New planted tank need advice

  • #1
Hello everyone. I have just set up a new planted tank and I'm in the process of cycling it fishless. Here are some of my specs.
Lighting: Quad T5HO odyssea 36" light fixture, running 3 GE starcoat 6500k bulbs for a 36Lx13Wx20H inch tank (40G) they are 4-6 inches above tank.
Filter: sun sun 302 canister filter. Media includes filter pads on all trays with more to less media running from bottom to top.
Pressurized Co2: running about 2-3 bbp through a glass ceramic diffuser. This bubbles up into my power head which pushes it down towards my substrate which catches it in the spray bar flow cycling it around the tank.
Substrate is Eco complete roughly 2-3 inches.
Tank temperate stays around 79-80 degrees with hydor inline heater.
Plants: crypt parva, HC, Staurogyne repens. Anubias nana, dwarf sag, riccia on driftwood, java fern,ambulias. And amazon swords.

I'm running my lights about 10 hours a day keeping an eye for algae. I run my co2 an hour before lights come on to about an hour before they shut off. On my 2nd day I had cloudy water I'm guessing a bacteria bloom. Since then I've been testing my water every other day. Never an ammonia spike
0 nitrites 0 nitrates 0 phosphates 0 ammonia 6.8-7.2 this test was performed on day 5. GH 14 KH 5

My questions and concerns.
Alright so my plants in the foreground staurogyne and HC turned transparent but they have new growth bright green within. I'm unsure if this is good or bad. Basically all the plants are looking bad but have some sort of new growth. The riccia did the same thing died but new bright green leaves emerging. The stem plants however have some new green tops while others turned brown towards the top and green towards the substrate some just look bad. I'm thinking not enough light? The only bulb I don't have in my fixture is towards the back of the tank. So with such a high tank and my fixture suspended above it on a spacer I built to sit on the tank. Should I add more light? Maybe one more 6500k? To bring me to 160watts total?
Also I'm unsure if I should start dosing my ferts yet? I have dry ferts macros and micros that I will premix in 500ml containers. I've heared mixed visions on this so early.
My driftwood has also grown that "lovely" transparent white fungis.
Any insight and advice is much appreciated.
I'm also considering ordering more plants. Which would arrive in about a week. Thanks for checking out my post and helping me dive into this stressful yet awsome hobby!
  • #2
Welcome to fishlore! I don't know a lot about plants or lighting so I'll leave it to the experts. junebug
  • #3
you have a whole lot going on at the moment. Sounds like you have done a fair bit of research prior to setup too. Your a high tech setup and therefore it is a bit out of my league. What I can tell you if that with newly planted tank you will often see some plants nearly die, but will often start new growth at the same time which will thrive.

I am concerned with phosphates. You need SOME, like any amount. the BB will not grow without it. at least this is what my research tells me.

You like seems to be more than enough at this time to. so I wouldn't worry about that right now. As for dosing this gets tricky. but yes it wouldn't hurt to dose lightly and see the results.

Is your ammonia the 6-7 value?! if so this is too much imo. 3-4 is more where you want to be for fishless.
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
Sorry that was a mistype my ph is 6.8-7.2 the ammonia is zero. Thanks for the replys. And yeah I'm hoping its just plant shock and they have their lunch boxes still for the first month. My only worries are the BB not getting what they need. And that my light is going to be enough for such a tall tank. Thanks again. If anyone else would care to comment please do! I will check in frequently.
  • #5
What are you using to cycle your tank? With a planted tank and a quality product like atm colony or tetra safe start. a small school of fish would have no problems surviving provided you follow some easy instructions.

this way you can ensure a quicker cycle and feed your plants with vital nutrition from fish waste.
  • #6
You seem to be on the right track, and much of what you are experiencing is normal. You seem to be dosing Co2 appropriately at least to my eye, and have adequate lighting those GE bulbs supposedly have very high par ratings. One thing I am not seeing is how long the tank has been set up, maybe I missed it in your post? Plants will often go into "shock" for the first few days and you may see a die off followed by new growth like you experienced, I would not go out and buy new plants just yet. Have you added an ammonia source to the tank? I didnt see you mention that either, you will need some form of ammonia to get your cycle going; pure ammonia, fish food, a frozen shrimp ect. are usually used. As for ferts provided the plants lighting requirements are met micro and macro nutrients will become a limiting factor in plant growth (not stopping it, but it will occur at a slower rate). Eco-complete is a good substrate containing lots of minerals plants needed, however you are still going to need to add ferts. Without any organic waste in the tank and without ferts the plants likely are getting very few micro and macro nutrients they need. Lastly the white "fungus" is actually bacterial colonies. This is normal and will go away on its own in about a month or so. You can boil you drift wood than let it dry out completely and add it back to your tank, this should end the bacterial growth on the wood, or at the very least limit it. Even after dong this I often still see bacteria growth but maybe only 10% of what is previously was. The best method I have found is to bake the wood in the oven, you need to be careful not to burn the wood though from leaving it in too long. I have done this with just random pieces of wood I have found(still green inside) and never saw any bacteria growth on them.

Lastly post some pics!
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Awsome replys guys. Your right in the fact that I've added no ammonia source. Was going through a quiet cycle. The tanks been running 6 days as of today. This has been nagging at me, sure myself that it would be slower but maybe keep me away from algae I didn't want to add ammonia. At this point would it be better to maybe get 2 ottos or maybe 2 tetras to feed my cycle. As far as my API tests show I basically have nothing in my water haha it's wierd. Suggestions? Living ammonia? Or just a source? I'm open to
Any. Thanks again for the help!
hopeful fish
  • #8
I would suggest using bottled, pure ammonia. Dose up to 4PPM for the first day, and when that starts to go down, add 2PPM daily until you can add 2PPM and the tank will not have any in 24 hours. Fishless cycling is much more humane than fish-in cycles. Make sure your ammonia says "pure" or "clear" on the bottle, is not scented, and has no "surfactants" in it. The only ingredients should be water and ammonia.
  • #9
don't get oto's, they need to feed on algae which you don't have and are probably the most sensitive freshwater fish I have read about. its the one fish I wouldn't cycle with.
  • #10
Ammonia is simply an organic compound (NH3+) derived from an amine group, so whether you get it from pure bottled ammonia or from the respiratory, and digestive processes of fish its all the same thing essentially. Many people cycle without fish because the rise in ammonia and subsequently nitrites can cause many severe physiological effects on the fish including death. I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "quite cycle" but if you don't add any ammonia source your tank nothing is going to happen, nitrifiying bacteria obligate Chemotrophs with one suit specializing in the oxidation of amine groups ie. ammonia. This is all they do without an ammonia source you won't see any nitrifying bacterial growth.
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
Thanks so much guys. I'm off to work right now afterwords its off to Walmart for ammonia. As far as lights and everything I'm in the good for now ya think? Thanks again!
  • #12
yeah I think so, give it a bit of time and see how things go. like we have been saying its normal for new plants to go through a transition phase.
  • #13
If you dose with ammonia, make sure it's pure ammonia. You don't want to dump detergent into your tank.

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