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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is my tank and I have tried hard to go slowly with it. However, I am having a heck of a time keeping the fish alive. The plants, however, are growing. I have .64wpg from a full spectrum flr. light and natural light from a large window. The back is black so the natural light filters in from the sides. The plants are growing, but I would love more plants. I got mine from aquabotanicstore.com and was happy with them. Now, my mopani wood has become covered with white fuzzy slime. Should I take it out and scrub it or leave it as a friend suggested? I haven't fertilized the plants, but I do have a bottle of fertilizer I bought for them.


Thank you, Pam
 

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Re: New Tank Setup Guide - Parts 1 and 2

You really don't have enough light for the plants you have. Only mosses, perhaps anubias, maybe valisneria would grow with that light. But, you didn't really give us enough information to understand what your problems are: tank size, light wattage, what fish are dying, how you feed them, etc? I suspect overfeeding the fish is causing them to die, but I'm not sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Ok. My tank is 55 gallon freshwater, HOB double bio-filter, 2 18" bubble wands set to emit very few bubbles, 2" gravel, 2 pc. driftwood, various native rocks (cleaned, scrubbed, rinsed, dried in the sun), heater, plants. Tested the water, 0 chlorine, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrates, nitrites at 2.5, pH 7.6. Did a 25% water change to get these levels. Added liquid bacteria to tank. No dead fish overnight. Have 4 neon tetra, 1 oto, 1 julii cory, four 1.5" blue gourami. Had mopani wood in the tank but removed it because of white slime that developed all over it. Currently plants are growing. The tank is located in front of a large window with mini blinds. Sunlight is filtered into the tank, along with the florescent light. I feed the fish small amounts 3x a day - flake and betta bites ground smallish because all the fish are small (under 2"). I use a 1/4" tube to vacuum debris from the filter intake and anything I see floating or laying around. Hope this helps.
 

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The white fuzzy slime on the driftwood won't hurt anything. It's just fungus feeding off something in the wood. Eventually it will go away (it took a few weeks in my tank) . If it really bothers you, though, you can remove the wood and boil it hard for a couple hours to clean it up some more.

If you want more plants you'll need more light (unless you go with low light plants as hoppycalif mentioned) .

Also, fish don't need as much food as they make you think they do. I feed my fish every other day or so, just 1 time a day. If you are doing El Natural method, then you are supposeed to feed your fish much more often, but that's more for getting nutrients to the plants than for the fish (I think) .

-Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Dave, I appreciate your comments. The amount I feed my fish is about a tiny pinch. I am home with them and watch them all day. I am a pushover! Anyway, when I have animals I think of how they would live in the wild or in a natural habitat. I know that fish feed mainly at dawn and dusk. But, they forage all day. I am noticing that the gourami are nibbling at the roots of the frogbit and the leaves of the egeri najas. This makes me think they want to eat. I don't want them to eat my plants! I know there will be some plant eating, but, the little fish can really do some damage if they are hungry. I rely on my one florescent light (.64wpg) and the large window behind the tank that lets in filtered light into the tank. I am not sure how I would add more light except to get a different bulb. The one I have is 35W. Any suggestions? I have searched through a few stores and the maximum wattage I have found is 40W. That means I would have to have 2 bulbs. I guess I should search for some low light plants?! Thanks again!
 

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Your tank is 48 inches long, so there are very many aquarium lights made to fit that size. I suggest you look at ebay, craigslist, and other websites for 48 inch long fixtures. Here is one that is cheap and will give you 80 watts of light, excellent for lower light plants: http://tinyurl.com/4dgp6p
Here is a better one, but you would have to replace the bulbs with 6700K to 10,000K bulbs, but it would let you grow almost any aquatic plants: http://tinyurl.com/3l2tdl
And, another one that would let you grow almost any plants, but should use 6700 to 10,000K bulbs: http://tinyurl.com/4zufrr

There are many others available both on ebay and on other websites.
 

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I don't think anybody addressed the original issue of your fish dying. It is most likely from your high nitrites, which is toxic to fish. Did you let the tank cycle before adding fish?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
My tank is now cycled. It took about a month I guess. I am still losing neon tetras, out of 6 have 2 fat healthy ones left. If they croak I am not getting anymore even though they are one of my favorites. I have 4 blue gourami, 1 oto, 1 julii cory, and the two tetras. I bought some plants and now have snails, too. I don't know what kind they are because they are so small. I wasn't doing snails because I have plants. We'll see how they act before I pluck them out. All the parameters of the tank and good now. I am pleased with the effect. The picture in my signature is from yesterday. I just put up a 72 gallon bow front. I am designing it and letting it completely cycle before adding any fish. I will be getting discus and don't want to take a chance on losing them. I will probably add the tank mates for the discus before I get the actual discus since they will be less costly. I hate losing fish. Even if I have them for an hour I feel a responsibility to them.;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have a new problem, well an old problem, but one I need to deal with. The pH in the soon to be Discus tank is at 7.5 and needs to be about 6.5 or so. The water is alkaline 115, hardness 150, Nitrate 20, Nitrite .9, Ammonia 0, Chlorine 0. This is my 72 gallon I am just setting up and will have no fish until completely cycled. Any ideas on how to change this. I am adding Amazonian plants, rocks, and driftwood. Suggestions would be great.
 

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The way to set up a planted tank is to put a lot of fast growing stem plants in right from the beginning, and that means covering the substrate with individually planted stems. Those fast growing plants will use up whatever ammonia is released by the fish and substrate, as it is released, so ammonia never is a problem, which means nitrite never is a problem either. To make those fast growing stem plants grow fast you need to be dosing a complete fertilizer menu, from NPK and traces to CO2. In a week or so you can add a few algae eating fish, like otos and a few small cheap fish like guppies. Then, after a couple of weeks to a month you can start replacing the stem plants with other plants you want to keep.

Don't be concerned about pH. Instead, try for low KH if you want to keep fish and plants that prefer "soft" water.

If you have a fish only tank, the "rules" are different and what you look for and do is also different, but this is about planted tanks.
 

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If your planing on breeding Discus then PH will be a factor, if your not breeding don't worry about it.

The low tech method wold be to add some Oak leaves and/or peat moss to your tank to lower your PH
that will also lower your hardness as well.

Oak leaves won't have a dramatic change like peat moss but then you also won't have to worry about
getting moss with ferts in them and have to deal with major algae blooms.

- Brad

EDIT: Hoppy is right, plant the bejebbers out of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks, I will do that. I am moving some plants from the tank pictured in my signature to the 72 gallon. I am converting the 55 gal (pictured) into a SE Asian tank. The 72 gallon Amazonian. Guess I better order some more plants! I definitly want this to be a planted tank and I am aiming to make it as natural as possible. I will upgrade the lighting, and check out the CO2. Now, to find an oak tree.....
 

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Lowering PH/Hardness

On this same subject I've read in several places that Bisodium Sulphate
will lower PH/Hardness very quickly but I've never found a place that
actually sells it before it's mixed (it's mostly used as a soap additive).

I'm not sure I'd use it in a tank with fish but it would probably be more
useful in a new (i.e. fast) discuss breeding setup than oak leaves and
peat moss since they need some buffering to work unlike Bisodium
Sulphate.

I will say Killifish and Cichlid breeder forms get chemistry scary sometimes ;)

- Brad
 
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