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Old 06-05-2008, 10:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Massive Help Needed Please

I hate for this to be real long but I want to try to explain everything clearly...

I've got two tanks, a 10g and a 40g breeder. Right now I'm just talking about the 10g tank because I haven't set up the 40 yet. I don't want to until I get this plant thing down...which I'm having massive problems with.

The 10g has 1 bag of Eco-Complete substrate with nothing else added to it or under it. I'm running a Whisper 20-40 filter that hangs on the rear of the aquarium. I'm using homemade CO2 right now until I get the cash for a bottled system. I was using that chamber that comes with the Jungle Fizz-Factory but I'm scraping that idea and going with a wooden airstone inside my filter.

I started out with a stock style flourescent hood with one light, 15w. I modified it to hold two lights for a total of 30 watts or 3wpg. I was using standard replacement bulbs to start with...then switched over to the plant bulbs by GE that you can find at Lowes or Wal-Mart. Then I got a 10K bulb and ran it with one of the GE bulbs. At this time I had NO CO2...and nothing seemed to grow or live very long. I thought it was too much light and no CO2...so I added the fizz-factory thing. Still nothing seemed to live very long and no growth.

Now I built my own canopy and bought my own ballast and stuff. The canopy holds 3 bulbs on two different ballast. So two lights are on one ballast, the 10K and one GE bulb. The other ballast controls the other GE bulb. Now we're talking a total of 45w or 30w of 9325K bulb and 15w of 10,000K light. This idea was put together since I bought new plants again to start over for probably the 3rd or 4th time. I figure now I can't be lacking light. I also have added the CO2 but dropped the chamber and have started introducing it into my filter with an airstone.

I also started using Flourish, the plain one not the Excel. I've tried root tabs by API also and still have had the same issues. Plants look fine when I put them in and then they start to dissolve or just die all together. Any type of grass or moss, the stuff I believe is suppose to float for fry to get in, always drops all it's needles or leaves and makes a huge mess. I know I'm missing something in my water but I have no idea what or where to get it.

I'm not sure of all the plants that I've had or have now. I do know one is an Amazon Sword and I have a bunch of Cobomba and Moneywort. Had these before about 3 times and just kept dipping out the dead leaves and stuff and flushing out my filter every other day or so. I also bought some of those bulbs you plant under the substrate, which have grown so far. But they don't look that great right now. I need to put my lights on a timer, I know, but I haven't so far. The lights run anywhere from 8 to 12 hours everyday. I am planning on making my own moonlights as well for the 10g just so I can see my fish at night once I buy timers.

This tank is a guppy tank with 2 Albino Cats and 1 Cory Cat. I change about 20% of the water every week. Tonight I did a rather large water change because my tank was just really dirty from dead plant material and stuff. The tank is overstocked but the fish are only fed once a day.

What type of fert do I need to buy to add to this tank? Where can I get it? I don't run the straight 45 watts of light on the tank all the time. I plan to run one plant light and the 10K together and kick the other plant light in at mid-day and then off after a few hours. Or maybe the two plant lights and kick the 10K in for mid-day sun effect and then off in a few hours.

Any and all help will be greatly appreciated. I have also been asking for help at http://www.carolinafishtalk.com/foru...438&highlight= and was pointed here.

Can someone please help me?
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Old 06-06-2008, 12:12 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Massive Help Needed Please

Have you tried Anubias, Java Fern, Java Moss or some low light crypts? These should work for you with what you have.

You are headed in the right direction, but I don't think that all of your plant selections matches your lighting and your aquarium size.

Here's a list of low light plants: http://www.plantgeek.net/plantguide_...=1&filter_by=2

I wouldn't use any part of the Jungle Fizz-Factory for CO2. Here is a much better solution: http://www.qsl.net/w2wdx/aquaria/diyco2.html

Or, you can use Seachem's Excel as a carbon source somewhat like CO2: http://www.seachem.com/products/prod...rishExcel.html

Last edited by Left C; 06-06-2008 at 02:36 AM..
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Old 06-06-2008, 03:39 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Massive Help Needed Please

Ok....

First - quality of lighting is more important than watts. Watts just equals how much power the lights are draining from your wallet . 24w of T5HO with good reflector likely puts out MUCH more light than what you have currently. OR - a nice inexpensive solution (that i use on my 10G) is a AHSupply's 36w Compact fluorescent kit in a custom canopy. You might only need a better reflector to go with your current lights, OR you might need to scrap them and buy something else... Post details and pictures of your setup in the Lighting subforum - they'll give you good answers there.

Second - Flourish is more like an iron rich trace element supplement - it does NOT dose enough nitrogen, potassium, or phosphate (macros) to be used for more than the most low light of low light tanks. I DO use fluorish - but only as a trace element and iron supplement (micros.) For my macro's, I use a gram scale to measure dry fertilizer and mix with distilled water to make my own fertilizer. Google Rex Grigg. His website has lots of good information and he also sells CO2 and dry fertilizer. Additionally, you might want to read about Estimative Index dosing, or PPS-PRO, or PPS-CLassic here, in the fertilizer sub forum. Rememebr, dosing too little is just as bad a dosing too much...

Third - You will HATE using DIY CO2 on a 40G breeder after a few weeks, let alone a 10G. Spend the money, buy a used system in the for sale forum... just SPEND THE MONEY on pressurized. It's worth it.

Fourth - plant choice.... cabomba is tough to grow without high light, good fert dosing, and pressurized CO2, and even then, it'll still fall apart. Amazon swords are WAY too large a plant for a 10G. Spend some time on our plant sub forum and figure out some good plants to order that will fit your 10G. THe species recommended by the previous poster are all good low light, hardy, easy to grow plants. AND they can look really nice too!

Fifth - I'm not trying to be mean, but I think you need to do some more research in order to get the most out of this rewarding hobby.

Welcome to APC - be sure to browse the sub forums and read the stickies, and ask more questions.
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Old 06-06-2008, 07:16 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Massive Help Needed Please

The DIY method linked to is kinda what I'm doing right now, the biggest problem I see with it is being able to control it. I decided about a week ago that the pressurized system was the way to go and that is what I'm looking at now. The Fizz-Factory was a cheap "hopeful" solution that hasn't panned out for me but there may be an application that it does work well for.

Left C, I appreciate the input and the list of plants, I'm gonna check that out in depth. Thank you.


LongHorn - I agree with you that I need to do more research. When you don't know what you're looking for it's kinda hard to find it though. So far my 'research' has been lead by others advice because I didn't know what I was looking or needed. Hence my light selection and wattage amounts, messing with CO2 in the first place, substrate selection, etc.

Basically everything I've put into the tank of the course of the last 6 months has died. Nothing seems to do well...I had no idea the Cabomba was that hard to deal with. I was hoping the Sword would survive until the 40 gets going and then I wanted to move it there.

My canopy isn't finished so there isn't any reflectors in it at all. The tank is very well lit up right now though but I understand what you're saying. I'm guessing my biggest hurdle is ferts right now anyway and I figured the Flourish wasn't the only thing I needed. The FloraPride I was using before that wasn't cutting it either...again I had no idea what I needed, still not sure 100%. I'll check out Rex Griggs and see what he's got going and I'm gonna look around here and see what I can find too. I think if I can get some type of fert into the tank then a lot of my problem will ease up. Not totally fix them but make them a little better and yield some reward for my efforts.

It would sure make me feel better anyway. Thank you also LongHorn for your input and advice.
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Old 06-06-2008, 07:59 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Massive Help Needed Please

What can you tell us about your other water parameters, like general hardness (GH), alkalinity (KH), pH, temperature, nitrates?

And where are you? Maybe there is a local club near you.
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Old 06-06-2008, 11:19 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Massive Help Needed Please

Well, I probably can't tell you enough because I only have a limited test kit. Plus I just did a large water change and would need to retest the water again.

The temp is usually 78-80 degrees with no heater in the tank. The PH was 7.4 but I will test it again. I don't know what the GH or KH is of the water as I have no way of testing that yet.

I live in Whiteville North Carolina. There isn't a local club that I am away of, especially for planted tanks.
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Old 06-06-2008, 11:58 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Massive Help Needed Please

If you're not doing anything to add hardness to the tap water, or "cutting" the tap water with RO or something, then you can get this information from your water company. You'll need to know the KH and the pH to find out how much CO2 you have. There are lots of calculators and charts online for that.

Also, if you have low GH your plants might be wasting away because of lack of calcium or magnesium or potassium. We just need to start eliminating some of the variables to determine the reason your plants are dying.

Here's a club. Might be worth checking out their mailing list. http://www.ncaquaticplants.org/
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Old 06-06-2008, 01:31 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Massive Help Needed Please

Ok, I'll ask them. They used to send out a report of the water but I don't know if I still have the last one or not. Couldn't I test the PH of the tap water with my test kit? It test PH, NitrAte and NitrIte along with Ammonia. That is basically all it does...not a lot of help here I guess.

I run it straight out of the tap and it's what I call "city" water. It has chlorine added at the treatment but I have no idea what else is in it. I know some folks always say they use Prime, but I use Start Right. Maybe Prime is something I should start buying as well...maybe jump on that bandwagon as well?

Wouldn't adding Flourish help to establish some of those missing elements if they are in fact missing?
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Old 06-06-2008, 02:03 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Massive Help Needed Please

Hi Sterling919

We live about 175 miles from each other. I'm in Burlington.
http://maps.google.com/maps?q=where+...ton%2C+NC&rl=1

We are fortunate to have low GH and KH levels in our tap water in our area, but the nitrate and phosphate levels can vary based on a number of factors. Most of the time though, the nitrate and phosphate levels are low and I rarely test my tap water. You can find out your tap water parameter easily by doing what Cheryl mentioned.







Many people use Prime. It’s good stuff!

Your Flourish will work as a starting fertilizer, but more various nutrients are needed as well. Let me give you some Seachem articles that have very good information. This one is a good one to start with: http://www.seachem.com/support/Artic...tsFlourish.pdf

Here’s more: http://www.seachem.com/support/Articles.html

Doing DIY CO2 on a 10g is OK, but it would be hard on a 40g. You can get a pressurized system that will run both of them. You would need:
1 regulator
1 manifold
2 needle or metering valves (metering valves are more consistent, but they are more $)
2 bubble counters
2 diffusers or reactors
CO2 tubing
Solenoids are optional (these allow you to turn the CO2 off and on electrically by the use of a timer or pH controller)
1 CO2 cylinder filled with CO2
2 drop checkers/CO2 indicators with 4 dKH lab certified carbonate based solution
Plus you’ll need a few other odds and ends

I wrote an Excel 2003 based dosing calculator using Seachem’s plant line. Its fine on a small scale, but it can be expensive on larger aquariums. There’s a conversion to using dry fertilizers on the thread as well. Here it is: https://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...tor-chart.html

Here’s another dosing plan that works well for some people: https://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...e-pps-pro.html

I use the following dosing plan because my aquariums have high light and CO2.
http://www.barrreport.com/estimative...chy-folks.html
http://www.barrreport.com/estimative...test-kits.html
https://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...ing-guide.html

This dosing plan works well too: http://www.barrreport.com/estimative...ei-dosing.html

Rex Grigg’s site has a wealth of information: http://www.rexgrigg.com/

Lighting is another long discussion and there’s much info about it that relates to plants’ needs.

I hope this helps you some.

Left C

Last edited by Left C; 06-06-2008 at 02:11 PM..
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Old 06-06-2008, 02:22 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Massive Help Needed Please

One other thing, I wouldn't run the wooden air stone inside the filter, I doubt much would get into the tank. Just place the airstone in the tank itself. You might also look at Pfertz for you fertilizer, they are a sponsor here. They are super easy to use I have had very good results with them.
Brian
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