I'm new to planted tanks but I've had fish tanks since I was 6 years old. A tank was the first thing I can remember asking Santa Claus for.
I've always been bothered by why I couldn't grow aquatic plants real well. Nothing LPS every told me ever turned out true and usually they knew less than I did. After years and years(I'm 45 years old) of trying different plants I gave up but the thought still bugged me. Stumbled on these boards and poof! found a whole new world of information. I could always see light was my big limiting factor but had no idea high intensity lights exsisted. Knew about the big mh lights like professional green houses use but they were way out of my price range and seemed like overkill on a smallish tank and most are ugly to boot.
Ordered some plants, hooked up a DIY CO2 bottle and talked my husband into buying me a power compact light to fit my 29 gallon tank. The plants came, the light didn't. After a over month of diddling around with the light seller he did finally send a similar item. Had to contact ebay and paypal and complain first. He did send what is probably a better item than what was paid for.
Sent the orbit light. Guess it's taking over Custom Sealifes lighting. http://www.current-usa.com/
I had him take the actinic lights out and put 2 daylights in. I now have a kazonking 130 watts over my little 29g. I had just done a 1/2 tank water change that morning. Light just arrived and has been on the tank about 2 hrs now. Plants are starting to pearl now like crazy. They only pearled before when the sun was streaming in on the tank from the window.
I know I need deeper substrate but I'm going to be moving about 3 miles down the road from here in a few weeks. Figured they can last for a bit in my plain old gravel. I plan on having some eco-complete ready for moving day.
I have very soft, acidic water. Out of the tap it runs about 6. The Kh and GH won't read unless I add 2 heaping tablespoons of baking soda and crushed oyster shell. Haven't tested it yet today, like I said I had barely finished a major water change. Now that I've added the lights I thought I should wait a few hours. Plants are sure happy and the guppies are doing what guppies do best. I try to adjust it up to a tad above nuetral when I change water. It slowly drops back down as the co2 and whatever is in my well get working again.
I also add Kent Freshwater Plant K + FE formula at about 1/2 the recommended dose. Same with the old standby Planttabbs, 1/2 the recommended dosage. The tank only had 40 watts and whatever came in the west window (good light window for houseplants). Should I just play it by ear with fert. increases?
Is green water inevitable?
The tank itself has been set up for many years. The plants have been growing for over a month. My sunset hygro was even pink with only 40 watts. Oddly enough I didn't have much of an algae problem before. Had some bba which I kind of tolerated because at least it was a plant of sorts and alive and some brown algae along the bottom and in corners. I have 2 ttos and 2 SAE's in the tank, Several ghost shrimp, pond snails, ramshorn snails, MTS and 2 big mystery snails. They have always seemed to be able to keep things at bay without bothering plants much.
I have had watersprite and salvinia in this tank for 15 years. Only tank plants I could grow until recently.
The new plants I put in there were mostly crypts, java fern, rotala indica, some sort of apongeton that is making lots of new plants. Had a bunch of hornwort but I've slowly thinned it out as I got a little more confident. Just have a glob of it hiding some equipment in a corner now. There are some lotus bulbs too. One has some big green leaves on it. The other 3 are just barely sprouting. One with leaves was closest to the window. The others I can pretty safely say weren't getting enough light. Had them in the front so I could watch them.
Guess I'm relieved and worried all at the same time. When the new plants came the tank instantly became heavily planted. Did change my water a bit. I had to start adding things and testing once again.
The guppies are all fish that have lived and bred in my water for many generations. You have no idea how hard it is to find a healthy fancy guppy here! I hadn't had to bother testing for ages because I don't mind frequent, large water changes and could keep the tank pretty clean. Been testing since the plants arrived now.
Right now I have the light set up on it's legs. Am I better off setting it on the glass top?
Do I leave the legs on and take the glass top off?
I'm not adverse to letting the lotus climb out and try to bloom but I suppose I might loose a few shrimp that way.
Is there anything I should be on the lookout for?
Kind of strange having a nearly 40 year old question I've had answered but it's brought a few others. At least a don't think they'll irk me for a lifetime.
Can't find a nitrate test locally. Have to get one online I guess.
Ran out of epsom salts, on tommorrows grocery list. Have chickens so I always have chicken grit. My kh and gh have been running about 2 with what I've been adding. Do I take it a bit higher? Do I jeapordize the fish changing those abrubtly? I brought it to 2 over a full month. Was being cautious. You can't read it out of the tap.
Just a guess but I suspect the iron in the water is ok. Even in low light the sunset hygro was pink. I have to regularly clean the bathroom fixtures with acid to remove rust stain. Don't have iron plumbing. But is that in a form the plants can readily use[/b]? I grow a ton of land plants inside and outside the house and they do improve with a little epsom salts, never look iron starved. Are the aquatic plants really that different
What am I forgetting?
Am I just being a worry wart? I can tell a sick houseplant from a healthy one. People drive for miles to gawk at my gardens. Do I just deal with it like my land plants?