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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-15-2004, 02:33 AM Thread Starter
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Tank Maintenance

Good evening folks,

Have a quick question. I have recently "converted" my 55 Gal "fish only algae farm" to a "Planted and fish" setup (going on 1 month now). (Having early success due in HUGE part to this forum!!!) .

Anyway, I currently have epoxy coated brown gravel from LFS (bought before I "knew anything"... ) but will be changing that out for Eco Complete as soon as I can. Was wondering if I should stop gravel vacuuming it.

I am running 130W 6700K CF Lights, DIY CO2, numerous Swords, Ludwigia, and bacopa, and am seeing NICE growth and pearling. However, old habits die hard! I have always vacuumed the gravel (python) every week during water changes but have read that the mulm is really a bonus for the plants. Should I just siphon from the water column instead?

Also, when should I start fertilizing? I am a little hesitant about the ferts since the last time I tried it I had a MASSIVE algae problem. I know now that it was because I only had 80W NO Fluoresents and no nutrient rich "goodies" in the substrate. I have since mixed in Laterite to the gravel.

Any help/suggestions are GREATLY appreciated. I LOVE THIS SITE! You folks really seem to know your "stuff" and care.

As always, THANKS!
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-15-2004, 02:38 AM
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I would stop the gravel vacuuming of the epoxy coated gravel (don't be embarrassed, we have all had that stuff at one time), and I wouldn't even start vacuuming the Eco-Complete once you have that in.

Let the mulm continue to build up in your current aquarium. It is a valuable nutrient, and it was free! Don't look the gift horse in the mouth! Just pull the water out of the water column.

As for the fertilizers, do your tests and see what you need. Change all of your levels slowly. Don't raise any of the levels too quickly. Doing it slowly should allow your aquarium to adjust and find its balance without causing an algae outbreak.

Mike

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-15-2004, 02:54 AM
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I just use the python to pick up debris off the surface of the gravel. I've only got plain aquarium gravel, so I treat my mulm build-up like gold. As long as you don't dig the vacuum into the gravel you should be good.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-15-2004, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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Momo, Thanks for the input (again!). So since I haven't fert'd yet, if I find anything lacking (or depleted) just add slowly over a few days? I can handle that. Never thought this much planning and work would go into growing plants. In the garden, just throw out some fert granules, till it in and sit back and wait.

Rosko, it really IS amazing what some people find valuable, huh?
I am staring to feel the same way though. Will definately "let it lie" from now on.

Now to just figure out the whole aquascaping thing...

Thanks guys!
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-15-2004, 08:54 PM
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Nice and slow. Raise, test, observe! You will be doing a lot of testing, so take notes. Those notes will help you track what you are doing and the results of those actions. The notes will also help you find a pattern in your fertilizing and help establish a regular regime.

Mike

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