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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
After viewing many of your sites I have decided to try a planted tank. But I have a few questions...

I'm planning on using my 5.5 gal corner Eclipse tank (which is housing some swordtail fry) and starting a planted tank. Currently there are two AGA CF bulbs that are 10watts each (6500k?). From what I read these would be OK for growing plants. But is that too much wattage? I would like to stay away from Co2 until I get used to things. Which plants would you recommend?

Thanks for you help.
 

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I'm not fimilair with AGA CF bulbs but looks like you should have a little over 3WPG. I would normally reccommend C02 for that amount of light but in a 5.5G tank I don't think I would try it because of the small tank size. You could use Seachem Excel for a carbon source instead. For plants I would stay with low growers so that you do not have to prune so much. You might want to try Crypts, dwarf Sag, Dwarf Hairgrass and a Dwarf lilly.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
OK.. I replaced the substrate with Flourite. I also got a peice of driftwood to put in the tank. I'm going this Tuesday to get some plants. The LFS had some anubias and Java ferns in stock. They said both would do well. I liked the look of the anubias. Do you think that could work? I'm going to check if they stock the others that you recommended. Thanks for your reply..
 

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Yes, Java Fern would do great on a piece of driftwood. Anubias would also do good but may get to large for your tank. When you get it set up take some pics and share them with us. Have fun and enjoy :icon_bigg
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Planted and tested... is this right?

Hello all...

Well, I got whatever I could find. Seems plants are very very sparse in this area. I was able to find anubias, java fern, microswords, and a mellon sword. So far everything looks ok.. nothing dying or melting. Small bit of algae but nothing crazy. I waited a week and dosed with Flourish (very small amount) and just started dosing Flourish excel today.

I ordered a new test kit which I also received today , which is the Red Sea Deluxe Freshwater Lab. Here's what I got.. now what to make of it...

PH 6.6
GH 2
CO2 20 PPM (Is this right?... the test kit say # of drops x 2 = PPM)
KH (I think the test is bad... it was clear and should start at blue)
FE 0 (Wouldn't the flourite help this??)
Chlorine 0
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate low (this kit didn't have a nitrate tester, but I have a Jungle one that shows a small amount)

So does this seems right? I understand that the KH test would help determine if the CO2 test is right. The "guidline" says that a PH of 6.4-7.2 should have a CO2 reading of 5-15 PPM. I'm going to call them to find out. I'm hoping this works out. I would love an excuse to convert my 30 gallon..
 

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Stop dosing ferts, let the tank be set up for 4 weeks with plants before you start dosing ferts. The plants will use stored nutrients for about 4 weeks and will not use the ferts but the algae will which will cause a algae outbreak.

You need to get your KH up before you have a PH crash. I would add a 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda, then retest your KH the day after to see if you get a reading. I would use this link to get your C02 reading: http://www.csd.net/~cgadd/aqua/art_plant_co2chart.htm
 

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I hate to say it, but a melon sword is going to outgrow a 5 gallon. It might be ok for a good while though since you don't plan on adding co2. If you were adding co2 it would outgrow that tank in a few months, heh.

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Yeah, the mellon will definately get too big. That's if I don't kill it. My long term plan is to convert my 30 gallon tank to a planted tank (maybe a 50 gallon by then :) ) if I can get the hang of things... this is sort of my trial run before I tear things apart.

As far as the KH test.. I'm not sure if its the tester. I'm guessing its similar to the GH... For example the solution that's coming from the dropper on GH is blue in color.. The KH is a pale yellow... it just doesn't seem right.. its neither color on the indicator card. But I have never used this brand.. so I'm not sure..

The jungle dip strip ( I know these are far from accurate) indicate a KH of 40 PPM on the last test. I'm sure it wouldn't hurt to add a little baking soda to the tank... I'll see what happens. I'll see if I can locate another KH tester locally.

Thanks for the replies.. it's a great help
 

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My GH test kit (Redsea) also has blue liquid and my KH test kit (Tetratest) has yellow liquid. So I don't think anything is wrong with your test kits.

Make sure that you mix the baking soda with some tank water in a container first, than pour into your tank.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well I located a new KH/GH tester. It seems that the RedSea tester was bad... I did add some baking soda to the tank. I figured it couldn't hurt to raise the PH a little bit. Here is the latest test:

PH 7.0
KH 3
GH 3
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate .5 or less

I changed 30% of the water today, added Excel, and also added some anacharis to the back of the tank. The algae seems to be getting a little greener... but still hasn't gotten crazy. I figured the anacharis will complete with the algae? Should I keep dosing Excel?

Everything is starting to grow some. The microsword is the only one that isn't growing. Still looks pretty dull... hasn't gotten better or worse but isn't getting bigger or spreading. Am I asking too much from this plant in a week??

Thanks again for the replies! I will get some pictures on here soon... the water is still hazy from the flourite and the tannins from the driftwood. Once it clears a little more....
 

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AC...If your tank has been set up for less than 4 weeks with plants I would stop using the Excel or any other fert; because you will only be feeding the algae for the plants use stored nutrients for the first 4 weeks.

Microsword takes a while to start growing and spreading. I have had mine for a month now with no new growth.
 
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