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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all :) ,

It's been a long time since I asked for advice on this forum......!!!!!!!!

I have a 50 gallon tank with the below details:
Plants : Anubias & Java ferns only
Light : 2 x 20 watt CFL daylight( I know its the worst lighting set up:( .........) )
Hardscape : 4 pieces of drift wood & some rocks
Substrate : 1 mm artificial black gravel only.
Fish : 12 cardinal tetras , 3 harlequin rasboras , 2 guppies, 4 flame gouramis.
Fertilizers : Aquanutramin(Micronutrients) & Aquaferomin(Iron) once a week during 25% water change.

Now.....

Its a healthy & well settled tank now(will soon post some pics),but I'am bored of seeing only the Anubias & ferns & wish to add more variety of plants into it.So pls advice what plants can I add to the current set up without disturbing anything & also some advice on my bad lighting set up.;)

Thanks in advance,
Ravi
 

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Cryptocorynes might work. Most any moss would work (Java, Flame, Christmas, Peacock...)
 

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If it were my tank, I would put a couple pots (with soil) containing large reliable swordplants (Echinodorus major and/or E. bleheri) into this 50 gal. I would not bury the pots in the gravel, at least until plants starting taking off. Make sure that the pots aren't too big for smallish plants starting out. That is, I would start out with 1/2 to 1 cup of soil and the rest sand or gravel in the pot. Since you'll have only a small volume of soil for this large tank, you don't have to worry that much about soil being "too fertile". A little extra phosphate in the soil should not hurt the tank, and it would make the swords very happy.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hi Dave & Diana,

Thanks a ton for your quick replies........

Do I need to improve my lighting?Currently it is less that 1 watt per gallon & no sunlight at all.

Also,I heard from an expert here that I can plant the plants directly in to the existing substrate as the fish poop,the decayed leaves & the ferts that I add is enough for the plants to grow as the tank is almost a year old,the substrate is mature. - Pls advice on this.

Thanks,
Ravi
 

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What sort of lighting is available in India Ravi? The newer T5 Hight Output flourescent tubes are becoming more and more popular here in the United States.

What are the dimensions of your aquarium?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hi Aaron,
The lights in my tank are normal white CFL bulbs(20watts).The dimension would be 42x18x18"(50 gallons).Finding Flourescent bulbs here is very difficult & they are very expensive.I know the lighting is no way enough for my tank:(.Iam getting lights to get it to 3 watts per gallon:).Currently I have injected laterite paste into the substrate using a syringe to give my plants some good food ;).Have planted some Vals & Swords.Hope they do good.

Thanks,
Ravi
 

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Yes, adding some more light to your tank will definitely help because the tank is so deep. Do you have good reflectors available or perhaps you can find some material to make good reflectors? That is usually a cheaper solution than buying more bulbs.
 

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Your substrate depth is 1 mm? Are you sure?

Even 1 centimeter would not be enough to grow rooted plants.

Diana's suggestion that you grow plants in pots is a good one. But before you transplant them, be sure that they have something to root in.

Good luck!

Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ooops......I'am sorry Bill.My mistake :(.....

I meant the size of the substrate is 1mm & 2.5" deep.

Aaron,
I got 2 x 65 watts CFL daylight bulbs & fitted them in.I think the light part is taken care of now :).
Now,as the light has increased, I need to plant some fast growing plants to avoid a algae bloom in the tank.Could you please suggest some plants for plain substrate with Laterite paste injected in it with 10hrs of lighting a day & Aquanutramin(Micronutrients) & Aquaferomin(Iron) once a week during 25% water change.

Thanks,
Ravi
 

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Aaron,
I got 2 x 65 watts CFL daylight bulbs & fitted them in.I think the light part is taken care of now :).
Now,as the light has increased, I need to plant some fast growing plants to avoid a algae bloom in the tank.Could you please suggest some plants for plain substrate with Laterite paste injected in it with 10hrs of lighting a day & Aquanutramin(Micronutrients) & Aquaferomin(Iron) once a week during 25% water change.

Ravi
You've got enough light intensity, but PLEASE 10 hrs/day is not enough to get good plant growth. You need a daylength of 12-13 hours, especially for encouraging emergent and floating plants. I keep lights on from 7:30 AM to 9:30 PM with a 4 hr middle-of-the-day siesta. That way, my lights are only on 10 hrs, but the day length is 14 hours.

Laterite paste and all those added fertilizers? Maybe they will work; maybe not. But it sounds a little strange. For example, if you have a laterite substrate, which is rich in iron, there's really no need to add iron fertilizers to the water.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hi Diana,
Thanks a ton,
The laterite is not a substrate.Its just that I have injected the paste in some places at the bottom,which helps the rooted plants & additional iron is added to the water column because I have a lot of Anubias & Ferns.Now that I have incraesed the lights,I need to plant fast growers to avoid algae bloom.Pls advice some plants.Also picking up some Crypts from a friend this weekend.

Thanks
Ravi
 

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Hi Diana,
Thanks a ton,
The laterite is not a substrate.Its just that I have injected the paste in some places at the bottom,which helps the rooted plants & additional iron is added to the water column because I have a lot of Anubias & Ferns.Now that I have incraesed the lights,I need to plant fast growers to avoid algae bloom.Pls advice some plants.Also picking up some Crypts from a friend this weekend.
For fast growers, I have good luck with Hygro difformis and Ludwigia repens (both growing in my tank) with about 1.3 wpg lighting and they are both cheap and readily available here and they both grow very well. I keep the Hygro in it's own pot because it's root system gets big fast and pulling it up inside the tank disturbs a lot of substrate and is very messy - so I pull the whole pot/plant and work on that plant outside the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Hi All,
Its really difficult to find the cheap kind of potting soil with no fertilizers in my area.
Now,my question is......Can I use the soil that i dig from the forest floor near my house.I found its moist & rich in decayed leaves.Its Black in colour.I thought I'll mix some Laterite & sand in it & then use it.Any advice & suggestions are welcome.

Many thanks
Ravi
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Hi All,
Its really difficult to find the cheap kind of potting soil with no fertilizers in my area.
Now,my question is......Can I use the soil that i dig from the forest floor near my house.I found its moist & rich in decayed leaves.Its Black in colour.I thought I'll mix some Laterite & sand in it & then use it.Any advice & suggestions are welcome.

Many thanks
Ravi
Hi all,
You can see my current tanks pics on the link below.Will soon post the new pics with more planting done.Would appreciate if any advices & suggestions on scaping.......
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

Thanks
Ravi
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Hi all,

Atlast I could find a nursery where he has Generic potting soil with leaf mold in it.
He also said that he has vermicompost which can be mixed with it.
Is it safe to use his combination of Generic potting soil with leaf mold + vermicompost,or only Generic potting soil with leaf mold will do?
If his mixture is safe,what should be the mixing ratio of vermicompost to the Generic potting soil with leaf mold?

Thanks
Ravi
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hi all,

Atlast I could find a nursery where he has Generic potting soil with leaf mold in it.
He also said that he has vermicompost which can be mixed with it.
Is it safe to use his combination of Generic potting soil with leaf mold + vermicompost,or only Generic potting soil with leaf mold will do?
If his mixture is safe,what should be the mixing ratio of vermicompost to the Generic potting soil with leaf mold?

Thanks
Ravi
Any updates on this pls????????????????
 

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I got 2 x 65 watts CFL daylight bulbs & fitted them in.I think the light part is taken care of now :).
Now,as the light has increased, I need to plant some fast growing plants to avoid a algae bloom in the tank.Could you please suggest some plants for plain substrate with Laterite paste injected in it with 10hrs of lighting a day & Aquanutramin(Micronutrients) & Aquaferomin(Iron) once a week during 25% water change.

Thanks,
Ravi
Your new lighting source sounds good. However, I wouldn't use that much lighting until I had a large assortment of fast-growing plants ready to plant. For a 50 gal, I would definitely recommend Echinodorus bleheri (Amazon Sword) and E. major (Rufffled Swordplant). But you will need many other species.

With that much light and weekly feeding of micronutrients, I suspect your tank will be vulnerable to algae. Thus, I would make an effort to get floating plants (frogbit, duckweed, or watersprite. If you are adding micronutrients weekly, then they should do well, but you need to increase the daylength to 12-13 hr. I've got all my tanks on a 14 hr day, but with a 4 hr afternoon siesta. That way, I'm getting good Water Sprite growth, saving electricity, and not heating up the water.

I'm not crazy about your substrate-- gravel injected with laterite paste. It might work, though, if you get enough of the right plants that like the temperature and water conditions in your tank.

Its a waste of time to recommend specific plants. For example, Elodea is a superbly fast-grower, but if you're running your tank at 80F or have a little copper in the water, it may quickly "kick the bucket". My advice has always been to start out with as many plants and different species as possible. There's no way to predict which ones will do well in your particular set up.

For example, I just reset up my 50 gal a few weeks ago with about 16 different plant species. The Cryptocoryne cordata var blassi, a somewhat difficult species, is growing like crazy whereas the Ludwigia arcuata, which was continuously overtaking another hobbyist's tank, has completely crashed [I threw it out when it started decomposing in the tank]. Meanwhile, the Riccia that came as a contaminant with the other plants is growing "full-steam". The two baby Ozelot swords, which didn't even have roots, are putting out big leaves and looking really nice.

To get all these plants for my aquarium, I invited fellow plant enthusiasts to come over. We visited, ate well, and traded plants. We've been doing this for years. It's a fun way to get plants.
 
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