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View Poll Results: Which method do you use in your planted tanks?

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  • High-tech method (CO2 enriched)

    200 57.31%
  • Low-tech method (non-CO2 enriched)

    78 22.35%
  • Both methods

    67 19.20%
  • Neither method works for me

    1 0.29%
  • Hybrid method (do elaborate...)

    3 0.86%
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Thread: What plant tank methods do you use?

  1. #21
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    I also find temperature a very important factor for planted tank.
    I have 2 low-tech tanks in my office and temp is 24~26C. Everything grows well there - green and lush. At home, I have 2 low tech tanks and temperature is 28~30 and the plants do not grow as lush and green as those in the office.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Green Baron
    I also find temperature a very important factor for planted tank.
    I have 2 low-tech tanks in my office and temp is 24~26C. Everything grows well there - green and lush. At home, I have 2 low tech tanks and temperature is 28~30 and the plants do not grow as lush and green as those in the office.
    Yes, temperature is an important factor too. I keep my tank at 26C. Low temperature will help.

    BC

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by juggler
    As far as I know the relative importance are:

    light >> CO2 >> macro-nutrients >> micro-nutrients

    So if we limit CO2, we might as well lower the light?
    Where are the plants getting the carbon source? Will it come a time where the high lighting forced the plants to use up the available carbon source and the other nutrients becomes available for algae to use? The algae may be floating and extract CO2 from the air ....

    I am impressed by your results and thinking of switching my 5ft tank to low-tech. Can I just turn off the CO2 and lower the lighting?
    The primary source of C will still be CO2 and maybe HCO3- for some plant species. The CO2 would be from my substrate (Onyx+peat) and fish food/wastes. I overfeed my fishes, usually there are leftovers. I keep surface turbulance down to minimum to prevent CO2 loss.

    I would not be surprise that by the end of the day, the CO2 level will be zero or almost zero. It does not seems to affect the plants.

    When I converted the tank from CO2 to non-CO2, I went through a hard time fighting off BGA and staghorn algae. (BBA do not seem to thrive in low CO2 environment. Most of them die off when I shut the CO2.) I started off with 36W PL. After anti-biotic treatment and introduction of yamato shrimps, the balance finally tip towards the plants. I barely can see any algae in my tank now. I had noticed that some of the plants in the shade that are not doing so well, and I up-ed the light to 51W, and all seems well.

    BC

  4. #24
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    I've been nagging folks to give this a go.

    You can really amplify the non CO2 tank by adding a little SeaChem Eq once a week(say 1/8 teaspoon per 80 liters) and a little KNO3/Flourish(2mls)/KH2PO4.

    I add about 10x less KNO3/KH2PO4 than a CO2 enriched tank. Soa small speck once a week is all the tank gets.

    Once a week dosing.
    No water changes!!!!

    I use Onyx sand and leonardite (looks like Onyx sand except large grained) and mulm from a pre-existing tank..

    A small HOB filter, 2-3w/gal etc.

    Key: pack the tank with plants from day one.

    You can grow a wider variety using this method and have cleaner lookign tank do more with scaping versus the Diana Walstad soil method and fish food only.

    I'll purge the tank once every 1-2 months and not dose for a week or two till I see some negative growth.

    No need for a water change when things are growing slow and the nutrients levels are reduced.

    It's a way cool method and you'll wonder why you ever used CO2 because the tank will so easy to deal once set up and running.

    Things grow slower, the deficencies also occur much slower so you can catch it and make adjustments for the dosing.

    Less pruning, the tank grows in and stays that way with minor pruning once a month etc.

    If you keep more than 2-3 tanks, this is certainly a good way to go.

    CO2 is production farming, non CO2 is gardening.
    Patience and waiting for things to grow in is fun.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr

  5. #25
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    Tom, say if you want to push things along a little faster, do you add Seachem Excel? ( I recall a post made by you on this ), if so, what dose should I have?

    Thanks,

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plantbrain
    I've been nagging folks to give this a go.
    ...

    It's a way cool method and you'll wonder why you ever used CO2 because the tank will so easy to deal once set up and running.

    ...

    CO2 is production farming, non CO2 is gardening.
    Patience and waiting for things to grow in is fun.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
    Hi Tom,

    Can't agree with you more...

    However, it ain't too bad using soil + fish food, it can be as "clean" if done well, and it can go a long way on "cruise control" without much intervention. You are right that one can screw up big time with soil... . Your method looks good and is definitely the "safer" way.

    Thank you for contributing.

    BC

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by |squee|
    Tom, say if you want to push things along a little faster, do you add Seachem Excel? ( I recall a post made by you on this ), if so, what dose should I have?

    Thanks,
    Adding Excel will provide an extra source of C. How much to add is not exactly a "magic" number? More C, more growth (provided plants are limited by C)... do the math, you will figure that out yourself.

    BC

  8. #28
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    Many of us switched from high tech to low maintenance/tech tank because we are sick of changing water (30% or even 50% with EI) and prune/replant the plants every week ! We would rather spend more time appreciating the tank or experimenting with aquatic plants (for those who are into gardening) ! So what most of us are looking for is not necessary no CO2 but low maintenance - i.e. preferably water change, replanting, dosing fert at most once a month. Pumping CO2 is a no brainer is it is automatic and need no manual intervention.

    Of course there are people who are into low tech because they do not want to invest in expensive lighting and CO2 equipment.

    So the question is if I have a high tech tank, what do I need to do to make the tank low maintenance assuming I will continue to pump CO2 into the tank ? Do I lower the light (to 1.5W/G) ? Do I reduce the fert dosage and if so how much and what should I dose?

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Green Baron
    ...

    So the question is if I have a high tech tank, what do I need to do to make the tank low maintenance assuming I will continue to pump CO2 into the tank ? Do I lower the light (to 1.5W/G) ? Do I reduce the fert dosage and if so how much and what should I dose?
    Reducing light and stopping CO2 is the most direct way of slowing down the tank.

    If you maintain CO2 injection, it is still going to drive the plant growth significantly. You will still need to add relatively large amount of fertilisers. When you are adding fertilisers in significant quantity, you can't avoid regular water change.

    BTW, why would you still want to add CO2 when you want low maintenance?

    BC

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plantbrain

    Once a week dosing.
    No water changes!!!!

    No need for a water change when things are growing slow and the nutrients levels are reduced.
    Can you do the low tech method with fishes and assume that the plants would take care of the nitrates? How about the ammonia produced by the fishes and dead plants?

    Do I have to stock my tank with fewer fishes for this to work?
    Cheers,
    Joe

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by baranne
    Can you do the low tech method with fishes and assume that the plants would take care of the nitrates? How about the ammonia produced by the fishes and dead plants?

    Do I have to stock my tank with fewer fishes for this to work?
    The plants will uptake the ammonia before nitrates.

    It depends on your plant mass and health. Generally, yes, you might have to keep lesser fish.

    But in my experience, I still managed to keep a quite heavy fish load in my low tech tank, because I fully pack it with plants. However, you need to know what's going on, otherwise, you might run in problems with either algae (likely to be BGA or green algae) problem or fish health problem.

    BC

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by bclee
    Reducing light and stopping CO2 is the most direct way of slowing down the tank.

    If you maintain CO2 injection, it is still going to drive the plant growth significantly. You will still need to add relatively large amount of fertilisers. When you are adding fertilisers in significant quantity, you can't avoid regular water change.

    BTW, why would you still want to add CO2 when you want low maintenance?

    BC
    CO2 alone will not drive plant growth. However, plant still need carbon to grow. Many here have suggested dosing Seachem Excel to provide carbon in a low tech/maintenance tank. If I already have a CO2 system, why not just reduce the CO2 rate instead of manually dosing Seachem Excel ?

    For a low maintenace tank, I would not want to dose ferteliser everyweek.
    So is converting to low tech simply a matter of reducing the CO2, fertiliser dosage and light ?

    You 'low tech' tank has very high light, no CO2 and very little fertiliser which puzzled me. I always thought such setup would have problem with alage. How often do you change your water ?

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by bclee
    The plants will uptake the ammonia before nitrates.

    It depends on your plant mass and health. Generally, yes, you might have to keep lesser fish.

    But in my experience, I still managed to keep a quite heavy fish load in my low tech tank, because I fully pack it with plants. However, you need to know what's going on, otherwise, you might run in problems with either algae (likely to be BGA or green algae) problem or fish health problem.

    BC
    Currently I have a 1.5 ft tank (45 x 27 x 26 cm) with about 80% covered with plants, though sparsely planted. Also, probably 40% of the space is taken up by a DW covered with java moss. I have 7 tetras, 5 rummies, 3 pencils, 2 otos and many shrimps inside the tank. Is this too high a bio-load to convert to low tech?
    Cheers,
    Joe

  14. #34
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    This is getting off-topic.

    I suggest we post up a seperate thread for low-tech questions.

  15. #35
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    Sorry did not realise it...
    Cheers,
    Joe

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by |squee|
    Tom, say if you want to push things along a little faster, do you add Seachem Excel? ( I recall a post made by you on this ), if so, what dose should I have?

    Thanks,
    No, the point is to slown things down, adding Excel will speed the growth up.

    You'll get about 5x faster growth with excel.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr

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    Quote Originally Posted by Green Baron
    CO2 alone will not drive plant growth. However, plant still need carbon to grow. Many here have suggested dosing Seachem Excel to provide carbon in a low tech/maintenance tank. If I already have a CO2 system, why not just reduce the CO2 rate instead of manually dosing Seachem Excel ?

    For a low maintenace tank, I would not want to dose ferteliser everyweek.
    So is converting to low tech simply a matter of reducing the CO2, fertiliser dosage and light ?

    You 'low tech' tank has very high light, no CO2 and very little fertiliser which puzzled me. I always thought such setup would have problem with alage. How often do you change your water ?
    Even in a low light tank, adding CO2 WILL drive up the plant growth.

    In the low tech tank, C is usually the limiting factor. The idea of not introducing C is to slow down the plant growth. Thus, it greatly reduces the need for fertilisation and water change.

    I increase the lighting level to enable myself to grow plants more densely particularly in the shaded areas. It is the same trick of keeping your plants healthy that prevents algae bloom.

    BC

  18. #38
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    I made the switch to "low maintenance" a couple months back. I took out the DIY CO2 and lowered lighting to 2 wpg. At first I did Excel, but growth was still too fast so I stopped that too. I dose with Flourish every week and with macros every other week. Everything continues to grow really well. Even my Riccia that I have read a hundred times needs high light and CO2 is still growing very healthy and spreading. I also have an individual Glosso plant that hitchhiked in on one of my other plants that has spread to about 10 stems and is staying low. Both tanks are heavily planted. I still have a few strands of thread algae I take out every week but I have finally beat the hair algae that drove me nuts in my 10 gallon tank. I have done no water changes in the 37 gallon and have taken a break from water changes in the 10 gallon now that the hair algae is gone. All the fishies are happy too.

    Low maintenance fan,
    Bill

  19. #39
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    Well, folks get burned out after 20 some years of high tech growth speeds, we need to relax

    I keep a few, but most are non CO2.

    The thing is..........algae also grows slower in a non CO2 tank.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr

  20. #40
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    Adding less CO2 is not wise, you can try it, I only know one person that did well with that and they have nothing but easy to grow weeds and very high plant desnity.

    It's going to cause issues generally unless you have low light and even then.
    Excel is a much better low level alternative.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr

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