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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-12-2006, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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Pimp My Aquarium

I'm pretty new to aquarium plants, although I've learned a lot reading and talking to others. My planted tank has been setup for 3 months, but so far I've never really got to a point where it looks 'good'.

I need suggestions on plant growing/care in general or any tips on anything. Tis the season for tax returns and I'm looking for some advice.

Currently I have the following plants:
Bacopa Colorata
Jungle Valisneria
Water Wisteria
Hornwort (trying to phase it out)
Glosso Stigmata

and the following fish:
1 small angelfish
3 zebra danios
1 clown plecostomus
A small army of bladder snails who are currently reaping off my laziness to eradicate them

My tank specs are as follows:
29 gallon tank
60% Black Aquarium Gravel with 40% Eco-Complete on the bottom
Eheim 2213 Filter (ehifimech, course filter pad, ehifisubstrat, fine filter pad, Seachem's Purigen for water polishing)
Hagen DIY CO2 System (considering setting up a 2L bottle in addition or Flourish Excel)
65 Watt Sattelite PC Lighting (6500k/10000k Daylight Bulb)

I currently dose 20 ppm of Nitrate via KNO3, and 2 ppm of Phopshate via KH2PO4, along with .3 grams of CSM+B or recommended hit of Flourish. I also have a 500 ML bottle Excel I bought in January that still needs to be used. I used one hit of it, not too sure how it worked. I've been told that I should probably setup a new dosing regime with more macros and micros/traces along with perhaps dosing KSO4.

My water is realtively hard (about 7 degrees GH/KH).
Here's a picture. It's rather haphazard right now as I just put in some Wisteria I got for free from the LFS (they were trying to get rid of it). Next weekend I intend to drain the tank and re-aquascape so it doesn't look so haphazard. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated though!
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-12-2006, 07:17 PM
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Purigen will strip basically everything from the water except hardness. That includes nutrients, so get ready for a huge algae outbreak.

In college....so no aquariums for a while.....
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-12-2006, 07:40 PM
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Hi MP,

You've got plenty light, lots of fertilizer, no (I am assuming) CO2, and not so many plants. Not a good combination.

I suggest to back way off on the fertilizers, unless you want to grow yourself a lot of algae.

Switching to a (or 2) 2l (or 3l) bottle(s) would probably be a good idea. Use pH to determine if it works.

I would add a lot more plants. Fast growers like hygros, water sprite, riccia. The wisteria is a good one.


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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-12-2006, 07:43 PM
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Use tall driftwood in the backround, and fill in the plants.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-12-2006, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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Hmm, I sent an email to Seachem and they said that Purigen's greatest affinity was to organic nitrogen, and does not have a negative effect on any other nutrients. I read in a post about Purigen that
"It does not remove nitrites and nitrates directly, but rather it removes dissolved organics that would otherwise break down into nitrites and nitrates."

I mainly use it as a water polisher - I'm not object to getting rid of it, however it's done wonders for making my water clear and Seachem has said that the effect on added plant nutrients (Nitrate/Phosphate/Potassium and Micros) is very miniscule to none. I'm just going by that though.

Thanks for the advice mr.gaboozlebag and waterpest. I'm definatly considering making the driftwood into the focal point of the tank and moving it to the center. I also agree with you, waterpest. That's why I added the wisteria, to hopefully soak up the nutrients. I've had little or no algae problems to date so far, however my plant growth has also not been very good.

I'm currently running the Hagen DIY CO2 system, which has raised my CO2 from 0 (according to tap water KH/GH and pH out of the tap) to around a steady 10 ppm. I'm pretty sure this isn't high enough though, and I'll definatly consider adding a 2L bottle and dosing with Excel. I've looked into pressurized CO2 instead of DIY Co2, however the intial cost of pressure CO2 is a bit too steep for me at the moment.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-12-2006, 07:51 PM
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my suggestion would be to spend some of the tax return moolah on a pressurized CO2 setup, one hagen isn't going to be near enough CO2. You should be able to get everything you need for less than $150.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-12-2006, 07:53 PM
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order a load of plants and try this out:

http://www.aquabotanic.com/dutchsecrets.htm
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-12-2006, 07:54 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbennett
my suggestion would be to spend some of the tax return moolah on a pressurized CO2 setup, one hagen isn't going to be near enough CO2. You should be able to get everything you need for less than $150.
Yeah, I've been told that I should look into pressurized and I'll definatly do that again and see how much it'd cost. I was hoping that another 2L bottle and some Flourish Excel every other day would be adequate, but I guess not.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-12-2006, 11:29 PM
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Ya need more plants...Like everyone else said!!
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-13-2006, 01:40 PM
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Quote:
Tis the season for tax returns and I'm looking for some advice.
Quote:
spend some of the tax return moolah on a pressurized CO2 setup
There you have it!
Quote:
was hoping that another 2L bottle and some Flourish Excel every other day would be adequate, but I guess not.
You CAN supply "adequate" co2 with the diy system, with another bottle and excel. But SERIOUSLY consider the absolute ease of setting up a regulator, cylinder, and reactor and watching your plants grow! It's amazing.
Quote:
a need more plants...Like everyone else said!!
agreed! ALso, avoid moving them around for a while. Let them grow big and tall, get established, then start trimming!
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-17-2006, 10:56 PM Thread Starter
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Hopefully I won't be shot for bumping this thread, but I had another question related to this issue...is my substrate okay? I have 60% black TopFin aquarium gravel and 40% eco-complete. Is the eco-complete serving any advantage? Is the current substrate okay, or should I consider 100% eco-complete - or would my money be better spent on pressurized CO2?
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-17-2006, 11:12 PM
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I'll give you a free bump. I think most people will say CO2 over anything else. Although the way I understand it, you should really be using Eco-complete only. But if it's a toss up of which to get, I would go CO2.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-17-2006, 11:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MidnightPyro
Hopefully I won't be shot for bumping this thread, but I had another question related to this issue...is my substrate okay? I have 60% black TopFin aquarium gravel and 40% eco-complete. Is the eco-complete serving any advantage? Is the current substrate okay, or should I consider 100% eco-complete - or would my money be better spent on pressurized CO2?
Nobody gets shot here. Bump as much as you would like. Better than starting 12 different threads at once.

You know, deciding between CO2 and substrate, I would say neither. For a 29 gal tank, you can - for the time being - us two 2l or 3l bottles to get more CO2, and your substrate should be alright. EC is better than gravel since it has a good CEC (Nutrient exchange capacity) while coated gravel has about nil, but if you have them mixed I wouldn't sweat it. Sit back and watch them plants growing big.

Why do you want to drain the tank to aquascape? Sounds like overkill. Just do the regular 50% water change, and while at it, move around those plants.


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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-17-2006, 11:51 PM Thread Starter
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My original plan was to drain the aquarium, although now I'm reconsidering. My major problem is it's a pain in the arse for me to get the rooted plants planted. There's probably a strategy to this, but with the water, fish, and other objects in the aquarium I just can't get the plants quite planted beneath the substrate into the eco-complete without the whole filling up too quick or unplanting half the tank in the process.

As for CO2, I'm definatly considering just going out to PetSmart and buying a T-valve, a check valve, and some tubing and using my bubble ladder as a diffuser. A 2L bottle + the regular hagen container is looking quite good right now...and the parts I need are only $5 or so bucks at PetSmart...if that'd be good enough for CO2 in my tank, it'd save me quite a bit of money

EDIT: Also, for dosing ferts, would any of you recommend K2SO4? I'm almost out of ferts.
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