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New Here: Yuma, AZ

758 Views 10 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Beach_Bloomer
Hey folks,

New here and glad to be here. I'm pretty new to aquatic plants, and have stumbled along the way. I am fascinated none the less.

I have a 75-gallon tank with the following plants:

Swords: Melon, Red Flame, Amazon
Java Fern and Anubia
Corkscrew Val
Green Cabomba and Frill Plant (Foxtail)
Wisteria and Moneywort
Red Wendtii and Lutea
Telanthera and Red Ludwigia
Tiger Lotus
Moss Ball
Some sort of Monkey Grass (can't remember the name).

My substrate is three inches of gravel on top of about 1 - 1 1/2 of Flourite. I use Seachem root tabs, dose Seachem Potassium 2-3 times a week, Flourish Comprehensive twice a week, and Seachem Iron once a week or most of the time, twice a month. I dose Excel every other day.

My lighting is a double fixture T5NO (one full spectrum, one colormax) and one T8 full spectrum (came with tank).

Diatoms are still an issue after 9 months, other algae not so much. I live in farm country, source water measures 20 ppm Nitrate but the tank absorbs this quite well and my tank Nitrate readings are typically 5 -10 ppm. I have never measured Phosphate or Silicates, but I would imagine my water is rich with them (hence the prolific Diatoms). My PH is consistently 8.2, sometimes it has been as high as 8.4. My GH and KH is very high as well (I forget the numbers).

My plants are doing fairly well with the exception of the Wisteria which my Barbs keep chowing down on. My Cabomba and Frill plant won't stay seated. The stems rot at the bottom and uproot. I have never found a solution for this. My Crypts (Lutea and Red Wendtii) don't grow too much. My Lutea is stable but my Red Wendtii melts, grows and then melts some more. My Moneywort is another slow grower. My Anubia is rather pathetic, seems to be barely hanging on.

My plants struggled quite a bit until I added the T5NO fixture. I do believe this was the key to finally getting most of my plants to start growing and becoming healthy.

I'm assuming that my hard water may also be a contributing factor to slow plant growth.

I also have a 20-gallon, gravel and T8 Full Spectrum lighting with a Java Fern (doing quite well) and a newly introduced Red Wendtii (going through a bit of a melt)

Any thoughts, suggestions, would be most welcome. This has been a science experiment for sure.

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Welcome to TPT!

I'm afraid you went from one extreme - too little light- to the other - too much light to run without pressurized CO2 + a balanced fert regimen to keep your plants from running out of nutrients.

If you don't want to get into CO2 and ferts, you'll need to lower your lighting a bit; on solution would be to suspend your fixture up off the tank 6-12"
Hello and welcome to TPT!!

If you wanted to swap back to low lighting I would suggesting either hanging you light as mentioned above or getting some egg cratering, light diffuser panel, from the hardware store and cut it to fit the too of your aquarium.

But you do have the makings of a nice aquarium!! If you wanted to invest a little bit of money on some dry fertilizers I think you will see a great improvement. Co2 or a carbon supplement will also help your plants out a lot. In my opinion co2 and dry fertilizers are the best aquarium equipment I've ever spent money on.
Hey, thanks for the comments.

To clarify, I regularly dose Excel, Comprehensive, Potassium, and Iron. I also have root tabs under each plant (whether they're column or root).

Is this enough?
In that case, you may have macros and micros covered, but still need additional carbon... Dosing Excel on this tank enough to keep up with that might light is going to get expensive, quickly. IMO your best options are to either lower your lighting or invest in a pressurized CO2 system. You *may* be able to keep things going OK with just Excel, but having run 2x54 watts of T5HO over my own 90gal, that alone is a lot of light, and challenging to keep in balance without CO2.

Oh- and if you have Monkey/Mondo grass, that's is a non-aquatic plant (that the big box stores always try and pass off as aquatic for whatever bizarre reason). Makes a great landscape boarder outside in the garden, though. ;)
Yeah, I found out that the monkey grass was non-aquatic after a I bought it at Petsmart, grrr. But it's not dieing but not really growing either.

My T5's are not high output, they're just normal output. I buy the 2-liter Excel on Amazon for under $25.00,,,but have definitely thought about a regular CO2 system.
OH! I read that "T5NO" as an "HO"! Big difference! lol

In that case- carry on! :icon_smil

When the Mondo grass eventually starts to fail, Sagittaria would probably be a good (aquatic) replacement. Very similar shape.
Wow, Sagittaria is beautiful. We only have Petsmart where I live (no local LFS) so I would have to order it online as I've never seen Petsmart carry it.
The Swap and Shop here on the forum is a fantastic place to get plants, you can usually get your hands on just about anything you want.

Ordering online, you will want to watch your temperatures and ask/pay a little extra for cold packs this time of year, seeing as you're in AZ.
Yeah, I found out that the monkey grass was non-aquatic after a I bought it at Petsmart, grrr. But it's not dieing but not really growing either.

My T5's are not high output, they're just normal output. I buy the 2-liter Excel on Amazon for under $25.00,,,but have definitely thought about a regular CO2 system.
Yeah online is the best place for aquarium chemicals. I buy fish medicines online for $6.50 a bottle when the same bottle is $14-$16 in the stores. You should check out kensfish they have a wide range of products at good prices, I get stuff from them when amazon does not have it.

The monkey grass should slowly die off and begin to rot, it could take a little while for it to begin to happen. You could wait for it to die off and clean it out, or you can take it outside and plant it and keep it. Most of the time when I go to one of those big "P" pet stores the people working in the fish section don't know much about the plants or the fish, which is understandable in big box stores like that their main goal is low prices, and that usually means unknowledgeable staff. What I started doing when I was starting out in planted aquariums many years ago was to just google the plant or fish I was interested in at the store on my phone and try and get some quick information before I made my purchase. I have bought several plants when I was starting out that were non-aquatic plants, and some fish that should not have been kept together. That does not mean the stuff they sell is bad by no means!! My local Petsmart will sometimes get some great plants in those little gel pack things, not the ones in the tubes, but rather the packages. They don't take too great of care of them once they get to the store though, often the packages will be 4-5 thick on the hanger thing and the packs in the back will be dead. But if you can plan to go on the day they get their inventory truck or the day after you can usually see the freshest items them have. I personally really like these gel pack plants, they offer some great deals on some of the plants in those packages. With any plant or fish purchase you make from any store or person online be mindful and take time to inspect what you buy, and if something seems "fishy" ask here, I have learned so much about fish and plant keeping since I have joined TPT.

A co2 system is the way to go honestly!! I ran a paintball system for many years and have recently swapped for a full size system and I wonder everyday why I never went full size in the beginning!! They regulators usually cost around the same, the biggest price difference at start up will be the co2 canister. A brand new 20oz paintball canister will run you around $30 and then around $4.50 to fill it. As to where a brand new 20 pound(a lot of people choose this size but they also come in 5, 10, and 50 pound canisters) co2 canister is around $150 and then $20 to fill or exchange, and a used one is usually $50-$80 and most of the time it's $20 to fill or exchange. The downside to buying a new canister is you will need to find a place that will fill your canister for you, most places want to do an exchange which I kind of prefer.
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Thank you very much for all of this well thought out advice!

I must admit that I ran into entirely too many options looking at co2 systems and what I was looking at was (not by much) more expensive than just running Excel (2-liter from Amazon for $25.00). What you've specked out seems much more reasonable so I'll look into this again.

The issue I have locally is living in an isolated small city. There's nothing for 200 miles in any direction and that leaves us with one Petsmart, that's it, and it's not even a full-sized store. So almost everything has to be purchased online. I haven't bought fish or plants online and I've learned what I should buy locally and what I should just leave alone.

I do have a habit of browsing, seeing something and buying it before doing the research:) I'm learning.

Have heard about Ken's, will look into them, thanks!
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