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So let's get this party started - I just started getting into the Aquaria hobby and loved the idea of a planted tank and found out they are REALLY popular, so yup. I'm in the same boat as a lot of other people. I'll probably get a lot of questions regarding something, but I'll just take a hit and name the basics I have, I also have questions regarding to this as well and I'm not just posting my journey or general idea of what I have, so you're not just like "lolwut"

Aqaurium
Right now, I have a 55gal aquarium that's 48"

Lighting - High lighting
Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Plus Light fixture (times 2)

Co2
I currently have no Co2 setup, but I'm getting one at the end of 2013 - pressurized Co2 with 5lb tank

Fertilizer
API Leaf zone - dose once a week

Flow
The flow, the filter I have is a C-530 marineland canister filter - the outtake hose is default pointing upwards, break the surface

Substrate
50/50 mix of Amazon Cichlid sand + Eco Complete

Plants

Currently

- Nesaea Sp. Red
- Rotala Wallichii
- Alternanthera Reineckii Roseatolia
- Cabomba Palaeformis
- Dwarf Onion

Plan to get

- Anarcharis Egeria Densa
- Anubias Nana Petite
- Dwarf Onion Plant
- Blyxa Auberti
- Nesaea Pedicellata
- Riccia Flutains
- Heteranthera Zosterifolia

Fish

- Severum
- Uaru
- Geophagus
- Ram
- Gourami
- Rainbows
- Cories
- Plecos

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So yeah - that's everything, I'm about to get my Pressurized Co2 system any where between the 21-26th of November - if anyone can help me with any tips and tricks that'd be great.

I had, and still have a problem with one of my plants staying in the substrate, I tied it in a bundle pretty tight, but not enough to cut the stems, then I took that bundle and ties it to a small rock and buried it with my hand, then all of a sudden one, two, 3 stems come popping out like a day or two later...... :C

Also, I have some low light plants like sword and java fern mixed in with high lighting plants - I'm about to get another LED fixture to make it high light with my Co2, I mean, is it good or bad?
 

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Ahhhh, welcome to the green side, my friend! Looks like you have a lot to learn! Unfortunately, I have NO experience with high light, Co2, OR LED lighting, so I won't be much help to you here, but am subbing in to learn right along with you ^_^

It can be tricky finding the balance in a planted tank between lighting, ferts, and Co2, hope you can get the input you need to get your tank flourishing. :)
 

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stems are happier planted as separate stems, and NOT bunched :) They will do better if you plant them stem by stem ^__^ Are you using a tweezers? if you take the bottom of the stem and wiggle it into the substrate. then release the plant slowly by opening up the tweezers without pulling it out. THEN pull the tweezers out :)
 

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Just a couple of questions:

How long has the tank been set up, have you been using Eco-Complete from the start?
Why are you planning to upgrade lighting and go high-tech? Just to try it - or is there a reason why your current setup isn't working out for you (I/E algae problems, lack of plant growth, etc.)

And just out of curiosity:

What type of Geophagus do you keep? These are 'earth eaters' and are notorious for digging in the substrate, and disturbing the plants that live there, curious if you've had any issues along these lines?
I *think* I remember you mentioning on another thread that you have a German Blue Ram? (these are MIKROgeophagus ramirezi <3 Rams)
Also curious as to what type of Gourami, Plec, Rainbows, and Cory you have?

'course these last are mostly me being curious as to what you're keeping in that tank, and don't have much to do with lighting and plants :p Feel free to ignore me!
 

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Where did you get the idea of the mix in your substrate? That seems like a good idea. I have been using aragonite in my filter via a media bag. That is to counter the co2 (diy). So far it has worked to stablize my ph. That seems a great idea except i have heard sand is to small and anerobic. I am new to the planted tank, so i am genuinely curious how your tank goes!
 

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Also, I have some low light plants like sword and java fern mixed in with high lighting plants - I'm about to get another LED fixture to make it high light with my Co2, I mean, is it good or bad?
Also this is where I am trying to find a balance. The light I got is really bright. I love it! My red sword is so red. You have to have co2 I think with high light. I have had a wonderful growth on the plants I have, but want things to be simple for maintainence. I too have low and high light plants mixed. Some stay smaller than they normally would. The light i found is so bright and cheap! I was really impressed.


Please keep us posted on your tank!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
stems are happier planted as separate stems, and NOT bunched :) They will do better if you plant them stem by stem ^__^ Are you using a tweezers? if you take the bottom of the stem and wiggle it into the substrate. then release the plant slowly by opening up the tweezers without pulling it out. THEN pull the tweezers out :)
@aokashi - No, no, no - That plan sucks 360 degrees all the way around - I tried that right when I got my new plants in - they ALL floated up practically! Also the other plants stems started to get crushed and somewhat cut under the pressure of the tweezers, I just use the most important tool a chef uses - his hands!
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@Chesh - it's been like 9 months from when I did a fishless cycle on it, so it's probably been 6 months with a hardscape and ornamental fish, also, it's funny because I bought a couple of swords and java fern from Petsmart and they were slowly dying, but saved them thanks to the extra lighting, eco-complete, and fertilizer (got all that at the same time)

I've only been using Eco-complete for like a month now, maybe a month and a half, got the substrate JUST before I got the other plants. I want to get the Co2 and extra lighting for my plants that aren't growing, right now my swords and java moss are having a party so I don't need to worry about them so much, it's the others that just won't do anything, they're just stagnant.....

The one geophagus I currently have is a brasiliensis - oh and that's SICK how a ram is basically a micro geophagus, I never thought about that

*Ignoring* hahaha
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@catzmuze - Well I actually wasn't planning on mixing the two at first because I was originally going to do just a hardscape for the more veracious central american cichlids.....it didn't work out, my jewel cichlid almost killed the jack dempsey

So now I'm doing peaceful cichlids that do much, much better in planted tanks and plan to stay on this route

Also, about the sand......yeah, I'm starting to have some funky growth - Aw! And that's another question! About the growth in the sand, how do you manage that or will the plants use it??? IDK

My lights too were are really snazzy and cheap - it had a 4.5 star on Amazon and love it
 

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HAHA! I never use tweezers on my big tanks, either - but they have proven sooooo handy with smaller setups and dirted tanks, as well as with my terrariums. . . they do take a bit of getting used to, tho >.<

Your swords - are they common swords? They will do well in lower lighting, as will the java ferns, and mosses. . . all of these grow well for me in my low-light 55, but I don't do so well with stems in there - I grew Cambomba very well in a lower tank, but with the taller 55 I can't keep it anymore. . . again, I don't know much about higher light or LED, but this all leads me to believe that your current lighting *may* not be as high as you think?

. . . do you have the exact type of light that you have? I can maybe look into it and see what I can dig up? If you add a 2nd light, it may just bring you up into med/high light, it's hard for me to say, because I have no experience with LED! But you'll want to go slowly. I'd suggest perhaps adding more light, and holding off on the Co2 to see where that gets you first. Adding Co2 without the lights bright enough to balance it can cause you a world of trouble, in and of itself - but again, my experience is in low light tanks. . .

Another thing to consider with the sword plants is that these are heavy root-feeders, and so if you were not adding root tabs as an added fertilizer by the bases of these, they wouldn't have been getting enough nutrients with only the liquid ferts. The addition of eco-complete would be providing them with the nourishment that they need from their roots, so their rebounding makes perfect sense :) Glad to hear they are doing well. . .

Funky growth. . . how??? Do you have a picture you can show, or can you explain it with a bit more detail? If it is brown, it is likely to be diatoms, and may clear up on it's own - this happens often in a newly built tank, or in your case newly re-built ^_^ If it is dark green, it may be cyanobacteria, which is more of a green slime. This is usually caused by excess organics in the tank, try cleaning your filter, cutting down on feeding, upping water changes, and vacuuming the substrate lightly to remove waste. Just keep it as clean as possible in there and see if it clears up. Do the nitrates in this tank run high?

I dunno! Hope you find something in here that helps out, man!
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
@aokashi - Haha, lol - I made sure I was using the actual tweezers, I made sure the scissors were still in the drawer
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@Chesh - lol, I have no idea if they're common swords, I think they are, ha. See and that's why I need higher lighting, because I'll be much more comfortable and can grow much more plants.

". . . do you have the exact type of light that you have?" lolwut

And yeah, I think you're right, I would be getting medium/high lighting. Oh well, good start though! For me

About the funky growth - it's definitely a rusty looking brown, kind of looks powdery or moldy......ew
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Also! I made 7 steps I'm going to be using to get great success from the get-go and so I'm not monkey F'n around like I just did with my 55gal, this will be for my 120gal upgrade for years down the road:

1) Get tank, than get a 50/50 mix of powder and course plant substrate

2) Fishless cycle

3) Make hardscape - Driftwood and Rocks

4) Create florascape with easy, very hardy, tough hardy plants that are cichlid proof/resistant

5) Equipment hook up for plants, lights, dosing ferts, Co2

6) Let plants grow in, root, fill out

7) Introduce fish
 

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Alright - Hello!!! Anyone there!?


I learned that if you have low light, anywhere between 10-30 PAR you don't need Co2 at all, if your lighting is medium, between 30-80 PAR than Co2 is optional and if you have high lighting, 80-120 PAR Co2 is necessary.

Because my light singular only has about 26 PAR at 20" for the height of my aquarium, if I get another Current USA Satellite LED Plus, my PAR will be about 52.

I don't know if this is to interest you, but for future reference when dealing with Co2 - you won't need a Air Stone or Surface Skimmer because both of them will bring in Oxygen therefore drive off the Co2 the plants need. Also a Drop Checker is very important and make sure you observe the fish in case they're breathing hard and go towards the surface looking for oxygen.

I got little to no help about burying the plants, other than the three methods

1.) Tie to small rocks and bury by hand
2.) use reef putty to "glue" plant stems to anchor of choice, and bury by hand
3.) use a ball sponge, soak in mud, cut halfway, put plant in it, bury by hand

Although they did tell me to only bundle the plants into a couple stems and space them out so each stem has enough light and aren't competing.

Apparently, doing a fishless cycle is pointless and you should do a Silent cycle instead or clone.....I still haven't gotten around to see what those two are about.

Also Chesh, when you get around do dry fertilizers (like me) It'll be a pain in the *** because you have to test for the stuff in your water first and than with the ferts, you'll just add that to whatever is already in your water. Might have to fertilize everyday or once a week and there's no set dosing. So here's the rundown the guy said at the other thread:

Dosing: estimative index(EI)

Websites: Green Leaf Aquariums (and) aquariumfertilizer.com

3 Macro nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium

Dosing types to the aquarium: Potassium nitrate - Mono Potassium Phosphate - Potassium Sulfate

micro/trace elements fertilizer: CSM+B

GH, KH, and nitrate when using Dry fertilizers
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From greenleafaquariums.com - you need or want to get a bag of each fertilizer so it'll last you about a year or so, or more.

I chose that site because it's the prettier out of the two, and I like whatever I'm doing or around to look pretty. Did I mention I like pretty stuff?

But yeah, that's all the stuff I accumulated over there, and puked it back over here
 

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I thought 60 PAR was highlight XD might be outdate info from way back when :p

I have highlight, but i don't do CO2. It's really a choice... not a necessity. it only becomes necessary when you are trying to grow very specific plants and even then CO2 can't grow everything >.<

I want some pictures of your tank! lol


Sent from Petguide.com App
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I thought 60 PAR was highlight XD might be outdate info from way back when :p

I have highlight, but i don't do CO2. It's really a choice... not a necessity. it only becomes necessary when you are trying to grow very specific plants and even then CO2 can't grow everything >.<

I want some pictures of your tank! lol
Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's old, where did you read that from because I think PAR is actually a brand new way to look at lighting. So somebody might have just scaled it wrong. Also yeah, I think Co2 could be totally optional in all cases is just that there might be an algae bloom and from what I heard you do need Co2 because at the plants soak in my light they need more Co2 to photosynthesis.

I'll post pics some time, probably right after I get my Co2 hooked up (which all the pieces came in yesterday, really excited) and the extra light with more plants because I barely have any
 

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it was from this, evidently opinions... but I dunno who can legitimately classify these stuff.
(you'll have to google the quote the source since I'm not allowed to link there here ;) )


"LOW LIGHT, MEDIUM Light, HIGH LIGHT

I don't believe there is any consensus about the definition of low, medium and highlight. But, here is my definiition, subject to, and almost certain to change:
Low light - 15-30 micromols of PAR - CO2 is not needed, but is helpful to the plants
Medium light - 35-50 micromols of PAR - CO2 may be needed to avoid too many nuisance algae problems
High light - more than 50 micromols of PAR - pressurized CO2 is essential to avoid major algae problems"


Last time I measured my cfl light was sitting at about 60 PAR at substrate level. I haven't measured my LED yet, but plan to do so in a couple of weeks when I can borrow the PAR meter again ^__^

I love light and have been experimenting with very bright lighting in low tech tanks. for the most part algae isn't a problem once the tank is established with the right choice of plants. But I don't have any data to back anything up and it's more of a personal preference/thing =P and I honestly don't recommend my methods to anyone!

The only advice I got for you about CO2 set ups is to refill early to avoid end of tank dumps. Most of my friends run CO2 systems and a few have lost their stock to EOTD:(

CO2 isn't the complete solution to algae, good steady CO2 levels are :) definitely start with a good number of plants! healthy plants in general keep algae blooms away!

...and pics pics pics! *ish excited too*
 

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heehee, thanks for digging up the info, Squatch! Sorry to have been absent, been a busy week. . .
lol, I don't intend to get into high tech ever. . . but you never know!

Can't wait for pics!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
@aokashi - LOW LIGHT, MEDIUM LIGHT, HIGH LIGHT

1.) http://i573.photobucket.com/albums/ss176/Hoppycalif/PARvsDistVariousBulbs2.jpg

2.) http://www.monsterfishkeepers.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=494700&d=1274908825

3.) http://www.redcherryshrimp.net/wp-c...-freshwater-LED-Plus-redcherryshrimp.net_.pdf

4.) http://i573.photobucket.com/albums/ss176/Hoppycalif/PARvsDistance-T5.jpg

5.) http://www.inda-gro.com/pdf/aquarium-lighting.pdf

6.) http://img717.imageshack.us/img717/6848/newparvsdist.jpg

7.) http://breedbay.co.uk/gallery/data/1375/par_chart.JPG

8.) http://img717.imageshack.us/img717/6848/newparvsdist.jpg

9.) http://i573.photobucket.com/albums/ss176/Hoppycalif/PARforVariousBulbs.jpg

10.) http://i573.photobucket.com/albums/ss176/Hoppycalif/PARSUMMARY.jpg

11.) http://i573.photobucket.com/albums/ss176/Hoppycalif/PARMeaning.jpg

12.) I don't believe there is any consensus about the definition of low, medium and highlight. But, here is my definiition, subject to, and almost certain to change:
Low light - 15-30 micromols of PAR - CO2 is not needed, but is helpful to the plants
Medium light - 35-50 micromols of PAR - CO2 may be needed to avoid too many nuisance algae problems. High light - more than 50 micromols of PAR - pressurized CO2 is essential to avoid major algae problems"

13.) "Say 50 micomol or less, 120 or less, 200 or higher. This at the tip of the plant, not the bulb or the surface of the water etc. "

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See there's a lot of variation ( I stopped at lucky #13 because I couldn't find anything else) so yeah, I'll be averaging them or what not to see where it actually is. I probably don't have to because I'm pretty sure my first assumption is correct:

Low Light - 10 to 30

Medium Light - 30 to 80

High Light - 80 to 120
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That is the the MOST important info you could give me, the EOTD, I was going to ask, when should I stop the Co2 flow and go refill?

Or if I want my money's worth, how do I deal with an EOTD, do i put it to one bubble per second, should I put another valve to have a stable flow when it EOTD?

I have no idea, maybe you could answer those questions, or bring someone over here and solve that problem, that would be great!
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@Chesh - What!? Didn't you say you wanted to follow this thread to learn more about planted tanks?

It isn't rocket science to do a low tech planted tank, it takes a bit more finesse for high tech
 

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I must make a disclaimer here, I can only tell you what I hear/ read ;) by no means is any of this personal experience. Even though i'm surrounded by hobbyists who love their CO2, I love my lowtech. I also love to experiment with everything I can do wtihout CO2, like i mentioned before - extremely bright lighting and making it "look" high tech etc ;) and as for finese and rocket science. CO2 isn't really rocket science either! you just need a combination of the right stuff ^_^ My boy friend knows nothing about fish keeping. He went out and got everything the instructions told him to get to run a high tech tank... and he still doesn't know anything about fish keeping! his high tech tanks are doing great! lolol

Back to the EOTD. What i've heard is that A dual stage regulator or a really good needle valve is a good preventative measure. CO2 tanks should be refilled when you see a drop in pressue, as it is the sudden loss of pressure that causes EOTD. Lemme grab someone who runs a CO2 tank for ya! :p
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Haha, thanks for the disclaimer, about the rocket science, I was just trying to make a point. Are there any photos of your boyfriends tank? I would like to see that!

Hmmmm, well I would like to get the most out of my tank until it's completely empty, and thank so much about the Dual stage regulator and the other option is the really good needle valve. Got it, Also thanks for trying to get someone over here, really helps
 

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haha, he's in Japan. so no pics of his tank here :p He got himself an ADA tank set and CO2 system. IMO ADA is uneccessarily overpriced... but, meh...he was really lost when his HM exploded in growth and took over the tank, because he wanted the HC to carpet.

There's a lot of fascinating low tech experiments out there. I have a friend who grows all kind of challenging plants ranging from buces to erios... He actually uses medium lighting.On top of the CO2 he does his magic with the right mixture of substrate and ferts.

edit: I don't know whether you can tell but we're super excited to see someone get a CO2 tank up and running, hence the demand for PICS XD we really need to see more of those! (Ofcourse none of us are willing to do CO2 ourselves!)

Sent from Petguide.com App
 

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@Chesh - What!? Didn't you say you wanted to follow this thread to learn more about planted tanks?
It isn't rocket science to do a low tech planted tank, it takes a bit more finesse for high tech
I never said it was rocket science!!!
I really have no interest in setting up a hi-tech tank. . . but I like to read and learn about other things, too >.<
I've left wiggle room in my 125g plans for a JIC, but I don't see myself wanting to go that route - at least not anytime soon. Hopefully I'll have a loooong life of tanking ahead of me to change my mind!


I see you found Hoppy's charts. Good stuff there! He's helped me out a lot in the past, and recently gave TFK permission to reprint his article on lighting, so watch for that (it'll save you link time!), as well as another on LED lighting! *ish happy*

Seriously can't wait to see your tank grow, grow, GROW!!! And am looking forward to learning all I can from your experiences! Keep up the good work.





. . .and yesssss - picsssss! ^__^
 
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