Newbie Tips for Improvement?? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-27-2009, 06:42 AM Thread Starter
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Newbie Tips for Improvement??

Hello..,

Just joined the forum, and I can see I have a whole lot to learn! I have been into terrestrial plants of all kinds for many years, but the aquatic plants are all new to me. It seems so much more complicated than growing plants above water. I had no idea just how complicated this could be, and I'm wondering where to begin. Currently I have 3 tanks, and two of them are planted (the third is a quarantine). The plants within them are all alive and green, but basically hanging on to the edge of existence in my opinion. Although I fertilize them once in awhile, I don't have fancy co2 bubblers or anything like that. I have recently begun using Flourih Excel, but I'm afraid to use a co2system because the GH and KH in my water are only 10 and 30. I also only have a plain gravel substrate which I am planning on switching out to something else, though I haven't decided just what yet. I will probably end up using sand, because I have loaches. In trying to learn how to improve the quality of life for my plants, is there a good place to start? What would be an important improvement to make right from the start? Any Feedback will be welcome

leafshapedheart
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-27-2009, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by leafshapedheart View Post
Hello..,

Just joined the forum, and I can see I have a whole lot to learn! I have been into terrestrial plants of all kinds for many years, but the aquatic plants are all new to me. It seems so much more complicated than growing plants above water. I had no idea just how complicated this could be, and I'm wondering where to begin. Currently I have 3 tanks, and two of them are planted (the third is a quarantine). The plants within them are all alive and green, but basically hanging on to the edge of existence in my opinion. Although I fertilize them once in awhile, I don't have fancy co2 bubblers or anything like that. I have recently begun using Flourih Excel, but I'm afraid to use a co2system because the GH and KH in my water are only 10 and 30. I also only have a plain gravel substrate which I am planning on switching out to something else, though I haven't decided just what yet. I will probably end up using sand, because I have loaches. In trying to learn how to improve the quality of life for my plants, is there a good place to start? What would be an important improvement to make right from the start? Any Feedback will be welcome

leafshapedheart
Well, for starters I would suggest reading these two articles and seeing if you can implement some of the ideas referenced. IMHO, these two articles should be mandatory reading for anyone who enters the hobby.

http://www.vickisaquaticplace.com/PlantsChapter1.html
http://www.ultimatebettas.com/index.php?showtopic=24656
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-27-2009, 11:30 AM
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You don't have to use pressurized CO2 to have a planted tank. Read some of Homer's links in his sig. I'm testing out a tank similar to his as well using only Excel as a CO2 supplement. It is up to you how much money/time/and what kind of look you want for your aquarium to chose which way to go about having a planted tank.

These are the 3 ways I know of:
1. Keep inert substrate and use root tabs under low light with less demanding plants
2. Low Tech aquarium using some form of nutrient-rich substrate, this can include small amounts of water column ferts but doesn't have to (if interested, talk to some folks in the Low Tech forum who've had successful planted tanks with the method you prefer)
3. High Tech, high growth, lush planted tank with injected/DIY CO2
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-27-2009, 11:41 AM
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Most important thing or should I say "goverener" is lighting. Higher the light, more demands that you will have to supplement (but sometimes the rewards in growth are worth it). Lower the light, less you need to supplement, thus less work, but the rewards will be slow going (and may not be as vibrant, but still worth it with patience).

Plant selection is the key. If you don't want alot of work, choose plants wisely.


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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-27-2009, 12:08 PM
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Yes, the high tech tanks look great! But I'm lazy. hah
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-27-2009, 02:41 PM
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If you wanted a nice flower garden in the front of your house, you would commit to daily maintenance of that garden, weeding it, watering it, fertilizing it, pruning it, shaping the growth, occasionally replanting areas of it, etc. Lots of work. You could also just dig it up once, buy some little pots of flowers, poke them in the dirt, and let the lawn sprinklers do everything else. For awhile you might have a pretty flower garden, but eventually it would be overgrown, full of weeds, with lots of dead plants here and there, small plants hidden among tall plants, etc. We face similar challenges with our aquatic "gardens".

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-27-2009, 03:51 PM Thread Starter
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Hello, Everyone..,

Thanks for the replies. Homer, I will definitely check out the links you provided. Fertilization versus light is definitely a good consideration; it was something I learned as I became more advanced in terrestrial plant-growing as well. The lights on my tank are probably not the best either; for now they are just the ones that came with the aquariums. In trying to select new bulbs, I have run into Wattage, K, Actinic, 50/50, and other ratings. What kind of fluorescent bulbs do you use to promote the healthiest growth? On another note, I'm not afraid to spend some time caring for my aquatic plants, but it's the money that can be a problem. I can see that if money were no concern, I would stop at nothing to provide the best conditions for my fish and plants in a high-tech environment. But unfortunately that is not the case. That is why I need to take the approach of improving one thing at a time as money allows. The susbstrate is another item on my list to be addressed. I have heard about the wonders of using aquatic soil along with other substrate. However, my largest concern with this would be my burrowing Loaches. Then I thought I may be able to use the soil, but place a layer of screening or other porous material on top of the soil but under the next layer of sand, so the plant's roots could penetrate, but the Loaches could not. Has anyone tried this? Finally, there is the issue of dosing. Is there a particular fertilizer or combination of fertilizers that is especially important to start? The community I live in uses Reverse Osmosis water. The GH and KH are already incredibly low. I would assume that also means the content for other minerals is also low; though my fish are absolutely thriving, I could not say the same for my plants, who are alive, but growing so slowly they hardly seem alive. I will go now and check out these link, and perhaps some of these things will be adressed there. But it is also great to engage in conversation with those who have experience (or don't

Thanks Again..,
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-27-2009, 04:40 PM
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Dry ferts are super cheap, and they last for a long long time. There are a number of websites that sell them (not sure if they ship to Canada though). You can easily get everything you need for a year for under 50 bucks. I can't really suggest any dosing method for you, but look up the EI method as it is a popular one.


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