Refining the balance or need to replace my bulb?
So I have noticed lately that my plants are not booming like the did months ago. Not to say they are not healthy, but they now take much longer to grow. I would like to see them fill in more as a result of better/faster growth. I would even go as far to say I would enjoy the extra work needing to trim them in my weekly maintenance. I have been reading as much as I can. I have concluded that either my 15W life-glo is due for replacing (about 9 months old) OR because I have increased the amount of plants to a point where the natural CO2 in the tank is not sufficient enough for plants to thrive. The later reason, as I have read, may also be in part to my hard tap water (tap pH is ~7.9, tank pH ~7.4) because the carbonate harness of the water binds carbon dioxide.
My tank is 10 gallons and has 7 zebra danios and a betta. Temperature 74-76. I would like to remain "low-tech" (No CO2 injection) if possible. Would adding more fish/shrimp be a natural way to boost the CO2 to give plants a little pep-talk into growing more? Or is my life- glo bulb loosing its mojo?
Many have replaced bulbs after a year or so. I have one tank still growing plants and have yet to replace the bulb as long as you fertilize your plants add it after your weekly water change 24 hours and let the fishes waste and the nature of the plant to decide if your conditions are ideal. I think you sometimes go through a period when plants just need to grow all on there own and the less you think about it the more it will grow. I personally love when this happens as trimming and pruning weekly becomes a bit of a nusaince sometimes. I am just saying that the balance may have changed a little from your plants growing something you may be doing differently. I believe that there are times it can be the light as well but not always and if you would like your plants to grow just trim them a little and when you uproot the plants trim anywhere from a 1/4" to 1/2"of what you have buried in your substrate so plants could quickly grow again on there own. I always also trim the roots of the plant to have the plant species regrow again when this happens. Depending on which plants you have this also may be a factor some anubias plants tend to grow slower than most plants. Some are just hard to keep up with examples are Hornwort, Egaria Densa, and other plants like floating plants are somewhat plants that seem to overgrow when you least want them to grow.
Jason has covered it, perhaps I may be permitted to expand a little bit.
All plants need a rest period. In temperate regions, they die down to the ground in winter. In tropical regions they slow their growth. I have noted for more than 15 years that Echinodorus species all go through regular periods of growth (new leaves, inflorescences) and periods of little growth (few or no new leaves, and no inflorescences). As best as I can recollect (I don't "take notes";-)) this occurs once or sometimes twice during the year. And the extent of the growth phase can vary, from a few leaves to many leaves, one inflorescence to 3 inflorescences, etc.
Second on the light; fluorescent tubes diminish in intensity quite rapidly as they burn. The older T12 gave out very quickly, less than six months (according to Karen Randall who suggested that replacing them after six months was preferable, but staggering them if one had 2 in the fixture would work if they had to go the 12-months distance). The thinner T8 tubes are more efficient, use slightly less energy, and produce somewhat brighter light with less energy; Diana Walstad and some others recommend replacing these every 3 years. But only today I was reading in PFK that all fluorescent tubes should be replaced every six months or at least no less than once a year. I have no scientific data on these opinions, so I mention them for information.
I always replaced my former T12 tubes every year, and that seemed to work. I have let my T8 tubes go longer, they are now in their second year, and some increasing algae makes me think this may be the reason. It is certainly known that when fluorescent tubes weaken to the point of providing insufficient light intensity for plants, that algae will increase. The old balance idea i write about so frequently. Light and nutrients must be balanced for the needs of the plants or they cannot photosynthesize fully. If algae has started to increase, that may indicate time to replace the tube. Personally I would go 12 months minimum with a T8 Life-Glo; my Life-Glo's are now at month 18 but I am wondering...
On the CO2, with the fish you have in a 10g you have no need for CO2. The bacteria in a healthy tanks produces more CO2 than the fish do, and with 7 zebra and a Betta you have a lot of fish in a 10g. [Btw, Zebra danios really should have more space, they are active swimmers, and a 24-inch tank is considered minimum.]
Thank you both for you replies. I did not even begin to think plants would go through phases. It is clear to me now during the winter season, despite california's constant weather, means a time of less growth. The plants must have their own biological clock that rhymes with the seasons. So I wait for spring and hopefully the awaking of my plants growth period. A lesson in patience then. That is always worth learning.
I will also keep an eye on that fluorescent tube, just in case. However, I don't know what to do about the danios. They are active little guys though they appear to be happy and it appears that all gets along well. I will have to look into a local fish club about trading or selling them perhaps.
Again thank you both Jason and Byron.
Don't forget the option most of us follow--one can always get another (larger) tank.:lol:
Seriously, the danio would be fine in a 20g long or even a 15 that is 24-inches in length, and the Betta could remain in the 10g. This is another possible concern, I would not be at all surprised if the danio start nipping the Betta, so keep an eye on their behaviour.
Hehe Byron, dont tempt me! I have a 29 sitting empty :-( in the garage. I even have several ideas drawn out for bigger tanks :-) but I will have to move soon :-\ for school, the commute will be impossible soon with 8 hours of class. It will make things tough as it is, financially, spatially, and in so many other ways. When I am done with school, there will be many many happy fish ;-)
I have been watching fins careful as per your advice on another thread. Still, will keep the eyes open. I'm planning to move the betta to a 2.5g as soon as I find a filter that is adequate. A guy at petco just recommend me to petsmart oddly enough - says they have the redsea nano filter which will be great for something that small. Then there will be peace for both the zebras and the betta :-)
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