Long time aquarist, still a total noob - general advice? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-03-2014, 11:48 PM Thread Starter
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Long time aquarist, still a total noob - general advice?

Hi everyone,

I've been keeping aquariums for at least 15 years with varying levels of success - from the early days of fish dying because I didn't know what water changes were when I was 18, to pointlessly buying plants which would just die (except hornwort of course), to throwing money at every problem and hoping for the best.

First, here is my tank, and be warned it is an ugly tank:

http://imgur.com/tx18ih9

46G euro with a brand new 4-lamp T5HO fixture (which I am currently running an old 6700k bulb, two 10k bulbs, and one actinic bulb which I will replace soon).

The plants you see are multiple Amazon Swords which I have had for 1-2 years and either just do well enough to maintain or slowly dwindle in health, a couple of different Anubias species, a Crypt, and some Java Fern which seems to grow well then die off.

My first major revelation of planted tanks was lighting - stock lighting was never enough, regardless of whether or not you got 'plant bulbs'. T5NO might not even be enough - you needed T5HO - and thanks to this I have been able to keep the plants you see instead of them simply being dead within 3 months.

However, there seems to be a lot of conflicting information online, so I wanted to ask for some general advice:
  • How important are ferts? I have some Seachem Flourish that I dose once a week...if I remember. Never seemed to make much difference
  • Lighting - I recently upgraded from a dual lamp T5HO to a quad lamp T5HO hoping that the extra light will help make the difference. Any advice here? My swords once did much better than they are now, with no ferts or CO2, but instead having my dual T5HO and also a T5NO dual as well (it later stopped working).

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-04-2014, 01:59 AM
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Amazon Swords are root feeders, are you fertilizing with root tablets that get pushed under the plant in the substrate. Several people sell them on this site. That would explain them slowly dying.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-04-2014, 02:12 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lab_Man View Post
Amazon Swords are root feeders, are you fertilizing with root tablets that get pushed under the plant in the substrate. Several people sell them on this site. That would explain them slowly dying.
Yep.

Not super regularly - I probably put the root tabs down every 3 months or so.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-04-2014, 01:07 PM
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What brand of root tabs? How many? I usually put 2-3 around my heavy root feeders, like swords and crypts. Then spread out several more throughout the substrate. I use Seachem tabs but others use homemade tabs to great success. Haven't heard how good API tabs are.
You also need more fish, Fish poop= great fertilizer.


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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-04-2014, 03:12 PM Thread Starter
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I use the Seachem root tabs and generally put one around my bigger swords or clump. Every so often I suck all the iron up as black powder when cleaning the gravel so I replace.

You can't tell from the picture but I'm actually a little overstocked - 3 fully grown pseudotropheus aceis, 2 fully grown yellow labs, at least 8 kribensis (3 pairs + extras), several BNPs and a single convict cichlid who is very old and I refused to get rid of.
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