Never done live plants before
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Never done live plants before

This is a discussion on Never done live plants before within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> So I just began cycling my 10 gallon tank and wanting it to be heavily/medium planted. I believe I'm heading in the correct direction ...

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Never done live plants before
Old 02-09-2011, 03:01 PM   #1
 
Never done live plants before

So I just began cycling my 10 gallon tank and wanting it to be heavily/medium planted. I believe I'm heading in the correct direction but not 100% sure.

Currently using:

Eco Complete Substrate
Flourish Excel (Daily dosing)
Flourish Comprehensive Plant Supplement (Am about to pick up and does every week)

For lighting I have a 18" 15W T8 5500k bulb. I believe it's recommended to have at least 2+ WPG and a 6700k rating. I cannot find any bulbs that are more than 15 Watts that are 18" in length. Anyone have suggestions?


Here are my current water readings. Yes I know I the API strips are not completely accurate but it was the best that I can do for GH/KH reading till my LFS gets more instock.

Current API Liquid Readings:

pH - 8-8.4 (Hard to tell) Seems really high
Ammonia - 4-5 ppm (Using pure ammonia)
NO2 - 0 ppm
NO3 - 0 ppm


Since I couldn't get my hands of the API liquid KH/GH I bought API strip just for a quick reference.

API Strip

pH- 8.5+
NO2 - 0 ppm
NO3 - 0 ppm
KH - ~300 ppm
GH - ~150 ppm
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Old 02-09-2011, 03:27 PM   #2
 
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Looks pretty good. I can't help you with GH/KH levels because I always get them confused. I will say your pH is quite abit high. Are you adding anything to your water to raise the pH (pH buffer, material containing calcium, some marine decor, etc), or is that your tap? Many plants prefer a lower pH, but if it is something in the tank or something being added to the water, we can take the pH down abit.

As for lighting that is almost perfect. 15W for a 10g tank is what I have on my heavily planted QT, and it has always worked for me. 5500k is just abit more orange than I would use. Walmart has 18" 15W 6500k bulbs for about $7 apiece. Not a bad price to pay.

I don't use Flourish Excel so I wont say anything about doesage or anything like that (although I have heard people mention they use it daily).

Flourish Comprhensive is a good plant supplement to use. I use it on my tanks, and I can actually tell if I have gone too long without using it.

4-5ppm is Ok if you are doing a fishless cycle with pure ammonia, just don't let it get to high above that. If you have everything ready for the plants, you can cycle the tank in 1 day by simply adding a good amount of plants. The amount of plants you would need to satisfy the ammonia would depend on the types of plants you plan to get. Remember though to research the plant's prefered water chemistry and lighting needs. I wouldn't go rushing into plants just yet (as your pH is pretty high), though.

Setting up a planted tank is a process. Hope this helps!
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Old 02-09-2011, 03:34 PM   #3
 
Thanks for your reply. I currently have 2 nice pieces of driftwood in my tank at the moment and I thought they decreased the pH a little, but I'm not sure.

I did buy a few small plants at my LFS to just see how they would do with the water and lighting and such before I make the investment in many more.

Also my filter uses a carbon sack and I believe a read a few places that it extracts nutrients that the plants need. Should I just remove it from my filter?
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Old 02-09-2011, 03:36 PM   #4
 
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Depending on the type of driftwood, and how long it has been used in the aquarium, it can help lower pH. 8 is still pretty high though. Maybe it is something else that is increasing the pH?
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Old 02-09-2011, 03:44 PM   #5
 
I get out of work in about 15 minutes and going to run to walmart and look for a ~6600K bulb. When I get home I'll post the pH results of straight tap water and come back with those numbers.

Only concern though with 15 Watts is shouldn't the lighting and nutrients given be proportional? It feels like I'm giving quiet a lot of nutrients through fertilizers and carbon for only 1.5 WPG, then again I really don't know much.
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Old 02-09-2011, 03:48 PM   #6
 
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A couple things-

1, the ph is fine, I wouldn't try to mess with it. (unless you have a big white rock as your centerpiece, in which case take it out.)

Gh, Kh, appear fine for the ph.

I would stop the excel, at least until your tank has more plants... Excel will affect gh.
Some people say Excel can kill plants and stress fish, and I've heard many mosses will simply die if you dose excel.

Of course, I've also heard it's fine, and helps mosses especially... I think if I had it, I would use it, but lower the dose significantly. Excel isn't CO2, it's another carbonate of some sort.. Some plants can break it down, some can't. With a Gh and Kh that high, you have plenty of carbonates though. You're heading in the right direction... When the Flourish arrives, go out and by some 'beginner' plants, and preferably get a 6500k bulb from wal-mart (for a few dollars).

If you have enough plants, you can forget about the cycle. Dose flourish, plant a lot of plants in the tank, and after a day or two add a little fish. If the plants are healthy, they'll use all the ammonia up.

I would read Byron's guides that are stickied. I would agree that you need to cut down/eliminate the excel, but I use 20W of CFLs over a 10 gallon, and no CO2 supplementation at all. (Of course, I use soil substrates, so maybe I have a bit of CO2. Not sure.)

Also, yes remove the carbon before you dose with flourish comprehensive, or else the carbon will just suck the nutrients out of the water.

Last edited by redchigh; 02-09-2011 at 03:51 PM..
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Old 02-09-2011, 03:59 PM   #7
 
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Oh yeah, definately read Byron's threads.

http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...um-part-34861/

http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...um-part-34859/

http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...um-part-34858/

http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...um-part-34862/

Byron taught me almost everything I know about planted aquariums through his planted tank threads and by helping me on my threads.

Read the threads. They help alot!

Also, just a side-note. You probably wont be able to find 6600k, just look for 6500k. Just making sure you know that 6500k is good (don't want you to freak out in the store lol).
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Old 02-09-2011, 04:00 PM   #8
 
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Previous members' responses are taking you down the correct road, so just a couple of follow-ups from me. [Edit, you are all kind, thanks for the vote of confidence. ]

One fluorescent tube will be adequate. Measure your tube, end to end, that is the size you look for, in a "daylight" type with a K of around 6500K as others mentioned. Phillips, Sylvania and GE make them, they are not expensive.

I also concur on stopping the Excel. Redchigh was correct, this product will harm some plants. Vallisneria can be decimated [not always perhaps, but enough aquarists have had this occur that it is obviously something]. Moss also may be harmed, that would seem logical, since mosses cannot use carbonates for carbon, they must have CO2, so this wouldn't surprise me. And Java Moss on driftwood is a nice natural thing to have.

But more to the point is the issue of balance between light and nutrients. There is more CO2 in an aquarium than many realize, occurring naturally from the fish, plants and even more the bacteria. Balancing the light and other nutrients is not difficult, and the plants will be healthy. Once you add Excel which is boosting the carbon, you upset that balance and have to aim for another higher one in order to gain benefit.

Byron.
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Old 02-09-2011, 04:00 PM   #9
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by redchigh View Post
A couple things-

1, the ph is fine, I wouldn't try to mess with it. (unless you have a big white rock as your centerpiece, in which case take it out.)

Gh, Kh, appear fine for the ph.

I would stop the excel, at least until your tank has more plants... Excel will affect gh.
Some people say Excel can kill plants and stress fish, and I've heard many mosses will simply die if you dose excel.

Of course, I've also heard it's fine, and helps mosses especially... I think if I had it, I would use it, but lower the dose significantly. Excel isn't CO2, it's another carbonate of some sort.. Some plants can break it down, some can't. With a Gh and Kh that high, you have plenty of carbonates though. You're heading in the right direction... When the Flourish arrives, go out and by some 'beginner' plants, and preferably get a 6500k bulb from wal-mart (for a few dollars).

If you have enough plants, you can forget about the cycle. Dose flourish, plant a lot of plants in the tank, and after a day or two add a little fish. If the plants are healthy, they'll use all the ammonia up.

I would read Byron's guides that are stickied. I would agree that you need to cut down/eliminate the excel, but I use 20W of CFLs over a 10 gallon, and no CO2 supplementation at all. (Of course, I use soil substrates, so maybe I have a bit of CO2. Not sure.)

Also, yes remove the carbon before you dose with flourish comprehensive, or else the carbon will just suck the nutrients out of the water.
Thanks for your help! I'm learning more now than I have the past weeks of research. I plan on going with a couple of Dwarf Puffer in the future so heavily planted tank is a must. Any recommendations of plants I should buy for my setup and a good online seller?

I will stop dosing Excel if it is not needed, I just read many places around forums saying it helped improve growth quiet a bit. Also I will remove the carbon from me filer.

Currently here is a picture of my tank at the moment. The current plants are what my LFS recommended me to start with. I'm not a 100% what they are but I know some are crypts.

Once again thank you ALL for your help! Your making me feel a little less nervous and confused about this.


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Old 02-09-2011, 05:24 PM   #10
 
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Not sure what the plants are. I can only name afew of the common ones.

If you stock more than 1 Dwarf Puffer you need to really watch the toxicity. Dwarf puffers are often recomended for a 10g tank, but they are very messy and create alot of waste. The plants will help, but the toxicity must be monitered very carefully until you get your watetr change schedule setup.
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