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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello All,

Well I'm very excited to have picked up my first aquarium plants and have been reading up quite a bit on the subject but was hoping to get some advice specific to my environment.

I have a 55 gallon long with (2) Fluval 204's, a PennPlax Cascade 1000 canister filter, UV sterilizer, 32 watt Aqua-something bulb that runs for 12 hours then my moonlight kicks in for the other 12. I have 3 nice pieces of driftwood that I've attached Java Fern and Anubias Minima to. I stay on top of water quality and regularly test levels with consistant readings of no ammonia or nitrite and usually around 40ppm on the nitrates.

The tanks is a little crowded right now with an Oscar, 3 Silver Dollars, a Salvini Cichlid, Ripsaw catfish & Tiretrack eel but I have lots of filtration and as I said I keep on my water changes. None of my inhabs are bothering the plants in any way so far.

Now my questions...

1. What are some of my other plant options considering my equipment, environment and inhabs? I'm looking for species that are at or around the difficulty level of Java Fern and the Anubias. Should I be looking at a better light or am I good considering I'm working with plants with low or moderate light needs? I want to give them the best but don't want to terrorize my inhabs with more light than they'll be comfy with.

2. So far I'm just using a fairly fine gravel as a substrate...should I be layering with some sort of plant friendly substrate?

3. Considering I have 3 canister filters and 2 submersible airpumps working in the tank am I providing too much aeration that is robbing the plants of the carbon dioxide they need?

4. Any other advice for improving this environment.


Thanks very much in advance!
 

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A 32 watt light for a 55 gallon tank is not enough for plants. A few types of plants might remain alive under that little light, but none will do much growing. Twice that much light would still be considered low light.

Air bubbling in the water will not deplete the CO2 in the water unless you are adding CO2. Instead, it will help stabilize the small amount of CO2 in the water that is in equilibrium with the CO2 in the air.
 

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I'm very surprised that your Silver Dollars haven't bothered your plant. You either have weird fish or tough plants they don't like. Silver Dollars usually treat plants as a tossed salad! :D Maybe your'r are the exception to the rule...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
A 32 watt light for a 55 gallon tank is not enough for plants. A few types of plants might remain alive under that little light, but none will do much growing. Twice that much light would still be considered low light.

Air bubbling in the water will not deplete the CO2 in the water unless you are adding CO2. Instead, it will help stabilize the small amount of CO2 in the water that is in equilibrium with the CO2 in the air.
I was afraid of that. With my current bulb and combined with the fact that I have a glass canopy with removable back flap installed to block my eel from getting any ideas I'm getting temps as high as 34 C when I get home. We've had some hot ones here lately in NYC. Really trying to resist layout $250 + for a cooling unit. Hmmmmmmm

Thanks for the info.
 

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I'm very surprised that your Silver Dollars haven't bothered your plant. You either have weird fish or tough plants they don't like. Silver Dollars usually treat plants as a tossed salad! :D Maybe your'r are the exception to the rule...
Almost every description I've read of JAVA Fern and Anubias is that herbivorous fish normally won't touch them because they are tough and bitter tasting.
 

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I wouldn't worry too much about a cooling unit unless your water is over 86F for extended periods of time.I have had tanks that i kept at 86F On purpose (ich hates heat) No ill effect to the fish. Remember they are Tropical Fish(and the tropics are often MUCH hotter than the USA gets lol) I would invest that 250 in a good light unit i personally like the Nova Extreme 48 inch 4x54watt T5 HO fixture. You will need to replace 2 bulbs(it comes with Atintic for SW coral) Take those 2 out and put in 2 6500k bulbs with the 2 10,000k bulbs and your setting at 3.98 WPG which is high light and allows any plants you want, Add a Pressurized CO2 unit and your good to go!

The rest of your set up sounds solid though(might want to pick up ferts) http://www.bestaquariumregulator.com/ferts.html good site for ferts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
I wouldn't worry too much about a cooling unit unless your water is over 86F for extended periods of time.I have had tanks that i kept at 86F On purpose (ich hates heat) No ill effect to the fish. Remember they are Tropical Fish(and the tropics are often MUCH hotter than the USA gets lol) I would invest that 250 in a good light unit i personally like the Nova Extreme 48 inch 4x54watt T5 HO fixture. You will need to replace 2 bulbs(it comes with Atintic for SW coral) Take those 2 out and put in 2 6500k bulbs with the 2 10,000k bulbs and your setting at 3.98 WPG which is high light and allows any plants you want, Add a Pressurized CO2 unit and your good to go!

The rest of your set up sounds solid though(might want to pick up ferts) http://www.bestaquariumregulator.com/ferts.html good site for ferts.
Thanks for the help. I'll continue to keep an eye on the temp. I went and grabbed a Nutri-Grow bulb at the recommendation of my local aquarium store. It's stronger and the tank looks much better under it. I'll consider something better depending on how things go with this one. I'm using Flourish Comprehensive Supplement for the Planted Aquarium...capful twice per week. I'll also look into a CO2 unit.

I just added Mondl(?) grass, some Janet Craig and a couple Aluminum Plants that looked great though I'm having issues finding info on any of these in an aquarium setting. Hey can those Asian Bamboo plants that you can buy that have their roots submerged in water to an aquarium? Just curious. I also spied a snail on the front glass! Oh no! I cleaned the plants thoroughly I thought but not good enough clearly. I've never had to deal with snails so looks like I'm going to have a new challenge ahead of me.
 

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You tank looks beautiful, how ever with this setup and fish it will not last. Those bamboo plants are meant to grow immersed and will look good for a while but also will not last. I would do some studying on plated tanks and make some hard decisions, there are many types of planted aquariums and it will take time to see which one will suit you. I would not buy and thing until you decide what you want and do a revamp from their. If you take your time and plant the tank you want you will spend less money and enjoy your tank more, Just my 2 cents
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You tank looks beautiful, how ever with this setup and fish it will not last. Those bamboo plants are meant to grow immersed and will look good for a while but also will not last. I would do some studying on plated tanks and make some hard decisions, there are many types of planted aquariums and it will take time to see which one will suit you. I would not buy and thing until you decide what you want and do a revamp from their. If you take your time and plant the tank you want you will spend less money and enjoy your tank more, Just my 2 cents
A friend of mine took my Silver Dollars so they are gone and I removed the bamboo....little better?
 

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Yes this is better. I help people design show cars for a living , the biggest mistake that most make with any project is not having an end goal. look at planted tanks and read, make a picture of your ideal tank in your head or draw a sketch. Then tell us what it is and we will tell you if it is possible and how to do it. One guy told you on here to add a little more light, this will help. Another told you to go with a lot of light and co2, this will also help. How ever there are draw backs to all. With hight light and co2 you are full on into a planted tank with a LOT to learn. With a little light you will grow the beginner plants but if you decide 3 weeks later to go with more your money will be wasted. Either way you need to learn about algae, ferts, water movement and much more. I do not want to stop you, I do want to help you reach you goal. Let us know what your ideas are::D
 

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Chagovatoloco gave you great advice. In your pxs I see some plants that will not survive underwater. The mondo grass and the variegated leaves are terrarium plants. Many pet stores sell them as aquatics but they aren't. It's frustrating until you learn. One thing that might help is to check things out on the plant finder before you buy. But I do understand that sometimes you see something in the store and it's get it then or not at all. Good luck! With your silver dollars gone you will have MANY more choices open to you! :D
 

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Oh, how I miss having an Oscar! You'll need hardy, well-rooted plants so the Oscar will be less inclined to re-decorate for you. Or, you could stick to plants that attach to wood/rocks or keep large potted plants (like large swords) in their pots instead of un-potting and re-planting.
 
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