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Old 04-06-2005, 05:47 PM   #1
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Tank in need of a make-over-Rather lg pics-warning

Maybe someone could give me a little help on this tank. It's a 38 gallon with 96 Watts (so about 2.5 WPG), 6700K bulb, DIY CO2, about 12 hours of light a day, cannister filter-XP2. Fish-4 lg Tiger Barbs, 5 Brilliant Rasboras, 3 gouramis, 1 Cory, 1 Med CAE. I have some good ferts that I've been using.

I am new to planted tanks, this being my first. It's been up & running since fall. I've made some bone headed mistakes, but that's a different story.

I ordered a "starter package" from AZGardens. He had included three larger plants in the sword family. I tried very hard with those- fert tabs, etc. They just did not do well so I had to yank them. The rest of the tank is just a bunch of smaller plants spread all over the tank. He had also included some other background plants that just didn't do anything and eventually withered away. Here is the tank now. (The background looks a bit cheesy, I know. It's actually more muted than the way it comes out in the pic.)

I think it just looks kind of sloppy. I would like to put in some larger, background plants that would do well in that light and are durable and easier to care for. Anyone have any insight?

Thank you!


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Old 04-06-2005, 06:29 PM   #2
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I can't believe you can't grow anything you want in there. I have a similar setup and have a variety of plants growing through the top. I have to trim them every week or they cover the surface of the tank.

I don't know all the plant names, so the best I can suggest is look at my gallery at the photos. They're all very common plants - nothing exotic. I think wysteria, annachris, small chain swords, something like camboba but not, moneywart, baby's tears.

In addition, I only have a small gravel substrate, so nothing super.

All I can suggest is you check your levels and make sure you have enough nitrate to feed the plants and enough CO2 is getting into the tank. You could buy a couple small bunches of plants (like anachris or camboba) without much expense and if they grow, you could have a tank full of it in a month.

46g planted
2 Bristlenose Plecos; 1 Angel; 3 Rafael Cat;
1 plattys; 6 Tetras (2 black skirt 2 serpae, 2 blueberry); 1 Pictus Cat; 1 clown loach;
2 mollies (1 spotted & 1 black); 1 Zebra Danio; 2 Oto; 1 golden wonder killie; 2 Kuhlii loach; 2 SAE; 1 bumblebee cat; 2 upsidedown cats; 2 golden algae eaters
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Old 04-06-2005, 08:23 PM   #3
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Try some hygrophila, hornwort, water sprite or wisteria. Those should do great in your tank, unless something else drastic is going on, like super low temps or something.
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Old 04-06-2005, 10:17 PM   #4
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Some tall stem plants would look nice. I've got anacharis, hornwort, and moneywort all growing in my 10 gallon with 2.6 watts/gal. They're pretty easy to keep. Only problem is that with hornwort, the lower needles tend to shed.
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Old 04-07-2005, 12:06 AM   #5
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need deeper substrate??

I'm a newb at plants ... so if I'm wrong in this observation, one of the veterans here will surely chime in...
From your pic, it looks like you have just about 1 inch of substrate. I just did my tank "makeover" myself as I went to fluorite and I have 2 or more inches of substrate. I believe a deep substrate is required for your plants to root properly, at least the ones that neeed it. I purchased 3 bags of fluorite for this.

This pic of my newb setup might give you an idea how much deeper my substrate is... I attempted to make it valley towards the middle so it's less deep there:

It might be close to 3 inches on the deeper ends. I haven't dived into any CO2 injection "yet"... just doin Seachem Excel and a few other ferts, 65W Coralife on a 29 gal.
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Old 04-07-2005, 12:29 AM   #6
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IME plants grow better in tanks that have been running awhile.
What is your nitrate level?
Current fish (includes all 3 running tanks): Polypterids, severums (of which I raised from eggs), gouramis, plecos (gold spot ones & a gurupa), loaches (zebras, yoyos, & a kubotai), macculocchi spotted silver dollars, an African butterfly fish, & Ctenopomas (a leopard & an ansorgii)
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Old 04-07-2005, 09:31 AM   #7
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Quake2 makes a valid point...your substrate seems a little on the shallow side. That could easily affect sword plants since they are heavy root feeders and put out an extensive root network.
2.5" is the minimum average depth you want for your substrate. It looks like you have Fluorite substrate...that or pea gravel. Either way, I'd add 2 bag of Fluorite to bring the depth up a bit.

Otherwise, that tank should be able to grow 80% of the available plants out there without much difficultly. The remainig 20% is just high maintenance, or just needs a little more light.

TG mentioned some good plants to try, but as RoK points out, we need to look at your nutrient levels to see if there's something 'wrong' with your tank.
Former advisor and planted tank geek...life's moved on though.
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Old 04-07-2005, 10:38 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the feedback, folks!

Here are some of the current water conditions:
don't have phos test. I know, I need to get one.

I have a layer of Eco-Complete on the bottom with some smaller size pea gravel on the top. It does look shallow, now that you mention it. What about the depth that can't been seen? (The stuff that is hiding under the tank frame. That plus the inch you see from the pic should be about 2 ", right?)

When adding the new substrate, do I need to remove all the plants and re-plant them? I would imagine so.
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Old 04-07-2005, 10:57 AM   #9
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When I add gravel I gently "sprinkle" it on top of the plants, and grasp them by the crown and gently pull them up a bit, but I try not to actually pull them out. This takes some time, and at least with Fluorite it will cloud your tank like nobody's business, but this will settle. Your plants will thank you.

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pics, tan

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