Plant light & food Advice needed
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Plant light & food Advice needed

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Plant light & food Advice needed
Old 01-20-2013, 03:50 PM   #1
 
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Plant light & food Advice needed

Morning all,

It's been a while since i've posted anything on here as I've had quite a period of change.

Went from a little 38 Litre Tank to a 153 Litre tank.

My new tank has a big eheim 2217 canister filter, 2 bits of driftwood, 25 Kg of substrate a couple of plants and most importantly:-

4 x small tetras
2 x small cory's
1 x small marble angel fish
1 x small koi angel

It's been a long while in the setting up and it's all been done over the last 4 months with the most recent fish (the angels) being added last weekend.

I'm not planning on putting any more fish in there now but my next purchase is a light set.

I'm looking at an AquaNova T5 double tube set up....

this is the link - Aqua Nova Aluminium T5 Aquarium Light NLT5-900 - The Aquarium Shop Australia

Does anyone have any comments? Is this good or bad?

Also, with the plants i've got in the bank what would be a good plant food? should i use CO2 boost or an actual plant food?

I should say at this point that I do have a small round air stone but if recommended I would be happy to remove it.

Thanks everyone

Rich
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:12 PM   #2
 
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I've moved your post into the Aquarium Plants section, since your questions have to do with plant light and fertilizer.

First on the light. This is a 40g (153 liter) tank, and as the linked light is for 3-foot tanks I am assuming probably 3 feet in length. I would not get this light fixture for two reasons. The tubes are not the best for plants (being geared for marine/coral tanks) although these could be changed out. But more importantly, this is a T5 HO fixture and this is going to be way too much light intensity unless you intend a major high-tech planted tank.

At this point I need to ask what plants you have, and are more intended? And are you intending to have a natural method planted tank, or are you planning on going high-tech with a CO2 diffusion system? This makes a big difference when it comes to sufficient light to drive photosynthesis.

Leaving the light issue then until we know more, I'll comment on the plant food question. Plants need 17 nutrients, and will only photosynthesize (grow) if all are available and there is sufficient light to balanced. CO2 is just one of these nutrients. Some occur naturally, and here we come again to the method you intend. In a natural planted tank, we don't bother adding CO2 but rely on what is naturally produced. So a basic comprehensive liquid supplement is usually sufficient. I use Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement, and another equally good is Brightwell Aquatics' FlorinMulti.

Byron.
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:24 PM   #3
 
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Hi Byron,

Thank you for the post and sorry for posting this in the wrong place.

I have a couple of ambula plants each with about 3/4 sprigs (about 25cm tall), then 1 x small bunch of dwarf hairgrass and then 2 med + 2 small bunches of Vallisneria (Tape Grass)

I'm not planning on putting any more in to the tank no. this is it

What I want to do is just keep them healthy and green looking as in my old tank I they used to go very ugly and brown eventually.

Many Thanks
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Old 01-20-2013, 06:52 PM   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beano129 View Post
Hi Byron,

Thank you for the post and sorry for posting this in the wrong place.

I have a couple of ambula plants each with about 3/4 sprigs (about 25cm tall), then 1 x small bunch of dwarf hairgrass and then 2 med + 2 small bunches of Vallisneria (Tape Grass)

I'm not planning on putting any more in to the tank no. this is it

What I want to do is just keep them healthy and green looking as in my old tank I they used to go very ugly and brown eventually.

Many Thanks
Asian Ambulia (Limnophila sessiliflora) I haver not personally had, but I gather it is easy to grow in low light situations so that`s one. Vallisneria is moderate light, provided medium hard or harder water. The dwarf hairgrass is the question. Most sources recommend high light and CO2 [the two have to go together to balance] but a couple of our members have previously mentioned managing it with moderate light and non-CO2 diffusion so let's work on that basis. Which means a suitable light over this tank would be either a dual tube T8 (with 30 inch tubes which I think is more common, but 36-inch tubes would be OK) or a single tube T5 HO.

Another option that I can't comment on since I have no experience with it would be LED. There are good units available, though more expensive, but the significant savings in energy and replacement tubes makes them very competitive long-term. I am actually planning on trying one of these on my 3-foot 33g, and I worked out that the initial cost would be recovered in 7 years of buying new Life-Glo T8 tubes for the present fixture (which is minimal light) and given that the LED last 70,000 hours I am saved from buying tubes for a further 17 years which saves me some $220 not to mention the lower energy costs. [Sometimes it is worth figuring this out.]

As for tubes if the T8 or T5 HO, use "daylight" or similar with a Kelvin around 6500K. In LED, you will want one recommended for plants.

I would add some floating plants, whatever. Best for the fish, given those species mentioned earlier.

Byron.
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Old 01-20-2013, 07:37 PM   #5
 
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Hi again Byron,

I'm not really sure how to decode this but this is the water analysis from the area I live in Australia.

On this table, if you look at page 2 under the column headed 'Prospect'

http://www.sydneywater.com.au/Public...erAnalysis.pdf

Prospect is the treatment plant that services our area. Are you able to decode any useful info from this about my tap-water quality?

I'm leaning towards a T5 light and my tank by the way is 92.5cm long, about 36cm depth x 46cm height

Would I need to take my air stone out for my tank as i've heard that they remove CO2. I'm happy to if I need to

Ive not spent a lot of money on plants so if any are going to be useless i'll happily replace.

I am actually at the moment having a problem with brown algae which i'm attributing to poor levels of light so i'm happy to get what i'm recommended.

Thanks very much Byron
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:18 PM   #6
 
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Quote:
I'm not really sure how to decode this but this is the water analysis from the area I live in Australia.
On this table, if you look at page 2 under the column headed 'Prospect'
http://www.sydneywater.com.au/Public...erAnalysis.pdf
Prospect is the treatment plant that services our area. Are you able to decode any useful info from this about my tap-water quality?
Yes. Total hardness is given as 51-65 mg/l which is ppm, so that's between 3 and 4 dGH which is soft. The calcium and magnesium are separated out and they are lower levels. How is the Vallisneria doing now? This plant (whichever species) tends to not do well long-term in soft water.

BTW, this is ideal water for soft water fish such as those you mention. And you are just at the border with having enough calcium and magnesium for plants, or should be.

Quote:
I'm leaning towards a T5 light and my tank by the way is 92.5cm long, about 36cm depth x 46cm height
That's 3-feet in length.

Quote:
Would I need to take my air stone out for my tank as i've heard that they remove CO2.
This topic has been debated with no absolute evidence disproving what all sources have been saying for years, namely that bubbling devices and surface disturbance do drive out much-needed CO2. There are some very experienced authors now saying the opposite, but as I said, there is no experimental evidence to support this, so... I tend to stay with what the majority hold until someone proves different. Remove the bubbler.

Quote:
I am actually at the moment having a problem with brown algae which i'm attributing to poor levels of light so i'm happy to get what i'm recommended.
In new tanks, during the first 2-3 months, diatoms (the actual name for what we refer to as brown algae, though it is not an algae at all] are common due to instability of the biological system. In established tanks, their increase can be due to low light, and silicates (a type of mineral) in the water. I don't know if 1.5 to 2.4 mg/l of silicate in your Prospect water report can be considered sufficient or not; doesn't seem like much to me. I'd be more likely to think this is due to the newer tank here.

If this brown comes off easily with your fingers, it is diatoms. If it won't, then it is a true algae and quite a different matter.

Byron.
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:36 PM   #7
 
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It's diatoms

It comes off very easily and has actually been developing in my new 15L tank that I've got a betta in.

I'm being as routine as I can with water changes and adding stress zyme to the tank.
Can you recommend a good water ager by the way? I've just discovered that the water ager i've been using has recently expired (Dec 2012)
I was given it with the tank that I bought and it was up-opened so i've just been using it since I ran out of stress coat.

Back on the plant front, i've recently replaced some of the Vallisneria recently with some new ones because they were going all brown and horrible despite initially growing very well.
I was putting this to poor light conditions but if it's a water issue then I may well replace them with some hanging baskets as you suggested.
I'm not after a lot of plants at all - just enough to go with the couple of rocks and driftwood to make the tank look nice.

I've tried to create a couple of little hide-away areas that the fish can retreat to if they want and the cory's seem to love them.

My tank has been established from new 4 months now...
Month 1 was without any fish and trying to encourage nitrogen cycle by feeding food to the water
Month 2 I bought 6 Tetras
Month 3 I bought 2 Cory's
(I lost 2 Tetra's 2 weeks ago for reason's unknown - I test the water frequently and nothing was registering.. no ammonia, no nitrite or nitrate and pH is about 7.6)
Month 4 (last weekend) I bought 2 x Angel fish

I've been adding a little drop of pH down in an attempt to get the tank to pH 7 so I can can now understand why there may be some instability in my tank.

I guess that in another 4 months or so now that i'm happy with the stock in my tank (and once i've got a light) the tank biological system might start to even out?

I don't have a source of bubble in my tank other than the bubbler - the filter is pumping water in under the surface so not creating any bubble but if the ecosystem will happily sustain without the bubbler (well once it's a bit more stable) I will remove it now as i've got some friends staying soon so a little less noise and making way for a new light will work well i guess.
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Old 01-21-2013, 02:31 AM   #8
 
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Hey mate and welcome to the forum. Glad to see more Aussies are joining. What water test kit are you using? I ask as im using an API test for Ph and reading roughly 7.2. Tested at the LFS using the Sera test kit it was reading 6.5. I wouldnt add the Ph down as it is only a temporary fix and will return to normal values in a few days. The driftwood and plants will bring your Ph down naturally. Do you test the Ph at the same time each day? I ask as the Ph will fluctuate during the day/night as photosynthesis is occuring.
I am using the Seachem Flourish comprehensive and well and my plants are exploding. Have three giant hygraphilias that are growing close to 1 cm a day. Two of these are daughter plants that i planted from the original stem.

Cheers
TitanTDH
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Old 01-21-2013, 07:28 AM   #9
ao
 
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OMG another sydney sider! I'm originally from sydney, and is visiting family at the moment.
From experience, plants do not need much fertilization if you don't have high light (less than 40 PAR). I set up a tank for my uncle 6 months back (ended up with 40 endlers from the original 6 frys, but that's another story), It's a dirt tank with fast growing stems. after 2 months he decided to "save electiricity" and shut off filtration, light and heater ( he's also never done a water change, to save water :/). the tanks gets a little sunlight everyday on it's right side, surprisingly the plants are doing pretty well. To raise hardness, i usually drop a seashell or two in the tank (washed) it slowly ups the hardness and promotes ph stability in the tank.

you plant that *should* require the most light is hairgrass, which I have in the 10 gal, and is surviving (not really growing). Hairgrass generally doesn't need much light.

On another note, does anyone of you sydney people want some free endler guppy hybrids >.>?
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Old 01-21-2013, 02:43 PM   #10
 
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Quote:
It's diatoms.
It comes off very easily and has actually been developing in my new 15L tank that I've got a betta in.

I'm being as routine as I can with water changes and adding stress zyme to the tank.
Can you recommend a good water ager by the way? I've just discovered that the water ager i've been using has recently expired (Dec 2012)
I was given it with the tank that I bought and it was up-opened so i've just been using it since I ran out of stress coat.
StressZyme is not a water conditioner per say, but beyond this I would not use it. It has been known to raise ammonia. Won't go into all that chemistry; suffice it to say, you don't need it.

Water conditioners are usually advisable with municipal water. The conditioner you need depends upon what is in the tap water that needs "fixing." Chlorine is used in most municipal water, and any conditioner that dechlorinates will handle this. If chloramine is also used, as some do, then the conditioner has to say it handles chloramine too. At this point, most of us can stop. Many conditioners also detoxify heavy metals, and that can't hurt though with live plants it is generally unnecessary. Only if you have ammonia, nitrite or nitrate in your tap water [test it on its own for all three] do you need anything beyond the basics.

Quote:
Back on the plant front, i've recently replaced some of the Vallisneria recently with some new ones because they were going all brown and horrible despite initially growing very well.
I was putting this to poor light conditions but if it's a water issue then I may well replace them with some hanging baskets as you suggested.
This is most likely the soft water, and the light; but the soft water will continue to keep Vallisneria doing poorly. A nice substitute is pygmy chain sword or chain sword, check the profiles [click shaded names]. And you will need a complete liquid fertilizer, like those I think I mentioned earlier in this thread.

Quote:
I've been adding a little drop of pH down in an attempt to get the tank to pH 7 so I can can now understand why there may be some instability in my tank.
I wouldn't mess with this. First, these products often don't work long-term due to the effect of the KH. And the fluctuating is worse than a steady pH. Plus, using these products is increasing the TDS (total dissolved solids) and these affect soft water fish. The pH will likely lower naturally over a few months.

Quote:
I guess that in another 4 months or so now that i'm happy with the stock in my tank (and once i've got a light) the tank biological system might start to even out?
Yes. Stability, achieved with weekly partial water changes, not overfeeding or overstocking, and live plants, will happen.

Quote:
I don't have a source of bubble in my tank other than the bubbler - the filter is pumping water in under the surface so not creating any bubble but if the ecosystem will happily sustain without the bubbler (well once it's a bit more stable) I will remove it now as i've got some friends staying soon so a little less noise and making way for a new light will work well i guess.
Might as well. The filter is fine. Let the plants do the work.
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