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This is a discussion on dust like aquarium within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> thanks everyone for the useful info. What do i need to know about CO2 generator cuz i'm thinking of getting one....

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Old 04-20-2009, 06:15 PM   #11
 
thanks everyone for the useful info.

What do i need to know about CO2 generator cuz i'm thinking of getting one.
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Old 04-21-2009, 10:20 AM   #12
 
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Originally Posted by higherme View Post
thanks everyone for the useful info.

What do i need to know about CO2 generator cuz i'm thinking of getting one.
FishinPole is very kind in his words (thanks mate, very much appreciated) but here is a subject on which I know nesxt to nothing because I have never bothered about CO2. But, I would ask you higherme, to think through whether or not you need CO2. Obviously for a planted aquarium, but it is easy to have a thick planted tank without CO2. Have a look at the photos of my two Aquariums to see proof. No CO2, minimal light, sufficient liquid fertilizer--and each week at the water change I do honestly throw out plants because they are reproducing/spreading so fast.

I only mention this because new aquarists [pardon me if I'm incorrect, but I'm assuming from the info in your previous posts that you are fairly new to fish keeping] sometimes think the only successful way for a planted aquarim is mega light and CO2, but not so. It can be done very inexpensively and with minimal maintenance. Depends on what exactly you want. Those interested in flowering aquatic plants with fish in the tank should go the high-tech route, but those like me who are more interested in fish with plants adding the scenery and doing some water filtering naturally can go low-tech. I can explain this if you're interested.
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Old 04-21-2009, 05:49 PM   #13
 
wow, your tanks look awesome. I can never get my plants to grow nice and green, I've spent a lot of money buying new plants and they just never grow nicely thats why i'm doing everything it takes. I already switched to another type of gravel, as I mentioned before. and also switched to more powerful lighting.

haha,I think I would go low-tech too. It would be great if you could explain to me, Byron.
and fertilizers, I think i tried that too and did not see much difference.
thanks.
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Old 04-21-2009, 06:09 PM   #14
 
take a look at my album.. i've posted my "nicest" version of the 37 gal tank, This was last year. Those plants all died. Either all the leaves fell off, leaving only the branch, or some turned black and thrown away. So glad I took a picture of that!
I always think that my tank is too tall, so the bottom of the tank cannot get enough lights and thats why the plants keep growing up to the top while the leaves at the bottom all fall off.
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Old 04-22-2009, 11:19 AM   #15
 
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Your tank last year looked very nice, sorry to hear the plants all died. I think I know why (in part anyway) and I'll exlain in a moment. My two acquaria have been running as you see them for over six months now; I moved them last autumn, but I have maintained tanks like these for almost 15 years, so it is possible to have a balanced planted aquarium over the long term without a lot of expense. I still have some of the plants from 12+ years ago--that large Echinodorus macrophylus that is just to the right of the centre in the 90g with long stems and large leaves at or near the surface is one such plant. This is the fourth set-up it has been in, but it is still vigorous and thriving.

All of the plants (except for the Java Fern) in the photo of your tank are what are termed bunch or stem plants, as opposed to rooted plants. The plants in my two aquaria are all rooted plants, except for the Brizilian Pennywort that is growing up the two sides of the 90g, that is also a stem plant. Rooted plants tend to grow slower than stem plants, and therefore are better suited to a low-tech aquarium without CO2 addition. If I wanted to have real success with stem plants, I would find it very difficult without adding more light and then probably CO2 and a substrate designed for plants with added nutrients. So the first thing you need to decide is just what sort of planted aquarium you want in the end, and then work towards achieving that goal. This is where we get into low-tech and high-tech systems. The latter is obviously more expensive but it also requires considerably more maintenance each week (with stem plants).

First, I'll explain a bit about the plant differences. Aquatic plants vary from terrestrial in the root systems and the leaves. Roots of aquatic plants are needed to anchor the plant and to collect and store nutrients, and they also release oxygen into the substrate which is important for the aerobic bacteria that live there. Terrestrial plants also need to collect water which is why they have fine hairs that are absent in aquatic plants. The leaves of acquatic plants are thinner (do not have a thick waxy outer layer like land plants) so that liquid passes through more easily which helps the plant to take up nutrients through the leaves, which are also used to collect light for photosynthesis. Gasses are also exchanged through the leaves of aquatic plants as well as the roots.

Stem plants have no base root system, but the roots develop along the stem as you probably noticed with your plants. Rooted plants do not (normally) produce roots from the leaves, but rely on a more developed base root system. Most of the stem plants are fast growing compared to the slower-growing rooted plants. This is why the stem plants require more light, more nutrients and more CO2 than is usually available in a normal aquarium. As you probably know, when fish respirate their gills remove oxygen from the water and expel carbon dioxide (just as we do when we breathe). The plants use that carbon dioxide for photosynthesis. But unless the aquarium is very heavily stocked with fish (and more than would be safe), the carbon dioxide will not be enough for the faster-growing stem plants and they will pale, loose leaves, and eventually die back. The rooted plants however, having a slower metabolism, can mange perfectly on the amount of carbon dioxide produced by the fish in a normally-stocked aquarium. But the light (both its level and duration) and the nutrients (trace elements, minerals, iron, etc) must be in balance to the available CO2, otherwise algae will over-run the aquarium as you have seen.

So, the reason in my view for your plants failing was that the CO2 was insufficient, and the light may have been as well (depending upon what you had at the time). You may have had too many or too few nutrients (your fertilizers you mention) to balance the light and CO2. Another point is the pH and hardness of the water, but I suspect this was not a factor because the plants you had in your tank would be fine in slightly acidic or slightly alkaline water (pH from a low of 6.5 to a high of 7.8 roughly). Guppies, mollies, platys and swordtails are livebearers that prefer water that is slightly alkaline [pH of 7.0 to 7.8] which is within the range of most water supplies [unless you're like me and live where the water is slightly acidic at 6.8]. If you haven't. you should test the pH of your tap water (and your aquarium) just in case, but I'll assume it is OK. Most of the common tetras and the pleco would prefer slightly acidic water but can be maintained in neutral to slightly alkaline water once acclimated, so that isn't a problem for you.

Now a word about low-tech and high-tech. High-tech means providing a substrate that is enriched with nutrients (either as an added layer of laterite or similar material, soil additives or the prepared plant substrates you can buy in the aquarium stores), CO2 injection daily with a diffuser system, light in the range of 3-4 watts of full spectrum per gallon, and (probably) daily dose of trace elemnt/mineral fertilizers. Stem plants will grow quickly given these conditions, and require weekly pruning to prevent them from covering the surface and blocking out light. Rooted plants will also grow a bit faster and may be bushier. The aquascape will be constantly changing becuase the plants grow so fast, so you'll be spending more time maintaining the tank.

Low-tech requires a minimum of 1 watt of full spectrum light per gallon (and can go up to 2 watts per gallon but no more) and adding a trace element fertilizer once or twice a week. The substrate can be regular aquarim gravel; using a nutrient additive will probably not harm anything, but as it is unnecessary why bother. Fertilizer tabs inserted into the substrate sometimes benefit heavy feeders like large sword plants, but I have had equally thriving planted aquaria with and without substrate fertilizer. I have to add liquid fertilizer twice a week; I have twice in the last six months experimented with only once a week, but in both cases the leaves of the swords started yellowing and becoming "transparent" so I now know that twice a week provides the nutrients to balance the available CO2 and light. I use Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Plant Supplement; I have previously had equal success with Kent's Freshwater Plant fertilizer. All you need is the "basic" fertilizer with trace elements; there are many specific fertilizers made by both these companies, such as iron, potassium, nitrogen, and so forth, but those are not advised in a low-tech set-up because the light and CO2 won't balance them and they will not be successful. The light is all-important, as it must be the limiting factor for the plants. Once the light is balanced by the available CO2 and nutrients, algae will not be a problem as I've explained in a previous post.

This has been a lengthy post, but I hope it helps. You may have questions from the above, so fire away if you do. Byron.
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Old 04-23-2009, 12:01 AM   #16
 
so its best for me to grow rooted plants with low tech.? most of the plants i bought before are mostly stem plants. are there any types of plants, stem or root, that are relatively easier to grow?
I am going to re decorate and organize my tank since everything died. I am planning on getting a driftwood as well and i just bought some java moss. I see that you have a driftwood like thing in your tanks. Where do you buy your aquarium stuff, since i see that you live in Vancouver too.
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Old 04-23-2009, 11:32 AM   #17
 
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Originally Posted by higherme View Post
so its best for me to grow rooted plants with low tech.? most of the plants i bought before are mostly stem plants. are there any types of plants, stem or root, that are relatively easier to grow?
I am going to re decorate and organize my tank since everything died. I am planning on getting a driftwood as well and i just bought some java moss. I see that you have a driftwood like thing in your tanks. Where do you buy your aquarium stuff, since i see that you live in Vancouver too.
First the bogwood, it is best to stay with one type, it looks more natural than mixing. The type I now use exclusively is (I believe) mangrove root. I prefer this because it is solid enough that it sinks in the water without having to be fastened down, it does not (in my experience) decay or rot (some do and that can be very problematical), and it looks very natural and comes in endless shapes and sizes. I visit several stores for fish, but the bogwood all came from either Pet Boutique in North Vancouver or Petland in Port Coquitlam. Both these stores have pieces in their various tanks and you can buy those if you see one you like. The larger pieces in my aquaria were around $12-$15 which is not as expensive as aquarium wood usually is. If you buy it dry, it will leech tanins into the water for a couple of months (makes the water look brownish like weak tea, no harm to the fish, very natural, but some people don't like to see the water not crystal clear). If you buy it out of a tank the tanins have probably mostly leeched out already; rinse it thoroughly in water (no soap or bleach or anything) and to ensure it carries no parasites (like ick, if there are fish in the tank) let it sit in a tub or pail of plain water for a week. Java moss will easily and quickly attach itself to this bogwood.

The point of my last post was that if you want rooted plants you can grow them very well in a low-tech set-up which is less expensive and easier to maintain (in my opinion). Stem plants are not usually successful in low-tech, as I think I explained, but I have had good luck with the Brazilian Pennywort (the tall stem lant at both ends of my 90g tank). It has to be pruned every week, or if I really prune it one week it will go two weeks before it needs cutting back again. The rooted plants tend to stay as they are; they grow larger over time of course, and like all plants leaves sometimes die off and should be removed, but otherwise they are less fuss and the aquarium basically stays the way you design it.

As you're in Vancouver, your water is ideal for plants (pH out of the tap is normally 6.8 - 7.0, and soft water). Regular aquarium gravel (smallest grain size you can buy is best for rooted plants), natural or darker colour looks "natural" (I have natural gravel in the 70g and darker in the 90g). Two full spectrum flourescent tubes over the tank will provide 1-2 watts per gallon. Earlier posts mentinoed T8 tubes, I'm not familiar with these but it sounds like they are much stronger/brighter, so we might want to look further into the lighting issue. And liquid fertilizer once or twice (start with once, see how the plants grow after 2-3 months, and increase to a second weekly dose if leaves show signs of yellowing--the point is to find the balance between light, CO2 and nutrients that will allow the plants to grow to their best but inhibit algae).

In these conditions, sword plants (Echinodorus species) will thrive (the majority of plants in my tanks are Amazon swords of several species), as will Anubias nana (its the dark green larger-leaved plant on the left side of my 70g), sagitaria, Java Fern (it doesn't root in the substrate but attaches itself with fine roots to wood and rocks), Ceratopteris (floating fern) is ideal for floating and it can be rooted (I have some floating in the 70g). Crypts (Cryptoryrne genus) will grow at the bottom as they are quite low-light plants (I have a few in my 90g) but they can be fussy; any change in the water parameters and they will frequently "melt" which is the term for when they dissolve into mush. In newly established tanks this can be frequent, they settle in better when the tank is matured (several months).
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Old 04-23-2009, 10:57 PM   #18
 
I bought this type of plant before, and I want to buy it again, but I am not sure what it is called. Does anyone know the name/species?? I posted the picture in my album
Thanks!
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Old 04-23-2009, 11:02 PM   #19
 
sorry about the angle of the plant, might not be so clear. but i can't find a good picture of it .
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Old 04-23-2009, 11:04 PM   #20
 
I also have Mayaca fluviatilis right now. They are not growing very nice tho. They look like dust brush...HAHA
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