Am I setting up to fail??
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Old 12-17-2012, 02:50 PM   #1
BigBrownTank
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Am I setting up to fail??


Hi all, long time since ive posted...

Ive got a 150g tall (48x24x31") tank with a fluval fx5 filter, t5ho x4 light fixture good heaters and the only aeration is a bubbler.

The tank is stocked with:
1 common pleco, 15" or so
24 glass catfish
2 fruit tetras (red/yrllow lil guys)
1 clown loach
10ish cardinal tetras
2 dwarft blue guaramis
10ish cory cats
1 upsidedown cat (poor purchase desicion)
a few fancy guppies
and a few fish I dont know what they are, lol. But they are browwnish grey with horizontal light blue stripes and the "LFS guy" said they get about 5" and only eat flake food..

Ok, so aside from my mystery fish, and plecostomus maximus (my pleco) I feel my fish selectoin for a planted tank is safe. Correct?

From what I read plecos are hit and miss. Decided I will build him a cave and chance it (had him for yeeeears) and my mystery fish shall be watched.

Im going to my lfs in a few minutes to buy some dwarf hair grass to test my tank out with, its cheap enough im not to concerned.. BUT...

Is there anything about my setup that screams fail?

Almost forgot.. I use medium size gravel or "normal" gravel as substrate. Im ok with fertilizing once my true plants are in. research says dwarf hairgrass is pretty easy to keep.

Thanks all
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Old 12-17-2012, 03:09 PM   #2
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I wasn't able to get dwarf hair grass to root in my gravel. I think that the size of the gravel was just too large for the fine roots to really take hold. Bit by bit, I kept finding it floating in the tank. Eventually I just pulled it out and threw it away.

Also, if you are using t5 HO lights you're going to want pressurized CO2. I think that is too much light without using fertilizer and co2.

What method of fertilizing are you planning on?
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Old 12-17-2012, 03:20 PM   #3
BigBrownTank
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Ide like to stray from co2 if I can.

Well for fertilizer, quite frankly, I dont know. "lfs guy" says I could get away with water changes and water dosing. I plan to stick with "easy" plants. Co2 is something I just cannot afford at the moment. Plus, the setup sounds like a real pain.

In a few months when I start really buying plants I will entertain thee idea solidly, thoough.
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Old 12-17-2012, 03:30 PM   #4
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If you don't have the funds or technical understanding to get into co2 right now, then you'll need to reduce the amount of light that you're adding to the tank. A planted aquarium is about the proper balance of light / co2 / fertilizers. And right now all you have is the light. Without the co2 and ferts, the plants will grow very slow - and instead you will probably experience a massive algae bloom.

If your ballast has individual switches, you need to turn some of them off. If it does not have this ability, you need to remove some of the bulbs.

Unless the LFS guy is really knowledgeable about the technical aspects of a planted aquarium, I tend to not take these guys advice. There are so many people on this forum who have such an intense amount of time testing knowledge so I would stick with researching here.

Fert dosing is something that you need to have a specific plan. Which ferts? How often? How much per dose? You really need a regimented system if you want this to work.

You might be better off with root tabs (for ferts), Flourish Excel ( a co2 supplement) and removing/decreasing some of your light.
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Old 12-17-2012, 03:34 PM   #5
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Does your light fixture have the option to turn on only 2 bulbs at a time or does it just allow for the 4 bulbs to turn on at once? Also the bulbs are 54 watts right?

If it allows you to only turn on all 4 at once. You can always raise your light fixture. That's what I've did with my fixture. I have a the same heighth on my tank and I used my fixture a few inches.
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Old 12-17-2012, 03:46 PM   #6
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I can indeed turn off two lights at a time. Think ill do this now. I JUST got my light yesterday (early xmas gift) my girlfriends ganna be mad im only using half. Lol

Im looking into used co2 equipt as we speak. Trouble finding a decent deal on a tank with a good low psi rregulator setup.

So everyone says "dont buy hairgrass its ganna die"?

Also... Can anyone pointt me to a place where I can figure out my dosing requirments? All I needs a link.
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Old 12-17-2012, 03:48 PM   #7
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Whoa whoa whoa!! Easy easy... Don't buy any co2 right now.
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Old 12-17-2012, 03:51 PM   #8
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The reason I say is... it is something that you really need to take the time, research, find something that works for you, and works with your budget. If you buy the first thing you see at a good price, you will have problems with it, and you will be replacing it before you know it. And the consequences are high... I almost killed all of my fish in my tank TWICE because I bought the first regulator I came across.

It's okay if you have to turn off some of your lights. If you have a good light set up, it will be there for you when you have all the other pieces. So you can just take further advantage of it down the line.

If you go to the Fertilizers section of this page and read the stickies - you will learn a lot. I personally use EI dosing for my tank, and there are plenty of resources for that online as well as here. I personally purchase my ferts from Green Leaf Aquariums.
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Old 12-17-2012, 04:02 PM   #9
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^listen to this guy, he is giving solid advice

I made the semi-mistake of getting my hi-lighting before I ever got co2.....and oh god the black beard algae I can grow is amazing lmao

If you are wanting to avoid fertilization and co2, I would aim for low light, especially since you have a substrate that might not even be great for plants and would not contain many nutrients.

Can we get a pic of your tank and fish and gravel? We can maybe ID the mystery fish and tell you if your gravel can hold certian plants and the like.
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Old 12-17-2012, 04:07 PM   #10
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The hairgrass situation is - I think that it just does better in other substrates... Not that it's going to die. I just think you probably won't be as pleased with the results. Pretty much any type of "carpeting" plant isn't really going to be as nice in gravel as it would in other types of substrates.

You could maybe try crypts, and swords. I have had really great luck with them and my gravel substrate developing solid roots. I have tons of other plants in my tank, so if you want more tips of what I have had success with I can let you know. But that is all taken with a grain of salt as it sounds like you and I have different approaches - but I can at least speak to what has done okay in gravel.

And ohhhhh the BBA. I am still fighting it off. It grows very small, and slowly in my tank and not on all types of the plants. I swear it's the herpes of the planted aquarium. It never goes away.
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Old 12-17-2012, 04:10 PM   #11
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Yes..will post pictures in a bit. Im on a smartphone so I need to download photobucket app first lol.

I know better than to buy a cheap regulator. I cannot find any good deals anyhow. Some dude trying to sell a 15lb steel tank for 80$ half expired.. Pfft ill bide my time on the co2 and do a bit more reesearch but what I remember is I could feed it through a low psi regulator, until I get my desired amount then put it so it bubbles into my filter inlet. ((should never airlock bc it pirges 1 time daily)

Anyway my co2 setup will be a nightmare for another thread, lol.

Pics up.shortly
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Old 12-17-2012, 04:32 PM   #12
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The fish in question is the blue and white/gray one. Theyre always moving so sorry the pics arent the best of em
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Old 12-17-2012, 04:34 PM   #13
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Hope you guys enjoy my plastiscape lol. Im ganna head over to the fert section, right now
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Old 12-17-2012, 04:54 PM   #14
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the thing is question is a giant danio btw
As far as carpeting plants, maybe dhg, but you'd have a better time with those micro swords that carpet I think. Then again, with a pleco that large, it might not be possible to even have a carpet.
And trust me, with fish that large, you will be having plants uprooted rather often, until they get established better. It was that way with my pleco and my pleco was smaller than yours is now.
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