12-26-2009, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by stephanieleah
Really great point, B. I actually wondered about this but you brought it home. In my gut I don't feel like it's a CO2 issue but rather an overall issue with all nutrients. I am guessing that finding the balance between the tank's natural equilibrium (with the nutrients produced by the fishload), fertilizer supplements, and light, will be a trial and error thing? How long does it take to figure this out (for a newbie like me)?
On a side note, I was vaccuuming my gravel VERY thoroughly until I read a post that leaving some junk under the gravel's surface acts like compost is to a garden. ie. beneficial to plants. So I stopped doing such thorough vaccuuming during my water changes and just vaccuum the surface now. Do you agree with this logic?
I only vacuum the gravel where it is open (free of plants) which is where my Corydoras feed, so I like to keep that area clean. There is a complex bacteria cycle going on in the substrate and the detrius provides food for all that. It is possible to have an aquarium "too clean" and then there are biological problems.
I always start a new tank by using liquid fertilizer once a week and observing the plants. If after a couple weeks I note yellowing leaves, I do a second weekly dose and observe for a couple more weeks. All this assumes the light is OK from the start, one watt of full spectrum per gallon, and of course some fish to provide CO2. In a new tank there can be algae issues too, due to the unstable biology. After 3 months or so, things should have settled down and it is then easier to play around a bit with ferts; I try to use as little as necessary, but sufficient to provide good plant health.