Shell dwellers and plants? - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 07:52 PM Thread Starter
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Crushed coral with CO2 injection will increase your harness but it will not increase your PH above 7 so you would probably need a mixture of potassium and sodium bicarbonate to reach this PH target. I think it is best o use a mixture of sodium and potassium because animals do need sodium and too much potassium can be harmful to fish. But your PH and GH is not your only issue.
What about without CO2 injection? I was planning to run this as a low tech tank. I am familiar with sodium bicarbonate ratios but how would I dose a mixture? Should I do a 50/50 mixture and dose it the same way recommended for sodium bicarbonate?

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iron in fertilizer is generally not stable in high PH water. The only forms of iron fertilizer that will work at that PH is iron gluconate and Iron EDDHA. Gluconate is rapidly consumed by bacteria and will need to be dosed ever couple of days or so. EDDHA can easily color the water red. Some other micro salts may also not be stable at that high PH.
Is ferrous gluconate in root tabs sufficient? I usually combine Thrive liquid fertilizer (EDTA/DTPA iron) and root tabs (which has the previous two forms of iron plus ferrous gluconate).

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post #17 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 09:24 PM
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This will run against most of the advice we read, but I still go with it. Step one for planning is to NOT take the written word as totally true until you've tried it!!
Do not believe the stories about any fish nor plant until you've tried it in your tank since there are so many different small points from tank to tank. One of the biggest points that differs is who is running the tank and that is a major biggie! If you start with the idea that African cichlids CAN be run in planted tanks, it will be totally against much of the info you read, but then, if you try it, you may find the written info doesn't apply to your tank. I started the fishkeeping and worked into African cichlids before trying some plants, quite accidentally. I had 7.8-8.0 PH with GH/KH above 300 PPM, so Africans were an easy sell but then after having them and adding various plants that worked, I read that plants had to have much softer water??? So I had to start thinking about why there are plants in almost every type of water around the world from the soft acidic stuff to the springs in Florida, Texas and such where the water bubbles up out of solid limestone. DUH? Maybe I have to sort out which plants like what and go with what works, regardless of what I read!
Of all the items involved in the hobby, the plants are about the cheapest, so I simply try a type and see how it does before deciding which to stock in larger numbers.
So on to the point of how to deal with fish who might dig?
Look over what the fish want and decide what they don't want and you will find each fish may dig in different spots in the tank. So to keep fish from digging up plants, I work to put the plants somewhere that fish don't dig. Shellies are not big diggers, as Africans go but one way to totally solve the problem is to put the plants up off the bottom where the shells go!
To keep the PH stable while also raising it a bit, limestone is one type which is easy and cheap to buy from a landscape supply, if it is not "native" in your area, so a bunch of flat slabs are easy to use to hide pots for plants over they can be drilled out to make covers for the roots and let the plants grow out of the holes.
Point I want to make is that it is really a matter of knowing your fish and plants and then using the old brain to figure out a few tricks to make it work----but it only works if you are willing to make it so! Swords, crypts, anubia, tiger lotus, anacharis and lots of others works for me but I have to try it first, not just read about it. No bottom folks are going to dig up Java moss or Java fern that hangs off wood or rocks six inches off the floor!
Go for it!
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post #18 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-25-2019, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you Rich, for some reason I didn't get a notification for your response! You just gave me a good idea re: raising the plants. I have several little glass "pots" with suction cups on them, big enough to fit some substrate and a plant in. So raised plants would be easy to do

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post #19 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-04-2019, 05:20 AM
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What about without CO2 injection? I was planning to run this as a low tech tank. I am familiar with sodium bicarbonate ratios but how would I dose a mixture? Should I do a 50/50 mixture and dose it the same way recommended for sodium bicarbonate?

Without CO2 crushed coral will still give you a PH of about 7. But the water hardness increase is limited to about 1. The basic problem with calcium and magnesium carbonate only dissolve in acidic water. With CO2 your water in general will be a little acidic. In low tech tanks, often the water is not acidic. This was my experience in the past without CO2. I did put old snail shells in the filter and the PH was generally stable at 7. But the GH only went up about 1 degree. So you will need to mixture of sodium and potassium bicarbonate to reach your desired PH. I don't know which mixture is best.

It just occurred to me that the seachem does sell chichlid lake salt and aTanganyika buffer specifically for these fish. Using the seachem products is probably the best way to achieve the target GH and KH. I have never used these products or have had Chicklids

[URL="https://www.seachem.com/tanganyika-buffer.php"]


https://www.seachem.com/cichlid-lake-salt.php

Quote:
Is ferrous gluconate in root tabs sufficient? I usually combine Thrive liquid fertilizer (EDTA/DTPA iron) and root tabs (which has the previous two forms of iron plus ferrous gluconate).
Gluconate is the best choice at the PH you will be using.
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post #20 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-04-2019, 02:19 PM
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This is one of those times when my best recommendation is to try a few things and see how it works. The idea that plants only grow and prosper in soft acidic water is often promoted by folks who have soft acidic water. That means that we need to look at the rest of the world and find the plants which DO grow in hard alkaline water. The next step is to also look at what we can do to combine getting hard water and keeping the plants out of the way. Limestone is your friend in this chase as it is cheap and reasonably easy to find and work as it is so soft.
The funny part can sometimes be from the folks who are certain that they know a rock, even though they have not used it. On planted forums, I am often told that that limestone is too alkaline but then when I am on cichlid forums, I'm told that limestone is too soft for tank use and will just crumble away. Half the houses on my street as well as the Alamo are built of limestone and it seems to me that it holds up well enough.
Combining tall sections of limestone that have pockets or holes can give you an automatic start for raising plants off the bottom. For my African folks, like mbuna, that want to hide under rocks, I find it natural to stack rocks and then put plants on top of the rocks. A fish that wants to dig out a pocket for spawning or a shellie that moves shells around are not really interested in going up on top of rocks to dig! Also, rocks with holes can often be used, much like tree rings, to put a cover around the roots and let the plants come up through the limestone.
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