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Need help, and/or suggestions...

Murphy-18

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4 Jan 2009
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86
So, i really want to plant my 100g piranha tank out, as I'm sick of fake plants. I'm only still in college and running on VERY low funds. I only want a low light, low maintenance setup with no Co2.

I've ordered an Arcadia 38w starter kit off ebay which was only very cheap, (it hasn't arrived yet). And today i was in Taskers and picked up a 60w shop display light which is 20 inches long (only £12 :D) ,and can be mounted to the hood which i plan on building soon.
I've heard that you can have shop lights, but i'm not too sure what the kelvin is on these things, the fella at the shop was a bit of an a**hole so i didn't bother with him. However the kelvin doesn't seem too low because the bulb is really bright, more white than yellow/red or whatever.
If i have a couple of these lights along with the starter, throw some nice reflectors on, do you think it would work, or should i at least consider trying it?
I've skimmed through this forum (which i was advised about by a member on the Piranha forum i go on) and the information seems to be excellent, however i don't feel my questions have been answered.

Any help, info or suggestions on other cheap low light setups are greatly appreciated.

Ian.
 

TDI-line

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11 Nov 2007
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Location
Yaxley, Peterborough
Hello and welcome to the forum.

It might be me thinking this aloud, but i'm not sure if piranhas and plants go together, but i'm sure someone will be along to answer your questions?

Do you have any pics of your tank?
 

Ed Seeley

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3 Jul 2007
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Location
Nottingham
I think you're going to have two problems with a planted piranha tank if your fish are already big and that's that their sheer bulk may well uproot or disturb plants, but there are ways around this with the plants you choose and using plants tied onto rock or wood.

The second is the ammonia that feeding them will generate. Predatory fish generally need large infrequent meals (I'm assuming this is the same for your fish) and these mean with every irregular feed you'll get a tiny surge of ammonia. In a standard tank this is fine as the filter will eventually cope and the fish are able to cope with the mini-cycle. However in planted tanks the mini surge of ammonia will almost certainly trigger algae. Not to mention that these fish are pretty messy and food particles will get in amongst the plants.

I think your best bet may well be to have as many pieces of rock and wood with Java ferns, mosses and anubias tied on and maybe a few bunches of tough stem plants in the corners to help mop up the nutrients.
 

Nick16

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13 Aug 2008
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Surrey, UK
i am reading this right? a 38w started kit (ballast) and a 60w bulb? surely that wont work?
 

GreenNeedle

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19 Jul 2007
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Location
Lincoln UK
It will probably work but the lower power supplied by the 38W ballast will mean the tube will be incredibly underpowered to the point that in a worse case scenario the tube will hardly look like it is on!!!

AC
 

Murphy-18

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4 Jan 2009
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86
The piranhas are only 1-2'', thats why i want to get the plants whilst they are still babies. In 2-3 months they will be 4'' and they will be less aggressive once they reach the 4'' mark.

I ordered a 38w arcadia starter off ebay, which requires a 38w bulb which i haven't bought yet. I went to Taskers and also bought a display light, 60w which is a compact fixture (all in one)
My question is could i have 2 of the shop lights, as well as the arcadia starter, giving a total of 158w.
As i said the kelvin rating doesn't seem to low. Could i try it with a couple of plants and some java moss maybe?

The light won't bother the fish, it's just a mater of getting them use to it, and the ammonia is no problem as i have enough strong filtration. I do regular water changes etc..

I don't know how to post pictures or links, but read some info on www.piranha-fury.com, on the aquatic plants section.

Thanks for the help and information.
 

Ed Seeley

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Murphy-18 said:
the ammonia is no problem as i have enough strong filtration. I do regular water changes etc...

I understand that from a keeping the fish point of view but from a planted tank point of view it could cause you algae problems; even at levels that won't register on a test kit! I have two 180l tanks. One just has small killifish, Apistogrammas and Otos which are fed lightly and I only have a bit of algae on the oldest leaves and the decor. My other 180l had a pair of wild angelfish (among others) that I'm trying to get into spawning condition so are being fed heavily. That does get bits of algae. The latter tank is the over-filtered one with an Ehiem 2128 but I'm still getting more issues with this than I ever did with the other one! Don't under-estimate the effect of relatively heavy feeding!

Other than bearing that in mind with your tank then I don't think you'll have any problems! Except you might find it difficult to add an algae eating crew to your tank if any does start growing!!! :lol:
 

Murphy-18

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OK, is there any other way to get rid of small bits of algae (if it does appear), i have two 5-6'' common pleco, they stripped my 32'' piece of driftwood i have, which was covered in hair algae. And also if nitrites were to appear when the plants are in, how do i fix it without stressing the fis too much? I know that you can't add salt with plants.

Thanks again.
 

Ed Seeley

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Larger and more frequent water changes are the way to go if you detect nitrites. Is this a common problem with piranha? Being characins I'm surprised the piranha tolerate the salt; I thought all characins were rather intolerant of it.

To get rid of the algae you're best to syphon out any loose algae when doing regular water changes and if you get any on the hardscape or plants use Excel or EasyCarbo to supplement the CO2 and squirt it onto the algae. It kills most types of algae and helps your plants grow too.
 

Murphy-18

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Nitrites are not really a common problem with piranha, but i have been able to cohab my 6 baby red belly for the last couple weeks with some other tropical fish such as, bala sharks, mollies, danios, and tetras ( i have a 20g cycling for the others) thats why i am seeing some slight readings of nitrites and ammonia. I'm sure everything will be alot easier when i move the other fish to the 20g probably about next week.

So which type lowlight plants would you recommend for this lighting? Are there any very fragile ones that i should stay away from?

Cheers
 

Ed Seeley

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Java fern, Anubias and moss on the hardscape and most common Hygrophila or Bacopa for the stems. Large crypts and Vallis would look good at the back too.
 

Murphy-18

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Thanks, really appreciated. Any more questions, then i shall ask.

Thanks again.
 

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