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Thread: Plant newbie help

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Port Perry
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    10

    Plant newbie help

    I have been trying to create a planted tank. I am not having a lot of success. I started with crypts and Frans Stoffels Echinodorus. my crypts did well but the swords slowly lost their leaves turning brown on edges of leaves then basically disintegrating. I used excel and root tabs and they have small leaves 3 inches high but no long large leaves anymore. I have switched to co2. Diy at first but now using co2 cannister. With 2-3 bubbles a second. Still very little growth over 5 months. I have aquaticlife dual lamp T5-HO link able light fixture for 90 gal tank
    108watts I think the manual describes as 10000K 54 W T5HO / 420nm / 460nm Actinic 54 W T5HO
    Water parameters are from using Tetra 6-1 easy strips are alkalinity KH 180. Total hardness GH ppm 75 soft. PH Alkaline 7.8. Does anyone have any suggestions? I am also looking for a good foreground plant to carpet.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Markham
    Posts
    204

    Re: Plant newbie help

    Hi threps. This could be a very long discussion, so let's get started with a few questions:
    1. what is the PH and hardness of your water before it goes into your tank?
    2. what are you using for substrate? Gravel, sand, special aquatic plant soils, kitty litter .... Like that.
    3. with 90 gallons of tank, what are the dimensions (especially depth) and what kinds of fish and critters are you keeping in it?

    From your description, I think your lights are intended for salt water reef/coral use. The 108 watts gives you a low-to-medium light, but the 10000K and actinic are not best suited for fresh water plants. You want around 6500K colour for fresh water plants.

    There are plenty of people at DRAS who have beautiful planted tanks. Hopefully some will join this discussion. Here's a recent picture of one of my tanks.

    Last edited by Arty G; 01-19-2013 at 06:45 PM. Reason: Pic re-added
    Rick - member DRAS and KWAS

    Always serious, seldom somber

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Port Perry
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    Re: Plant newbie help

    Thank you for the response.
    Water parameters from Tetra 6-1 easy strips Total hardness GH ppm 0 soft. PH Alkaline looks like somewhere between 7.8 and 8.4
    Alkalinity looks like between 180 and 300. I have a home water softener. I have gravel substrate and use seachem flourish tabs. The tank is 24 inches deep

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Markham
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    204

    Re: Plant newbie help

    Two thoughts:
    1. Your lighting may not be enough for a 24 inch deep 90. My picture is of a 50 gallon, 18 inches deep with the same wattage (but at 6700K).
    2. Maybe you should be using untreated (ie. not through the softener) water.

    These are just thoughts. I am hoping someone with better knowledge of hard water will climb in here. My water icomes from the tap very near 7.2 PH and moderately soft.
    Rick - member DRAS and KWAS

    Always serious, seldom somber

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Port Perry
    Posts
    10

    Re: Plant newbie help

    Correction to my light specs. It is the fresh water light 1 is 6000 K and 1 is 650 nm acinic I wonder if it would help to take the water before it goes through the softener

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Oshawa
    Posts
    59

    Re: Plant newbie help

    I am not entirely sure but some of the problems could be from the water softener... the salt content may be affecting your plants. If there is any way to use water for tanks before the softening process you could eliminate it as an issue.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Markham
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    204

    Re: Plant newbie help

    Quote Originally Posted by jobymoby123 View Post
    I am not entirely sure but some of the problems could be from the water softener... the salt content may be affecting your plants. If there is any way to use water for tanks before the softening process you could eliminate it as an issue.
    Agreed. Do this if you can. In addition, the lights you have are for a saltwater setup. The actinic bulb is not helping you. It should be replaced with something similar to your other bulb. Get 6500 or 6700K if possible.
    Rick - member DRAS and KWAS

    Always serious, seldom somber

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Port Perry
    Posts
    10

    Re: Plant newbie help

    In order to get water before the softener I'm going to have to do some major plumbing. I will do this if it is needed, I read that I could use spring water instead of tap, is this accurate, is anyone doing this. Has anyone ever tried using the spring water at the base of Lakeridge Ski Resort called Chalk Lake Spring?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Port Perry
    Posts
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    Re: Plant newbie help

    I went to the site of the light, this is taken from their online manual- 650 nm acinic "Roseate Lamp: Emits light that closely matches the chlorophyll absorption peak in the red spectrum to enhance plant growth. Use with 6,000K lamp(s)." I have read both positive and negatives about this light fixture. If I need to change the light, I will, but if it is I feel a bit duped. When I finally saved enough money to buy my set up, I went to the store when it wasn't busy and explained that I wanted to set up a planted tank and would eventually be getting CO2 for it when I could afford it. I bought filter light and tank on the same day, so they new the depth of the tank, and this is what they suggested. I was willing to spend more on the light at the time.

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