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TXLutzy 10-07-2020 09:46 AM

New Member here - Aquascape Challenges
Hi All,

I'm returning to the fish tank hobby after a 25 year hiatus. My earlier ventures included a small saltwater reef tank and a larger african cichlid tank.

Seeing the amazing aquascapes on youtube "hooked" me on getting an aquascape for my home. I now have 3 tanks up and running...but, I'm quite discouraged.

1. Water. I'm struggling with plant growth and wondering if it due to the insanely hard water here in the DFW area? Have others overcome this? I'm having particular trouble with water column feeders....but, nearly all my plants are dying after some time in the tanks. (For reference, I'm dosing with easy green, using Fluval Stratum substrate and doing 3-4 water changes a week)

The only plant that seems to thrive is moneywort.

Anyway - if I can conquer this - I'll make the step up to a larger tank. My current three are 10,15 and 20 gallon.

I'd like to get a waterbox 36 or waterbox 48.

Please let me know if you have any tips or knowledge on our local water.

I'm not interested in buying water (just too big a PITA....may as well do saltwater again)

anxiously awaiting your replies! - Chris.

Michael 10-07-2020 11:59 AM

Re: New Member here - Aquascape Challenges
Welcome to APC!

Depending on where you are in DFW, your tap water chemistry can vary a lot, so it is a good idea to get a test. I am in Dallas with moderately hard tap water (180 ppm total dissolved solids) and strongly buffered to pH 7.8. So I have fish and plants that will tolerate it. All of my tanks are Walstad method, and this does alter water chemistry a little (mostly lowering pH). There are many, many species of aquatic plants that will thrive in hard water.

On this forum you will see two general approaches to planted aquaria: Walstad method or El Natural and high tech (for lack of better names). It is best to pick one method or the other. Personally, I think the Walstad method is the easiest but you are somewhat more limited in the species of plants that will do well long term. Most of the aquascapes that you see in competitions on in videos are high tech, but there is no reason why you cannot get similar aesthetics with the Walstad method.

DFW APC has suspended meetings because of the pandemic, which is too bad because that is where you will get the best advice for this region. But ask questions here and you will gets lots of helpe. Good luck!

hoppycalif 10-07-2020 04:43 PM

Re: New Member here - Aquascape Challenges
What light fixtures are you using on the tanks. With too little light plants can have no chance to stay alive. Are you using CO2?

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