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Old 09-17-2011, 03:13 AM   #1
learnbot
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Help for a beginner


Hey there,

Just getting into the planted tank thing over the last 2-3 months and encountering some problems that I was hoping to get advice with. Here's my set-up:
  • Tank = 4ft x 1ft x 20 inches
  • Substrate = Fairly standard dark gravel (small pebbles) with JBL Aqua Basis Plus underneath
  • Lighting = 2 x T5's (54W, 10000K)
  • C02 = Daily dosing with Seachem Flourish Excel
  • Filtration = Eheim 2215
  • Plants = Pogostemon Stellatus and Indo Fern
  • Fish = 20 x Harlequins + 2 x Siamese Algae Eaters
  • Water changes = 20% every week or so

My basic problem is that plant growth is very slow. The Indo Fern basically hasn't grown at all in the last 2 months. I had some Ambulia in there but it stagnated as well and I got rid of it.

Surprisingly, the Pogotemon has done OK with some nice bright green and violet growth at the top of the plants although the bottom of the plants are covered in a thin film of algae and not looking good. I've cut some of this excess growth and replanted and these seem to do OK as well.

Overall, algae has not been an issue but there is small amounts of darkish algae over most things making everything look stale rather than healthy.

Key questions I have are:
  • How many hours of light should this set-up need?
  • What would you recommend (if anything) when it comes to nutrients?
  • Is the 10000K nature of my lights a problem?
  • What advice would you offer to get plant growth happening?

Cheers!
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Old 09-17-2011, 03:56 AM   #2
jreich
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Quote:
Originally Posted by learnbot View Post
Hey there,

Just getting into the planted tank thing over the last 2-3 months and encountering some problems that I was hoping to get advice with. Here's my set-up:
  • Tank = 4ft x 1ft x 20 inches
  • Substrate = Fairly standard dark gravel (small pebbles) with JBL Aqua Basis Plus underneath
  • Lighting = 2 x T5's (54W, 10000K)
  • C02 = Daily dosing with Seachem Flourish Excel
  • Filtration = Eheim 2215
  • Plants = Pogostemon Stellatus and Indo Fern
  • Fish = 20 x Harlequins + 2 x Siamese Algae Eaters
  • Water changes = 20% every week or so
My basic problem is that plant growth is very slow. The Indo Fern basically hasn't grown at all in the last 2 months. I had some Ambulia in there but it stagnated as well and I got rid of it.

Surprisingly, the Pogotemon has done OK with some nice bright green and violet growth at the top of the plants although the bottom of the plants are covered in a thin film of algae and not looking good. I've cut some of this excess growth and replanted and these seem to do OK as well.

Overall, algae has not been an issue but there is small amounts of darkish algae over most things making everything look stale rather than healthy.

Key questions I have are:
  • How many hours of light should this set-up need?
  • What would you recommend (if anything) when it comes to nutrients?
  • Is the 10000K nature of my lights a problem?
  • What advice would you offer to get plant growth happening?
Cheers!
1: i would start with 6 hours and slowly work your way up from there (patience youg grasshopper)

2: look into dry ferts, by far the cheapest and works the best
try www.greenleafaquariums.com or www.aquariumfertalizers.com

3: 10k may be a small part of the issue, but i wouldent rush out to get new bulbs, most people with planted tanks used 65 - 68k, but you can use many difrent bulb temps.

4: again patience young grasshopper planted tanks take lots of time especially since your just using excell, maybe look into DIY co2, then after you get the hang of that and some $ invest in a nice co2 regulator and tank. Dont be afraid to trim dead / dying leaves. Remember triming stimulates new growth.

btw ferns usually are slow growers, your fern is probably just now aclimated to its new home and should start sending out runners soon.

goog luck and welcome to TPT!!
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Old 09-17-2011, 07:54 AM   #3
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10k may be a small part of the issue, but i wouldent rush out to get new bulbs, most people with planted tanks used 65 - 68k, but you can use many difrent bulb temps.
I would assume he means 10,000K. A very common bulb spectrum used in planted tanks. Many of us with 2 bulb set ups run one of these in conjunction with a 6500-6700K bulb. IMO this is the best looking combination. The whiter and more blue appearance of the 10,000K helps balance out the yellow color you tend to get from running a 6700K.

Any bulb between 3,500K-18,000K will grow plants just fine, but flourescent bulbs in the 6500K range tend to put out the most light and anything too far from that spectrum starts to look a little weird.

The 10,000K bulb isn't the cause of any problem. I ran a planted tank with nothing but 18,000K bulbs over it at one point, and every plant was able to grow perfectly well under that spectrum. I wouldn't advise this combo though, unless you like everything to have a strange, purple tint to it.
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Old 09-17-2011, 04:19 PM   #4
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Color temperature is a purely aesthetic parameter. Plants will grow fine under a very large spectrum.
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Old 09-17-2011, 05:49 PM   #5
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Pressurized CO2 and a good fert regimen is what you need if you want your plants to grow more quickly.

Without CO2 on this tank, you'll probably need to somewhat limit your photoperiod to keep algae in check. Excel should help some, but T5HO generally is pretty powerful light.
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