200 GALLON JUNGLE STYLE

Paul G

Member








Today I changed out the intakes, did some pruning, and netted out a lot of duckweed. The two middle swordplants are putting out really large leaves. A few of these were removed to let in the light. They were healthy with no algae. The Java ferns are slowly getting bigger and are looking just as I hoped. The hygrophila that seemed so slow to get started has spread out and finally was in need of a trim.

The current dose rate of unamended Flourish Comprehensive is holding iron at around 0.5 ppm. The doser dedicated to FeGLUCONATE has been decommissioned and converted to MgSO4.

So far, it is looking as though autochthonous NO3 and PO4 are not sufficient to feed the plants. I am resuming 5 seconds daily dose rate for both of these. I have not ruled out adding fish and increasing the food. Presently I believe the DOM is vanishingly small, the ORP staying at around 400 mV, with the current stream at its present adjustment. Increasing nutrient input would result in elevated autochthonous DOM, necessitating higher flow. I think I am close to striking a balance, so am reluctant to push the envelop. Still, I think the jungle can absorb a few more small tetras.
 

Paul G

Member
This AM, Friday, 28 August, at 00:30 CO2PRIMARY emptied. This bottle delivered 92 hours over 38 days, for an average of 2.42 hr/day. This is back in line with previous rates after that anomalous last interval; in fact, it's the best time yet.

Today's numbers

ORP: 402 mV
EC: 490 uS/cm
NO3: 5.2 ppm
PO4: 2.24 ppm
Fe: 0.68 ppm
K: 35 ppm
GH: 44 ppm (2.47 deg)
Ca / Mg: 32 ppm / 12 ppm
KH: 136 ppm (7.6 deg)

pH continuous ave: 6.7
O2 ave daily high: 10.4 ppm

I have done a complete battery of tests every morning for the last 15 days and been fine-tuning the dosing rates. Iron is too high; I skipped Flourish Comprehensive this morning and will withhold it until Fe goes below 0.2 ppm. Today I manually dosed 50 mL Flourish Trace.
 
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Paul G

Member
Today the streaming water-change schedule decreases the ODE (open drain event) from 90 seconds to 60 seconds, and increases the daily number of events from 8 to 12. This changes the parcel volume from 3.375 L to 2.25 L, but the total daily RO/DI demand remains at 27 L (7 gallons). The ODEs occur hourly between 12:00 and 23:00 inclusive.

I have set the KH2PO4 to 10 seconds at 18:00; both KNO3/Ca(NO3)2 and FLOURISH (micronutrient) to 10 seconds each at 07:00; MgSO4 to 30 seconds and K2SO4 to 85 seconds, both at 07:00. Buffer solution is set to 30 seconds twice a day, at 07:00 and at 18:00.

The timing rationale is:

1.) Keep PO4 and micro 12 hours apart. Many metal phosphates are insoluble and will precipitate when free ions associate, potentially removing nutrient. The streaming water change will start cutting PO4 right away on this schedule, but the level is alright in the morning tests.
2.) Dose all supplements, except PO4, at the start of the photoperiod (just before lights ON). Nutrient utilization and possibly also foliar uptake rates intensify when photosynthesis starts, so the streaming period, which will reduce nutrient concentrations, does not begin for 5 hours.
3.) Dose buffer for uniform (more or less) alkalinity concentration and CO2 stability, once at the start of the photoperiod and once in the middle of the streaming period.

The importance of observing this rationale is perhaps arguable; but, as it's possible to achieve an ideal model with an automated protocol, why not?

The ORP is 403 mV and is stable there. The streaming water-change is removing autochthonous DOM at least as quickly as it is evolving. The BOD is likely small (it cannot be zero), but it is certainly constant, and that is a good sign that the streaming is working well. The water is clear as air and everything is razor sharp; no algae, excellent colors, rapid growth. I have done no regular routine "big gulp" type water changes since the start of this experiment.

I am about to embark on a program to eradicate the duckweed once and for all.
 

Paul G

Member
Today's numbers

ORP: 404 mV
EC: 460 uS/cm
NO3: 2.4 ppm
PO4: 0.9 ppm
Fe: 0.17 ppm
K: 40 ppm
GH: 80 ppm (4.5 deg)
Ca / Mg: 50 ppm / 30 ppm
KH: 140 ppm (7.8 deg)

pH continuous ave: 6.8
O2 ave daily high: 10 ppm

All good!
 

Paul G

Member
For the record:
Watching throughout the day, I noticed that the 2.25 L, 60 second ODE is not sufficient to lower the waterline below the level sensor so as to trigger the ATO every time. Two ODEs were needed to do this, which occasioned the top-off at two hour intervals. I am returning to the 3.375 L, 90 second ODE. This drain rate does trigger top-off on the hourly schedule, as intended. For now I will leave the ODEs at 12 events for a total of 40.5 L (10.7 gal) RO/DI consumption daily, increasing the throughput by 50%. Of course, this is better from the standpoint of DOM removal, and it will require a slight increase in supplement and buffer delivery. The KHBOOST doses have been increased from 30 seconds to 40 seconds.
 

Paul G

Member
For the record:
The timing of the ODEs is now 01:00 to 06:00 inclusive, and 13:00 to 18:00 inclusive. The PM dosing time moves from 18:00 to 19:00. This puts any scheduled dosing 6 hours before the next ODE, and 1 hour after the last preceding ODE. This reduces interference with the supplement concentrations by the streaming water change, and it divides the daily streaming into equal halves.
 

Paul G

Member
The conductivity meter has been jumping up spontaneously. Last Wednesday, 9 Sept, it suddenly showed double the usual number. I gave the probe a vinegar soak and calibrated it, which brought it back to normal. Sunday afternoon it jumped again, whereupon I calibrated it once more. This probe is not old enough for this misbehavior, but, to be cautious I must suspect it. I connected a second meter and a new probe yesterday. They gave identical readings in the calibration fluid. They were installed about 20 inches apart. Today the old meter is showing 420 uS/cm and the new meter 450 uS/cm. I take it that both are working okay - for now - but that the newer is somewhat more accurate (just because it's new). If the old one jumps again, I will get a new probe for it.

On Wednesday I cleaned and calibrated the instrumentation and did some housekeeping. After a bleach soak and brushing of the ORP probe, the redox gradually (over several hours) descended to a new plateau where it is staying around 380 mV. I'm very okay with this.

I am noticing a marked slowing of periphyton (aufwuchs) on the front and sidewall glass. The green alga is not returning as quickly as it used to. Looking from the side through the length of the tank (6 feet), the water is clearer than I have ever seen it. I did some maintenance in the doser vats, pumps, and tubing, and so the pumps were run a bit causing some incidental overdosing, and some of the levels have been higher than my long term targets. Just now, the NO3 is 8 ppm, the PO4 is 3 ppm, and the Fe is 0.3 ppm. These sudden increases on Wednesday did not trigger a visible change in the water or on the glass over the last week. And I have not interrupted the daily dosing either. But the levels are returning slowly to normal due to streaming. The super-oligotrophic system can absorb the occasional 'hit' of allochthonous inorganics, and the plants enjoy a little luxury uptake to charge up their stores. I think the key here is that there was no source of organic waste, so the DOM was unchanged. No inducement for the algae.

The current streaming throughput seems about right for shedding DOM. This system works.

Last month I pushed some fertilizer tabs into the gravel around the swords and larger crypts. There were quite a few put in around the tank. This, I have little doubt, explains the spurt of huge leaves and the wonderful reddening we have been seeing lately. No small part of the successes we are observing is owing to the health of the Echinodorus.
 
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Paul G

Member
Today's numbers

pH: 6.7
ORP: 389 mV
EC: 440 uS/cm
NO3: 4.6 ppm
PO4: 1.67 ppm
Fe: 0.24 ppm
K: 40 ppm
GH: 56 ppm (3 deg)
Ca / Mg: 36 ppm / 20 ppm
KH: 7 deg
 

Paul G

Member
Today's numbers

pH: 6.7
ORP: 391 mV
EC: 440uS/cm
NO3: 3.2 ppm
PO4: 2.18 ppm
Fe: 0.2 ppm
K: 40 ppm
GH: 56 ppm (3 deg)
Ca / Mg: 36 ppm / 20 ppm
KH: 6.5 deg

At the current streaming throughput, the dosing rates appear to be approximately correct. Without more history I won't predict just now what will need alteration. Apart from bumping KHBOOST (buffer) by 10 seconds more, I will make no changes. At the low dosing rates for NO3 and PO4 being used recently, the contribution of these nutrients from fish food are more likely to manifest - in theory. I will begin logging the feeding in a little more detail to see if there is a pattern. I have to say I am very pleased with the photometric testers; confidence in their accuracy is what makes these kinds of observations possible.

In the last couple of days, the only food given was the twice-daily flake from the automatic dispensers. About every three days on average, I put in quite a lot of fresh frozen brine shrimp and blood worms. It has been several days since I broadcast sinking food for the loaches and catfish; I think I neglect this given their populations. I got into this stingy habit from years of caution against overfeeding. Now, with the streaming system and consistently high redox, I can surely be more liberal.

This AM I fed both sinking and fresh frozen.
 

Paul G

Member
Today's numbers

pH: 6.7
ORP: 390 mV
EC: 450 uS/cm
NO3: 3.5 ppm
PO4: 2.13 ppm
Fe: 0.12 ppm
K: 45 ppm
GH: 52 ppm (2.9 deg)
Ca / Mg: 32 ppm / 20 ppm
KH: 6 deg

Flourish Comprehensive: today's Fe number is the low end of the target and the trend has been negative. Change ON time from 10 sec to 15 sec.

K2SO4: luxury K is desirable. I regard it as essential, but above 35 - 40 ppm is needlessly excessive. Change ON time from 159 sec to 140 sec.

GH: target is 3 degrees. Mg dose rate looks spot on for now, but Ca is dropping off. The Ca(NO3)2 : KNO3 ratio of the NO3 dose will be increased to find the balance. Short term I have manually dosed a little CaCl2, bringing the GH to 3.2 degrees, 38 ppm Ca.

Buffer: 6 degrees is below target and is down-trending. Without increasing the individual dose, I am adding a dose at midday. KHBOOST dose ON time is 140 sec at 07:00, 13:00, and 19:00.

KNO3 dose ON time is 10 sec. KH2PO4 dose ON time is 15 sec. MgSO4 dose ON time is 20 sec. For now these are okay as they are.

This is benchmark data only, presented for purposes of comparison as the experiment proceeds. It is practical to use run times to describe dose rates because the dosing pumps are switched by timer functions in Apex. The Milwaukee Instruments MP810 peristaltic pump runs at 10 ml / 60 seconds. For formal empiricism it is proper to state a dose as a discrete volume of a solution of specified concentration. This will be clarified in a future post.
 

Paul G

Member
Today's numbers

pH: 6.7
ORP: 395 mV
EC: 440 uS/cm
NO3: 4.6 ppm
PO4: 2.37 ppm
Fe: 0.13 ppm
K: 40 ppm
GH: 56 ppm (3.1 deg)
Ca / Mg: 36 ppm / 20 ppm
KH: 7 deg

24 HOUR EVENT CYCLE FOR 200 GALLON JUNGLE STYLE


The water changes (hexagons) are open drain events (ODE), each timed at 90 seconds for an RO/DI refill of 3.375 liters.

The buffer doses (squares) are KHBOOST ON events, each timed at 100 seconds for 16.7 milliliters of solution consisting of 100 grams SeaChem Alkaline Buffer per liter of distilled water (dw). This is intended to maintain a consistent alkalinity of approximately 7 dKH which will assure minimum 38 ppm CO2 at pH 6.7.

PO4: 90 grams KH2PO4 per liter dw. 10 sec ON time for 1.7 ml dose. Note 12 hours apart from metals doses.
K: 224 grams K2SO4 per liter dw. 100 sec ON time for 16.7 ml dose.
Mg: 70 grams MgSO4 per liter dw. 20 sec ON time for 3.3 ml dose.
NO3 and Ca: 100 grams KNO3 and 100 grams Ca(NO3)2 per liter dw. 10 sec ON time for 1.7 ml dose.
Micronutrient: SeaChem Flourish Comprehensive, unamended. 15 sec ON time for 2.5 ml dose.
Two parts SeaChem Excel : one part SeaChem Advance mix (ORGANICS). 120 sec ON time for 20 ml dose.

50 ml SeaChem Flourish Trace is manually added to the tank once weekly at or about the 07:00 dosing time.

High redox potential is due to 1) maintaining average dissolved oxygen (DO) level of 8 ppm photosynthetic O2, and 2) exporting autochthonous dissolved organic matter (DOM) by continuous streaming. This is a super-oligotrophic soft-water environment.
 
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Paul G

Member
Today's numbers

pH: 6.7
ORP: 395 mV
EC: 440 uS/cm
NO3: 5.2 ppm
PO4: 0.84 ppm
Fe: 0.11 ppm
K: 40 ppm
GH: 52 ppm (2.9 deg)
Ca / Mg: 36 ppm / 16 ppm
KH: 7 deg

NO3: change from 10 sec to 8 sec
PO4: change from 10 sec to 12 sec
Mg: change from 20 sec to 22 sec
KHBOOST: change from 100 sec to 110 sec

I realize that the quantities involved here are very small, especially for a tank this size. I also realize that I am placing a lot of faith in the testing. Nevertheless, the numbers do seem to react to the dosing rates, so I will keep tuning this until I can clearly see the practical limitations.
 
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