Super-low tech 20H - New Fish! - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 123 (permalink) Old 01-21-2009, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by legomaniac89 View Post
Hoping Diana Walstad was right in Ecology of the Planted Aquarium, she says an unnderlayer of potting soil should last for 8 years or so before giving up all its nutrients (for those of you that have the book, its pg. 140). If that's the case, the plants shouldn't be deficient in anything major for quite a while. I guess only time will tell.

I see your point and agree - time will tell. Not to pitt one against the other but Tom Barr recommends water column fertilization to extend the life of any substrate or sediment. I cannot speak for him but I doubt he would agree with any sediment having a 8 year life expectancy without water column dosing. I guess it depends on who you believe and the best way to find out is to try both methods over the same period of time to see what happens. However, if I am not mistaken I believe that the substrate with a Natural Planted Tank is alleged to build up enough mulm over the long run with is believed to sufficiently provide sufficient nutrients for the plants to continue to grow. IMHO, a very low light tank with very low light plants, few if any deep root feeders(crytocornes, swords) and no c02, there would be very little or no strain on the sediment as far as nutrient uptake goes, so I can see the sediment supporting the plants for 8 years. However, your tank is different. I am not saying it will not work, but it will interesting to see how the tank progresses. By the way, what specific brand topsoil or potting soil did you use for this setup??
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post #17 of 123 (permalink) Old 01-21-2009, 05:23 PM Thread Starter
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By the way, what specific brand topsoil or potting soil did you use for this setup??
I used Fertilome Seedling and Cutting Starter. A friend who helped me with the design of the tank found an article somewhere saying that seedling/cutting starter soils were best for aquatic plants. I guess they have finer sediments, making it easier for aquatic plants to take root and stay rooted, rather than float away. Its worked well so far and I've used the same stuff in every other tank I've set up.

I guess I mixed in a little Greensand with the soil. It supposedly slowly releases Potassium over a long time, according to the package.

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post #18 of 123 (permalink) Old 01-21-2009, 05:26 PM
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I used Fertilome Seedling and Cutting Starter. A friend who helped me with the design of the tank found an article somewhere saying that seedling/cutting starter soils were best for aquatic plants. I guess they have finer sediments, making it easier for aquatic plants to take root and stay rooted, rather than float away. Its worked well so far and I've used the same stuff in every other tank I've set up.

I guess I mixed in a little Greensand with the soil. It supposedly slowly releases Potassium over a long time, according to the package.
Very interesting, thanks for sharing.
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post #19 of 123 (permalink) Old 03-06-2009, 11:55 PM Thread Starter
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Been a while since an update, so here you go.



Me and my horrible photography skills. Anyway, I must say it looks a lot better than the last pictures. I trimmed the Lotus and Rotala back hard and added some Ludwigia repens x arcuata and floating Hydrocotyle leucocephela. You can't see them, but there are sprigs of Hygrophila polysperma "Rosanervig" all over the place now too.

I clipped off most all of the floating leaves of the Lotus and it sent up mostly the submersed leaves. I think it looks a lot better this way.



The Glowlights just had to be in the picture. They're anything but camera-shy.

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post #20 of 123 (permalink) Old 03-07-2009, 01:03 AM
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Nice colors you got going there. It's really interesting reading all the different ways people are successful in planted aquariums. If there is one thing that scares new people away from planted tanks, it's the complexity. I think low tech cuts a lot of that complexity out and allows for people to be successful with less work.
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post #21 of 123 (permalink) Old 03-07-2009, 05:18 AM
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Wow!! I wish I could do this.

What is your Gh, Kh, and nitrates?

How much was the Fertilome Seedling and Cutting Starter substrate?
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post #22 of 123 (permalink) Old 03-07-2009, 10:33 PM Thread Starter
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Wow!! I wish I could do this.

What is your Gh, Kh, and nitrates?

How much was the Fertilome Seedling and Cutting Starter substrate?
Thanks!

Honestly, I haven't tested my gH and kH since...forever . My guess is that it is fairly soft because of the soil underlayer and driftwood, but I couldn't tell you for sure. I only test my nitrates right before my every-six-months water change and they have never topped out over 15ppm. pH is right at 7, also.

The Fertilome soil, which I only used half of, cost me like $5.50. You can find it at any gardening store. Awesome stuff, but the only downside is that it turns your tank into chocolate milk every time you pull a plant.

Got Plants?-6 CO2 + 12 H2O → C6H12O6 + 6 O2 + 6 H2O
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post #23 of 123 (permalink) Old 03-17-2009, 12:02 AM
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Very nice!

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post #24 of 123 (permalink) Old 03-25-2009, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by legomaniac89 View Post
The Fertilome soil, which I only used half of, cost me like $5.50. You can find it at any gardening store. Awesome stuff, but the only downside is that it turns your tank into chocolate milk every time you pull a plant.
How long does that last?

I get a similar reaction with my substrate that has kitty litter mixed in. It only last a day. I clear up by using an extra filter and Nutrifin's clear.
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post #25 of 123 (permalink) Old 03-25-2009, 06:00 PM Thread Starter
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It usually clears up by itself in an hour or so, but you have to blow off a lot of particles that settle on the plants. It's not too bad, it just looks nasty for a bit.

It's something I'm willing to tolerate if it means better plant growth

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post #26 of 123 (permalink) Old 04-07-2009, 12:45 AM Thread Starter
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Here's another update. Not much has changed, but I pulled the Green Ozelot Sword. It was getting too big for the tank and the bottom leaves were starting to get warped and twisted due to lack of space to spread. So I replaced it with a couple of Florida Sunset Crypts and am still waiting for them to grow in.

FTS



Cryptocoryne wendtii "Florida Sunset"



Check out the Curviceps peeking out from behind the plants. He's so cute .

And that's it. I tested the nitrates just for the heck of it, four months since a water change. They barely registered at all on the API Liquid test kit. I love low-tech tanks

Got Plants?-6 CO2 + 12 H2O → C6H12O6 + 6 O2 + 6 H2O
Lego's Comprehensive Grow List - From Acorus to Zephyranthes
New 40 Breeder Scape --- Low Tech 20H
Always interested in trades for aroids, carnivores, orchids, ferns, or whatever else you think I might like to try
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post #27 of 123 (permalink) Old 04-07-2009, 01:31 PM
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I am hoping my 20 gallon low tech looks this good when it grows out a bit. We are using the same light, although you have a soil substrate. Something to look forward too!
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post #28 of 123 (permalink) Old 04-07-2009, 02:56 PM
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Wow this is very inspirational! My 20H is in a sad state visually, the water is stable and the fish are happy, but the plants look a mess and i've been trying to motivate myself to tackle it and redo it, this might just be the inspiration and motivation i need!

Beautiful tank!

I'm a low tech gal myself, and I definitely agree with you on LOVING it!

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post #29 of 123 (permalink) Old 04-07-2009, 07:49 PM
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Say, what's the wattage on that T-5 fixture?

WWTBD
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post #30 of 123 (permalink) Old 04-08-2009, 12:19 AM
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Say, what's the wattage on that T-5 fixture?
About wattage the wpg rule is based on T12 bulbs.

After viewing Trallen44 low light tank, here, I am beginning to think that the photons from the bulbs is more important than the wattage. I am doing an experiment to verify this.





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