plant food ques.
I just put 3 plants in my tank I have a 100g tank with all parameters to keep african cichlids. It is newly cycled tank with only 4 small fish in it.
my question is, should I just leave the plants in there all on their lonesome or should I use nutrafin plantgro?
It depends on the type of plants. Plants absorb nutrients in two different ways: through the water and through the substrate.
If you have rooted plants you should add substrate fertilizer (root tabs), for your plants. If you have stem or floating plants, you should add a liquid fertilizer directly to the water. Flourish is my personal favorite (although I've been meaning to try Pfertz). I used API previously, but I did not like it because the deep yellow stained my water. Flourish is dark brown, but it is much more concentrated, and the small amounts I add do not visibly change the color of my water. I've never used nutrafin, so I couldn't tell you if it's any good.
Unfortunately, cichlids are infamous for being plant-unfriendly (they like to eat them, and they also dig in the ground a lot and uproot plants), so your plants may not survive long enough to need any kind of ferts.
You may also consider potted plants in your aquarium .I use them in a discus tank along with rooted plants.
Many rooted plants absorb nutrients both though their roots and through their leaves. A two-headed fertilizing regimen should be instituted. Liquid ferts in a 100g tank is quite expensive. I would recommend dry dosing, much cheaper. Liquid ferts can be used economically in tanks 75g and lower.
The two main problems that need to be addressed in planted tanks are fertilizing and lighting. Lighting is a common nemesis in many planted tanks and arguments rage over how much is needed and what lights to use. I prefer using either compact fluorescents or T5 bulbs. Both are much more efficient in providing needed lighting.
Look for bulbs that are in the 6700K-10000K range, depending upon your plants. Needed lumens will vary depending upon the depth of your tank. Water, being a diffractor of light(ever notice the "rainbow" on your walls when sunlight passes through you tank?), plays havoc with lighting and a constant must be calculated in when running the figures to determine footcandles.
Do not fall for the wattage myth. Wattage is an archaic method use for many years to determine how much light is needed. Wattage just tells one how much power is being consumed. The criteria you must look at are spectrum(use bulbs that are heavy on the red and blue ranges of the spectrum), lumens(light intensity), Kelvins(a number that signifies the lights comparison to sunlight), and footcandles(the intensity, brightness, and effectiveness at a certain distance from the light source. This must be calculated).
CO2 injection is also an option. So, as you can see, keeping plants can be as simple or as intense as the hobbyist wants to make it.
What kind of plants?
By the way, African cichlids and plants don't mix.
It can be tricky, but it's definitely done. My friend keeps a bunch of vals in his Tanganyikan setup.
I'm kind of a meat head when it comes to plants. lol the plants are green topped leaves with purple on the undersides. and the cichlids are slowly taking bites out of em. here's a pic of themhttp://www.fishforum.com/userpix/6799_resize1_1.jpg
I like that, what is it called?
Does it look anything like that plant? It is called purple waffle if it does and it will be a good thing if the ciclids eat it because it won't live too long under water. It is not aquatic. Make sure to ask you LFS employees if the plants are aquatic or not and if they can't answer, find a different one if you can or find a different LFS.
Don't get me wrong, if your intent is to feed them some plants and rufage it is a good way to go. I have a freinds who feeds his non aquatic plants all the time. Cheap and effective way to do it. Assuming you don't pay too much for them of course.
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