New at planted tanks - water question - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-20-2005, 10:10 PM Thread Starter
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New at planted tanks - water question

Hi there,
My name is Becky and I am going to be getting my very first planted tank (and first any kind of tank for 30 years) set up next week. My starter tank will be a 20g high with DIY CO2 using a Hagen ladder, 65w Coralife Aqualight, Eheim 2213 filter, Eco-Complete substrate. I have tested my tap water with these readings:

pH = 7.0
Nitrate = 0 ppm
Nitrite: = 0 ppm
Ammonia= 0 ppm

Then I tested for KH/GH, using 2 different kits

Nutrafin results:
GH = 40 mg/L
KH = 40 mg/L

Aquarium Pharmaceuticals results:
GH = 53.7 ppm
KH = 53.7 ppm

I have read many posts on different boards, but I'm still confused about fertilizing. I was planning to use Rex Grigg's method of cycling, and have a lot of fast growing stem plants ordered to arrive next week (ludwigia repens, water sprite, Braz. pennywort, hygrophila polysperma, foxtail, cabomba, ambulia, etc.) along with a few slower-growing plants. I decided to start with Flourish products until I got used to the fertilizing process and then buy the powdered ferts to mix. I ordered Flourish, Fl iron, Fl trace, and the root tabs to start (for my sword plant and crypts), but it looks like I should also have other elements.

This tank is going to have some corys and otos, but will mainly be a shrimp tank and I would like at least one snail (not plant-eating!), so I know my water is very soft and will probably need some calcium and I don't know what else. I have read a lot of different posts and info about proper fertilization, but I'm confused . . . Since I plan to start another tank (29g) next month, I would like to do this first one right. What will I need besides the Flourish products that are on their way?

Any advice will be appreciated.

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-21-2005, 12:07 AM
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The Flourish Trace is tap water. You still need sources of nitrates and may need phosphates. If you want to raise gH you can use a mix of Calcium Chloride and Magnesium Sulfate. If you want to raise kH use baking soda.

You might as well do an order from Greg Watson and save time and money. He carries all of the above. You can get the Magnesium Sulfate (Epsom Salts) anywhere.

Also if you are planning on a second tank you might want to look beyond the 29 gallon size. I have one. They are a pain to light due to the odd length of 30", and they don't have a lot of room front to back.

I have a 29 gallon tank and would rather have a 30 or 40 breeder.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-21-2005, 12:46 AM
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wOOT! Another Oregonian
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-21-2005, 12:51 AM
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Yes, as Rex said, forget the flourish trace, and add Nitrates (NO3) and Phosphates (PO4), you can use the seachem line or go with Greg Watson, like yourself I'm using the seachem line.
Also get NO3 & PO4 test kits, they will help you figure out how well your dosing regiment is.
Most people here use Tom Barrs EI method for fertilizing, you can read a ton about it here, I use it and it works.
What type of sword plant are you getting? Most species outgrow smaller tanks.
I like the comment about one snail, if you are serious you will have to disinfect your plants when they arrive, again, do a search here and you will find the answers.
Good luck, have fun, and remember, they are just beautiful weeds we are growing.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-21-2005, 02:53 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you

Thanks for the information. I have just started noticing "EI" the last few times I've been online now that I'm close to getting the tank set up. I have no idea what it is, but I will find out. I'll be glad to be out of the planning stage and into the doing stage.

About the 29g tank - I was planning to get a 40g breeder tank originally. Problem is, I just moved into another apartment in the building where I live and had to sign a new rental agreement. The manager nearly had a stroke when I told her I had a 20g and was planning to get a 40g next month. She agreed to a 29g, so I will just have to be happy with that. They do yearly inspections of all the apartments here, so I couldn't lie. For a light, I'm planning to get one of the 30" Aqualights 2x65w. They're just coming out with the freshwater version at HelloLights in a week or two. The saltwater fixture has the bulbs set up so they plug in on opposite ends so they overlap in the middle. That way there isn't that 6 " gap at one end. I'm hoping the new freshwater fixture is the same. I saw a picture of it in an eBay store and it showed the bulbs side by side, which is dumb. If it's like that I will buy the saltwater fixture and put different bulbs in it. I hope I don't have to do that as it will make it cost $45 more.

Yes, there seem to be many Oregonians in the planted aquarium hobby. I bought a pair of sword plants on Aquabid the other day, and the seller lives up by Portland. The swords, by the way, are called schleuteri (?) leopard. Green with dark red spots, and "suitable for smaller tanks" according to all the info I found about them online. We'll see. I didn't realize how big swords could get until I saw 10 big potted sword plants filling up the 40g plant tank and sticking up 6 inches out of the water at the local pet store.

Thanks again for your help.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-21-2005, 10:19 AM
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Just to help in your search, EI = Estimative Index
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