one week report (long)


Lifetime Charter Member
Lifetime Member
Nov 21, 2007
Los Angeles, CA
I dove right in to this hobby (after caring for a friend’s fish tank for one month last November I was hooked) -- 50G high (36x15x21) tank, 96w CF lamp, canister CO2 with DIY external reactor, driftwood and rocks, and fully planted last Friday (Dec. 28) with:

Amazon sword, Cabomba, Anachris, dwarf baby tears (HC), banana plants, corkscrew vals, moss ball, golden Lloydiella, cardinal plant, ludwigia broadleaf & narrowleaf, japanese fans and some frogbit (floating) – most of these are probably considered “weeds,” but I just went thru a website and picked out plants I thought looked good.

I have been using the Estimative Index (EI) method (40G dosage) with TMG (now called Tropica Plant Nutrition) with ADA Aqua soil as the substrate. I have been keeping the drop checker green with the CO2. The plants pearl all day long and most look very healthy.

After 6 days, my anachris has grown about 4”, cabomba about 2 or 3”, ludwigia broadleaf about 2” or 3”, lloydellia about 1” … the HC is finally kicking in, but I did some damage planting it and the dumb stuff kept floating to the top of my tank, so I finally plopped a small rock right in the middle of 2 of my 3 patches … there are quite a few “rotting” stems in mine. The frogbit roots have grown at least 8” in the last week.

Minor problems:

* Algae: Today was the first day I noticed a slight amount of algae – thread algae. It’s only on a few of the less robust plants (cardinal plant and old leaves of corkscrew val) and the driftwood, but only in small amounts and doesn’t seem to be spreading much. I’m not too worried about it.

* Growth rate: The plants are growing so fast at this point that I am concerned about future pruning requirements. I’ll probably look for techniques of slowing down plant growth after everything grows in.

* Snails: Well, I wasn’t smart enough to put my plants in a bleach mixture and I’ve got snails already and they are multiplying rapidly. I don’t mind right now, as they are cleaning up the tank and seem to be aglaearians, but I will start plucking them out one day. These actually have a beautiful shell as they get older – probably the Malaysian type. One scary thing that happened today is I saw a different type of snail, probably a ramshorn by the look of it. If they are ravenous plants eaters, I could be in big trouble – I pulled it out of the tank immediately.

*Lighting: I really should have multiple lamps to cover my tank area completely – that will be another thread to figure out my options. In the mean time, I have been putting my lamp near the front and tilting up in the back by about 1” for 6 hours a day, then put the lamp flat on the tank in the front for 2 hours, and then in the back for 2 hours. The plants seem to be OK with that.

* Ammonia – I know ADA Aqua Soil produces ammonia. A couple days after planting my tank, the ammonia level was 2ppm. It was recommended that I do 50% water changes twice a week until the ammonia subsides, which I have been doing. Outside of my regular filter, I put a Bio-wheel filter on my tank (which I may remove later) to help with the cycling process … still waiting on the bacteria to form, however. I turn off the bio-wheel during the day because it seems to remove CO2 from the water – I just have a timer turn it on a few minutes every couple of hours or so to keep the wheel moist. My last water change was over 48 hours ago, and my ammonia test came back as .75 today, so I think there is progress there. I'm a little impatient to add fish, but I know ammonia would kill them.

For any of you newbies out there who may be a little intimidated by some aspects of this fun hobby, I can tell you it is not that hard if you just follow the instructions, even if you do not always understand them. In my opinion, you are not going to do better than this site ( to learn what you need to learn.

I did spend a little more money than I was expecting! And, if I had to do it over again, I would research lighting a little better AND I would bleach or do whatever had to be done to avoid uninvited snails. :rolleyes:

Anyway, so far so good ... thanks to all who have helped me along the way.

Tom Barr

Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
I'd suggest joining the SCAPE aquatic plant group in your area.
You learn a great deal fast this way and learn to temper some of the thoughts and assumption we all start out with.

You'll learn to relax more, trade plants, work on your goals etc at a much better pace.
you also learn by doing, so it'll take some time to get things down, there's no substitute for patience and experience.

Still, while it's good to learn from long as it's not your own, but some is inevitable.

So do not be too hard on yourself.

Tom Barr