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Fish tank emergency please help

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Fish tank emergency please help
Old 08-28-2010, 12:15 PM   #41
 
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So what kind of tank would use co2?
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Old 08-28-2010, 02:03 PM   #42
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by New2Betas View Post
So what kind of tank would use co2?
First one has to understand the basics. Plants need light of adequate intensity and duration, and they need nutrients. There are 17 nutrients, one of which is carbon (mainly assimilated from CO2). All this has to balance. If it does, the plants will grow (photosynthesize). The "balance" can be any several levels, from minimal (low-tech or natural) up to high-tech. The level you want to maintain will usually depend upon your idea of what a planted tank should look like. In the most basic of terms, my tanks are low-tech; Takashi Amano's are very high-tech, as are the tanks commonly called Dutch Aquarium, where plants are the main focus and some do not even have fish.

We know that in their habitat, most of the plants we keep use fairly low light; many never see the direct sun. They grow relatively slowly, but they are healthy and growing. My plants are like that. The growth is "slow" though sometimes I find it hard to imagine faster growth; I know I certainly do not want faster growth because the plants are serving their purpose very well at the rate they now grow. Increasing light allows for faster growth. But only if the nutrients are also increased in balance. This is where CO2 comes in.

Amano's method uses very high light (4-5 times what I use), CO2 diffusion, and copious amounts of fertilizer added every day, not just once or twice a week as in my tanks. The plants look lovely in both, as far as I'm concerned. But the high-tech approach requires a lot more investment in money and maintenance. Using fertilizers daily costs money, as does the CO2, and the increased lighting will really raise your hydro bill. So it comes down to the "look" you want and what you are prepared to invest in cost (initial and operating) and maintenance.

The light is the big reason I do not advocate high-tech. This affects the fish. Most of the fish we maintain in planted tanks occur in very dimly-lit waters. This is what they are used to. Given the option in a large aquarium, such fish will choose the shaded areas. I see this all the time in my tanks. As just one example, cardinal tetra have what Baensch/Riehl term a light phobia; they will always be under plants in the lower third of the aquarium, and because they choose this due to their natural instincts, it means they will be healthier. We can be guaranteed of that. I prefer going down that road, of providing the fish with as natural as environment as I can, because I believe (and my 20 years experience corroborates this) that the fish will be healthier and live more normal lives. There's more to this than just light: the filtration (water flow) is critical, as are water parameters, plants, wood, etc. My cardinals which also do not like moving water, remain in the right half of the aquarium at the opposite side from where the outflow from the filter is placed. Some of the Corydoras species prefer water flow and always settle at the end under the filter outflow; other species come from quieter streams and have settled further down the tank under wood where the water is still. Knowing these preferences for each species will mean a more successful community tank if the fish's needs are met.

A bit wordy, but this is to me a very important aspect of maintaining an aquarium that is healthy and successful.

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Old 08-28-2010, 02:25 PM   #43
 
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I really appreciate everything you are trying to tell me. I'm very new to this since I had an all fake aquarium before. I just posted this on another site before I got an e-mail about your post. But this is what I have as of now.

I have a 46 gallon bow front
Marineland Bio-Wheel Power Filter Penguin 350 (says its for up to a 70 gallon tank)
Adjustable heater, I keep it at 80*
Right now I have a coralife light on the tank that is much too big. I have a standard 25 watt light I would love to use instead, but worried about changing it over.
I have the light on a timer from 8am to 10pm
Lots of drift wood
I have hard water
If I remember correctly I used Floramax Premium Aquarium Substrate from my LFS for $30 and put a larger polished gravel on top of that.
Added Flora fertilizer plant tablets next to plants (10)
Moss balls and 3 kinds of plants. Have no idea what they are though.
2 angel fish, 5 pristella tetra, 3, pepper cory, 2 cardinal tetra, 3 bolivian ram, rainbow shark, bushynose pleco, and 5 Japanese Marsh shrimp

My 2 cardinals were given to me by someone that was moving, he things they are about 2 years old. My rainbow shark is a snob and has a bit of PMS since being moved from the temp tank back to this one and has been chasing the tetras. It would be nice if my fish would just mind their own biz when I want to watch them, but when they see me they think its time to eat and will watch my every move. :)

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Old 08-28-2010, 02:48 PM   #44
 
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That's quite a nice aquascape; with a few more plants it would be really outstanding, it has good "bones." Nice work. I agree the plants are suffering, it is nutrients but not CO2. The substrate fert tabs will help the rooted plants in the back (can't tell from the photo is the grass-like plants are Vallisneria, Sagittaria or Onion Plant). A good liquid fert should be added once a week and I think you would see quite an improvement in the plant colour. I recommend Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive [make sure it is the Comprehensive, they make several products in the Flourish line] once a week; it doesn't take much, 2.5 ml (1/2 a teaspoon) treats 30g. If once a week doesn't show much improvement after 2-3 weeks, use it twice a week.

A word on the temp, 80F is quite high for the fish you have (angels are fine at that but also lower which would suit the others). Around 77-78F will work, and that can help the plants. My plants in the warm tank (80F) always look less attractive than the same in 77-78F. Makes quite a difference, and some of your fish would be better lower too.

The plants closest to the front in the middle I'm not sure, but may not be aquatic. Keep an eye on them, if they start to rot pull them out. For more plants, have a look at the pygmy chain sword, it would do well in that aquascape. And if you want something on the wood, Anubias barteri var. nana would be good. Click on the shaded names to see the plant's profile.

Byron.
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Old 08-28-2010, 03:00 PM   #45
 
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Wonderful, thank you so much! The plants in the front middle are the only ones that are doing really well. They have grown 4 new leaves just in the last 48 hours. Here's a close up of the left side of the tank. The laves closer to the ground are brand new. I also just now lowered the heater level. I have to play with it a bit to get it at the right temp. Maybe thats why my fish are so active. lol

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Old 08-28-2010, 03:29 PM   #46
 
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Still not sure about those plants, I'll have to dig out some of my reference books later. Wanted to respond now, then I have a couple errands to run.

The lower temp will be easier on the fish. The higher the temp the less oxygen water can hold, so respiration is more difficult. If they need warm temps, that's different; but when they have ranges it is best to be in the middle to lower end for each fish species. We have temp ranges in our profiles.
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Old 08-28-2010, 03:39 PM   #47
 
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I think those are Amazon Swords I broke them up from one large clump and scattered them around the front. I do have 1 onion plant in there, in the right corner. And I think the others might be Chilensis?

Last edited by New2Betas; 08-28-2010 at 03:54 PM..
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