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60g dying plants, what to do? is CO2 my answer?
Ok I am completly dumb in this area. Earlier this year I started my first delve into planted aquairuim I bought a light that would get me into some low light plants, anubias, Red/green lotus and a few other plants, I spent quite a bit of money needless to say nearly everything is dead or dying a slow death.
Here is what I have.
compact flourecent light 2x65w, they are freshwater bulbs so the guy told me on the phone, don't know much more on them, with moonlight leds ( very cool btw) link Current USA Satellite Power Compact Fixture 48" 2x65W
Substrate I bought from aquariumplants.com link AquariumPlants.com's own: Freshwater Plant Substrate
2 Penquin 350 bio wheel
2 100w heaters set at 82 ( don't know if this is high or not couldn't find any good solid info on temps for plants.)
Timer/powerstrip, I have the light to come on at 6 go off around nine... again couldn't find solid info on light times.
In Tank I have
7 rasbora hets
2 rainbow fish( that's what the pet store called them don't know any other name for them)
8 Cherry barbs
1 Emerald green Cory
1 Blue Crawdad which has taking a very good liking to the home i built him from some rainbow slate rock.
( I do have my Eye on a giant gold Gourami at this one store He would be the last fish to round out my tank)
I have not been running any CO2 at all. Mostly cause all the stores around me are either big box carry general stuff or small ma/pa places that don't really cater to the odd or expensive items. So I have been low tech so far, but with my tank in the state it's in now, i'm wondering if I have gone over my head with this planted tank idea.
I have seen some low tech tanks that look amazing, but I have been unable to get the right info on how this is accomplished. Based on what I have and what Aquariumplants.com folks told me my substrate and light would be more than enough to keep my plants alive.
I have read on DIY CO2 and I think that yeast/sugar going to be way to inconsistant for me.
So my questions are what is a good system for a 60 gal. and where is a good place online to purchase from that isn't going to break the bank? I'm will to spend around $200-250 maybe more if I need to.
What items do I need to get this going. If someone has a manifest of items they recommend please pass it my way. So I have an idea of what parts i need if there is no good "Kits"
Aquariumsplants.com has a system that they say is one of the best out there, however it's like 500 bucks if you add in shipping taxes and a CO2 tank or 2. link COMPLETE ULTIMATE Co2 SYSTEM (best of the best)($500+ VALUE ! )
Thanks for any help/advise any one can offer open to learning the ways of a planted tank.
My ultimate goal is to keep plants alive for no less than one year then start learning and ultimatley is get discus. I figure half of that battle is keeping plants alive. If I can't keep plants alive I don't think discus is something I should be trying
First and foremost, you do not need CO2 to have a thriving planted aquarium. Just look at the photos of my tanks under my "Aquariums" to see proof. In 15 years I have never even considered CO2 systems, and my plants grow like weeds.
I do see some issues standing in the way of your success.
First, the temperature is too high for most plants. And the fish you list certainly do not need 82F water, they will "burn out" as well before long. For a community tank, 77-79F is usual; I keep mine at 78F (25.5C) except for the SE Asian which is at 80F because it has Chocolate Gouramis and they need the warmth.
Second, the light. I read the info at the site you linked; if you got the tubes it mentions [which, by the way, are intended for marine tanks, not freshwater planted aquaria] this is a major problem. Light is the single most important thing in a planted tank. Plants require light in the blue colour and then the red, in order to grow (which they do by photosynthesis). The tubes in the info are high in blue, but I suspect lacking in the essential red. They are also more (in terms of light intensity) than you need over a 60g tank. One tube at 65 watts would be sufficient [I have less than one watt per gallon on my tanks], provided it is full spectrum light. I am not certain what type of fixture you have with respect to the tubes it takes, but you can probably get full spectrum tubes for it. The Hagen Life-Glo 2 tube is the best [its what I have] as it is high in the blue and red colours but also green which balances the blue and red giving a natural appearance with respct to plant and fish colours rather than a purplish look which results from blue and red alone. Can you remove one of the tubes and will the other still light? Some fixtures will do this, some won't; if yours will work with just one tube in it, I would remove one completely and replace the other with a Life-Glo 2 tube. However, not being sure of the wattage that this fixture will take with the type of tubes required, both may be OK.
The night moon light or whatve it is may have a bearing as well. Plants in the tropics get 10 hours of daylight and 10 hours of complete and total darkness. If the night light is enough to affect them, it should be turned off for a significant period at night. I can't say for certain, but it is certainly something I would not do, have any type of light on with no complete dark period.
Your substrate if fine. The only other issue is liquid fertilization once or twice a week, once you resolve the light and heat issues. Further questons on this, just ask.
Well I didn't know that the temp could be affecting the plants, I'll make that adjustment. the heaters i have are great and have never deviated from where I have set them at.
The light did origonally come with Marine bulbs, I talked with one of the guys at aquariumplants.com on the phone. They told me that they would change out the bulbs to freashwater for me for a small fee. I do not know the specs for those bulbs. But I was told they would grow plants on the low end scale just fine. The shop's around me don't carry much other than basic lighting but I'll look for the Life Glo's if you have a website you recommend that would be great!
The moon light I may just have it on when I'm up, I have it set on a timer so I can change that.
I have also set the timer to run from 9am-9pm, 12 hours. Don't know if that will help or not.
Aquariumplants.com has a fertilizer/ nutrients that I'm going to get and try out. they have great feedback posted on it. Price seems reasonable
what are you using for ground cover in your tanks?
I origannaly had some 4 leaf clover that I had got, but it really never took off, could be with the issues I had. I had also some dwarf grass again died off before it could grow.
your tanks have given me aquarium envy... :D
Once I get the items to start the changes, I post some pictures to show where I have started and where I am later down the road.
Thanks for the advise!
OK New info on lights. The fixture is from Current which does have freashwater type bulbs on the website and based on the bulbs I have in the fixture they are 65 watt 6,700k Daylight bulbs they do have 65 watt Dual Daylight 6,700k/10,000k that would work in my fixture I believe. here is a link to those dual bulbs Dual Daylight SunPaq Power Compact Lamp - Square Pin - 6700k & 10,000k - 65W is this closer to what I'm needing? these are the type of bulbs in my fixture. Since I already spent over 130 on this I really do not want to spend more money on a new fixture when this one is less than a year old.
I have started making some changes, but need to gather up some parts from the web I went to the store i get my aquatic animals from and they didn't have much in the way of fertilizers or lights.
I'm assuming Actinic is used for saltwater?
My only concern now with the light is the brightness. This could be too much to balance the nutrients (includes CO2 which comes from the fish). Therefore, I would reduce the period the lights are on from 12 hours to 8 hours. If your viewing schedule doesn't match up, another trick is to have the lights on for 5-6 hours, off for 1-2 hours, then on again for 5-6 hours. This is said to inhibit algae because the period of dark in the middle doesn't allow them to make full use of the light whereas plants can so they are unaffected.
As for fertilizer, on that AquariumPlant website they have Seachem's "Flourish Comprehensive Supplement for the Planted Aquarium" with which I (and others here) have had great success. It is listed as "Seachem Flourish 500 ml" in their list of fertilizers. It is cheaper (much) to buy this by the 2L jug. Many fish stores carry Seachem products, and may have it. or you can order online. DrsFoster&Smith is a good site I'm told (I like their info, have never ordered as I prefer buying locally). Here's a link. Fish Supplies: Fish Tank & Fish Care | DrsFosterSmith.com
The important thing with fertilizer is getting one that is complete and balanced. Dosing with several different nutrients (iron, copper, potassium...) gets expensive, plus you need to have these in balance with each other, and this is difficult. Floruish Comprehensive has all the macro- and micro-nutrients plants require, and in the correct porportion to each other; you can see this listed on their website, although only a botanist would understand the elements. I would start using it once a week (it takes very little, a half teaspoon for 30 gallons so 1 teaspoon in your 60g tank) and observe the plants over a couple of weeks; if the yellow/clear leaves continue (new leaves, not the ones already dying) increase it to twice a week. I dose it twice a week, once after the partial water change, once three days later. Works fine.
Yes, actinic is the high blue reef light intended to grow live corals, acknowledged by any plant authorities I've read as being unsuitable for freshwater planted aquaria.
The smallest plants along the substrate in my Amazonian tanks is Echinodorus tenellus and possibly E. quadricostatus. I know the pygmy chain sword in the 90g is E. tenellus. In the 115g the leaves are wider, and may be the other species; when both plants are grown in the same tank, as they were for 9 months, they still retained quite different leaf shapes which makes me think they may be different species. But whichever, "pygmy chain sword" is a common name for this plant. It will rapidly send out runners and cover the substrate; I keep it at bay by removing the runners periodically, as I like to have some exposed gravel for the corys to feed on tablets.
Youre going to struggle a bit with that lighting unless you do something to counter the lack of co2.
Either add carbon thro pressurized co2 or some sort of "liquid carbon" product.
Many ppl use fire extinguishers as the source as its an awfull lot cheaper than off the shelf co2 systems.
The liquid carbon will obviously be cheaper in the short term but over time will add up. Its not as good a source as pressurized co2 but that said, mental plant growth isnt everyones cup of tea.
If you have no desire to supplement the carbon then lowering the lighting is what you'll need to do.
Cutting the duration will help. Max 6 hours untill problems sorted.
But the intensity is much more important in this instance.
If you cant run the lights with only one bulb consider getting either floating plants or rooted ones that will grow to the surface and shade the others. Having the effect of lessening the co2 the rest of the plants will require.
The floating or emergent plants will not be co2 limited as they will get thiers from the atmosphere.
Make sure the ferts are not lackin in any area. Nutrient deficiencies will cause many more problems than excess.
If you decide to add co2. Read up on the estimative index method of ferts, its simple and effective.
Flow is also something you need to be aware of. Especially if you do decide to add co2.
With the lighting you have and the addition of co2 you will be able to grow pretty much what ever plants you desire. :-)
If it is growth you are comparing between the "desighner bulbs" and walmart bulbs dry weight would be the same between them.
Plants can also use green light, as they use the photons, It is not just reflected as you claim
Whenever spectrum requirements for plants is mention, we need to take the following in to consideration:
The spectrum of light from the sun varies throughout the day as it ascends and descends, due to varying filtering by the atmosphere and the angle it hits the water. This happens every single day.
Shadows from trees etc canl shade different plants for differing time periods through the day.
The depth of water varies, thus varying the degree of filtering of the spectrum.
As plants grow taller, the lower parts become shaded, experiencing a different type of light to the upper parts of the plant.
Plants exist in a light that varies day after day, and has done so for a few billion years. Plants will adapt to the light they are given, provided there is enough of it. For me, there are only two things to consider regarding lighting. Do I want to keep it simple, with no additional CO2 or ferts, or do I want a turbo growth, grow anything tank with CO2 and a fert regimen? Once I have decided my goals, I then consider the other factor....which tubes look best to my eyes.
The beauty of ignoring all the plant specific lamps balloney is that you can then buy far cheaper tubes. So much cheaper, in fact, that you can get a few different types to experiment with and keep as spares, all for the price of a rip off Grolux.;-)
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