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hey i'm new to the forum, i've been reading up on a lot of the posts on here trying to figure out what i need to be doing to my tank to get plants growing.

I'd like to start filling my tank w/ plants. I'd like to do it without hastling myself without constantly watching ppm numbers. I've been trying to grow three amazon sword plants that have been trying to grow but my angels keep eating them. I've just bought a bunch of hornwort since i have plastic hornwort in the tank the angels have figured out they can't eat it. I've also got two bulb plants (can't remember what they are called) that the angels won't eat either. I've got a 55g tank with 2, i think 35W bulbs. I have tried cO2 tablets and have gotten no results from them. heres my questions...

1. i'm considering this "pressurized cO2" can someone explain to me what EXACTLY it is? is it a device? is it a liquid chemical? how does it work? (I know what cO2 is :wink: ) is it something i need to buy from the store or can i get it cheap off eBay?

2. i'm using a pea gravel substrate, is pea gravel a substate that will be suitable for my plants or do i need to be using something else?

3. i've heard you need to use "red spectrum" lighting in the tank to promote plant growth? i've seen the colored tubes at the pet store, is this something i should buy?

4. I haven't used any real kinds of fertilizers, can anyone suggest some brand names that work best?

5. The hornwort i bough bears a very familiar similarity to what we call here in iowa eurasian millfoil something. I grows worse than a weed in the lakes but the lady at the store said it was very difficult to grow, is this true?

6. i saw theres a 2-3 wpg rule a person is supposed to follow. Can I put a larger wattage bulb in with the same starter thats in there now or do i need to upgrade that too? The tanks sit infront of my south windows and get sunlight all day.

Thats all i got for now :) really sorry for all the questions, i just wanted to get it all straight without any beating around the bush. oh and here are a few more tank stats. Thanks!

6 angels
2 clown loach
1 red-tailled shark

2,330 Posts
some comments before answers to your questions

a) Amazon swords get HUGE. In 3 months 1 completely outgrew my 29g tank.

b) Double check how many watts those bulbs are. If we assume you are right, then you are at the minimum light levels meaning only really low light plants.

c) Co2 tablets are junk IMO. CO2 is has only a little effect with suck low light levels

1) pressurize CO2 is using a compressed gas cylinder (for CO2, you are storing a liquid). You use a regulator to control the pressure. After this, things are like a DIY setup which consist of a 2L soda bottle that you ferment yeast in. For pressurized, kinda think of the oxygen bottle setups that you see elderly sometimes carry with them.

2) pea gravel does NOTHING for plants other than give it a place to root. Plant substrates are both of appropriate size and nutrient content. substrates main function is Iron supply (but it does other things as well). Plant substrates include: Shultz Aquatic Soil-profile (Found at home depot sometimes...very cheap), Flourite, eco-Complete, Onyx sand, Onyx Gravel, Flora Base etc. Laterite is NOT a substrate. It is an additive

3) For plants, you tend to stick with 5000K-6700K bulbs. there are some other exceptions such as the GE 9325 bulb. DO NOT use actinic lighting.

4) Flourish is a well established line. You are running such low light levels, that you might only benifit from Fourish (there are other things like Flourish Trace, Flourish Iron etc that you won't need with these levels)....It is just called Flouish. It is by Seachem.

5) Flourish is a weed. If you can't grow it, then you really have a deficiency..usually light.

6) upgrading lights IS NOT a matter of replacing the bulb. Changing to a "plant bulb" is no substitute for watts. You need to retrofit or get a new light setup to get more light. Light isn't cheap. If you are handy, is my top pick.

BTW, 5 Angels will outgrow that 55 IMO.:(
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