Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/forum.php)
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for those of you who unfamilar with this project you can view it here but I will give a brief summary.
My dad set up a 10 gallon ornamental fish tank for my brother dispite his protests that he wanted me to do it. I was muscled out of the project and he wound up with an overstocked poorly designed tank. It currently has 3 sepra, 3 bleeding heart, and 3 emporer tetras as well as a pleco. My brother and I are setting up a planted tank with a central american biotope. we are planning on doing a trio of endlers livebearers and letting them populate the tank. I will try to get some pics posted later today of the tank it's current state. I am going to use flourite black combined with the white gravel I have in the tank already because I am afraid it is too fine for the plants to grow a proper root structure. does anyone else have any experience with this substrate? also what would be a good carpet kind of plant that can tolerate hard water? I was hoping to do amazon frogbit but I think the tank might be too alkaline for it (I am using a buffer to raise the water to a PH of 8.2)?
Here is the pic as promised
For "carpeting", I planted some Pygmy chain sword http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/p...y-chain-sword/ in my new 112L (30 gallon) thanks to recommendations here and the stuff has been growing like a weed for me, runners everywhere producing little plantlets. I note you mention frogbit though which is a floating plant, so maybe there's some confusion here. I don't have experience with that plant, but I currently have some Brazilian pennywort http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/p...ian-pennywort/ as a floater (originally had it planted in the substrate but since it doesn't really take root and kept getting uprooted, I decided to just keep it floating), and Byron will surely pipe in here to suggest water sprite. I also have hard water, and both the pygmy sword and the pennywort plants are doing fine with low-medium lighting and no CO2.
One question though, why are you adding buffers to raise the pH? Your current tank inhabitants (tetras etc) all prefer softer water, so I don't really understand why you're doing this. I assume your tap water is on the soft side, so why don't you do a South American oriented tank with forest fish like tetras, and some catfish maybe? Common plecos grow to be a foot or more in length, your tank is way too small. I'd definitely be taking at least the pleco back to the store where you bought it.
I am aware that frogbit is a floating plant I was talking about using it as a floating plant in addition to the carpenting plant. I am actually planning on building a simple bio-co2 system once the tank gets up and running so hopefully that will help with the plant growth. I was looking at putting some dwarf sag in the tank but I was hoping you could reccomend something like marsilea minuta for the aquarium. and the reason that we are doing a central american theme is because my brother wants to see fish breed and grow up in the tank so we decieded on endlers livebearers. the water here is actually moderatly hard but we run it through my RODI unit before we use it so it becomes soft.
So you run it through reverse osmosis and take out all minerals, and then add them back in using store bought buffers? Unless there's something seriously wrong with your tap water (before it goes through RO filtering), I'd consider switching over gradually to direct tap water (not at once so you don't shock the fish with new water parameters). It would save you a lot of hassle and money. I can imagine such inconvenient scenarios such as: water parameters are way off, gotta make an immediate large water change... oh no, we're all out of chemical buffers, pet store's closed already, panic!
No I have been doing that now for the tetras so they don't die but I will stop doing that once I get endlers which actually need hard water!
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I guess I got confused by your first post where you said:
"I am using a buffer to raise the water to a PH of 8.2."
But yeah sounds like a good plan. No idea about that european clover plant, hopefully somebody will pipe in about that. From what I've seen of your setup it doesn't seem like you have high lighting, probably in the low or mid range like mine.
I thought in that other thread it was pretty much established that you probably won't be worthwhile for you to go through the hassle of running a CO2 system - you don't have so much lighting that it puts you in to the "high tech high light" category. You'll see loads of tanks with amazing plant growth that use low to medium lighting and no CO2. Read Byron's stickied threads in the plants forum, it's a 4 part series on natural planted aquariums. It's an essential read that helped me clear up a lot of misconceptions I previously held about keeping tanks. If you're not going to listen to advice and instead just already make up your mind and hope somebody agrees with you to make you feel better well, you're not making the best out of the forums IMHO.
Is that a single T8 tube? If it is, and it's a 12 inch high tank it puts you in the "low" light category as per these handy charts over at another forum:
PAR vs Distance, T5, T12, PC - New Chart
Don't confuse "low" lighting with inadequate lighting. It's only if you upgrade your lighting setup to a real "high light" setup, accellerating photosynthesis and thus also the speed at which nutrients are used up by the plants, where you will need to supplement CO2 and increased fertilization in order to keep up with the plants' needs. Low light, low tech has the advantage that you don't have to spend so much time and money on electricity, extra ferts, CO2... Not to mention the algae will also love the increased lighting, giving you another problem to battle! Yes you probably need to go high tech high light in many cases if you are planning on entering aquascaping competitions and the like, but at the same time not having a high tech tank doesn't mean you won't have a beautiful tank that you will enjoy!
There's a big selection of plants you can grow very well with this amount of light, and check out for example Byron's low tech natural planted setups for inspiration.
Anyway, it's worth repeating that advise from the LFS is to be taken with a grain of salt. They're really in it to make a sale in the end, whereas people here actually want to help others out in making the best decisions. CO2 might be right for the guy working in the shop who is surrounded with tons of gear, top of the line T5HO lights and nothing to do but sit in his shop and have time to tinker with his tank all day (if there isn't a customer to be dealt with) - but it doesn't necessarily mean it's the right solution for you!
Yeah it is a single tube and it is twelve inches. I guess I had been looking at low light as a negative thing but the way you described it it may actually be a positive thing. I had always taken LFS advice with some caution but he was talking about DIY reactors so I figured there wasn't a monetary advantage to him suggesting one to me. So can you give me like 4 or 5 plants that do well in hard alkaline water with low light? thank you so much by the way EUG
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