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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-19-2012, 08:33 AM Thread Starter
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Advice for These Plants?

Have a Fluval Edge 12 Gallon using the "bright white" 42 LED light system that came with the tank. I have my lights set on a timer for 14 hours. I've had the tank going for two months. My ammonia and nitrites are 0, and my nitrates are at 20. My Ph is 6.5. I have a small gravel substrate. I just started using Nutrafin Plant Gro. My tank is home to a betta, cardinal tetras, corries, a pleco, snails, and shrimp.

My plants are the following:
Amazon sword
Aponogeton
Water wisteria
Crypt
Cabomba
Dwarf hair grass
Marimo moss balls
Java moss

The swords have been in a while and are growing and producing shoots with baby plants. However, I just pruned away several leaves that we're spotty, brown tinged, or turning yellow. The younger ones left look green and healthy. Was the plant adjusting to a new environment, maybe?

The moss balls have been in since day one and still look fantastic.

I had to remove one of the aponogetons and cut the other one back to the bulb because it took over the tank.

The wisteria has been growing very well, and I just planted some cuttings.

The hair grass has remained healthy looking but isn't spreading. I broke the clump up and planted it in several patches.

The java moss looks okay.

The cabomba and crypts are brand new.

I'm looking mainly for advice on how many hours I should have my timer set. Worried that the swords aren't doing their best because of too much light. Also, what's a good temperature for the plants I have? I currently keep the temp at 78 for my betta, but he can tolerate a little higher if I need to. I also want to make sure the new crypts and cabomba get what they need. I've read some posts on crypts that stressed they do better in tanks at least 6 months old.

Any other advice will be helpful as well. I don't know anything about Co2--how to set it up or anything. Honestly, if it's too costly, complicated, or looks ugly in my tank, I wouldn't be interested in doing that, anyway. I plan to read the articles on it soon, though, and see if it's a doable option for me.

Thanks in advance!

--Chris in Pensacola, FL
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-19-2012, 11:57 AM
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Welcome to TPT.
78F is fine and I personally run my lights 12 hours per day.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-19-2012, 01:04 PM
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Tank Lighting

Hello Bar...

Aquarium plants are mostly from tropical places, so are used to long hours of daylight. 14 hours is a little long. I keep my tank lights on timers and set them for 12 hours on and 12 off. This seems to work the best for my plants.

A tank temperature between 76 and 78 is a good range. CO2 is nice, but I like to keep my tanks as close to the basics as I can and all the extra "bells and whistles" aren't necessary for a successful aquarium.

A planted tank doesn't have to be rocket science, just keep to the basics. I do large, weekly water changes to keep a good supply of minerals in the water, dose a little fertilizer weekly and make sure to use the 6500 K bulbs. Pretty simple really.

Your post reads like you have a good grasp of things.

B

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-19-2012, 02:48 PM
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Amazon swords are grown emersed, probably the leaves that are dying were grown in air and are being replaced by thinner leaves adapted for underwater life.

I don't know anything about the LED lighting but you have very heavy planting in that little tank that may need more nutrients than Nutrafin contains. Plants need water, oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium and a whole lot of other minerals to be their best. Nutrafin provides some nitrogen and some iron and other trace minerals. Look for a fertilizer with potassium as fish do provide some nitrogen and phosphorus and most tap water provides some calcium and magnesium.


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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-19-2012, 05:23 PM
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Here are my thoughts and suggestions. Its rather difficult to gauge how bright LED lighting is, but its likely it is on the low side for plants that are light demanding. Cabomba is very light demanding. Under weak light it will grow rather leggy looking..with wide gaps between the leaf nodes. The sword and aponogeton if they continue to grow will get much too big for the tank. The rest of the plants will probably do OK. Marimo balls can grow under very minimal light, so it should be fine. All you need to do is every once in a while remove it from the tank and hold it under running water and wring it out like a sponge and rinse off any crud from it.

C02 would help your plants to grow faster and help your hairgrass to spread faster. If you take the clump and break it up into several little "plugs" and then plant them in rows about an inch apart, they will then fill in the gaps to create a solid ground cover. More light and C02 will speed up the process.

I agree 10 to 12 hours a day would work the best.

Robert Paul Hudson

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-19-2012, 11:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarleyBear View Post
Have a Fluval Edge 12 Gallon using the "bright white" 42 LED light system that came with the tank. I have my lights set on a timer for 14 hours. I've had the tank going for two months. My ammonia and nitrites are 0, and my nitrates are at 20. My Ph is 6.5. I have a small gravel substrate. I just started using Nutrafin Plant Gro. My tank is home to a betta, cardinal tetras, corries, a pleco, snails, and shrimp.

My plants are the following:
Amazon sword
Aponogeton
Water wisteria
Crypt
Cabomba
Dwarf hair grass
Marimo moss balls
Java moss

The swords have been in a while and are growing and producing shoots with baby plants. However, I just pruned away several leaves that we're spotty, brown tinged, or turning yellow. The younger ones left look green and healthy. Was the plant adjusting to a new environment, maybe?

The moss balls have been in since day one and still look fantastic.

I had to remove one of the aponogetons and cut the other one back to the bulb because it took over the tank.

The wisteria has been growing very well, and I just planted some cuttings.

The hair grass has remained healthy looking but isn't spreading. I broke the clump up and planted it in several patches.

The java moss looks okay.

The cabomba and crypts are brand new.

I'm looking mainly for advice on how many hours I should have my timer set. Worried that the swords aren't doing their best because of too much light. Also, what's a good temperature for the plants I have? I currently keep the temp at 78 for my betta, but he can tolerate a little higher if I need to. I also want to make sure the new crypts and cabomba get what they need. I've read some posts on crypts that stressed they do better in tanks at least 6 months old.

Any other advice will be helpful as well. I don't know anything about Co2--how to set it up or anything. Honestly, if it's too costly, complicated, or looks ugly in my tank, I wouldn't be interested in doing that, anyway. I plan to read the articles on it soon, though, and see if it's a doable option for me.

Thanks in advance!
As far as your lighting goes, I guess it depends on how much PAR the led's produce. I have the ability to run 4 T5HO on my 65g @ 54W per bulb. Way too much. So, I am only running two of the bulbs for 8 hours a day.

*60g
*Substrate = 50% Florite sand 50% regular Florite
*Lighting 108W of a 216W T5HO Aquatic Life hood 25" from substrate 8.5 hours daily.
*Amarath Redroot, Waterhyssop, Brazilian Pennywort, Water Wisteria, Jungle Val, Moss Ball, Riccia, Nana, Java Lace, Cryptocoryne, Pigmy Chain Sword.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-19-2012, 11:52 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BBradbury View Post
Hello Bar...

Aquarium plants are mostly from tropical places, so are used to long hours of daylight. 14 hours is a little long. I keep my tank lights on timers and set them for 12 hours on and 12 off. This seems to work the best for my plants.

A tank temperature between 76 and 78 is a good range. CO2 is nice, but I like to keep my tanks as close to the basics as I can and all the extra "bells and whistles" aren't necessary for a successful aquarium.

A planted tank doesn't have to be rocket science, just keep to the basics. I do large, weekly water changes to keep a good supply of minerals in the water, dose a little fertilizer weekly and make sure to use the 6500 K bulbs. Pretty simple really.

Your post reads like you have a good grasp of things.

B
Thanks! I'm really wanting to avoid using Co2 as I just don't want yet another thing to have to fiddle with. I do 25-50% water changes every week. I will try cutting back on the light.

--Chris in Pensacola, FL
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-20-2012, 12:02 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathyy View Post
Amazon swords are grown emersed, probably the leaves that are dying were grown in air and are being replaced by thinner leaves adapted for underwater life.

I don't know anything about the LED lighting but you have very heavy planting in that little tank that may need more nutrients than Nutrafin contains. Plants need water, oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium and a whole lot of other minerals to be their best. Nutrafin provides some nitrogen and some iron and other trace minerals. Look for a fertilizer with potassium as fish do provide some nitrogen and phosphorus and most tap water provides some calcium and magnesium.
I didn't know they were grown emersed. That could definitely explain it. The spottiness was on the larger older leaves. I pruned them out lat night, and they were pretty thick. The new leaves are all very vibrant green.

Thanks for the info on the nutrients. It helps me decide how to use the two fertilizers I have. I had been using the API Leaf Zone till I bought the Nutrafin Plant Gro Friday because the NF product had more nutrients in it. I didn't know whether or not to just use the NF or to use them both. With the two, it covers everything except potassium and calcium and magnesium, so I'll use both, maybe slightly smaller doses of the Leaf Zone since it also contains iron, and I don't want to overload the tank, but water changes should help that, I think.

I just started using cuttlebone in my tank to provide calcium for my inverts. Do you think this will add calcium to the water that the plants can use? I'm not sure how water soluble it is. I guess it must be since you have to keep an eye on your Ph when you use it.

Thanks for the help!

--Chris in Pensacola, FL
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-20-2012, 12:09 AM Thread Starter
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Here are my thoughts and suggestions. Its rather difficult to gauge how bright LED lighting is, but its likely it is on the low side for plants that are light demanding. Cabomba is very light demanding. Under weak light it will grow rather leggy looking..with wide gaps between the leaf nodes. The sword and aponogeton if they continue to grow will get much too big for the tank. The rest of the plants will probably do OK. Marimo balls can grow under very minimal light, so it should be fine. All you need to do is every once in a while remove it from the tank and hold it under running water and wring it out like a sponge and rinse off any crud from it.

C02 would help your plants to grow faster and help your hairgrass to spread faster. If you take the clump and break it up into several little "plugs" and then plant them in rows about an inch apart, they will then fill in the gaps to create a solid ground cover. More light and C02 will speed up the process.

I agree 10 to 12 hours a day would work the best.
I'll definitely keep an eye on the cabomba. If it's not doing well, I'll probably take it out, since I don't want to upgrade to any other kind of lighting. At least I'll know that's probably the problem and not something else. The crypts are new, too. Everything else seems to be doing great except for the spotty leaves on the Amazon, which as someone state, might be it's adapting to living submersed. I swish the marimo balls in the tank water when I do water changes every week. Have to say, I love those little guys! So green and vibrant--they're like green tribbles.

I think I can keep the swords in check with regular pruning, and if they get too big, just take them out. They have been making lots of babies, so I should have a revolving supply if I need to remove some once in a while. And the aponogeton DID take over the tank--in less than a week. I had two. So when I did my water change last night, I was going to remove them both. In the end, I put one back in but cut it all the way back and placed in the very back corner. So when it starts to grow back, it will act as a background plant till I have to trim it back again. I just love watching it grow!

I did take my little bunch of hairgrass and split it up into about four sections and placed them an inch or so apart in the center of the tank. Maybe being directly under the lights and with more space it'll start to grow in. I love the look of it, and it would be neat to have a carpeted patch of it growing.

Thanks for the help!

--Chris in Pensacola, FL
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-20-2012, 12:22 AM Thread Starter
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So the three pics below show the progression my tank has had since I set it up in January. It's been kind of a live and learn process. The first pick shows most of the plants I got from Petsmart in the tubes that I later learned weren't at all submersible. I think the water wisteria was the only one. The tall grasses, which were sold IN tanks, weren't either. I replaced those with some shorter grass later that I found out was ALSO not a submersible plant. It's been very irritating, to say the least! The second pic shows the aponogeton as it was just beginning to get to be too much. A couple of days later, and it practically filled the tank! Fun to watch grow, though, so I won't mind trimming it back every week. The last pic is after I did some major pruning, making a cutting of the wisteria, removing the last of the melting non-submersible grass, breaking up the hair grass, and planting the cabomba and crypts. The water is a little brown because I used Microbe-Lift gravel and substrate cleaner last night, and it turns the water brown for a day or so.

By the way, can anyone identify the purplish/maroon plant in the front right corner? It has a rhizome like an apnogeton (much smaller) and was sold in the same tank as the apono's--the whole tank was simply labeled "wonder bulb." I was wondering if it was a different kind of apono.

First set up:
Click image for larger version

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Second set up, after clearing out most of the non-submersibles:
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Today:
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-20-2012, 12:28 AM Thread Starter
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Oops. Didn't realize the last pic pretty much cut the purple plant out. And it's on the left, not the right.

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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-20-2012, 12:29 AM Thread Starter
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One more question. If I DID decide to start using Co2, what is a simple, easy, and efficient way to do it? I'll take a look at the articles, but personal advice is always good.

--Chris in Pensacola, FL
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-20-2012, 12:38 AM Thread Starter
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Sorry. I do have another noobie question. If I cut back from 14 to 12 or 10 hours, do I need to do this slowly over several days? Or can I just change it right away? If slowly, how much should I decrease the light every day?

I read someplace that if you change the lighting, you should do it in fifteen-minute increments. I don't know if that's true or not because I think that's the same place I read that they should get 14 hours of light, too.

I think I'm going to try to cut back to 12.

--Chris in Pensacola, FL
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-20-2012, 12:57 AM
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No, you don't need to cut back the hours slowly. It won't matter one way or the other. Its not like acclimating water!

A DIY system with yeast and sugar for a small tank is very effective. When the Cabomba gets too tall, replant the upper portion you cut off and throw out the portion rooted in the substrate. This way you will keep the more lush growth with the leaves growing close together. If you allow a cut stem to continue to grow out, the new growth will be leggy. And your light may end up being fine for Cabomba. Adding C02 would help with the Cabomba too.

Is the "42" the total wattage or the number of LED lights? How much light you are getting depends on the quality and wattage of the LED lights. They can range from 1 or 2 watts to 5 watts per bulb.

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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-20-2012, 04:23 AM Thread Starter
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Great tip on the cabomba! I totally would have made that mistake.

"42" is the number of LED lights. It's actually 38, I think, because 4 of them are blue for the "moonlight" effect.

After scouring the Internet trying to find the wattage, I finally looked at the light bar itself.

It says "120V, 60 Hz, 5W." So 5 watts.

It is billed as "7,600k high-luminosity LEDs." Which doesn't mean anything to me, lol, but it might to you guys.

It blinds me when I accidentally look at it! But that doesn't mean anything.

As far as height, the bar literally sits right on top of the water when it's full. It has a water-proof plastic casing. The 12 gallon is taller than it is wide, but the light penetrates into several inches of the substrate.

One bonus of the Microbe-Lift turning my water brown last night was that I got to see exactly where the light goes. I had been concerned that it might only illuminate the very center of the tank, but it floods out at an angle that completely reaches all four corners of the tank. There is only a small triangular patch of shadow near the very top, but it's a zone nowhere near where the plants are growing. It's only about inches from the top.

--Chris in Pensacola, FL
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