20 Gallon Long Noobitorium! Plant ideas?(New Picture 7/12) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2009, 02:49 AM Thread Starter
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20 Gallon Long Noobitorium! Plant ideas?(New Picture 7/12)

Hello all!

First post (woo!) my name is Eric. I setup this tank on 2/20/2009. Since then itís been from a 15 gallon hex that I got from my girlfriendís sister. At that time I knew water went into a fish tank and you had to de-chlorinate tap water. I started looking around and realized planted tanks look pretty sweet! So I thought I would take a stab at it.

Short story short, I got overly excited and now Iím paying for it. I was running low on money, so I bought one bag of Eco-Complete (for a total depth of about an inch) and covered the rest with the remaining blue, green-ish gravel that I got with the tank. Iíve attempted with one piece of driftwood, but that just floated for about 3 months in my tank. Now Iím using the 15 hex to sink another piece of DW (hopefully) and that will be placed in the middle of the tank, hopefully going to put some moss on it.

The Dwarf Hairgrass has been there since the beginning, and it's grown a total of nothing (that I can see). It's only attracted hair algae and other debris. It's generally been a pain to deal with really ha. The original intent was for it to carpet the bottom of the aquarium, so I've been debating on taking it out.

I am up for ANY suggestions, as this really started off as a project to get me into the hobby. And I would definitely like to take out the blue gravel. It just doesn't seem to go with everything else.

Plants:
Cabomba (I think?)
Some sort of Crypt.
Bacopa?
Dwarf Hairgrass

Fish:
1 Otocinclus
14 Cardinal Tetras (Started with 15)
3 Amano Shrimp

Hardware:
Tank: Visio 20 Gallon Long
Light: Nova Extreme 30íí T5HO 6700K running for 12 hours
Filter: AquaClear 50
co2: DIY Co2 injected into the AquaClear

Parameters:
Temp: 74 F
pH: 8.0
Nitrates: 10ppm
gH: 13 degrees
kH: 7 degrees
PO4: 2.0ppm

WC 50% every Sunday
Dosing KNo3 Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday
Dosing Iron, Potassium and FlorinMulti (from BrightWell Aquatics) Monday, Wednesday, Friday



FTS


Does anyone know what the bigger leafy plant in the bottom of this picture is?






One of three Amano Shrimp hanging out. Can anyone ID these plants? I think it's Cabomba (the dark green). I'm not sure what the lighter is. (Bacopa?)

Last edited by Plantnewb; 07-13-2009 at 04:19 AM. Reason: Title Change
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2009, 05:37 AM
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Welcome to the Planted Tank! You are off to a good start. The main goal is to have fun with the hobby. If you are happy to look at your tank at the end of the day, then you know you are doing a great job.

One recommendation I would make is to cut back your lighting period. T5HO are really strong (I recently found out) and with the diy co2, this is probably why you are having trouble with algae. I would cut back to 8 hours and see if this helps. It'll take a few weeks, but I think you will see a big difference.

I cannot tell if the stem is cabomba or ambulia. Here is a link on the ambulia: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/my..._aquatica.html The other plant does look like bacopa, but it is not clear enough for a positive id.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2009, 06:40 AM
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welcome! ditto what sewingalot said. I would also suggest adding more fast growing stems at least temporarily to help "out compete" algae- the more plants the better

good luck
cheers-K

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2009, 06:55 AM
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your tank looks great. it osunds as though you are off to a great start. i think that that "leafy plant" might be some kind of Echinodorus swordplant.

since you are dosing CO2 and you have pretty bright light, you might watch out for how much that Aqua Clear might be splashing the water. if it is splashing very much it might be causing your extra carbon dioxide to escape out into the the air, where your plants won't be able to use it. internal power filters and canister filters are often recommended to prevent this since they disturb the water surface less.

i sort of like the blue gravel, but more subdued colors are often used for planted tanks. if you wan to separate to from the Eco Complete you might try removing a few handfuls and then swirling around in a basin with water. the blue gravel is more coarse-grained, so it should tend to "float" on top of the EC. you could also try screening it through some window screen or fine hardware cloth to separate the two materials.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2009, 02:56 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by hydrophyte View Post
your tank looks great. it osunds as though you are off to a great start. i think that that "leafy plant" might be some kind of Echinodorus swordplant.

since you are dosing CO2 and you have pretty bright light, you might watch out for how much that Aqua Clear might be splashing the water. if it is splashing very much it might be causing your extra carbon dioxide to escape out into the the air, where your plants won't be able to use it. internal power filters and canister filters are often recommended to prevent this since they disturb the water surface less.

i sort of like the blue gravel, but more subdued colors are often used for planted tanks. if you wan to separate to from the Eco Complete you might try removing a few handfuls and then swirling around in a basin with water. the blue gravel is more coarse-grained, so it should tend to "float" on top of the EC. you could also try screening it through some window screen or fine hardware cloth to separate the two materials.
Thanks hydrophyte! I've been thinking about picking up a canister filter lately. It would make the whole tank look less cluttered, and when I do make the switch to pressurized (within a few months hopefully) I'll be able to inject that directly into the canister. I'm debating picking up a Eheim 2213. I'm sure there's countless threads about the flow, so I'll research that more later.

I'm on the fence about the blue gravel... its so mixed up with the eco complete (I thought using a gravel vac would be necessary for water changes). That might be one factor that would totally make me want to tear it down and start again now that I sort of have an idea on what a planted tank looks like.


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Originally Posted by sewingalot View Post
Welcome to the Planted Tank! You are off to a good start. The main goal is to have fun with the hobby. If you are happy to look at your tank at the end of the day, then you know you are doing a great job.

One recommendation I would make is to cut back your lighting period. T5HO are really strong (I recently found out) and with the diy co2, this is probably why you are having trouble with algae. I would cut back to 8 hours and see if this helps. It'll take a few weeks, but I think you will see a big difference.

I cannot tell if the stem is cabomba or ambulia. Here is a link on the ambulia: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/my..._aquatica.html The other plant does look like bacopa, but it is not clear enough for a positive id.
Thanks sewingalot! I'm having a lot of trouble with my timer. I picked up a NewTek single outlet digital timer, and got it all programmed except the "auto" feature doesn't want to follow the timers! It's really been me getting up at 7:00 am, and then coming home and turning it off at 7:00pm. Is there a way to shift the 8 hour schedule so I'll actually be able to see my tank when I'm home?

Also I'm not sure if the plant is cabomba or ambulia! They look so similar. I'll have to get a better picture of the "bacopa", I'll get that done when I get home from work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kyle3 View Post
welcome! ditto what sewingalot said. I would also suggest adding more fast growing stems at least temporarily to help "out compete" algae- the more plants the better
Thanks kyle3! I was going for the "less plants now, more plants later" idea. Looks like I'll be going to the LFS sometime soon to pick up some more plants soon. How about adding a carpet of something (suggestions? Riccia? HC?) to compete with the algae?
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2009, 08:37 PM
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try spreading the hairgrass out more. it tends to spread faster when you do that.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-11-2009, 05:05 AM
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I currently have my lighting schedule from 3 pm - 11 pm on almost all my tanks. You can virtually use any time you like as long as it is also getting a lot of sunlight as well. Cabomba has alternating leaves and has a fan shape. Ambulia (Limnophila sessiliflora) is whorled. Hope that helps with the id. Oh, and nickcamp is right about spreading out the hairgrass.

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-12-2009, 06:43 AM Thread Starter
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try spreading the hairgrass out more. it tends to spread faster when you do that.
Alright. I'll definitely try that out Sunday when I do the water change.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sewingalot View Post
I currently have my lighting schedule from 3 pm - 11 pm on almost all my tanks. You can virtually use any time you like as long as it is also getting a lot of sunlight as well Cabomba has alternating leaves and has a fan shape. Ambulia (Limnophila sessiliflora) is whorled. Hope that helps with the id ...
I didn't even think about having it be dark in the morning and light in the evening. That's a great idea. Now all I have to do is figure out this timer (simple directions?) and I'll be able to do that.

--

Meanwhile, while taking pictures for the better Bacopa picture I realized that I have a bigger algae problem than I thought. So I should probably get this solid lighting schedule down (not just whenever I wake up for work, then off if I see it's 7:00).

So far I'm guessing I have GDA, Hair Algae, and something that's growing in my filter (cleaned it recently) / on my leafy 'Echinodorus swordplant' (that's as good of a guess that I have so far hydrophyte) seen here


Also, on the gravel there's some sort of algae growing.

I'm assuming it's the inconsistent amount of Co2 that's being put into the tank. I just made a bubble counter (in the middle of writing this post actually) and i'm getting about 50 bubbles per minute. I made the co2 mixture a week ago, so I'm going to remix it tonight. I also read somewhere that iron is a possibility for hair algae, so I'm going to stop dosing iron.

Here's that 'Bacopa' picture, accompanied by what I think is GDA as mentioned earlier:


I've noticed a growth spurt really started within the last week and it's awesome. There's a bunch of new stems that are coming out of the Cabomba that I'll have to snip off and plant somewhere. Is it possible to not have them grow so bushy?
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-12-2009, 09:41 PM
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Most people want stem plants to grow bushy. I think it looks much better. Your "cabomba" is actually Limnophila (ambulia). Also, I think the tank would look much better with a black background.
To combat some of the algae, I would suggest adding a few nerite snails.

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-22-2009, 06:15 AM Thread Starter
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Wow. It's been almost 10 days and this thread is far back. I probably should bookmark it so I don't need to go digging through the forums looking for it next time.

I bought three more Amano Shrimp to combat the HA. They have adjusted well to the tank and are loving their never-ending feast.

I spread out the hairgrass last week. It doesn't seem to be doing much besides collecting algae. I'm guessing it will start to grow in a few weeks as it roots down. My Cabomba and Bacopa have been EXPLODING with growth. I'm really excited to see that since it's what I got into this hobby for. This might also be due to the second 2L bottle of Co2 I added after last weeks water change.

The Bacopa grew at least 6 inches within the past week, and I had to cut it down, replant it, and then replant one stem on the opposite side of the tank in order to watch it grow on its own. The Cabomba, on the other hand grew, and then grew on growths, and then shot to the side and grew some more offshoots.

The left crypt is still in its pot, hasn't experienced much growth (gee, I wonder why?) and the crypt on the right not only grew more leaves, taller, and generally more impressive also was the breeding ground for snails. Sadly, I didn't take any pictures of the eggs themselves. At first I thought they were my tetras eggs, but when I woke up a few mornings later there were little baby snails around my whole tank. I'm not sure what to do with them now! If you could identify as to what type of snail they are (pictures to follow) that would be pretty sweet.

Anyway, my dosing regiment has changed. I cut dosing Iron because I believe that my hair algae was a result of excess Iron. I still only dose KNo3 Sundays (after water change) Tuesday, Thursday. This seems to have stopped the hair algae from growing, but that might have just been because I added the Amanos.

Pictures:


FTS - Its looking greener by the day!


Snail - Any idea what type of snail this is?


Baby snail - Cute! But i'm worried about what it will turn into!



Hair Algae still?


Cutoff Bacopa


Echinodorus swordplant offshoot, it seems to be doing pretty healthy.


Otto - The Lone Otto! (Cleverly named "Auto" for its Automatic cleaning ability)
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-22-2009, 07:29 AM
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Hey plantnewb, welcome to TPT. I'm very new in this hobby as well having only started about half a year ago.

After reading through the entire thread here are some of my thoughts and answers to your questions -

1) I really like the variety of plants you have. I find that my tanks fill up with only a few plant types so quick I feel bad about throwing out healthy stems to replace with a new species. I really like the look of your sword though and it has inspired me to get one for my tank. Any comments about its growth, requirements, etc?

2) The snails you have look like ramshorns to me. I think most people agree they are harmless and even help with cleanup & some algae eating. I started out with a couple and now have hundreds

3) In my experience, you don't need to worry about the GDA/GSA and hair algae that form on the glass to much - my otos eventually get to it. I only razor-scraped it off once to get about half of it off and the rest was taken care of by otos and ramshorn snails.

4) In my 2 tanks with aquasoil, dwarf hairgrass usually grows in this pattern when I plant them spread out in clumps of about 4-10 hairs each: No change for about a week to 1 month. Then see about 1 new little plantlet per day coming out of the ground near the main bunch. It grows as runners so you won't get that dense grassy lawn look until there are pretty much runners everywhere. Instead it just grows in a line, until it gets to the point in your tank footprint where the light is strongest. In my 10 I used plastic sheets to create dividers under the substrate so the DHG runners will stay confined to that area and they grew in dense. In my 2.5, the DHG just grew wild but never really attained a grassy lawn look.
HOWEVER, in my 20long, I planted a few DHG scraps in colorquartz sand substrate and I've see ZERO growth in the past month. So I think you will see some growth but probably slow for a while.

5) I'm on the fence with the blue gravel as well but it's looking pretty good to me so far.

6) I have a EHEIM 2213 on my 20long and definitely recommend it! I LOVE this filter, it's so quiet and added so much flow to my tank. Also keeps the water crystal clear. Just keep your eye out on the petsmart website. They have coupons every now and then and the price sure beats bigals or drsfosterandsmith. I picked mine up for about $60 shipped - $10 off promo code and free shipping offer on the website. WHAT A STEAL!

Well, I hope this helps!


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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-23-2009, 05:07 AM Thread Starter
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ex225 -

Thanks! My plants honestly were just thrown together out of the wanting to buy plants and watch them grow. I've tried to arrange them in some sort of organized chaos, and I think chaos is winning. I picked the sword out mainly because it came with two root systems for the price of one. When I started dosing Co2 and KNo3, it really started to shoot up. After having it in there for probably 3 months, the second system has almost trippled in size. I did have a problem with some black algae on it that the Amanos picked at. I put dosed Excel onto one of the leaves a few days ago and the algae is almost nonexistent now.

I'm debating whether or not to pick up a canister filter or go pressurized. Now that I started up my hex tank I'm leaning towards getting the canister so I can put this filter onto that. Possibly the 2213 Classic or one of the Ecco series. I've been reading that the flow isn't enough in a 20 long tank though. I'm not going to worry about the snails for now. Unless I read elsewhere that they're going to demolish my tank.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-23-2009, 05:14 AM
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The plants have really taken off in your tank since I last looked at it. For what it's worth, hair algae is usually caused by ammonia spikes, low co2, low nutrients. But it doesn't have anything to do with iron. This is a common mistake made in the beginning. I learned the hard way. Here's an excellent algae source: http://www.theplantedtank.co.uk/algae.htm

A lot of the algae types you have will go away with age (diatoms). However, you need to up your co2 to get rid of the rest of it.

That crypt is really nice. I cannot grow crypts for the life of me. I never can know how to leave them alone, lol.

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-07-2009, 02:29 AM Thread Starter
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Picture update. Small one, since I haven't really had time to sit down and take pictures.


FTS


Three quarters


Side
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-08-2009, 05:49 PM Thread Starter
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I'm debating whether or not to pick up a canister filter, or going pressurized. Green Leaf Aquariums has a nice setup for pressurized systems.

Canister filter would be good for increased flow and co2 diffusion, but pressurized would be so much easier than DIY.

Also I'm not sure if I like the cabomba where it's at. Especially in such a concntrstion it is in. I also don't want to just throw the plants away!
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