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Wanna hear a funny story?

My wife is working one night, so I take my kids to a local school carnival fundraiser. My son wins a coupon for a free goldfish from a local pet store. I tell him he can get one.

Then the research begins. The 'free" goldfish would have cost us only $0.19 if we'd bought it. $500.00 later I'm trying to figure out what fertilizers the plants are going to need that won't harm the fish.

Here's my question:

Can I get away with not dosing from bulk with every water change-- e.g., can I just shove 25 "RootMedic Complete Capsules" into my substrate every six months and not have dangerous spikes that could hurt the 2 ryukins (Chumlee and Gilbert)?

http://www.aquariumfertilizer.com/index.asp?Option1=inven&EditU=9&Regit=17

MY TANK SIZE:

56 gallon (tall column with a small planting surface)
24 inches tall from bottom to top
18 inches "deep" from front to back
30 inches wide from side to side

MY SUBSTRATE:

Right now I have no water in it, but I have 1.5 inches of flourite and 1.5 inches of sand. If I am going to make a change in this plan, now is the time to do it. I bought the sand to cap the Flourite because I didn't want the goldfish to eat the flourite, but I can tell already it is impossible to keep the flourite off the surface. I am either going to a.) remove as much sand as I can and buy more flourite and cap it with pea gravel, or b.) mix the sand and flourite and cap it with pea gravel to prevent the goldfish from getting to the flourite as much as I can.


HERE IS WHAT MY WATER COMPANY HAS TO SAY ABOUT THE WATER HERE:

"Hardness levels leaving our water treatment plants in 2010 ranged from 52 (soft) to 450 ppm (very hard) or 3.0 to 26.3 grains per gallon. The average leaving our plants is 197 ppm (very hard) or 11.5 grains per gallon.

The sodium level is approximately 20 ppm.

Water within our distribution system averages 7.3 pH units.

Alkalinity is the capacity of water to neutralize acids; water within our distribution system averages 77 ppm.

The highest Nitrate was 0.29ppm and the highest Nitrite reading was 0.017ppm.

For more detailed information please see the complete report at http://www.amwater.com/files/KY_0340250_CCR.pdf"

HERE ARE THE PLANTS I WANT TO TRY:

1.) Already under my lights:

Right now I have a holding tank with some java ferns (microsorium pteropus), some anubias (nana), some wisteria (hygrophila difformis), and some anacharis (egeria densa). The elodea and on bunch of java ferns came from a LFS and there are black dots on most of the leaves of the java fern that came from the LFS. The Anubias, Wisteria, and another bunch of Java Fern was that Top Fin kind from PetSmart and no black dots, though the wisteria was in kind of bad shape.

2.) Already purchased:

Tomorrow, two people here are shipping me some batches of Marsilea.

3.) To be purchased within the week:

3x Coffee Anubias (Anubias Barteri Coffeefolia)
1x African Water Fern (Bolbitis heudelotii)
1x Rotala (Rotundifolia)
2x Crypt (Parva)
1x Crypt (Nurii)
1x Crypt (Hudoroi)
1x Crypt (red Beckettii)


THE BOTTOM LINE IS:

I have a new hobby that involves both science and art, and down the road... maybe even gadgets.

If this is going to be sustainable for me, it is going to have to be easy. My son is committing to doing weekly water changes, and I will make sure that happens for the health of the fish.

We're not using any added CO2, or anything like that. I have two HOBs, an Emperor 400 and an AquaClear 50. I have a bubbler and a heater, but not much else.

So again, if I am gonna do something better with substrate, now is the time to do that. Any recommendations? And can I just shove 25 "RootMedic Complete Capsules" into my substrate every six months?
 
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