Flora-based substrate for planted aquariums?
My aquarium plants have been having some troubles lately. Im thinking its the lighting that is the main issue but I am also considering new fertilizers and such.
Ive been reading into flora=based substrates and was wondering if anyone here uses it? And how your results have been?
And a dumb question... does it dissolve over time? Im going to be setting up a home-brew Co2 setup on Tuesday and have been using Flourish Excel on the tank.
That's gonna be a lot of messy effort on a running tank there you're getting yourself into.
I donno all your details, but maybe it'll help you to know I ran all my tanks with no special plant substrate, no CO2 no fancy nothing, but good water, weekly exchanges and appropriate light.
Within this thread you can see some of my tanks: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...r-31628/page2/
My results with my set up, all tanks & plants needed trimming at least 1x week if not 2x on my 55g to avoid them growing outta my tanks .
If I was in your shoes, I'd adjust the lighting to the details of your tanks needs and see what happens. I'd try a LOT things first before I'd put all this hassle & effort in a running tank (and not to speak of the $ involved there)
I'm with Angel on this issue. You don't indicate which plant species you have, but I can assure you than the majority of aquarium plants will thrive in a tank without added CO2 and enriched substrates, provided the light is adequate (in intensity and duration) and the required 17 nutrients are available to the plants. In addition to Angel's tanks, have a look at the photos of my aquaria to see examples of what can be achieved with a low-tech or natural method.
I once experimented with laterite (an iron nutrient) under the gravel; the plant growth in this tank fared no better than in the tanks without laterite. I now use root tab/stick fertilizers for those plants that can benefit from having the nutrients closer to the roots, such as Echinodorus, Cryptocoryne and similar. These plants are largely bog plants in their habitat, spending half the year emersed. Their root systems are consequently the prime source for obtaining nutrients, and swords (Echinodorus) are heavy feeders. For plants without extensive substrate root systems, such as stem plants, floating plants and species like Java Fern and Anubias that attach themselves to wood and rocks, substrate fertilization is practically speaking useless.
If you are having problems with your plants, there is a reason. As you appear to have been using Flourish Excel, a carbon supplement, it has the same benefit as CO2, so adding a CO2 dispenser will not help if the Excel is not helping. A bit more information would allow us to diagnose the trouble. What type of light (assuming fluorescent, what is the name of the tube and wattage), what size is the tank (volume and length), and what plants do you have/want. Are you using any fertilizers, and if so, which and how often.
I am Synthisis girlfriend ... and quite frankly I can probably tell you more about his tank lol. I helped him plant it originally. Synthisis has a 29 gallon community tank with (he thinks is) a 24 watt CFL tube light in the hood. It is the light that came with Aqueon kit. This is the kit he is using: Aqueon Deluxe 29 Gallon Aquarium Kit
He has the light on for 11 hours a day also. He has an amazon sword plant, some green and brown (separate plants) wendtii crypt, and if I remember correctly corkscrew grass. If it isn't corkscrew it is very similar. I had him using API leaf zone (only because it is all Petsmart had...). He uses 10-15ml once a week of this. He began using the Flourish Excel when he began having a staghorn algae issue. His plants took off with use of this when he first started it. He also has Flourish Root tabs in for the Amazon sword plant. The algae problem has since left...he got rid of that a few weeks ago. If you need any other information just post it. Hope this helps you guys.
Correction, the light is the original 17watter.
Im aware I am low on lighting output. However things ahve been fine for the past 3 months or so and this has just recently kicked off.
I moved some things around to get light better and now this has happened. Nothing I moved is taking an ill effect, only the larger plants.
Here's a picture of the tank.
Currently running the hanging filter system that came with it.
Here's a photo that shows the said issue. Grass is showing it more, noticed spotting on the leaves last week. Amazon is starting to show signs of it as well on several leaves. Then the leaves jsut start "melting" away.
GOSH that is a lotta stuff you've put in that tank over time on chemicals!
Here's what I'd do if it was my tank (and that's really only my opinion from the experience I made in my tanks)
1) Stop all these chemicals
2) Buy a new bulb that's at least 6500K and ~ 40 watts (actually I may go higher as its only a single light right?)
3) Weekly 40% water exchange
On a side note "everything's been fine" I don't wanna sound harsh, but no it hasn't plants not growing right and algae developing is a strong sign your eco system is outta wack for one reason or another. Adding all the stuff does indeed treat the symptoms but it will more then likly not eliminate the cause of it. And in the long run it will be MUCH easier (and not to mention cheaper) for you guys to eliminate the cause of all this.
Another helpful info would be: What is the tank stocked with? How often do you feed (and what)?
Judging from the picture it doesn't appear overstocked, but it could well be that you also overfeed (will also throw your system outta weck).
Awesome thou you both care about the tank!
As this is a 29g tank, I'll assume the length is 30 inches. The light fixture is a single fluorescent tube, and the wattage will be the standard for the size of tube that fits the fixture. You didn't name the tube (this is written at one end of the tube), so before I suggest a new one I'd like to know what the present one is; it may be OK. Aside from the problem ones, the plants look quite good to me in the photos. I suspect this is a nutrient issue, and certainly the large sword is showing beginning signs of this.
All of the named plants and those I can tell from the photo will do fine in moderate light (one tube). They do not need added CO2, and the single tube will not balance CO2 anyway, so I would forget that.
The Excel has been adding carbon but the light hasn't balanced, and perhaps the other nutrients. To be successful, any planted tank must be in balance with respect to the light and nutrients; nutrients includes CO2, macro-nutrients and micro-nutrients. Plants can only photosynthesize (grow) when all of this balances; if any one of these is in excess, or is insufficient, the plants basically stop photosynthesizing, and at that point other problems can occur like algae making use of the excess nutrients or whatever.
Root fertilizer next to the swords is fine; these are heavy feeding plants, and feed primarily through their roots (being mostly bog plants in their habitat). Supplemental liquid fertilizer is OK if it is complete, that is, a balanced comprehensive fertilizer. We can go more into this when I know the light specifics because the nutrients can't exceed the light.
And no, my tank isnt over stocked. I have room for another 5 fish if you figure 1gallon per inch of fish.
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