Wanting to plant tank, what plants to get?
Soon I'm planning on ordering some fertilizer and plants online, but I have two questions.
1. What fertilizer should I buy? I saw on Dr Fosters and Smith there is a Seachem Flourish Liquid Plant Pack for around $11. Can I get this or are these not really necessary? And I was considering Seachem Root Tabs 10 Pack.
2. What plants should I stock my 15 gallon with?
It is low tech. Just a black sand substrate, a Tetra Whisper PF 10 filter, 50W heater, and a stock light that has this on it (not sure what it means lol):
Skip the combo and just get the Flourish, I think the pack includes Excel and maybe Fe, you really shouldn't need anything other than the Flourish Comprehensive Supplement. Root tabs depends on which plants you choose, good for sword and crypts for example.
Need more info on light. Fluorescent or incandescent? Not sure exactly what those numbers are, but it is probably T8 fluorescent. To verify, measure the length and diameter of the tube. One inch diameter is T8, standard 15 gallon tank is 24 in long and usually takes a 18 in long tube. Next look for writing on the tube, look for Kelvin rating, something like 6500K or if it says 'Daylight' or 'Full spectrum'. May need to get a new tube if you can't determine light output (wavelength).
Just go with Flourish comp for the fertilizer. Dosing individual nutrients is difficult even for the most experienced hobbyist, I would not recommend it for a beginner.
I also have no idea what the info you gave us for the light means. If you are looking for a budget solution for planted tank lights two clamp lights with CFL daylight bulbs work great. I used to have two of these 150-Watt Incandescent Clamp Light-CE-300PDQ at The Home Depot With these bulbs http://www.amazon.com/Lighting-Bulb-72472-Compact-Fluorescent/dp/B001MKHUPK on my 10 gal and it worked great.
Thanks guys, but I'm having trouble with the light. I'm really not sure how to take this thing out to see if i can find any info on it. This is what it looks like (and sorry the pics are so big). Also the white knob thing under it has all the info on it that I posted:
Any idea how to take it out? :P
The small white knob is the starter. No need to mess with that if the bulb is lighting up.
For the bulb: on either end of fluorescent bulbs are two small pins, when the bulb is installed those two pins are lined up horizontally (hidden by the posts that hold the bulb), to remove the bulb those pins need to be lined up vertically. Just twist or rotate the bulb until you can see the pin through the little slot in the posts that hold the bulb, then lift the bulb out. You may have to wiggle it a bit to get the second pin lined up since you won't be able to see it, but if you can get the first pin lined up it should be pretty easy. To install, just do the reverse, line up the pins vertically, slide them through the slots and rotate 90 degrees until the bulb kind of snaps into place.
If you can find printing on one end of the tube, that will help on the light.
For fertilizer I would suggest just Flourish Comprehensive Supplement. A small bottle will last a while for a 15g tank, you will only use about 1/4 of a teaspoon once a week. This is a complete balanced fertilizer. Using the individual nutrients as someone mentioned is not easy as it is harder to maintain a balance and unbalanced (light and nutrients) it can cause problems with polant growth and algae.
Suitable plants for a 15g with a T8 tube would include pygmy chain sword, crypts, Vallisneria--these are substrate plants, several are included in our profiles (second tab from the left in the blue bar). Floating plant like Water Sprite, or the stem plant Brazilian Pennywort (also in profiles, click the shaded name).
Thanks everyone. I got the bulb out and it has printed on it:
Made in Thailand
with what looks below it like a faded 41 E not sure if thats important lol
I also posted a question on Tetra website to see if they know Kelvin or anything
Also thanks Byron. I love the look of Brazilian Pennywort so I'm glad I can get it (:
Natural daylight usually means full spectrum at around 6500K, so you should be OK. Based on the sticker, the fixture was made in Aug 2011 so I assume its been in use for less than 6 months. These types of bulbs need to be replaced after12-18 months of use. It will need to be on for about 8-10 hours a day for the plants, easiest way to ensure this is to put it on a timer.
Some plants that I've had luck with under similar light:
Amazon Sword 'Compacta' – very nice little sword plant no more than about 8 inches tall
Rosette Sword – even smaller sword only a few inches tall
Java Fern – attach to rock or wood, leaves about 4-6 inches long
Anubias barteri – round leaves, very easy, attach to wood or rock, or place on substrate but don't bury rhizome
There are a few other smaller swords that would work as well, but most swords will get quite big and overgrow your tank. There are also other varieties of Anubias and most would work in your tank.
I agree with Quantum on the light (and plants too for that matter:-)). Fluorescent tubes decrease intensity as they burn, and quite fast. They must be replaced regularly, for T8 I would say 12 months. Some sources suggest up to three years, but I found my tubes at 18 months needed replacing so I would stay with 12-18 months, recognizing that the more often you replace them the better. They don't burn out for years, but as I said, the intensity of output decreases significantly. What happens then is that the plants are struggling more and more for light, to the point where they will slow down and eventually even stop photosynthesis. Along with this, algae will begin to increase because it is able to take full advantage of less intense light so it uses the nutrients that plants cannot and away it goes. This was in fact how I discovered my tubes wouldn't last past 18 months; algae suddenly began increasing, so I replaced the tubes and that was the end of the algae.
Thanks for the suggestions! Would it be possible to get java moss too? I plan on getting shrimp and they seem to like moss from what I've seen.
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