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Wanted To Start A Planted Tank...

This is a discussion on Wanted To Start A Planted Tank... within the Freshwater and Tropical Fish forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Well I took the plunge and started the NPT with Miracle Gro Organic Potting Mix as the substrate and my "disaster" worked out quite ...

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Wanted To Start A Planted Tank...
Old 04-25-2012, 08:32 PM   #11
 
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Well I took the plunge and started the NPT with Miracle Gro Organic Potting Mix as the substrate and my "disaster" worked out quite well. My Red Ludwigia has grown roots for the first time since I bought it and my Micro Sword (Narrow Leaf) seems to be sprouting new runners every day. It's only been about a week and I'm really liking this method. I plan on returning the bottle of Seachem Stability (Long Story) and buying a bottle of Prime and Flourish. What I wanted to know was if the Flourish would help out.
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:00 PM   #12
 
Been following this thread and disappointed to see no new developments but I need to point out similarities in our stories. My 20 gallon has been up for four months. I have 6 types of plants including red ludwigia and micro sword (also looking for a carpet effect). I currently have stock lighting (~14W on a full spectrum fluorescent) so the micro sword has been doing poorly i.e. not propagating or even laying a root network. I have some water sprite that has been slowly melting away (reduced by ~75%) whether or not planted. I attribute my problems to insufficient lighting. My water is also rock solid, around 14-15 dGH.

My first upgrade will be a new fixture that can house two 24W T5 bulbs. Second renovation will occur towards the end of the summer when I have to move apartments. I'm excitedly planning on replacing the fluorite I'm currently using as substrate with some soil and sand. I really want some corydoras eventually; at the moment I have 7 Serpae tetra, 3 Otocinclus and a couple assassin snails.

So, I am obviously interested in what you're doing here and would love updates, possibly with some pictures.
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Old 04-28-2012, 08:30 AM   #13
 
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Originally Posted by Sly13Cat View Post
Well I took the plunge and started the NPT with Miracle Gro Organic Potting Mix as the substrate and my "disaster" worked out quite well. My Red Ludwigia has grown roots for the first time since I bought it and my Micro Sword (Narrow Leaf) seems to be sprouting new runners every day. It's only been about a week and I'm really liking this method. I plan on returning the bottle of Seachem Stability (Long Story) and buying a bottle of Prime and Flourish. What I wanted to know was if the Flourish would help out.
Glad it's working out well for you. You could check the potting mix bag for ingredients and see how much, if any, of the Flourish you should add. Over time, you will probably need it more as the nutrients in the potting mix get depleted. Do you have any fish in the tank ?
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Old 04-28-2012, 08:37 AM   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malakh View Post
Been following this thread and disappointed to see no new developments but I need to point out similarities in our stories. My 20 gallon has been up for four months. I have 6 types of plants including red ludwigia and micro sword (also looking for a carpet effect). I currently have stock lighting (~14W on a full spectrum fluorescent) so the micro sword has been doing poorly i.e. not propagating or even laying a root network. I have some water sprite that has been slowly melting away (reduced by ~75%) whether or not planted. I attribute my problems to insufficient lighting. My water is also rock solid, around 14-15 dGH.

My first upgrade will be a new fixture that can house two 24W T5 bulbs. Second renovation will occur towards the end of the summer when I have to move apartments. I'm excitedly planning on replacing the fluorite I'm currently using as substrate with some soil and sand. I really want some corydoras eventually; at the moment I have 7 Serpae tetra, 3 Otocinclus and a couple assassin snails.

So, I am obviously interested in what you're doing here and would love updates, possibly with some pictures.
I have the same problem with lighting. I replaced the full spectrum tube with a daylight 6500 kelvin tube and there seems to be a little improvement. You might try that in the interim.
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Old 04-28-2012, 09:40 AM   #15
 
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This will respond to the light issue raised by both Malakh and fishmonger.

Full spectrum is adequate light, it is very close to the "daylight" so this should not make much of a difference. Of course, it depends upon the tube, not all "full spectrum" or "daylight" are the same, it depends upon the phosphors used to coat the tubes. This is why i tend to suggest brands, since i have tried them.

Malakh, I would not recommend T5 lighting over a 20g, that is going to be way overboard and cause trouble. You will not have sufficient nutrients to balance, and algae will likely explode and the fish will be stressed under that. A single tube T8 with a good tube is sufficient. I used to have this, no issues; I now have an incandescent fixture with two daylight 6500K CFL 10w bulbs and it too is doing well. More lighting is not the answer.

Water Sprite when floating will always grow under practically any light. I suspect there is something else going on that is causing trouble for both members. To sort that out, I need to know the data: GH and pH of your tap water and tank water if different, and what fertilizers are you adding and how often. [The Flourite substrate will have no effect on floating plants].

Byron.
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Old 04-28-2012, 11:37 AM   #16
 
Wow, thank you for the responses guys! I had a feeling the light would be overkill but the tank seems dim to me with the light I currently have. It's a normal sized 2g tank so the light is about 20-22" above the substrate.

So Byron if you would throw some suggestions out there on T8 bulbs and fixtures that would be awesome.

About my plant issue, I have been using Madison tap water from deep ground aquifers for the aquarium, that about says it all. It's just not plausible for me to get to a store to buy RO water as I do not have a car. So my GH is around 400-500 ppm while the KH is just a little bit lower at 250 ppm or so. Initially I thought to try a softening pillow but have since given up on that, not looking to fluctuate the hardness for the fish. Unfortunately I do not know the pH. And I do not add any ferts.

I'm really not sure what is out of order obviously but I have read that water sprite is easy to grow and it is sure is dying well in my tank so something must be wrong. With that said, the other plants like the red ludwigia and moneywort are doing decent. Growing slowly but not thriving by any means. How much of a difference will kicking up the light to a T8 make and with this limited information what do you think could be the matter?
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Old 04-28-2012, 11:57 AM   #17
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malakh View Post
Wow, thank you for the responses guys! I had a feeling the light would be overkill but the tank seems dim to me with the light I currently have. It's a normal sized 2g tank so the light is about 20-22" above the substrate.

So Byron if you would throw some suggestions out there on T8 bulbs and fixtures that would be awesome.

About my plant issue, I have been using Madison tap water from deep ground aquifers for the aquarium, that about says it all. It's just not plausible for me to get to a store to buy RO water as I do not have a car. So my GH is around 400-500 ppm while the KH is just a little bit lower at 250 ppm or so. Initially I thought to try a softening pillow but have since given up on that, not looking to fluctuate the hardness for the fish. Unfortunately I do not know the pH. And I do not add any ferts.

I'm really not sure what is out of order obviously but I have read that water sprite is easy to grow and it is sure is dying well in my tank so something must be wrong. With that said, the other plants like the red ludwigia and moneywort are doing decent. Growing slowly but not thriving by any means. How much of a difference will kicking up the light to a T8 make and with this limited information what do you think could be the matter?
What is your present light fixture? I earlier assumed fluorescent tube, maybe that is incorrect. Do you have this (which would be T8, the "normal" tube fixture), or do you have incandescent (screw-in bulbs)? You can have very good plant light either way, I will suggest tubes/bulbs when I know the type. [You type 2g, presumably you meant 20g at 24 inches length.]

Your water is very hard, 22-28 dGH. This might be part of the issue with Water Sprite, it is a soft water plant and while it should adapt to harder water I'm not sure how far this will go. But before we worry about that, a liquid fertilizer is probably needed, as there may not be sufficient nutrients from just fish foods breaking down. I recommend 2 that are complete, Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement or Brightwell Aquatics' FlorinMulti. With either, make sure you get these exact products, as both manufacturers make several different products under these names. It takes very little, for a 20g no more than half a teaspoon once or at most twice a week.

Another point is that plants take time to adjust to different water and environment. No idea how long you've had the Water Sprite, but mine will fall back just moving it to another tank with near-identical water and light. If you have had it more than 6 weeks or so, it should be adjusted from this.

You should get an API pH test kit. The pH and nitrates are worth checking periodically, as sudden changes can alert you to trouble. You might find out the pH of the water from the Madison water supply people, which presumably is where you got the GH.

Byron.
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Old 04-28-2012, 12:38 PM   #18
 
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T8 is just the bulb size. It is expressed in 1/8 inches. So a T12 is 1 and 1/2 inches, T8 is 1 inch, and a T5 is 5/8 of an inch in diameter. Byron has answered the question that I have had a hard time finding regarding the difference between full spectrum and daylight tubes. At this point, I would research plants that meet your lighting...moderate. I don't know what to say about the water sprite issue. Back in the day, we used to have to throw away a lot of it due to excessive growth. The floating plants will naturally shade the plants below. So do your research about the plants you like and make your list. Swords, sagitaria, and crypts should do well.
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Old 04-28-2012, 12:43 PM   #19
 
I have a GH, KH and ammonia kit. I am going to buy further tests eventually but I am on a tight budget.

I did mean 20 gallons. The light is most definitely fluorescent as it is a single tube and came in the Aqueon Deluxe kit I bought. I had thought it was a T5 but it could very well be a T8.

I will start adding ferts but I thought the fluorite would be sufficient, at least for the first 6 months. I have had the water sprite in the tank for 4 months and it just continues to melt. It sprout new shoots here and there but they tend not to survive long it seems. I've been all over the cities water site and my districts numbers and mine are slightly different (why I mentioned 15 dGH earlier) because of the water pillow I was using. The city claims 25 dGH. I know that is unhealthy for fish in the long term. What sort of indication is it that they've been in there for four months and seem to be doing well?
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Old 04-28-2012, 12:45 PM   #20
 
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Stem plants and plants with small root systems really need liquid ferts... (like flourish comprehensive)
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