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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 04:35 PM Thread Starter
 
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Various questions - please help!

Hi.

I put this here because I don't think it really fitted anywhere else as it has mixed subjects.

So, in my 47gal planted, I've been having a few problems. Fish and inverts are 5 Common hatchets (Soon going up to 8!), 3 Sterba's corys, 1 BN pleco, 4 female Platys, 6 Cherry barbs, and in a few months a pair of Blue rams. I also have a trio of Zebra nerites, 6 Amano shrimp (Soon to make a move to a RCS breeder) and I'm getting some MTS snails ASAP. Black sand substrate on top with a layer or Tropica plant substrate underneath. 4x30W T8's, 3 armed with Arcadia reflectors. I calculate that should equal about 165W of light. I have a DIY no-leak CO2 system as well. Plants are Cabomba, Ambulia, Rottalla wallichii, Crypt becketii petchii, Crypt wendtii 'tropica', Echindorus 'red diamond', Alternanthera reineckii 'Rosefolia', Stargrass, Hygrophila polysperma 'rosanervig', Ludwigia inclinata var. 'Cuba' and Java moss. I'm soon getting something for the foreground as well.

Well, a few weeks back we went away to see a relative for a week. I come back, to find my Ambulia, Java moss, Stargrass, Alternanthera, Wendtii crypt, and various leaves of other plants covered in Black beard algae. Well, half the plants smuthered by it were dead - so they where binned. No use for a dead plant apart from the compost heap! I know it's caused by low CO2, which leads to the second part of the problem. My mum is going crazy about using caster sugar for it - does caster work? It doesn't seem to.
I'm also starting to get a few strands of hair algae. Right now, I remove it manually as soon as I see it - but is there a 'real' way?

Oh, and another questions. Which foreground plant do you think would be best - Hemianthus callitrichoides 'Cuba' or Utricularia graminifolia? Links for articles on both: http://www.tropica.com/article.asp?t...aristic&id=731, http://www.tropica.com/article.asp?t...aristic&id=621. Just wanted an opinion.

I dose API Leaf Zone (Best thing available round here) every week - what would be an ideal dosing shedual?

Oh, and how do I make Cabomba flower? I don't want a red plant where it is, is it possible to make it flower without it going red? Same Q for ambulia.

Thanks so much for your time! I'm not new to fish - I have MTS and all, but new to plants.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 05:04 PM
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Caster sugar is simply "superfine" sugar right? I don't see why it shouldn't work.

However, as you have a 47g tank, you might not have enough CO2. You mentioned that you are using DIY CO2; in a tank your size, you would need at least two 2L bottles in order to keep CO2 levels sustainable.

If I remember correctly, API Leaf Zone is only provides micronutrients, and not macronutrients. You didn't mention anything about these, so I assume you are not currently adding any. You may want to check out http://www.rexgrigg.com/ferts.htm for more information. Once you get the nutrient imbalance addressed, I think the hair algae problem will resolve.

Regarding your foreground plant, I have not seen Utricularia available locally, so I don't know what it appears like. I do like HC carpets, however.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 09:54 PM
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any kind of glucose would work (doesnt even need to be from sugar at all, its just the best easily available source). but DIY yeast is only good for small tanks, you would need a big barrel of the stuff for it to be enough for 47 gallons. the best thing is to switch to pressurized. otherwise get a bigger container for the water+sugar+yeast, or add another container and have both diffuse somehow into the water. using a good diffuser will also help a lot with your CO2 levels. you can also dose flourish excel, its a carbon suppliment (contrary to some peoples beliefs, plants dont breath CO2, they breathe O2 like any other aerobic organism; they use CO2 for carbon, which is part of the molecule they make for food. the food is glucose. i just thought of this but i want to say it so here goes: with DIY you take sugar which is mostly glucose, use yeast to break it down and the pressure of the resulting CO2 pushes itself into the tank, where your plants combine it with water to make it back into glucose, then they break the glucose down and bind the parts with oxygen to get energy. its a big cycle.)

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 09:56 PM
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stem plants need to grow along the surface to flower, and they need to grow like that for a while, and for a big area. most start to go emeresed out of the water and above the surface too.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-30-2008, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks a lot guys!

Well, I can't switch to pressrized CO2 mainly because I don't have enough electric sockets. I've been using the CO2 injector described here: DIY Yeast CO2 Reactor.
My tank is exactly the same as the tank the guy who wrote that BTW - Juwel Rio 180 so I was thinking my CO2 system was OK. If the filter doesn't diffuse properly, how do I get one?

So, if I can only get Leaf zone - (I struggle to remember seeing Flourish Excel - I'm pretty sure I have seen it somewhere!) where could I get Macro nutrients? Tetra PlantaMin is another 'common' fert in my area but I guess its pretty poor, right?

Well, thanks for all the help you've given me so far! I can't wait to get this tank sorted properly. After this - it's setting up the RCS breeder (Using it as a 1 month QT for Blue rams first.)
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-03-2008, 08:03 PM Thread Starter
 
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Algae is clearing up a bit... But I guess that's because I cut off a lot of the infected plant parts. I'm still trying to work out where I can get Flourish... Do I need all 3 that are explained in Rex's planted tank guide, or just good old Flourish? I think I can get the regular one! The reason I don't think my CO2 is working is that it doesn't blow bubbles - when I had a different mix (With different sugar) it was a treat.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-03-2008, 08:13 PM
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macro nutrients are potassium nitrogen and phosphate. very few people dose phosphate since its in the tap and plenty in fish food too, some people even remove it with phosguard. for pottassium i use kent potassium but there is also a flourish potassium and brighty K (k is the symbol for potassium on the table of elements).

DIY CO2 doesnt work for a while after you mix it, it can take a while depending on what temp water you used, and the room temp. what kind of filter do you have? if you have a canister filter, then you can put an inline diffuser; if you have a HOB filter, it is outgassing your CO2 so you will need more and you will need to diffuse with something similar to the Hagen bubble ladder.

the ferts you need are specific to that tank. the tap water, inhabitants, food you feed, plants you keep, lighting you have, CO2, and substrate all affect how much of what you need.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 05:35 PM Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by @[email protected] View Post
macro nutrients are potassium nitrogen and phosphate. very few people dose phosphate since its in the tap and plenty in fish food too, some people even remove it with phosguard. for pottassium i use kent potassium but there is also a flourish potassium and brighty K (k is the symbol for potassium on the table of elements).

DIY CO2 doesnt work for a while after you mix it, it can take a while depending on what temp water you used, and the room temp. what kind of filter do you have? if you have a canister filter, then you can put an inline diffuser; if you have a HOB filter, it is outgassing your CO2 so you will need more and you will need to diffuse with something similar to the Hagen bubble ladder.

the ferts you need are specific to that tank. the tap water, inhabitants, food you feed, plants you keep, lighting you have, CO2, and substrate all affect how much of what you need.
Well, I have the default filter for the Juwel Rio 180 - I couldn't get it out so no point swapping it! I think it's a canister - not really sure though. (Filter's aren't really my main 'area'.) I have the end of the pipe on the CO2 acctually inside the outlet, I screwed a hole in the top just big enough for the tubing, slide it inside and bingo. The mix I had in previously worked fine, but even on the first day, my new mix wasn't producing bubbles which is what was puzzling me.

All I need to dose is potassium? So, I'll stick to leaf zone and get a Potassium one then?
Also, does Tropica Plant nutrition have Potassium and all those Micro nurtients in it? I can now get my hands on that as well.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by HatchetHaven View Post
All I need to dose is potassium? So, I'll stick to leaf zone and get a Potassium one then?
Also, does Tropica Plant nutrition have Potassium and all those Micro nurtients in it? I can now get my hands on that as well.
No, as mentioned, dosing just potassium might lead to nutrient imbalances. You should test your nitrate and phosphate levels as well to determine where they are. In a highly lit tank such as yours, it is more likely that nitrates and phosphates will run out, and if this is the case, your plants will be starving, allowing algae to take a foothold.

In essence, you will need to find a potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen source; whether these are commercial brand products or chemicals (i.e. standard fertilizers) does not matter (though the latter is often much more economical in the long run).

I believe Tropica Plant Nutrition (is this the product that used to be Tropica Master Grow?) is only a trace element fertilizer, so you will still need to find a source of macronutrients.

Anthony


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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-13-2008, 06:01 PM Thread Starter
 
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Wait, so, let me get this straight. Would dosing Leaf zone AND Flourish Potassium together be good? Also, am I going to need to add another DIY CO2 injector bottle? The current CO2 seems to be back online now, replacing the mix today.
Wouldn't a good way to raise Nitrates be to add more fish? More waste = ammonia going through the filter = more nitrate coming out of the filter. I'm thinking of getting an SAE - I've heard they're a good recommendation for eating the 2 algaes I have most of: Black beard and thread.

Either way, I'm removing the hornwort for fear that it's taking up all the nutrients. I bought it last week at 25cm, and it's over 100cm now!

Just tested Nitrate, it's below 5!
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-23-2008, 07:25 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thread algae is going MENTAL on the java moss. I introduced an SAE - but he doesn't seem to be helping.
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