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Colorado Freshwater Advice

Discussion in 'Freshwater Tanks' started by Ghxst, Jul 1, 2014.

  1. Ghxst

    Ghxst Prawn

    Hello all,

    I'm looking to put together a 20g planted freshwater low tech tank with just a couple plants and maybe 1 fish. Is there a recommended forum that is local to get advice, like I do here?

    Thanks a bunch,

    -Bill
     
  2. Balz3352

    Balz3352 Marlin M.A.S.C Club Member

    What kind of advice do you need... I don't know of local but plantedtanks. Net is a good forum. I have some experience with planted, I'm sure I'm not the only one. Maybe try here
     
  3. Ghxst

    Ghxst Prawn

    Thanks I will check that out. I am looking for a local forum to read up on what works best in CO and where to get the best products here, just like we do on the MASC Forums. I'm not all that great at asking for advice so I find forums and the internet a great place because someone has usually already asked 100 times over. Without that I would be asking stupid questions like:

    How long after I put water in the tank can I add plants?

    Is there a freshwater cycle?

    Do the same rules apply for salt such as RODO the best water, water change rules, etc?

    Is there micro fauna in freshwater that help clean your tank like pods?

    But when I want to know if the tap water in Aurora is good enough to put right in the tank (as suggested by the LFS) I would like to bounce that off some local experts first :) The same LFS said I could add the plants right away but after reading there is some biological materials that need to build up. I have a ton of questions if you guys feel like answering I can supplement some more. One that has been bothering me is, will the waste water on my rodi have a healthy concentrate of minerals that would be best in a planted tank or is that dangerous, I read yes and no, but how about here in CO?

    Thanks for the help and consideration.
     
  4. SynDen

    SynDen Shark Staff Member M.A.S.C. B.O.D. M.A.S.C Club Member

    I kept planted tanks for most of my life and can help

    After I put water in the tank I would give it maybe a week or two before putting plants in, but ya you can put them in right away if you want, they aren't as sensitive as corals and fresh tanks dont quite cycle like salt tanks. They do go through a period of building up the bacteria but it is minimal compared to salt tanks. If you dont have fish and stuff in there you will want to add a bit of extra fertilizer to the tank. Seachem makes one called Flourish which does really good for that. Although as long as the plants have good light they will grow, they will really start to take off with fish in the tank though.
    You can use tap water in the tank, I used it for many year without a problem, just use a de-chlorination to get the chlorine out, but if you have an rodi you can use that too. The only system I ever had that needed purified water though was my planted discus tank. The plants handle tap just fine but the discus are very sensitive. The only other freshwater fish that is somewhat sensitive to tap water would be a puffer but most other freshwater fish will do just fine with tap.
    Micro fauna CuC for freshwater also includes a variety of snails and shrimps. But honestly the best CuC is you. Just have to vacum the gravel once in a while, maybe every couple months, to keep it from building up to much. The plants will actually break up and feed off most of the waste in the tank.
    And yes you will want to do water changes on the tank too, but you only really need to do that when you vacuum the gravel, no need to do weekly changes like with saltwater. With saltwater you have to worry more about the depleted and built up nutrients in the water so we do more frequent water changes, but with fresh this isnt as much of a concern.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 1, 2014
  5. Balz3352

    Balz3352 Marlin M.A.S.C Club Member

    How long after I put water in the tank can I add plants?

    I have added plants immediately. Like synden said they are not as sensative as corals.


    Is there a freshwater cycle?

    Yes there is a freshwater cycle. Usually there is a bacterial bloom which makes the water cloudy for a while then clears up.


    Do the same rules apply for salt such as RODO the best water, water change rules, etc?

    Water changes are as synden said. You don't have to unless something is wrong. I have 2 completely planted and one partially planted tank and I haven't done a water change in either in probably 3 months on the fully planted and 6 months on the partially planted one. They tend to take care of themselves once you have them dialed in.

    Is there micro fauna in freshwater that help clean your tank like pods?

    This is the fuzzy part. Theoretically plants should take up all the nutrients in the water to control algae. This is a fine balancing act. My partially planted one is awesome no algae at all good plant growth how I did it I have no clue. Fully planted some hair algae growth just pull out excess when I top off water.



    But when I want to know if the tap water in Aurora is good enough to put right in the tank (as suggested by the LFS) I would like to bounce that off some local experts first

    I would highly suggest using a planting substrate. This is what I used in both my completely planted tanks.
    https://www.google.com/search?q=eco...Qsxg&biw=360&bih=567#spd=10239237439346677345
    Tap is good in Aurora I can attest I live there just have to use a de chlorinator. Use the ro waste water (I still dechlorinate) that's what I do sometimes no I'll effects.



    Do you know what kind of plants you want?
    What filter?
    How big a tank?
    What kind of fish?
    Do you want to keep shrimp? If so don't use excel like synden said it has copper in it.

    I have pics of my planted tank on this forum check it out.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 1, 2014
  6. Balz3352

    Balz3352 Marlin M.A.S.C Club Member

  7. kmellon

    kmellon Prawn M.A.S.C Club Member

  8. SynDen

    SynDen Shark Staff Member M.A.S.C. B.O.D. M.A.S.C Club Member

    Agree with Balz, the substrate you use can have an impact on plant function and overall longterm health of the tank. Try to stick to something that would be more likely found in an actually river or lake bottom instead of colored gravel and such. My favorite to use is amazonian mud.
    Also Freshwater plants and fish tend to like softer water and one of the best ways to keep your water stable that way is to incorporate driftwood into your aquascape.
    Otherwise all you need is the tank, a decent grow light, decent filter, I prefer canister filters, the scape and life.

    On the issue of algae cleanup, I always used snails and plecos. In a planted tank albino plecos are awesome, they stay small so they can clean the plants as well as the bottom. Siamese algae eaters are also a good one too. Apple snail also are great cleaners and do quite a bit of algae eating.

    In all the freshwater tanks I have done I have never had a real problem with algae, about the only place I have ever had algae really grow was on the leaves of the plants, so keeping the plants clean can ensure they continue to thrive.
     
  9. ReefCheif

    ReefCheif Marlin M.A.S.C Club Member

    We've got a member Chris, I believe his user name is mccoco3 or something like that, he knows his planted tanks, I would get in touch with hin
     
  10. Balz3352

    Balz3352 Marlin M.A.S.C Club Member

    I personally have never been a fan of plecos. They get to big for me. I also am not a fan of siamese algae eaters. The ones that I had were extremely aggressive and got huge. I personally use oto catfish. Snails can be a big problem. They very easily take over a tank if you let them. Although I have Snails in one of my tanks that I take out of there and throw them in my freshwater puffer tank and my puffers grub!

    I'm also a huge fan of driftwood. Use it!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 2, 2014
  11. FinsUp

    FinsUp According to my watch, the time is now. M.A.S.C Club Member

    ghxst - I have driftwood from the planted tank we had that you can have for free, if you want it. Just come get it.
     
  12. jahmic

    jahmic Shark M.A.S.C Club Member

    I kept planted tanks for a while as well. I agree that plantedtank.net is a great resource; they have a local subsection of the forum that's actually pretty active for our area. They're an extremely generous community as well.

    There are several substrate options for a low-tech tank...some of them are inert and clay-based and will assist the plants by locking in nutrients (seachem flourite), while others will help buffer the water for you plants/fish/inverts (ADA aquasoil) by reducing the pH and KH of your water in addition to providing nutrients. There's also the option of making your own mineralized top soil to provide nutrients to the tank so you effectively never have to dose ( http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=152027 ) Just like reefing...this is probably something you should think about in advance of the build...try to figure what you want to keep and plan the build around that. Unlike our reefs, there are fish and plants in the FW hobby that are indigenous to areas with wide ranges of pH and water hardness...some species thrive at a pH of 6.5 while other prefer a pH closer to 8. You'll be much more successful if you can either plan your build for specific parameters...or the other option is to build the tank, test the water, and then stock accordingly.

    The best thing you can provide for a planted tank to reduce algae is CO2. In a low-tech tank you aren't injecting it directly, but you can still provide sources to minimize algae growth. I've had great luck with seachem excel...the only disadvantage is that some plants can be sensitive to it. Another option that worked well for me was using miracle grow organic potting mix (not soil)...it's basically finely ground mulch that you can use as a base for your substrate before capping it with a clay-based gravel. The organics break down over time and release CO2 into the tank...you do need to wait about a month prior to adding fish with this method and perform regular water changes since it can be a bit dirty initially...but the substrate will last for years and it's unlikely that you will ever have to dose the tank.

    RO/DI is a great option, but you will have to remineralize the water by adding calcium, carbonates, and micro-nutrients back to the water so that the plants can thrive. There are some all-in-one options available for this, but in the end you are just fine using dechlorinated tap water (seachem prime works great). RO/DI is almost a must for keeping sensitive species like discus and dwarf shrimp...but you can go with tap for most everything else.

    Hope that helps :)
     
  13. SynDen

    SynDen Shark Staff Member M.A.S.C. B.O.D. M.A.S.C Club Member

    +1
    For CO2 I have done the soil mix similar to what Khalis mentioned as well as using a CO2 diffuser to directly inject CO2 into the water. The amazonian mud that I mentioned contains quite a bit of those nutrients in it, thus Why I like it, but it fairly expensive. Both ways work well, although the diffuser takes more effort, in that you have to fill the bottle every so often. But CO2 is an integral part of having a nice healthy plants, its like super fertilizer
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 2, 2014
  14. Ghxst

    Ghxst Prawn

    Wow!! Thanks everyone, this is awesome. Thank you all for the advice, I am going to follow all your leads. I have a tank in mind and my wife has already picked out what plants she wants, I will post up my plan once I catch up on everything you guys sent me.

    Cindy, I really appreciate your offer, I will PM you this week when I know my schedule. Well back to work for me before I get in trouble :) I will be on later to share!
     
  15. Balz3352

    Balz3352 Marlin M.A.S.C Club Member

    What happened to sharing ;p
     
  16. Mccoc033

    Mccoc033 Amphipod M.A.S.C Club Member

    I think I heard my name [emoji39]. I broke down my planted tank in January, but am looking to start a new one soon. Jahmic has the right idea with soil for sure. The ADA stuff is absolutely amazing and worth looking into if you have the budget. Most of the plants that I enjoyed(and fish as well) were acidic water fish. I found that especially given our harder water here that the best way to overcome the buffer was to inject co2 via solenoid and ph controller. A word of caution here, don't skimp on the regulator/solenoid. I did my first time and it failed in the on position. When this happens your tank will become diluted carbonic acid. It will kill almost everything. Also, I would avoid additives that lower ph as many of them use phosphates that can trigger algae blooms. Another cool thing for planted tanks is that kessil recently released a new fresh water focused light. Really sexy. I grew all my stuff on 6500k cfl 100 watt equivalents from Home Depot, including harder stuff like hemianthus callatrichoides(dwarf baby tears). Oh, almost forgot, the ADA aqua soils come in three different types, I would recommend the amazonian, as I believe it is the one specifically designed for soft acidic water tanks. Also, some plants like valisneria will melts in soft acidic water and do not do well in co2 injected systems. This is really long winded lol, I'll shut up now. [emoji4]
     
  17. Mccoc033

    Mccoc033 Amphipod M.A.S.C Club Member

    Oh, 1 more thing...a well thought out and planned planted tank without an over-the-top bioload can run on a power head for flow with no filter.
     
  18. aztecdreams

    aztecdreams Sardine M.A.S.C Club Member

    For algae control I used otocinclus and nerite snails. I also used the Excel and fluorite
     
  19. Mccoc033

    Mccoc033 Amphipod M.A.S.C Club Member

    Otocinclus are awesome fun little fish, though they only work on some types of algae, Amano shrimp are another good choice, the best form of algae control is nutrient control [emoji4]. And the right plants will consume a lot of nutrients
     
  20. Ghxst

    Ghxst Prawn

    Wow, thanks again for all the help! I am plotting and planning away. Unfortunately the past couple of weeks have crazy for me but this is still in the works!!! I will certainly post up picks and some questions before hand. I am committed to a 20g long, low tech, low bioload tank with 2x bright marine land led (maybe 2), a heater and either a hob foam/carbon filter or power head. I am going to start out with 2 plants, one looks like tiny aspen trees, the other like tiny pine trees and 1 or 2 fish, or maybe a 5 pack of tiny fish. I am thinking fluorite mix for substrate. Until later!
     

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