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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I started my first planted 180 in March of this year. For quite a bit of time I studied all what was written on the subject of substrate and fertilization, which I found confusing at best...

And so I decided to use for a substrate, what I perceived to be a simple, nonexpensive and, according to my extensive horticultural experience - logical items for a substrate. This, as I mentioned sometimes before, included cheep, red lava rocks at the bottom, covered with a layer of Turface and topped with a small gravel, sold as filter medium for swimming pools and the likes.

Into such a medium I planted plants mainly from genus Cryptocoryne and Echinodorus. The plants were, for the most part grown emersed and in a little while started to grow well above my curious expectations - and from this point the growth of some of them started to be a problem.

As a first plant, I had to remove the water lily, which proved to be a ...noxious weed, shading everything around it. Then it went Echinodorus 'Marble Queen' and shortly afterwards E. 'Ozelot', both monster plants, definitely too big for my 180.

Yesterday, about a month too late, out it went E. 'Rubin' (pic), which was my darling for a couple of months, until it covered about half of the swimming space for my fish. The leaves are reaching 30" lengts, and there are well in excess of 50 of them - another shading weed!!!

Another candidate for extraction seems to be E. 'Osiris'. And any removal of these plants can be problematic taking under consideration their extensive root system, which in many cases requires cutting with sharp knife aroung pland base as to not cause a total destruction of surrounding plantings.

I use only fraction, as it seem to me, of a fertilization program recommended here and there. Basically I fertilize twice a week: KNO3 - 1tsp; K2SO4 - 1/2 tsp; KH2PO4 - 1/2 tsp. - all three of those dissolved together in a bit of boiling water and added as a 1/2 gal. of solution slowly to the tank. The CSM+B - 1/2 tsp. - the same way, but the following day to avoid possible precipitation and temporary water cloudiness. Such amounts of ferilizer seem to push plant growth to the point, where it seems to be in excess and troublesome to maintain plants in some desirable ...smallness!

My CO2 injection ( straight to the intake tube of XP4 filter) seems to be minimal. say some 60-80 bubbles/min.

I don't grow more than three different stem plants and I cannot imagine the constant pruning and waiting for another...pruning in this situation. After all, it is watching it and enjoying, and not a constant upkeep 'ab ovo', for which I established my tank.

So what are you experience with Swordplants in your tanks?

I do not worry about algae. If my cleaning crew of Red Tailed Garras is missing something, then my Amano and Red Cherry Shrimps take care of it.

I also wouldn't like for my tank to look too 'septic'. After all this should be a little world in itself, and not a glass of drinking water with plants, fish and shrimp in it.

I keep the following fish in some numbers and without noticable problems: Borraras brigittae, maculata and micros; Rasbora rubescens, heteromorpha and heteromorpha black; Galaxy danio; Neon - reg. and green; Tetra glowlight; 2 albino Plecostomus bristlenose; Botia sidthimunki ; Red Tailed Garra plus Amanos, Ghost and Red cherry ( hundreds...) shrimps.
 

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I understand there are some varieties that stay small. I did have one that stayed small for 2 years in my 125g. It was nice. All the other's I have had have grown into monsters as well. You've got to admit - that's a beautiful plant! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I also have the Red melon and is O.K. in size. Lately I acquired a dwarf Amazon and I hope it will stay that way...
 

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I actually really like the look of your current sword. It adds a nice focal point. But swords IME grow to the size of the tank. The sword in my 29g fills out the center but I trim it to keep it manageable.
 

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Many people would KILL to get swordplants like you got there! Those are some healthy plants! And those wendtii there look especially beautiful...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Many people would KILL to get swordplants like you got there! Those are some healthy plants! And those wendtii there look especially beautiful...

I just about wrote the 'prescription' above, it may be a begginers luck, but I don't really understand why these plants would not grow for some.

My light consists of 4 - 96W, 36" daylight tubes in two rows. I turn one row at 9 a.m. and the other at 5 p.m. I keep light until 9 -9:30.

I turn off CO2 for the night and swith a air pump in consideration for the large number of fish and shrimp in my tank. I pretend that the rule of an inch of fish for a gallon of water doesn't exists....

I use Azoo CO2 pressure regulator, factory issue without any modifications and is bubbling sufficiently well, as you can judge evidence of it on my pictures. Why would anybody buy those 'best' for exorbitant prices is yet another puzzle for me.

In the beginning I started to have problems with algae, but the problem vanished with the introduction of Red Tailed Garras (10). The filamentous algae was taken care by Amanos (20) in a matter of hours and since then , I grow some algae for them in small containers.

I'm limited by my camera, and I'm not able to show my back wall covered in part with Java Moss, and in other parts by three varieties of Java fern. Especially v.Windelovii looks great in such a situation, and if I'm to start another tank, then this would be my choice for covering the whole back wall.

When it comes to the health of my fish - I strongly believe ( and my experience points to it) that the problems start in retailers tanks and when I order fish, it has to be in an unopened, wholesalers ( Segrest in my case) bag, which I pick up from the store at the moment of delivery. Except for Florida raised Ottocinclus, I've never experienced problems trusting that a big company like Segrest has to acclimatize and treat fish to satisfy their large market.
 

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I had a Red Rubin similar in size and color to yours and I had to pull it, also, as it out grew my 125.

I currently have a Red Devil that is 12 inches tall and only 4 inches round a Kliner Bar sword at 10 inches time and 6 inches round and a Red Melon 6 inches tall and 15 inches round. These have been in my 125 for almost a year. The Red Melon spend a year in an old 55 gallon before I upgraded.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
John, I moved out of Ft.Myers in the 90ties. In C.C. lived my best firend until cigarettes killed him...

We both raised finches, and before that I had a cactus and other succulents nursery close to Alva, so I know the area. I used to deal with that private pet store in old Woolco Plaza, close to the middle bridge to C.C.. it was called 'Petland' and my son worked there the whole high school time.

I looked up your tank - nice!

Thanks for pointing to me other, smaller Amazons. I'm not planning for any more new plants. I opened the space and now the Anubias 'petite' has a better chance on the cypress root. And I can see again Rasboras schooling...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
What lights do you use?

Now, that you've asked - The fixture is Current 72" with four double, 34" tubes. Each pair consists of 10,000K and 6,700K, both fluorescent Daylight( Sunpaq).

The fixture I bought used, so I substituted only two sets of tubes ( for the blue ones), and the old ones are the same as i wrote above.
 

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Believe I have the same light as above, and had the same problem with swords. Here is a pic of mine BEFORE it outgrew my 210.




Lovely plants, but get way too big for me. I also had issues learning how to prune it correctly.
 

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Echinodorus opacus is another of the species that grow very small, if that's what your into. Don't know if they are still available as they were considered a hybrid when purchased years ago. They grow no more then 4" total height and very difficult to even grow that big. I still have 5 plants that I have kept in a foreground for years. They need to be trimmed maybe 2x a year also, under the best of conditions :)
md
 
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