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Old 12-08-2013, 02:51 PM   #1
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Need help on a big decision

Hey guys, I haven't been on in a while but I've been pretty busy. Basically, between school, baseball, and other stuff, I haven't had time to work on my tank. It is a 10 gallon. My original plan would be to have a school of CPDs in there, and some RCS, and have it be heavily planted. I started off with Ludwigia Repens, Cabomba Caroliniana, Water Wisteria, and Hygrophila sp. Bold. I was told that they were hardy in the order that I listed them in, with the Hygro growing like a weed. Well it did grow like a weed. A dead weed. I'm down to one stem left now. In fact, actually, the Ludwigia grew the most, than the Cabomba, then the Wisteria, which is pretty strange. Anyway, I have been dosing, as directed, Seachem Flourish, Flourish excel, and API Leaf Zone. I have Seachem flourish root tabs, a Finnex Fugeray 20", and Eco Complete gravel. I was intending on using DIY co2, which sort of worked. For the first week, everything grew really well. The ludwigia literally grew inches in that week, about an inch for the cabomba, and half an inch for the Wisteria. The Hygro even grew a bit too. Then the co2 stopped. I noticed a leak, and tried to fix it. Needless to say, 3 weeks later, I still haven't put it in, I have just been dosing more excel. So, for Christmas, I need to think of stuff that I want. I have a few options (considering I am already $110 in debt with my parents):

Option 1: Put the DIY Co2 back in and hope for the best for a week, and then decide from there.

Option 2: Stick with the same idea, fix the scape (I've been having troubles with that), ask for a pressurized co2 kit for christmas, use dry ferts, basically just go all in with high light and everything, and stick to my original plan.

Option 3: Cut my losses, sell what I can, and instead turn the tank into a shell dweller tank. I have one other tank, so I have experience with fish, but this has been my first attempt with plants.

Option 4: Go for really hardy plants, and keep the original idea. Basically, go low tech.

Keep in mind that I will be getting at least enough money to pay off my debt with my parents, but the second option may not be financially possible for me. I'd be interested to know how much that would cost.

So which do you think is the best option? Do you have any tips that I could use? I need advice quickly, because Christmas is coming up!

Any advice, encouraging words, or comments are welcome.

in advance!
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Old 12-08-2013, 03:04 PM   #2
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I can tell you one thing - it can be hard to get the right balance. Some of my planted tanks were very success full, some.... Not so much

With Christmas coming up, maybe ask for some stuff to help fix up your tank and pay your parents back too. If you have the stuff, maybe try DIY co2.
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Old 12-08-2013, 05:32 PM   #3
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First off, a few questions. How much Excel were you using daily? How often were you using the Comp/Leaf Zone?

I would stay stick to your original plan but maybe try out a few different plants. I also have a ten gal with a very similar set up (Fugeray, Eco Complete, Excel) with the only difference that I now use dry ferts (PPS-Pro). It took me a while to figure out that many plants grew very well and many did not, despite others having success with them. Every tank has a unique chemistry so it can often be a little challenging and frustrating to find plants that work for you, particularly without the aid of pressurized CO2.

I have tried several times to grow things like downoi and hygrophila polysperma but can never get them to succeed, while my hygrophila angustifolia, dwarf sag, and hemianthus micranthemoides grow like weeds and need to be trimmed regularly. I have extremely lush 'scapes with these plants (along with lots of crypts) that I'm very happy with aesthetically, so overall my experience using this particular set up has been very positive (lemme know if you'd like to see some pics). If you wish to go a different path then either DIY CO2 (with regular bottle replacements) or a cheap paintball CO2 regulator (such as Aquatek's -- New Aquatek CO2 Regulator Mini with Integrated Cool Touch Solenoid | eBay) plus dry ferts through PPS-Pro or EI dosing would be best.

Just as a final note I will add that the switch to PPS-Pro for me is when my plants really started to take off. They did ok with the Flourish/Leaf Zone combo (particularly with a dose twice a week instead of once) but there has been a noticeable difference with the dry ferts. Relatively inexpensive, too ($30-$50 for ferts, bottles, digital scale, depending where you get it from, and all that will last you years.
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Old 12-08-2013, 07:16 PM   #4
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Thanks so much for the replies guys! Ok, so I'm starting to feel optimistic about sticking with a planted tank. To answer your questions:
I was dosing 2-3 ml of excel twice every three days. I dosed Flourish and Leaf zone at 1 ml and 4 ml respectively once a week.

Furthermore, I think I didn't word this well, but for the first week with plants I had DIY co2 up and running. Then it coughed, sputtered, and died, and I noticed that there was a leak. So I took it out, but didn't get around to fixing it. It is ready to go, but I still need to mix up the stuff before putting it back in the tank.

To answer your individual comments:
Scottyhorse: Thanks for the quick reply! Yeah, I had co2 in but I might put it back in soon. So I guess that each tank is different and it just takes some tweaking with plant species and parameters to get it right?

Azmodan: Ok, I'll probably try some other plants as well. Like I said, ludwigia and cabomba did really well with the co2 in, and wisteria did alright. I think Hygro just isn't for me, so I'm probably gonna give up on that.
I'd love to see any pictures that you have! Also, how expensive is the rest of the stuff I would need for that co2 setup? Because that is just the regulator, correct? I don't really understand the pressurized concept, but that is a great price compared to the $150-$250 that I've always heard.

Thanks!
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Old 12-08-2013, 08:15 PM   #5
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The Excel you can dose everyday with a slightly higher dosage, and that would probably help quite a bit. For my 10g I dose 3-4 ml a day, and I've heard of people dosing up to 1 ml per gallon. Rivercats is the best person to ask about that, but it just depends on the individual tank. The Flourish and Leaf Zone you could probably dose twice a week too. When those bottles run out I'd check out the PPS-Pro pack at GLA (I think it's around $30), or you can buy smaller amounts for cheaper from members on TPT's classified section. You'll likely need a digital food scale to measure out the ferts but those run for like $9 on Amazon with free shipping.

For the paintball CO2 equipment you'd also need the CO2 tank (a 20oz tank is ~$20 on Amazon with free shipping), a diffusor of some sort, and a drop checker (bud29 sells nice ones on here for pretty cheap). You could get all of these things for under $50 easily. A 20oz tank should last on a 10g several months too, and refills are usually under $10 depending on your area. I know a lot of people just buy a spare 20oz tank so they can always have a filled tank on hand when one runs out, but obviously that's not necessary too.
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Old 12-08-2013, 09:30 PM   #6
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Okay, thanks! Yeah, I'll definitely look into that. So, I'm getting the feeling that if I have pressurized co2 with dry ferts and my current lighting I should be able to grow any medium light plant right? Or at least most? Enough to have a thriving tank as long as I try different species?
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Old 12-08-2013, 09:55 PM   #7
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You have about 30-40 PAR at substrate. So yes, medium light plants will be fine. With enough patience, you might be able to get a carpet. (no HC or glosso, though!)
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Old 12-08-2013, 10:35 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Sillyfishies View Post
You have about 30-40 PAR at substrate. So yes, medium light plants will be fine. With enough patience, you might be able to get a carpet. (no HC or glosso, though!)
I wouldn't say this. Almost all plants can be grown at medium light. I've seen Tom Barr do it. If plants have an adequate carbon source, they will do ok. Brian grows DHG at about 35 par.
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Old 12-09-2013, 03:39 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Fishperson View Post
Okay, thanks! Yeah, I'll definitely look into that. So, I'm getting the feeling that if I have pressurized co2 with dry ferts and my current lighting I should be able to grow any medium light plant right? Or at least most? Enough to have a thriving tank as long as I try different species?
The pressurized CO2 and dry ferts will grow them for sure, but I agree with what Jkeating8 said in that with an adequate carbon source (and ferts) most plants will do ok in medium light. The trick is just figuring out the right balance with your lights, carbon supplement, and ferts. Since money sounds a little tight if I were you I'd keep tinkering with the ferts (and possibly move to dry ferts at some point) while trying to figure out the right amount of Excel to use. I started off with 1 ml a day and have been gradually increasing it up to what I have it at now (about 4 ml, although that may increase too). An incredible amount of things can be done in a planted tank with the aid of a very precise amount of Excel/glut and no pressurized CO2. But once you get a good handle on that maybe by then you'll have saved some money for the pressurized system, which may or may not be the next step beyond.
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Old 12-09-2013, 06:10 AM   #10
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Alright, thanks everyone! I think that I'm going to put the DIY co2 back in, that will help right? I mean, it can't hurt? So that will go back in when I get home today.

I just dosed 3 ml excel, 4-5 ml leaf zone, and 1 ml flourish.

I will probably dose that ^^^ on monday and friday of every week.
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