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New Face, New Tank, Same Old Questions

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by csmith, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    Hello all. I'm not new to planted tanks per se, just new to doing them right. Algae does count as a plant, right? I hope so, as I've sucessfully cultivated every type of algae I know of at the expense of my desired flora. This first thread will be about my newest (and second) tank. It's a 55 gallon, with GLO T-5 2x54 watt bulbs (one 6,500 LifeGLO, one 18,000 PowerGLO. The 18,000 isn't as bad as it sounds, it's actually pinkish). Substrate is Flourite Black, not dosed with anything as far as macros. I've been using a Seachem regimen on my 10 gallon, and seeing as you can't mix their P and K, I didn't want to mix the two with N in a spray bottle. I'll be getting Miracle Grow later on for this. Seems the easiest to do, unless anyone has other suggested products. Eventually it'll have a Fluval 305 attached, but that's to come later.
    To get to my point, I'm attempting the DSM using Lilaeopsis Mauritiana (micro swords) and need a little guidance. The two attached pictures are day 1 of my tank.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    With the light on, the front and side glass were wet about three quarters of the way up, and the back glass is dry to maybe three to four inches above the substrate (as observed better in the second picture). Is this cause for concern, as in is my light producing too much heat to maintain a proper amount of moisture? My driftwood started a light brown color, and now it's very dark in spots which would lead me to believe it's humid enough. The light sits above two glass tops, and the tops have masking tape around the perimeter to ensure as much retention of water as possible. I do open it and mist the plants/allow gas exchange twice a day.

    I understand the clumps of plants aren't ideal, but they had such a good root structure I was hesitant to break them apart. If need be I can break them up, though.

    Any help would be much appreciated.

    P.S. The wire/probe on the wood is just a thermometer.
     
    #1 csmith, Dec 21, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2009
  2. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    Alright, so last night I backed the lighting off about 3 inches on each side. I come home from work today and now my lowest piece of driftwood is not only saturated from top to bottom, but also covered in a thin layer of spider web-like white mold. Should the light move back down? I need some help.
    A few blades located at the front of the tank have turned yellow around the tips, while some blades in the rear directly under the light have actually turned black and would appear KIA. Is this death status quo, or am I doing something incorrectly?
     
    #2 csmith, Dec 22, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2009
  3. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    Could the substrate be TOO wet? It sounds like there is too much moisture, not humidity, IMO.

    I know others have had fungus with too much actual water in the substrate...

    Could you elaborate on 'backing off the light'? Did you raise the fixture?

    Remember that flourite will not have any nutrients, so adding macros to the substrate would help a bit.

    Hope this helps a bit.
     
    #3 Gerryd, Dec 22, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 22, 2009
  4. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    12:22 AM
    There aren't any pools of water if that's what you mean, but I will attempt to dry it out a bit. Should I break the plants down into single blades while I'm at it? Not sure if this will help the overall growth later on down the road with this particular species, or if it's a moot point.
    By backing off the light I raised it a few inches on each side, trying to solve the problem from my first post up top. Not sure really if I just caused more of an issue. I'm contemplating just pulling the driftwood out until time to flood as well.
    As for the macros, I got some Miracle Grow yesterday and sprayed around each plant a few times. I know this'll cause ammonia issues later, but I figure a few good water changes and a little extra time waiting before I add fish should solve this.
    To be honest most of what I'm doing is based on no guidance other than my assumptions about solutions to the problems I see. We all know what happens when you assume, though..
     
  5. Greg Watson

    Greg Watson Administrator
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    Is your ultimate goal to grow plants immersed or submersed?

    Greg
     
  6. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    I'm filling it with water. This started as a tank for a biotope-ish design, but once I came across this site and you guys on TPT, etc. I couldn't help but try doing this with my new tank. Intended goal in the end is stem plants around the back and right side (basically wherever there are currently open patches of substrate), and most likely EI/injected CO2.
     
    #6 csmith, Dec 23, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2009
  7. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    I've removed the driftwood, removed the pot of water and used an air pump line to siphon out 1/4 of a gallon of water. I went ahead and gave the plants a nice trimming, too, which actually helped pull the blades that were weighed down into the substrate upright and made it easier to seperate them. I also gave the substrate a nice spraying down of the Miracle Grow.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Hopefully I'm rid of the excess moisture. I do apologize if I begin to ask the same questions anyone else has as this goes along. I understand how repetitive answering the same questions can become, and I assure you I have used that nifty search tab for these things on this forum and other resources, it just seems my problems are slightly different in nature and/or root cause and I'd rather ask than mess something up. I do appreciate the assistance.
     
    #7 csmith, Dec 23, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2009
  8. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    I think I get it now. I did some searching on humidity (which I didn't think of earlier for some reason), and came across this and this. Sorry Gerryd, I absolutely didn't understand what you meant by the difference between moisture and humidity. I believed them to be one in the same. Now I have a little better grasp on this. I've replaced my water pot, but will keep the level of water in the substrate pretty low. I also noted in that first thread that DaveSurfer was having issues with higher temperature, and mine has been around 77-78. SuperColey1 noted that above 68 degrees F should be good, so I'll work on keeping me temps closer to 70 than 80.
     
  9. deucebiggss

    deucebiggss Guru Class Expert

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  10. mstasa

    mstasa Junior Poster

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    Just make sure when you are ready to fill the tank you have your CO2 system ready, or else your micro sword will die off. Good Luck
     
  11. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    Thank you Deucebiggss. That actually helped explain it just a little more. The main thing I gathered from that page is that water on the glass isn't as indicative of humidity as I first thought.

    mstasa, I will have everything on standby the second I decide to flood.

    I've actually split the photo-period like in my smaller tank. On from 8 AM to 12 PM and 4 PM to 8 PM, hopefully to regulate the heat without having to open the tank more than once a day to spray everything down. I'm still seeing 75-76 degree temperatures, and towards the end of the lighting cycle my cheapo hygrometer from Wal-Mart is showing 75% humidity, but the plants seem able to sustain moreso than in the first week. It doesn't look like too much more is dying off (a handful of blades here and there turning yellow). If push comes to shove, I'll be trying the paper towel over the plants that was pointed out by DaveSurfer in that first thread I linked to. I'll make this thing work, one way or another.

    If anyone sees a flaw with something I'm doing, I'm more than open to suggestions.
     
    #11 csmith, Dec 27, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2009
  12. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    Day 11 and I've got seriously mixed results. I've moved my bowl of water further forward so it no longer sat directly underneath the light, and my humidity rose. Because of this I quit spraying the plants everyday, as to not leave the plants too moist (as jonny_ftm put it "humid, not wet"). The plants directly underneath the light (back half of the tank) are doing one of two things. Turning yellow, or dying outright. Some of the plants still have green in them, so I'm going to attempt to spray only those to keep the direct light from ruining them. I actually have some new growth from plants in the front half of the tank, and even if they aren't sending runners they're not dying. Atleast not as badly as those in the back half of the tank. I guess we'll see how it goes from here.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  13. deucebiggss

    deucebiggss Guru Class Expert

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    Looks fine to me. I would just be patient. Plants are shocked when you first plant them in a new enviroment. They need to adapt to the new surroundings. The less you fiddle with everything the better off you will be.
     
  14. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    The hardest part about this is the patience. I'm the worst with the runners. Quite a few are running across the surface of the substrate and I keep wanting to go in and push them down, even though I know that it's going to happen regardless of how many times I "fix" them. Now that I see new growth and how fast it is growing (some new blades doubled in size overnight), I hope that'll teach me to keep my hands out of it and just let it go.
     
  15. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    I've got good growth thus far, but most of it is straight up. I'm not seeing too much spread. Is it safe to assume the root structure is still growing out but not sending up blades, or is there an alteration I need to make to get this stuff growing out more than up?
     
  16. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    12:22 AM
    I started this project almost a month ago and I honestly can't make out much, if any, new growth. The swords have no problems growing vertically, but I'm not seeing the substrate fill in at all. I recall some of the folks that tried hairgrass met with a similar end and found that the plant did better submersed than while dry. Is there a chance this sword is coming about the same way? I'm hoping, if nothing else, the roots have a stronger hold so I can say I met with some sort of success. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, I don't want to prematurely flood if there's something I can change/do to have this grow the way I'm looking for.
     
  17. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Patience

    Hi,

    Patience, I know it is difficult, but frankly nothing bad has happened.;)

    Sometimes the root and reserves are being built. I will grant it would have been nice to see a litle more progress to this point, but each set-up has, literally a life of its own.:gw

    Good luck,
    Biollante
     
  18. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    Day 44

    This tank has been going for almost a month and a half now. Still no new spreading of plants but I have seen that atleast they are taking root very deep. This tank has until I can get my whole Co2 situation figured out, so hopefully a little more happens between now and then.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Reptile Heater

    Hi,

    I was much younger when I wrote the above; I also did not realize you are in Colorado Springs and therefore in a semi-arid desert environment. :eek:

    I still stick with the nothing bad has happened part. :)

    I suspect that what I assumed was high humidity is condensation and Gerry’s comment about it being too wet. I cannot see, and do not recall it being mentioned, but I am assuming you have the top covered with plastic wrap. If that is the case, add a small heater, a reptile heater or if possible even a heating pad or two under the tank.

    You will need to open it up a couple of times a day and fan the air around a bit. :)

    Biollante
     
    #19 Biollante, Jan 31, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 31, 2010
  20. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    It's currently covered by two glass tops sealed off with masking tape. At the end of the lighting cycle the temperature inside is near 76-77 degrees (T-5's sitting directly on the glass, I tried rasing them 3-4 inches to lower the temps but that did nothing.). I did purchase a cheapo hygrometer from Wally World two weeks into this to ensure I had good humidity. While I didn't calibrate it (I know, I know..) I was showing good levels of humidity during lights off and manageable levels when lights on. The hygrometer has since decided to be stuck somewhere in the 80% area so I haven't paid much attention to it since then. I do pop the top of it at night right after the lights go off to allow some of the heat to escape and new air to get inside.

    Are the suggested heaters for adding to the humidity, or keeping it squared away at night? Just curious.
     
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