Am I good to move forward with stocking plants in established tank? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-12-2017, 11:54 PM Thread Starter
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Am I good to move forward with stocking plants in established tank?

Hello all,

This is my first post, but I have been lurking. I was hoping to get some feed back to see if I'm good to go on stocking my established tank with plants.

I have had tropical and/or Rift Valley cichlids for most of my adult life. I even dabbled in high tech planted tanks about 15 years ago. I had a 29g long with CF lighting, pressurized CO2 and Carib-sea "peace river" and flourite substrate mixed at about 50/50 ratio. I had it about a year before I ended up having to break down the tank due to moving across the country. When settled, I went with cichlids due to simplicity. So I have a little planted tank experience, albeit it was years ago.

About three years ago, after several more moves and three kids, I decided to set up another fish only tank. Rather than drag the now very old and scratched up 29g out of the attic, I opted for your typical Petsmart special 65g with a Fluval 306 filter. I still had my Carib-sea/flourite substrate, so I gave it a thorough rinse and used it along with my river rock hardscape and a few small pieces of driftwood from my old tropical tank. After cycling the tank I bought some fish and all was good.

Fast forward two and a half years... I got the itch for another planted tank. Due to lack of funds, I am converting the established tropical tank to a low tech, low to medium light planted one. I have purchased a LED light as well as added an additional 20lb of the Carib-sea substrate to give me about 3" of substrate. If I need more, I imagine I will get more Flourite. The details on the tank are as follows:


Tank: 65g (36Lx18Dx24H) with glass top
Filter: Fluval 306
Light: Finnex Planted + 24/7 SE, 36" and the 36" T8 which came with the tank. Photo period and intensity TBD based on observed results, but I will probably start with the 24/7 mode and run the T8 on a timer for a few hours between 2:00 to 6:00 PM.
Substrate: Carib-Sea "peace river" with flourite mixed in. My guess is about a 2/1 ratio of Carib-sea to flourite, but the flourite is about 15 years old.
Extra circulation: Hydor Koralia circulation pump. Not sure of the flow rate as it was a "hand me down".
Heater: Eheim Jager TruTemp 3616 set at 76 deg F.



Water details: Test results using API test kits
pH: 7.8
Ammonia: 0
NO2: 0
NO3: 5-20ppm (I have a hard time differentiating the colors on the API tests)
Phosphate: 0-.5ppm (once again, hard time with the API colors)
dKH: 8-9 or about 150ppm (slight change after 8th drop, definite change after 9th)
dGH: 11-12 or about 205ppm (slight after 11th, definite after 12th)

I had been doing 15-20g water changes with tap water treated with Prime every other week, but upped that to once a week about a month ago.



Fauna:
5 Buenos Aries tetras (they have been in the tank for over 2 years)
6 Penguin tetras (also over 2 years)
3 Serpea tetras (about 1 year)
6 emerald Cory cats (about six months)



I still need to add one piece of driftwood that will dominate about 1/3rd of the tank. It was purchased from a LFS. They say it was "baked". It is too big to boil, so I did a quick pressure wash and then did several soakings in hot water. I'm sure it will still leech tannins, but I will make w/c as needed to combat that. I have a bottle of Flourish ready to go if/when I need to add ferts. I will probably get some root tabs depending on what plants I end up getting.

So with all that said, should I be good to go with a "moderate" stocking of lower light plants? Right now my only concerns are the GH and and pH, both being a tad on the high side, though the new driftwood may help the pH a bit. I am going to look into getting RO water from one of the machines at my local grocery store if GH does end up being a problem.

Any advice, thoughts or opinions are welcome.

Thanks in advance
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-13-2017, 12:48 AM
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what species or type is the driftwood? If it's malaysian,I've always dropped that into a larger tank with no issues.Mopani will leech a bunch of tannins,I usually soak that quite a few times over a period of days and still get some leeching.

I like peat moss pellets in a bag in the filter to help with lowering the ph.The south american species love it.
I used to use peat moss from a gardening center to condition kansas liquid rock and breed angels,it worked well.

MTS? no,I just need one more tank...
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-13-2017, 03:30 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MtAnimals View Post
what species or type is the driftwood?
Thanks for the response.

I'm not sure. The LFS just has it in some "bulk" bins. Some type of hard wood. I can't scratch it with my fingernail when it is dried out. It seems heavy for its size. I don't think it will need to be weighted in order to keep it in place
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-13-2017, 04:07 AM
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Is the wood dual color? it might be mopani,has a twisted appearance.It's actually a root wood from africa.It really does leech a lot of tannins.You can save a lot on roottabs by doing DIY osmocote root caps.You just buy a bottle of osmocote + and put it in gel caps or ice cubes,way cheaper than a dollar per root tab.

MTS? no,I just need one more tank...
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-13-2017, 12:21 PM
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I am cycling a 55 now to become a low tech tank. My research is saying the Finnex 24/7 may be too much light, and to use the Finnex stingray for half the price. Something to think about.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-13-2017, 01:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ESMiller View Post
Hello all,

This is my first post, but I have been lurking. I was hoping to get some feed back to see if I'm good to go on stocking my established tank with plants.

I have had tropical and/or Rift Valley cichlids for most of my adult life. I even dabbled in high tech planted tanks about 15 years ago. I had a 29g long with CF lighting, pressurized CO2 and Carib-sea "peace river" and flourite substrate mixed at about 50/50 ratio. I had it about a year before I ended up having to break down the tank due to moving across the country. When settled, I went with cichlids due to simplicity. So I have a little planted tank experience, albeit it was years ago.

About three years ago, after several more moves and three kids, I decided to set up another fish only tank. Rather than drag the now very old and scratched up 29g out of the attic, I opted for your typical Petsmart special 65g with a Fluval 306 filter. I still had my Carib-sea/flourite substrate, so I gave it a thorough rinse and used it along with my river rock hardscape and a few small pieces of driftwood from my old tropical tank. After cycling the tank I bought some fish and all was good.

Fast forward two and a half years... I got the itch for another planted tank. Due to lack of funds, I am converting the established tropical tank to a low tech, low to medium light planted one. I have purchased a LED light as well as added an additional 20lb of the Carib-sea substrate to give me about 3" of substrate. If I need more, I imagine I will get more Flourite. The details on the tank are as follows:


Tank: 65g (36Lx18Dx24H) with glass top
Filter: Fluval 306
Light: Finnex Planted + 24/7 SE, 36" and the 36" T8 which came with the tank. Photo period and intensity TBD based on observed results, but I will probably start with the 24/7 mode and run the T8 on a timer for a few hours between 2:00 to 6:00 PM.
Substrate: Carib-Sea "peace river" with flourite mixed in. My guess is about a 2/1 ratio of Carib-sea to flourite, but the flourite is about 15 years old.
Extra circulation: Hydor Koralia circulation pump. Not sure of the flow rate as it was a "hand me down".
Heater: Eheim Jager TruTemp 3616 set at 76 deg F.



Water details: Test results using API test kits
pH: 7.8
Ammonia: 0
NO2: 0
NO3: 5-20ppm (I have a hard time differentiating the colors on the API tests)
Phosphate: 0-.5ppm (once again, hard time with the API colors)
dKH: 8-9 or about 150ppm (slight change after 8th drop, definite change after 9th)
dGH: 11-12 or about 205ppm (slight after 11th, definite after 12th)

I had been doing 15-20g water changes with tap water treated with Prime every other week, but upped that to once a week about a month ago.



Fauna:
5 Buenos Aries tetras (they have been in the tank for over 2 years)
6 Penguin tetras (also over 2 years)
3 Serpea tetras (about 1 year)
6 emerald Cory cats (about six months)



I still need to add one piece of driftwood that will dominate about 1/3rd of the tank. It was purchased from a LFS. They say it was "baked". It is too big to boil, so I did a quick pressure wash and then did several soakings in hot water. I'm sure it will still leech tannins, but I will make w/c as needed to combat that. I have a bottle of Flourish ready to go if/when I need to add ferts. I will probably get some root tabs depending on what plants I end up getting.

So with all that said, should I be good to go with a "moderate" stocking of lower light plants? Right now my only concerns are the GH and and pH, both being a tad on the high side, though the new driftwood may help the pH a bit. I am going to look into getting RO water from one of the machines at my local grocery store if GH does end up being a problem.

Any advice, thoughts or opinions are welcome.

Thanks in advance
I have same pH from the tap as you and same Gh and no issues growing crypt's,anubia,echinodorus,water sprite,Ludwigia repens,Hygrophila.
All low tech affair's with soil base and weekly water column dosing of NPK + CSM+B.
Would not worry bout source water were it me based on my experience.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-13-2017, 02:57 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SloMo View Post
I am cycling a 55 now to become a low tech tank. My research is saying the Finnex 24/7 may be too much light, and to use the Finnex stingray for half the price. Something to think about.
Thanks.

I already have the light. One concern I had is getting enough light to the bottom of the tank (24"). I still think that may be a bit of a problem, but if it ends up being too much light, I can take it off of the 24/7 mode and run it manually, with an external timer and adjust the intensity as needed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roadmaster View Post
I have same pH from the tap as you and same Gh and no issues growing crypt's,anubia,echinodorus,water sprite,Ludwigia repens,Hygrophila.
All low tech affair's with soil base and weekly water column dosing of NPK + CSM+B.
Would not worry bout source water were it me based on my experience.
Thanks.

I'll make sure those plants are on my list.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-13-2017, 03:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ESMiller View Post
Thanks.

I already have the light. One concern I had is getting enough light to the bottom of the tank (24"). I still think that may be a bit of a problem, but if it ends up being too much light, I can take it off of the 24/7 mode and run it manually, with an external timer and adjust the intensity as needed.



Thanks.

I'll make sure those plants are on my list.
I am running a 24/7 on my low tech 55,no problem.I have a few frogbit and floating hornwort,no algae problems.I've just pulled the tubes from the UG filter,and begun planting rooted plants in the aquarium gravel in it.

I do have 5 longfin BN plec in there though.I don't think a 24/7 is too much for it by any means,I've had this light on there for over a year.
ESMiller likes this.

MTS? no,I just need one more tank...
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-13-2017, 03:40 PM
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Good to know about the 24/7 light...if I decide I want to upgrade the T5HO.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 11:33 PM
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My personal experience with a 24/7 and a 65g tank is that starting off the 24/7 mode led to a bunch of aglae. Once I dimmed the light and ran a timer my algae subsided. Once the plants grew in some instances was able to up the light to 100% and recently switched back to 24/7 mode but I still use a timer to turn the lights off from midnight to 6am. I also just started using the stock t8 light on a timer from 3 to 7 but haven't had it running long enough to decide if it's really helping much. Also my marsilea crenata has not done great. Most of it has died off. But that was with the light dimmed.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 04:37 PM
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I have tried a lot of plants. They have either been eaten by the fish, or they have "melted" and died away. The plant that has done the best is anubias. Another plant that seems to thrive is chain grass, but it takes a year or to to establish. I have an Amazon sword that made it, but all others died and I have no Idea why. I have an LED light the length of the tank (it is a 75 gallon tank) and an external filter, and two sponge filters inside, as well as 2 heaters. The anubias was infected by moss, but I got some Siamese "Flying fox" fish who do a great job cleaning the tank. I decided that I was good with having Anubias as the majority of my plants.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 11:45 PM Thread Starter
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My personal experience with a 24/7 and a 65g tank is that starting off the 24/7 mode led to a bunch of aglae.
Thanks for the feed back. I am finding that out as well. I just have a few plants right now, but was running in the 24/7 mode just because of the "cool" factor. Quickly noticed an increase in algae, so I scaled back to a manual setting of about 40%. Once I do the mass planting, I will bump it up a bit and maybe do two, three hour photo periods with a siesta between. Once the plants look like they are settled in, I'll start increasing the intensity and/or photo periods.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalyke View Post
I have tried a lot of plants. They have either been eaten by the fish, or they have "melted" and died away.
Thanks. I have noticed what appear to be "nibble" marks on my ludwigia. The pinguin tetras are the primary suspects.
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