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[APD] Re: Sherry's 9 Tanks

Thanks Tom for the reply.  I totally agree with your suggestions on
maintaining and setting up non-CO2 tanks and on Diana Walstad's book.  A
great read and I was lucky enough to be able to talk to her in person and
hear some of her presentations when I lived in NC. My 6 freshwater tanks are
set up similarly and have been up and running for 1.5 years.  I had to start
my tanks all over again when I moved from NC to MA and I took the
opportunity to make sure all my tanks had a Flourite 
substrate topped with some regular plain gravel.  I moved all my plants with
me so the tanks were packed with plants (especially since I had more tanks
in NC) from the beginning. I've never really dosed the tanks before. On
occasion I've added some Flourish or other liquid fertilizers and sometimes
some tabs in the substrate, but more often then not my tanks are not
fertilized.  Over the years I've also done the DIY C02 yeast thing on and
off and have noticed a great improvement in plant growth.  The reasons for
my current interest in your recommended regimen for high CO2 tanks is that
for the past 4 months or so I've been having some terrible algae problems
and I thought going to a high CO2 system and adding fertilizer might help
the situation.  I try to do water changes every 2-3 weeks using RO/DI water
reconstituted with Aquarium Pharm's Electro-Right and PH Adjuster. Recently
I started adding CO2 via the DIY method to my 30 gallon and my 20 gallon
which have been experiencing the worst of the algae problems.  
The tank that is causing me the most concern is my 20 gallon long South
American Puffer tank.  This tank has 2 puffers, a few ottos, and maybe a
shrimp or two and they only get fed once a day (frozen food or dried krill).
This tank has soft water (I believe last time I tested it was about 2.5 or
3.5), but yet a high Ph - were talking around 8 - at times it has even been
higher than my saltwater reef.  Since adding the DIY yeast it has come down
to 7.  I can't figure out what could be causing this high Ph since the tank
only contains Flourite, regular aquarium gravel, and two pieces of
driftwood.  The tank has 4 watts of regular fluorescent light per gallon.
The Hemianthus micranthemoides has grown like a weed and has formed a
beautiful carpet.  The other plants are struggling.  What is also
flourishing is a type of thread algae - very fine strands of long light
green algae which can easily be removed by pulling clumps out with my hands.
I've been doing weekly water changes on this tank to help remove the algae
as the puffers get caught in it.  So, I was hoping that adding CO2 and
fertilizers might help the situation.

Thank you for your help.  It is much appreciated!

Oh, one more question.  I know you are into saltwater macro algae and
plants.  I was wondering if you've had any experience with brackish water
plants or if their were any true brackish water plants.  I have a 20 gallon
long aquarium which is kept at 1.010 salinity with 4 figure eight puffers.
I put java moss in the tank because they seem to like to bite it, but after
about 2 weeks it begins to get brown and I remove it.  I just hate having a
tank without any plants in it.  Any suggestions?



p.s. sorry for the long post.     

> 2. For non-CO2 tanks with about 2watts per gallon do you recommend the
> doses of fertilizers but with less frequency?  

No, the non CO2 grows slow enough so that you can rely solely on fish
You need to be careful to balance the FISH LOAD with the plant BIOMASS.
If you have 3X the plant biomass, you need roughly 3x the fish load or fish

For example I've seen you
> recommend for a 20 gallon high CO2 tank: 1/4 tsp of KNO3, 1/4 tsp of
> 2 rice grain's worth of KH2PO4 and 5ml of trace dosed 2-3 times a week and
> 50% weekly water changes.  For a non-CO2 tank would you just dose this
> amount once a week or dose smaller amounts 2-3 times a week?

No. The CO2 will turbo charge the tank so to speak. 
Non CO2 methods are ___highly effective___ but require some patience.
The goal is not to have the plants grow as fast as the CO2 enriched tanks.

You can do sort of a 1/2 way approach using Excel and dosing 1x a week at
the above levels.
But I use CO2 gas or totally forego using it altogether.  

> 4. If you can only do a water change every 2 weeks how would you alter the
> dosing?  I have 9 aquariums and I simply cannot keep up with weekly water
> changes.

Well then, sounds like non CO2 methods are for you!
I understand the issue here. 

> Thank you very much for all you help and advice.  I always enjoy reading
> your posts.
> Sincerely,
> Sherry Quinn

Buy the Diana Walstad book first off.
I have modified a few things(me do that? never:-) that seem to help.
MY non CO2 tanks are set up like this:

I use mulm and peat in place of soil(about 1/2-1" worth), but either can be
used, soak the soil for 2-3 weeks prior to adding. I cap this with 3-4" of
I use Onyx sand and am extremely pleased with this along with Flourite over
several years of keeping non CO2 tanks.

You can use plain sand but the tanks seem to decline some after a a year or
so. The Onyx seems to only get better as the tank matures and I've had one
tank for 6 years at my sisters that always amazes.

So that's the substrate and perhaps one of the most important parts.
The other part, you'll like this: no water changes. 
Don't do them. Just top off the water for evaporation.

Do a water change only if you really muck the tank up, which is often about
once every 3-6 months. 

Add 100% of the tank with plants from the very begginning!!!!!
Do not ever wait for the plants to "grow in"
This is one of the biggest mistake all planted folks seem to make no matter
what method they use.
Plant heavy from the start ALWAYS!!!!!!!!!!!
Use cheapy plants and remove slowly as the one's you like fill in.

For non CO2 tanks, use easy to grow plants, have some Egeria, Hygro,
floating plants, Java fern, Crypts etc 
Add a few demanding plants after the tank is doing well, they will grow but
it's slow.

You can aquascape nicely with rock/wood etc also.
A small filter is all that's needed, not much current.

The important part is having a good fish load and regular routine fish
This takes a little experiementation and watching the plants.

Lighting, 1.5w-2w gal seems to do well.

So no water changes, lots of plants, slow growing, less pruning and a more
stable look(for better or worse), no dosing except for the fish food.
You can modify this and remove the flourite etc and have less fish and dose
smaller amounts, about 1/4 to 1/8 the amounts but I suggest taking one path
or the other.

I'd rather have more fish/feedings given the option personally, with CO2
tanks, you have no choices but to supply the plants with inorganic forms of
nutrients, things grow too fast for the biogeochemical cycling to occur
without algae/poor plant growth.

Non CO2 tanks slows things down and are quite satistfying Planted tanks.

They also can be aquascaped to high levels also.
I have a 4 gal nano cube that I will post soon and enter in the AGA show
case gallery.

Tom Barr


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