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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 11:37 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy new to the planted game

hello everyone,

Im pretty new to this whole planted tank thing, ive been into fish and aquariums for awhile now. I just never really took the chance in live plants. I have a 30gl tank that i have 3 Bolivian rams, a dwarf fire gourami, 2 angelicous loach (for my snail outbreak) and 4 red minor tetras. I just have regular gravel in the tank and some plants. I have a 24inch T8 flora bulb that has 17 watts. I have some Java ferns that have grown onto a piece of drift wood, an anubias that also has grown onto the log. I also have some floating hornwart and some Amazon Vals... some advice would be great. The anubias and javas are growning but the vals dont seem to be growing at all...
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 11:44 PM
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Sounds like your plants need some food. Do you use fertilizers at all? If your substrate is straight gravel then some plant tabs may be in order... as well as some liquid fertilizers for the fern and the anubias. Put the tabs around the roots of the Vals, as they are root feeders. The rest of your plants will simply benefit from liquid fertilizers once or twice a week as dosage on the bottle prescribes. I recommend Seachem's Flourish comprehensive for the liquid fert... as for the tabs, other members may have better experience with them than I do but i would think that for starting, any will do.

Hornwort is a weed (and it grows like one) and will grow in any condition so no worries there.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-23-2012, 12:24 AM Thread Starter
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i have just recently started using fert like last week its called NutraFin plant grow.... iron enriched. It was like 1 of 2 different plant Ferts at my Lps.... What do the tabs do? do they basically just promote root growth by putting the nutrients into the gravel causing the vals root system to expand towards the tab? Also what are some other good plants that might do decent in the limited setup i have?
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-23-2012, 04:09 AM
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Originally Posted by anonrider12 View Post
i have just recently started using fert like last week its called NutraFin plant grow.... iron enriched. It was like 1 of 2 different plant Ferts at my Lps.... What do the tabs do? do they basically just promote root growth by putting the nutrients into the gravel causing the vals root system to expand towards the tab? Also what are some other good plants that might do decent in the limited setup i have?
Plant-Gro i've used... and in the end it didnt do the job right... (for me). Consider going the Seachem "Flourish comprehensive" route.

Some plants take nutrients from the water column and some plants get them from the substrate. That's just the way it is. Your java fern and anubias are getting ferts from the water column because they don't root into the substrate. Your vals are using nutrients from the substrate, because they grow roots and will do better if the nutrients come from the root system. If they don't have a rich substrate to take from (read: soil or clay or whatever) they will need some kind of supplement. That's where the tabs come in. Only use the tabs around the "root" plants, like the vals.

As for other plants to use... look for hygrophila (any kind). That stuff will make your tank look like it's overgrown in no time

Hawkian

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-23-2012, 05:10 AM
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Hi and welcome ... although I feel silly saying that because I'm so new, too.

So ... 2 things:

1. I put some vals in a tank with basically the same plants you have, all doing fine, and it was like the vals took one look around & then died. However ... they are coming back. It doesn't sound like you've had yours for long, so maybe they're just adjusting and need time. I'd be hesitant to start worrying too much about what you're not doing for them, because that's potentially a long, long road of buying things, tweaking, etc., and basically being stressed and losing some of the pleasure that comes from enjoying your tank. I'd first just wait and see if their problem was just stress from acclimating.

2. Re: other plants, I have some water sprite in my low-tech (Aqueon package 10G from Petco, with a couple of small upgrades) tank that is going absolutely gangbusters. It's also a nice contrast to the anubias and java fern type plants -- very wispy. There's a profile on this site. Of course I can't remember the latin name right now ... initials are C. t.

hope that helps a little!
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-23-2012, 07:06 AM Thread Starter
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Sweet thanks guys! ill pick up some of that Seachem's Flourish fert tomorrow. I guess ill just give it a little time. i mean i guess its a good thing that my plants aren't deciding to go off and die on me. Would it be possible for me to remove the gravel that i have in the tank and add that base layer of soil/clay/sand or what ever would be good for them then adding the gravel on top of that new layer or would that cause the tank to go into a small cycle hurting my fish potentially? Thanks for all your guys help, i can only hope to have a good looking tank when i get this down!
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-23-2012, 10:38 AM
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welcome....
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-23-2012, 02:48 PM
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Would it be possible for me to remove the gravel that i have in the tank and add that base layer of soil/clay/sand or what ever would be good for them then adding the gravel on top of that new layer or would that cause the tank to go into a small cycle hurting my fish potentially? Thanks for all your guys help, i can only hope to have a good looking tank when i get this down!
I recently did just that myself so it is possible. Is your tank cycled? if it is, then just make sure you keep your filter media without cleaning it and leave some of the mulm at the bottom of the tank when you remove your gravel. If you go the soil route, make sure you cap it with sand and not just gravel... some people are having good results with soil capped with gravel I would imagine but it was causing issues for me with high phosphates levels in the tank.

Check out this thread for more info if you want. There is a part in there that touches on proper capping and so on.

And welcome to TPT! This place is pretty awesome!

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-23-2012, 06:35 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah my tank is cycled, its been up since about December of 2010. I was just thinking about keeping the gravel as a cap since it already has all the bacteria and everything inside of it already. My only problem is that im kinda bad at keeping track of the Ph and all that jazz. I mean my fish look very healthy, i do Bi weekly water changes clean everything good. Would it be better to cap with anything other than the gravel? and what would i do with my fish while doing all of this?
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-24-2012, 03:09 AM
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The good bacteria is everywhere in your tank. Make sure you leave some of it behind and you'll be ok. That could be filter media or some of the gravel.

We all get bad at cleaning up when we should. I know I do. All I'm saying is that if you're going to use soil, cap it with sand and not with gravel. My experience is that soil capped with gravel will leach phosphates in the water more than you care to handle.

Play sand does the trick nicely. Pool filer sand is also great. Make sure you clean it.

Hawkian

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