Hi all, I haven't been on here in a while, but I have a couple of questions. Here is my current situation. Right now I have condensed down all my tanks, I only have my main 75 gallon and one qt tank. Also, I went low tech on the 75 and I only have 4 32 watt t-8 shop light bulbs on it. And the substrate is pool filter sand. I have lots of narrow leaf java fern in there and one big amazon sword. The java fern is getting to be a real pain. breaking loose from what it is tied to and floating around ever where, and that type of thing.
Here is what I would like, I want to change the pool sand to eco-complete, get rid of the java fern, and go with all rooted plants that will grow in low light/tech conditions. The amazon sword has gone from about 6 inches to way too big for the 75 gallon tank in a year or so. So it seems like that would be enough light for crypts and other swords right? especially replacing the sand for a nutrient rich substrate.
So, my questions are. To achieve what I am wanting....
Should I get a t5ho 2x54 watt fixture, or leave what I have alone? (would that be too much light?) I don't want to do co2.
Is Eco-complete the best substrate for this situation?
Recommendations for rooted plants that will grow well in those conditions. I don't have to have them growing super fast, but I do want to see growth.
All other comments and recommendations are very welcome!
Thanks in advance!!!
Hey! I went low tech too and I love it! I've had alot of help from these guys and I want to share some of the knowledge that was passed down to me.
Firstly, your substrate as you've mentioned, is giving you alot of problems and the switch over to eco-complete is a good move. I currently have eco-complete myself and I'm getting great results. However, if I have the money I'd invest in some Aqua Soil as substrate in a low tech tank is paramount since thats where the plants will get most of their nutrients. I've learned that I had to add root tabs to get it that extra ummph. It is a bit pricy but I'm sure it's worth it.
Secondly, your light. I currently have a 4 x 39w light fixture. I've been told that my fixture running all 4 bulbs is CRAZY bright for low tech plants and that amount of light will invite a plethera of algae. I am currently running on 2 bulbs at 10k each. Also, I'm not sure if T5HO fixtures can follow the watts per gallon rule as it typically ampliphies light. Hoppy posted this chart as a guideline and I found it incredibly helpful. You can use it to see where your tank stands in terms of light. Maybe you won't have to get a new light at all, who knows.
PAR vs Distance, T5, T12, PC - New Chart
As for the plants, I have Rotala Rotundifolia and man does that thing grow fast. I also have Bacopa Carolinia and that too grows really quickly. If you take a look you can follow that in 3 weeks, my tank has experienced quite alot of growth.
urb 55 gal
I also have dwarf saggitaria for ground cover; however, it's taking a bit more time to establish.
I do notice that I don't get crazy algae blooms since I'm operating with relatively fast growing plants and a considerably lower light source.
Hope this help!