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

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new with lots of questions

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by chiligirl, Jan 15, 2008.

  1. chiligirl

    chiligirl Junior Poster

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    So I've always liked gardening, but never got into it because I'm a big wuss and terrified of bugs. Imagine my delight when I got back into aquariums after being away from the hobby for 10 years, and discovering the world of planted tanks!

    I'm completely hooked, as live plants add a whole other dimension to a tank.

    I've got two planted tanks going, and seperate questions for each.

    First, my 90 gallon (48x18x24).

    Lights: 136W HO T5 lighting, spread over 3 bulbs. One 6500K, one 10000K, and one purple-looking "full spectrum" from coralife.
    Filters: Penguin 350 Biowheel and a Rena XP3. Both with mechanical and bio filtration, no chemical/carbon. Peat moss in the Rena.
    Water Params: pH 7.2, ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 0 I don't know the kH or gH, haven't been able to find a test kit that includes them in the lfs
    Substrate: black sand
    Fish: 6 angelfish, pair nannacara anomala, pair pelvachromis pulcher, 2 yoyo loaches, 5 glowlight tetras, 3 platys, 1 busynose pleco
    Plants: echinodorus blehri, giant/jungle val, various crypts, java moss, dwarf anubia, dwarf red lily, dwarf hair grass, hygro p., hairy bacopa, wisteria, and three plants I need ID on.
    Ferts: this is an area I've got questions about. I'm dosing with Excel every second day, and with trace nutrients once a week.
    Water change schedule: I change out 10-20% of the water once per week.
    Temp: 86 (I know this is high, my stupid heater won't turn off, no matter how I fuss with it, even though it's a good one. Fish are doing great, so I'm trying to figure out what's wrong with it, before going to the trouble of exchanging it)

    Tank has been running for 2 months (cycled it using media from my goldfish tank), the low light plants (val, crypts, anubia, java moss, swords) have been in there for about a month, the rest of the plants have been added over the last few weeks.
    I started dosing with ferts because I'm not running CO2, and when I added more plants, my pH went up. Nothing else had changed, and the pH in my other tanks remained at 7.0, so I deduced that the plants were using up the limited CO2 already in the water, bumping up the pH.

    Questions:
    1)Are ferts necessary in this tank? Since I started adding the Excel, I'm noticing some melt on my val, although it's still spreading like crazy. Also, I'm now battling algae - reddish brown spot algae, as well as dark green/black algae on the edges of my sword leaves (same color as bba, but not tufted, at least not yet). The algae's not out of control or anything, but it's there.
    2)Can I achieve a lush, planted look with my tank, lighting, and the plants I have. I LOVE the look of a densely planted tank, where you can't see any substrate.
    3)All the plants in there are doing very well (especially the lily and the crypts), except for the hairgrass and bacopa. Any tips for hairgrass? Or does it just really need more light? If the latter is true, is there an alternative carpet-forming plant that would do well in my tank? In regards to the bacopa, when I plant it, the bottom is tending to go soft. I keep pulling it out, pruning off the icky part, and sticking it back in, but it's not showing any inclination of rooting. Suggestions?

    Now the 10 gallon:

    Lights: 46W compact fluorescent
    Filtration: Whisper 20 HOB filter, with mechanical and biological media, no carbon
    Water Params: pH 6.4, ammonia
     
  2. chiligirl

    chiligirl Junior Poster

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    here's the rest of the mystery plants

    P1030520.jpg
    P1030521.jpg
    P1030525.jpg

    oh, and am I right in thinking this is rotala wallichii?
    P1030490.jpg
     
  3. chiligirl

    chiligirl Junior Poster

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    okay, so I figured out that the last plant in the first post is some variety of crypt. I took it out of the pot because it seemed to be strangling, and the roots/rhizome/crown/stem all look just like my other crypts.
     
  4. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Plants adapt to the nutrients they find themselves in. Those in a tank with CO2 adapt to living with CO2, and need it. Those in a high light tank, having CO2 and full fertilizing adapt to that. Those in a non-CO2 tank with little fertilizing adapt to that. So, transferring plants from your CO2, high light 10 gallon tank to the 90 gallon non-CO2 lower light tank, will not allow the plants to just continue the same growth they have been showing. They will likely stop growing for awhile and adapt to the new conditions first.

    Just because the 10 gallon tank has a nutrient rich substrate, which I assume Florabase is intended to be, doesn't mean it won't benefit from water column fertilizing too. It might help the plants to start an EI fertilizing program for that tank, even if it is at reduced amounts.

    136 watts of HO T5 bulbs on a 90 gallon tank, assuming each bulb has its own reflector, is not low light. It is closer to high light than low light. Add to that, the fact that you aren't dosing nitrates, phosphates or potassium, and I can see how you could be having algae problems. This tank has an inert substrate, so the only nutrients the plants get is fish poop and whatever you dose. I suggest using an EI dosing method here too.
     
  5. chiligirl

    chiligirl Junior Poster

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    I figured that, and am alright with it, as long as it won't kill the plant to do that.

    This is Flora Base. I figured it was worth a try. Jury's still out. I like that it's soft, but the granules are a bit bigger than I'd like, for planting purposes. The fish seem to really like it, and the plants are doing well, so we'll see.

    Can you suggest a specific product? My lfs won't carry anything other than excel or the micronutrients - they say it's unsafe to dose macronutrients to a tank that houses fish (I know that's bullocks, as many do it, but it does make me nervous that the lfs has that position - how easy is it to overdose and kill my fish?). If I start using nitrates etc., I'll likely need to order online.
     
  6. tedr108

    tedr108 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Many on this site use the Estimative Index method to fertilize their aquariums. I'm too new to give you any real advice, but you might want to go to the Estimative Index forum and start off with the following 2 posts:

    1) EI light: for those less techy folks
    2) The Estimative Index of Dosing...

    You will learn a lot in no time.

    By the way, you picked out some beautiful plants.
     
  7. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi chiligirl,

    My attempts to id the plants:

    1. The reddish plant with the large oval leaves is either Ludwigia repens or L. palustris.

    2. Hemigraphis colorata or lobelia cardinalis???

    3. Crypto retrospiralus or C. balansae

    4. Rotala rotundifolia

    5. Bolbitis heudelotii

    6. Hygrophila corymbosa

    7. You are correct.

    Tip: go to Image hosting, free photo sharing & video sharing at Photobucket and sign up for free account. Upload pics to that site and then cut and paste the URL provided for each pic in your thread here. I learned this just the other day :)

    Tip: Identify plants, THEN bring home......

    Good luck to you.
     
  8. fjf888

    fjf888 Guru Class Expert

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    For your ferts for macros and micros try this site.

    Aquarium Plant Food - hobbyist taking care of hobbyist …

    Very cheap, good product, fast delivery. I am very happy with my plants using these products. I personally use the KNO3, K2PO4, and Plantex CSM+B.

    I think you were on AC. You'll get a lot of answers there, you'll get the right answers here.

    Good luck
     
  9. rusticitas

    rusticitas Lifetime Charter Member
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  10. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    I don't see plants dying when I move them from one set of conditions to another. They just sit there doing nothing for a couple of weeks or longer. Sometimes some of the older leaves fall off, but I can't recall a plant just dying.

    Most "aquatic gardeners" dose nitrates and phosphates - probably all successful ones do. And, we all keep fish in our tanks. Tom has demonstrated that you can increase the concentrations of each nutrient well beyond what is possible to reach when using EI fertilizing, and it doesn't harm the plants or the fish. The worries about nitrates and other fertilizers in fish tanks all come from fish only tanks, where there is nothing there to consume those substances. That is why the LFS sales people tell folks what they do.

    Another source for fertilizers on line is: Rex's ferts. The only substances you really need are KNO3 for nitrate and potassium, and KH2PO4 for phosphate. If you don't allready have a trace element mix, which you do have, CSM+B is an adequate one in powder form.
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    The other issue is that NH4 vs NO3 are huge.
    NH4 is produced from fish waste.
    Eventually it can become NO3 with a good active biofilter.

    We do not add NH4(other than some for fish food), we add NO3, which is far less toxic than NH4.

    Additionally, with strong active plant growth, plants have the option of using both NH4 and NO3, so they remove all the fish waste, but that's not enough when you use CO2 and decent light.

    We still add some NO3 to make sure the plants get enough N.

    So the form of N is important.

    Anyone that keeps fish only that does 50% weekly water changes has few diseases or issues.

    Same with planted tanks, as long as you add the ferts back after.
    This keeps anything from building up, or running out.


    And since we are slanting things for optimal plant growth and optimal fish health with the lowest amounts of NH4 possible, (Adding NH4 is also a good method to induce various species of algae), things do quite well.

    The main thing is to see the difference between NH4 and NO3.
    They have very different toxicities and effects on aquariums.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  12. chiligirl

    chiligirl Junior Poster

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    thanks for all the help, especially the plant IDs :)

    Both tanks are getting good growth, the big tank is slower, but still doing well. My lily and val are both going crazy, and the lily is a nice dark red, so that's good. the bacopa in the 90 is getting some new leaves and finally taking root, so I think it will do just fine. There's also new growth on the swords and crypts in there, albeit slower than the lily or the val.

    Now, my 90gallon does NOT have CO2 - should I still look at using ferts in there? Or do I really have to get some CO2 running? If I can avoid it, I'd rather not, as, from what I've read, it's too big for a DIY setup, and I am not willing to get into the cost and maintenance of pressurized CO2. As a refresher, I have 136W of HO T5 lighting on that tank.

    I picked up a KH GH test kit, and according to that, in the big tank, my GH is 80mg/L and my KH is 40 mg/L. I read everywhere about "degrees hardness" - how do I figure that out? I was surprised about the KH, as my tank water's pH is 7.2, despite a ton of peat moss in the filter, yet my pH out of the tap, and in my goldfish tank, is 7.0. pH in the 10gallon (which has CO2) is 6.4. The pH in the big tank was 7.0 until I added plants, so somehow the plants are making the pH go up in there...
     
  13. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Plants utilize c02 during photosynthesis and c02 will cause a ph drop. The better the growth, the more c02 is used, and thus the ph rises.

    That is why the 10 gallon tank's ph is lower than the tap, due to c02.

    This is not a scientific explanation, but a layperson's. There is a lot more to this than my statement, and I am sure folks will correct me as needed.

    here is a link that will help explain hardness in mg/l vs dh.

    Water Hardness

    You don't NEED additional c02, but your growth will be slower, less mass, etc. Some plants need more than others...

    Depends on a lot of factors............


    Hope this helps.
     
  14. chiligirl

    chiligirl Junior Poster

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    I have a basic (VERY basic, like, highschool chemistry basic, lol) understanding of the relationship between CO2 and pH. i figure that, since I'm not supplementing CO2 in the tank downstairs, the plants are pulling what they can from the water (what's naturally dissolved in there), which is bumping up the pH.

    I just tested the KH/GH in my 10 gallon. GH is the same as the 90g (80mg/L), but KH is lower, less than 10mg/L. That I don't understand...

    reading the link you provided, I'm wondering if I should be adding some baking soda to my 10gallon?
     
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