05-13-2010, 02:50 PM
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Thanks for the data. I see nothing wrong that will prevent good plant growth, but I do have a couple suggestions.
I would think the light is adequate for the tank, assuming the tubes are full spectrum (natural daylight usually means this or close to it); it would help to know the kelvin rating, it should be indicated at one end of the tube, a number followed by the letter K. If it is different for each tube, give me both numbers. I just want to be certain.
The substrate may need to be a bit deeper for the swords. Echionodorus have extensive root systems; the three E/ bleherae in my 115g have roots that extend out for almost a foot and are well down to the bottom with 4-5 inches of substrate. As the larger swords are usually planted in the back half of the tank, you can slope the substrate up from front to back, or use rock or wood for terraces, or simply add more substrate to the back. With swords I would have at least 3 inches, preferably 4 inches, in the areas where they are planted and this means for several inches out from the plants.
Flourite is a good substrate, but it only provides nutrients to substrate-rooted plants (swords, crypts, vallisneria, etc). Your ferns, by which I'm assuming Java Fern, won't derive any benefit from the substrate since they attach to wood or rock and the nutrients have to be in the water column. Same would apply to Anubias and floating plants. Stem plants usually need liquid fertilizer to thrive.
I would recommend a good comprehensive liquid like Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement (I use this) or the Nutrafin Plant-Gro. But not both together. Some trace elements like iron are also heavy metals and in excess can poison fish and kill plants. Nutrients have to be in proportion and carefully controlled so that only what the plants can use is added. Flourish is ideal in this respect, I would use it once a week at the recommended dose--1 tsp (5 ml) for your 65g tank is all that is needed.
The swords will have to stay in the substrate to take root; increasing the depth should provide this, but if your fish dig them out use a few smallish rocks around the plants. Once they are established they will stay put.
I think this should help you. I find plants easier than fish, but we do have to ensure what they need is provided. As background you might find the info in the 4-part sticky article at the head of the Aquarium Plant section of benefit.