Help for newbie to planted tanks - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-10-2006, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
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Help for newbie to planted tanks

Hello everybody,
Long time reader, first time poster. I am hoping to draw from the experience & knowledge of the people here that know alot more about a planted tank than I do. I recently decided to dive into the world of planted tanks. I did alot research prior to making the switch because I wanted to do it right & wanted to have healthy plants. A little background on my setup...I have a 55 gallon tank that has been established for about 3 years. Currently there is about (18) 1"-2" fish in the tank. I have tried to go with the standard community tank with the Tiger Barbs, platies, misc barbs, etc...I have a compact flourescent light fixture that produces 220W using (2) 8,000k & (2) 6,700 bulbs which were replaced new within the last month. I have researched the easiest beginner plants to start with. As a result, I have purchased the following plants: Amazon Swords, Anacharis, Micro Sword, Anubius, aponogeton bulbs purchased at Walmart (I know, I don't normally do that...), Wisteria, & Dwarf Hairgrass. These plants I have read are pretty good for beginners. Anyhow, I have added a DIY co2 system which I am unhappy with at the moment & am replacing with a 5lb bottle & regulator, etc. I have been using the DIY system for about (1) month.

On to my questions, I have the lights on for 11 hours a day with the DIY co2 system, which is severly lacking in my opinion. The temperature is kept at 76-78 degrees. I have regular grade black aquarium gravel with 1lb of pure Laterite per gallon (55lbs) in the tank, about 2-3 inches total, with MT snails to help aerate the gravel. The plants are not growing as well as I had expected; I like to do things right when I do them & it's really bugging me because I don't know if I doing something wrong or just being impatient. I have read that people add vermiculite & regular garden soil to aid in the growing, which really helps. However, I have (2) Tetra Power Filters for the 55 gallon tanks, a Fluval 305 Canister filter with a spray bar & (2) tetra powerheads & I'm worried that if I add soil it will create havok with the filtration (too much filtration?). (1) powerhead is used during the day to distribute the co2 & the other is used to add oxygen to the tank at night when the lights are off (they are on a day/night timer). Does anybody see anything that jumps out at them that I am doing wrong? I would love to have a flourishing planted tank, but it just isn't happening for me at the moment - HELP! I don't know if I need to decrease the fish load & decrease the filtration to help with the plant growth or what. Anyone have any ideas? Sorry for the long post!
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-10-2006, 10:29 PM
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That is a pretty long photoperiod for DIY CO2....also, are you dosing ferts?
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-10-2006, 10:37 PM Thread Starter
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Currently, I am putting the required dose of "Leaf Zone" in the tank every Friday. I purchased some tablets, however, I have yet to use them.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-10-2006, 11:48 PM
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Take a few minutes and read my Guide.

Also do you really have 55 lbs of laterite in the tank or 55 ounces?

Get some real fertilizers and you won't be adding dirt to your tank. Leaf zone is all but worthless in a planted tank. It does add a bit of iron but that's about it.

Where in Oregon do you live? It's a big state.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-10-2006, 11:56 PM
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A good place to get fertilizers is here
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-11-2006, 12:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newbie06
Currently, I am putting the required dose of "Leaf Zone" in the tank every Friday. I purchased some tablets, however, I have yet to use them.
Me thinks you need to do even more reading. Definitely read Rex's Guide. www.rexgrigg.com also check under water parameters on this site and read the stickies, and use the search function for fertilizers. Another good site to read is www.barrreport.com and check the calculator on chuck's pages. You can find it on the search feature and some stickies as well. You cannot run that light and DIY CO2 <not enough means algae bloom sure to come> and not fertilize.What is your KH GH and PH?
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-11-2006, 12:29 AM Thread Starter
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Love your guide...it's perfect...straight & to the point! We need more of that. I live in Bend. I have 55 Ounces to 55 gallons of water, the recommendation on the box...Sorry for the misinformation. I will look into some better fertilizer options per your guide. My water parameter are as follows:
Ph-6.2
Kh-3
Gh-2

Maybe I need to give it a little more time, it's been about 3 weeks since I added the plants. They do not seem to by dying, but they don't seem to be growing real fast either - I'm perplexed. Thanks for any help any can provide!
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-11-2006, 12:54 AM
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If the plants don't have food they can't grow.

www.gregwatson.com is the source and my Guide should help you with what you need to buy.

If you lived locally I could set you up with some ferts to get started. And you really do need to work on getting a pressurized CO2 system. You can set up a basic manual pressurized system for around $150.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-11-2006, 01:36 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Rex. I appreciate all of your help. I will definitely check that out. I have a co2 regulator W/ a solenoid on order from my local Airgas which should be in on Monday. I have ordered about 95% of the components needed for a automatic co2 system, which will be 100% ordered by tomorrow. At least I know I'm on the right track. I'll post some pictures in the next few weeks to chart my progress (which I'm hoping I have).
Thanks for all the help everyone!
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-11-2006, 02:54 AM
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You paid way too much for a regulator with solenoid if you ordered it from Airgas.
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