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Old 04-22-2012, 03:11 PM   #1
leemonk
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On the verge of giving up on a planted tank


Hey,

For years now I have struggled with my planted tank. I am unsure if it's my lack of attention, technology or knowledge, but nothing grows, everything melts and my tank is algae central.... some varieties of which have been unidentifiable by other forum users (not here I hasten to add ).

I have a 180 Jewel tank with the standard corner filterpump. I have also added an additional fan to increase the flow around the tank.

Over the years I have tried various substrates (currently using Bonsai soil). I have tried CO2 via a FE, that worked nicely until the regulator broke and injected the whole FE into the tank overnight (luckily no casualties).

I am now, on what I believe to be, my final attempt before moving to Cichlids and rocks ( Cichlids, Rocks).

I have a fair amount of bogwood/driftwood, that my annubis melts on, that could possibly hide some small plant pots, thus I want to try and get plants in the tank, but in plant pots that contain planting tabs.

The general idea is that I use plants that get nutrients mainly from their roots rather than from the water itself, thus requiring no 'feeding/dosing'.

The aim behind this post is to get some suggestions and if possible, tips and how I should manage the suggested plants.

I'm not sure if, at this stage, I should discuss my algae problem?"!?!?!?

Regards

Lee

ps.. I'm in the UK and London, so my water is liquid rock essentially.
pps. My first post, so please be gentle

*EDIT*

Following suggestions from other sites, my lights come on from 1pm to 8pm.
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Old 04-22-2012, 04:04 PM   #2
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What kind of "lights" do you have?
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Old 04-22-2012, 04:08 PM   #3
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Welcome to The Planted Tank! In order to best help you we need to know what lights you are using, and the dimensions of the tank (even though it is possible to find that with Google). Everything else starts with what lighting you have, and to know that requires knowing details about the tank and the lights.

All plants can take in nutrients from both the leaves and the roots. Just because plants have good roots doesn't mean they are "root feeders". Anubias, for example, can be tied to wood or rocks, where the roots don't extend into the substrate, but they still grow well if the water is fertilized. Even terrestrial plants can be fed by spraying nutrients on the leaves, although they get their food from their roots normally.
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Old 04-22-2012, 04:15 PM   #4
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It is really simple actually.
I'm no expert but here's my take on planted tank:
-all about balance btw 3 items - light, nutrients, co2.

So, if you want to have an "easy" planted tank, it is best to choose
easy and hardy plants:
-anubias.
-water sprite
-asian ambulia
-bacopa
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Old 04-22-2012, 04:39 PM   #5
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Hey,

Thanks for the replies..... sorry I should have realised that my post was woefully lacking in detail.

Tank dimensions are 1000wx400dx500h.
The lights are the standard defaults. From a post on another forum (shock) I gathered that they are 2xT5's (no deflectors). The measure approximately 15mm in diameter.

I only have 7 small fish currently.
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Old 04-22-2012, 04:59 PM   #6
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How old are the lights? You may need replacements as T5s get dimmer over time. That's 500mm? So ~20inches. Here's a pic I found of your tank, look about right?



Light: depending on how long you've had it, I would change out the tubes to some new ones. If it's still very bright and new, then you may have too much light (relative to the amount of fert and CO2 in the tank). You mentioned an algae problem or reducing the light (add floating plants, red root floaters, water lettuce, frogbits), algae can be countered by simply planting more, or adding some algae eaters -- nerite snail, otocinclus, amano shrimp clean up crew.

Substrate: not sure what bonsai soil is, but if it's dirt it should have enough nutrients to grow plants, if in doubt stick in a few oscomote tabs, I don't think you need to change it out

CO2: although a lot would recommend you to gas your tank, I've found mine to thrive with just CO2 produced by the fauna

Plants: plants may be your problem--you probably just don't have enough, you mentioned anubias--a lot are grown emersed and will melt when submerged for the first month, try a large variety of plants, for 20" tall I'd recommend stems, they're fast growing and easy to propagate (green cabomba, ludwigia sp., rotala sp., etc), plant heavily and diversely -- shoot to cover every bit of the dirt. More plants = less chance of algae bloom, and healthier for fish. Check your aquatic gardens and stick to the cheaper species (usually easier), or head to your local stream like Tom and collect some.
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Old 04-22-2012, 06:03 PM   #7
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Additional to the bansai soil, I think it is something like a topsoil which have a lot of ammonia in it. You may need to prepare it before using in the tank, and you need to cap the soil no matter what.


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Old 04-22-2012, 07:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xenxes View Post
How old are the lights? You may need replacements as T5s get dimmer over time. That's 500mm? So ~20inches. Here's a pic I found of your tank, look about right?
That's the baby!

I've had mixed reports on the lights. Some say change them, some say stick with until they blow.

I've had the tank going on 3 years or so and have not changed them yet. Also, I've not noticed an degregation in the light, though I'd imagine this would be hard to notice over time.

I used to do well with the 'stem' plants, but then, like everything else, the algae took over. The tips would start going brown and then the plants would become very spindly.

My plan a short while back to was have a few Crypts and a ton of very bright anubis.... regardless of how long it took to grow.

Oddly enough, the Anubis grows fairly well in my tank, but the leaves only last one day with no algae and then have holes in by 4/5 days and are see through a few days after that.

I love Anubis and would happily have a tank made up mostly of that!

Regards

*EDIT*

The Bonsai soil is innert. The idea behind it is that it is very cheap and it soaks up nutrients from the water and holds onto them for a long time...... at least that is what the tests someone did over in UK Aquatics showed.

From what I recall, it's clay baked to get the impurities out.

It's also a nice colour brown..... if such a thing exists.....

Regards
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Old 04-22-2012, 07:31 PM   #9
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Planning planning planning. As the over proverbial saying goes, "failing to plan is planning to fail"

There is a lot of good advice that the other members are giving. I just like to add that you will need some structure. This is an amazing time to get into planted tanks. I started about 13 years ago and it was hard to find good information let alone a forum as great as this one to help you along the way.

Set your self up with a goal. Remember there is no unreasonable goal just an unreasonable time frame. So once you have an idea in mind about what you want your tank to look like, start from there. Would you like it heavily planted? Partially? Or a nice good old low tech moss scape. Find what will really make you happy with your tank.

Given such a large tank as your own, I can understand why you would want to cut some corners, believe me I have tried to in the past. But in the end, do it right and you only have to do it once. So although there is some things that you can cut corners about, be smart, there are only so many corners to cut.

For instance, if you do plan on a high tech tank, get some good substrate. ADA aquasoil is best for me because its so easy. Although expensive and it may be hard to get in the UK, it is well worth it. Or if you have time, make some mineralized soil. It works wonders for many people here.

Anyway, once you have a goal in mind, work each step, get the right information, give yourself a budget and you will get there.

All the best from across the pond
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Old 04-22-2012, 07:49 PM   #10
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I'd be perfectly happy with Anubis and moss's. I love both of them, and in reality, that is all i have in my tank now, bar two little crypts (if that is what they are).

I just can't keep the algae down long enough for the plants to grow. It wasn't always like this. Once I had a perfect looking tank..... it really was stunning.
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:12 PM   #11
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No problem, just look up everything for low tech tanks. Algae may be an issue because of too much lights or too much ferts. But review everything over low tech tanks first and then start from there.
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:16 PM   #12
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Are you using the CO2 now? Do you dose fertilizers? Do you have a crew of clean up critters?

I had lots of light, no CO2 and fertilizer and had loads of algae but my plants somehow out grew the algae so it didn't bother me back when I first set up my planted tank more than a decade ago. I still have more light than needed but the CO2 and fertilizer grow the plants strong and there is very little algae in my tank now. The cleaner my tank the better it all looks too so regular water changes and filter rinsing is also a good idea for my tank. My snails, otos, platies and bristlenose plecos scour and pick at all the tank surfaces constantly as well. I hope I never find out what my tank would look like without their help!
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:28 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dr.tran View Post
No problem, just look up everything for low tech tanks. Algae may be an issue because of too much lights or too much ferts. But review everything over low tech tanks first and then start from there.
Based on the holes in the leaves I'd say the algae is due to too few ferts rather than too many.
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:45 PM   #14
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Just to answer a few questions.

There are no ferts happening and no CO2.
I have approximately 4 shrimps and two clown pleco's that constantly hover around, but I think I may feed them to much for them to keep munching at the algae.

The lights are on approximately 7 hours per day. Given that I have very few plants, do you think this is to much (also given that there is no ferts and CO2)?

Regards

Lee
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Old 04-22-2012, 11:28 PM   #15
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You don't really need to feed shrimp if there are only a couple.
The plecos don't require a ton of food either.
In my opinion livestock aren't really the solution to algae issues.
Some liquid ferts may help, especially if your anubias are forming holes (nutrient relocation)
I may have missed it above, but what sort of algae do you have? Green, brown, stringy, slimy?
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