I am really starting to regret this plant thing, PLEASE help
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I am really starting to regret this plant thing, PLEASE help

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I am really starting to regret this plant thing, PLEASE help
Old 09-14-2008, 02:55 PM   #1
Kim
 
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I am really starting to regret this plant thing, PLEASE help

Ok, I am having some problems with my 15 gallon planted tank. I think that it has been up for about 3 months now, so it is still what I would consider new. Here are the specifics:

pH: 7.6
ammonia: 0
nitrite: 0
nitrate: 5
temperature: 78 degrees
gravel: eco-complete
filtration: 1 mini canister filter, and a HOB filter rated for up to 20 gallons
lighting: new 15 watt plant bulb
fertalization: flourish excel

1 anubias nana
1 crypt red wendtii
some java moss
2 java fern lace
1 cryptocoryne spiralis
3 plants that look like the above plant but that have twisted leaves
1 plant that has broad, long, light green leaves
I also have one large piece of driftwood

3 cory catfish are the only inhabitants as of now

Here's the background:
I did a fishless cycle on this tank in the beginning of the summer. This tank was meant as a bigger home for my betta and 6 corys who were to be his companions. All went as planned, and I then added the plants. A few days later I got the 3 cory cats. Then some of the plants started going through shock, and many of the leaves died off. I figured this would happen, so I just trimmed the dead leaves off daily, and pretty soon I started to see some regrowth. Meanwhile, I noticed that the water was always cloudy, although there has never been any ammonia or nitrite. So, I got the other filter and the water is clearer now. Meanwhile, I had added my betta fish, who within a week managed to split his fin on something , and get finrot. So, I had to move him out and that is when I got the other filter figuring that the finrot was a result of the cloudy water. Now I am seeing some brown algae covering some of the glass and the plants.

My questions are:
1) How do I get rid of the algea?
2) Why does this tank seem to be so dirty (It only has 3 fish, but if I move the gravel, a lot of gunk is released into the water), and how can I fix this?
3) The new filter makes a lot of water movement, will my betta have the smarts to stay away, or will he just get stressed out?
4) Is this just not meant to be??? I have spent a lot of time researching how to do everything right, and spent a lot of money trying to do it right the first time.
5) Any other advice anyone can give me would be VERY welcome as this is my first planted tank, and I am really starting to regret doing this in the first place.

I apologize for how long this post is, and am [b]very greatful to anyone who replies. Thank you!!!!
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Old 09-14-2008, 10:42 PM   #2
 
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how many hours a day do you keep the light on? how often do you dose fertz.? how often do you gravel vac? how often do you do water changes?

id suggest cutting back the light period, doing a weekly gravel vac/ water change, the cloudy-ness was prob. just from the eco-complete dust and it should eventually be filtered out/settle down . .

a planted tank looks awesome!!! dont kick yourself now after the hard work and all of the research, keep up the good work! id say your problem is the light is on to long ( i noticed your only running 1 watt per gallon.. this should be ok for the java moss but usually its 2-3 watts a gallon for planted tanks, keeping a less powerful light on longer does not = keeping a more powerful light on less ) you might be over-dosing the tank with fertilizer, which will sometimes feed algae with nutrients.. usually plants will out compete the algae for resources.. so really scrape the glass with your cleaning weapon of choice and sit back and enjoy the tank.
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Old 09-15-2008, 06:08 PM   #3
Kim
 
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Thank you very much for the reply. :) As for your questions; I do a gravel vac. and water change every week. I only use the flourish excel, and I used to dose it every day, then I cut back to every other day. The funny thing is that the algae appeared after I cut back ?? I leave the lights on for about 12 hours, but sometimes if I go to bed late it gets left on a little longer. I turned them off early today, should I leave them on say 10 hours? The only reason that I do not have a better light fixture is because they are expensive, and everything else for this tank, along with medications for my betta fish have really cost a lot as it is. As for the eco-complete, will it always stay dusty? I has been quite a while and it still releases a lot of gunk every time it is disturbed. A little while ago I wrote a post here about how I should vacuum it. I had just been skimming over it, because if I tried to dig into it, the finer particles would just get siphoned up, and the whole thing was a mess. The replys I got were that everyone else who has it does the same thing. The only other thing that I could think of would be the driftwood. It is a hardwood, and I know that they can leach tannins into the water, but it doesn't look tea stained really, just cloudy.

Thank you. :D :D
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Old 09-15-2008, 11:29 PM   #4
 
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hmm, i see your problem already. the light fixture really doesnt have to be a $400 one, you can get away with a standard ol' run of the mill perfecto crappo light unit or whatever they call them.. just go to home depot, lowes, or a hardware store and pick up a "full spectrum" light bulb that will fit in your fixture.. on my 55 gallon planted i have 2 light fixtures on with these bulbs.

you really just want to shoot for 2-3 watts a gallon. keeping a crappy light on longer does NOT equal keeping a good light on less. for example.. a 30 watt light kept on for 16 hours does not equal a 60 watt kept on for 8 hours.

if you live in USA .. craigslist.com will be a good place to keep an eye out for cheap aquarium stuff..you can prob find an extra light fixture cheap or even look around the hardware store for one that you can rig up for your setup.. i noticed you've got a 15 gallon, so 30-45 watts shouldnt be difficult to come up with.. just look at the bulb and it should say it right on there
after getting your light fixture situation figured out...
1 of your problems is that your keeping your light on for 12 hours a day. that alone will just = algae algae algae... 10 hours is even alot, i would cut back to 8 even a cut back to 9 should yield results..

for the algae on the glass, a mag float mini or some sort of razor scraper tool should do the trick.. just be careful not to scrape the silicone seal on the edges.

flourish excel dosed everyday?? im hoping it was a few drops (especially only in a 15 gal ).. im not really 100% familiar with flourish excel, i know i have a bottle of it somewhere, i just dont use it personally, id stick with the instructions on the bottle for dosing or maybe someone can chime in and offer better advice about that...


as for the still silty-ness eco complete you can try stirring up a SMALL area and siphoning out the gunk that was stirred up, dont create a tornado.. just be patient and gently stir up a small area and suck out what you can that you stir up because i know that substrate can be expensive stuff and you dont want to lose any of that..
you can also attach a small dowel ( stick of wood if your not familiar ) to the gravel vac to stick out alittle to stir up the substrate for you, keeping the hose a few inches from it, to carefully not suck up any of the gravel ( hope that wasnt too confusing lol )

another thing is that you may be overfeeding which could lead to a messy substrate. something else to consider.

you can try all that and see how it works out for you.. dont expect over night miricles but it should def. help

and one more thing, what do you keep in the tank besides the plants like fish wise?
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Old 09-16-2008, 05:29 PM   #5
Kim
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onefish2fish
just go to home depot, lowes, or a hardware store and pick up a "full spectrum" light bulb that will fit in your fixture.. on my 55 gallon planted i have 2 light fixtures on with these bulbs.

Yeah, I thought of that but my fixture is only rated for a 19 watt bulb. I will see if I can rig something up though so I can get a better bulb in there.


and one more thing, what do you keep in the tank besides the plants like fish wise?
I only have 3 cory cats now. The tank was meant to be for my betta and 6 cory cats, but shortly after putting him in there he split his fin and got fin rot. So, I had to remove him, and I haven't been able to get the other corys because he is in what was supposed to be the quarantine tank.

Thanks for the advice, I will see what I can do and hopefully everything will be better soon.
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Old 10-07-2008, 09:38 PM   #6
 
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GOOD LUCK!!! 8)

A good planted tank is worth its weight in the amount of research and work it requires to start a good one up! Keep at it!
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Old 10-08-2008, 01:57 PM   #7
Kim
 
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Well, the current caused by the new filter proved to be just too much for my betta. I am getting a pair of sparkling gouramis and 3 more corys to complete the tank though so I am still happy. I got another light and that seems to be helping. I am also getting more flourish excel (seems to keep away the algae and really helps the plants) and some root tabs. I also moved a few plants around and took out one that just wasn't growing at all.

Yes, now that I have a planted tank I am determined to make it work because it looks so beautiful. My fish seem to enjoy it too.

Oh, I also put my 2 male guppies in there and they are loving picking away some algea during the day :) . I have been scrubbing the tank though, and seem to have it under control.
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Old 10-08-2008, 02:53 PM   #8
 
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i hope the tank continues to come along for you. :)
nice to be able to sit back and say "i did that" :)
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Old 10-11-2008, 09:02 PM   #9
Kim
 
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It's actually doing really well now. I got some flourish and the plants responded well. The flourish excel is in the mail as well, but they are doing pretty well even without it. The new light seemed to do a lot of good as well. The algae is going away, and the plants are no longer dying or releasing gunk into the water, which is now clear. I am also seeing tons of bubbles on the top of the tank, and some coming off of the plants, a good sign that they are photosynthesizing well. Overall I am happy, and I expect that they will continue to improve when I get the flourish excel. I am very excited that I may have finally figured it out, and although the tank is not perfect yet, I think that it is on its way.

Thanks for all the help everyone gave me, I couldn't have done this on internet info. alone!
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Old 10-13-2008, 09:51 AM   #10
 
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Cool

Glade we actually helped some one!



Let us know if you have any other questions!

:D
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