Spontaneous planted 29 gallon help!
Planted Tank Forums
Your Tanks Image Hosting *Tank Tracker * Plant Profiles Fish Profiles Planted Tank Guide Photo Gallery Articles

Go Back   The Planted Tank Forum > General Planted Tank Forums > Low Tech Forum


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-05-2013, 07:31 PM   #1
Calorya
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Michigan
Posts: 11
Default

Spontaneous planted 29 gallon help!


I had many more cichlids than my 29 gallon setup could handle, and I could not keep up with the water changes / cleanings.

The light and heater are 20y old. Literally.
The filter is a Aqueon quiet something 30 purchased 2y ago.

Last night I sold my cichlids and we impulse purchased some substrate and grass and another red leafed plant. (Sorry I don't know what they are I'll post pics.) and 6 ghost shrimp.

Then to make things more complicated when we were cleaning out the tank we found 4 fry. Less than one quarter inch long

I know the basics of keeping a fish tank but nothing about aquatic plants.

The tank is a little cloudy now. Could that be from the sand or is it a problem with the water chemistry?

Does anyone know what plants I have and what sort of care they need?
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	image.jpg
Views:	112
Size:	132.9 KB
ID:	81218  

Calorya is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 02-05-2013, 07:49 PM   #2
lochaber
Wannabe Guru
 
lochaber's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Oakland, CA
Posts: 1,996
Default

Give us a few more specifics about your set up.

Is your light a flourescent tube, or incandescent? - are you just using sand for substrate?

If you don't have any root tabs, or a soil layer, you are probably going to need to add something, or avoid plants that like rich substrates (I believe most stem plants are fine pulling directly from the water column, but things like amazon swords and sagittaria do better with their roots in a rich substrate).

You might want to look into some floaters to help pick up extra nutrients until your plants get established, otherwise algae might get a bit of a head start.

Glad to hear you are giving plants a try, I think they can add a lot, both aesthetically and in terms of water quality, to a tank. Just prepared for a few failures/disappointments, it's part of the learning curve.
lochaber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2013, 02:40 AM   #3
Calorya
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Michigan
Posts: 11
Default

Sorry for the long delay I was being prevented from posting while on my phone for some reason.

The light is a GE 20 watt Cool White Florescent tube

The substrate is laterite partially covered in sand.

The cloudiness has cleared up but the red leafy plants seem to be dying. I am going to try to get a new light this Friday. Any suggestions, I'd like to keep this as simple as I can.
I'm almost positive the green plant is Dwarf Hair Grass. It looks like it is growing,or maybe its just not so squished together from the packaging, not sure. However it looks like it is growing algae on the tips. As long as it's not going to kill the plant this does not bother me too much. My old tank was covered in algae due to the crazy bio load from the 50 inches of cichlids (that's why I sold them.)

If anyone has any suggestions for types of plants or fish for a low tech, low light tank feel free. I'm open to anything right now.
Attached Images
 

Last edited by Calorya; 02-07-2013 at 02:57 AM.. Reason: more details
Calorya is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2013, 04:00 PM   #4
Zorfox
Wannabe Guru
 
Zorfox's Avatar
 
PTrader: (5/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Gainesville, FL
Posts: 1,387
Default

The grass does look like dwarf hair grass (Eleocharis Parvula). The red "leggy" plant looks like alternanthera reineckii most likely 'cardinalis' or 'rosaefolia'.

The hair grass prefers high light and lots of CO2. I have my doubts whether it will do well in your setup. The alternanthera reinecki does well in medium to high light. Although I have found it does better towards the bottom of my own tank. Maybe it prefers more light in the blue spectrum dunno. Once established it will grow like a weed. In fact I just trimmed mine and tossed a good half gallon away lol.

This section has a sticky for low light plants here. Those may be your best bet. How are you dosing (fertilizing) your tank?
Zorfox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2013, 07:42 PM   #5
Calorya
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Michigan
Posts: 11
Default

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.
Calorya is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2013, 08:25 PM   #6
Zorfox
Wannabe Guru
 
Zorfox's Avatar
 
PTrader: (5/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Gainesville, FL
Posts: 1,387
Default

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.
Zorfox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2013, 02:54 AM   #7
Calorya
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Michigan
Posts: 11
Default

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?
Calorya is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2013, 07:29 PM   #8
Zorfox
Wannabe Guru
 
Zorfox's Avatar
 
PTrader: (5/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Gainesville, FL
Posts: 1,387
Default

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.
Zorfox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2013, 08:29 PM   #9
Calorya
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Michigan
Posts: 11
Default

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.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	photo(2).JPG
Views:	17
Size:	146.7 KB
ID:	83074  

Calorya is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2013, 08:38 PM   #10
lochaber
Wannabe Guru
 
lochaber's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Oakland, CA
Posts: 1,996
Default

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)
lochaber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2013, 10:30 PM   #11
Zorfox
Wannabe Guru
 
Zorfox's Avatar
 
PTrader: (5/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Gainesville, FL
Posts: 1,387
Default

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.
Zorfox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2013, 09:41 PM   #12
Calorya
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Michigan
Posts: 11
Default

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.
Calorya is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2013, 03:25 PM   #13
Calorya
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Michigan
Posts: 11
Default

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!
Calorya is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2013, 03:41 PM   #14
Calorya
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Michigan
Posts: 11
Default

Can I cover my filter intake with a sponge or will that not be enough to save the baby shrimp?
Calorya is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2013, 05:19 PM   #15
lochaber
Wannabe Guru
 
lochaber's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Oakland, CA
Posts: 1,996
Default

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.
lochaber is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
low budget, newbie questions

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 12:46 PM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright Planted Tank LLC 2012