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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-17-2014, 01:48 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
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New to the plant life

Hello all! I'm so glad to find a great forum to discuss aquarium plants. I have had a 55g tank for three years now and only kept fish. I've spent my entire childhood with fish tanks. Successfully bred several types of fish from convicts to all livebearers. I originally bought the tank for african cichlids. I moved from Kansas to Missouri and gave away most of the fish to survive the move. I kept two pleco's and the large synodontis catfish. Since then I've bought several fish (found in signature). I believe the nitrogen cycle is doing just great as my tank has always been crystal clear and disease free. All my fish have survived minus the swordtails that i did not take the time to examine when purchased. Thus the reason I have a platy instead of a female swordtail and a male swordtail whose sword was missing at purchase, so needless to say they fought each other to death. What I'd like to know is, do I have a sufficient light source for amazon swords, anubias and java moss? Is it worth my while to make a DIY CO2 generator for my tank? Should I purchase fertilizer or are there DIY fertilizers out there that would make my plants flourish? Thanks in advance.

Marineland 55g LED Kit. 48"x13"x20", 84 White/6 Blue .11mW LEDs (9.02 Total Watts) 990 Total LUX; Lumens @12" 620; Penguin 350 Filter; Fully submersible 200W Heater. 3" gravel Substrate. 4x Amazon Swords, 5xunidentified plants from LFS. Fish: 1xSynodontis Catfish, 1xRed Tailed shark, 1xMale Guppy, 4xFemale Guppies, 1xMale Platy, 1xMale Swordtail, 5xNeon Tetras, 5xZebrafish, 2xAlbino Bristlenose Pleco, 3xTiger Barbs (Trying to get rid of), 2xAlbino Tiger Barbs (Trying to get rid of).

Last edited by thunderskah; 03-18-2014 at 01:39 AM. Reason: add picture of aquarium
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-17-2014, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
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Just saw a video on youtube
and thought I might try to build a 2 foot canister filter for my 55g tank. I believe it's main purpose will be to aid in the nitrogen cycle by adding lots of biological media. I'm also thinking about removing my carbon filters and inserting filter floss in its place. Anyone have any thoughts?
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-18-2014, 12:22 AM
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Hi Thunderskah

Welcome!

For low light, the java moss and anubias should definitely work. I think amazon sword should too but I'm not too sure about that since I've never grown it.

For your fixture, see if you see a PAR value for it. That's the one that you can match up against this thread to see if you have low, medium, or high light. https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=160396
I think marinelands usually come in from low to medium par. There's a marineland single and double bright measurement in the thread above but I'm not sure if your 55g led kit qualifies as either of them.

Nonetheless, you'll probably find out in the beginning that it's almost too easy to have too much light so I don't see why you can't use what you have. Most people fall into the trap of getting a high light and then getting tons of algae in their tank and crappy plant growth.

DIY CO2 should help but you'll probably see the most gains if you fertilize in addition. There's macro and micro fertilizers. Most of the fertilizers that you purchase at the pet store will fall under micro fertilizers. I think most pet stores are very unprepared for planted tank setups. There's guys who sell macro fertilizers in the for sale section here. If you're lucky enough to have a local fish store who's got some knowledge of planted tanks, maybe they'll sell some macro fertilizers too.

Those are the answers to the questions you asked, but I'm sure you'll have more questions and probably some you didn't ask so, as you start with this hobby, what you need is this:
Darkblade's Primer to Planted tanks

Also, just to show how little you need to get your tank running, there's a low tech section of these forums that you can peruse where guys are running fish tanks in jars. No co2, no filtration, etc.

As for your DIY canister, it sounds interesting but it seems like a lot of maintenance. Your penguin is a hang on back (HOB) filter if I'm correct, those are one of easiest things to take care of. If you find that you don't want to mess with co2, I personally think that type of filter is one of the simplest to use. Even IF you mess with co2, there's ways to get an HOB going with it, but it gets tricky. The other problem is expense and time to tinker with that DIY canister. You also have to get a good non leaking pump, which can drive your costs up. You may find that adding together all the materials and pump, you can find either a secondhand eheim in the for sale section or a new sunsun canister for roughly the same cost. Other than that, I'll readily admit that it's pretty cool if that's your thing and it should work fine.

And yes, carbon filters are sort of passe now I think it's because we've figured out that if you're cheap (like me) and end up keeping the carbon over a few months when you should've change it out, the carbon ends up leaching the impurities it sucked up originally back into the water. Filter floss should work fine. Even better is something called poret foam, but it's kind of costly.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-18-2014, 01:32 AM Thread Starter
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ipkiss, thanks for the quick reply. Java moss has been shipped and I'm awaiting its arrival. I'll attach it to my rocks and hopefully it'll take off and spread to most of them. I've also purchased a master test kit online. Once it arrives I'll test my water parameters and see what I can do to make my plants more successful.
I've researched my PAR value online and it says I have 990 PAR/LUX this seems really high compared to the thread you provided. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Darkblade's Primer was a great read. Thanks.
I'm becoming more and more fascinated by shrimp and would like to know if they would survive with my current stock of fish?
I've also found a pretty gnarly piece of driftwood near my home and have been soaking it for several weeks.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-18-2014, 01:36 AM Thread Starter
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I've scrubbed and boiled the driftwood and as stated before it's been soaking for at least 3 weeks now. It has been sitting in my unused bathroom with no lights and has grown some white hair like substance on it. Can anyone identify what it is and what I might be able to do to get rid of it? Sorry for all the bubbles, I'd just finished changing the water when I took the photos.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-20-2014, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
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Just got my freshwater master test kit in the mail. Tested my water and here are the results:
PH High test of 8.0
Ammonia 0ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
Nitrate 80ppm
Now to do some research on what to do about these.

Marineland 55g LED Kit. 48"x13"x20", 84 White/6 Blue .11mW LEDs (9.02 Total Watts) 990 Total LUX; Lumens @12" 620; Penguin 350 Filter; Fully submersible 200W Heater. 3" gravel Substrate. 4x Amazon Swords, 5xunidentified plants from LFS. Fish: 1xSynodontis Catfish, 1xRed Tailed shark, 1xMale Guppy, 4xFemale Guppies, 1xMale Platy, 1xMale Swordtail, 5xNeon Tetras, 5xZebrafish, 2xAlbino Bristlenose Pleco, 3xTiger Barbs (Trying to get rid of), 2xAlbino Tiger Barbs (Trying to get rid of).
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