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Old 10-03-2008, 08:58 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Very VERY V E R Y frustrated

I'm still a relative newbie to planted tanks and tanks in general, having only had one for two years. When I started putting serious plants in the tank, I ordered an all-glass, hinged tank top for the light to sit on and get the most light to the plants. Over time the pieces of the top have developed some sort of crud - you can't feel it, but you can sure SEE it. I generally use vinegar and water to clean this top and let it dry out well before replacing it. But besides the usual salts and other deposits, this clouding or whatever this BLEEP is, is impervious to vinegar, and commercial glass cleaner. I can't even scrape it off with a razor-blade!I just KNOW this damned stuff is cutting down on the good light to my plants.

WHICH IS ANOTHER THING!!! ARG. I see all these pictures of these mind-blowing, jaw-droppingly gorgeous planted tanks, with their crystal clear water and full lush, green (or red, or pink or whatever) plants in all their thick foliage and with branching and all manner of new growth - algae is nowhere to be seen, everything is its own beautiful color, not some green-black lump. Three or four times a year I drop mumbley-mumble amount of dollars on online ordered plants, dutifully put them in with they own little fertilizer tabbs and a month or two later all the beautiful Myrios are but naked stalks, my wonderful Kleiner Bar sword's leaves are getting a thin coat of shmutz that has turned it a really unappetizing vague brown-green. The little shamrocks have been grazed to pitiful green nubs; the Ammania has either shredded, rottend from the stem or gotten eaten from the ground up. The wisteria seems to be the only plant that is still looking pretty good but even it resembles trees more than bushes. I didn't think tetras ate plants - or is it that bleeping Rainbow shark? Or do I go on a snail pogrom? I've both the long good ones and the >other< kind.

Do ALL you people who have heavily-planted tanks really have such pristine tanks all the bleeping time?? Ok I guess my questions are - what is that crap on the glass top and how can I deal with getting rid of it - short of ordering another one? Annnnnnd do I have to completely tear the tank down and start from scratch or is there some way I can sorta roll the current substrate back (figuratively speaking) and put other better stuff under it?

No CO2 - I'm not a technowhiz.

Sorry if this is in the wrong thread. I'm sooooo tired of scraping at whatever is on that top I can't see straight.

I'm stomping out the word "HELP!" in the snow and waving my arms to you Illuminati!!
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Old 10-03-2008, 09:24 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Very VERY V E R Y frustrated

Hang in there oddsox, it can be done! It would be help to have details regarding your tank - how much lighting, do you fertilize, water params (hardness, etc) - to provide with more to the point type answers. From what you describe, your plants are not getting what they need to thrive. I assume your tank has cycled.

If you have hard water, you will get white crud on your top over time. I have hard water, and I use a razor blade to scrape my top (just a piece of glass that sits on the tank and holds the lights), periodically. It does eventually get some scratches, and is not perfectly clear, but it does its job. If it ever got to the point where it needed replacement, it's cheap enough to have a new piece of glass cut out and placed on the top.

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Do ALL you people who have heavily-planted tanks really have such pristine tanks all the bleeping time??
Yes, and no. I can only speak for my tanks, and in my 50's, except for a little gsa and gda, I do not have algae. Plants are healthy, but I know that certain plants will not thrive in my water and tank conditions, and I don't try to force the issue. I also have a 10 which I am currently battling bga, and a lot of other issues, because I changed some things and didn't think it out properly to start.

Hang in there, it can be much better!
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Old 10-03-2008, 09:39 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Very VERY V E R Y frustrated

First off, it's gonna be alright. I takes time and patience to get things right and on track.

For any real help it's gonna be necessary for you to give as much info about your tank as possible, lighting, size, plants, filtration, fertilizers, water parameters etc. Also some pics if possible so that the problems are illustrated.

BTW the Kleiner Bar leaves are only really red when they first sprout. After a few days they will be a green color with some reddish lines (brownish really) in them.
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Old 10-03-2008, 09:43 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Very VERY V E R Y frustrated

I obviously took to long to get my post up!!
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Old 10-03-2008, 10:01 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Very VERY V E R Y frustrated

We can help you. Give us details. We have all been were you are now. YOU CAN DO THIS!!! You can also do CO2. DIY is simple pimple. I have it on several tanks. If you can make tea, you can do DIY CO2. You can also use Flourish Excel as a carbon source but much more $$. Hang in there. Talk to us...



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Old 10-03-2008, 10:09 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Very VERY V E R Y frustrated

When I had a glass top over the tank it also got that white film and mineral deposit. I used steel wool pads (for doing dishes) and it came off easily and didn't scratch the glass.

The reason you see such beatutiful pics is because people only photograph their tanks when they look good. Seldom do you see our battles with algae, cloudy water, etc... posted, except in the Algae Forum.

To make you feel better, I just re-did my tank layout, ripped up an undergravel filter plate, and basically started over from scratch. A week after I did all that, my tank cleared up and was looking gorgeous for a 'photo-op'. Two days after I snapped the pics, my tank got cloudy again and now there's GUNK (I think from my HOB filter) floating around the tank. It currently looks like "a sand storm blowing around in a cloud" in my tank.

A few good water changes, a clean-out of the filter, some TLC, and some time, and it will back to normal. But I'd venture to guess that everyone on this forum has issues with their tanks. DON'T GIVE UP!

-Dave
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Old 10-03-2008, 10:28 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Very VERY V E R Y frustrated

Quote:
Originally Posted by oddsoxdi View Post
No CO2 - I'm not a technowhiz.
I'd say that's your biggest problem. You don't need to be a technowhiz to figure it out. It's the single greatest upgrade you can make to any setup. The difference in growth is astounding.

Check out this article. It's a great place to start for answers.
http://www.aquatic-plants.org/articles/basics/pages/
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Old 10-03-2008, 11:05 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Very VERY V E R Y frustrated

Aaron beat me to the punch. The difference you'll see in your tank with the addition of CO2 will be nothing short of amazing.

When my CO2 levels are good, my tank is lush, beautiful, and algae free. When CO2 goes bad, even for a few days, the tank becomes full of algae and the plants start to look sick in no time.

This and a couple of other posts are making me think it's time for a "CO2 for beginners" type article here.
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Old 10-03-2008, 11:41 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Very VERY V E R Y frustrated

Bryce,

I have to agree. I think one of the scariest parts of starting a planted tank is do I set up CO2. I think that many are put off by the DIY/Pressurized question. I think it would be helpful to do a sticky showing that either can be good depending on the conditions of individual tanks.
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Old 10-03-2008, 11:42 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Very VERY V E R Y frustrated

Sorry I lost it. It's a 20 gallon long, tropical SUPPOSED to be planted. It's been cycled for well over a year and a half now. semi-soft water, to which I add 1/2 tsp aquarium salt per gallon. The fertilizer tabbs are just the 0-0-6 kind you shove in the pebbles. Hmm, the last reading I did here said to up the phosphates and these tabs are phosphate free. But isn't fish poop supposed to have all the other good stuff in it for plants?
I've a double-bulb fluorescent with a flora-gro (for aquaria) and an aquarium bulb (17w). Aqua-flo 150 HOB filter, I also have a small airstone set very low.
Was too ticked to take parameters today but they've been good for a long time now.
The plants I have left are a Kleiner-Barr sword and another medium-sized round-oval-leaf sword (it was a freebie!); a java fern (with ugly black spots and leaves) tied to a piece of wood; some marimos of all sizes; a java moss ball; some assorted cheapo bulbs that you find at Pet store ending in co.; a few pieces of wisteria; two very chewed pieces of Amannia; and 2 dwarf and 1 regular Nymphaea (?) lily that're all just beginning to sprout. There's also a grazed-up-looking little patch of java moss. Even the bulb-foliage has an eaten look to it - am I not feeding these fish enough? Water temp is 78 degrees.

I keep telling myself I love my tank, I love my tank...

Last edited by oddsoxdi; 10-03-2008 at 11:51 AM.. Reason: water temp
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