New plastic plant conversion, New to planted tanks, have some questions...
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 04-18-2013, 04:41 AM   #1
Vicumboh
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Eagan, MN
Posts: 6
Default

New plastic plant conversion, New to planted tanks, have some questions...


Hello everyone,

First post here at TPT, as the title states I recently (3-4 weeks) removed all of my plastic plants from my 29 gallon tank and planted some plants given to me by a friend. This aquarium has been established for about 2 years with a fairly light fish load. 3-5 tetras, 2 mollies, a platty, and a Chinese Alge Eater. It had the included Petsmart plastic hood made I believe by Aqueon, and a 7w t5 or t8.

After about a week of having the plants they started to loose their rich green color, and a few were turning brown. I assumed it was a lack of light, especially since the plastic that was under my hood light was very hazy and almost opaque.

My version of life support for the plants was placing a 65w compact florescent next to my tank for the next week a few hours at a time while I ordered new lights. See photo number 2.

Then I received a new 20W LED floodlight advertised as 6700K from ebay after seeing similar setups via google searches. It is mounted about 8-10 inches above the water line in my tank. I plan on adding a piece of glass to keep the fish in and evaporation down but for now the tank is open.

My first question is about substrate. I have rocks in the bottom of my tank now that I bought from Ikea, then boiled before adding them to my tank. They have been in there for a few years now. I was using an under gravel filter in addition to the HOB filters I used to have, but after a while I was getting some form of back alge? coming up the up tubes from my under gravel filter and I just turned the powerhead off to keep the "muck" under the rocks. It has been like that for about a year. You can see the black tube on the left of the tank. At the time I was also getting alge from too much window light at that time. About 6 months ago I moved the tank away from the window and the tank was mostly clear. Just some black alge on the rim of all my plastic plants. Since planting the tank there is almost no visible alge and the rocks are the cleanest they have ever been.

So now back to my question...

Should I remove the rocks and undergravel filter from my well established tank to add a better suited substrate for planting? Just add substrate on top of the current setup? Or plant as is?

Also how would I find out without a light meter what class of light I am in? I assume low-medium? or just low?

Looking forward to your advice,
Victor


Original Petsmart hood light...


Plant life support 65w CFL next to tank on right



New LED floodlight setup (poor photo quality) Looks much better in person.
__________________
Noob to the Planted Tank Community...
Already learned a lot lurking!
29 gallon, newly converted from plastic plants
Fluval 205, 20W LED Flood from China 8" above tank
Tetras, 2 Mollies, a platty and a Chinese Alge Eater
Vicumboh is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 04-18-2013, 07:13 AM   #2
merritt1985
Planted Member
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Dickson TN
Posts: 156
Default

I would ditch the rocks for some kind of smaller substrate Eco Complete or even smaller gravel. It looks like your plants are all Vals but i can't really tell from the picture. With a smaller gravel you'll have lots of runners coming from those few plants. I can't see the Vals runners getting through those larger pebbles very well but haven't ever tried it either.If you go with Eco you won't need to use ferts to often if all you have is Vals in the tank but if you just use regular gravel you should get some root tabs.
merritt1985 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2013, 07:27 AM   #3
jspk
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (4/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: New Orleans, LA
Posts: 123
Default

You could also try miracle grow organic capped with play sand.

Take a look at this guide for the Walstad Method in a nutshell: http://www.theaquariumwiki.com/Walstad_method
__________________
-John

Last edited by jspk; 04-18-2013 at 07:28 AM.. Reason: Added link
jspk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2013, 03:10 PM   #4
Absntmind
Algae Grower
 
Absntmind's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Corpus Christi, Tx
Posts: 111
Default

To answer your question, yes, ditching the UG filter and get rid of the rocks would be your best option if you want plants in the tank. In a planted tank UG filters don't do well for many reasons. First there is the issue of roots growing into them, second is most substrates which are good for plants will block the UG filter rendering it useless.

As for substrate choices there many and everyone has a favorite. Though in the long run all will eventually need to be supplemented with ferts for rooted plants (root tabs). My personal favorite is simple play sand, and it is also very cheap. Ultimately it comes down to aesthetics and personal taste.
Absntmind is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-19-2013, 04:46 AM   #5
Vicumboh
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Eagan, MN
Posts: 6
Default

Thanks everyone for the replies,

Quote:
ditching the UG filter and get rid of the rocks would be your best option if you want plants in the tank. In a planted tank UG filters don't do well for many reasons. First there is the issue of roots growing into them, second is most substrates which are good for plants will block the UG filter rendering it useless.
My under gravel filter is already useless as I have unplugged the powerhead because I did not like the alge/muck/stuff? that was growing in the tubing, and did not want it spreading though the tank. I was really just questioning if I had to remove it and/or the rocks before adding other substrate. I have decided I need to start this right and I will put the fish and plants in a bucket and dig out all the rocks and U.G.F. then add a new substrate which I will read about first and make my choice. Do you guys think my tank will cycle? or is having more than half the water as well as my filter media in my canister enough to prevent this?

Victor
__________________
Noob to the Planted Tank Community...
Already learned a lot lurking!
29 gallon, newly converted from plastic plants
Fluval 205, 20W LED Flood from China 8" above tank
Tetras, 2 Mollies, a platty and a Chinese Alge Eater
Vicumboh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2013, 03:17 AM   #6
kclone
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Ames, IA
Posts: 137
Default

When you pull out the UGF, you may release a lot of ammonia that might cause a little cycle. Because you are keeping the media in your filter, it should take care of it, but I'm not sure how long (hours? days?). Depends on the crap (literally) that gets stirred up. Still, the right thing to do is take the UGF out.
kclone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2013, 02:31 AM   #7
Vicumboh
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Eagan, MN
Posts: 6
Default

Thanks kclone...

I will keep an eye on the levels after the change before I add the fish back.
__________________
Noob to the Planted Tank Community...
Already learned a lot lurking!
29 gallon, newly converted from plastic plants
Fluval 205, 20W LED Flood from China 8" above tank
Tetras, 2 Mollies, a platty and a Chinese Alge Eater
Vicumboh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2013, 08:55 PM   #8
mc1973
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: May 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 28
Default

+1 on the rocks and UG filter. Just for future FYI, it's very dangerous to boil rocks lol, if there are air pockets in the rock the thing could just blow right in your face.

I wouldn't try and add a substrate on top of the rocks, you risk the chance of turning your substrate into "clown barf".

What I would do is put the HOB back in and let the media in that seed off whatever you have in your tank for a few days. Then take the UG/rocks out and put your new substrate in.
mc1973 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2013, 04:58 AM   #9
Vicumboh
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Eagan, MN
Posts: 6
Default

Quote:
What I would do is put the HOB back in and let the media in that seed off whatever you have in your tank for a few days. Then take the UG/rocks out and put your new substrate in.
Thanks for the reply... I do have a canister filter running, I am sure the bio media in there should suffice. The UG filter is just a remnant from when I was running it along with my HOB back in the noob overfeeding days! This tank has been setup for about 6 years now .
__________________
Noob to the Planted Tank Community...
Already learned a lot lurking!
29 gallon, newly converted from plastic plants
Fluval 205, 20W LED Flood from China 8" above tank
Tetras, 2 Mollies, a platty and a Chinese Alge Eater
Vicumboh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2013, 04:59 AM   #10
Vicumboh
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Eagan, MN
Posts: 6
Default

Oh yeah and good point about the rocks. I will be more careful
__________________
Noob to the Planted Tank Community...
Already learned a lot lurking!
29 gallon, newly converted from plastic plants
Fluval 205, 20W LED Flood from China 8" above tank
Tetras, 2 Mollies, a platty and a Chinese Alge Eater
Vicumboh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2013, 03:43 AM   #11
Vicumboh
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Eagan, MN
Posts: 6
Default

Hello again everyone,

So I did the conversion and used straight PFS. I rinsed it very well first until it ran fairly clear, and the tank looks great. I will post pics later because I am already in bed and haven't taken any yet.

Here is my problem... I have had two tuxedo guppies, a black molly, and three ghost shrimp die since yesterday. I changed the substrate over about two days before I added the new fish. The tuxedo guppies and ghost shrimp were new from the LFS (chain pet store). I do not have a quarantine tank setup right now as I gave it away, so after floating in the bags for about 30 min, they went into the tank. I knew better than to add fish after such a large change in the tank but I saw a sale and bought them.

Water tested today:
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0-5
PH: 8.4

Those are all I tested before bed. When I changed the substrate, I drained some water into a bucket, then transferred the fish, completely drained my tank but left the water in the canister filter. Added the pool filter sand, direct tap water treated with conditioner along with the bucket water, checked my temps between the bucket and the tank and added the fish back in. Before this I did not do many regular water changes, just topped off for evap. and maybe a gravel vac of about 20% of the water every other month. Haven't had a fish die in quite some time. Normally since I am adding a relatively small about of water I take cold water from my tap (to avoid the water heater) into a pot, place on stove until the same temp as my tank, treat with conditioner, and dump into the tank.

I have never changed this volume of water (29G) at once. I used warm tap water that was treated with conditioner. I was not good at checking PH before the change so I don't have a baseline, but is it likely that the large volume of water change and maybe a sharp PH change killed my fish? I do have a house water softener BTW.

Thanks for your input...
Victor
__________________
Noob to the Planted Tank Community...
Already learned a lot lurking!
29 gallon, newly converted from plastic plants
Fluval 205, 20W LED Flood from China 8" above tank
Tetras, 2 Mollies, a platty and a Chinese Alge Eater
Vicumboh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2013, 02:52 AM   #12
JLD
Planted Member
 
PTrader: (5/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Puerto Rico
Posts: 201
Default

I would've liked to do PFS in my tank but couldn't find it.
JLD is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
plastic, substrate

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 AM.


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