need help again :/ - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-08-2010, 04:26 AM Thread Starter
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need help again :/

hello, i havent been on recently for a good number of reasons, but heres a rundown of whats happended

heres what i got:

55 gallon tank
topfin 60 powerfilter
1 DIY Nutrafin CO2 dispenser
5 Boesemani rainbows
5 Gold barbs
6 Praecox rainbows
2 Sterbai corys
1 OTO
1 Stripped raphael catfish
2 18" 15watt full spectrum T8 bulbs
6-7 Amazon swords
6 Argentinian swords
5 Chain swords

Things i know i want/need to get:

another topfin 60 powerfilter or Aquaclear 70
5 OTOs
6 Sterbai cories
3 boesemani rainbows
2 praecox rainbows
8 roseline sharks
8 silver or marble hatchets
Ludwigia Repens
Marimo Balls
Anubias (preferably nana)
Moneywort
Dwarf Baby tears
C. Parva
Jungle Vals
Red melon sword
Koralia power head


Budget: Low budget, money comes from chores, birthdays, and good grades at the moment, hopefully soon a job too.

Dosing/lighting/water:

currently just dosing KENT Marine pro-series pro-plant recommended dose arund 3 times a week
i do have root tabs but currently not using them, used them for the swords
lights are on for about 12 ours a day (little to no algae)
last time i tested Ph is around 6.6-6.4 and everything else is ok, im only doing top offs , so no WCs.

Questions:

i definatley want to upgrade lighting to expand my options on plants, but if i remember this causes the need for more/less CO2 and more/less ferts. so confused at the moment.

for the lighting if and/or when i upgrade will it be better to get whole new fixtures or replace the bulb and ballast(or whatever that other bit is called?)?

how long should i keep the lights on and what else can i get for the plants fert wise?

i could order most of the plants im seeking now, and have all of them in in two days, would this be a wise decision?

what should i get first? i cant get more fish till i get either the new filter or enough plants to support till the new filter, plants idk, and id think the powerhead would be of little use at the current moment??


other info:


some plants are being torn up and this could indicate the fish arent getting enough veggies, they werent doing this before but my dad thre away the food so that will be replaced soon.


Thanks!

99
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-09-2010, 05:56 AM Thread Starter
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anyone??

to sum up (and hopefully this wont be too difficult lol) id just like to be able to keep the plants i want to get, and have fastish growth out of them, and to do this as cheap as possible, i wont skip out on stuff as im not that cheap :p i want to do it right but costing as little as possible
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-09-2010, 01:34 PM
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I think that lighting is a bit too low for effective plant growth; and lights are physically smaller than the tank size, so you have uneven light distribution. If those are store-bought light fixtures, it would probably be difficult to fit a replacement bulb and ballast into them. So you would need to either purchase entirely new fixtures, or DIY a hood which will allow you to fit in the desired bulbs and ballasts. If you have a glass top, have room for some 10g incandescent fixtures, and can obtain them used and cheap (or free); you can use the common spiral CFLs in them for an inexpensive light upgrade.

I also doubt your CO2 level is sufficient, and that becomes more critical when you upgrade lights. A drop checker will tell you for sure, can be obtained for about $10 shipped, and you can make your own 4 DKH solution for it. Since you already have a big expense on the lights, I'd suggest staying with DIY CO2 for now. You can easily and cheaply gang together multiple 2 liter bottles for additional CO2 as The Plantman has recently described; this will work well as long as you're good about replacing the yeast mixture as needed. Your parents will wonder where all the sugar is going though. Explain it to them, and if you're lucky, they may buy the extra sugar for you; saving you an additional (but relatively minor) expense.

Dry ferts are a great investment, at $20-$30 for a supply that will literally last you years.

I would avoid investing in any expensive, higher-maintenance plants until these basic issues are corrected; as you may be setting yourself up for disappointment.
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-10-2010, 01:21 AM Thread Starter
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the largest hood i can fit is 24" as the center brace is in the way. so thats 2 24" and all i can get is 18" bulbs, so idk if i need to upgrade or just get better bulbs :/


yeah my DIY CO2 is rated for a 20 gallon so its pretty low lol, and they take the sugar i bought for it lol


where can i find dry ferts?

most of these plants arerelativley cheap anyway lol
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-10-2010, 07:29 AM
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You can get ferta from aquariumfertilizer.com, rex grigg and gla. Imo, if you want some fast healthy growth, invest in some pressurized co2. Diy is fine but gets really old swapping out bottles for a 55. Pressurized co2 and some diy t8 shoplight fixtures can grow almost anything. When I first started, I had a 55 with diy co2 and a 4x32w diy t8 fixture. I think I spent around $30 for the fixture and bulbs. I could get decent groundcover growth and nice coloring in the plants but it wasn't until I got pressurized that growth exploded. Hc and glosso were no problems with diy co2 and that t8 setup.


*Edit* I was running 2 2l soda bottles for my co2. I staggered making new mixes for a single bottle every 2 weeks. Hint, check walmart for their lights of america 4ft 2x32w t8 shoplight. I think bought them for $11 each but that was a few years back. HD had a 2pk of daylight deluxe bulbs for $4. Cheap lighting upgrade.
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-11-2010, 02:26 AM Thread Starter
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actually ive settled on a Nova extreme 2 bulb 48" T5 HO fixture giving me 1.96 WPG, and i also found that site i was recommended to get the combo pack?

im gonna get a drop checker, keep the current CO2 as AFAIK it cant hurt

and use root tabs and Easy carbo When needed? or make up a scheduale?



other then that im gonna get another filter prob AC70 and a koralia 750 and stock as normal

sound good?
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-11-2010, 09:00 AM
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That is a lot of light for diy co2. If possible, I would hang fixture around 10 in above the tank or so. Also, make sure to keep up with your co2. I would also have multiple reactors for your co2 like the setup I spoke about in my previous post. I'm not familiar with the nutrafin product but if it's like the others on the market, waaaaay too small. Remember, hob's cause some deggassing if your waterlevel is low.

Instead of buying another hob, save up for a canister. You will need the extra filtration. If that is your final stock list in your first post, way overstocked. The bosemani and redlines get pretty big.
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-11-2010, 04:18 PM
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Agree that you are going to need pressurized CO2 with a 2x54 watt T5HO fixture and that you would be better served with a canister filter. Also agree that your projected stock list needs to be cut way back... particularly the roselines, your tank is too small to keep roselines particularly 8 of them—they get 6" long and need lots of swimming area and highly oxygenated water.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-11-2010, 04:20 PM
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+1 i would skip the roselines, that tank is just too small for them, maybe up the size of the tainbow school... or add a bunch of differnet types.
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-11-2010, 10:32 PM Thread Starter
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im cutting back on all the stocks to 6 and taking out the cories to replace with what essentially are twig catfish and a few other things

ill stick with the HObs lol they are cheaper and get he job done, theyll bth run at the same time plus with a powerhead


waterlevel is high only a bit for surface tension.....
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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-11-2010, 10:34 PM
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I really wanna say to skip the roselines! But if you must, def wait till you are well cycled.
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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-11-2010, 11:30 PM
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I think you shouldn't get the Boesemanis. Also, try replacing your TopFin filter. With the fish load you're having, you'll want a more reliable filter than that.

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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-12-2010, 12:19 AM
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If you must go with an hob, my vote goes for 2x ac110. That should handle almost any bioload. I had a 65g full of malawi cichlids and those filters handled them like a champ. You can probably keep either the redlines or bosemani's but both will be pushing it. I would just add a couple more of the bosemani since you already have it. But remember, they get a solid 5in or so. Mine were big fat piggy's.

Have you figured out your light situation yet? I say go for pressurized co2 and a shoplight fixture till you get enough $$$ for a t5 fixture. You can get away with low light, low co2 and no ferts. Low light, good co2, and ferts will get you nice, slow heaalthy growth. High light, low diy co2, and ferts is asking for algae to take over. Co2 will pay for itself since it will save you headaches when you are trying to figure out why algae is taking over.
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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-13-2010, 12:06 AM Thread Starter
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ok just to straighten things out:

ive had boesemanis in the tank for quite awhile already and they have become enormous, still growing though, nowwhere near expected but i got em at 1" now rangin from 2-3"


tank has been cycled since a year ago in 7 days.

budget is LIMITED i have no money to spend on canister filters and AC110s :/ i wish i did but i dont. however ive checked with a whole lot more people and my stocking is fine for the tank.

today i got an AC50 and a powerhead with 225GPH already going. i cannot return the filter as to fit it i had to snip a non-essential item off. i can only return the powerhead. if i order this will bring me up to highish light so there is no going back, however i think that having the DIY and easycarbo and possiblyanother DIY system later on ill be ableto cover the CO2 problem and will only have to focus on ferts


i also have my sights on Seachem/easycarbo and a Nova light system for aroun 140-150$ i have not placed an order yet.

Ps. i did tons of research on the fish, theres very little need to correct me on anything there despite the fact i tend to overstock. however on all the stuff ive read up about a planted tank i still have no clue what im doing which is why i came to this site as i was recomended by a friend. i do intend to continue doing at least 3 more tanks but i want to see how a first attempt will go.
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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-13-2010, 12:18 AM
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Just to make sure you know, Flourish/EasyCarbo is not a suitable substitute for real CO2 at the lighting levels you're considering.

If you upgrade the lights before getting pressurized CO2, be prepared to run 3x 2 liter bottles of DIY CO2. And you'll have to run that into the powerhead or a filter, since the bubble ladder won't be sufficient for that much CO2.
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