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Discussion Starter #1
Ok so I have been in reefing for over a year now and I was at the fish store getting some stuff for my reef and there was a very good special on a biocube 8 gallon (my reef is a 14) and my dad has wanted a fish tank in the kitchen for a long time and like the bio cube all in one cleanness of it. Soooo he bought the tank with my help and I told him I would set him up a fresh water if he payed.

We bought a piece of drift wood, sand and a small rock for the substrate and mixed them together to get the look we wanted.
for fish we have a cory cat fish,and two rummynose tetras.

For plants we have moss, and two other plant I think one is wisteria and the other kind of looks like temple. Both of those are planted in little pots and we left them in.

I told my dad Planted tanks need Co2 and other things but he told me he grew plants in his fish tank as a child and they did just fine.

So here is my question

how long will those go with out Co2 and what other things do we need to keep those plants alive?

we would like to put two mini frogs in along with neon tetras and hatchets.

THANKS
 

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What plants do you have? What light do you have?

I am not sure how old you are but if you have completed High School Biology there is a great book:

The Ecology of the Planted Aquarium

it covers the science of working with no CO2 and planting in soil. There is a download version available for $15. It is not the easiest book to read but it is well written.
 

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Start by reading this article that the DFW group wrote up:
http://www.aquatic-plants.org/articles/basics/pages/index.html

That should answer many of your initial questions. In order to rely on the substrate producing the CO2 you need, it will need organic matter in it. You can get this by taking some soil from your yard/garden and making a 1" or so underlayer in the tank and then top it with your sand/rock substrate.

-Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Can I add a Co2 tablet?
I really dont want to get into and special substrate.
I am trying to keep it as simple as possible to keep my dad happy. But I think I could convince him to buy tablets or maybe a yeast housing thing but he want to have the tank and its surroundings look very clean.

My dad does not care if they grow only that they stay alive.

I am a soph in high school and I have taken Bio.
 

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Java fern grew like crazy for me before I knew anything at all. No CO2, no ferts, plain gravel, crappy lighting. Try that!
 

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Plants like guppy grass and duckweed will grow very well without any substrate at all and are just about impossible to kill. If fact, they will need pruning every few weeks.

Most mosses are also very hardy. Java fern grows well for most people, but for some it just doesn't do well.

You should have roughly about 2 watts per gallon of light.

You won't need any extra CO2 in any form.

There is nothing complicated about a soil substrate. Read the FAQ's here and also Ms. Walstad's book. In it she summarizes the principles and then delves into the science behind them. You won't have any trouble understanding it.

Lot's of luck!

Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #7
For lighting I have a 10 watt compact florescent and its an 8 gall tank but only about 7 or maybe even 6 in the display.

I am thinking about buying another 10000k light to take the place of the actinic I am not using right now witch would give me 20 watts but I have not decided yet because I am trying to keep it as clean as I can for my dad and if I add another light its another ballast.
 

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A CF lamp has about 1.5 times the light energy as a T12. Your light is adequate.

Actinics are not appropriate for fresh water planted aquaria.

Bill
 
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