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post #37 of (permalink) Old 01-25-2010, 08:42 PM
Algae Grower
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Posts: 73
My 1st try with plants

My first aquarium was at age 10, which was a loooong time ago. I had mollies and guppies and no plants.
I started my 2nd tank in Oct of 2009. My goal is to grow plants and raise some platy's. I did pretty much everything wrong, again.
Upon joining this forum (which I did after starting my tank,) I have learned so much from it's members. I've been too embarrassed to start "my journal," due to my wee tank size of 5g. Now I am asking for some help as I'm losing all my plants.
My plants are going downhill rapidly and I need some immediate advice please.

Original specs:
5.5g aqua tech kit from Walmart.
tap water using stress coat
cheap gravel, a few glass rocks and fake driftwood
Upgraded light twice to finally a mini cfl 50/50 (10k/actinic 03 blue) 20 watt Coralife
Seachem starter kit (Excel, Flourish, Iron)
Tetra test Laborett water test set (pH, KH, GH, NO2, NH3&4 with carbon chart
3 pregnant, berried, heavy, whatever it's called these days, platy's

hyrophila difformis & compact corymbosa stricta
java fern
banana plants
anubias (unk type)

Honestly my nutrients and ammonia levels were all decent. I never used the carbon chart though. My plants were all losing their lower leaves, with holes and dark spots at first.Then I changed to the cfl above, the plants started coming around, esp. my corymbosa stricta. I had a huge algae problem which my lfs owner helped me with. I was over feeding. I limited my lighting by just a few hours each day, stopped feeding to much and had great success.
**Last week my pH jumped to 8.25. I was dosing more excel and flourish as the plants started to go downhill again a bit. Nothing else changed.

Then I decided to upgrade everything on 1/20/10 to this:

same 5g tank
aqua clear 20 filter
12" 18w 1 lamp (10k/67k) satellite with a lunar light
flourite black
African rootwood
purple slate

green wentii
red wentii
crypt pecktii
African fern
java fern
banana plants

3 grown platy's
8 tiny adoreable babies ranging from 1 wk to 2 months)

pH 8.25
Nitrite 0.3
KH 6
GH 7
Ammonia 0
Carbon 1.0 (per chart)

I did a 40% water change this morning (5 days) mainly to try to eliminate the slight tan tinge and cloudiness.

I did rinse the flourite, and soaked the wood for 4 days. I followed lauraleellbp (thanks) post on changing the tank over without the need for cycling.

The only things doing well are my fish and banana plants. The fish love their new home. The other plants are melting away (some leaves overnight) and the others are browning. I had such high expectations with the new changes. I am so disheartened..

I leave the light sitting on the glass cover on for 10 hours. The lunar is on the remainder of each day. I am not using co2 and don't want to. I choose to use Seachem instead. I understand there will be changes with the addition of wood and the slate and substrate...I am in need of some advice please.
My real concern is the rise in pH from a steady 7.0 to 8.25 (even at the end of the old setup.) My lfs was stumped and suggested I use Seachem's neutral regulator. I did two days ago and the pH did not change. Then I read on another site that changing your pH chemically, is not a good choice. It should occur naturally. I am more confused than ever, folks.

The pictures of my NEW tank and it's problems will be uploaded later today.
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