i suck....
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i suck....

This is a discussion on i suck.... within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> So right now i have a 40 gallon tank that i really really really want to make into a plant tank. It has 3 ...

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Old 10-14-2009, 10:30 PM   #1
 
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i suck....

So right now i have a 40 gallon tank that i really really really want to make into a plant tank. It has 3 axolotls in it. right now i have some plants in the tank already. Don't ask me what they are. All i know is that they are dying. I want to make this tank super planty (i know that not a word). I like the whole grass on the bottom and tall plants.

This is the second time that I have tried to do plants and failed miserably.

Can someone take the time and tell me exactly what i should put in/lighting/what i do to keep the plants alive?

Thanks so much.
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Old 10-15-2009, 12:02 AM   #2
 
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aight ill break it down as much as i can here for you.

now i want to start this off by saying that it is better to start small and simple then work your way up. now to my knowledge there are two different type of plants. first and hardest to keep alive/grow would be your stem plants, second would be your more hardy easier to grow leaf plants.

Now you say something about having grass like plants cover the entire bottom of your tank. as far as i have read into this (i wanted to do the same) you need extreme lighting special substrate and a maticulous fert dosing schedule. A nice cheap and very easy way to achive this would to be find a ball of java moss (the stuff basically gorws in the dark and a uncontrollable rate) and anchor it to the bottom of your tank. you gotta be carefull with this stuff though trim it regularly when it goes where you dont want it and trim aggressively.

as far as lighting goes there are lots and lots of details you can go into, you will be able to find all of those details within the first page of this forum under the plants section on various threads. but ill give you a nice crash course here. the general rule of thumb is 1-2 watts per gallon is your are using standard florecent lighting. Now even more important is the kelven rating of the bulb, kelven rating is what color the light is rated at. now the sun burns from 5500 to 6700 kelven, all plants (yes even aquarium plants) need high blue and red to go through photosenthisis and process fertilizer into nutrients that the plant can use to grow. personally i use the "powerglow" and "Lifeglow2" bulbs over my 55 gal. the powerglow has a kelven rating of like 10,000 which is VERY high in blue and red but doesnt really have a focus on the green color of the chart which makes my fish color look funny along with my plants. to ofset this i combo with the lifeglow2 which is 6700 kelven which peaks the green color which in turn makes everything look more natraul to the human eye.

Now the other side of adicuate lighting is adicuate fertilization. the one thing to keep in mind when you have plants is to find a balance between your lighting and your fertilizer and dosing frequency. this can only be found by trial and error. right now i only have x1 amazon sword in my tank which has been in there for about a month you can see pictures of it if you click my aquariums. This plant specifcally does have some die off from when it was switched from the fish store to my tank which is normal. now it is lush and green with no sighn of yellow anywhere on the plant. my light setup is x1 18 inch powerglow at 15W and x1 18 inch lifeglow 2 15W. yeah it isnt atleast 1-2 watts per gallon but i have found a blance of fert and lighting for my plant to keep it happy. i use the flourish root tabs for the fert so i dont have to worry about dosing every so many days.

Ph can also play a factor in how well you plants survive to. a high ph of like 8.2 and up will slow your plants growth and can have negitive effects on your plants. this topic i do not know much but hopefully other members can fill this part in where i cant. Bubble curtains or anything that makes bubbles in the aquariums like those bubbling ships chests or w/e are also not good for a planted aquarium as the plants use co2 during photosenthisis, so if there isnt any co2 to use then it will directly effect the plants. to sum it up the less surface movement you have the better.

after i put this up for you i will get you a link to a list of low light plants that are realitively easy to start out with and can be pretty hard to kill aka good newbie plants. hope this helps and hopefully the plant guru Byron will also respond to this to go more in depth about everything and cover anything i have missed.

Money
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Old 10-15-2009, 12:05 AM   #3
 
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here is that list i was talking about i even bumped it to the top of the page for ya~ http://www.fishforum.com/aquarium-pl...-plants-29578/
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Old 10-15-2009, 12:11 AM   #4
 
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thanks so much, i appreciate it.
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Old 10-15-2009, 12:44 AM   #5
 
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np hope it helps to give u a starting point
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Old 10-15-2009, 08:03 AM   #6
 
there are two main ways you can go.

high tech:- more expensive and higher maintenance. you will be able to grow pretty much anything.
involves CO2 addition, usually higher lighting, nutritious substrate and decent ferts. weekly water changes of usually 50%

low tech:- cheaper, low maint.
low light, no CO2. little or no water changes. quite limited to what you can grow. much easier to keep everything in balance.

lighting is not as critical as most ppl seem to make out. higher lighting will cause more problems as CO2 then becomes very critical.
in a low tech set up, surface agitation is pretty much required, no need to worry about gassing off CO2, its more important to get oxygen into the tank.

in a high tech set up with CO2 injection then you dont want airstones or excess surface agitation as it will gas the CO2 off causing problems, the plants in this type of set up will supply more than enough O2
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Old 10-19-2009, 07:28 PM   #7
 
I'd like to point out that the rated CRI of the bulb (how faithfully the bulb can reproduce colors compared to an idea natural light source - measured from 0-100) is very important too.

A nice 5600K bulb with a CRI of 5 will be terrible for almost anything as it will only correctly reproduce 5% of the spectrum.



Basically, get a bulb/some bulbs with the color temperature you want (probably 5000K-6000K for tropicals and 10000K-20000K for marine) with a reasonable CRI rating (80+). Get the light levels up to 2 watts per gallon (ish..) and stick to low level plants and your away.

Alternately, you can have insane amounts of light. Inject C02, dose fertilizers and all sorts of other fancy/boring things and grow some high light plants (which look no different to low light plants) to most people.

Last edited by willieturnip; 10-19-2009 at 07:33 PM..
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Old 10-20-2009, 03:03 AM   #8
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by willieturnip View Post
I'd like to point out that the rated CRI of the bulb (how faithfully the bulb can reproduce colors compared to an idea natural light source - measured from 0-100) is very important too.

A nice 5600K bulb with a CRI of 5 will be terrible for almost anything as it will only correctly reproduce 5% of the spectrum.



Basically, get a bulb/some bulbs with the color temperature you want (probably 5000K-6000K for tropicals and 10000K-20000K for marine) with a reasonable CRI rating (80+). Get the light levels up to 2 watts per gallon (ish..) and stick to low level plants and your away.

Alternately, you can have insane amounts of light. Inject C02, dose fertilizers and all sorts of other fancy/boring things and grow some high light plants (which look no different to low light plants) to most people.
this is an interesting read about CRI
Color Rendering Index (CRI) Explained

many ppl are now steering away from "insane" lighting with high tech. 2wpg is enough to grow pretty much anything in a co2 injected tank.
but if you fancy a challenge, crank the lighting right up! ;0)
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Old 10-20-2009, 03:38 AM   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willieturnip View Post
I'd like to point out that the rated CRI of the bulb (how faithfully the bulb can reproduce colors compared to an idea natural light source - measured from 0-100) is very important too.

A nice 5600K bulb with a CRI of 5 will be terrible for almost anything as it will only correctly reproduce 5% of the spectrum.
im sorry but im going to have to Disagree with you here, plants can use ANY spectrum of light to grow and dont "require" any certain kelven rating. the main concern is how you want the tank to look and how many watts you have, along with keeping blaance between ferts lighting and co2. if you would like the science behind this i will gladly share but its rather lenghty and im sure would confuse a few lol.
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