A different kind of planted tank.
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Old 07-30-2012, 06:32 PM   #1
THD
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A different kind of planted tank.


Hello All : )

I have not yet taken the plunge into the planted world, but will be shortly. I have been reading for a few months now. I will try to make this short.
First, a little about me:

Keeping new world Cichlids and Characins for the past 10 years. Before that, fancy golds for 4 -5 years. Love fish, love tanks, love maintaing a system.

I currently have:

125g (72" L x 18" W x 23" D) AGA tank.

(2) Eheim 2217
(1) Ehiem 2213
(2) Ebo-Jaager 250w
(1) Aquatic Life 48" T5HO (108w) Dual Lamp (one 6000k, one 650nm) Fixture
(X) Tons of rocks and a few pieces of driftwood.
Substrate is ~3" Tahitian Moon Sand (black)

My water ph is always slightly acidic (6.5 - 6.7) and moderately soft (I havent tested gH and kH in forever, but can if you guys need it).

What I want to do is grow moss. Lots of it. I am interested in:

Java Moss
Flame Moss
Christmas Moss
(please feel free to make recommendations)

I would also like a few various plants to fill the tank:

Java Fern
Hornwort
Moneywort
Anubias Nana
(please feel free to make recommendations)

I am perfectly fine with green only plants, and I am not really hung up on the look of the plants (leaf type, vine type, etc). I just want to provide cover to a single, large sedentary ambush predator (Hoplias Malabaricus). I was also thinking of keeping a few dozen small colorful tetras that the wolffish wouldn't bother trying to eat, and perhaps some shrimp and/or snails.

I do not want to purchase or maintain a co2 system.
I am willing to fertilize, and, if needed, purchase additional lighting (as well as other things that I might not have given any thought to...)
I have read that maintaining a planted tank is all about balance. I was wondering what the community here would recommend to me, in order to achieve a tank with healthy plants, given my current equipment.
Any advice will be more than welcome, because quite honestly...well, lets just say that aquatic plants are totally uncharted waters to me.
Thanks in advance,

Matt
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Old 07-30-2012, 06:49 PM   #2
kingfisherfleshy
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I know that co2 can seem like a pain - but in all reality it is a great check safe and will help you avoid algae while letting your plants grow faster.

Almost no one comes into the serious side of this hobby wanting co2, almost all at least end up leaving it wishing they did.

Tearing down my 10g planted tank that was dutch style and density planted for years - until I finally just found an algae I couldnt match. Lights out, excell, weed outs, partial tear downs, water changes, bulb changes...nothing worked.

Consistant co2 would have probably helped me avoid that. Now Im taking a break until I have time and money to buy a new setup ad do it right.

Good luck and welcome, there are plenty of cool tanks that do what you do - more non traditional fish with hardier plants.
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Old 07-30-2012, 06:56 PM   #3
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Learning from my experience, i suggest starting slow and monitor daily. I started with a high light setup which saw steady plant growth, red and bright green leaves.... All went well (mosses, stem plants, guppy grasses, you name it) until hair algae settled in. It had decimated some of my prettiest mosses and its been a slow yet methodical climb ever since.

Start with a 6-8 hour photo period and some quarter doses of ferts and watch for a week. step up in two or three weeks once you see some development. Any surplus in ferts or lighting can quickly go turn into an algae outbreak so monitor the leaves, substrate and any surfaces for algae growth. Also watch the behavior of the livestock as well as TDS to know when a Water change is needed. Based on this basic regiment, a WC every two weeks should be fine, and obviously more frequent if you step up in any of these categories.

be weary of collectoritis. Select a few plants you want to keep and go from there. You may end up with a potpourri in the end, but that would certainly be having months and months of experience under your belt.

Start with the best possible plants you have access to. Also consider planting larger batches rather than getting single plants that you hope will spread over time... you'll enjoy the fuller look sooner while also helping the tank absorb more nutrients at the same time.

I've learned patience and to take smaller steps. The progress might not be that great, but you'll be rewarded with some beautiful specimens and happy livestock.

We are planning a meet coming up either in Manhattan or queens. you are welcome to join us. Check out the new york subforum. We're going to be trading plants, talk about livestock, shrimp and swap stuff that hopefully help other hobbyists like yourself.
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Old 07-30-2012, 08:32 PM   #4
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OK, here is what I am thinking:

1) I could save up and spring for a co2 system...but I would like to hear from some members that keep moss w/o co2. I was really hopeful that my simple needs (growing moss, lol) would spare me the additional gear, and I would still like to keep it that way if at all possible.

2) Would this be a suitable co2 system:

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...7&pcatid=15527

or does anyone have a better recommendation?

3) Would my current lighting fixture be suited to grow Java and other mosses, and would the additional co2 (should I buy a system) be recommended with such low lighting? I have no idea what the lumen o/p of my fixture is ( I would like to, but cant find that info and do not know any formula for this ), but going by the wpg rule I have less than 1wpg. Am I just fooling myself by having only this one fixture?

4) Finally, I was thinking about buying something like this for ferts:

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...m?pcatid=23830

Is this a rookie mistake? Should I be looking to use non-liquid fertilizers?

Thanks again,

Matt
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Old 07-30-2012, 08:42 PM   #5
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I have a 125g with no co2, but a bit more light, and I have no issues growing hygrophila, christmas moss and sagittaria subulata. I think the key is to get your lighting to the right level and just maintain a low fish count so nitrates don’t build up too much because water changes are kept to a minimum. This is to keep co2 levels very consistent and keep algae away. I noticed your lighting is a bit on the weak side, so I’d recommend at least uping that somewhat. I add 20ml of seachem flourish comprehensive once a week, and some seachem equilibrium once a week, and it’s been doing well since July 2011.
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Old 07-30-2012, 09:16 PM   #6
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Your light will not be on the "weak side" at all. In fact you will want to suspend the light at least 6-8 inches above the top of the tank, preferably about 10 inches, to reduce the intensity to a value more appropriate to mosses. Otherwise you are much more likely to be growing a variety of algae than mosses. With the light raised that far you might also have reasonably uniform light intensity over the whole tank. I don't think CO2 will help much with mosses, but I'm not really sure about that part.
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