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Old 04-19-2006, 04:53 PM   #1
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Here is where I'm at.

I have a 30gal hexagonal tank with many tropicals in there: platies, a pleco, mollies, two corys, two clown loaches (although I never see them), danios, and glo-lite tetras.

I have four plant species. I don't know what any of them are. So far I have been able to give them a plant food put together by a local guy (they seem to like it alright) and I replanted them with some laterite (I think that's what it's called...I'm at work right now and can't double check). The one big thing I'm missing is CO2. I am hesitating to buy another gadget for fear of adding another device I have to babysit and pay for.

I'm starting to get a decent amount of brown algae on the plant surfaces.

Anyone have some suggestions for a direction I should take?
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Old 04-19-2006, 05:43 PM   #2
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How much light do you have on this tank?
How long has the tank been setup and how long have you had plants in it?
Does the brown algae brush off easily or is it impossible to remove without damaging the plant?

You could try PlantGeek and Tropica to identify your plants. They both have really good drawings/pictures of plants.

For right now my main suggestion would be to spread your plants out a bit. They all looked like they've been planted in fairly tight clumps. By spreading them out slightly, they'll have more room to grow and will fill in more quickly. After you answer the above questions, I'll be able to give you some more ideas.
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Old 04-19-2006, 09:07 PM   #3
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Question 1: Just one decent one...I'll get the specs when I get home.

Question 2: The tank has been setup since January and I've had plants since late February or early March.

Question 3: The fish are able to nip the algae off.

What are your thoughts on the fact that I might start crowding out my bottom dwellers if I spread the plants out too much? Maybe I should remove a rock or two and spread out the plants. Hmmmm....
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Old 04-20-2006, 07:51 AM   #4
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Hex tanks are tougher to scape because the footprint is small compared to the height.

I might try a blend of tall and short plants to give it some depth. I'm thinking Giant Val and anubias nana. You could tie some java fern to rocks and driftwood. These plants will grow well in low light and not take up much of your bottom.
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Old 04-20-2006, 10:06 AM   #5
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Since some of your fish are eating the algae it's more than likely BBA. If your tank had been a bit newer and you could easily brush it off the leaves, then it would have been diatoms which go away on their own after awhile. The way to get rid of the BBA is to get your nutrients balanced. Stats on what you NO3 and PO4 levels along with what ferts you are dosing would be helpful. If you are dosing CO2, the method you are using along with your KH and pH levels would be good to know too.

Brian has given you some great suggestions for plants and layout. The amount of light that you actually have will determine how limited you plant options are.

As long as your bottom dwellers still have room to swim through the plant they shouldn't mind having the plants more spread out. If you are concerned, you can always pick a spot to keep bare for them.
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Old 04-20-2006, 03:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Hex tanks are tougher to scape because the footprint is small compared to the height.
How true that is! I am regretting some of my early decisions. I think I can eventually recover, but it might take some time.

At this point would it be wise to acquire more mature tall plants or try to grow up some young ones?

I'm not dosing CO2 at this point. I like the idea, but practically speaking, it is a little difficult for me right now.
My nitrate level is probably 3/10 with ten being the maximum on my test kit. I do not presently have a way to test for phosphate.
My KH is somewhere in the 4/10 range, using the same rather arbitrary scale provided by my kit's color system. I have been adding a buffering agent because I read that plants will start pulling it out of the water in the absence of CO2. Is this essentially bicarbonate?
Because my KH is coming to a nice middle level, my pH is evening out around 7.
Also, our water is very hard here..probably 8 or 9 out of 10. The fish dig it, but I'm not so sure about the plants.

You guys are awesome...I love this forum. Thanks for the help so far. I am building a plan of attack here and learning a lot.
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Old 04-20-2006, 04:10 PM   #7
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The concept with CO2, ferts, and lighting goes something like this DocOc:

Lighting is the engine that drives nutrient uptake. Without the lighting your plants aren't really demanding much nutrients (including CO2). I'm guessing that with standard lighting you've probably got about 1/2 wpg. Less if you consider how much light reaches the bottom of that tall hex. Therefore fertilizing or adding CO2 would be a wasted effort.

I would get mature plants (and low light plants), for that tank because growth will be very slow.

HTH
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Old 04-20-2006, 04:50 PM   #8
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Cool, so to take it to the next level as far as getting strong, healthy plant growth, I would need new lighting, CO2, and fertilizer. Awesome.
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Old 04-20-2006, 05:19 PM   #9
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That's correct, and they MUST all be done at the same time or huge algae probs will result.
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