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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-21-2012, 04:00 AM Thread Starter
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First Questions

I joined this forum in order to learn how to better my skills with planted tanks. I currently have a 55g planted. Forgive me I don't know the names of all the plants I currently have. Some are growing faster than others and some don't grow at all.
My first question is about my lights. I am running an inexpensive (coralife) T5HO 2 bulb fixture. Is this enough light to support the depth?
My other option is to replace it with a twin CF fixture or add the twin CF fisxture to what I already have. -or- I have a 4 bulb CF fixture also.
I am affraid of too much light as I do not have an algae problem right now and I don't want to start one.

Second Question:
The substrate that I have now is too large for a regular planted tank. It is around 3/8" river rock. (all the same size). From what I have read I think I would like to use 1-3mm size rock. not as small as sand, but not much bigger. Where can I find rock this size? all I see at the pet stores is painted rock and I know I don't want that. I was also looking at using a plant base in the tank as the substrate but I know it will cloud the water pretty bad before it settles. Will this hurt my fish? Plants? I would change the substrate out over the course of a few weeks as not to upset or cause a cycle in the system. My tank is extremely stable right now and has been in continuous operation for about 2 1/2 years.

Thoughts??? Ideas???
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-21-2012, 05:31 AM
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Try hardware/garden supply stores for gravel/sand about the size you want. They'll usually turn up something usable!
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-21-2012, 06:11 AM
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I just snagged a couple bags of inert substrate from petco for dirt cheap that's a dark brown and pretty natural looking. I don't need it at the moment but you never know.

As far as your lighting goes. If it ain't broke don't fix it. If you could post up pics of your plants I'm sure they could be id'd easily. From the sounds of it you have some stem plants (the ones growing) and perhaps some anubis or java ferns(you say not growing but more than likely are they just grow slowly).


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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-21-2012, 06:40 AM
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+1 above

Pics would help and I completely agree unless you are trying to fix something maybe changing stuff around would be an unwise idea. The gravel rocks like that tend to catch allot of poo and let it decompose fairly fast for natural fertilizer and that is why you have what sounds like a really nice planted tank without allot of (stated) work.

Give some more details maybe start a journal that way when you take pics from month to month you may see growth in your slow growing plants that is hard to notice day to day.

Other info that would help is what and how many fish you have (any inverts)? Water change cycle? Any fertilizer added? How long are your lights on? Tank get any direct sunlight? Filtration? Water parameters (ph, gh, kh, nitrate) Additional water movement? If nothing else this may give others help.... Just the questions I would ask since it sounds like it is a fairly good formula, whatever you are doing (I'm assuming it is a good formula because you have plant growth, fast and slow, and little or no algae).

And welcome to a great board ( I really mean it some of the most knowledgable people on here! Unfortunately I'm not one of them

Rafal
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-21-2012, 06:12 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rroginela View Post
Other info that would help is what and how many fish you have (any inverts)? Water change cycle? Any fertilizer added? How long are your lights on? Tank get any direct sunlight? Filtration? Water parameters (ph, gh, kh, nitrate) Additional water movement? If nothing else this may give others help.... Just the questions I would ask since it sounds like it is a fairly good formula, whatever you are doing (I'm assuming it is a good formula because you have plant growth, fast and slow, and little or no algae).

Rafal
Additional info, 30 fish in the 55 gallon, Fluval 405 for filtration, HOB filter with no media for water movement (and a place to add Flourish to the tank) Other than the flourish I do not dose anything else.
I'm not sure about the perams as I have not tested the water in over a year. Very tanic water since there is wood in the tank, thus it is quite soft water as well. No direct sunlight. Lights run about 5-6 hours a day. I will try and post a few pics tonight.

Making changes doesn't bother me too much if it will improve the growth and overall health of the tank. I was wanting to change to a smaller substrate because that is what it seems everyone else is using. I have several plants that have seen NO growth in a years time. It appears my plants are surviving and not thriving.

What about the use of RO right for my water. I have been using my RO/DI water for WC since it does not have anything in it. This may also be hurting the growth as well.
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