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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-16-2007, 08:08 PM Thread Starter
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Newbie in need of help

Wonderful website here with lots of friendly people.
I'm another newbie in need of help. I have a 55 gal tank with 2 55 Watt cf lights cycling at 9 hours a day. I have 6 anubias and 4 java ferns that seem to slowly dying off and a big algae problem - both brown and green all over rocks, glass, and equipment. The leaves of my plants start with small brown dots, and the dots grow to large brown clumps that seem to 'eat' the leaves away but leave behind the "veins" of the leaves as they turn brown and die.
The tank is over a year old with about a dozen mbuna cichlids, but I just started adding light and plants about 2-3 weeks ago. My fish don't appear to be eating the plants. I haven't started ferts yet, I do about 25% water changes each week, and my parameters are 'normal', but the water is slightly hard. (I have a limited paper stick-test type test kit). Substrate is plain old smal gravel without any additives, I have 2 HOB filters, 2 thermometers, and took out my power head to keep the plants from flying away . I haven't added snails or shrimp as algae eaters - they would probably be food for my cichlids. Any thoughts or ideas? Thanks!
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-16-2007, 09:22 PM
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Sounds like your problems could probably be sovled with ferts and CO2.

Check out Rex's site: www.rexgrigg.com. It's always a good place to start.

And welcome, BTW

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-17-2007, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks. I'll try the ferts first - but can they add to my algae problem? I also tried to stay away from plants that would need CO2; I'm new and not quite ready to jump into that yet. Here are a few pics of my tank; they help picture it better:

http://mrstevevaughn.googlepages.com/steve%27stank

As you can see, that green and brown stuff is everywhere. i'm just not sure if it is what is dooming my plants. Any other advice would be great!
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-18-2007, 01:44 PM
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Read my Guide.

Fertilizers don't cause algae.

Fertilizers that are not in balance cause algae.

Get some decent test kits. The strips are not worth the paper they are placed on. Telling us your parameters are "normal" means nothing. Normal for a sewage treatment plant or normal for RO water? See what I mean.

Also your plant load is very light for that amount of light. You have no fast growers. IMHO you don't have a planted tank. You have an fish tank with a few plants in it.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-18-2007, 05:24 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for setting me straight, Rex and Solstice.
So, I need to:
1. Re-read the guide, re-read the guide again, and for fun, read it again (just like I tell my students to do…).
2. Buy a good test kit today, get real numbers.
3. Bulk up to fast growing plants to work on a ‘real’ planted tank to use the nutrients in the water instead of leaving them for algae.
4. Learn to use fertilizers correctly.

As soon as I get numbers for my parameters with that new test kit, I’ll be asking for favorite fast growers and places to buy plants (online?). My local pet super stores like to sell terrestrial plants for aquarium use…
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-18-2007, 06:05 PM
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In the cycling section of the Guide there is a list of fast growers. It doesn't include all of them but most of the fastest growers are there. As a general rule stem plants are almost always fast growers.
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