on using one of their fertilizers for this setup? I'm less inclined toward heavy fertilizing than I am to keeping it to the minimum needed for healthy growth. But maybe I'm just too influenced by my IG inspiration shrimpery?
 

Ryz

Member
Looking good ^_^
 
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Fishproblem

Member
Looks like the CO2 is pretty well dialed in. Drop checker solution is a nice bright green, and my betta doesn't appear stressed at all. I messed around with the plants a little and used my tweezers to rustle around in the alternathera... lots of dead leaves at the bottom there floated up and away. They're very stalky and bare, but the tops are looking great. I worry that I may need more light on this tank than the Fluval COB can offer.
 

waterpat

Member
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Fishproblem

Member
Okay, so the Dennerle check valve has arrived, as has my API GH & KH test kit.

Check valve: exactly what I wanted, works perfectly with secure connections and no leaking. Totally worth the $30 for it to work and for the peace of mind. 10/10 success!

GH & KH test kit: a little confusing. I use the API test kit and have since I was literally eight years old, but the drop counting process is new. And the instructions feel unclear. According to the instructions, the KH test is supposed to turn from blue to yellow, but it's yellow straight out of the bottle? The KH test solution stayed yellow when it hit the water, and the GH came out green, and turned orange on contact with the water sample. I need to read a little more to figure out what this means the readings are and what it means for my plants...
 

-Mak-

Member
Fishproblem said:
Okay, so the Dennerle check valve has arrived, as has my API GH & KH test kit.

Check valve: exactly what I wanted, works perfectly with secure connections and no leaking. Totally worth the $30 for it to work and for the peace of mind. 10/10 success!

GH & KH test kit: a little confusing. I use the API test kit and have since I was literally eight years old, but the drop counting process is new. And the instructions feel unclear. According to the instructions, the KH test is supposed to turn from blue to yellow, but it's yellow straight out of the bottle? The KH test solution stayed yellow when it hit the water, and the GH came out green, and turned orange on contact with the water sample. I need to read a little more to figure out what this means the readings are and what it means for my plants...
Right, the liquid's colors don't really matter, only the final color from the instructions. The KH test is done when the 5 mL of water stays yellow. If it's already yellow after 1 drop your KH is pretty much 0 degrees. The GH test is done when the 5 mL of water stays green, so you'll need to keep going! These two tests are simplified titration reactions, where the color change happens only at the desired point, in our case the hardness levels :)
 
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Fishproblem

Member
Well that's helpful! I'll test again tonight when I'm done tinkering
 
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Fishproblem

Member
I finally got around to cleaning up all my hardware around the tank. We have a litter trained rabbit that lives happily free range in the bedroom, so I couldn’t move the Eheim to the floor without protecting the hoses and cord. Finally felt the motivation to go for it (after having the requisite steel mesh hose for over a month now) so it’s out of sight and safe from curious teeth. (Looks like it’s got more horsepower now, too :p )

My before and after photos are a little silly because I have great dramatic lighting in the before, and bad light in the after, but you’ll see that the mess of hoses and the filter are all gone.

Before:

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After:

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If anyone’s curious what the hoses look like now, here’s a pic. I cut steel mesh sleeve to the right length and slid it over the stock eheim hoses, and used black electrical tape to attach it and clean the edges/cover the sharp frayed ends.


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tbh it looks kinda cool.

My plants aren’t doing great. After a 1 gallon water change (14%) where I replaced the water with distilled water, my kh + gh test came back 2 dKH and 107.4 ppm GH/KH. Currently trying to figure out what that means for the tank environment, as well as working out when I should test the water and how frequently to get accurate readings.

My understanding is that you’re not supposed to fertilize right away when you use ADA Amazonia II. My main concern is getting the CO2 levels right though. My drop checker is green but I worry I’m not injecting the right amount.

sorta sad plants below!


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