Plant ID, filtration, O2
This is my first planted tank. Thought I was doing well, until I read the 4 part series...ah, well. If you stop learning, etc...
I have a couple of plants whose ID I do not know. Hoping to get them ID'd so I can complete the profile for my aquarium. The second plant is having some troubles, too.
Plant 1: Appears pretty healthy.
Plant 2: Not so healthy appearing. Picture a bit blurry. Has grown new leaves, but as leaves age they become discolored brown and fuzzy. This does not wipe off when I try to clean the leaves. There is a main horizontal tuber with roots growing from the ventral surface. Is that just red algae attack? Ideas?
Since having plants, I was still having problems with elevated Nitrates (~40ppm) so i have continued to use charcoal, and just added Seachem Matrix to the charcoal bag. Also mechanical filration through sponge (Whisper 30 filter set up). I also had problems with cory catfish dying and it was suggested that there was inadequate oxygen at the tank bottom and I should add an airstone. So I did. Now reading the plant keeping info, it seems I should be using only mechanical filtration and get rid of airstone...
Requested profile info: (also have tank profile attached to my profile)
1. Tank size
20 gallon, high.
2. Watts and type of lighting
Fluorescent...rest unknown since I didn't keep box. Did say on box that it would support live plants.
3. Number and types of plants
3 moss balls, 3 aponogeton, 1 red java fern, 1 anubius hastafolia, 2 unknowns above
4. Substrate type
Gravel- mainly white with some black and neon assorted mixed in.
5. Age of tank
6. CO2 injection
7. Water Parameters
a. GH ?, KH ?, pH-8.0, NO3-5ppm, PO4 ?, Ammonia 0.25ppm, etc
Use Ap Master Test kit. Don't have test kits for GH/KH/PO4. On my shopping list now..
b. When test was performed, (after a water change, middle of the week, first thng in the morning, late at night, etc.):
Performed in the early evening 3.5 days after last water change.
8. Detailed description of plant problems
Photos above- new leaves appear healthy. Once they are a couple weeks old they develop a rusty/brown appearing covering that is also fuzzy. Will not wipe off. Is still growing new leaves. Seems focused mainly around leaf edges with spots on leaf surface. Leaf does not become thin or friable.
Did you receive that advice on the nitrates and cory from someone on this forum?
To the plants, photo 1 is probably Bacopa, I'd have to dig through my references to find the likely species as I don't know this genus well. Photo 2 seems to be Anubias. The algae means light problems.
We can sort out the light issue easily enough. There is usually some printing at one end of a fluorescent tube, can you tell me what's written there?
And, are you using any fertilizers, and if yes, which and how often?
Huh. I had suspected the first was Bacopa. The second being Anubias suprises me; must be very different than the hastafolia I have since they grow quite differently.
Found bulb info- Aqua-Glo. 18"/46cm. 18W T8. That is all that is written on the bulb anywhere. Thinking about it, the bulb is a few months old. I believe those are supposed to be replaced somewhat regularly, right?
I don't use fertilizers. I got into live planting to try and help with water quality for the fish. Interest has blossomed from there. Still trying to get the proper balance for an 'ideal' balance between fish and plant life. Still have an ultimate goal of expanding the fish population and moving to a larger tank. Just gotta figure out what I am doing first.
I would also recommend using a fertilizer. One that is good is Flourish Comprehensive. It is a liquid fertz that is well rounded it has all but 3 of the 17 nutrients that plants need. The three that are messing is hyrodgen, carbon, ? and the third one I forgot now(Byron can tell you these and if I am wrong :oops: Sorry). With that said the nutrients that are messing will come from the your tank. Some of it is in the water table. Carbon will come from C02 ( and you don't have to dose this to have it). C02 will come from the fish, bactria, and the waste that is being broke down in the aquarium. Depending on the type of plant needs will depend on the type/amounts of fertilizers. Most of the plants you have will get their nutrients from the water table soo a liquid fertilizer will work. The other types are root tablets which are best for substrate rooted plants.
The balance you talk about will only come when you have all the right ingredients ( lights/hours/nutrients for the plant). So with that I would get some fertilizer, Use the bulb you have for right now ( just till someone varies that my thinking is right or wrong), and let us know how long your lights are on during the day. Also is this tank getting direct sunlight? Once these are addressed then the algae will be easier to manage.
I agree on the light. Aqua-Glo is very low intensity. A daylight or full spectrum tube (just measure your existing tube or take it with you) with a kelvin around 6500K will improve things. And with better light, the Flourish Comprehensive once a week will probably be helpful too.
One might think that a less intense light should prevent algae, but not so. Plants need sufficient light to balance nutrients in order to photosynthesize (grow), and in weak light they struggle and algae takes advantage. So improving the light would I think be wise. And yes, they last from 12-18 months so should be replaced.
In the same series as A-G there is Life-Glo, the absolute best single tube for planted tanks. If you want to save some money, from a hardware store a daylight tube with a 6500K rating (in same length as your tube) will also work.
That Anubias, is it buried in the gravel? If the rhizome (the thick stem from which the leaves and small roots arise) is buried it may rot. Can't quite tell from the photo, but that may be the issue there.
I was very careful to be sure the rhizome on the Anubias barteri was not buried. I did not see the rhizome structure on the hastifolia and didn't realize that it was a rhizome propogated plant. The hastifolia which appears to be doing well enough does have the rhizome buried. I will correct that.
Having trouble finding a bulb in the 18" length with proper K output with greater than 15 watts. Seems inadequate wattage. Some bulbs only list the nm and watts, no K information.
I think I am going to get the 15 watt Zoomed UltraSun bulb- 6500K. Better than what I have now I am sure. Think this will do it? Also will get fertilizer mentioned above.
Should I remove the charcoal and matrix chemical filter media and stick with just mechanical? Also remove air stone so as to not deplete CO2? Or check levels first?
Also if you have enough plants for the fish load you don't need to run a airstone. In other words the plants produces oxygen as a waste product form photosynthesis. I would take it out and watch your fish's respiration as long as it isn't abnormal or they are not gasping at the surface I would leave it out. If the breathing is a problem put it back in and get some more plants. Fast growing ones will work better for that.
I concur with Boredomb's response to your last questions.
Fluorescent tubes come in standard wattages for the tube length, so just get the tube that fits. And yes, ZooMed's UltraSun is good, it is near identical to Life-Glo.
Unless a tank is overstocked (fish to water volume) you will not have oxygen problems with live plants present.
Just went to my favorite aquarium store (Blue Fish Aquarium). Decided to get some Flourish and a new bulb today rather than wait for the others I ordered to ship.
Ended up picking up a bulb rated at 18,000K, 290 lumen, 35 lux. It is a Hagen Aqua-Glo. Guess what??? It is the exact same bulb I already had...perhaps my bulb was not so lacking after all? Since the other bulb is only a few months old, perhaps I will save this new one.
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