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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?
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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?
 

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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?
 

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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?
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Yeah I'm doing DIY CO2 right now but I'm steady hunting a pressurized system. Once I figure out how to get plants to live and thrive then I plan to set up my 40 also. So I'll use the system to feed both tanks which will mean I'll need two of a few items. No biggie though.

At the beginning of every year the water company usually will send out a report telling you all about your water. But like most everything else around here, I didn't nail it to the ceiling so I can't find it now. I do have a wife and two kids...so go figure. But I'm gonna get a report from them sometime next week and maybe that'll help us out to figure out what I need to do.

If I can figure out how to make the camera take good looking pics of my tank right now, I'll take some and post them. And once I get the tank RIGHT then I'm sure gonna share it with you guys and the folks over at www.carolinafishtalk.com for all their help as well. My next request for help is gonna be on the lighting system on my 40g breeder tank. But I'm not gonna start that until I get this under control (somewhat).

Thanks to all of you and thanks for the (long) reads.

Kevin
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Hi-jack away! I wasn't paying attention and replied off page 2...duh. Just about anything that is posted in here about stuff like that can only help me...plus I don't have to hunt all over the place to find it...haha. I'm almost searched/read out right now and almost need a break anyway.

My lights. I don't know if I've mentioned my lighting situation or not. Basically I've built a canopy for my 10g that matches the stand I built also. I've got 3 15w lights in it, two of which are the GE plant lights with a K rating of 9325. I've got one ZooMed 10K light as well. There are two ballast controlling the 3 lights. I'm thinking of putting the 2 GE lights together on one ballast the 10K light on the other. Then putting them on timers, which leads to this question(s)...

What would be a good jumping off point as far as how long I need to run the lights? I was thinking of running the 10K light during the middle of the day to simulate high-noon sunlight. But I want to shift the time table so that the GE lights would be on during the time I'm home at night a little. I do plan to add in moonlights later but right now I'm only about 75% finished with the canopy anyway. And I'd like to know if maybe I'm just on the wrong track with the lights all around...do I need another type of bulb and just scrap what I've got now? I am aware that 45w of total lighting is considered (by some) to be high-light and maybe too much. But I am prepared to buy another ballast and run the 3 seperate from each other...giving total control of the wattage and amount of time they are on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Tex Gal, I just looked at the 10g shrimp tank in your signature and the before shot of your 125g. I just want to say that you make me sick...hahaha! When I first saw the 10g I was like "OMG...that is so freakin' sweet". I'd wig out if my tank could end up looking like that...wow. And then I saw the 125 and I just sat here with my mouth opened...very nice. Of course that is pretty much the response I've had to all the other planted tank shots I've seen here too, so I'm trying to leave anyone out by no means.

Regardless of whether I've used real plants or fake stuff...my mess always looks thrown together and crappy. Most of your guys have a real grasp on laying out these tanks...I don't know how you do it or where you come up with the designs but they are awesome. Tanks like these are why I started messing with plants (live) in the first place and why I got back into aquariums since I was a kid.

I hope those stinking ferts hurry up and get here. And I need to find somewhere to get some easy to grow plants also. I wish there was somewhere close by so I wouldn't have to order the stuff.

Thanks guys (and gals)!
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
OK...THEIR HERE!!!

My ferts came today...talk about fast shipping. Now I need to figure out how to dose my tank properly. Besides the EI method is there anything that I should know or do or try? And suggestions to get me started off? I believe I listed in this thread what I ordered...I can't remember.
 
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