(overwhelmed) Newbie: Dwarf Baby Tears. Fourth light upgrade? Other tips?
I wanted a small 3-gallon aquarium this year in my classroom, but I have never had an aquarium or known anyone with an aquarium, so what I have been through these last two months is probably typical of what many noobs go through, except I have gone through extraordinary measures to keep my betta, plants, and setup alive.
I didn’t even know that I was doing a “planted” tank at the start or that what I was doing was different from those few tanks I saw as a child, but which I am now sure had artificial plants and not live ones.
As you can see, my carpet is about 4/5th Dwarf Baby Tears and 1/5th Dwarf Hairgrass.
So far, the Tears have survived almost two months, which from my reading is a virtual miracle for a complete noob like me.
However, the school year is about to start and my baby tears are slightly browning.
I almost immediately replaced the onboard light for my tank—a Marineland Contour Glass Aquarium Kit with Rail Light, 3-Gallon--because I could instinctively tell that the lighting was insufficient.
I replaced it with a Finnex StingRAY LED Clip Light (4 watt).
After noticing that the petals are starting to lightly brown this week, I began to question whether my Finnex has the Watts needed for baby tears to thrive.
So right now I have my third set of lights incoming: Wave-point 6-Inch 8-Watt Daylight Micro Sun LED High Output Clamp Light
However, after reading your forums I know that Watts Per Gallon is not the best tell anymore, either.
Do you believe my current lights are sufficient? Do you think these new lights will work? Do you think I need different lights?
CO2 & Fert:
I have four flourish tabs in the substrate (which is probably why the tears lasted for any time at all).
I am currently using API Leaf Zone & CO2 boost, but when my new light arrives, I will also be getting Flourish and Flourish Excel to replace the API products.
As you can see, I have dumped hundreds of my dollars (and all of my summer spending as a teacher) into making this work. I will do what I have to do to make this tank work for my classroom at this point.
Any advice, tips, or thoughts on my latest lighting would be greatly appreciated.
P.S.: I know from reading extensively on your forums that a CO2 line is preferred for baby tears, but I also know it is easy to overdose using CO2 in such a small tank, and my fish has been through enough. Also, all of the people who said you can make a planted tank work without CO2, said that it needed to be done in a small tank, which is why I hope the liquid supplements will work. They may be more expensive, but I will happily pay for them for as long as I need to make this work.