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Old 12-31-2007, 02:02 PM   #1
surpera1
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new guy needs advice


20 years ago i had great success with water sprite and java fern . i had no idea what i was doing.had a 40 long with a small old style dynaflow filter ( the kind that used siphon tubes-external motor that you had to keep lubed) 40 watt fluorescent light , some freshwater driftwood , and 1 smallmouth bass called jaws.first i put some water sprite in there and it grew all over everything , i was having to throw away double handfulls every week and then i got some java fern . i keep reading posts about how slow java fern grows - but that wasnt my experience - man that stuff took off and grew front to back and top to bottom , hit the glass at the top , you couldnt see out the back ! and then i moved - it all crashed - dont really know why - my question is how did this happen ? the tank had no grow light , no fertilizer , no co2 . it was well established and i did regular partial water changes .anyway - i have a good 55 going now - 4 pictus , 2 plecos , 8 small bream , 1 warmouth , 2 small 15 watt fluorescent lights , 2 large regent (150 ? maybe) waterfall filters - and an extra bag of carbon in each filter - i keep the water level high so there is no splashing - green spot algae which the plecos keep under control and nice clear water. got some water sprite and java fern on the way.its been up about 5 months now and very stable - fish all healthy and loving it - but fish and plants are 2 very different things - anyway i'm rambling now - any comments welcome !
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Old 12-31-2007, 09:30 PM   #2
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Same thing happened with my 20gal when i moved. Although i had java ferns and hygro and java moss all growing very well. I had a good balance going in my tank and then I moved. I uprooted everything cleaned my filter etc etc etc. Totally disrupted the natural balance and then everything suffered. The tapwater was also slightly different from my last place which probably helped out with the stress of my plants and fish.

Anywhoo awsome that you have another tank set up and things are going great. Cant wait to see it posted on here
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Old 01-01-2008, 01:33 AM   #3
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finally someone will talk to me - i know i'm new here - but i was starting to feel like my post was just too dumb to even respond to - i'll get some photos up tommorow - but right now its just some sad plastic plants and very healthy fish - hahahahahaha
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Old 01-01-2008, 03:16 AM   #4
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I dont think anybody can give you a definitive answer on why it did well or why it didnt after the move. "Every tank is different."
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Old 01-01-2008, 11:45 AM   #5
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Welcome again surpera1,
Im not sure but in your post I believe you are saying you only have 2 - 15W lights or is that in addition to the 40W light?
Also, remove the carbon from the filters, the plants and water changes will take care of everything the carbon is designed to remove.
My guess also would be that your new water source has less nitrates in it. Your chosen plants can thrive on higher end nitrates alone with regular water changes for micro's.
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Old 01-01-2008, 02:35 PM   #6
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its just 2 - 15 watt mini fluorescent right now - but i do have a 40 watt fixture in reserve that i can add to it - i understand what you are saying about the carbon - its easy to remove as i have it in a nylon stocking in the sump - im thinking i may have too much surface movement with the filters i have now , and also my substrate is just plain gravel - when i had all the success i had an old dynaflow filter - wish i still had it - you guys think i should get another kind of filter ? there are so many parameters to consider
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Old 01-01-2008, 02:53 PM   #7
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One thing that might have changed when you moved is the water components. The water where the plants were flourishing for you might have had substantially more elements to help the plants grow.

If you want to be successfull going forward, you might want to do some research to determine what you want to accomplish.
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Old 01-01-2008, 03:06 PM   #8
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well - i know what i want - i just dont know how - hahahahaha - i hate to be so ignorant on this subject - but the more i read the more i realize just how much i dont know - but i'm here to learn - what i want is java fern front to back and top to bottom - and i know it can grow very fast with the right conditions - i just dont know how to replicate what i did before
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Old 01-01-2008, 09:47 PM   #9
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IMO when ya moved, obviously yer tank moved with it. The balance ya had in the tank for so long dissappeared cause ya had to empty it in order to move it. All the fertilizin fish waste went down the drain when ya moved leavin ya with a new unbalanced tank when ya filled it back up.

A low tech tank is gonna take some time to get balanced again! Just be patient. It will all come back eventually. Just get alot of plants in there, an feed the fish alot! It will settle back down for ya...

tc
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Old 01-01-2008, 09:54 PM   #10
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Well, a 55 gallon is a little higher than a 40 long and you have much less light with the little 15s. I think at a minimum you need to stick the 40 watt fixture back and get a good T8 tube. You probably need a fixture with two 40 watters.

I've also been out of plants for awhile- I converted my planted tank to a reef in 1990 and had that up to a few years ago. Now, just back to plants in a new 75 so better not offer much advice.
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Old 01-01-2008, 10:27 PM   #11
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i'll take whatever advise you have - i'm still waiting on my plants to arrive - where can i find this "T8" light ? i understand now how i upset the balance - this tank has been up and running for about 5 months now - i do about 25% water change every 2 weeks - it is acid , and soft (75ppm) per my tests - are there any other test kits i need to get to monitor things ? do i have too much filtration ? do i need to add flourite ? you see - i was quite the hobbyist 20 years ago - and now i'm really confused about all this
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Old 01-01-2008, 11:57 PM   #12
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I was assuming you had a 48" fixture from the other tank. I guess you better look to see what size bulb it takes. Either a T8 or T12 bulb can be had at Lowes or Home Depot, or you can buy one at the Pet Store (that will cost much more). It is just a fluorescent tube. The T12s are a larger diameter than the T8s.

I have what most consider a planted substrate (e.g. fluorite, ecocomplete, and the likes). Substrate changes are messy. You need to decide what plants you want and where you really want to head. If you *think* you have other aspirations change now (the messy part). If you stick with Java Fern, you probably don't need to change much. They are generally more surface planted, tied to driftwood or something. I don't think water sprite is generally considered a root feeder either. Some anchor the plant and some let it float.

If you do change there are a lot of alternative materials that can be picked up at hardware and the box stores to substitute for some of the fish store substrates.

I can't advise on the filtration, I think too much (e.g. outgassing) it is less important if you are not dosing CO2. I am waiting for a Rena XP3 canister filter for the 75. I don't like what I currently have.

My degrees are in the field (Chemistry and Marine Science) so ashamed to say I don't really test much. I will test initially to see what I am working with and if I change something dramatic, but that's about it. I've learned to be really observant about the occupants. I am kind of low tech at home.
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Old 01-02-2008, 12:30 AM   #13
surpera1
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what alternative substrate materials ? potting soil i guess ? do you use the plant lights or just plain fluorescent ?
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