Setting Up A new Dirted Plant Tank Episode 1: Green Water

Hello everyone, I will share my setup project and progress with you, a new dirted plant tank setup. I had experienced some expected and some unexpected things during this period. So far from the beginning you can find the summary in this first episode then I will share the updates within a series.

First of all, I want to share the list of materials I used.
– 80cm x 45cm Height x 30cm Glass Tank
– 2 x 13W 6500K T5 Fluorescent Tubes,
– 2 x 13W 4000K T5 Fluorescent Tubes,
– 1 x 36W 4000K PLL Tubes,
– 2 x 36W 6500K PLL Tubes,
– Electronic Ballasts,
– Wires for connections,
– Tetratec EX400 External Filter(grain, biological sponge, ceramic rings)
– 2,67 liters CO2 Cylinder,
– Manometer, fine adjustment valve, Solenoid valve and timers,
– Coco peat potting soil,
– Slow release granule fertilizers,
– Fly net to separate the soil and potting soil,
– Black color Hagen aquarium soil(this is a low nutrient soil) My plan was to keep the nutrient rich layer at a deeper level to prevent quick release of nutrients to water column.

Setup Period:

I have started the new setup by pouring and levelling a layer of coco peat at 1,5-2,0 cm thickness on the bottom and added some slow release(intelligent) fertilizer granules. Since the coco peat is a kind of low dense material it requires to be fixed at the bottom level to prevent it float in the water. I laid a fly net over the coco peat with fertilizers to distinguish the upper soil which the plants will be directly planted. After cutting the excessive parts of the net, Hagen black soil poured over at approximately 4-5 centimeters of thickness and levelled. To make the bottom more stabilized I sprinkled some water prior to water filling. And with this final action, the bottom was all set. The next step was filling the water. I used directly RO water to fill the tank. It took too much time due to the capacity of the RO unit (approx. 300 liters/day). So I spent 2 days in parts to completely fill the tank and finally run the external filter.

Operation Period:

After 5 days from the first filter run I received my plant order of rotala rotundifolia “red”, Hemianthus micranthemoides and elocharis parvula. I have planted the plants, turn the CO2 on (1 bubble per second) and turn the lights on as well. The period of lights set 3 hours on and 1 hour off to help the solenoid valve to cool down. In total lighting is 12 hours on. I didn’t observe any photosynthesis bubbles because of the excessive height of the tank I guessed for that much light with low penetration capability. But, the growing was not too bad and at a satisfactory level at all. (after 3 weeks)

As expected, after 3 weeks of cycling, the released minerals from the bottom started to turn the water green with the help of lighting. (A serious Green Water bloom) The water turned fully green within few days after the first signs observed (blurry water). Algae Blooms” such like that means something is wrong in the ecosystem and the nature is trying to recover itself. So, I didn’t turn the lights off and keep the conditions as it is to let the algae clear the excessive nutrients and build balance on especially the nitrogenous nutrients. After 7-10 days of green water it started to turn to a yellowish blurry color. At this time, I understood that the conditions are almost balanced and the time has come for the UV filtration to remove the remaining green algae from the tank. (My choice not a must do)

Complete Removal of Green Water and Algae Spores

First I ordered an UV inline filter and then made a 50% water change just before connecting the UV to the external filter’s water out (9w Jebo UV Filter). To reach a beneficial result on the UV filtration, the UV should be turned on 24/7 so I did it like that. Day by day the filter killed all the remaining algae in the water and after the 4th day, I turned off both UV and external filter for a brief maintenance. I took out the grain and biological sponge and ceramic rings out of the filter and cleaned them only by using aquarium water for not to disturb any beneficial bacteria colonized in the surfaces. By this I removed the debris of the death bacteria and algae collected by the filter media. Then I made another 50% water change after running the filter back. At the end of one week the water became completely clear again. You can see the day by day photos below for this episode;

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