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Old 07-22-2011, 10:50 AM   #1
AquaAddiction
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Default Help with Planted system

Hi, I am new to this forum and new to the planted tank scene.

I have kept Fish for alot of years, I first started with a Marine tank but this got a little costly, I then moved to African cichlids and have had alot of success through the years. Never have I had a planted tank and never did I think it would be so compicated!! Thought it was just about, buy plants, stick em in the gravel and provide lights and watch em grow........DAMN!

OK so where I am at.
I have a 3x18x18 holds aprox 200L or 50 gallon. I only want a small low tech setup with few plants, but I want the plants to florish and be really green. This is where I get lost as I have read ssoooooo much info(really confused) I will try keep this breif. It is a sumped system( I heard this was bad for retaining C02 ) Is this true because I really want to keep the sump. System has around 4x turn over from sump pump and a small powerhead internal for water movement.The lighting is a 3ft twin T8 with 30w bulbs, one is a white bulb and the other is a "grow" light, not sure on specs or kelvin.
The substrate is tahitian moon sand (again from what i have read this is not the best but I only want a few plants and really want to keep this substrate)
Plants I have are 1x java fren 1x amazon sword 1x dwarf pongol 1x ech. rubra 1x wisteria, like these plants but not to fused on what I grow, has to be hardy, easy and grow lush, I want to have small plant at the front, a couple of bush ones in the middle and a large bushy one across the back. Currently I am only using a 1/4 of a block of seachem root tablet under each plant, and a product I was sugested to me, it is ADA stage one root growth or something like that using half dose every day, about 4 pumps. Dont want to go to C02
Tank is stocked with 2 x l202 and 16x buenos aries tetras, and would like to keep a small ghost knife!( know these will get big and could pick off a few teras) and want a pair of blue rams. Tank with filtration have been going for about 6 - 8 months but only have had planted tank setup for about 3 -4 weeks.

Biggest problem I am having is algie!! brown is the most common, with a small amount of black beard. Brown is covering everything flat, the leaves of the plants, rocks, drift wood and even substrate, I have to scrub the plants, wood and rocks every week and do about a 30% weekly water change after I have scrubed. I was running both bulbs in the lights for about 12hrs a day but have since cut it down to 1 bulb for 7hrs.

Where am I going wrong......am I heading in the right direction and can you see any big no no's or potetial fails. And what is the right way to fert plants for this system???

Thanks for any response, ant info will really help!
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Old 07-22-2011, 11:12 AM   #2
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First inspect your lighting system to see if you have a T5HO or T5NO. For low-light setups, you'll want T5NO. You can also buy cheap T5NO fixtures and bulbs at Home Depot. I forget what spectrum and K rating you need for a low-light tank but I think you can find that info somewhere in this forum. Generally, you'll want something of a .5 watts to gallons ratio.

You'll have a tough time keeping plants with just black sand even though the root tablets will help. You've pretty much limited yourself to anubias and other plants that don't need richer substrate.

A lot of things can cause algae, poor water quality, old bulbs, lack of water movement, long photoperiods, extended exposure to natural light.

To fight the algae, I would recommend more frequent water changes then look at the lighting setup if the algae doesn't improve.

Last edited by The_Finglonger; 07-22-2011 at 09:08 PM..
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Old 07-22-2011, 06:29 PM   #3
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If you aren't opposed to them, snails are pretty handy with algae removal, and not as finicky as shrimp.
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Old 07-22-2011, 06:52 PM   #4
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Brown on the deco and plants is usually diatoms. They will stop over time.
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Old 07-23-2011, 12:05 AM   #5
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Ok, great thanks for the input. I have t8 lights, not t5. Is the stuff I am dossing with a good idea and should I start adding some florish or something?? Plants are not growing but from what I understand it is porbably due to algie all over leaves and the substrate. Do I have any options, I heard people freeze dirt and put lumps under the substrate and plant in that.
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Old 07-23-2011, 01:41 AM   #6
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If you can find some gluteraldehyde that is good for killing back many nusiance algaes. Also root tab ferts work really well with swordplants.

I believe there are aquatic plant fert products in Australia that start with "Dino"? And Seachem brand I believe is available there, as well.
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Old 07-23-2011, 01:44 AM   #7
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OTO's are fun to have
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Old 07-23-2011, 02:05 AM   #8
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We need water stats to really help you out. What is temp, ph, gh, kh, nitrate, nitrite and ammoniun levels. Due to this tank running as a planted tank for 3 to 4 weeks you are still going thru tank settleing in. As a result things will get out of wack and spike and you need to do bigger and more water changes for the next week or so till things settle down with water parameters.

I would get a bristlenose for this tank also to help with algae control.
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Old 07-23-2011, 07:07 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaAddiction View Post
Brown is covering everything flat
I was running both bulbs in the lights for about 12hrs.
Have since cut it down to 1 bulb for 7hrs.
Lights are the engine. Usually not on more than 7hrs. Could cut it down to 5hrs until algae clears. Brown algae is normal for a new tank.

Got a pic?
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Old 07-23-2011, 12:45 PM   #10
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Ok, I will get a pick up. Water parameters. Temp 24derg c. Nitrate 0 nitrite 0 ammonia 0 ph is around 7.4. Slowly bring it down. Gh 0 - 60 mg/l kh 0 - 20 mg/l. I have 2 x l202 plecos, they do a bit, glass and wood. Am in the process of getting a couple of ottos. Yea seachem is avaliable it's the florish stuff, is liquid fert ok to use with root tabs. And should I dose at weekly water changes? Parameters are pretty stable, as I said the tank has been running for a fair while as a fry grow out for cichlids, bare bottom tank with only drift wood and anubius. Tap water is pretty hard here so for the Africans it was fine but the fish I wanna keep I want it around ph 6.5-7. I guess the biggest question I need to ask is, can my plants grow it sand if I fert regularly and will this encourage algie growth??
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Old 07-23-2011, 05:06 PM   #11
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OK, the sand is fine and parameters are good. Your problem is the plants but not hard to fix. Swords are heavy root feeders so need root tabs with good iron in them. They also light med to high light so make sure the are under the brightest of your 2 bulbs.

Java fern is a low light plants so you can put it somewhere in tank where light is lower. It will need water ferts like flourish.

Bushy plants light med to high light. Your crypts love low light. Anubias will also do ok in lower light.

Ok this might sound silly but how long are your lights on? If on over 8 hours cut back to 8 or 6 for a week or two. That should get rid of algea.
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Old 07-23-2011, 05:09 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaAddiction View Post
Water parameters.
Nitrate 0
nitrite 0
ammonia 0
ph is around 7.4. Slowly bring it down.
Gh 0 - 60 mg/l
kh 0 - 20 mg/l.
Nitrates need to go up. Mine was 0 until I accidentally over fed my fish trying to feed a slow Cichlid fish. Went up to 40 then I had string algae. Can be supplied with KNO3 dry ferts or Brightwell aquatics FlorinK.

Don't understand the Gh and Kh readings. They are 0 or the last number?

From my experience it is best to not try to change the ph. Just get fish suited for it. Cichlids I found don't adapt to the high ph. Some fish do adapt to high ph.
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Old 07-23-2011, 09:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilde View Post

Don't understand the Gh and Kh readings. They are 0 or the last number?

I think the test kit says it is in that range... maybe.
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Old 07-24-2011, 12:04 AM   #14
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yes that is correct, the kit has a range and it somewhere between 0 -60/40mg/l. DO these need to be more accurate. I am acctualy looking for a new test kit as the one i have decided it that phos #3 would leak all over the place, so i cant test for phosphate and two of the colour charts are destroyed. Also I did a test for iron a while back back and from what I can remember it was not where it should be?? I read that this is required for the photosynthsis process, is that correct or is it just for red plants???
Thanks for your help.
And just to clarify hilde are you saying that if i wish to keep same a pair of blue rams that prefer water between 5.0 -7.0 and my tap water is say around 7.8 that it is better to just put them in and let them sort it out??? I really would like these guys to spawn, I didn't think that would be an option???
Thanks again guys
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Old 07-24-2011, 05:06 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaAddiction View Post
And just to clarify hilde are you saying that if i wish to keep same a pair of blue rams that prefer water between 5.0 -7.0 and my tap water is say around 7.8 that it is better to just put them in and let them sort it out???
After having lost a gold RAM and gold Apistogrammi, which both need low PH, I wouldn't get any. The gold seem to be more sensitive, though. If they are raised with high tap water they would be okay, so I have been told.
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