Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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toilofday 07-14-2010 07:26 PM

Blue lotus in live aquarium?
I just got in some blue lotus seeds and am looking to put them in my 55 gallon aquarium.

I'm using 4 t5HO lamps with 6000k bulbs (its what I have and I haven't researched on aquarium plant lighting) So I have 80-100 florescent watts.

The lotus is pretty easy I guess. It loves fertilizer and hard water. It also pulls oxygen out of water with its leaves and delivers it to the roots. (pretty handy)

I'm not sure what substrate to go with. It obviously doesn't need to be to airy, and it must be nutrient rich.

I'm told I need turface mvp for planted aquariums, but that's not anything like the natural soil conditions of the lotus. We're talking clay and mud.

Fish are a secondary on this tank. I'm thinking some tetras, barbs, etc... Nothing to destructive, fragile, or expensive. I just need some hardy fish to balance the ecosystem.

would algae eaters be a bad idea? Might they eat my plants?

I also would like some grasses and moss looking plants. Deadwood would be a nice addition. Can I just chuck in a dry tree limb? lol

Also I haven't looked into co2. Is it really necessary? My buddy has a 15 gallon planted and never does anything with it.

toilofday 07-14-2010 07:57 PM


Originally Posted by toilofday (Post 423841)
I'm using 4 t5HO lamps with 6000k bulbs (its what I have and I haven't researched on aquarium plant lighting) So I have 80-100 florescent watts.

So those are grow lights for plants, and I just read that grow lights cause algae blooms. However the plant has high nutrient demands, so will this be a problems? I want the lotus flowers to bloom so they will need grow lights eventually right?

Any recommendations?

Angel079 07-15-2010 03:08 PM

You will have a lil of a challenge in front yourself there...
The lights aren't bad as such, however 4 HO over a 55g will take quite a good amount of fert's and co2 to be balanced correctly and to not have algae develop, to balance that properly to that level may be a bit of a challenge.
If you don't wanna hassle with all the co2 and ferts go with lower lights. Feel free to check out all of my tanks in my log here and all of them run with no co2 others then my fish and no ferts and the plants speak for themselves and best of all I have no algae issues and no headaches nor big machines.

I grow my Lotus in fine grain gravel with no specialized fet substrate and they do very fine. The Lotus will recive the needed nutrition from the water via the leaves so I'm not sure how much anything added to the gravel/sand base would be beneficial at all.

"Algae eaters" which are commonly Pleco's do for one not even eat all algae types (so if that's why you wanna buy one, don't do it) and no they do not hurt plants.

Grasses/ Moss: Tray a carpet of hairgrass? Faster & dense growing moss would be java moss then.

toilofday 07-15-2010 07:43 PM


Originally Posted by Angel079 (Post 424262)
You will have a lil of a challenge in front yourself there...
The lights aren't bad as such, however 4 HO over a 55g will take quite a good amount of fert's and co2 to be balanced correctly and to not have algae develop, to balance that properly to that level may be a bit of a challenge.

Hey thanks for the reply. I really apreciate it.

I am slowly gathering why what you said is so, and was thinking of getting some of those trumpet snails to keep things under control.

I was thinking a medium to high fish density would keep the plants happy with co2.

I'm thinking some tetras and a hatchetfish because they like hard water which is what I have and need.

I would like a figure 8 puffer if it can survive VERY hard water. It maxed out the scale on my test strips. I need something that can eat the snails so they don't get out of hand. I also think the lotus will drop my hardness quite significantly. They love cal/mag aparently.

Would a chinese algae eater work? how about some catfish for the aglae concerns.

I found a turface dealer, and aparently the stuff is some form of clay. I didn't know that, so it should be awesome for a substrate, but I will keep gravel in mind due to simplicity, or would the clay be easier to balance?

Angel079 07-16-2010 04:01 PM

I honestly never had a single plant or wood in any of all my tanks that was absorbing sooo much that it actually dropped the KH reading for you and I'd have a hard time believing that.

I'd suggest you a liquid test kit they are a lil more pricey to first buy but last wayyy longer and most importantly they're way more accurate then these test strips. If I was to look at your water & guess your readings that's abotu how accurate these strips are.

Whatever water you indeed have and whatever size tank that's how i'd choose fish and fish that are compatible with one another. If you buy a specific fish or shrimp or anything in the hopes it will "eat" any & all algae that can develop in a tank you're misguided by someone. Simply prevent what does make alage thrive in the first place and you won't need a 'special' fish that in the end won't eat the algae anyway. Keep the tank clean, balance between plants-ferts-lights balanced well, don't overfeed, don't go way high end on lights and you won't have a algae issue develop.

toilofday 07-17-2010 12:27 AM

I didn't quite understand part of that. You have trouble believing that plants took out so much kh. (correct?)

I do know from the LFS that the kh levels in my area are around 300-400 ppm 8.5ph and high levels of chlorine

A liquid test kit is in the works, but the LFS does it for free. I should have some numbers posted tomorrow.

I see that I actually have a very significant amount of light from further research, so I will be cutting down my lights until I have flowers budding at the top of the water. Then the light increase would be necessary, plus the pads will create shaded areas.

I don't hope my snails will eat all the algea, but if I want full mature large blue lotus flowers, I have to put enough fertilizer and co2 in the tank. I still want low tec, so I'll have a mediums sized fish load to keep co2 high, but prevent de-oxygenation night, but there's high levels of waste.

I'm just concerned that in the attempt to grow the flower, i'm going to get constant high levels of algae. So I need fish the eat it up as a counter defense.

If I get it right, I can keep nutrient levels high while keeping the algae at bay

Is my plan reasonable?

mordalphus 07-18-2010 11:07 PM

Here's the thing, if nutrients, light and co2 are all at an amount that is useable by your plants, you will have very little algae, but if you have extra of ANY of those, ie. if you have high light, but low co2 and ferts, you'll have lots of algae, same with high co2 and light and low ferts, the algae will take it all first.

So I would start out with using very little fertilizer, adding more each week until you get an algae problem, then step it back to the week before levels. That's what I've had to do before.

redchigh 07-19-2010 12:17 AM

I might be partial, but I think a soil substrate would work well.

A few of the advantages of soil, are that you don't need to dose with ferts, you don't need a filter or powerhead at all, and CO2 is produced by the soil bacteria.

Admittedly, they can take a little while for them to be suitable for fish, but plants grow like wildfire.
You could also add peat to the substrate to lower the PH a bit.

Soil substrate tanks are usually set up with lighting levels close to any other low-tech aquarium, but they also need to be placed in a window.

I think your 4 bulbs would probably be a good amount of light without the window, and if not you could just as easily lower it down to 3 tubes until it grew to the surface and you wanted to trigger flowering.
(To speed up my soil substrate tank to place fish, I left the lights on 24 hrs a day for a week or two for the growth to build up)

Soil substrate tanks need a lot of plants, but you'd have to make sure they didn't shade the lotus. Hairgrass would work well, along with maybe some stem plants, and anubias and moss on your driftwood.

I would not reccomend just throwing some dry wood in your tank, because it will change your PH drastically (more than likely) and turn your water brown, not to mention it would begin to rot.

You can buy malaysian driftwood pretty cheap.

If you do a search for Diana Walstead El Natura;e planted tank you'll get about 4,000 hits describing the proccess.
I just got "Organic Choice" potting soil, added about 2 inches to my tank, added 1 inch of gravel, and added lights, a heater, and water. (of course plants too.)

Since it got established, I haven't had a single hitch. (And I only change the water once a month or so, which is quite often for a Walstead tank.)

toilofday 07-24-2010 02:43 PM


Thanks for that info it makes sense and I clearly didn't have the grasp of the planted aquarium scenario. I will do well to follow that advice.


What soil do you use? I don't mind the wait if it will work better for me. Soil was my original idea, but then I read about toxic gas build up and become concerned.

What's so special about this malaysian drift wood? It's not at all cheep in my area, and it just looks like wood. Is it petrified or calcified? I can't imagine that if I found a nice clean river, and grabbed some drift wood that I would have problems. Of course I would bake and pre-soak.

to me it seems silly to import wood that has essentially just been underwater for a long time.

I wouldn't be able to utilize a window but I can add 2 more 24"t5ho's if needed.

redchigh 07-24-2010 03:45 PM

HO's 2 more would be too much.

I use organic choice from wal-mart, but I've heard of people digging it out of their yard.

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