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Old 04-03-2005, 01:04 PM   #1
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Yet another newbie

Here we go again...

A few weeks ago I decided to replace the plastic ornaments in my tank with real plants. That was the time I still trusted the advise of my lfs. I went there I bought a few plants, more gravel, of the same kind I had, fertilizer and off I went, supposedly with all the know how...

How naive!

The changes started a mini cycle that day that costed me a few fish and a lot of WC. The plants I bought are:

1 onion bulb
4 jungle val
1 amazon sword
1 rotella indica
1 red lotus
and 1 I don't recall the name

The jungle vals were gone within a couple of weeks. The red lotus lost a few leaves and now it's just there, not dying not growing.

The onion bulb grew some fuzzy stuff a couple of times that I peeled off. It still looks good but the tips of the leaves are getting a little yellow or brownish.

The amazon sword is still looking nice but has a couple of brown leaves and it is not growing much.

The rotella indica has lost a lot of leaves but still looks decent. I open the metallic ring it came in to loosen up the plants and washed them with aquarium water to get rid of some slimy stuff. Now it looks better.

I keep the 20 W Aqua Glow light on at least 14 hs a day, and I fertilize once/twice a week when I do WC ( I've been doing WC more often than that lately!). I don't have a CO2 system and I'd rather not buy one.

Suggestions, please.

Thank you!
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Old 04-03-2005, 08:45 PM   #2
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What kind of gravel? Those plants are root feeders, and coated/decorative gravel has no nutrients and will only hold you back. Its also best to remove stem plants from weights, trim the mush, and plant individually (in groupings if wanted). You'll also need to increase lighting to ~2wpg, as none of those plants are very low light (you have .67 wpg). If you want to keep it simple, suggest you increase to ~1-1.5wpg and stick to low light plants. Suggest you search the archive and post back with what direction you want to go, for better advice.
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Old 04-03-2005, 09:22 PM   #3
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If I go with 1.5 wpg do I have to have a CO2 system? What kind of gravel should I use? Do I need to change all the gravel in the tank or only where the plants are planted?
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Old 04-03-2005, 09:32 PM   #4
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at 1.5wpg CO2 injection isn't necessary. It would benefit the plants a little, but isn't required. You could try a little Flourish Excel if you wanted a CO2 replacement. Excel and plain Flourish comprehensive ferts are all you should need at 1-1.5wpg
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Old 04-03-2005, 09:36 PM   #5
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You won't need CO2. You may need new plants. Depending on those plants, you won't need to change gravel (Anacharis, Anubias, Java fern, Java moss, Hornwort, Marimo balls). You only have to change substrate if you went in the stem plant and/or med light scenario.

FWIW, I've grown all of the above except for the fern in disco gravel (daughter's choice) under 1.5wpg, no CO2, no ferts (we have hard water full of stuff), regular pwc. All showed good growth. Switched to all Anubias and Marimo balls since their slow growth makes it even less maintenence.
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Old 04-04-2005, 11:30 AM   #6
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OK, guys. Before I get on my way to the lfs to get a new light and some new fertilizer (and may be some new plants), please tell me: If I decide to go for new gravel/substrate how do I change it, considering that my tank already has fish?

Reading the sticky from Rex Grigg I learned about different kinds of substrate, including some peat moss at the bottom, but how are my fish going to react to all that unfamiliar stuff added to the tank?

Is there a viable way to do this? and i mean viable for the fish, which are my first priority... I'd rather go back to plastic plants than go ahead to dead fish.

Thank you all!
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Old 04-04-2005, 12:09 PM   #7
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Big C: As a newbie to plants myself, all of the information we read is overwhelming. I just went through the same scenario as I converted my 29 gal plastic tank over to a new planted tank. I decided to change out my 29gal out totally cause it was pushing 20 yrs (2nd hand) and the silicone sealant started to look flaky.

Anyway, if you really want to jump right into it with the lighting and gravel upgrades as I just did... the gravel upgrade is actually easier than you think. I think it boils down to these 2 choices:
- Fluorite: more readily available, but this stuff needs some serious rinsing. I used 3 bags and spent a few hours on just pouring water in and out of a bucket with it in it to remove the very fine dusty residue.
- Eco Complete: this stuff needs no rinsing, just pour it in. I would've bought this if it was available at my lfs... and I called around to about 6 LFS... most have not even heard of it.

So yes, there's a lot of detailed writeups about using peat, laterite, etc... but I think for all practical purposes, settling for one of the above is the way to go.

Also, the Articles section here has a great writeup on changing over your substrate:
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/showqu...q=2&fldAuto=27

On CO2... I haven't been brave enuff to dive into CO2 injection yet cause I think my KH is too low and fear massive PH swings even if I go with a couple of 2 liter bottles. With CO2, there has to be a clear understanding of the PH-KH relationship prior to diving into it and I don't think I'm completely comfortable with mine. I've read about adding in crushed coral to raise my KH... I just can't see myself buying a huge bag of crushed coral just to sprinkle a little in.
So to cut a long story short, I dose with Flourish Excel every other day as my CO2 substitue... I posted a thread about my tank progress too, only a few weeks old as a plant-newbie:

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewto...090&highlight=

Now on the other hand, I think the 2 veterans here are saying you can get away with your current lighting and gravel... just get some more suitable plants for low-light, such as Java Fern, Java Moss, Crypts, Anubias, and add in some Flourish Excel and plain Flourish. There's lots of writeups here on successful and beautiful "low light" setups... just a matter of choosing the right plants.
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Old 04-04-2005, 12:29 PM   #8
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Thank you for the info, Quake2. I went through the articles, but I missed the one on changing substrate. I actually read your thread and that was one of the reasons I started wondering about my plants: Yours look beautiful and are growing quite fast, but mine are not nearly as happy!

Did you have any fish casualties when you did the changes in your tank?

Thanks again!
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Old 04-04-2005, 12:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big C
Did you have any fish casualties when you did the changes in your tank?

Thanks again!
I had a young German Blue ram only about a few weeks from the LFS prior to my tank/plant overhaul... it didn't survive, BUT, it already had a case of ick so I guess you can say it had 2 strikes against it and it didn't take to the tank overhaul well. Meanwhile, I my 17 neon tetras are doin great as bad as a reputation they have as being "less hardy".

One major thing I have learned thus far is that having a planted tank also means weekly maintenance.... I didn't do much more than once a month and sometimes once every 2 months partial water changes and rarely had problems except with algae all over my plastic plants and glass that I had to scrape monthly.
With plants, I am looking every nite to see what's growing, what needs pruning, what's been dislodged by my Rosey Barbs , etc. And the weekly partial water change is a must as I've read here.
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Old 04-04-2005, 12:57 PM   #10
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Good analogy Quake2player. Planted tanks = Aquatic Gardening. I could not have said it better myself. Only difference is that in this realm, your hands don't get dirty...just wet.
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Old 04-04-2005, 02:45 PM   #11
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Hey, Thanks again. I read the article on how to change the gravel. I'll try the lighting first and the fertilizer and see how it goes... I wouldn't mind changing the gravel for natural pebbles or something that looks less artificial than the blue coated gravel i have now.

I'm used to do pwc once or twice a week, so that will not be a problem. Besides, gardening is my other hobby, I never minded getting my hands muddy, but I have to admit that the extra benefit of not getting them muddy is NOT a concern, Jchillin!

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Old 04-05-2005, 03:36 PM   #12
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Hey Guys, I'm just back from the lfs and I'm very disheartened! It looks like the light fixture I have is only good for 20W lights. If I want to go for 40W or higher I have to buy a new fixture that costs CDN$140!!! (about US$120) plus the price of the light of course! 8O x

Is there any other alternative other that letting my plants die?

This is just one more example of the bad advise I continuously get from Big Al's employees. When I bought my plants they did ask about the kind of lighting I was using and told me it was fine for the plants!

Unfortunately this is the only large fs in my area! I still buy from them, but I'll never trust their advise again!

I trust you though.... Advice, please....
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Old 04-05-2005, 04:21 PM   #13
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Old 04-05-2005, 05:54 PM   #14
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Big C, I feel your frustration! I was in your exact situation a few months ago, I did a complete tank overhaul when I decided to buy a few swords to boost my tanks environment. Check out the link for hello lights, they were great.
GOOD LUCK!

http://www.hellolights.com/index.html
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Tank: 37 gallon glass tall fw
Canister Filter: Eheim classic 2213
Lighting:30 inch double lamp fixture, w/ 2-55/65w 6700k lights.
Substrate: Flora Base by Red Sea
Moderate Planted w/ tiger lotus & red tiger lotus, swords, hornwort, candian pondweed, creeping ludwigia,Anubias Nana
Anubias Afzelii (Narrow-leaved),Rotala sp. ''Nanjenshan'' Micro swords x2
CO2
Injected
Tank: 20 gal fw
Eclipse 3 Hood w/ bio wheel, 20 watts flourescent lighting
Substrate: 40lb eco-complete
Plants: 2-Anubias Nana, hornwort, tiger lotus
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Old 04-06-2005, 10:52 PM   #15
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Hi guys,

Thanks for all the advice. I did buy a new light fixture (65W 12000K) and a glass lid. I can put the new compact fixture on the old canopy wich would give me 2.17 wpg or I can install the new glass lid and have the two light fixtures wich would give me 2.5 wpg.

Which way should I go considering that I do not want to go for a CO2 system for the time being?

Of course, while I was at the lfs I had to buy a few new fish, so I got 3 small panda corys and a very small blushed angel (he is the size of a penny!). The little darn thing is now chewing on my plants!!!!!!!! The very same plants I just spent a lot of money in equipment trying to keep them happy!!!!!

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