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setup a 55 gallon angelfish tank with plants

Discussion in 'Fish for Planted Tanks' started by jklemm79, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. jklemm79

    jklemm79 Junior Poster

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    Hello. This is the first time I have asked for help. I have been reading for weeks now and cannot determine what light category my tank falls in. I made a retro fit light fixture using the original two bulb four foot case. Took out the insides and replaced them with four 13 watt cfl twist bulbs that are 6500k, 900 lumen bulbs. The tank is the standard 55 gallon tank. With a top fin filter that came with the kit. What lighting is this setup? Low, medium, high?

    I have one 8 sword plant and two 3 inch java ferns. Java ferns now have blackish hair all over the leaves. The sword plants has a brownish hair all over the leaves. The gravel is now getting covered in brown algae not hairs.

    Fish
    Two angels that are about 2 inches
    10 misc tetras that are 1 inch or less

    The tank was setup in my basement for 6 months with yellow labs in it. Sold them and moved the tank upstairs to try and create a more peaceful and interactive tank in our hallway. Kept the gravel and filter in place and transferred 50 percent of the water. Tank has been upstairs for 4 weeks now.

    Suggestions on the lighting please. Not enough?
    Also any other help. I'm looking for a lower maintenance tank as I work 60 hours a week. Didn't think it would be this hard.
     
  2. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    A total of 52 Watts cfl on a 55 gallon is probably not enough, hence the brown algae on the gravel, probably diatoms. The other algae you have, although difficult to tell without a pic, could be caused by lack of nutrients or a photoperiod that is too long.

    Hard to say without detailed info.

    A low maintainance tank is possible when all parameters are in the right condition.
     
  3. jklemm79

    jklemm79 Junior Poster

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    more info

    Dutchy

    I will try to get some pics tonight when I get home.

    The lights were on a timer set for 12 hours and I have since cut that back to 8 hours a day.

    I think I have room to fit four more bulbs in the light fixture if that will help.

    I would like to end up with a balance of fish and plants that help each other if that makes sense. If I need to add a supplement once a week that is fine too. Just no clue what I should use. I use well water that is run through a basic kenmore water softener. I do not have test kits for my water parameters but was told by the lfs that all levels looked good for what I was trying to do. Substrate is standard pea gravel that was washed over 6 months ago before using it for the tank.
     
  4. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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  5. jklemm79

    jklemm79 Junior Poster

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    ferts

    Ok. I will add two more bulbs. Keep with 8 hours a day for the light?

    Also, should I just try the Excel or do I need other additives for the EI method? Also is there one liquid that I can buy or do you have to buy several to get all those he has listed?

    Just trying to learn if I'm gonna have five bottles of chemicals or just a couple.
    Sorry for so many questions. I really! Appreciate all the help and info.
     
    #5 jklemm79, Jul 19, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2011
  6. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    You need KNO3, KH2PO4 and trace elements. Excel is an option, but you can use it to get rid of your algae. Your plants wil also grow better.

    If you give your plants what they need, they will grow well. Good growing plants is no or less algae = less maintainance.
     
  7. jklemm79

    jklemm79 Junior Poster

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    Ok. So I got new bulbs instead of adding two. I now have four 23 watt cfl. So that should bump me from 52 to 92 1.6wpg correct? Still set for 8 hours per day. Also I picked up some seachem flourish and dosed according to the bottle. I cannot find Excel locally so I have to order it.

    Sound like I'm on the right track? Even green algae would be nice. Haha.

    Ps the sword has a baby on it that is growing pretty quick but I'm afraid it will get the fuzz like the mother plant does. Dutchy can you message me your email so I can send the pics of the algae?
     
  8. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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  9. jklemm79

    jklemm79 Junior Poster

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    pics

    [attachment=871:name]

    sorry it took so long

    here are the pics, hope they are clear enough
     

    Attached Files:

  10. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    Well, you have a nice mix of various algae. It's like I said before: Good that you switched from 12 hours to an 8 hour photoperiod, some algae is there because the naturally present CO2 depletes faster than the light period ends. Further I think I also see Staghorn with NH4 as a cause. If you work in the substrate, move plants etc. always do a good water change afterwards.

    Make sure there's no shortage of plant nutrients and start using Excel as soon as you have it. Remove algae as much as you and keep enough plants in the tank, it seems like you don't have that much plants in there.

    Give it around six weeks.
     
    #10 dutchy, Jul 21, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 21, 2011
  11. jklemm79

    jklemm79 Junior Poster

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    Ok. Thanks again for all the help.

    I think I need more plants. I was thinking about getting a couple Hygrophila corymbosa Kompakt. Your thoughts / suggestions?
     
  12. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    No problem, but you might also want to buy something that grows a little faster, like Hygrophila difformis, Heteranthera zosterifolia or Hygrophila polysperma.
     
  13. jklemm79

    jklemm79 Junior Poster

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    Ok... I ordered the Excel last night. Should be here in a week or less (fingers crossed)

    Should I add a few more fish?

    Also, where can I order plants online that doesn't charge a fortune for shipping and has good quality??
     
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