long time fishkeeper new to plants need help - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 03:44 AM Thread Starter
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long time fishkeeper new to plants need help

Hello everyone,

I have been lurking here for month or 2 now and finally registered.
A little about my self- I have been keeping freshwater and saltwater tanks for about 25 out of the last 30 years. After the economy tanked and I lost my house I tore down my saltwater tank when I moved. It had been sitting in my garage for the last year, so I decided to set it back up. I didn't want to get back into saltwater, so I figured the next best thing was a freshwater planted tank. I have kept various plants in my freshwater tanks over the years, but never actually did a full blown planted tank.

So this is what I have

90 gallon reef ready with trickle sump
6 bulb t5ho 3 zoo-med plant lights(new) 1 zoo-med 6500k(new) 2 10k lights that came with the fixture used less then 2 months. total wattage 324 not sure what the par is.
2 lights on for 12 hours other 4 lights are on for 10 hours daily
2 bottle diy yeast co2 with a diy reactor (small powerhead into bottle, I figure its about 90% effective at mixing the co2 and water)

tank has been up and running for about 2.5 months first month was a fishless plantless cycle (ammonia dosing method)
I then added 3 platys, 3 guppies and 6 corys
2 weeks later added 10 pristella and couple of plants
last week added 9 hy511 tets and couple more plants

1 amazon sword, 1 pot of H. difformis, 1 pot of Ludwigia repens, 2 pots of bacopa monnieri, 2 apon bulbs not sure what kind (bought 1 of those packs at the petstore 2 bulbs grew. they appear to be the same kind), 1 pot of cryptocorynes wendtii, and 1 bunch of anacharis.

after adding all the fish and plants nothing was growing but the H. difformis and it was a pale yellow color. That is when I added the CO2. At about the same time I started adding flourish comp. Since then the H. difformis has exploded in growth (and its green again), along with apons.

The sword is kinda growing, but, the leaves are small and difformed. the crypts have pretty much melted, but they may have some new leaves starting not sure yet. everything else is just hanging in there, not growing but not melting.

Now the algae is starting, green algae on the driftwood, brown on the gravel. I don't mind the green on the driftwood it looks kinda nice but the brown on the gravel is starting to coat the leaves of the plants as well.

Ph 8
temp 82 (can't get it any lower with out turning the thermostat in the house down to 65, way to cold)
gh >1
kh 14 degree
ammonia 0
nitrate 0

those are the only test kits I have.

So here is my question, how do I get rid of the algae. and how do I get the rest of my plants to grow.

Less light
less duration ---or combination of both
less ferts-more ferts
more CO2

Sorry this post is so long, but I am learning real fast that I have a lot more to learn. I figured a planted take would be easier then a saltwater, I am starting to second guess that.

any suggestions or tips will be greatly appreciated,

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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 04:05 AM
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Start by reducing your light to 2 bulbs, the most widely separated pair of bulbs, on for 8 hours or so a day. Then you need to start serious feeding of the plants. Read the sticky on fertilizer dosing in the fertilizer forum and buy some KNO3, KH2PO4, CSM+B or Millers Microplex (I think that's the name), and a GH booster from Greenleaf Aquarium, which is very close to you. Then dose those per the dosage table in the sticky. Buy a drop checker, any brand or kind, cheap or expensive, and some 4 dKH standard water, and an API pH test kit. Fill the bulb of the drop checker about half full of the 4 dKH standard water and add 2-3 drops of pH test reagent. (The liquid should be a strong, but transparent blue color.) Put the drop checker in the tank some distance away from where the CO2 is introduced to the tank water. After 2-3 hours the drop checker liquid should change to a light green or yellowish green. If it doesn't, slightly increase the CO2 bubble rate, wait another 2-3 hours and again look for light green or yellowish green. Repeat until you get that color. You will now have something near the optimum level of CO2 in the water. That is adequate if you reduced your lighting as requested in the first paragraph. If you decide to keep more bulbs on - big mistake - you need to slightly increase the bubble rate again, and watch the behavior of the fish and how well the plants grow for a few days. If the plants grow better, and fish are not clustering at the surface, laying on the bottom, or getting faded colors, again slightly increase the bubble rate and watch for another week or few days as before. When you do this and don't see any improvement in the plants you can back off to the last bubble rate setting, confident that you have the optimum bubble rate.

Along with all of that, also have the filter output or a powerhead output aimed so you are getting most of the water surface covered with ripples, not splashing, but rippled. This helps keep enough oxygen dissolved in the tank water.

You will now be on the way to having a nice planted tank.

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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 04:14 AM Thread Starter
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Reducing the light will not be a problem, changing the CO2 rate will be, its a yeast reactor so I don't really have much control over it. Right now its going about 2 bubbles per second. If I added a 3rd bottle I might be able to get up to 3 bubbles. 1 bottle gives me 1 bps, 2 gives me 2 bps, so hopefully 3 will give me 3 bps, not sure though.

But thanks, I'll do my best until I can add a pressurized system.

What 2 bulbs should I be using, the plant lights, the 10k, 1 65k with 1 10k? Any suggestions?
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