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Old 09-04-2013, 07:56 PM   #1
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Worms?

Hi everyone, I've noticed a few things in my tank recently that I'm concerned about and looking for help. This is my first attempt at a planted tank, and all I've added since it cycled is a betta and zebra nerite.

I saw a worm today as I was doing a water change. It was <1 cm long, white, and squirmy. Is it dangerous for my fish? I'm not sure how to identify it since I can't find it anymore, so I'm not sure what the best treatment is.

Secondly, there are lots of piles of little brown uniform things....the only explanation I can think of is snail poop. I attached a pic, but I'm hoping its not because it's really obvious against my sand and seems like a lot just for one snail.

Finally, I'm not sure if anyone can give me advice on plant lighting, but I have a 20 watt CFL bulb on my 11.4 gal, 18.9" tall tank. Plants started wilting, turning brown, etc right after I added them. One individual told me that even at ten hours of light a day, it's not enough light for the tank and that I need to buy a T5HO fixture. Is he right?

Thanks in advance, any advice is greatly appreciated!



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Old 09-04-2013, 08:57 PM   #2
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It's poop, not sure if it's Betta or snail. It can show up on black substrate, though with time it breaks down and sinks into the substrate. If it bugs you, siphon it out with the water changes.

And the worm is likely not harmful. Detritus worm, most likely. Unless you see it stuck to the glass waving some tentacles around at the loose end, in which case it is hydra, which are not totally horrible unless you have fry or little shrimp. They can kill fry or baby shrimp.

Don't damage hydra, they are immortal &,you only get more hydra, each piece becomes a new one. Try to siphon them out if you have only one or two.

CFL bulbs can work well to grow plants but only if they have the right colour temperature, which is referred to as a number followed by the capital letter K. For plants you need a 'daylight' type, with 6500K or 6700K colour temp. This will be on the box or perhaps on the base of the bulb. Most of the common ones are of the cool white variety, not nearly bright enough or the right colour temperature.

That crypt will need root tabs to feed on, btw, like most crown plants it is a heavy feeder. Tabs last weeks to months depending which one you get.

Your tank is deeper than most in this size range. For medium to good light, at least one 23 W daylight type spiral compact would be ok, and it needs a reflector that will send the light mostly downward to light the bottom where the crypt is growing.

For high light, two of those bulbs would probably do the trick. But with high light, you'll need to feed the plants more, including a carbon source, as high light drives plant growth, making their needs higher for food and carbon. You can get liquid carbon supplements.. such as Seachem's Excel, or use carbon dioxide gas, from DIY bottles with sugar and yeast, or pressurized gas from a canister with a regulator and needle valve. There is lots of info on these systems but they are not needed if you stick to plants that need less light, such as the crypt, which is a low light plant. So are valisneria, water wisteria, water sprite grown floating, and others. There are quite a few choices that don't need high light and CO2 supplementation.
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Old 09-04-2013, 09:11 PM   #3
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Have you ever heard of putting dirt in the bottom of the tank? Helps a lot. No dosing to keep up with no root tabs to buy and you don't have to have strong lights to grow plants.
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Old 09-04-2013, 10:14 PM   #4
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@Fishfur thanks, I'll siphon the worm if I see it again but good to know it's not bad. My bulb is 6500K daylight. I was hoping to stay low tech, so I'm just using a desk lamp. By reflector do you mean something like a hood?

I do have root tabs near the crypt and downoi, and have been adding 1mL Excel every day. ATM I only have the crypt, downoi, pogostemon erectus, and cardamine lyrata. I'm planning on adding things like java moss/fern, petite anubias nana, crypt parva, etc. Is my bulb sufficient for those with Excel added?

I also bought ferts and mixed them up for a PPS Pro dosing regime, but then was told my tank doesn't have enough light to warrant using them.

For the snail, I bought algae wafers and I'm not sure how much I should be feeding him. I read that nerites can clean tanks in days, and I haven't seen any algae yet so I was afraid he'd starve.


@Brewer, I have heard of it but didn't seriously consider it. Are there any downsides? I'm planning on adding some panda corys eventually, so would they be an issue if I put my sand on top of the dirt?
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Old 09-04-2013, 10:20 PM   #5
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The only down side I have found is you can't mess with the tank. If u go pulling up the plants and moving them a lot it will make a mess. I have Cory's in my tank with sand I have never has a problem. I also have kuhli loach which like to dig and still n/p. if u look at my pics my tank has dirt with sand on top. Love it. Would not do a planted tank with out it.
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Old 09-04-2013, 10:42 PM   #6
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So would it be pretty disruptive to add dirt to my tank? All I have is a betta bowl so I wouldn't want my fish to be out of the tank for more than a few days max. How thick should the dirt and sand be? What type of dirt is best, and how do you make it aquarium safe?

On a sidenote, is it possible a filter can be too strong for plants? I have a Hagen Marina Slim S15, which is rated up to 15 gallons (can't find gph at the moment.) Anyways, I have the adjustable flow turned all the way down, and my betta seems fine with the suction, but my brown and wilty plants are all leaning towards the intake or being pushed away from the outflow (which will push my betta down to the bottom of the tank.)
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Old 09-04-2013, 11:05 PM   #7
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U will have to take everything out of the thank. Not for sure about the filter being to strong. U use miracle grow organic potting soil. Has to be organic. I would do about 1" of dirt and put 2-3 " of sand on top u will have to soak the dirt in something for a couple of weeks. Fresh dirt lets off a lot of tannins and nitrates in to the water. While soaking the dirt do daily wc to help what's out the dirt. Also pick out pieces of wood and sticks.
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