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Old 03-16-2011, 05:38 PM   #1
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Newly Planted 55g Mbuna/Peacock Tank; Pictures and Lots of Questions

I had the good fortune of a kind man in my area giving me a LOT of plants for 20 bucks. I was looking to plant my 55g mbuna/peacock tank for the first time. I had requested Java Fern and Anubias, but I got a grocery bag full of plants including what I believe to be: massive Java Fern (wide leaf and needle leaf), one Anubias species, some hygrophila (?), and several others that I have not identified yet.

I currently planted all of them until I can decide what to keep based on my preference, the cichlids appetite, lighting requirements, and YOUR advice!! The only plants I immediately removed were some reddish plants that seemed to be quite a delicacy to my Red Zebra.

Please help me figure out what my tank can sustain. How will these plants do with my lighting? How many of them can I keep without depleting the nutrients in the tank? My T5 lighting seems to be very narrowly focused (not diffusing over the width of the tank). How important will it be for these plants to be "directly" under this narrow line of lights?---should I elevate the lighting so that it diverges more before reaching the tank? Finally, the T5 lighting is warmer than I thought it would be. Is it okay to rest on acrylic?????

Thanks for your responses. My tank specs are listed below along with pictures after planting and pics of some plants (feel free to ID the other than the Java Fern )


Some tank specs:
-55g long
-1 28 watt 46inch 6700k T5 bulb
-1 28 watt 46inch colormax t5 bulb
- Sand substrate
-river rock- rockscape
-1 aquaclear 300 filter
-1 eheim powerhead
-temperature at 78 deg F

Stock: 3 rusty cichlids (1M, 2F), 1 red zebra, 1 yellow lab, 1 taiwan reef peacock, 1 lemon jacobfreibergi, 1 red jacobfreibergi, 1 pictus catfish
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Old 03-16-2011, 05:47 PM   #2
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Wow, that was a seriously awesome buy for $20 IMO. I see some vals, pennywort, a massive java fern, and the anubias. I think you've done a wonderful job planting the tank. My fear is that the plants wont last with those fish. I tried in my mbuna tank and the fish devoured them overnight. Tried again with the same results.

What kind of fixture do you have? I'd be careful about resting a light on acrylic. Acrylic has a tendency to sag and yellow if it gets hot. Mine looks like it directs the light straight down too, but the plants in the front and back do just fine.

Are you sure on the wattage?
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Old 03-16-2011, 06:00 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply, MFD. I'm pretty confident with the wattage. I might be wrong on the exact length of the bulb. It's a normal output T5 from Coralife. I know the java fern and anubias will have enough light, but what do you think of the pennywort and vals? I see they are lighter green (generally require more light, right?). I hope I don't have your disfortune with the plants being devoured. I have seen a handful of really successfully planted cichlid tanks though they have primarly been strictly anubias and java fern that lasted. So far, the only thing that is being eaten are the root-buddings on the leaves of the reproducing java ferns (and these are only being bitten off and spit out). I appreciate your feedback.
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Old 03-16-2011, 06:27 PM   #4
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WOW! that tank is looking fancy! you did a great job, now hopefully those pesky fish won't kill them. And I changed my mind, if you could hold onto the 1 of the pennyworts, I might have to make room in my tank.

Looking good bud. hope to see you soon.
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:50 PM   #5
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Wicked aquascape. Everything looks nice. The pennywort will definetely be destroyed and new leaves that come out will always get chewed on. You will have absolutely no problem with all those other plants including the vallisneria.

As for the lights, I think you are okay for now. Just make sure they are on between 8- 12 hours a day if no sunlight hits the tank. I would also suggest you pick up a bottle of trace elements such as Seachem flourish comprehensive and dose on a weekly basis with water changes. It will be very normal for your plants to change colors because they need to adapt to your new setup. Most likely, the previous owner was dosing regular fertilizers and probably co2. These plants will acclimatize to your setup and will eventually start growing new leaves again.

Take a look at my setup in my sig and learn more about the plants that you have.
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Old 03-17-2011, 12:10 AM   #6
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Thanks for the compliments MFD, Drew, and Chizer!

Chizer, I like your confidence. I am not sure I feel as confident right now, but I'm going to give it my best shot. Suprisingly, my large java fern with all of the roots on the leaves is being damaged more than any of the plants right now. I don't think the mbuna are trying to bite the leaves themselves, but they pull on the rootlets until they break off/the leaf breaks off. I might just let that take its course. On the other hand, I think I need to thin some of the Val and hygrophila that I have in there. My wattage might be borderline sufficient, and I don't need these plants competing with eachother. Last, Drew, the Pennywort is all yours

Thanks for the advice, and keep it coming if you have more
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Old 03-17-2011, 01:01 AM   #7
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Beautiful tank! Nice score on the plants, too!

Oh and if your fishies won't leave your plants alone, I will gladly pay you $5 for them, (minus Drew's Pennywort, of course). Hee! :p
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