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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys, I've been keepin' fishes for a couple years but never have I had a planted tank. I've been lurking around here for a while and some other forums and I feel it's the time to just give it a go. I bought an 18 gallon TALL a few weeks ago along with all my equipment and set everything up. It's been running for about 2 weeks with nothing in there but:

Schultz Aquatic Soil (3 inches)
2x36W 6,500K Light Fixture from DrsFosterSmith.com (4WPG)
Hagen CO2 System (not setup yet because I don't have any plants!)
Hagen AquaClear 200
Ebo-Jager 150W Heater
1 Malaysian Driftwood (HUGE)

It's not the best equipment in the world but hey, I'm a student and I have books to buy soon! :evil: Anyway, I tested my water from both the empty tank and my tap and I'm getting very weird readings. Here they are:

TESTS FROM THE EMPTY TANK ONLY W/ DRIFTWOOD:
pH: 7.6
KH: 3dKH
Phosphate: 8.0ppm
Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate: irrelevent for now

TESTS FROM MY TAP:
pH: 8.0
KH: 12dKH
Phosphate: 1.0ppm
GH 11dGH

These are all brand new test kits so I don't know why the readings are inconsistent. Or maybe I just don't know WTH I'm doing.. I hated Chemistry in high school! Can you guys clue me in? It's safe to use the Hagen CO2 right? And another thing.. I bought Seachem Flourish and Excel, is this all I'll need? There's so many different kinds of ferts out there, what's the EASIEST way to fert my tank? I saw some people recommending gregwatson.com or something but I'm not sure.. :?:

Here's a pic of my tank: How would you guys aquascape this? Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

Eddie
 

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The first thing I would do is add plants and get that CO2 going. Start with fast growers, i.e. water sprite, parrot's feather, Vallisneria, Cabomba, Ambulia (Limnophila), etc...and gradually replace them with slower-growing species (if you want them) once your tank gets going.

You will find that things even out on their own.
 

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Thats a whole lot of lighting (72 watts for 18 gallons is 4wpg) Be prepared for algae to grow as you have A LOT of light in there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys for replying. Is there any way I can prevent the algae from even forming? Maybe I should just leave one 36W light on in the beginning...?
 

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Getting plants in there ASAP will help.
 

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Driftwood, gravel or rocks might sometimes affect the water PH, GH etc, if they aren't inert.

Get the tank started with lots of plants. Get fast growers and fill her up. That'll help use up nutrients and keep algae in check. Once the tank is settled and you get the hang of how things are going, you can start swapping out some of the plants.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I already have the following plants in my other tanks that I might be moving into this one:

Java Fern
Java Moss
Anacharis
Hornwort

The plants I plan on getting are:

Didiplis Diandra "Blood Stargrass"
Parrot's Feather
Rotala Indica
Wisteria
Dwarf Sag
Duckweed

How's that?
 

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m3th0d said:
The plants I plan on getting are: ...Duckweed
You might regret this one. Even with a net, it can be hard to eliminate if conditions are favorable. There are better choices for floating plants. Phyllanthus fluitans is my current favorite with Salvinia being my 2nd favorite.
___
Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I forgot to mention I have some Frogbit but I want something that grows faster and from what I've read Duckweed fits the bill. I can put it in one of my low-light tanks and see how it does and if it grows too fast I won't put it in this tank.
 
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