Plant Trimming, Fertilizer and CO2 quesions... - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 11:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thumbs down Plant Trimming, Fertilizer and CO2 quesions...

Hello Planted Tank. I have a question that I am hoping someone can help me with. I am relatively new to planted tanks, and I have a handful of locally available plants in a 38g tank. So far I have the following:

Hygrophila Difformis
Hygrophila Corymbosa (Kompakt)
Amazon Sword
Argentina Sword
Umbrella Plant

I acquired all of these plants at a local Petco, and I got them all in the tubes because some of the plants in their plant tank at the store had snails. Several of the Amazon Sword and all of my Hygrophila Difformis stems have at least a few dead leaves on them, mostly near the bottom of the plants. Should I trim off the leaves that look 'dead' or should I leave them on and wait to see what happens? I am not sure if they will rejuvenate over time, and I am also not sure if the dead leaves in the tank will alter my water parameters significantly.

Right now this tank is lightly planted, with only a few of each type of plant in it. Will these plants need fertilizers at this stocking level and what should I use? I did purchase a Jungle Product called "Fertilizer 0-0-5 Water Conditioner, which was the ONLY plant care product I found when I got my plants. I have been dosing with this once per week. What fertilizer supplements can anyone recommend for this tank? (My current fish stocking is: 10 Glowlight Tetras, 2 German Blue Rams, 2 Bronze Cories, and 1 Dojo Loach)

Last question: I was given a C02 tank (6 lbs) and an Aqua Medic regulater w/out solenoid by a friend who no longer needs them for a calcium reactor. Right now I just have the tank and the regulator. What would I need to get a basic CO2 setup going in this tank?

Thanks in advance for your replies!

I even have duckweed in my water bong!
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-02-2011, 12:18 AM
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Plants Questions

Hello wet...

The Umbrella plant I'm familiar with is a house plant and not aquatic. The others I've purchased at the local pet stores in the growing tubes and they've done very well in my low light, low tech (no CO2) tanks.

The dead leaves should be removed, this will stimulate new growth provided the plant is relatively healthy. You really take a chance on plants in the growing tubes, but I think the price is worth it.

Briefly, aquatic plant supplements are two parts: macro and micro. The macro nutrients are easy, you provide them in regular water changes and the fish provide the rest. The micro come from a commercial source in dry or liquid form. I prefer liquids, that works best for me and I dose my tanks two to three times a week. The supplements in the pet stores are low end and not very effective in my humble opinion. The hydroponics stores are the place to get good liquid ferts. I also like to use dry organic potting mixtures and use plastic pots for some of my plants. The mixture is an excellent nutrient source for newly planted plants and shortens the time the plant needs to get used to your tank conditions.

To me, CO2 is pricey unless you have a small tank. I have several large tanks and prefer low tech, because my pockets aren't very deep.

This post is way too long. Let me know if you have any low tech, planted tank questions.

B

"Fear not my child, just change the tank water."
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-02-2011, 01:18 AM
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What lighting does your tank have? It is light intensity that drives all of the plant's needs. If the intensity is low enough just the fish poop and decaying left over fish food will supply enough nutrients for the plants. But, with high intensity you need to add lots of stuff and in adequate quantities.

Hoppy
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-02-2011, 11:12 AM Thread Starter
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Hello wet...

The Umbrella plant I'm familiar with is a house plant and not aquatic. The others I've purchased at the local pet stores in the growing tubes and they've done very well in my low light, low tech (no CO2) tanks.

The dead leaves should be removed, this will stimulate new growth provided the plant is relatively healthy. You really take a chance on plants in the growing tubes, but I think the price is worth it.

Briefly, aquatic plant supplements are two parts: macro and micro. The macro nutrients are easy, you provide them in regular water changes and the fish provide the rest. The micro come from a commercial source in dry or liquid form. I prefer liquids, that works best for me and I dose my tanks two to three times a week. The supplements in the pet stores are low end and not very effective in my humble opinion. The hydroponics stores are the place to get good liquid ferts. I also like to use dry organic potting mixtures and use plastic pots for some of my plants. The mixture is an excellent nutrient source for newly planted plants and shortens the time the plant needs to get used to your tank conditions.

To me, CO2 is pricey unless you have a small tank. I have several large tanks and prefer low tech, because my pockets aren't very deep.

This post is way too long. Let me know if you have any low tech, planted tank questions.

B
The particular Umbrella Plant I have is also called a 'peace lily'; the label said it was Spathiphyllum wallisii. I purchased two different tubes of this plant, and one of them is a lot different from the other: the larger one has single long and narrow leaves that terminates in a stem with roots and looks more like a type of grass. The smaller one has shorter leaves and is broader (like Argentine Sword) and the stems have more than one leaf coming off of them. I am honestly not sure if they are even the same plant.

Much thanks for the fert info. Do you have any specific fert recommendations?

I even have duckweed in my water bong!
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-02-2011, 11:16 AM Thread Starter
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What lighting does your tank have? It is light intensity that drives all of the plant's needs. If the intensity is low enough just the fish poop and decaying left over fish food will supply enough nutrients for the plants. But, with high intensity you need to add lots of stuff and in adequate quantities.
Hoppy-
Right now I have two 24" 17w T8 bulbs over the tank. I will be buying lights at the same time I get my CO2 system components and ferts, and so far I am looking at either a 2x39w 36" T5 or a 3x39w 36" T5. Any suggestions on light brands or types would be great. Thanks!

PS- My friend that gave me the CO2 equipment also has a 250W metal halide/T5 fixture that is 36"... will this be far to much light (and heat) for my tank, which is 20" tall?

I even have duckweed in my water bong!
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-02-2011, 05:40 PM
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A two bulb T5HO light should be suspended about a foot above that tank in order to get a good level of light, without the constant threat of having algae take over. With CO2, you will be able to grow just about any aquatic play you want with that light level.

Read the sticky in the fertilizing forum for the best way to fertilize.

The "umbrella" plant you have won't do well at all underwater. Those are marsh plants, not aquatic plants.

Hoppy
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-02-2011, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
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A two bulb T5HO light should be suspended about a foot above that tank in order to get a good level of light, without the constant threat of having algae take over. With CO2, you will be able to grow just about any aquatic play you want with that light level.

Read the sticky in the fertilizing forum for the best way to fertilize.

The "umbrella" plant you have won't do well at all underwater. Those are marsh plants, not aquatic plants.
Thanks again for your response. I read that the umbrella plant, which I guess is also called a 'peace lily' (it is Spathiphyllum Wallisii), was not a true aquatic plant. Which sort of aggravates me because it was actually labeled on the packaging specifically that it was an aquatic plant. Should I give it to my girlfriend for her tarantula habitat instead of keeping it in my fish tank? Also, I do not have the ability to hang my light: it has to sit on top of my tank. Should I just get a less powerful light? Or possibly pursue other options? Thanks!

I even have duckweed in my water bong!
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-03-2011, 05:31 AM
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you have a 38 gallon, yes? I'd try to rip the peace lily in one of the back corners. I've had great success growing these in jars of water with gravel substrate and adding some ferts.

I imagine they'd be even easier if done in a riparium fashion since you can either eliminate the ferts aspect if you're going with a soil substrate or you're already going to be adding ferts for other plants anyway.


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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-03-2011, 02:58 PM Thread Starter
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you have a 38 gallon, yes? I'd try to rip the peace lily in one of the back corners. I've had great success growing these in jars of water with gravel substrate and adding some ferts.

I imagine they'd be even easier if done in a riparium fashion since you can either eliminate the ferts aspect if you're going with a soil substrate or you're already going to be adding ferts for other plants anyway.
Yeah, it is a 38 gallon. I guess as long as I do not kill the plant I will leave the peace lily/umbrella plant where it is for now. I can keep a close eye on it, and if it appears to be doing bad (it is one of the healthier looking plants in my tank) I can pull it at that time and put it into the tarantula habitat. I also have some bamboo in a different tank that I found out after the fact was not a true aquatic plant. With that one, I lowered the water level so the leaves were not submerged but I am not sure if this was necessary because I have had the bamboo for a long time with no ill effects and a bit of new growth as well. Thanks!

I even have duckweed in my water bong!
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-03-2011, 04:22 PM
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A single 96 watt AH Supply light would give you around 40-50 micromols of PAR with it sitting right on top of the tank. The downside is that you need to either install that kit in an existing light fixture, or make a box-like housing for it, which is pretty easy if done as shown on their website. If you do that, you could make the "box" tall enough to get the light 3-4 inches above the top of the tank, to get a little lower light intensity. That would make things much easier all around for you.

Other than that, you could use 3 T8 bulbs sitting on top of the tank, to get about 30 micromols of PAR, which is good for a low light tank.

Hoppy
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-04-2011, 07:56 PM Thread Starter
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A single 96 watt AH Supply light would give you around 40-50 micromols of PAR with it sitting right on top of the tank. The downside is that you need to either install that kit in an existing light fixture, or make a box-like housing for it, which is pretty easy if done as shown on their website. If you do that, you could make the "box" tall enough to get the light 3-4 inches above the top of the tank, to get a little lower light intensity. That would make things much easier all around for you.

Other than that, you could use 3 T8 bulbs sitting on top of the tank, to get about 30 micromols of PAR, which is good for a low light tank.
Thanks! I will look into these options and see what will work best for me.

I even have duckweed in my water bong!
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-04-2011, 09:26 PM
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I would stay away from hydroponic nutrients as ammonium is usually their main source of nitrogen. Dry mineral salts online is the cheapest way to go, and you can control the actual compounds going into your tank. They're probaly 20 times cheaper than hydroponic nutrients, and twice again as cheap as branded aquarium fertilizers. Some will claim that they are not as convenient as liquid fertilizer, but the difference is that it will take you 10-15 seconds to roughly measure your doses as opposed to 5-10 seconds for the pump top liquids.

Dosing may not be necessary with your current lighting, but with the upgraded lights you mention, and CO2 injection it will be more or less mandatory.
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