Suggestions for light / substrate..
Tropical Fish

Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources » Freshwater Fish and Aquariums » Beginner Freshwater Aquarium » Beginner Planted Aquarium » Suggestions for light / substrate..

Suggestions for light / substrate..

This is a discussion on Suggestions for light / substrate.. within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> Hey, just wanted to get your opinions on my two tanks. I guess first I'll tell you about the tanks, then I will ask ...

Reply
LinkBack Thread Tools vBmenu Seperating Image Search this Thread vBmenu Seperating Image
Suggestions for light / substrate..
Old 05-28-2012, 02:33 PM   #1
 
jennesque's Avatar
 
Suggestions for light / substrate..

Hey, just wanted to get your opinions on my two tanks. I guess first I'll tell you about the tanks, then I will ask the questions.

First tank has been up about a year, 28 gal bowfront. Pool filter sand substrate, sponge filter.
Plants are as follows: italian vals in the background, anubias attached to driftwood, and java moss attached to rocks as a sort of mock carpet in part of the foreground and pennywort floating at the top.of the tank. I have no CO2 and dose with Flourish once a week about two-three days after 15% water change with Prime. Fish include 1 dwarf gourami, 5 corys, 7 harlequin rasboras, and 11 rummynose tetras. I also have MTS and one assassin snail..

Question for this tank is about lighting mostly. My vals are about a month old but not doing very well. I was originally running the stock t8 bulb the tank came with but just this weekend set up the tank with three clamp lights with three 13watt CFLs which are 6500k bulbs.. I do have room for one more bulb, should I add a fourth bulb? Also, is there anything more I should be doing as far as ferts? Lastly, my LFS suggested moving the vals into little plastic pots with either a nutrient rich plant substrate or just some small gravel and then planting that just below the surface of the sand.. is this a good idea, or should I wait to see if the vals do well enough in PFS? Last and final question.. if the vals do not survive, would a onion plant give a similar look and have more of a chance for survival since they are a bulb. Bulb plants were something the guy at the LFS suggested as well.

Second tank is still being set up.. it is a 2.3gal tank from Deep Blue. I want to plant it with micro sword, java moss, and marimo balls and possibly a small floating plant. I plan on using black sand in this tank, but not nearly as deep as my other tank. Should I use a plant substrate under the sand for the microswords, or is dosing the water column enough? Also, I am not sure what sort of light I should use for this tank.. it didn't come with a hood. I don't know how much light is too much.
jennesque is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2012, 03:34 PM   #2
 
Byron's Avatar
 
Quote:
First tank has been up about a year, 28 gal bowfront. Pool filter sand substrate, sponge filter. Plants are as follows: italian vals in the background, anubias attached to driftwood, and java moss attached to rocks as a sort of mock carpet in part of the foreground and pennywort floating at the top.of the tank. I have no CO2 and dose with Flourish once a week about two-three days after 15% water change with Prime. Fish include 1 dwarf gourami, 5 corys, 7 harlequin rasboras, and 11 rummynose tetras. I also have MTS and one assassin snail..

Question for this tank is about lighting mostly. My vals are about a month old but not doing very well. I was originally running the stock t8 bulb the tank came with but just this weekend set up the tank with three clamp lights with three 13watt CFLs which are 6500k bulbs.. I do have room for one more bulb, should I add a fourth bulb? Also, is there anything more I should be doing as far as ferts? Lastly, my LFS suggested moving the vals into little plastic pots with either a nutrient rich plant substrate or just some small gravel and then planting that just below the surface of the sand.. is this a good idea, or should I wait to see if the vals do well enough in PFS? Last and final question.. if the vals do not survive, would a onion plant give a similar look and have more of a chance for survival since they are a bulb. Bulb plants were something the guy at the LFS suggested as well.
I would not go the individual pot route. First, it may not do anything anyway [more when I come to the water], second I believe it is always better to have plants right in the tank substrate. This gives the roots room to spread, it aerates the substrate (roots release oxygen), allows them to assimilate nutrients better, and runner-type plants will need this anyway to properly spread. Unless one has a real need for potting the plants, as in spawning/fry tanks or some cichlids perhaps, this is not advantageous.

Light. Three CFL 13w is more than adequate, a fourth would likely cause algae issues given the other data you provided. The single T8 tube might or might not be sufficient; with a good tube at the right spectrum it is possible to have Vallisneria plants grow, but setting this aside, the 3 CFL will do the job. Which brings me to the water and nutrients.

What is the GH (hardness) of the tap water, and the tank if different? And the pH of both? While many aquarium plants are quite adaptable ecept to extremes, the species in Vallisneria are not. More when I have these numbers. The other nutrients from the Flourish Comp are likely sufficient, but the GH and pH will clue us in on this.

As for the Onion plant, I've only tried this once and it managed, about equally with the Corkscrew Vallisneria in the same tank. But before delving further here, let's see those numbers, as the Vall may be fine when we find the issue.

Quote:
Second tank is still being set up.. it is a 2.3gal tank from Deep Blue. I want to plant it with micro sword, java moss, and marimo balls and possibly a small floating plant. I plan on using black sand in this tank, but not nearly as deep as my other tank. Should I use a plant substrate under the sand for the microswords, or is dosing the water column enough? Also, I am not sure what sort of light I should use for this tank.. it didn't come with a hood. I don't know how much light is too much.
I have had poor results from enriched substrates, though I admit there are several now available that I have not tried. Flourite and Eco-Complete will not help, so forget those; on the others perhaps someone who has experience with them can advise us. For light, one of the LED fixtures are good for these tanks. Here again I have no direct experience so I can't suggest which, but some of our members have so they'll be along presumably.

Byron.
Byron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2012, 03:59 PM   #3
 
jennesque's Avatar
 
You had looked at my local water forever ago and said Hardness (GH) is 58 ppm [about 3.2 dGH] and alkalinity (KH) is 28 ppm [about 1.6 dKH].. I haven't testes my tap water recently.. I can do that later id you'd like but it is close to my tank water which has been pretty steady around 6.6... which, is bad for vals, I'm sure. I am hoping that the lights help the vals survive.. they have lost some leaves but mostly leaves that had been damaged. There is some signs of growth, but not much. The lights have only been there for two days though so time will tell?

Am I right in thinking the less deep the substrate, the less need for an enriched substrate? I'm assuming micro sword do not need a super thick substrate like an amazon sword would need..

Thanks for pointing me in the direction of an LED light. Also, for anyone thay can advise on a good light for the tank, it is only 6" tall so I know I don't need anything too intense. And if it matters, the tank has a glass lid.
Posted via Mobile Device
jennesque is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2012, 05:16 PM   #4
 
Byron's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jennesque View Post
You had looked at my local water forever ago and said Hardness (GH) is 58 ppm [about 3.2 dGH] and alkalinity (KH) is 28 ppm [about 1.6 dKH].. I haven't testes my tap water recently.. I can do that later id you'd like but it is close to my tank water which has been pretty steady around 6.6... which, is bad for vals, I'm sure. I am hoping that the lights help the vals survive.. they have lost some leaves but mostly leaves that had been damaged. There is some signs of growth, but not much. The lights have only been there for two days though so time will tell?

Am I right in thinking the less deep the substrate, the less need for an enriched substrate? I'm assuming micro sword do not need a super thick substrate like an amazon sword would need..

Thanks for pointing me in the direction of an LED light. Also, for anyone thay can advise on a good light for the tank, it is only 6" tall so I know I don't need anything too intense. And if it matters, the tank has a glass lid.
Posted via Mobile Device
That answers the Vallisneria problem; insufficient hardness and too low a pH. Without addressing this, more light willnot help. There are remedies, with varying pros and cons. So my next question would be, what fish do you have/intend in the tank?

The substrate in the small tank can be 1 inch minimum, and not more than 1.5 inches.
Byron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2012, 05:32 PM   #5
 
jennesque's Avatar
 
The vals are in the tank with rummys, rasboras, dwarf gourami and corys. Did my best to match the fish with my readily available water.. I didn't do too much research before I got the vals cause I was told they were very hardy, they were cheap, and I loved the look for them. I am not sure of any other plant that may work in lower light that has a similar appearence except maybe the onion plants. I'm worried they may get to big.
Posted via Mobile Device
jennesque is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2012, 05:53 PM   #6
 
Byron's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jennesque View Post
The vals are in the tank with rummys, rasboras, dwarf gourami and corys. Did my best to match the fish with my readily available water.. I didn't do too much research before I got the vals cause I was told they were very hardy, they were cheap, and I loved the look for them. I am not sure of any other plant that may work in lower light that has a similar appearence except maybe the onion plants. I'm worried they may get to big.
Posted via Mobile Device
With those fish, i would not raise the GH and pH sufficient for the Vallisneria. But I view fish as first when it comes to such things, the plants either make do or go. I raise my GH up to about 6 and 7 in one tank, but still the Valls do not last.

Onion plant might work. Sagittaria subulata will grow tall, with much narrower leaves than the Vall of course. Echinodorus major and Echinodorus uruguayensis are similar. Aponogeton undulatus and Aponogeton crispus are two more with similar structure; I find their rest periods when they die down for a couple months annoying though. All these are in the profiles.
Byron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2012, 05:54 PM   #7
 
Byron's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
With those fish, i would not raise the GH and pH sufficient for the Vallisneria. But I view fish as first when it comes to such things, the plants either make do or go. I raise my GH up to about 6 and 7 in one tank, but still the Valls do not last.

Onion plant might work. Sagittaria subulata will grow tall, with much narrower leaves than the Vall of course. Echinodorus major and Echinodorus uruguayensis are similar. Aponogeton undulatus and Aponogeton crispus are two more with similar structure; I find their rest periods when they die down for a couple months annoying though. All these are in the profiles.
Now that you have them, the three 13w CFL will be better for all these than the single T8.
Byron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2012, 06:17 PM   #8
 
jennesque's Avatar
 
Ok, I will look into those. I agree, it's fish before plants for me. I didn't think dwarf sag would grow tall enough to come close to the top. I'm not sure if that'd look good.



That's what the tank looks like in case anyone needs any suggestions for a background plant.. the pennywort probably needs a good trimming. I don't want any large plants really, like a sword.. I'm not sure if there's maybe a stem plant that would look good?

Also, just fyi the extra sponge is for my little tank, just trying to get a bacterial colony on it before the new tank is done being built.

Last edited by jennesque; 05-28-2012 at 06:26 PM..
jennesque is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-2012, 10:07 PM   #9
 
jennesque's Avatar
 
Ok, well yesterday I finally removed the vals. There was at least a dead leaf or two floating at the top of the tank each day, so I just went ahead and removed them. I've got them floating in the nano tank right now since it's slightly harder until I see if someone else wants to take them and try to nurse them back to health.

I was trying to look at a new background plant.. Thinking of plants I can easily get locally, I was thinking of perhaps using moneywort. I'd had this in a tank once for a couple weeks but I don't remember at all how that worked out.. I just remember I did like the look of it. Any opinions? Does anyone know if that will work well enough in a PFS substrate.. should I use root tabs?

I was also wondering if any of the plants that get red in them might be worth a try. I can also easily get red ludwigia, which I had before as well back when I had no clue what I was doing. (Not that I have much more knowledge now lol) I remember in the couple weeks / months I had it, it did double in size. I don't think it did very well, but I had much less light at the time. Would this maybe look ok mixed in with moneywort as a background? Or is there another plant with any color someone can suggest? I'm not expecting anything blood red with my lighting, but I was hoping there was something with some sort of color that would survive in my set up. I've seen a couple plants with red stems and green leaves.. I can't recall any of the names of those though, would something like that work better perhaps?

Last question about red plants.. if I do find one, my LFS has a fert (not sure if it's liquid or dry) that's specifically made for keeping plants red and I know it does contain iron. I currently just use Flourish - should I switch or supplement with this other fert as well if I do get a red plant?
jennesque is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2012, 03:28 PM   #10
 
Byron's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jennesque View Post
Ok, well yesterday I finally removed the vals. There was at least a dead leaf or two floating at the top of the tank each day, so I just went ahead and removed them. I've got them floating in the nano tank right now since it's slightly harder until I see if someone else wants to take them and try to nurse them back to health.

I was trying to look at a new background plant.. Thinking of plants I can easily get locally, I was thinking of perhaps using moneywort. I'd had this in a tank once for a couple weeks but I don't remember at all how that worked out.. I just remember I did like the look of it. Any opinions? Does anyone know if that will work well enough in a PFS substrate.. should I use root tabs?

I was also wondering if any of the plants that get red in them might be worth a try. I can also easily get red ludwigia, which I had before as well back when I had no clue what I was doing. (Not that I have much more knowledge now lol) I remember in the couple weeks / months I had it, it did double in size. I don't think it did very well, but I had much less light at the time. Would this maybe look ok mixed in with moneywort as a background? Or is there another plant with any color someone can suggest? I'm not expecting anything blood red with my lighting, but I was hoping there was something with some sort of color that would survive in my set up. I've seen a couple plants with red stems and green leaves.. I can't recall any of the names of those though, would something like that work better perhaps?

Last question about red plants.. if I do find one, my LFS has a fert (not sure if it's liquid or dry) that's specifically made for keeping plants red and I know it does contain iron. I currently just use Flourish - should I switch or supplement with this other fert as well if I do get a red plant?
Can't offer much on the stem plants since they can do well or not ac cording to the aquarium, light and nutrients. If OK previously, should be fine with more light. Stem plants and red leaf plants generally require more light than most others. And substrate composition is irrelevant; nutrients in the water column is what counts, esp for stem plants that assimilate via leaves and roots and the latter are frequently along most of the stem.

On the fert, this I would not do. Nutrients must be balanced, and providing excess of one can cause deficiencies in others as the plant may respond to the increase by shutting down assimilation of some other nutrient. Keeping them balanced roughly is advisable. A safer strategy would be to dose additional trace minerals (of which iron is one, and note the word, trace) in addition to Flourish Comprehensive (Flourish Trace is one such product). However, the "hard" minerals (calcium, magnesium, potassium) have to be present to allow for this addition, and they are only minimal in Flourish Comp which is intended for those with medium hard source water. I have to dose Equilibrium to obtain sufficient hard minerals to balance the iron just in Flourish Comp.

Byron.
Byron is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Suggestions about Eco system substrate? GwenInNM Beginner Freshwater Aquarium 3 10-22-2011 04:57 PM
Will these plants work with this light and substrate Clubber Beginner Planted Aquarium 17 07-20-2011 03:13 PM
Substrate for 55g low light Jasey Beginner Planted Aquarium 14 02-29-2008 06:50 PM
substrate and light porksnorkel Beginner Planted Aquarium 10 08-23-2007 09:16 PM


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:27 AM.