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Topic Review (Newest First)
03-09-2013 04:41 PM
Zorfox
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calorya View Post
Updates!

I took my hood in and it turns put the starter I have is good enough to power a 20 watt high output T8. The tank looks so much better with the new bulb.
Congratulations! It is still low light but try a choose plants in that range.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calorya View Post
I haven't found a suitable sponge for my filter yet so I am using a baby sock. Talk about low tech lol.
A user by the name of H4n makes intake covers for this purpose. Here is a link to them. Just finished a trade with him. He does what he says and stands behind what he sells. Tell him I recommended you.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Calorya View Post
The BGA is slowly starting to come back. I'm going to try another blackout period before trying chemicals.
Now that you have plants to uptake the nitrates that may be the problem. Low nitrate is a common causes of BGA. Test your nitrates and try to keep them over 10ppm. Also make sure you have good water flow throughout the water column. A build up of mulm in the substrate and filter is another cause.

Maracyn would be the chemical fix since it a bacteria. It is an antibiotic erythromycin if I'm not mistaken. Honestly, since it keeps coming back the key to get rid of it is to correct the cause. Blackouts and chemicals treat it but it will always return until the underlying problem is corrected.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Calorya View Post
The red plants in the pictures keep getting uprooted. It's always on the sand side and they don't seem to have any roots. My guess is they were not planted deep enough to get past the sand and the roots died off. Is that possible?
That alternanthera reineckii usually has a strong root system. The roots grow at every leaf junction above or below the water.



I would trim just below a leaf junction and bury it very deep. It should have no problem. If you need a rooted plant PM me and I can send you one but it should root fine.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Calorya View Post
We have some new green stem plants. My wife picked them out. Lots of the original leaves are melting off but they all have some new growth. I hope the survive.
Most likely they were grown emmersed. Melting happens on most plants when they are immersed. If you see new growth that is most likely the culprit.
03-08-2013 05:42 AM
Calorya Updates!

I took my hood in and it turns put the starter I have is good enough to power a 20 watt high output T8. The tank looks so much better with the new bulb.

I haven't found a suitable sponge for my filter yet so I am using a baby sock. Talk about low tech lol.

The BGA is slowly starting to come back. I'm going to try another blackout period before trying chemicals.

Probably two weeks ago I started dosing Flourish Excel. The plants are looking a little better for it. I still need other ferts though.

The red plants in the pictures keep getting uprooted. It's always on the sand side and they don't seem to have any roots. My guess is they were not planted deep enough to get past the sand and the roots died off. Is that possible?

We have some new green stem plants. My wife picked them out. Lots of the original leaves are melting off but they all have some new growth. I hope the survive.

Another shrimp is carrying eggs. The first ones eggs are getting darker and have a visable black dot now.

New fish! 4 Neon Tetras and 2 algae eaters. In a cruel twist of fate one of my cichlids were eaten by my shrimp.

I can't post pics from my phone but I'll try to post new pics ASAP.
02-18-2013 02:06 AM
Zorfox Congrats on your new baby shrimp and the death of the BGA. I think the sponge cover would help quite a lot.
02-15-2013 06:35 PM
Oneiros
Quote:
Originally Posted by lochaber View Post
I was in a Petsmart recently, and found a Fluval Edge prefilter that was pretty inexpensive, and the center hole doesn't go the entire way through the sponge.
I love using the Fluval Edge pre-filters for my Marineland aquariums (5g and 12g), both of which I've used for shrimp. They can be found even cheaper online:
Fluval EDGE Pre-Filter Sponge Fluval EDGE Pre-Filter Sponge
Having the pre-filter fitted over a stainer of some kind helps it work more efficiently, too. As an example, these are the ones I used for my tanks: http://www.bigalspets.com/intake-str...er-5-2-pk.html
02-15-2013 06:19 PM
lochaber I would think that would work. I tend to like putting a sponge prefilter on my intake tubes, just to cut down on the amount of dirt/grit/etc. going through the impeller, and also to keep little critters out.

I was in a Petsmart recently, and found a Fluval Edge prefilter that was pretty inexpensive, and the center hole doesn't go the entire way through the sponge.

Congrats on the shrimp.
02-15-2013 04:41 PM
Calorya Can I cover my filter intake with a sponge or will that not be enough to save the baby shrimp?
02-15-2013 04:25 PM
Calorya DIY lighting makes my head hurt. My local Home Depo doesn't have all the parts I need to convert my hood.

BGA is dead. I used a tooth brush to strip the BGA from the grass and turned off my lights for a few days. My tank gets no direct sun so lights out was enough of a blackout to killing off the BGA.

When I turned my lights back on, I noticed one of my Ghost Shrimp was carrying a load of eggs! New adventures all the time!
02-09-2013 10:41 PM
Calorya So the snow storm kept me from going out. No new fish stuff for me.

I checked out the link on algae. I have blue green algae growing on all my Plants and a nickel size spot on the sand. With the tank being in the livingroom I'm not sure she'll be happy with it being covered. Not entirely sure how I'm going to get rid if it.
02-08-2013 11:30 PM
Zorfox
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calorya View Post
Upgrading my hood will be no problem assuming the new electronic ballast will fit in there with a 24" light. My stand, tank trim and hood all match.
Since you're replacing the ballast you may want to try and fit two t5 bulbs in there if you can. They are much smaller but I'm not sure if the heat would be an issue.

A simple solution I did once was to use vinyl gutter material with end caps covered with vinyl contact paper. The paper comes in every color, wood grain prints etc. I mounted the ballasts under the tank. It was cheap easy and home depot or Lowes carries everything you need. I had six t12s over a saltwater tank using that technique. The same method could house more T5s but again not familiar with the heat aspect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calorya View Post
If you use separate dry fertilizers how do you know what your tank needs? Are there tests or do you know from experience?
Yes testing for nitrates, phophates, GH and KH guides the dosing. It depends on the method you go with. EI for example is basically flooding the tank with more than it needs then doing a 50% water change each week. The plants will show signs of deficiencies to let you know. There is no lack of images online to show what the problem may be. You sound like me. If I need more Nitrogen I want to add Nitrogen not 1,000% more trace elements or potassium simply because I have one bottle of fertilizer. I'm also cheap! lol $40 will buy enough dry ferts to last for years versus $10 a bottle.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Calorya View Post
It sure would be convenient if they had a tank that my wife liked the aesthetics. I could copy their equipment, plant, and fish setup and trial and error it from there.
That's actually not a bad plan. Google images is a great way to see what you like as well.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Calorya View Post
The water is not crystal clear today. You can clearly see small particles floating around. Also the algae growing on the tips of the grass and red plant is substantial enough that I can get a picture of it. Any idea what that stuff is? There doesn't appear to be any growing on the glass yet. What would be the best way to deal with that crud.
It's hard to tell but it looks like BGA (blue green algae) which is actually not an algae but instead a bacteria. You already know the glaring problem which may be causing it. Leaving lights on too long will cause algae problems. I would certainly start dosing with excel or API CO2 booster which are both watered down glutaraldehyde. Rather than explain all the reasons and treatments check out the algae section here. It covers it far better than I ever could. Make sure you follow the links in the sticky for images and solutions.
02-08-2013 09:38 PM
lochaber
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calorya View Post
I was checking out my light and its a GE F20T12 CW. The internet says "20 watt 24" T12 Medium Bi-Pin (G13) Base 4,100K Cool White Ecolux Fluorescent GE Light Bulb"

It looks like fish tank "Plant lights" are mostly T8 or T5. Again the internet (This guy seems to know everything!) says T8 use the same G13 base as a T12 however they use different ballasts.

I don't think you would need to switch to a completely different lams setup. If you aren't getting enough light with your current setup, maybe just try adding another tube. (may not work with your hood).

If you go low-tech (I think it's a good place to start, especially if you are new, as it requires a bit less maintenance), you won't need as much light. I don't know how much, but there should be plenty of info from other peoples set ups as to what sort of lights would get you in the right area (I want to guess that 2 flourescent bulbs should work, but I'm not certain)

A couple options I can think of right now (may not apply to your tank/hood/equipment/etc.)
get a twin bulb light strip to replace your current one

If there is spare glass that you can use, just get another light strip (I think you can get some pretty small/inexpensive 24" flourescent strip lights at Lowes/Home Depot), and put it over the available glass.

Set up something using compact fluorescent bulbs- If you're handy, you might be able to make a replacement for your light strip with 3-4 sockets, and with a reflector of some sort, could probably give you more then enough light (be wary of overheating though)
02-08-2013 09:29 PM
Calorya I'm very technically minded. I skimmed the PAR sticky and it made a lot of sense.

Upgrading my hood will be no problem assuming the new electronic ballast will fit in there with a 24" light. My stand, tank trim and hood all match. If it were up to me, I'd get a diamond plate fixture from Home Depot and make a flush fit top out of acrylic but the tank is in the living room and my wife would not be happy about that.

If you use separate dry fertilizers how do you know what your tank needs? Are there tests or do you know from experience?

I'd rather test and only add what is needed as opposed to dosing generic bottles of micro and macro ferts and hoping it all works out.

I found a sorta local pet store that has several planted display tanks that are not running CO2. Not sure if I can get out in this storm but I'm going to try to check out their setup.

It sure would be convenient if they had a tank that my wife liked the aesthetics. I could copy their equipment, plant, and fish setup and trial and error it from there.

The water is not crystal clear today. You can clearly see small particles floating around. Also the algae growing on the tips of the grass and red plant is substantial enough that I can get a picture of it. Any idea what that stuff is? There doesn't appear to be any growing on the glass yet. What would be the best way to deal with that crud.

Mental note need a timer for the light. My wife likes to run the light as a night light as along as she is up. Not good lol.
02-08-2013 08:29 PM
Zorfox
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calorya View Post
I snuck a few peaks at that PAR lighting sticky while my kiddo played.
A few peaks? lol. You're a much brighter person than I am. I had to read it several times before it sank in. I felt like a first grader being asked to understand the physics of a black hole.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calorya View Post
It looks like I'm going to have to convert my hood from a t12 to a t8 or maybe a t5 just to get up to a low light PAR. I'm going to see what my options are for that on Friday. I'd like to keep my current hood if I can.
Upgrading your current hood would involve replacing the ballast and lamp bases. You may be better off purchasing a new or used lighting system. There are also a plethora of DYI solutions depending on your technical prowess.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calorya View Post
Now to research fertilizers. Is it possible to get the right balance of fish and plants to not need ferts? Or are the people not using ferts getting away with it due to the substrate they started with being high in nutrients?
I'm sure in a perfect world one could design a biosphere to accomplish that. My niece has a plastic brine shrimp example but that's a far cry from a planted aquarium. Using a nutrient rich substrate such as mineralized top soil will decrease the need for nutrients in the water column initially. However, eventually nutrients have to be added whether trace elements or macros. I personally have decided to use dry fertilizers so I can add what my tank needs rather than depending on an all in one fertilizer. That's not to say that it won't work for you. You may prefer to go with a low tech setup with plants that require little light and dose with excel and a comprehensive liquid fertilizer. I've seen countless beautiful tanks that do exactly that. I just don't want you to become disgusted because your plants didn't do well. Too many people who have had aquariums pickup a few plants only to see them wither away; developing a mind set that it's too expensive or difficult to achieve what they were hoping for. In reality it does not have to be expensive nor difficult. This forum has all the knowledge necessary to realize any level you care to attain.
02-08-2013 03:54 AM
Calorya Just a quick check-in.

Thanks a bunch Zorfox! I snuck a few peaks at that PAR lighting sticky while my kiddo played.

It looks like I'm going to have to convert my hood from a t12 to a t8 or maybe a t5 just to get up to a low light PAR. I'm going to see what my options are for that on Friday. I'd like to keep my current hood if I can.

Now to research fertilizers. Is it possible to get the right balance of fish and plants to not need ferts? Or are the people not using ferts getting away with it due to the substrate they started with being high in nutrients?
02-07-2013 09:25 PM
Zorfox The simple answer whether a single 20W T12 will be sufficient is no. You may be able to get by with low light plants but adding more is better. If you decide to only use one bulb then you should replace what you have with one in the 6500K range. I'm using 3 Philips Daylight Deluxe, Color temp. is 6500K, 1950 lumens, CRI of 79I and picked them up at home depot for about $5. I also use one in the 4500 range that I got there as well.

Lighting can be confusing to say the least. The red plants you have prefer more towards the 4500 range where the grass needs more of the 6500 (and a lot of it). When discussing lighting one needs to understand PAR (“photosynthetically active radiation”). Here is a sticky that explains it pretty well.

I understand you impulse bought a few things but if you want your plants to do well a couple of things do need to happen. They need light and food. The lighting needs augmentation for the plants you have and the substrate won't provide sufficient nutrients. In fact laterite takes time before iron is released properly. Check out the section in the forum regarding fertilizing to better understand the basics. I initially started using only a all in one plant food with CO2 booster. My plants existed but never thrived. With an inert substrate we have to introduce the nutrients either into the water or substrate.
02-07-2013 08:42 PM
Calorya Feb 7 '13 is day 3. the water is crystal clear. It really shows my toddlers finger prints on the outside of the tank lol!

I don't have any / haven't added any fertilizer. I'm not against it, it just was not part of my impulse buy that got this started.

I was checking out my light and its a GE F20T12 CW. The internet says "20 watt 24" T12 Medium Bi-Pin (G13) Base 4,100K Cool White Ecolux Fluorescent GE Light Bulb"

It looks like fish tank "Plant lights" are mostly T8 or T5. Again the internet (This guy seems to know everything!) says T8 use the same G13 base as a T12 however they use different ballasts.

For light requirements will a 20 Watt Fluorescent tube be enough to grow anything in a 29 Gallon tank? I'm not sure how the wattage relates to photo period. Is running my 20 Watt light for 10 hours similar to running a better T8 for 6 hours?

So much to learn and I'm running out of nap-time to do research lol.
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