new to plants, got a 38gal, need some advise.
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Old 06-26-2013, 02:14 AM   #1
4Dallday
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new to plants, got a 38gal, need some advise.


As the title suggest I have acquired a nice little 38 gallon tall that I plan on using as a planted tank. I've had fish my entire life and even as an adult have several tanks but this is my first go with freshwater plants. I would love any feedback or tips that your knowledge could bestow upon me.
What I have going on;
Lighting - I've done a bit or research involving the hood, so I have a t5 coral sun fluorescents. They give off around 6500k. (The flora-sun t5 only claimed 5000k)

Substrate - I got 3 bags of "wet gravel" from a local fish supply. It states perfect pH (witch is true so far) and that it's suited with minerals and whatnot to help plants flourish. It's about 2 inches worth, spread across.

Filtration - I have 2 quiet flow in-tank 40 gallon filters made by tetra. And also a power head that is just for current.
I also have a ceramic filtered co2 injector dry drip system putting one bubble every 5 seconds during the day, with the power head off, I turn the power head back on at night when the 02 is off.

Heating - one of my main concerns is the temp. I'm out of Texas so without any heating at all, the tank rarely hits 80f. It usually stays around 81-82.

Plants - I've got several small bunches of hair grass, both dwarf and regular, they are spread all around the tank in hopes of an even plain of lushery. Also, there is a sort of onion (crinum thaianum), a small java fern, and 2 plant bunches that I have no clue what they are, and an aponogeton ulvaceus.

Animals - there are 21 ghost shrimp (was 24), and one single rosey red minnow, the green brown type. Also, I saw one tiny little rams horn snail, but the minnow ate it, I assume there will be others. I don't mind snails, in fact I plan to purchase around 5 nerite snails for this setup. I haven't figured out what type of fish to have in the tank. I'm not keen on many community species. I have been toying with the idea of around 10-15 serpae tetras. I also like the looks of those rose line sharks, or Denson barbs. Haven't decided on that yet. Any ideas?

And that brings me to the part where I ask for your knowledgeable feedback. Other random facts include;
I change 20% once a week and use conditioner (well water)
I have "flora pride" I use once every other day or so.
I feed the shrimp some omnivore wafers every couple days. The minnow loves these as well.
There's a piece of driftwood that seems to soften the water a bit.
Thanks guys I'll throw some pics up when I figure out how.
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Old 06-26-2013, 04:16 AM   #2
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Roseline sharks would appreciate a longer tank. They also like to eat new plant growth.

You might want to keep your powerhead on during the day to distribute co2 around the tank.

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Old 06-26-2013, 07:36 AM   #3
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Thanks, I read somewhere that surface disruption was detrimental to c02. Is this true? That's why I have been turning the power head off. I like the overall effect with it on, so that would be better for me.

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Old 06-26-2013, 10:29 AM   #4
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True, but you also want a well oxygenated water. The challange is to find that elusive middle ground between two conflicting goals.

Moreover, you need flow to distribute co2 and other nutrients evenly across the tank.

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Old 06-26-2013, 12:25 PM   #5
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Well I've got 80 gallons worth of filtration on this sucker but I'm gonna leave the head on full time and see if I can notice the difference. The oxygen seems good enough just because the minnow and the shrimp don't seem to suffer whatsoever. The shrimp actually seem to be thriving and really enjoying the space allotted.

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Old 06-26-2013, 12:28 PM   #6
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Also, is turning the c02 off at night even a smart thing? I'm completely new to this little gadget. I turn it off when I cut the lights. I try to maintain 12 hours on 12 hours off with light and c02.

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Old 06-26-2013, 01:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4Dallday View Post
Also, is turning the c02 off at night even a smart thing? I'm completely new to this little gadget. I turn it off when I cut the lights. I try to maintain 12 hours on 12 hours off with light and c02.

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Yes

The plants do not utilize CO2 when the lights are not on, so there is no need to inject it into the tank; it is just wasting the C02; the best is to have it come on about an hour before the tank light go on and have it go off about 30-45 minutes before the lights go out (works best for me).
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Old 06-26-2013, 05:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Also, is turning the c02 off at night even a smart thing? I'm completely new to this little gadget. I turn it off when I cut the lights. I try to maintain 12 hours on 12 hours off with light and c02.
A 12 hour photoperiod is an amazingly efficient way to grow a very healthy crop of algae. Recommend reducing that to about 8.

Also, there shouldn't be much 'try' to maintaining the photoperiod length. Put those lights on timers and let 'er rip.
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Old 06-26-2013, 06:22 PM   #9
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I will reduce to 8 for sure. The alga isn't that bad right now as far as the glass goes. I just like to peer into the tank. That being said, how bad is it to cut the 6500k off and use a regular bulb just to view? Cause I work from early morning to dark most days. I like to bust out the magnifying glass and see all my progress and developments.

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Old 06-26-2013, 07:15 PM   #10
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This is the right side, containing 2 of the 3 unknown plants. One right in front of the wood and the purple/green bunches on the right.

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Old 06-26-2013, 07:37 PM   #11
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Please identify. Minnow slipped in there. Also, if anyone could enlighten me on tips to make rosy reds breed. Idk if I'm interested in that or not. My Texas Cichlids and flower horns would love the favor. I don't usually do feeders because of parasitic threats.

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Old 06-26-2013, 07:48 PM   #12
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Please identify those bunches. And to answer earlier cycle questions, I pulled the water from the 210 gallon cichlid tank. The 38 was first used as a quarantine tank and later used as a recovery tank for a couple of victims of violence by my ever infamous Flower Horn dubbed "The Enigma" and his female Texas cichlid counter part dubbed "The Cannibal" in the same tank is an unknown that looks to me like a mixture of a blue Dempsey and a green Texas. I call him "The Anomaly"
Anyway, the point here is that the water was cycled before the bedding was chosen for plants.
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Old 06-26-2013, 09:21 PM   #13
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This is after the large wood was introduced. I read to keep the roots out of the substrate on most of my plants. So this is what I came up with. I even tried the hair grass on the top, close to the light. (Bad idea?) The bubbles in the pic make the current look much faster than it is. The leaves barely rustle due to the flow. I'll take better photos when it clears up a bit.

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Old 06-26-2013, 09:28 PM   #14
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wow, awesome piece of wood!
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Old 06-26-2013, 09:53 PM   #15
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Thanks. My father lives in Toledo Bend. I have several huge pieces. And they are pretty easy to find. My next introduction will me the mussels from that area. I love them.

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