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Newbie with some ?s

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by jackpot21n, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. jackpot21n

    jackpot21n Junior Poster

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    Hi I'm new to planted tanks but I've been poking around for a while. I finally took the plunge in buying some plants.:) I want to know if what I plan to do is ok, or just asking for trouble.

    First let me tell you what I have:
    75gal tank, Eheim 2217, Hydro sponge with airstone, just plain natural gravel(about the size of tetra color bits), Hagen t5 ho 2 lamp with one 6700k life glo and one 18000k power glo. 6 amazon swords (3 normal green, 3 ozelot) Just added 2 days ago. Fish load is 2 small discus, 10 rasbora, and 4 cory cats. I have not yet but plan on dosing exel and putting flourish tabs below each sword.

    When should I first dose exel and put in the tabs?

    How much exel should I dose with the light output I have?

    How long should I leave the lights on? Should I start with 8 hrs then slowly move up to 12 in a month?

    Is this to much light , not enough, or perfect for the plants?

    I also keep reading that if you dose exel you should change water alot, or what?

    I also see that everyone reccomends using 5000k to 10000k for lighting. Why shouldnt we just use the red plant lights? Of the two lamps I have the 18000k actually has more red wavelenght than the 6700k. Does that make the 18000k better for plants?

    Thanks
     
  2. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    The two bulbs you have should grow plants well enough, so if you like the appearance they give you are ok there. The "color temperature" rating given to bulbs by their manufacturers means very little.

    Those big sword plants will very soon, like in 3 months, fill the tank with leaves. If that is what you want, you are ok there too.

    I suggest that you start dosing the water as well as adding the root tabs. Buy some KNO3 and KH2PO4, and possibly some CSM+B from: Planted Aquarium Fertilizer
    Aquarium Plant Fertilizer | Compounds - Tablets - Supplements
    Fertilizers For The Planted Tank | Ferts
    and dose them per the EI method, perhaps at half dosage since you are using root tabs. The sooner you start this the better for the plants. The EI method requires doing about a 50% weekly water change, to keep you from building up too much of any of the fertilizers in the water. Excel is not a good substitute for pressurized CO2 for that size tank with that much light, but it is better than nothing. Why don't you start searching for used CO2 system components on ebay and craigslist? You won't regret it if you do.
     
  3. jackpot21n

    jackpot21n Junior Poster

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    First thanks alot for the reply!

    What is KNO3 and KH2PO4 and CSM+B?

    I will prob remove 2 of the swords if they grow large. I wanted to start out with more rather than not enough. I kind af want this setup to be simple. It is really ment for the discus, but the live plants are awesome! This is my dream setup! :D I do not mind doing large water changes, in fact once a week would be less than I did before the plants. I would change 30% every 3 days. Honestly I do not want to go to co2. The less I have to do the better for the discus. Simplicity is the best. I just dont want to have a algae boom. The rate of growth of the plants does not matter to me, just that they are not dieing aor getting algae covered.
     
  4. jackpot21n

    jackpot21n Junior Poster

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    Also what about the sponge filter with aeriation? I want to keep the sponge but are the bubbles bad?
     
  5. abcemorse

    abcemorse Prolific Poster

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    KN03 is potassium nitrate, used to dose nitrate, KH2PO4 is monopotassium phosphate, used to dose phosphate, and CSM+B is used to dose micro elements like iron. I get mine from aquariumfertilizers.com, fast shipping and cheap. Aeration is a good thing, only possible draw back is that if you decide to inject CO2 the bubbles and associated surface agitation will blow off a fair amount of it. Not too big a deal, though, as once you have the equipment CO2 itself is pretty cheap. Hope that helps!
     
  6. jackpot21n

    jackpot21n Junior Poster

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    Yes that does thanks.

    What are good levels of KN03 KH2PO4 and CSM+B to maintain. Would the root tabs and a capfull of exel each week with waterchange be a good schedual. Like I said the growth doesnt have to be fast but I dont want algae to cover the plants?
     
  7. jackpot21n

    jackpot21n Junior Poster

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    Oh yaeh, and how long for the light? Right now my timer is set for 8hrs.
     
  8. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    It is the light intensity that determines everything else about what a planted tank needs. You have too much light to do without CO2 and still avoid algae. If you reduce the amount of light, by suspending the fixture a foot above the tank, for example, you can get away without the CO2, or the dosing of fertilizers. In that case your root tabs would be adequate, and the Excel would be enough of a carbon supply to allow the swords to grow well.
     
  9. tinkerman

    tinkerman Subscriber

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    If your tring not to go co2 then raising the light or running only one bulb. Light run from 6-12 hrs. Excel is co2 just liquid form, so raising the light and excel with ferts with root tabs would work. Excel isn't a fert so you should still add ferts for the plants. Here is a link for how much to add for ferts and you could start at a half dose and go from there. http://www.barrreport.com/estimative-index/2819-ei-light-those-less-techy-folks.html
    The excel only stays in the water for 24-48 hrs so you would have to add every day or every other as it could get quite exspensive on a 75, injecting co2 costs more in the begining but should be cheaper in the long haul. Bubbles shouldn't matter if your using excel as it dosn't out gas as injecting will. There are recomendation on the excel bottle and people double and triple dose what is recomended, don't overdose with shrimp though.
     
  10. jackpot21n

    jackpot21n Junior Poster

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    So with the light I have sitting on the tank I need co2 and fertilizers? What if I used 2 18000k lamps, would that reduce the amount of usable light for the plants? The 18000k seems a bit dimmer overall.
     
  11. tinkerman

    tinkerman Subscriber

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    no the only way to decrease your light would be to take a bulb out or turn one off or raise the light say 6 in or so.
     
  12. jackpot21n

    jackpot21n Junior Poster

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    My light fixture will not work with one bulb removed and there is no switch. I really do not want to suspend the light. What would be the easiest way to maintain the tank? Sorry if I keep going on but there is gotta be a way this can work.:rolleyes:
     
  13. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    You can add a lot of floating plants, or let the duckweed, that tries to take over most of our tanks, spread over the surface and act as a light filter. Once you get to a high light intensity you have to keep the plants growing at the speed the light drives them to grow, by keeping them supplied with fertilizers and CO2, or all of that light just causes algae to thrive.
     
  14. jackpot21n

    jackpot21n Junior Poster

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    Say I put 2 root tabs under each sword, and I had enough co2(exel for now). Would 2 tabs per sword be sufficient firtilizer? What brand root tabs does anyone reccomend?
     
  15. tinkerman

    tinkerman Subscriber

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    May work or may not. Swords are big eaters , I had 2 in a 125 and had to double ei dosing. I had a buddy who had 5 pirahna's in a 55 with 1 sword and normal tank light and it did fine with no tabs or ferts. Can you put some blocks of wood or something under the light instead of suspending the light? I like the flourish root tabs, some contian urea which would trigger algae. You can always try the tabs and excel and at worst you can trash them and get new ones as they are not hard to find.
     
  16. jackpot21n

    jackpot21n Junior Poster

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    Can I put some paper between the light and glass to "filter" the light?

    For now I will put two tabs under each sword and one cap of exel each day and see where that goes. My photoperiod is set for 8hrs and I will keep it that way. I also will wc once a week at 50%.

    Should I add Equilibrium or Trace once a week also? Is there Iron in any of that?
     
  17. jackpot21n

    jackpot21n Junior Poster

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    Ok so I finnaly broke down and suspended the fixure.:( It actually turned out alright.:) Just not crazy about the glare I get in my eyes. I have it suspended 6" above the tank. here is a pic with the light suspended. Is the light still to intense, that I need to raise the light more? Also any comments on the previous post would be great.:)

    IMG_0061.JPG
     
  18. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I'd add more wood to the tank, particularly in the back and where the sword shade things. Add some narrow leaf java fern to that. Sort of like those walls of live rock with corals attached, but a FW version using the wood and fern which can handle some shading well.

    You can leave the front open or make moss rocks/stones.
    Also not requring much light. Fish will have penty of area to hide and swim still.

    Even if you do not go this route, making a nice wall of wood in the back can make it look nice even without plants. If you buld the stack up to the top 2-3", you can grow pennywort and Water sprite along the back as a floatign mat that looks very attractive and will mop up any nutrient leftovers. No CO2 required since they are floating and emergent growth.

    Wood will act as biofilter also, the plants will shade the other areas and keep algae at bay. The wood may be screwed together with long wood screws or epoxied etc so you can use small groups to make the "wood wall", pretty easy to hide the screws and messy spots with plants;)

    Then you can make more use of the light later after things grow in more.
    You likely will be best off NOT doign water changes unless you use CO2 or
    Excel.

    Excel might be a decent option for you, then you'd dose 1-2x a week and do the water change, you will also be able to keep more plant species and have a dense planted tank. If you add CO2 later, do not up the light, just add the CO2, you will see a better effect solely from the CO2 this way and have les/fewer issues.

    So there's 3 options.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  19. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    The raised light looks like it might be enough to reduce the intensity. About the only way to know what the effect is is to use a PAR meter to measure the intensity.

    Flourish, CSM+B, Tropica Plant Nutrition Liquid all provide good amounts of iron. Equilibrium doesn't do so. It is intended to add those compounds that contribute to hardness, since it is a GH builder, and iron isn't one of those. But, with a low light tank, Equilibrium can work well as a trace mix anyway.
     
  20. jackpot21n

    jackpot21n Junior Poster

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    Tom, Thanks for the reply! I still wanted to add some driftwood or rocks to the tank yet but I didn't think of building them up in back. Sounds good! I really want some of that driftwood that looks like roots or branches that fell in the water but I cannot find any at my LFS. Do you get that stuff online or do you just make your own from branches?

    Hoppy, Thanks again! Now that I have reduced the light, will the tabs and a capful of exel every day be a good schedual to start with? Should I add something else or scratch the exel?

    I have noticed some brown algae appearing on the glass and driftwood.:( Not to worried about it yet because it is just on the glass and driftwood, I dont want to see it on the plants though. FYI there was algae in the tank before the swords, but I removed it all before planting.
     
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