Floating Plants and a Brownthumb - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 26 Old 10-14-2013, 08:47 AM Thread Starter
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Floating Plants and a Brownthumb

I've never had much luck with keeping floating plants. My last attempt at water lettuce ended with the roots falling off and the leaves yellowing. I got some water lettuce and fairy moss (I'm not sure if that's a common name for it) Friday and I'm supposed to get some frogbit in this week. More or less, I'm attempting to shotgun my covering.

I got the plants the floating plants Friday and there is not much in the way of bad stuff happening (although I just plucked off two worms), I'm more trying to be cautious and not repeating my errors and trying not to ruin my heavy investment of $2 on plants from a pond store. Also, I like the pictures I've seen of frogbit and I hope that I can actually provide a good home to it.

I have a spare plastic tub and a 1 gallon tank if either are sufficient to experiment with.

1. Tank size
30 gallons, 36L 12W 15(?)H
2. Watts and type of lighting
2 LED 5W strips. One came with the fixture, but I did not see anything discerning it from the other strip I have, so I'm assuming they are both the same. Aqueon 36" fixture (they claim they are 30" strips) with no mention of the color temperature other than "Day White." I do not see it on the strips themselves nor on the packaging or the website. Aqueon's website does advertise a "Daylight" 6700k T5, but that is too blue for what I'm seeing. Previously, I had one strip unplugged due to brush algae concerns, but I'm trying to increase the lighting for the floating plants.

3. Number and types of plants
Wisteria: recovering from a bout with brush algae, almost to the top of the water.
Java Fern: Eh, doing decent, nothing exciting going on
Banana Plant: Does not seem to be able to get more than two inches high before leaves die
3 Patches of Dwarf Hairgrass: got at PetSmart, not growing fast (I guess), but not dieing off.
X Fairy Moss: looks fairly green and healthy.
3 very small Water Lettuce: decent going so far (been in there since Friday), but I do see some yellowing and such.

4. Substrate type
Small grain gravel.

5. Age of tank
Since March, so seven months.

6. CO2 injection

7. Water Parameters
GH: ~60
KH: ~40
pH: 6.5
NO3: ~20
PO4: no test
NO2: ~0
Using an API 5 in 1 test
Changes treated with Kordon AmQuel and Seachem Discus Buffer
I'm starting a regiment of AquaVitro Envy
Thermometer is reading at 75

b. Right now, one hour and twenty minutes after the lights were turned on in the morning, two days after a 33% water change

8. Detailed description of plant problems
Frayed edges, yellowing of the leaves of the water lettuce is my big concern. I'm getting better at handling some of the brush algae, but adding the floating plants made me consider plugging in the second LED strip. Please see the attached photo.

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post #2 of 26 Old 10-14-2013, 09:02 AM
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Hi and welcome to Tropical fish keeping!

First off I will say I nothing about LEDs soo I will leave that to others. There are few here that use them soo hopefully they will step in and give ya some advice on them.

On to the question I do have.
Do you fertilizers of any kind at all? Didnt where you mentioned if you did. All aquatic plants need a certain amount of nutrients to thrive. There are a couple out there that are a well rounded fertilizer. Seachems Flourish Comprehensive is one. I personally use this one as I can get it locally. The other is Brightwell aquatics florinmulti. I haven't used this one before but have heard it is just as good.
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post #3 of 26 Old 10-14-2013, 09:18 AM Thread Starter
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Yes, I use aquavitro . envy
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post #4 of 26 Old 10-14-2013, 09:23 AM
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often times algae are caused by incompatible lighting. The light stunts plant growth and allows algae to take over~ If a 6500k bulb seems too blue in comparison to your current light, then it is likely that the light is of an inadequate color temperature :) Fluorescent lights do wonders for plant growth. This doesn't even have to be a proper lighting fixture. A lot of people use 23w (100w equiv) 6500k bulbs with those $6 clamp lamps you find in home depot, it works wonders for plants ^_^

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post #5 of 26 Old 10-14-2013, 09:46 AM Thread Starter
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Actually, I sort of have that contingency. I have a floor lamp with a reading light (just about the right height, too) with a 10W CFL. It's currently tied up with a quarantine tank, but it should be freed up Wednesday.

As for the color temperature, I've never really been too clear on the argument with LEDs. LEDs give a very focused light with a narrow spectrum band (from my understanding, I work with energy conservation and lighting is something I sort of handle but far from the level of an engineer and we never talk about the spectrum.) Is the issue with LEDs not the CT but the wavelength of light emitted?

I had a bad brush algae (I believe) issue when I had both strips plugged in. Do you think my optimism that the floating plants would reduce the lighting intensity at the lower levels is not warranted?
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post #6 of 26 Old 10-14-2013, 09:57 AM
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I have three tanks and I keep dwarf water lettuce in all of them to varying degrees of success. It seems to me that water flow plays a major part in that my tank with the most water flow usually has the least thriving water lettuce. In my tank with the sponge filter (bubbles agitating the water surface) the WL produces tiny babies like crazy. I have to scoop them out constantly and toss them just to keep some surface open. In my tank with the HOB filter and gentle water flow, the WL does great, producing off shoots that will cover the surface in just a week or two. Again, I find myself pulling plants out to let some light through.

-Kristen's tanks:

14g Tall:
Planted, eco-complete, Red Cherry Shrimp

16g Aqueon Bowfront:
Planted, eco-complete, 8 Ember tetras, 7 Green neon tetras, 6 Harlequin Rasboras

36 Aqueon Bowfront: Planted, sand, 10 Julii cories, 8 Zebra Danios
7 Cherry Barbs, Asst snails & Ghost shrimp
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post #7 of 26 Old 10-14-2013, 10:17 AM Thread Starter
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I was concerned about water flow. I have a Aquarium Filters BIO-Wheel Filter Saltwater Filter Freshwater Filter | Marineland and you definitely see water circulation. Would it be advisable, barring completely changing my filter, to somehow mute the flow? Any recommendations on how to do that?

An idea that crossed my mind was to "rope off" portions of my tank. Like, put up a floating barrier that would keep my plants away from the flow. I have absolutely no idea as to how to go about doing this.

Would the same concept be true for frogbit?
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post #8 of 26 Old 10-14-2013, 10:26 AM
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No, floating plants would help in the situation. Brush algae to my understanding is caused by too much light. Reducing the intensity will help or reducing the duration of the lighting period.

The fertilizer you are using *scratches head* I don't think that's really a good choice. It doesn't appear to have all the nutrients needed.

Plants use something like 17 different nutrients. They are broken up into two different groups Macronutrients and micronutrients. Marcos are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), sulfur (S), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg) and potassium (K). Micronutrients are iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), molybdenum (Mo), cobalt (Co), and boron (B). Light and Co2 (carbon source for the plants)

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post #9 of 26 Old 10-14-2013, 11:02 AM Thread Starter
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Alright, looks like fertilizer is on my shopping list now.
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post #10 of 26 Old 10-14-2013, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Anduie View Post
Alright, looks like fertilizer is on my shopping list now.
The two I mentioned earlier are good choices for low tech tanks (no Co2 added or high lighting). If you get into high tech you will need to look into other types.

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brownthumb , floating plants , led

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