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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
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1st planted tank

I started my 1st planted tank in January. I have a 30 gallon (36" long x 17" high x 12" deep) in which I plan to keep an apisto trio with some dithers. On the advice of my LFS and another forum, I put 20 pounds of "ECO COMPLETE planted aquarium substrate" in the bottom with another 20 ounds of #1 gravel on top. I wanted to use pool filter snd, but no one sells it here in the winter. The #1 is only slightly larger.

I also purchased a Coralife T5 with a 6700k & a Colormax bulbs (21 wats each). This gives me a little less that 2 w per gallon. I planned on a low tech aquarium. The main goal was the fish, but I aslo want the plants to thrive.

Again, with the advice of the LFS, I planted mixed swords, valisnaria, wysteria, water sprite and some small crypts. They suggested that I would not need to fertilize for a year or more because of the ECO Complete.

Everything seemed to be ok at first. I had some brown tips and lost some of the leaves on the swords, but assumed that emergent vs imergent. Then some of the valisnaria leaves were dying. Onto the internet and read about the need for carbon. My tank is really to small for CO2 generator lurking in the back (or at least I think so), so I purchased excel and started adding. I started with 5 mls every 3 days (the 30 gal equivalent of 5 mls every other day in a 50 gallon tank), but read on this forum that the carbon containing material lasts only 24 hours, so I am now doing 3 mls every day.

Then my nitrates fell rapidly and are 0 before a water change and 5 afterwards (my tap water is 5). Back to the LFS. They suggested that my swords were heavy feaders and would benefit from fertilizer tabs. I bought Flourish tabs (Seachem) and put one under each sword. I still have black spots on some of the sword leaves and one or two have dying leaves. And now many of the valisnaria leaves are dying. The others seem to be ok. I have some green algae on the back of the tank, but nothing bad.

I have 10 silver tipped tetras, 1 small BN pleco, 1 oto and a synodontis cat left over from the tanks previous life.

I am at a point where I don't know what I don't know and am in information overload. I really need some steps to follow to see what is wrong. I came across this forum in a thread on another, fish based forum. I figured if I can't get help here, I won't get it anywhere.

Here are my water conditions:

pH - 7.2 - 7.4
Ammonia - 0
Nitrites - 0
Nitrates - 5
ppm GH/KH - 89.5 (5 drops)

I have some pictures, but have to figure out how to post them

HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 03:18 PM
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From what I read, you are only adding Excel and root tabs for the plants. You should be adding a source of macro and micro nutrients. Your nitrates seem low too... you want to shoot for 10-20ppm nitrates. I can't help with premixed bottles as I use dry mixes... maybe someone else can chime in with that...

What kind of T5s, NO or HO? You also stated you wanted to stay low tech, so adding CO2 will throw you into med/high tech.

You seem to be doing everything else fine



For posting pics, go get an account with photobucket or imageshack. Both are free image hosting sites. When you upload pics to the site, they will give you a [IMG] code to use on the forums


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Who would have thought that plants like dirt?!
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
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I think it is NO (normal output?). It sits right on my glass lid. It does not sit up in the air on legs.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 03:35 PM Thread Starter
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I figured out pictures. Please see the attached site:

http://profile.imageshack.us/user/summerboy1958/
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 03:43 PM Thread Starter
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Another note, I had been leaving the light on for 12 to 14 hours a day, under the mistaken assumption that the more light the better.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 03:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by summerboy1958 View Post
Another note, I had been leaving the light on for 12 to 14 hours a day, under the mistaken assumption that the more light the better.
8 hours a day is recommended... could be why you are getting algae. I only keep my lights on for 7 hours, was 6 hours because I had an algae outbreak


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Who would have thought that plants like dirt?!
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 04:06 PM
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Like shinycard said you are going to have to add some type of micro and macro ferts. You will also need some CO2. Since you have a 30 you could probably get away with doing a DIY. You could inject CO2 and keep low lights levels with no problem.


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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 04:36 PM
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According to Hoppy's lighting charts, (sticky in the lighting forum) you are in the low/med light range. There's no reason you can't keep this a low tech tank with no co2, though I think you'll have to keep dosing the eco complete. Shorten the photoperiod to 8-10 hrs to help fight the algae. And unless i'm missing something, the tank has only been setup around a month or so. Give it some time, plants are known to die back a bit initially. Search through the low tech forum for ideas and answers. I have dirt tanks so I don't dose, but my 40B has the same length and almost the same height. I run 2 t8's on the glass 10 hrs a day, no ferts, no co2, great growth. While we're at it, I would recommend at least another 5 oto's, they'll be happier and will go to town on the algae.

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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 05:10 PM Thread Starter
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Is there a sticky that talks micro and macro ferts so i can have a clue?
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 05:18 PM
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Go to the tank specifics there is a area just for fertilizing I think your off to a great start, my only recommendation, if your total substrate is more then about 2" get some trumpet snails to help areate? The strata

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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 05:20 PM
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There are stickies in the fertilizer/water parameters section about dosing regimes, and i'm sure many relevant threads too.

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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 08:42 PM Thread Starter
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So I followed some threads and saw the sticky on dosing, but they all seem to talk about highly lit tanks with CO2. That really doesn't match mine, I don't think. There were also comments about increasing hardness to buffer the pH, but with my plans for apisto's I don't think I want to do that.

I'll search some more to see if I find anything on low light, but if anyone who has a low tech aquarium and has a dosing regime that works, I'd love to hear about it. I plan on going to LFS this Friday and getting flourish, to get some nutrients into the tank.
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-23-2012, 02:55 PM
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I would search the low tech section.

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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-23-2012, 03:13 PM
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Check out http://calc.petalphile.com/

Once you enter in your info for tank and ferts, there is a section called "I am calculating for", you should check "EI low light weekly". This is what I use for my low tech 15G. I dose my macros on my water change day (sunday) and then I dose my micros the following day (monday) and then I'm done for the week until sunday. It's pretty easy


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Who would have thought that plants like dirt?!
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-23-2012, 05:11 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry for being slow. What is EI?
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