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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-31-2014, 06:45 AM Thread Starter
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Overwhelmed!

Hi all!

So I am pretty new to this whole aquarium thing in general, and planted tanks I am just a few months in. I had initially started my foray into this when my husband suggested we grow plants in our betta aquarium, and well... It's gotten kind of our of hand.

I just love keeping aquarium plants, I have them in every tank and swear by their nitrate-sucking properties to keep my fish happier.

Lately, I've been trying to keep my plants happier, too. So in my last couple tanks I've got this:

20g Long with Finnex Planted+ - Miracle Gro Organic Choice Potting Soil + Flourite + Eco Complete + an incomplete fine layer of pool filter sand/gravel to help keep stuff rooted. Plants kept floating...

2x 7.5g Cubes with Finnex Planted+ - Flourite & Eco Complete only

I also put 4 size 0 O+ DIY root tabs in each of the cubes, and a few in the 20 Long. I've been seeing unprecedented plant growth compared to my other tanks which were either sand only, gravel only, and dirt+gravel cap.

I'm wanting to see if I am missing out on things here though, some of the plants which I got that originally had gorgeous colors on them are fading back to green, but are growing rapidly.

I don't dose anything other than the suggested amount of SeaChem Flourish Excel every other day or so. The lights are on probably more than they should be, no algae issues.

How can I get their colors back? And, barring that, is there anything else I can add to my tanks to get better growth out of my plants?

I have seen schematics for the DIY co2 systems, and we may be setting one up for the 20L and possibly one of the 7.5 cubes, I'm just worried about it since I keep bettas/labyrinth fish that the co2 might be too much.

I appreciate any help, gentle critique, or recommendations

Edited to add, I use Prime and have generally hard water with pH above 8 from tap. I'll try to do a full round of tests tomorrow!
Also, my goal for these are to be relatively low maintenance in terms of water changes.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-31-2014, 07:52 PM
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Try dosing macro / macro ferts directly into the water column. Just excel will not give the plants everything they need.

Dosing with root tabs helped you out but most plants feed mostly from the water column. Truth is that almost all stem plants and such don't even need to be buried in the substrate. Heavy root feeders like swords, crypts, etc. will greatly benefit from substrate fertilizers, yes, but you need to dose the water column to make your plants happy.

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...ad.php?t=21944
Note that the #s in that thread are for high tech / high light tanks. I dose 1/2 EI in my low tech with good results. I also use the planted + on each of my low techs so I can confirm that your lighting will probably work. Also if you do this go slowwww because if you put in too much too fast algae can take over.

What kinds of plants do you have in your tanks? How long do you run your lights?


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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-31-2014, 10:55 PM Thread Starter
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I run my lights... well, probably too long. Between 6-12 hours a day, they're not on timers right now because I've had to turn them on to get stuff planted at odd hours...

As for plants... All kinds of things. I don't actually know what most of these are. I'll take some pics and post them not long after this.

I don't actually know what most of those fertilisers are, or what they mean, or where to get them, etc. I also run mostly small tanks, so isn't it going to be hard to get the right amount?
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-31-2014, 11:31 PM Thread Starter
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(Sorry about this one, I have pretty shakey hands)
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-31-2014, 11:51 PM Thread Starter
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I have a mix of light floaters... Water Wisteria, Frogbit, some Ambulia that doesn't wanna stay rooted, duckweed, and red root I got today...

I know I have a couple anubias suction cupped to the wall, and a bolbitis I need to tie something to... Some crypts, a lot of ludwigia, I think some rotala... Bacopa Carolinana I think... Definitely have some Myrio as well. I have a water lily that I wish I had more of, and a sword I stole from my 10g temporarily.

I also have some more plants coming in next week from a seller here on TPT.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-01-2014, 01:59 AM
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Aquarium fertilizers aren't anything too complicated, and in addition to CO2 injection, they would really help to up your plant coloration/growth game. A forum and google search will give you much better info, but in a nutshell, plants require four major things for fertilizers

Nitrogen
Phosphorus
Potassium
Micronutrients (minerals)

You can buy dry ferts from places like GLA or forum members, or you can buy premixed stuff like the Flourish line
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-01-2014, 06:19 AM Thread Starter
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Okay, so for both of these the ammonia is under .25, Nitrites are 0, and Nitrates are 0-10 in each, but again both are heavily planted, but not heavily stocked.

I don't know what this means, my husband did the tests for me, but the K is 0>17.9ppm and H is... 15 drops in one, and 17 in another? I don't understand.

We kinda broke our pH testing vial, but we can wash one of the others out and test that tomorrow.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-01-2014, 02:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pandanke View Post
Okay, so for both of these the ammonia is under .25, Nitrites are 0, and Nitrates are 0-10 in each, but again both are heavily planted, but not heavily stocked.

I don't know what this means, my husband did the tests for me, but the K is 0>17.9ppm and H is... 15 drops in one, and 17 in another? I don't understand.

We kinda broke our pH testing vial, but we can wash one of the others out and test that tomorrow.
What are you referring to by K? K can either mean potassium (elemental letter K) or I think you might be referring to KH, a measure of carbonate hardness in the water?

Also not sure what you're referring to by H either, although I'm going to guess you mean pH. If so, you'll have to read your pH tests instructions to translate what "15 drops/17 drops" means, since that is specific to your test, and not a measure of pH. Don't get hung up on this though, pH is largely unimportant, unless you're getting crazy values for some reason.

Ammonia and nitrites are good (unless you can get the ammonia lower; fish can't tolerate much of it). Nitrates are a little low.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-02-2014, 03:36 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah, KH is what I mean So sorry, I was just reading off what my husband wrote on this paper. I think his "H" meant GH. These are API tests.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 01:05 AM
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Get a timer

Inconsistent lighting is not good!

For ferts just go online and buy a bag of KNO3, bag of KH2PO4, bottle of Flourish Comp and do some research on dosing regimes. This is a good source to start from


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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-05-2014, 04:04 AM
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I would go with dry ferts like already stated. It has made a huge difference in my tank so far! Im using KNO3, KH2PO4, fluorish, equilibrium, and a daily dose of fluorish excel. By the way the dry ferts are actually very cheap when bought from the right place. Got mine from aquarium-fertilizer.com, Id check them out!
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