Aquatic Plant Forum banner

1 - 20 of 32 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
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/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4438&highlight= and was pointed here.

Can someone please help me?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,156 Posts
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_list.php?category=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/product_pages/FlourishExcel.html
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
168 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
251 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
251 Posts
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/
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
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?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,156 Posts
Hi Sterling919

We live about 175 miles from each other. I'm in Burlington.
http://maps.google.com/maps?q=where...addr=Whiteville,+NC&saddr=Burlington,+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/Articles/downloads/HowMakePlantsFlourish.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: http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/...ng/45119-seachem-dosing-calculator-chart.html

Here's another dosing plan that works well for some people: http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/pps-analysis-feedback/39491-newbie-guide-pps-pro.html

I use the following dosing plan because my aquariums have high light and CO2.
http://www.barrreport.com/estimative-index/2819-ei-light-those-less-techy-folks.html
http://www.barrreport.com/estimative-index/62-estimative-index-dosing-no-need-test-kits.html
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/...zing/15225-estimative-index-dosing-guide.html

This dosing plan works well too: http://www.barrreport.com/estimativ...accuracy-want-daily-pmdd-style-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
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
221 Posts
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
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Left C, thanks for the excellent links and I'll make sure to read them all fully. I'm going to get a full water report on Monday when the water office opens.

Today I had one of the API root tabs left and I was gonna put it in the substrate. I know one isn't gonna do much but it's all I had left. Well I accidently ended up dropping it into the tank and didn't realize it until it had started to dissolve. It made a really big mess...really cloudy water. It's finally cleared up though, almost all the way like it was before. I guess there's a little extra dose of something good for them.

I gather that right now I need to get some ferts from somewhere. And going by some of the dosing charts linked to here, I see I need to do an every-other-day with them and the flourish. Then if I am right I should do a 50% water each week? That shouldn't be too hard to follow but how long before I should start seeing results? I am also gonna start trying to make purchases of the plants shown in one of the links for the easy to grow plants.

Oh and timers for my lights...gonna see about getting those this weekend too. So once I get the macro's, I assume the micro's are in the Flourish, is that right? And am I right at saying 8-10 hours of light is enough to start with for reference?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
251 Posts
Yes, your pH test kit will be reasonably accurate for practical purposes if you can distinguish the colors well. Nitrate is a good number to know for plants: it should not be zero, but it should not be too high for fish. Ammonia and nitrites should be zero.

Flourish is a great fert and I use it, but I also dose phosphate, nitrogen, and iron by themselves as Left C mentioned. I like Prime because it is super concentrated, but all dechlors work about the same.

Don't think in terms of "I need more chemicals to make this work." Instead, think in terms of, "I need more answers to make this work."

I don't like running CO2 into my filter because I am afraid the CO2 will back up and I have to "burp" the filter a lot. Wooden airstones make very fine bubbles: I run one into a powerhead and it works great! But that tank is filterless. Plenty of people run their CO2 into their filter and it's fine. Maybe depends on the filter and the CO2 levels desired. 30 ppm is a good number to shoot for.

Left C's Seachem dosing calculator is great! I used it on all my tanks and then tweaked it for their individual needs. Funny how you can treat all your tanks the same and they are all different!

Meanwhile, read, read, read. Pick a dosing plan that suits your interests and your lifestyle, and stick with it for a few months before switching. Obtain fail-safe plants like Java fern and Anubias and common Crypts. PM me your address and I will send you some Java fern and crypts for $5 postage!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,156 Posts
... Left C's Seachem dosing calculator is great! I used it on all my tanks and then tweaked it for their individual needs. Funny how you can treat all your tanks the same and they are all different! ...
Hi Cheryl

Thank you for the kind compliment about the calculator.

Left C
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,540 Posts
Sterling919 you really need to get a drop checker. It will accurately measure how much CO2 is in your water. If you try to do the charts they assume you only have calcium and magnesium (I think) in your water. So they measure that and pit it against your pH to arrive at a CO2 concentration. Most people have more dissolved solids that 2 in their water so that throws off the chart measurement. If you use the drop checker method it's pretty much for sure if you can read colors. You can do a forum search on drop checkers. I think they are much easier to use than the charts. No daily testing or measuring.

There is a lot to learn but it will become easier with time. One thing I have learned is that you don't have to know it all. If you get the basics and follow things generally you can have a beautiful tank! :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
I want to thank everyone for their help, thank you. I've got a lot of reading to do and some searching too.

Kevin
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Ok folks here is what I've done, hope I've done the right thing.

I went to : http://aquariumfertilizers.com/

I ordered : CSM+B Plantex, Mono Potassium Phosphate, Potassium Nitrate.

So far...please tell me I did right!! I've read till my eyes hurt and my head does too but I'm assuming that the Plantex is micro's, right? That is basically the same thing as Flourish, right?

What else am I missing here? I'm assuming that the KNO3 and KH2PO4 are macro's...is this right? Shouldn't there be one more or not in that group? I'm assuming the Plantex is the micro's also.

If I'm right so far or atleast on the right track...then I assume next on the list would be a good pressurized CO2 system...is that right?

And that I need to find out the water parameters from the water company and post them here. I also need to test my tank water and post that here also...along with a PH test straight from the tap...is this right so far?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,540 Posts
Ok folks here is what I've done, hope I've done the right thing.

I went to : http://aquariumfertilizers.com/

I ordered : CSM+B Plantex, Mono Potassium Phosphate, Potassium Nitrate.

So far...please tell me I did right!! I've read till my eyes hurt and my head does too but I'm assuming that the Plantex is micro's, right? That is basically the same thing as Flourish, right?

What else am I missing here? I'm assuming that the KNO3 and KH2PO4 are macro's...is this right? Shouldn't there be one more or not in that group? I'm assuming the Plantex is the micro's also.

If I'm right so far or atleast on the right track...then I assume next on the list would be a good pressurized CO2 system...is that right?

And that I need to find out the water parameters from the water company and post them here. I also need to test my tank water and post that here also...along with a PH test straight from the tap...is this right so far?
You did great! I got all these KNO3 - for Nitrate, K2SO4 - for Potassium, KH2PO4 - for Phosphates, Plantex CSM+B for trace minerals. I dose the phosphates lean as I have a lot of phosphates in my tap water. I follow the chart in the EI dosing sticky for each of my tanks. I just look at the size tank and find it on the chart. If it's not listed I adjust for size. Simple!

Yes, the plantex is trace minerals. Yes, the florish is also the same trace minerals. Yes all the "K" chemicals are macros. The only other thing I dose is iron. I use liquid Iron from Florish. Many plants use more Iron than your trace minerals contain. I have read that it helps with the red plants. There are signs for iron depletion as well, (anubias turing yellow, etc.) Too much iron would be brown spots on sword plant leaves, etc. There are tables on this forum with nutrient deficit signs. BTW there is no test kit for Potassium and most iron test kits that we regular people can afford don't test correctly.

I've never worried about a report from my water co. I have tested the pH and GH and KH from the tap. Wanted to know if my substrate was bringing things down, so that when I did a water change I could be careful. You need a drop checker to measure your CO2. Don't you use DIY right now? Yes, a pressurized CO2 system would be great!

You are on your way! Congrats. :whoo:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,156 Posts
I'm pretty sure that your water is soft like mine. I add Seachem's Equilibrium for a GH Booster to raise my GH by 3 degrees. Plants need the calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese and iron that's in it.
http://www.seachem.com/products/product_pages/Equilbrium.html
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=4828

Some people just dose a little Epsom Salt (Magnesium Sulfate Heptahydrate MgSO4∙7H2O) to increase the magnesium level. Soft water usually doesn't have enough magnesium in it. You can find Epsom Salt at most pharmacies. A big container is just a few dollars.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
584 Posts
Hey Tex, guess what's rearing it's ugly head again.... NaHCO3!! I know I'm such a :nerd:, LOL. The CO2 guides assume that the only buffer is the carbonate ion. It makes an equilibrium that can shift pH up or down with the CO2 concentration in the water. That's why so many people are afraid when they have soft water (low KH). The buffering capacity is much lower and you can get big pH swings when injecting CO2.

I do take paypal for chemistry lessons too, LOL.

BTW, Sterling congratulations. You are well on your way, much better than I was when I first started. Can't wait to see pics of the set up.
 
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
Top