Build Thread 15G-"Plentiful drops"

Nick

New Member
  • Jul 24, 2023
    17
    17
    Europe
    Hello all,

    with the summer and vacation time behind me, it's time to finally time to dust off the old equipment and start looking for what is still need. I have been thinking about starting a planted tank for a time now. While I have been doing some reading and got some clarifications from friends, feel free to share your thoughts as there is so much to learn.

    With this tank, I want to focus on growing healthy plants and learn how to trim them in neat groups. At this time, I will wait until I am more confident in what I'm doing to invest in hardscape.

    The aquarium details are below:

    • Tank: 15gal 24 * 12 * 12
    • Filter: Eheim 2213 > need to get some black in/out pipes
    • Light: got a cheap Chihiros a601 plus
    • Heater:
    • CO2:
    • Substrate: sand

    With the sand in and filter started with a little biomedia from a friend, I added 2 ppm ammonia to help me monitor how it's going. Things to share will come soon, but took the big step of starting the tank .

    I will update this post with the current image.

    Regards
    Nick
     
    I want to focus on growing healthy plants and learn how to trim them in neat groups
    I love that you have a clear goal to start with. Awesome.

    Congrats on starting. That is the most important step. Too many get stuck with analysis paralysis.

    My only suggestion is to make sure that you don't have too deep of a sand bed. Sand has such small granules that they can become compacted and not allow for enough water exchange with the water column. This creates a very low oxygen environment that can be detrimental to roots.

    Looking forward to following along and thanks for posting this!
     
    Thanks, Art!
    It took some time but mostly because I did not want to start then go away for a few weeks. I have about 2 inches of sand, just enough to hopefully hold most plants down when I start planting. Would that be too deep?
    I guess I could go to a local store and see if they have any trumpet snails, the small ones that go into the sand.

    Regards
    Nick
     
    for co2 the @Yugang horizontal reactor is killing it on large tanks and we are all curious for it to be used on a small tank. I noticed your CO2 spot was still empty.
    Nice hint :)

    I am of course happy to assist and double check calculations, if that would be helpful. Just send me a PM.

    For this tank, a 2" diameter tube, 8" long would do the job for a 1.5 pH drop. Or alternatively perhaps a 4" * 4" small 'Tupperware box'.
     
    for co2 the @Yugang horizontal reactor is killing it on large tanks and we are all curious for it to be used on a small tank. I noticed your CO2 spot was still empty.
    Thank you for the suggestion. Oh yes, this tank is definitely getting CO2 as part of achieving the goal of of growing plants. I already have an inline diffuser on the way. Got it at a discount. Seen it on larger tanks so hope it will be able to increase CO2 enough.

    If my search landed me on the right pages, to me Yugang's horizontal reactor looks like using a normal reactor on its side. Maybe I'm overlooking something. Guess I can switch to a reactor at some point to get more experience. If it's really an issue I can use my diffuser with a reactor as suggested by RickyV. Right now, I don't see myself or this tank as the right choice to fumble with a proof of concept. That should be done first by the person coming up with the idea to check if it works in big and small tanks as imagined, the improvements it brings and the limitations it has. Hope you understand, there are enough new things for me to sort out as it is.

    Speaking of CO2, would a 4lb cylinder be large enough for at least a month or so?

    Would a pH probe be really necessary or can I keep to my plan of getting a drop checker with 4 dKH solution?

    Regards
    Nick
     
    I already have an inline diffuser on the way. Got it at a discount. Seen it on larger tanks so hope it will be able to increase CO2 enough.
    Fair enough, for this size of tank and relatively low CO2 injection an inline diffuser can give 100% CO2 absorption. From my personal experience inline diffusers, when optimised for 100% absorption and well maintained to keep the bubbles consistent over time, are perfectly fine and can be as good as reactors. Their limitation is that it is hard to get to a higher CO2 injection capacity (larger tanks) without them starting to produce bubbles in the tank. With bubbles in the tank, CO2 stability will suffer.

    Diffuser in the tank, with bubbles escaping to the surface, is a different story, and are less likely to give predictable CO2 levels over time (within the day, but especially over several days/weeks). I know that many hobbyists use in-tank diffusers to their satisfaction - probably until they take their first pH curve (a drop checker can't register stability) and see the result.
     
    Sounds good. The diffuser got here. CO2 tank and the rest needed for it are on the way. The light and dimmer also arrived. Look nice and bright.
    If I only need the pH probe for a little time until I set my CO2 I will ask around if I can burrow one. I guess the liquid tests are not fine enough to ensure stability.

    Regards
    Nick
     
    Ammonia and nitrite seem a bit lower but are still present. That's fine as it gives me time to tune in the CO2 to get the green drop checker. Went with the 4lb cylinder and installed the CO2 system. Time to go check what is available in terms of plants I guess.
     
    Good news, no ammonia and no nitrite detected. I also have managed to get the drop checker to a light green. I am happy with that for now.
    Ordered some plants so hopefully I can plant them over the weekend or next week. They are a mix of pots and in vitro cultures. So far ordered
    • Eleocharis pusilla
    • Marsilea crenata
    • Hyptis laciniata
    • Acmella repens
    • Althernanthera reineckii mini
    • Staurogyne repens
    • Hygrophila corymbosa
    • Prosepinaca palustris Cuba
    • Lagenandra meeboldii Bleeding heart
    • Echinodorus Red Devil
    I know that the Echinodorus will likely get way too big for my tank in time. That would be great as it means I managed to grow it well :) and I will gift it to friends with larger tanks. I was interested in how it will do in a sand only substrate, plus it looks like a great variety. Could be that I ventured too far for a beginner with Proserpinaca palustris

    So all in all 10 plants to start with, fish next.

    Regards
    Nick
     
    The plants arrived this week in good condition. Think they are enough for the front and middle section of the tank but I will need some more tall plants. I set the light at 50% for 6 hours for now. I plan to increase it to 8h over the month. I also started adding a macro mix with 7.5 NO3, 1.3 PO4 and 5.2 K three times a week and micronutrients from Dennerle Liquid. After sitting for about a month without plants or lights, there was some brown algae on the glass but I removed it before doing a water change.

    I will get some fish today, now the growing begins.

    Regards,
    Nick
     
    The plants arrived this week in good condition. Think they are enough for the front and middle section of the tank but I will need some more tall plants. I set the light at 50% for 6 hours for now. I plan to increase it to 8h over the month. I also started adding a macro mix with 7.5 NO3, 1.3 PO4 and 5.2 K three times a week and micronutrients from Dennerle Liquid. After sitting for about a month without plants or lights, there was some brown algae on the glass but I removed it before doing a water change.

    I will get some fish today, now the growing begins.

    Regards,
    Nick

    Hi Nick,

    Got any photos of your tank?

    Cheers
     
    Right mate, that was my plan but then Sunday got away from me... Luckily everything's going great with the tank. Any input or ideas on what to expect are welcomed

    Here's the start photo, some Acmella repens is floating but it got planted in the front corner.

    wk1.jpg
    I got a group of Trigonostigma hengeli and some Pethia canius. When BBS hit the water the feeding frenzy begins. Think they will feel more at home once the plants grow in.

    fish.jpg

    Regards
    Nick
     
    🦗🦗🦗 well silence after posting the tank shot is never a good sign but I guess I can only improve from here 😃 As mentioned previously, while I had some aquariums in the past, plants were the never the focus so I am enjoying figuring things out.

    Acmella repens from in-vitro adapted very well and is now growing. The same for E. pusilla. On the other hand, the M. crenata cup was a bit older so I have some melting.
    I expected the long dark cycling phase to help with diatoms as mentioned by some sites but I am noticing some brown areas already forming on the sand and leaves. Nothing much but things are happening fast and the tank is still stabilizing. But no ammonia or nitrite detected and the fish are just enjoying the plants.

    I am not sure about the A. repens in the back , A. reineckii in the front has larger leaves and for now is taller than it so it gets obscured. Seems I also need two taller stems, one with fine leaves to go next to the H. corymbosa. I was looking at Mayaca Santarem Red... what are your experiences with it? Should I try it?

    Regards,
    Nick
     
    I think it’s looks good and will get better as it grows in.

    You have a quite a few species in the for a 15 gallon, you might to give things time to grow in before changing things around.

    The acmella is a slow grower but should be fine behind the AR if you keep it trimmed low. The corymbosa looks gigantic!
     
    Thank you both for the feedback! I agree, it looks empty at the moment, at the same time there isn't a lot of room for when the plants grow. I still feel the back needs more diversity though.

    Thanks for the information on Acmella, I will wait to see how they look like when they adjust to being under water.

    Regards,
    Nick
     
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