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New, Learning a lot... Now what?

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by chaualain, Sep 8, 2009.

  1. chaualain

    chaualain Junior Poster

    Aug 22, 2009
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    4:09 PM
    Hey guys, i've been fish keeping for almost about a year 1 1/2 maybe... keeping fish is no problem for me or so i think haha, but for the last few months i've been trying to deal with plants for the natural better looking tank.

    Currently I have a 40gal with swordtail, assorted neon tetras, a clown loach, and angel fishes. I've been randomly buying plants for LFS around my area and sticking em in and no surprise they all eventually rot away...

    Getting the idea a lot of people I've been around and told me to just stick the plant into the gravel and the light will grow it... apparently that didn't work too well.

    I am currently (just newly setup) a DIY CO2 setup... yea i know i got caught in the CO2 hype thing i guess, but it doesn't seem to be working and i'm reading a lot about dosing ferts right now...

    As for the light before I had 2x39w T5 lighting which is 1.9wpg one Power glo bulb i guess is 6700k? and a one those red/pink freshwater bulbs. It did okay with that for awhile... but wasn't really growing so i thought that a new light should help so I went out and got a used (craigslist) JBJ lighting PC fixture with 2x96w (only use one bulb for 2.4wpg 6700k bulb) and paired it up with the DIY CO2 setup. With that I see a little growth but most leaves are dying out.

    Now my question is should i keep going with the PC fixture or should I go back to the 2x T5 Lights for the best results?

    And I am just using regular gravel that I got from the LFS, I was thinking getting flourite or something similar... but my tank has been already establish for almost a year, is it ok to just switch it out or should I just keep going with the normal gravel...? for the best plant growth result...

    oh yea... i'm not looking to get into heavy plannted tank, just stems plants, some swords, anubius and smaller foreground plants... which is what i've been trying to attempt hahaha.... any help to this topic would be great thanks :/
  2. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
    Lifetime Member

    Jan 15, 2009
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    Local Time:
    4:09 PM
    What are the tank dimensions? This is probably the first place to start as a T5 light over a 40 gallon breeder tank that's 16" deep is a little different than a T5 light over a 30" deep 40 gallon tank. Depending on which you have a different amount of area to cover which may change things a bit.

    Depending on the T5 lights you might be able to get some better spread if you can separate the bulbs a bit. Raising the light fixture on the PC would probably help do the same to even the light intensity across the whole tank. Vaughn ( I think it's Vaughn, my apologies to whomever if it isn't ) has some excellent posts about that.

    If you want to continue with CO2, first read the EI sticky threads for the fertilizer usage. You may also want to consider the non CO2 Methods sticky thread as well and decide which method suits you better. If you choose to go with CO2 strongly consider spending the money and get a decent pressurized rig now and save yourself a bunch of aggravation with unstable CO2 levels from the yeast reactor methods.

    Go to Planted Aquarium Fertilizer - Home and grab some cheap ferts. A pound or two will last a LONG time. You'll probably need:

    GH Booster
    CSM+B Plantex

    Go to a cooking store or Bed Bath and Beyond or similar and get a set of the tiny measuring spoons. They're probably labeled pinch,dash, etc. This should be roughly 1/8, 1/16, 1/32 and will help you measure out what you need for a 40 gallon.

    For substrate, ADA Aquasoil is highly regarded. I've got Flourite at home as well as just common pool filter sand. The discus and corys like the finer grains and show up better on the white sand, but flourite also has a sand product in brown and black. If you have a lot of open areas, the white sand will require less light overhead for you to see a bright tank and makes it less likely you'll just keep adding light to brighten it up if you like a really bright tank, but otherwise the color conveys no special advantage. You can probably just keep the gravel you have now or consider vacuuming out a bit at a time to replace it or just add the new substrate on top to "cap" it. If you dose the fertilizers in the water column regularly there's probably not much point in worrying about the gravel you have now as long as you're happy with it.



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