Help me on my 3rd attempt on a planted tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-18-2014, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
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Help me on my 3rd attempt on a planted tank

Hello everyone I just created this account and my first time going on a forum for aquariums, I really need help on my planted tank, this is my 3rd attempt on trying to maintain a planted yeah..I failed twice and the second failure really hit me hard! First I want to tell you a little bit of my history on aquariums,Well not really a little bit, This is gonna be so long but pls stay with me you can skip the history if you want to. (english is my second/third language so pls bear with me!)

Introduction and History:
Warning : This will be too long you can skip if you want to

I live in Japan(half japanese, didnt grew up in japan) and back in 2010 I won a nano aquarium set in a lottery at a pet store the really small ones, I have no Idea how to take care of a fish I just bought 1 betta fish put gravel and water in the tank.I liked it and after a month I go back to the same pet store and bought a new nano aquarium set and 20..yes 20 neon tetras(obviously a begginer mistake)...I went to the cashier and guess what?I won a lottery again...its for a game where they gave me 3 rings and make me stand 5 meters away from sticks with the prizes name on it I have to insert the rings on the sticks by trowing them...I failed twice and on my 3rd and last try I got it!I won this

Its a 15 gallon tank and its the most used aquarium size on normal households in Japan.So basically I bought a nano aquarium with this for free.....
I still know nothing about taking care of fishes I put the betta and the 20 neons in the 15 gallon(not planted) on the third day my betta died...after a month I got like 10 neons left..I was like WTH is going on,(oh btw I was a angsty 16 yrs old back then and I didnt really consider this as being a hobby..FUC.,K the 16 year old me!!) So I FINALLY did my research about aquariums and fish and I was so AMAZED on the so many possibilities I can do with aquarium!And after a few scrolls I saw a lot of planted tanks and fell inlove with it!But I tought to my self this is imposible it looks too complicated for me I cant do this and gave up on making a planted tank before even trying.I just bought a aqua safe for fishes and liquid bacteria(they sell different types of liquid supplements here in japan and they really work, atleast for me..this is JUST the bacteria supplements section on amazon japan after buying them I also bought 2 three spotted gurami, 4 sarpae tetra and 4 pristella tetra, I add the liquid supplementations and add the fishes..months passes not a single fish died!!after a year Im left with 2 gurami, 4 sarpae and 4 pristella..then we had to move houses..a month after we move to a different house Im left with just one gurami I guess I stressed out the fishes too much when moving them since I had no experience moving them in and out of the water, I didnt bought a single fish for few months until I went on a festival and won 2 feeder gold fish,I named them jack and jill and my gurami as gumi.Since the very first time I had the 15 gallon there wasnt a time that I was able to obtain crystal clear water that I always wanted, it was always kinda yellowish and cloudy, I searched about it and messed up..I understood that the yellowish color was coming from the drift wood that I always had but I messed up the on how to remove it.I tought that by adding something like a tetra BLACKWATER it will clear up..well you already know what happened I ended up with this
..It stayed like that for months with out a single water change no fishes died.then august of 2013 came I started researching and wathcing a lot of video about planted aquariums!I want plants!So yeah I bought a new soil substrate,UV sterilizer(for crystal clear water)and a DIY CO2.All came from my wallet, I have a part time job at night.BTW DIY CO2 in japan isnt the same DIY in probably western countries such as America, we dont really make them some probably does but most buy the pre built parts and assemble them just like a custom computer, we also just buy the cheap made for aquarium small co2 cylinders I also had to give jack and jill away to my cousin. so yeah, remove 100% of the water change the substrate from gravel to soil, add the plants add water install the co2 and UV lamp add the liquid bacteria,aqua safe and other liquids as well and Immediately put the new fishes in,I tought some fishes might die after a day or two because I use the liquid supplements cycle..But not a single fish died! I guess the liquid supplements here really does work(btw my MOM bought 4 Mollies because she tought they were so cute....I always tell her not to buy a fish but she still bought them!After 3-4 days here is what it looks like!

as you can see the Alternantheras on the right side was already melting after not even a week..Actually I didnt know any of those plants names at that time except for the hair grass...Then after a month later I hit another wall!Most of my plants except the hardy ones died, the hairgrass completely melts after a week!The cause of it was lighting, I got far from enough lighting! The lighting came in the aquarium set and I can only put a single 18/20 watt flourescent lamp in there,I had a 15 gallon so yeah its barely 1 watt per gallon.I lost my motivation and stopped taking care of it co2 run out didnt bother to get a new cylinder, it looked liked this after another month..

so yeah most of the plants died but not a single fish died after 2 months, I got like 15 new fishes thrown in there on the first day but not a single one died...So I basically learned how to keep small fishes alive but cant keep the plants
I badly wanted...then I said to myself [censored][censored][censored][censored] you men!you started this dont give up now you already put so much money into this it wont hurt if you invest again!So yeah I threw all reasoning and bought a 28,800 yen(around $280) lighting system, its called the "TETRA PREMIUM LED" I think its only sold here in japan, I actually got it online for $150 brand new!Still pretty expensive for a highschool student though.It got a timer and will turn dark blue to automatically to mimic morning and eveing... I install it and this time I did some research before buying a plant, I only bought glossostigma and hairgrass, I plant them then did a 75% water change,,my gurami sometimes pick on the hairgrass, this is what it looked like in day one!

3-4 days after


did you notice the algae on the glass in the second photo?Yes!it has just been 3-4 days but the algae were growing like it was on steriods!!!It was already worst than than algae when I first failed and didnt do any water changes for a MONTH! For me it was good sign because the lighting was good enough for the algae to grow that quick, Its just algae on the glass so I can just remove it easily...or so I tought!!!The light was too overkill that one of the worst algae grew on my tank!!!First time I saw it research it and tought it was just a beard algae..I remove it by hand..then the day after was my Field trip, it was for 5 days!I was gone for 5 days and I came home to see a [censored][censored][censored][censored]ing mess!I took pictures of it but I deleted it I forgot why..But it was really bad that I tried to search for some bad planted tank algaes and most of them didnt came close to the thing in my tank!!It was like a living creature of some sort!!I tought it was black beard algae but the pictures of BBA that I saw was all short! Mine was almost reaching the surface!roughly about 15-20 cm BBA look alike! it looked like this!Im not even exaggerating!

Then I finally found what its called!Its was a STAGHORN algae a very bad case of staghorn algae!it looks worst than this staghorns!


TOLD YOU I WASNT EXAGGERATING!My new lighting system was really way overkill!I trim my plants to remove the algae, remove more than half of it then I tought ok Im gonna go find a way to raise my lighting, then...we have to move again!We move everytime my father is assigned to a different first we move in our appliances,etc. I left the tank open..after 2 days appartment owner checks for damages inside the house hes with my father.My father went out first, he didnt know the owner tought we left the aquarium lights open so the owner unplug the extension cord also disabling the heater! It was winter so you already know what happened the day after we went back to pick it up...It really hit me so hard!!!it broke my heart!It was the first time I was able to keep plants and fishes alive for a long time!It was the first time I was able to make something so beautiful!For you guys it might not look beautiful but It was the most beautiful thing I ever made!!!I am very sentimental and the thing I was sad the most was my three spotted gurami i call her gumi, it was her death that really wreck me!She was with me the very first time I learn about how to keep fishes alive, she was the only one left out from batch 2010,she survived when we moved in 2012 and outlived batch 2012!She was with me for almost 4 years all through out my trial and errors!seeing her lifeless and in-animated body was like loosing a dog!
I will never forget gumi! From December to April 2014 I left my tank completely lifeless!But it will change now!!I will never give up!not right now when I was able to keep both plants and fishes alive!Only problem is the algae and I will take care of that too!!Wish me luck in my new tank! Thanks for your time reading this!If you did then Youre AWESOME!
this is the last video of my 2nd attempt, this was taken before I noticed the staghorn, watching it again you will probably notice that there were already small signs of the staghorn algae on some plants
My 3rd and current attempt on having a planted aquarium:

Most of you probably skip the introduction, if you didnt then I really thank you!!!Below Im gonna post pictures of my current attempt on a planted aquarium I still consider myself a NEWBIE!So I really need all the advice I can get!






This time I researched heavily on almost every aspect, I have 5 types of alternantheras, hairgrass(parvula),glosso,Bacopa frill,ludwigia brevips,prixa short-leaf(note that some of this are on their japanese names because Idk what their english name is) I also do water checks now its my first time in 4 years, I use the strips. right now my levels are normal but idk know yet how to increase or decrease things like ph,kh,ammonia,nitrate,nitrite..etc. I searched about algaes too and some says a powerhead might help, and fishes loves them too, I will remove the ugly UV ster after a day or two and place the power head in there, Is it okay to put the powerhead under co2 diffuser?I have the max-jet mp400 btw.And will my fishes 6 black phantoms,5 black neon and 2 cory cats love or hate the current from a powerhead?
Any advice will greatly be appreciated!Help me continue on this hobby of mine, like hell I will give up now!There is no turning back!

another one!The milky water has been the same for about 6 hours now, I guess its what you called bacterial bloom?If it is then its good right!I added liquid bacteria around 3 times of what a 15 gallon needed since I replace the filter foam.This is the 3rd day since I added that and the fishes too, In my eyes its a bacterial bloom Im not sure though.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-19-2014, 01:15 AM
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Welcome and good luck. Also your English is quite good.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-20-2014, 01:40 PM
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Good water movement can help decrease algae to an extent, but it's not a catchall. I would not place the diffuser directly below the powerhead. A reactor or diffuser inline with your filter outflow line would probably be the best method of even CO2 distribution.

You want to try and strike a good balance between nutrients, lighting, and CO2, along with adequate water changes. Though there is no one right way to create and maintain a nice planted tank. There are a number of articles on this site about EI, lighting, and CO2 that should be quite helpful.


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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-20-2014, 03:12 PM
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Good luck with the tank. I don't like how the back part of the tank looks dark, almost if the plants back there are in the shade. Some may not do so well with that.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-24-2014, 07:28 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jrman83 View Post
Good luck with the tank. I don't like how the back part of the tank looks dark, almost if the plants back there are in the shade. Some may not do so well with that.
Yeah, I didnt like it too at first.On my first try my althernanteras died because of lack on lighting, on my second try algae killed me because off too much lighting, so Im still in experimental phase. Im still using the top filter that came with the aquarium set and its blocking the light after I adjust the lighting higher, if my alternantheras on the background starts to melt, I would replace the filter with probably a canister filter, but after a week it looks to me that they are doing great and theyre so red!Im not an expert though

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