How to maintain DPH tank
written by: Rob Charite
date: 19 August 2000

Now is the time to show some secrets
How to maintain such a tank J
Actually it is quite easy but you have to be very persistent in doing your daily cleaning sessions.
In fact that is all what we do, cleaning and get rid of the fish poop!! haha, nice job !!

There are two maintenance schedules or actually three:
The first will be every other day
The second will be once a week
And the third will be once every month

Fairly simple, changing water that is. I change 10 % water every other day, it used to be every day but that was an attack on the plants, they really suffer from that !! So here is what I do; I siphon the water into a bucket and keep the hose about 1 cm (3/8 in) from the bottom to vacuum the detritus out of the tank ,don't forget to do this process under and between the plants but leave the plants you've just added alone for a week at least so they can grow a good root system and won't get pulled out easily. Meanwhile, tear the possible hair algae from the back or where ever and throw them in the bucket as well ( when they are to long of course). Now the fresh water can be added to the tank again. I used to add different items to prepare the water but these are real trouble makers, f.i aquasafe. Aquasafe is phosphoric based and algae love that !!! So no water prepares, unless your tap water contains chlorines and heavy metals and you don't have a R O unit!! You can let the water rest for about 24 hours in a holding facility to get rid of the chlorine, but in my case that is to much fuss. I figured that when you have a tank of 375 liters and you change 10 %( = 30 liters) you also add 10 % chlorine. In this case the chlorine will be so spread out over the tank that it is hard to detect, believe me I've tried it, none what so ever. So I change 10 % tap water every other day straight from the tap into the tank ! Without any fish, algae, or plant problems !! Current water parameters are kh=6 mg/l pH =7.2 nitrate = 12.5 mg/l the only thing I add is iron fertilization that is 1 ml on 10 later every other day.

Once a week is pretty much the same as above: + cleaning the glass inside and outside, cleaning the tl bulbs, possible reflectors and I clean the bottom extra with one of those aquarium vacuum cleaners. What I do is I vacuum the complete bottom and every time I stick the suction end about one 1cm ( 3/8 in ) in the bottom and rotate it a bit, this rotating is for stirring the gravel up a bit and to provide a more healthy bottom environment,( keeps it from cloughing). I also shake the plants a bit to get rid of the detritus that lays on the leaves, remove old or rotten leaves, (rotten leaves are easily recognized and the old leaves are mostly the lower leaves with holes in it or algae growing on the top side of the leaf), so the plant can use all the energy for growing new prettier leaves and not maintaining the old. Also, I check both the filters , other electrical equipment and the tank it self for possible leaks .

Monthly chores are the same as the 2 above plus cleaning the mechanical filter and hoses. This is also a good time to trim the plants who have grown to big and make the tank look like a jungle. Some plants are removed and only the top 7 cm ( 3 in ) are replanted (cabomba for instance).

Of course I look at the tank all the time and see things that I like to change or not change. But I always keep myself under control to not do it immediately. That gives me enough time to think it over completely.

Rob Charite & Walter Soestbergen.

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