First Time Help - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-25-2018, 06:28 PM Thread Starter
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First Time Help

Hello, relatively new to this place. Just a month ago, I thought I was going to have a nano high-tech CO2 tank with some nice lush baby tears or monte carlos, but nope, decides on a Walstad-esque method instead. My tank here is the Top Fin 5 Gallon Retreat (a little wider and more boxy than a Fluval Spec V, but still pretty good). I have a 1.5" organic Miracle Grow Raised bed soil capped with around 1.5" of 3.0mm to 5.0mm gravel. My plants are:

Rotala nanjenshan
Crypt wendtii
Ludwigia peruensis/glandulosa
Rotala indica
Wisteria - Hygrophilia difformi
Microsword - Brasiliensi
Dwarf Sagittaria

Now this is a low tech 5 gallon tank with the stock light + the Finnex Fugeray Planted+ clip on with no heater and the internal filter running. My livestock consists of:
x1 Ghost shrimp
x9 Neon tetra
x3 White cloud
x2 Unknown fish fry (guppy?)

The first day, nitrates and ammonia were all zero or close to zero, and the 2nd day, the nitrates creeped up to less than 5 or 10 ppm with ammonia still at 0 ppm. I've done couple water changes and will continue to do so on the first couple of weeks. The lighting period I give the plants are 12 hours from 8:30 AM to 8:30 PM.

I had a few questions:
Will there be a heater needed in this tank (the temperature hovers near a steady 72-75 degrees)?
The microsword seem to have some slight yellowing but I assume this is normal and the plants should spring back after they acclimate?

As for fertilizers...
What should I be dosing the plants with to help them out? I don't run CO2, so I wanted to slightly dose the tank with some Seachem Flourish Excel. I also realize I need to dose the tank with iron to maintain the Indica's nice red color. Are there other fertilizers I should be dosing this tank with? Just a reminder, I have a soiled tank if that changes the situation.

Much help will be appreciated, thank you.

Here is an added picture:
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-25-2018, 06:46 PM
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Welcome to TPT!

First things first, If the tank isn't cycled, I would recommend monitoring nitrite and ammonia and performing larger water changes to combat that. Any ammonia can be toxic to fish and shrimp.

Some yellowing and melting leaves is normal for newly introduced plants. Just give them time to adjust. Some may lose all of their leaves and grow new ones. This is because they may have been grown emersed and are transitioning to a submersed state

For ferts you could probably use some Flourish (not Excel). Flourish Excel isn't a fertiliser per se, rather it is a chemical called Glutaraldehyde. Seachem claim it is a CO2 substitute but I see it as a mild algaecide. Excel can have a negative effect on shrimps so beware of that. Standard flourish should provide needed Potassium and micros and your fish should be able to provide the Nitrogen and Phosphates.

Iron doesn't really help with reds. I believe spectrum and intensity of lighting is much more important for those reds. It is hard to use the appropriate lighting for deep reds in a no-CO2 tank because when you want to push the light, you just end up with an algae farm.

Finally, reduce your lighting period!!! 12 hours is very long even for a mature, CO2 injected tank. Cut it down to around 7 hours when the tank is in its early stages. Then once it matures, lengthen the period slowly to maximum 9 hours.

Hope this helps. Always focus on healthy plant growth, algae should be outcompeted by doing that.


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ADA mini M low tech with Cherry Shrimp and Dwarf Puffers

Last edited by oscarlloydjohn; 06-25-2018 at 08:27 PM. Reason: typo
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-25-2018, 06:51 PM
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Soil will feed root feeders not stem plants
Most red stem plants respond better to high light and co2. Without co2 stem plants grow algae which makes them targets for algae grazers (neons). They graze more as you feed sparingly in smaller tanks which crash easily... it's a delicate balance. Treat her like a lady


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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-25-2018, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by splattered View Post
Soil will feed root feeders not stem plants...
This is not quite accurate. Stem plants put roots down into the substrate as well, many of them create pretty vast networks if left alone long enough. Everything in his/her tank can pull nutrients from the soil.

Oscar covered the important stuff - monitor ammonia and nitrites every 24 hours at a bare minimum. Any indication of either will require a water change to safeguard your pets. Utilizing Prime with your water changes will help further protect them as it will bind with ammonia and nitrites for roughly 24 I believe.

In Rotala rotundifolia(which is what you have), nitrogen restriction seems to be most effective in bringing out reds. Other plants may not appreciate the level of restriction required, however.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-26-2018, 01:15 AM
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Hi there I have a 4 feet standard tank and need some help about my lighting for my plant in the tank
the lighting on my tank are 3 x t5 28 watt 6500 k normal build not a florescent or any build just very simple buld is it enough for my plant ?
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-26-2018, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonyoon View Post
Hi there I have a 4 feet standard tank and need some help about my lighting for my plant in the tank
the lighting on my tank are 3 x t5 28 watt 6500 k normal build not a florescent or any build just very simple buld is it enough for my plant ?
Hmmm though I am a newbie myself, I hear that it depends on what kind of plants you have. For an example, low light plants just need a low PAR value while a higher light plants need a higher PAR value (80-100) and of course this depends on how tall your tank is too and where the plants are situated. The one I have was 9.5 " tall and with almost 3 inches of soil, my lighting gives pretty high PAR values for whatever it's worth.

To measure your PAR, you can get a PAR detector for pretty cheap!
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-26-2018, 05:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonyoon View Post
Hi there I have a 4 feet standard tank and need some help about my lighting for my plant in the tank
the lighting on my tank are 3 x t5 28 watt 6500 k normal build not a florescent or any build just very simple buld is it enough for my plant ?
With all due respect, you need to start your own thread over in the lighting section instead of hijacking someone else's thread.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-27-2018, 04:34 AM Thread Starter
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Alright! Dosed the tank with some Flourish! Fingers crossed decaying fish poop + soil/dirt will provide N-P-K!
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