Oh so many questions from the Newbie!!! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-09-2003, 02:56 PM Thread Starter
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Howdy Guys, im new to this forum, others may have seen me in various others on the web. Anyways, i have always been interested in aquriums, and especially having nice plants, but ofcourse i cant get them to grow. Now im a bit older i am looking more into the hobby and trying to hone some skills. So i have alot of questions on the planted tank.
My tank specs are as below, im a poor uni student with a small dorm room and little money, but want big things.
So let the questions begin.
Firstly, my tank has pure gravel, from research this isnt enough for a planted tank, i need flourite. But i cant find it, can you please give me all the alternatives that can be used instead, preferabbly something that comes from a local hardware store.
Second is lighting, oh my god am i confused with this whole kelvin scale. I am on my way to becoming a biochemist (give me another year) so i know plants absorb light most strongly in the red and blue spectrums, but most the bulbs dont give the spectrum, just kelvin rating. So what do i use, some say 6000K and others 9000, grrr. Currently i am using a sun glo 4200 K bulb at 15W in my normal desktop lamp. From reading this is enough wattage, 3wpg, but is the spectrum going to be enough???

Sorry if im getting too basic for u experienced plant aquariasts, but these questions need to be asked. If i have missed similar questions in the archives, just link me too them, i did look but i still gto confused with that damn heat scale.

ok thanx guys
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-09-2003, 03:58 PM
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Welcome to the Tank...
Quote:
Originally Posted by grungefreek
Firstly, my tank has pure gravel, from research this isnt enough for a planted tank, i need flourite. But i cant find it, can you please give me all the alternatives that can be used instead, preferabbly something that comes from a local hardware store.
That is not true... you don't need flourite to grow plants, definitely not, although sometimes you can get that impression when reading things. Pure gravel with fishpoop is fine, you can supplement it with "Root tabs" for heavy root feeders (rosette plants like swords and cryptocorynes). If you have a lot of dough you can get flourite and then wonder if it makes plants grow any faster.

Quote:
Originally Posted by grungefreek
Second is lighting, oh my god am i confused with this whole kelvin scale. I am on my way to becoming a biochemist (give me another year) so i know plants absorb light most strongly in the red and blue spectrums, but most the bulbs dont give the spectrum, just kelvin rating. So what do i use, some say 6000K and others 9000, grrr. Currently i am using a sun glo 4200 K bulb at 15W in my normal desktop lamp. From reading this is enough wattage, 3wpg, but is the spectrum going to be enough???
Don't worry too much about the spectrum, again it's something you get the impression without it plants don't grow, which isn't right. 3W/gal is fine if it is fluorescent light. I am not familiar with the bulb you mentioned, but if it is a incandescent bulb I would replace that with a compact fluorescent bulb with about 6500K which will give you more light for your watts, less heat and a whiter, more natural light.
Once you have more light, you can start to think about adding some fertilizers (I'd start with Iron and Traces) and perhaps CO2. Lots of good reading on this forum. But a five gallon tank is really small and difficult to balance... better get something bigger


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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-09-2003, 05:27 PM
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"[The Kelvin scale] was developed by heating a carbon filament which [Lord William Thomson] Kelvin considered to totally light-absorbing. Lord Kelvin observed that the hotter the "black body" (carbon filament) became the bluer the radiated light became, and as the filament cooled down the radiated light became redder. When the filament was heated to 3,200 degrees centigrade (from absolute zero) the (carbon filament) emitted a fairly white light. Thus 3200 degrees Kelvin is considered the "standard" temperature reading for interior white light." - http://www.csun.edu/~hchum001/bookca...96/kelvin.html

The Kelvin temp of a bulb doesn't tell us the spectrum of the light, it shows us the percieved color of the sum of the light. Experience has shown us that bulbs arround 6400-6700K tend to work well, even thought each flourescent bulb emits light at different spectrums, depending on the phosphors used in the manufacture.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-14-2003, 08:55 AM Thread Starter
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Thanx for the advice. I saw a neat cheapo ten gallon setup on the board here which had kitty litter and peat moss to replace flourite. If i set my tank up again ill do that and see if i can get the plants to grow. I have a fair few things which will make my task pretty hard. First is the filter, i use an air powered corner filter, and this will definately decrease CO2 for plants to use. The problem is that i cant really replace it with anything else cause anything else will create too much water flow for my betta. Here in Australia it seems we only get the "normal" size filters which are made for a minumum of ten gallons. I searched for ones for 2.5 gals etc, like azoo tiny filters and stuff, but alas no luck at all.
I also have the problem of having to move the tank 6 hours back to my home when uni finishes after every year, and then back again after 3 months when uni starts again. So in this movement the tank needs to be completely pulled down which will most likely wreck roots and what not.

So now onto my light. Well the light i have is just a normal 18 inch desktop lamp. The bulb i have says it is T-8, 15W with a lux of 80 for general purpose aquarium lighting . i think it may be made by hagen as it has there web addy on the side. I got it cause it was 1/2 the price of the "proper" plant bulb, thought it may work. I should call it a tube, cause its just a fluoro tube.
heres the bulb i have
http://www.hagen.com/usa/aquatic/pro...01015900020101

Hope that link works, never done one on this board
As for upgrading the tank, well im thinking i should have gone a little larger. This one is 16 inches in length, i want a 20 inch one. I have a 24 inch one at home but my college room is too small to fit it anywhere, oh well ill see what happens, wont be doing anything till next year after exams.

Ok well thoughts and opinions, thanx guys
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-14-2003, 09:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grungefreek
Here in Australia it seems we only get the "normal" size filters which are made for a minumum of ten gallons. I searched for ones for 2.5 gals etc, like azoo tiny filters and stuff, but alas no luck at all.
Actually Adelaide Aquariums sell the Azoo Palm Mignon for quite a reasonable price (you have to email them to find the price though, they don't put out price lists on their website, or you can PM me since I have the cost for it + shipping to Brisbane as of a couple of weeks ago).

http://www.adelaideaquariums.com.au

I couldn't see what size your tank is from your post, but I think it's 5 gallons, so the Mignon might be too small? I'm thinking of getting a 5.5 gallon for my betta and will probably go for an AquaClear Mini, if I can afford it (yep, still at "poor uni student" level, for another couple of weeks anyway :) )
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-15-2003, 10:43 AM Thread Starter
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Howdy Estel, nice to see another aussie uni student on the board. Well my tank is 5 gallon and that filter would be too small. I just wanted something smaller than an aqua clear mini. I got told any filter other than air or sponge would create too strong a current for a betta in the 5 gal. I would like to upgrade if the current wasnt too strong, hence i wanted to find a filter smaller than the mini. What i really want is a small internal power filter, but all the ones i see are too big for my tank. I might consider something simialr to the aqua clear mini, something cheaper tho, $60 is too expensive compared to others that are similar. Well if ya find any deals on good filters pm and ill do the same if i find any.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-15-2003, 11:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grungefreek
Howdy Estel, nice to see another aussie uni student on the board. Well my tank is 5 gallon and that filter would be too small.
That's what I concluded too. You'd need two :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by grungefreek
I just wanted something smaller than an aqua clear mini. I got told any filter other than air or sponge would create too strong a current for a betta in the 5 gal. I would like to upgrade if the current wasnt too strong, hence i wanted to find a filter smaller than the mini. What i really want is a small internal power filter, but all the ones i see are too big for my tank. I might consider something simialr to the aqua clear mini, something cheaper tho, $60 is too expensive compared to others that are similar. Well if ya find any deals on good filters pm and ill do the same if i find any.
Yeah, $60 is a tall order (can't wait till I start earning full time!). I'm not so worried about current - I just want something that will do a better job than the air driven sponge filter I have right now :| And I've also decided not to believe anything that the people in my local LFS and LPS say without my own research agreeing :) I was actually thinking about buying a small powerhead and doing a DIY filter. This of course would probably end in disaster, but I can dream. :D
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-15-2003, 12:47 PM
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I have a Betta in a 5.5 gallon with a AC Mini on it. I just turn the filter to the lowest setting and cut some sponge for over the intake tube and he is fine in the tank.

$60 even in Australia for a AC Mini is nuts. I can get them on sale here in the US for around $11.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-15-2003, 01:18 PM
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What kind of plants do you have? You may just have slow growers. Try water sprite, anacharis, valis...... Java fern can be very slow growing, and is common.

Let us know, maybe a simple change in plants would make you (and the tank) happy
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-15-2003, 05:28 PM
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What are the measurements on your 5 gallon?

I setup a 5 gallon (11W * 11D* 12T) just a few weeks ago on a slightly larger but still limited budget(>100$ for everything). It consists of...
1 inch laterite/gravel
1 inch of HD playsand on top
1 flat tall piece of drift wood on the back with a single java fern
5 or so stems of red ludwiga in the back left corner
6 dwarf chain swords around the ludwiga
6 * 8 inch patch of Glossostigma
small clump of java moss
2 * 10watt screw in PC's from All Glass Aquarium
penguin bio wheel mini for filter

I went with the Penguin Mini filter because you can also adjust the flow to make it less turbulant in your aquarium. I use 1 mL of Flourish Excel every couple of days and 1 mL of trace+ iron every week. All the plants are growing well including the glosso and algea growth has been kept to a minimum with a Nerite snail, MTS's and ghost shrimp for algea control, not enough grows to sustain even one oto. I don't know if this is the perfect formula for a heavily planted nano but its been up and running for a couple weeks now with few problems.

Oh and fish population consists of 6 neons and 2 corys
Good luck on your aquarium :-D


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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-15-2003, 10:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Grigg
I have a Betta in a 5.5 gallon with a AC Mini on it. I just turn the filter to the lowest setting and cut some sponge for over the intake tube and he is fine in the tank.
Good to hear :) I thought something like that would work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Grigg
$60 even in Australia for a AC Mini is nuts. I can get them on sale here in the US for around $11.
Well, $AU60 :) Which makes it like $US30, which is not quite so extraordinarily expensive, but still ouch-y. The cheapest I've found it is actually $AU51-ish (plus shipping). Must find job!
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-16-2003, 01:56 AM Thread Starter
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Well it seems that ac mini's will work in the tank. I was just given advice on the fish forums that it would be to strong for a betta in a 5 gal. Ill see how the funds go. As for plants go, i dont know what they are called. I just asked for something that was a lower light plant, ill search round and find what they are. As for slow growing, well they arent growing at all, just dieing. The roots and stems seem to rot off in the gravel and then they just keep floating up untill they are too small to plant anymore. I thinkl it must be the airator doing the harm. After these plants die ill get some advice on which ones grow the best under my conditions.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-16-2003, 02:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grungefreek
Well it seems that ac mini's will work in the tank. I was just given advice on the fish forums that it would be to strong for a betta in a 5 gal. Ill see how the funds go.
Go check your PMs RE this. :)

*wishes there was an aquarium equivalent of razorprices.com just for .au*
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-16-2003, 04:42 AM
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Hi there, listen you could do several things with your existing setup. First you could get some dupla laterite from you local fish shop for the substrate.

Next I have a eheim internal filter which cost me $100.00 around two years ago and I could if you pay the postage send it to you. (caught me on a good day, and I once was a starving student. Can't feed a dog on Austudy.)

Or if you like you could visit seaview aquariums site. They are located in Adelaide and they have great deals on hob mini's.

Best of luck and let me know what you want to do?

Paul
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-16-2003, 03:05 PM
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How about the Resun 2001:

http://www.aquariumsrus.com.au/filtersp.htm

Apparently it has even less flow than the AC Mini
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