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Old 02-27-2004, 06:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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I have been into gardening for a while and just recently stated keeping fish. What better way to combine my hobbies than a planted tank, right? Wrong! I do not have a wet green thumb. Well I might, but with all the equipment involved I may not be able to afford one! I am trying desprately to plant my 29 gallon community tank. I have a few micro swords an amazon sword (I know it will get BIG), some kind of anubias, and some anacharis. My problem seems to be lighting. I think I need more. I have a marineland hood that came with the "Walmart special". It only has one bulb in it. So...do I need a new lighting fixture or a whole new hood? I was also toying with the idea of CO2, but I don't plan on keeping very difficult plants. I just want some grass-like plants in the foreground and hygrophilia difformis (sp?) in the back, maybe one decorative plant. Please help and keep in mind...I'm already broke from all the fish I buy. I want quality at a good price..not neccissarily top of the line. Thanks in advance!
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Old 02-28-2004, 03:02 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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You may want to buy "The Ecology of the Planted Aquarium" by Diana Walstad, available at the Aquatic Gardeners Association at:
http://www.aquatic-gardeners.org/

She explains an inexpensive method to keep plants that works well. No external co2 needed. It is the best book on keeping aquatic plants ever written.

But you really need 2 Watts per gallon. You can probably outfit your hood with a 55 W bulb. Aquarium Hobbyist Suppply has the retrofit kits. They are at: http://ahsupply.com/index.html

Let us know how things work out.

Steve Pituch
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Old 02-28-2004, 05:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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I agree with what Steve has advised. I think lighting would be you most cost effective improvement option, especially if you are even halfway handy at basic wiring and possess even entry level woodworking skills (or know someone who is).

CO2 will improve almost any and all plant growth in any tank but it will also kick basic chemical reactions and relationships within a tank into the desirable "acid" range.

Bobo -- moderator
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Old 02-29-2004, 12:00 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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I have a new light on the way! It's a dual flourescent, only $30. I'm going to get good bulbs for it..any suggestions on that? I didn't get the compact one, I figure I will move up to that as my skills improve and I get more needy plants. I also ordered some liquid fertilizer. I read somewhere that the tabs were better, but the tabs for sale were for pond plants and I wasn't sure this would work...
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Old 02-29-2004, 03:42 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Great on the lighting. Did you try to get at least 2 x 29 = 58 Watts? The best looking bulbs are the the daylight range, either 5000K or 6500-6700K. I like the 6500 to 6700K color bulbs the best as they are like daylight at noon.

What kind of fertilizer did you get? The best and cheapest way is to buy the powdered chemicals from Greg Watson at:
http://www.gregwatson.com/
One pound each of KH2PO4, KNO3, and CSM+B will last you for years and cost about $15.

Steve Pituch
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Old 02-29-2004, 09:37 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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From experience, pounds of dry chemicals are hardly necessary for a tank with 2 wpg --especially one with 2 wpg normal flourescent lighting. The best, most cost effective options right now are 1) lighting 2) a convenient liquid fertilizer like Flourish or Kent Plant Supplement and 3) DIY CO2.

There is no need to start fiddling with nitrate, phosphate, and potassium. With your amount of light, just add Flourish at the recommended amounts and keep a decent number of fish. Feed them well and the fish will do a good job of fertilizing the tank for you for those other nutrients (nitrate, phosphate).

DIY CO2 will be a huge plus. Would you like to know how to mix a batch up? It only involves a 2 liter coke bottle, airline tubing, silicon sealant, yeast, water, and sugar. You can feed it right into your filter or even make a little DIY reactor if your handy. It would greatly improve the health and vigor of your plants.

Carlos
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Old 02-29-2004, 07:22 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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I got flourish liquid fertilizer and have my tank pretty well stocked with fish that are s'posed to be "nice" to plants. For now I just got the bulbs that came with the light. My husband is gonna make me a reflector put of some polished aluminum that he has. I may as well have him rig up the CO2 while he's at it...I have looked at several DIY things for CO2 and it looks easy enough
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Old 03-01-2004, 09:31 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Yes easy...and a great way to start things out. Hmm...if your husband can build a reflector for you... test him and see if he can build you some pc or t8/t12 ballast systems. Let's see how man he is. J/k! :P I can't even do it yet...but anywayz. I'm sure he could do it with the written resources online if he can build a reflector. Good Luck with everything and WELCOME to APC!!!
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