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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-02-2010, 03:50 AM Thread Starter
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First Post!

Hey everyone first post! I'm hoping I can keep this question short, i'm pretty new to planted tanks. First of all i've been keeping fish for a while, but becuase i'm in a dorm, and a poor college student all I have at the moment is a ten gallon with one dwarf puffer due to a massive ph drop in my tank that I have a feeling was due to replacing the water heaters in the dorm.
Anyways, without my bumble bee goby my tanks looking pretty bare, and i recently saw a nice picture of a tank with a whole carpet of dwarf grasshair. It looked pretty awesome, and the only plants i've ever really grown are lowlight no care plants that i basically just throw in the tank like water wisteria, and java fern. I'm hoping to redo my tank this summer once i allocate the funds, and i'm pretty confused about some things.

First of all co2, i'm currently in the proccess of waiting for my silicone to cure on my diy co2 rig, i've been reading about this for a while so i'm pretty pumped. I know that excess co2 can drop my ph, any other side effects i'm not aware of? I'd be pretty upset if anything happened to little megatron.
Secondly, Lighting, I currently have a 15 w t8 grow bulb in my tank. It's not extrodinarily intense, but I wouldn't consider it a low light either. Should i upgrade? I would like a nice carpet of dwarf hairgrass in my tank once everything is said and done, and the wisteria and java fern seem to do well with the bulb at the moment.
Substrate, this is where i'm really confused. I have some aquaria gravel at the moment, and i would really like to switch this out with some plant friendly substrate. I've been reading about a cheap solution using top soil with sand on top? Is this a good way to go, or too much hassle for a newbie? I'm pretty broke atm, so i'd like to go cheap.
One last question, fertalizer, I have litterally no clue about any of this. I'd prefer to avoid fertalizing if possible, i've read dwarf hairgrass isn't too demanding, would it be possible to maintiain some nice bright green hairgrass without fertalizing if i have good lights, co2, and substrate?
Sorry for the long post, I'm pretty confused about a lot of this. Any tips would be greatly appreciated,
Thanks,
Carson
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-02-2010, 03:59 AM
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I'd go with a bag of Flourite black sand unless you want to DIY mineralized topsoil... I think in the end you'll end up spending $20 on substrate either way (once you get all the materials you need) lol If you get the Flourite, make sure you rinse it REALLY well before putting it in the tank.

Your light puts you square in the "low light" category, but it will definitely grow plants. That's what I run over my own 10gal tanks. I suggest you consider Lilaeopsis mauritiana rather than dwarf hairgrass, though- IMO it's much easier since you don't have to "mow" it to get it to carpet (mowing is super messy! lol). This is L. mauritiana carpeting in my own low tech 29gal (been in there since December)



Whether or not you need to add additional ferts really depends on your bioload. If you're just keeping the one fish in there, then yes, you'll need to supplement with some ferts. If you're going to increase the stocking to an well-stocked (yet appropriate for 10gal) bioload, then you can make do without ferts, or perhaps just some occasional trace.





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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-02-2010, 04:06 AM Thread Starter
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So lets say I added like 5 or so shrimp to the mix? Dwarf puffers generally dont get along too well with anything besides oto's, and i can never get those to eat any algae tabs. I know my puffer puts up with shrimp, because i had some amano in there before the ph drop wiped everything out. I'm a little confused here, I thought flourite was a clay/soily type material, or at least that was my impression from reading past threads. They have it in sand? Where would i find this, just a lfs store, or would homedepot have some? sorry for all the questions, i'm pretty exited about this project if you can't tell, and i wanna make sure i know exactly what i'm doing before i start.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-02-2010, 04:15 AM
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Some LFSs carry it, or you can get it online at www.BigAlsOnline.com or www.DoctorsFosterSmith.com. You won't find it at home depot.

The Flourite black sand is the same material as the other Flourites (still fired clay), but it's just processed into finer sand-sized grains, which IME makes it easier to plant and root small carpeting plants.

I just redid my own 10gal with it:







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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-02-2010, 04:23 AM
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this is my first post too
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-02-2010, 04:24 AM
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what kind of plant is this? lauraleel
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-02-2010, 04:25 AM
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oh i see i can't post links yet. the first pic you posted? the one with the thin driftwood pieces
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-02-2010, 04:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EL SHRIMPO LOCO View Post
oh i see i can't post links yet. the first pic you posted? the one with the thin driftwood pieces
Which plant are you referring to in that tank? There are quite a few in there...

It's a 29gal tank, with some assorted Crypts on the left, needle leaf java fern in the middle, Lilaeopsis mauritiana as the grassy carpet, some Hygrophila kompakt and Anubias nana 'petite,' and a red Nymphea lotus.

BTW, that's regular Flourite black in the 29gal, so you can see the difference in the grain size between the two.





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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-02-2010, 04:29 AM Thread Starter
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so i should get about a bag of flourite black sand for substrate, and i'd be all set, i'm thinking i probably want better lighting so i'll get a nice thick carpet. Some extra shrimp, and I should be alright?
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-02-2010, 04:32 AM
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If you put more light over the tank, you'll have to supplement fertilizers for sure. Light is what drives how quickly plants grow, and one small fish and a few shrimp aren't going to be a heavy enough bioload to support the plants if they're growing more quickly.

But yes, one bag of Flourite should be all you need.





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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-02-2010, 04:37 AM Thread Starter
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ok, so lets say i just got some root tabs? From what i've read they basically just release the nutrients into the tank over time. I'd prefer to stay away from adding chemical liquid addititves, for some reason they scare me.
Thanks for all the help by the way
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-02-2010, 04:39 AM
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You could try that, but I think it would be a challenge to supply root tabs evenly for carpeting plants... and in small tank like a 10gal I think you'd end up uprooting the plants while inserting the tabs.

Why not just stick with your current lighting? Get a bottle of Flourish Comprehensive and dose a little after each water change, call it a day.





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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-02-2010, 04:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lauraleellbp View Post
Which plant are you referring to in that tank? There are quite a few in there...

It's a 29gal tank, with some assorted Crypts on the left, needle leaf java fern in the middle, Lilaeopsis mauritiana as the grassy carpet, some Hygrophila kompakt and Anubias nana 'petite,' and a red Nymphea lotus.

BTW, that's regular Flourite black in the 29gal, so you can see the difference in the grain size between the two.
the one with the long leafs going up to the top and pretty much everywhere
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-02-2010, 04:45 AM Thread Starter
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would that just be one liquid fertalizer I would have to add once a week? That doesn't sound too bad honestly, from the threads i was reading they seemed pretty intense on the fertalizer dosing. So my current lights would be enough for a nice thick carpet of hairgrass?
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-02-2010, 04:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EL SHRIMPO LOCO View Post
the one with the long leafs going up to the top and pretty much everywhere
I think you're talking about the Needle leaf java fern. Nice easy plant.





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