Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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stiltman 09-20-2009 10:04 PM

new to plants need advice
Howdy all,

I have a 75 gallon perfecto that has been running for over 3.5 years (with no bulb changes).

My pH is currently 6.4, kH around 5. No ammonia. Haven't tested for nitrates or nitrites in recent memory. I have 6 cories and 4 ottos. I have 2 big pieces of driftwood and 3 small pieces. that's it for now.

Out of the tap my water is around 6.5 kH around 4.

i am interested in plants, but don't want to add a lot of maintance to my routine. i am thinking of purchasing an RO or RO/DI unit.

From my beer making days I have a nice big tank of CO2 and a regulator.


1. What else will I need to inject CO2 to my tank and how much will it cost.

2. Is CO2 injection necessary?

3. What type of plants are the lowest maintence and good for beginners.

4. What type of routine will I be looking at?

Thanks much

Oh yeah....I am thinking of adding a large school of neons or cardinals to the tank if that makes a difference.

teddyzaper 09-20-2009 11:10 PM

im new to planted tanks (just setup) and from what others told me Co2 isnt necesary for most plants. right now all i do is some trimming and organizing (10min max a week) and when a plant gets to big u separate it. i add fertalizer per water change so 1nce a week. u will need to buy some fertalizer though. they come in tablets or liquid. i use liquid although some ppl use tablets because it helps the algea stay under control and the plants grow out more. if u have some driftwood i would really recomend u attach something to it. there are some post on how to attach but simple tie a plant that can grow on wood onto it with some thread... there are some plants that require u to put it on driftwood but it can get expensive. i think some rummmy noes tetras would be so cool they have a red noes and a striped black and white tail. that is what i have in my tank. also i would recomend testing for nitrates and nitrites as soon as possible cause that could do a lot of harm to ur fishies. you also need a new light build at least around 70watts. i have 65 watts on my 5 gal. if u want i will post a thread right after i finish this showing my tank and what im planning on doing with it. wow i really need to learn how to organize into paragraphs. byron will probably help u with anything i missed, he is the fish guru lol.

stiltman 09-20-2009 11:14 PM

thanks a lot teddy. i'd love to see your tank.

Byron 09-21-2009 10:49 AM

Stiltman, teddyzapper has covered the basics so I'll expand a bit.

You have perfect water for plants and most fish except livebearers and rift lakes; cardinals and neons will thrive in a planted tank with your water parameters.

Your light will need upgrading. Assume it is fluorescent (tube), how many tubes in the fixture, and what wattage are they (this is shown at one end of the tube)?

Forget the CO2 and RO units; they are a complete waste of money. In 15 years of planted aquaria I have never used either, and you can see the result in the photos under my "Aquariums." I have two 40w tubes full spectrum over each tank, which equates to less than 1 watt per gallon. I add liquid fertilizer twice a week (once or twice depends upon the plants, fishload, light--it has to balance). Fish provide the CO2, and the lights are on for 12 hours each day (timer). Algae is minimal.

Stem plants require the most work, and take more light and might require CO2 because they are faster growing, but some (like the Brazilian Pennywort in my 115g and the Wisteria in my 70g) manage fine without all this. Rooted plants (swords, crypts, aponogetons, anubias, sagitarria, vallisneria...) stay much as you lant them and require little maintenance and do fine without CO2. I have 8 species of sword in my 90g and 7 species in my 115g. I do a 40-50% partial water change every week (this is for the fish really) and I do any plant pruning then; but this normally amounts to thinning out the pygmy chain swords and the odd dead leaf.

I may have more suggestions when I know your light info.


stiltman 09-21-2009 07:31 PM


2 tubes of flourescent light (stock ballast/hood). the tubes are 32 watts each.

Thanks for the advice.

Byron 09-21-2009 08:15 PM


Originally Posted by stiltman (Post 246439)

2 tubes of flourescent light (stock ballast/hood). the tubes are 32 watts each.

Thanks for the advice.

I'm assuming the tank is the standard 4-feet in length, and the tubes are the standard 48-inch (47 actually, but called 48), so two of these is adequate provided the type is full spectrum or a similar combination. Usually the tubes will be 40 watts, although Zoo Med make good tubes that are 32 watts, which may be what you have. But they need replacing, as the light intensity of all fluorescent tubes diminishes significantly after about three months, and most agree they need replacing every 12 months; they will still light, but the light is so weak the plants cannot manage.

Full spectrum is around 6500K and comparable to the mid-day sun. A tube that is strong in the blue, red and green colours of the spectrum is best; the plants need blue and red, but the green balances them and the colours of the plants and fish appear natural. Hagen makes a good tube called Life-Glo 6700K, and Zoo Med makes one called Ultra Sun 6700K (maybe 6500K, I'm going from memory). The Phillips 6500K Ultra Daylight is also good.

Most of the so-called "Aqua-" or "Flora-" tubes are high in the blue and red but not green, so the effect is purplish and the colours are not true. They are also weaker in intensity.


stiltman 09-22-2009 09:32 PM

Yes, they are the standard 48 inches.

My bulbs read 32 watts on each. On the back of my hood it reads "67 watts". Will my hood be able to handle 2 40 watt bulbs? It is the standard Perfecto hood/ballast that came with the tank.

Byron 09-23-2009 10:16 AM


Originally Posted by stiltman (Post 247163)
Yes, they are the standard 48 inches.

My bulbs read 32 watts on each. On the back of my hood it reads "67 watts". Will my hood be able to handle 2 40 watt bulbs? It is the standard Perfecto hood/ballast that came with the tank.

That may refer to whatever tubes came with the hood. Standard 48-inch tubes should be fine in any dual-tube fixture. Just make sure they are full spectrum, as I described previously.


stiltman 09-23-2009 04:56 PM



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