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27 Gallon Cube - Beginner Questions

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by Marrz, Sep 26, 2013.

  1. Marrz

    Marrz Junior Poster

    Aug 16, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Local Time:
    9:50 AM
    Hello. I originally posted this over an The Planted Tank, I got some views, but no advice. So I thought I'd try and reach out here.


    In my past, many years ago, I have a few different aquariums. They consisted of mostly neglected fish (due to lack of knowledge) and plastic plants. Now, 20 years on since my last tank I have finely decided to make the plunge again. What I’m looking for out of the tank is: an activity I can share with my 2-1/2 and 1 (ok, probably not him yet) year old sons, something relaxing to look at, one more thing to “do”, and something to spend money on (because there’s just too much of that laying around). I do not want to need to trim plants every day, but I do enjoy getting my hands wet and once a week or every other week would be nice.

    Through much research and planning we have settled on a 120 – 150 gallon freshwater planted tank. Not wanting to go to deep to fast I decided to start small, and test the waters. So I bought the following. If all goes as planned this will become a quarantine tank.


    Marineland 27 gallon, its dimensions are 20” wide, 18” deep, and 20” tall.

    Lighting (It’s 17” from lights to substrate):

    1x Marineland Single Bright LED fixture
    1x Marineland Double Bright LED fixture


    Fluval 106




    Cryptocoryne Wendtii
    Water Hyssop, Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri)
    Telanthera Plant - (Alternanthera reineckii var 'roseafolia')
    Cyperus Helferi
    Anubias Barteri
    Cryptocoryne…. Not sure, receipt only says cryptocoryne. It’s much taller than the other, maybe someone could identify from the pictures.
    Java Fern
    Moss Ball
    Some type of sword. It came from a Top Fin package from PetSmart. I’m guessing it’s the medium sword from their website.
    One other dark green leafed unidentified plant. It came from a Top Fin PetSmart package.


    10X – Glow Light Tetras
    3X German Blue Rams
    6X Kuhli Loaches
    7X Shrimp, couple red, couple yellow, couple green.
    3x Nitrile Snails


    Water change of 50% once a week.
    API Carbon Booster daily, to the recommended does on bottle. When the API is gone, I’m switching to Excel because of the cost / concentration.
    SeaChem Flourish, also to the recommended does on the bottle.

    On Order (Because only a few plants are showing growth and sword leaves are yellowing):

    SeaChem Root Tabs
    SeaChem Trace
    SeaChem Iron
    SeaChem Phosphorus
    SeaChem Potassium
    SeaChem Nitrogen

    These are now in, but I have not started using them yet.

    So. So far all is pretty good, I guess. I’ve lost no fish or plants, the Telanthera and Bacopa have sent out lots of little white roots, the Anubias has added a new leaf but the rest seem nearly stagnant, not dying, but not really growing (maybe just growing slowly?). Except the sword plant, its older leaves are yellowing. From the reading I've done it appears the root tabs will help this. I was really hoping to see more growth, which along with the yellowing leaves on the swords is why I ordered the additional SeaChem Fertilizers. I'm now second guessing the fertilizer purchase, and wondering if CO2 should have been my first thought.

    I am now also starting to see a little algae. I think it is either GSA or GDA, but I'm no expert. The majority is confined to the aquarium glass and only visible from pretty sharp viewing angles. There is also a little (not sure if it's the same) growing on the Anubias leaves. I'm not complaining about the algae, if this is the worst it ever gets, then I'm happy.


    Will Root Tabs help my swords?

    What’s your opinion of my lighting? I don’t see myself changing this, but I'd like to have some idea where I stand. I do not have access to a PAR meter, though I might start looking around.

    Am I going the wrong direction buying all those Ferts? Should I have gone to CO2 first to achieve my growth goals above?

    Will the additional fertilizers noticeably boost my growth, or should I be looking to add CO2?

    Here's a few links to pictures:





    - Mike
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