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  1. We are after as many aquarium plant images that we can get, doing so will assist us in completing the aquarium plant database.

    https://barrreport.com/threads/aquatic-plant-images-wanted.14374/
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New Pal (pun intended)

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by viejo, Jan 19, 2009.

  1. viejo

    viejo Prolific Poster

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    Hello all.

    I'm just a newbie in aquariums, not just in planted ones. I've got a 38l from a friend, and just now (after almost four months of occasional deads) I can say it's stable.

    From the day zero I've been looking for "the lazyest guy's aquarium". I've read a lot about aquariums and the thing that I most hate: water changes.

    I decided myself for a non-CO2 tank, to save that water I want not to waste (nor to carry around). My initial thoughs are about a close approx to "El Natural" from DW, but I'm not sure about it, because it's "darker" than my view of an aquarium wanna-be.

    I've read the thread about non-CO2 from the "Articles" section (the whole 19 pages) and reached some conclusions through it. Let me list them, and point me (please) to the wrong ones (providing me hints about how to be right). I mark each "thought" with a streetlight color to point which of them I like and wich of them I want to NOT follow if possible:

    - light around 0.5w per liter (I'm european, sorry)
    I must be careful about what "watt" means (pun not intended). "Nominal watt" or "real watt"? I must suppose, from all my reads, I must count the consumption wattage, and not the number low-energy lamps' sellers use as "equivalents"

    - large but spared water changes (around 50% each 4-6 months)
    I don't want to reach those numbers, because I want not to waste water. I will use the "used" water to water my plants. Around 10 liters per change... Can I go with those numbers? Around 10-20 liter each week or each two weeks?

    - large amount of plants, initially fast growth ones, that would be changed when the plants' mass will be enough
    Ok, I'm planning to put zillion meters of Egeria (Elodea?) Densa, because I noticed it's easier to keep alive than many others, and well... seems easy to remove without hurting it (I will return/move it to my 38l and make a "forest" for my platy)

    - small fish biomass, but enough to get its mulm as plant's nutrients
    I'm playing around 200cm of living fish for my planned 300l tank. I will start with much less mass, and will add more as I see my plants need more nitrates. Am I right?

    - filters are NOT a must
    From "El Natural" point of view. As the fish I'm planning to keep (I will return over them later) enjoy little currents, I'm planning to keep an undersized internal filter, almost until the tank will be filtered and stablished. Then I will make some tests stopping the filter while lights will be on, using the current to add some O2 at nights (may I do it or will be better just to keep the gases as they will be if all seems OK?) If I see I need a filter, I will use an external canister one, to keep more water volume (and more fish and plants)

    I'm just trying to "digest" all information I've read from the non-CO2 article from Mr. Barr to decide about additives. I think my lazyness will admit a weekly addition of those long string NHK3PO4-like (my brain has never been able to keep names nor chemichal formulae in). In any case, I don't like those Leopardites described in the article, and will stick with garden soil as substrate, under a cm of sand (I want not gravel, had a fish wounded by a single stone that was not enough polished). It must be a problem when I make re-arrangements, but being lazy, I don't plan to re-arrange things over large periods.

    (and the next message will be to show you my project numbers and so)
     
  2. viejo

    viejo Prolific Poster

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    And now my project (and the reason about my subject "pun"):

    I want to create a biotope around Danio Rerio (zebra). Articles I've read about them say they are from asian rivers.

    As I've been listing fish in the standard zones that tool gave to me, and I didn't fell in love with none else, I continued looking it. I discarded the standard "asian river biotope" because fish listed seemed too distant or not too accurate.

    At the end, I used Mongabay's country database to retrieve lists from that biotope, and found them in some Indian rivers. I checked them those rivers' fish lists, and none satisfied me. I moved a bit further then. I used a Fish Mapper for the Danio. I noticed it can be found in some Nepal rivers.

    Ok, I have almost anything I need to start my project. Let's summarize it before the questions:

    - 300 liter tank (120x50x50)
    - internal filter to help with currents (temporally)
    - a school of zebras with some friends (dwarf or banded gourami, yoyo loaches, rosy barbs, blue killi and/or badis; NOTICE I'm not planning to introduce ALL OF THEM, just the ones I find until the mass of fish reaches the usual numbers 1"/gal or less)
    - garden substrate (must find chemichal parameters to be sure it doesn't ruin my water numbers)
    - sand (not too fine, just enough to say "it's not gravel")

    My first problem is the lack of information in the net about Nepal aquatic plants. Googling a lot I've reached a list, but I don't trust it, as has been created using a lot of deductions (just the most common ones, or the ones I can find at my nearest dealers):
    - Bacopa Monnieri (easy to grow)
    - Ceratopteris thalictroides
    - Egeria Densa (I'm not sure if it's native, but it's a MUST because it's easy and fast growth, almost while cycling)
    - Eleocharis "parvula" (I could not find a trustable font for it, and I want a hairgrass)
    - Limnophila sessiliflora
    - Rotala (few varieties)
    - Vallisneria spiralis

    Can anyone provide me a place to find an aquatic plants list of Nepal rivers? The Danio lives in the southeastern ones, if you want more data.

    The second is related with the amount of light those plants require. Rotala requires a lot of lighting (except the "reddish" ones, it seems). Will I be able to growth (or at least, keep alive) rotalas with 150w in my 300 liter tank?

    And the third will be the algae issues. I was thinking about break the biotope and add a pair of SAEs to the tank to prevent algae booms, but I want not to do it if it's not essential. I would love to move some of my red cherry shrimp to the new tank too, but I will not do it because they are not "natural" nor native from Nepal rivers.
    Does anyone know what can I use to fight algae that will fall under "Nepal river" category?

    Thanks in advance, and please, don't hesitate about pointing those things I'm being wrong with, or I'm missing. I want not to have another necropolis (as my first tank was named while its two first months of existence).

    As I said, many thanks.
     
  3. viejo

    viejo Prolific Poster

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    I will give me myself a hint, and I'll put here for further researchers, I tink it's not just about Nepal.

    eFloras.org Home

    Small list compiled from my non-trusted fonts and the site listed above:
    Bacopa monnieri
    Blyxa japonica
    Cardamine lyrata
    Crinum thaianum
    Cyperus helferi
    Eichhornia crassipes
    Eusteralis stellata (Pogostemon stellata)
    Hemigraphis spec.
    Hydrocotyle sibthorpioides (maritima)
    Hygrophila difformis
    Hygrophila polysperma
    Hygrophila polysperma ''Big leaf''
    Hygrophila polysperma ''Ceylon''
    Hygrophila polysperma 'Rosanervig'
    Hygroryza aristata
    Limnophila sessiliflora
    Ophiopogon japonicus 'Kyoto Dwarf'
    Pistia stratiotes
    Rotala rotundifolia
    Vallisneria americana (gigantea)
    Vallisneria americana (natans)
    Vallisneria americana var. biwaensis
    Vallisneria spiralis ''Tiger''

    I think it's enough to start working for aquascaping (keeping in mind I want a river...) This night I will spend some time crossing tropica's catalog with the site, trying to find plants that I like and fit my low light requirements.
     
  4. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    There is a lot to disgest in your initial posts! My first thoughts are that you are trying for low maintenance, but also want relatively high light intensity - 1.5 watts per liter is very high light, but I am assuming you meant 1.5 watts per gallon. If you use T5 lighting, that is high light intensity, unless the light fixture is suspended several inches above the tank. If you use PC lighting, that will be close to high light intensity, again unless you suspend the fixture above the tank. It is only with T8 or T12 bulbs that you would have a low light intensity with that much wattage.
     
  5. viejo

    viejo Prolific Poster

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    Doh! My fault... I meant 0,5w/l :p

    Edited: there is the list I've got after cross the tropica's catalog and eflora.org for Nepal aquatic plants:

    - Cardamine Lyrata
    - Rotala Rotundifolia
    - Myriophyllum aquaticum (green)
    - Hydrocotyle sibthorpioides
    - Bacopa monnieri
    - Limnophila sessiliflora
    - Hygrophila polysperma
    - Hygrophila difformis
    - Eusterallis stellata (pogostemon)

    I think there is not a carpet plant in that list... nor my Egeria Densa, that I thought to use to cycle it :(

    Now I must filter that small list trying to find plants able to survive in a low light environment, classify them by size and appearance, and try to find a cool aquascape that will be enjoyed by fish (and not just my eyes).

    And I'm a lazy guy! :(
     
  6. viejo

    viejo Prolific Poster

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    Again, my apologizes by use your forum as my test bed and/or personal notepad. I'm reading a lot from here and think it will be a small way to be grateful if I expose my conclusions here. Maybe they will be useful for someone (as a "nono list" for example).

    Lighting problem: almost all the plants of my list are classified by Tropica as they require from medium to high-light conditions. It's a punt in my lazy bottom that points me to the "exit" door from the low-tech zone.

    BUT I want not to surrender my plans easy. I've just finished to read an article here where Mr Barr, VaughnH and few other people were discussing about light, with a lot of technical information and graphs. I joined that information with Tropica's little article about lighting, and some read from the links in the first thread.

    • pants need light, more or less, but all need it
    • light effects diminishes with distance
    • more light provided -> more CO2 needed
    • with parabollic reflectors I can prevent a lot of light loses
    • with aluminium foil I can prevent some light loses
    • decreasing distances I can prevent some light loses

    We can join those points, let me talk senseless a bit.

    OK, the last point makes me think to put my higher light hungry plants in terraces, to allow them to reach more light. BUT then I will face shadows when they will growth and my deeper plants will suffer. Or I will must prune them until all plants will be enough tall. Ok, my lazyness will accept that extra work. And my aquascaping is a secondary priority, I will enjoy more happy and colorful fish and plants than a well distributed aquascape.

    A good option would be combine tubes with focused LEDs, giving me the chance to focus lights over most demanding plants... but it could be expensive and will require a lot of work. I must think about it, but just a bit...

    Why do not I plant following the light tubes? I mean, all plants have special demanding about light. The brighter zones of the aquarium will be planted with more demanding plants. The darker ones, with less (it's an obviety, I know, but I need to write those obvieties to clear my thoughts, it's a lot of information that I'm trying to digest). BUT I can do the same with the color tubes. Red plants will be planted near blue light tubes, and greener under the red ones. My plants will look LESS colorful (because they will receive less light of the color they reflect) BUT will be healthier.

    If I use tubes, I will need to put my plants in straight lines/zones under them. What if I use PL's? I can combine those planting zones in sectors, not in lines.

    It will be a 3-dimension design (not the usual "double 2D"* aquascaping) effort... but maybe I'll have more chances of success...

    Doh... a lot of things to think about. Luckily, I could not finish my DIY stand yet, and my tank will take a lot of time to reach home...

    (please, don't hesitate to point my mistakes... my plants and fish will thank you a lot)

    ------------------
    * Per "double 2D" aquascaping I mean the front/top way people use. I mean, people distributes plants and gadgets in a top/plant design trying to get a nice front view. My "3D" design means thinking about all three dimensions from the start, like raising plants not just in the rear to get a better aquascape but in any possible zones to get a healthier planting.
     
  7. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    If you really want to have varying light intensity across the substrate, you can use a MH light over part of the tank, giving the high light intensity you want, with the rest of the substrate getting less light by being further from the light. Or, you could do this by using a short T5 fixture, a 24 inch long two tube fixture, for example, over one area, and let the spillover light on the rest of the substrate give you the low light intensity.

    In either case you will need pressurized CO2 to provide for the needs of the higher light area plants.
     
  8. viejo

    viejo Prolific Poster

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    Something I think I've learn here (in this site) is that plants use to change their habits (or needs) if you give them enough time (and NOT extreme conditions, of course). I don't want to prune a jungle every other day. I just want a planted tank, with plants from the same place than my fish.

    My plants' list have some high light plants, but I think I will be able to keep them alive (maybe not at their top quality) with moderate light without CO2. I DON'T want CO2. I'm the kind of guy that someday thinks: "I forgot something..." and then remember the CO2 had to be changed two weeks ago, and having to fight with PH issues or turning mad my plants with variable CO2 quantities is not my goal.

    It seems I will need to change some things in my lists, or just be a bit risky with my lighting theories. But the variable amount of lighting seems a good thing to do.

    In any case, I have a bit more time to finish my plans, because I've not been able to finish my stand yet...
     
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Plant choice and something nice to look at are also large considerations to think about.

    That alone can make/break and lazy tank.
    Many more long term advanced aquarist opt for easy to keep and handle species.
    Less work, but still look nice.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  10. viejo

    viejo Prolific Poster

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    Sadly, the less light requirement plants on my list are fast growing ones. Without CO2 I wish they will not overgrowth my lazyness :p

    My initial aquascape was something about having a big thing (a root or a big stone) in the middle of the tank, "breaking" the current and giving hiding space to the colisae, as they don't enjoy currents as the Dario.

    The rear corners of the tank will be covered with Hygrophila polysperma, and maybe the left front corner (hiding the provisional internal filter until I decide if I keep it, I borrow an external one or I left my tank unfiltered). Corners will have the less light intensity, and the polysperma doesn't require a lot.

    Then will plant some groups of Limnophila sessiflora in a random pattern, just because I like the look of this plant.

    I will fill some empty places with few Hygrophila difformis in function of how I feel about them when I'll see them "in real". I want them because they will help to fight algae and they will pale when fertiliser will be needed (a natural alert method).

    About the rest of the list, I will put some of them just to test they viability. I have not decided for a foreground planting yet... I wanted some hairgrass, but Tropica has none listed as "from Nepal", and I've just found an internet dealer that sells some blyxa, and I don't have a clue about their demands and so.

    At the end, I will have a river biotope and not a heavily planted tank :(

    But it seems my Nepal's biotope is still possible, without CO2 and with spared water changes if I can manage my plants to growth if not fast, happy and healthy.

    As soon as I'll decide about lighting and aquascaping, I will provide you with some sketches or thoughts to ask for faults there. Thanks for share with me your knowledge.
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Well,

    This is the trade off here, you do not always get the plants you want for every aquascape and gardening goal. Yea, it'd be great to never have to trim in some cases also, and have every plant grow like Egeria densa. But.......that's not happening.

    You should always chose the scape design, and spend less energy trying to find the plant. I try a plant out and hope it works for the scape I have in mind, if not I try and pick/chose ones that still fit the scape well, but are easier to maintain over time.
    So sometimes I go through a few months of selection, seeing what matches well with the tank, the growth etc.

    Crypts make nice plants for non CO2 systems.
    A few things like Milfoils or Egeria etc.
    A few floaters like water sprite, Java fern etc. Maybe later hair grass, Gloss etc.

    Go slow, add lots of algae eaters, they will do more work per unit area since growth is slower, and thus so will algae growth.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  12. viejo

    viejo Prolific Poster

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    I will must to disguise some SAE as Giant Danios, it seems :(

    But the plants themselves are frustrating... I will try to keep your words in mind, adding pruning to my tasks list. I will raise slowly the light and try to check where it raises the max limit until the need of additional CO2.

    My initial idea was to raise the number of fish, but I think I would need zillion of them to replace added CO2, and the mulm would kill the entire system.

    More things to think about while I try to not hammer my own finger finishing my stand.

    Thanks for your time and words, if I'll take a decision, I'll post it here to check where my new faults will be (learning is a painful path... almost for my plants and fish)
     
  13. viejo

    viejo Prolific Poster

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    More thoughts and questions.

    - all plant species have their own light requirements
    - high light -> more photosyntesys -> more CO2 needed
    - low light -> less photosyntesys -> less CO2 needed

    From the last two points we can think light intensity and CO2 will must be provided in some sort of proportional quantities.

    Can I think this assumption is WRONG?
    (or not as right as it seems)

    Let me explain: almost all I've read about CO2 and lighting ignores the first point of my list: "all plant species have their own light requirements"

    I know if I put high light to a medium light plant, I will must add CO2 to help it growth. But what happens If I provide medium light to a medium light plant? Must I add CO2 too? Or do I only need to do it if I want to accelerate its growth?

    If I want to merge a high light plant and a medium one, and I provide both the same "medium" lighting, I will have an unbalance: the medium plant will have a better environment to growth, while the high light one will suffer. If I provide both high levels of light, the high light plant will have a "normal" environment, while the medium level will suffer for an excess of light (or a lack of CO2).

    What will happen if I put in a tank a medium light plant and a high light one, and provide each one with the appropiate amount of light? We are able to light a tank per zones, if we work a bit, with different types of lamps, with different reflectors configuration, adding focused lighting to determined zones of our tank...

    Those plants will still need additional CO2 to growth NATURALLY? I am not in a hurry, I want not my plants to reach their maximum size in less than a year. If a plant doesn't reach that "optimum" growing rythym that it seems CO2 will give, I will not cry.

    What do you think?

    (please, excuse my poor English, I'm not a natural speaker :eek: )
     
  14. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Aquatic plants aren't really "low light", "medium light" and "high light" plants. Those designations just refer to the minimun needs of the plants. Many of us have seen "low light", therefore slow growing plants grow faster when given high light. Java Ferns are one example. The faster a plant is growing, the more CO2 it is using. If we can maintain around 30 ppm of CO2 in the water during the photoperiod, all of the plants will have enough to grow at the rate that the light is driving them to grow, whether that is rapidly or slowly.
     
  15. viejo

    viejo Prolific Poster

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    Then my point is valid. If I can provide different amount of lighting to each plant, giving them the light they need for their normal growing rate, I can keep different light-requirement plants in my tank without needing to add CO2.

    I just must keep in mind those 30ppm of CO2 during the photoperiod. I need to find a way to count CO2 ppm (I will google about it this night :p)*

    Another question raised today. I saw SERA sells some sort of CO2 system that doesn't require nothing complex. It's just a box where you throw a tablet and it provides your tank some CO2 during 8 hours or so. SERA itself advices to use its tablets one every three or four days.
    I've read here that plants can accomodate theirselves to the amount of CO2 received (something about enzyms, I'm very bad with names). It means my plants can accomodate to low levels of CO2, but what will happen if I decide to give them that extra CO2 every few days? Will the plants become "mad"?

    OMG, it was supposed to be a hobby, not an academic degree...

    Thanks again for your thoughts.

    Edited:
    * work done. I don't like the DIY methods I've found for test CO2. Too much color comparison, and compare two tests (PH and KH) makes my chances of error (^2). I will seek and buy a drop checker somewhere.
     
  16. abcemorse

    abcemorse Prolific Poster

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    Just a word of advice, as soon as you start adding CO2 at all, your tank is removed from the lazy list. I think you mentioned a small fish load and moderate lighting, which means with CO2 addition you likely will need to dose some sort of fertilizers, unless of course you go with the Walstad approach and overfeed to provide nutrients. To really be a low maintenance (minimal WC's and trimming) I'd stay below 1.5 WPG, moderate fish load and good feeding. I started with no CO2, ran into some algae issues, got CO2 and the whole bit, and now I WC every week, dose ferts, and trim healthily every week. I love my tank and doing the work it takes to keep it pristine all the time, but it is a fair amount of work (and expense:rolleyes: ). I may be wrong on some of that, but IME adding CO2 and keeping it adequate and stable is a commitment to daily (at least) close examination and fiddling with stuff like flow adjustment, lighting period, water parameters, etc, all of which I enjoy doing. Just my .02......
     
  17. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    It isn't the CO2 that brings the maintenance requirements. It is the light intensity. The amount of light we provide determines every other requirement for the aquarium. If we have lots of light, the plants need CO2 to grow at the rate the light is driving them to grow. If we have low light, the plants are driven to grow slowly, and the CO2 naturally occuring in the water and substrate are enough to support that growth.

    We also need to move on from describing light as "watts per gallon", now that we can get a PAR meter to measure the actual intensity, without starving the kids for a month. 1.5 watts per gallon can be very high light intensity or too little light to grow anything, depending on what kind of light it is and how far the light is from the substrate and whether or not the light uses good reflectors.

    If I put a one tube light using a 54 watt T5 bulb over a 4 foot long, 16 inch high tank I get a specific intensity at the substrate directly under the light, whether that tank is 12 inches front to back, 18 inches front to back, or 32 inches front to back. All that varies with those different tanks is the uniformity of light intensity at the substrate. If everyone used tanks with the same geometry, watts per gallon would mean something, but today there are so many shapes of tanks in use that watts per gallon is meaningless. (Sorry about the rant:eek: )
     
  18. abcemorse

    abcemorse Prolific Poster

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    No rant, agreed on all points. I guess I was going off my own set-up, primarily, as I have about 220W PC over 92g corner bow. As soon as I hit it with CO2 growth and nutrient demand went through the roof, which is what I wanted, and the associated upkeep I enjoy. All I really meant was that at the moderate to high light (depending on light type and configuration as Vaughn pointed out) you are describing adding CO2 will increase growth, nutrient demand, and along with it maintenance vs non-CO2 setup. Not trying to oversimplify or anything, just throwing my own, albeit somewhat tunnelvision-ish (that's a technical term:rolleyes: ), experience out there as something to keep in mind.:)
     
  19. viejo

    viejo Prolific Poster

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    A lot of things to diggest :p

    1.5w/g is the amount of light I was thinking (150-200w per 300l)

    I am planning again and again from three or four months ago, and I'm still beginning. Will keep those numbers, and get the plants' choice in base of that.

    Many thanks again.
     
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