Plants that do well in well'ard water

Discussion in 'Plant Help' started by Simon, 6 Jan 2008.

  1. Simon

    Simon Member

    Messages:
    55
    Location:
    Essex
    Hi all, my first post here.

    After a 15 year lay-off (used to keep killies and discus) I want to dip my toes in the water with a planted tank. I was thinking of a Juwel Lido, but want to keep things reasonably simple.

    Can i get some advice from you seasoned pro's on:

    A: what plants thrive in hard Essex water? I particularly would like lots of Java moss tied to bog wood, riccia and crypts.

    B: how many tubes do I need to make the buggers grow?

    C: basically, can someone suggest a full set-up for this tank, light, substrate, Co2....without busting into my pension fund. I've been reading up on this forum, but seem a little lost and confused. Things seem to have changed quiet a lot since I last seriously kept fish, all this dosing etc is beyond me!

    Also, a local shop has a really stunning planted tank. I spoke to the owner, he has not waterchanged it for 8 months and swears by Tetra Easy Balance....anyone have any experience with this?

    Sorry to ask so many questions! I just would to try and get it right first time
     
  2. Dan Crawford

    Dan Crawford Founder Staff Member

    Messages:
    3,266
    Location:
    Daventry, Northants
    Hiya and welcome.

    Lighting: you may want to add at least one more T5 light to your Lido, make sure you buy one of the new "high-light" Lidos (i think thats what they are called) basically they use T5 lighting instead of T8.

    Co2: this is a must IMO. Themulous has done a great tutorial on setting up Co2 using fire extinguishers here http://ukaps.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=266

    Fertilisers (water column): there are several on the market but i would recommend Tropica Plant Nutrition Plus
    You could progress to more advanced methods like EI (estimative index) once youve got your head round it all.

    Fertilisers (substrate): I would recommend Tropica's Plant Substrate
    http://www.tropica.com/article.asp?type=news&id=682

    Co2 Dropchecker: there are loads on the market, some are more aesthetically pleasing than others but they all do the same thing. Generally the plastic ones are quicker to react and more inexpensive.
    Here is a great thread by CEG4048 on what the dropchecker is used for. http://ukaps.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=467

    I recon that lot will get you started but i'm bound to have forgotten somthing so watch out for updates!

    Hope this helps.

    Dan
     
  3. Ray

    Ray Member

    Messages:
    474
    Location:
    Switzerland
    Hmmm, we should be careful about directing a newcomer down this route. Except Ricca none of the plants he wants to grow need CO2, he is adverse to water changes, maybe he doesn't want to go the whole high tech EI route right away? My Java moss and crypts are growing fine using Easy Carbo, for example.

    Simon, welcome to the forum, I too came back into fishkeeping after 20 years recently and although it seems intimidating at first things have actually changed for the better and there is so much more information available these days.

    Essentially there are 4 routes you can take:

    Natural - no CO2, some fertilizers, let things grow slowly using ambient CO2. Limits you to low light plants.
    Liquid carbon - supplement Excel or EasyCarbo to add liquid carbon to the water and also add fertilizer. Growth is 2 - 4 times faster than above.
    CO2 - add CO2 and fertilizer to boost growth to about 4 - 6 times natural option.
    High light CO2 - boost light levels, fertilizer and CO2 for growth 10 times natural and will grow even the most demanding plants. Needs careful attention to maintain equilibrium of plant needs or you end up growing algae. Often uses EI dosing which requires regular water changes. This is what a lot of the people on this forum do, and after 3 months working my way up from natural to liquid carbon I now find myself drawn to it myself.

    BigDannes advice is sound. T5s are the most efficient lights. The more light you add the more plants need Carbon in order to outcompete algae (carbon is the limiting factor in a high light environment). A T5 lido should have just enough light for the first 3 methods, you would need to add more for the third.

    Let us know more about your aims and we can advise you more - guys - what light does ricca need and will it grow with just excel or none?
     
  4. Dan Crawford

    Dan Crawford Founder Staff Member

    Messages:
    3,266
    Location:
    Daventry, Northants
    Rayi - With regards to not telling newcomers to add Co2, Simon said he wants to do it right from the start and 3 months down the line when he is restricted by lack of equipment then that would surely be a let down when he could had the opportunity to do it from the start? A lot of newcomers get discurraged when things don't go according to plan and giving a newcomer the best equipment from the beginning should give them the best start? Almost all plants will benefit from Co2 so why not get it in straight away?
    You say after 3 months you are now drawn to High light & Co2, would you not have liked to do this from the start? i can understand if not since it seems daunting but with a bit of help from folks on here your life can be made really easy.

    Simon - It's nice to have options like natural, Liquid Ferts etc but giving the plants everything they need ie. High light, Co2, nutrient rich substrate and water column fertaliser then life is easier for both you and your plants. This is the way i see best for running a successful planted tank although i have been proved wrong by the many stunning natural tanks out there but i think i'm right in saying that the vast majority of the stunning planted tanks that drew you to the planted tank scene would have been high light and Co2 etc.......

    I doubt you could grow riccia well without good light and Co2 although i'm happy to be corrected on that.

    Hope this helps.
     
  5. Graeme Edwards

    Graeme Edwards Founder Staff Member

    Messages:
    1,161
    Location:
    Wirral/Chester Cheshire.
    Hi Simon,
    Both parts of avice are both as good as one another From Danne and Rayi.

    What i think you need to do, is decide on what method you want to go down, or even come to us with a style you wish to emulate, and then we can advice you on what route is best.

    So do you want, low maint, low hassel, slow growing, limeted plant species?
    Or High tech,high maint, fast gowing, non limited plant speices?
    Or A jungle design, or Iwagumi, dutch style or crypt jungle?

    Your first post makes me think for you, low light jungle style would suet you best.
    If so, Co2 will be of benifit no matter what setup you go for, but not essential for a low light, low maint tank.
    So for you, look at low light plants, mosses, crypts, some stem plants etc, you still have a good choice of plants. A good subtrate firt, ie the Tropica or Tetra etc. A good fertilizer, again Tropica, or even the Nutrafin PlantPro is good and has N,P and K in there and is every where and very cheap. Thats a very simple method to start you off. Good maintanance is a must with any tank.
    Im not sure about the Tetra easy ballance. Personaly, i would avoid adding to many potions and chemicals, its not healthy and goes against my ethics of fish keeping.

    Hope we are helping here!

    Graeme.
     
  6. Simon

    Simon Member

    Messages:
    55
    Location:
    Essex
    Guys, first of all, thank you for your time and generous advice.

    I used to consider myself quiet an experienced aquarist, worked in a shop, bred discus, kept all sorts....but this new planted concept and technology is quiet alien to me. I think it was just in it's infancy when I hung up my last power filter.

    I feel like the old guy in the film The Shawshank Redemption, when he finally gets realsed the world has changed so much, he just doesn't recognise anything!

    I have seen a picture of a tank that I would like to replicate. Basically, as far as I can see it's predominantly a carpet of green ( I think Riccia) and lots of bog wood with a heavy growth of Java Moss. Maybe with some taller stuff in the background.

    At this stage, I do not want to go the RO weekly water change route, although I'm keen to use Co2. Does this help? the advice is really appreciated.

    I mentioned Tetra Easy Balance as advice from a local store. He has a display tank that is thick with crypts, riccia, Java Moss etc. It's been running for 10 years! all of the Emporer Tetras in there have been bred in the tank. He swears by Easy Balance, and giving the tank 2 months before introducing fish.

    Cheers
    Simon
     
  7. Garuf

    Garuf Member

    Messages:
    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
    don't get java moss, It's horrible stuff, there's much nicer stuff available now :)
     
  8. Graeme Edwards

    Graeme Edwards Founder Staff Member

    Messages:
    1,161
    Location:
    Wirral/Chester Cheshire.
    Well Simon, it looks like your after a high light tank then, thats the only when when you want to grow carpeting plants or plants like riccia submerged. Its not a big issue, its just a case of getting plenty of light and matching that with your Co2 and ferts. Of course we will help you with that!
    As for what Gruf says, Booooo, Java moss is brilliant, it just needs some regular trimming at it looks fantastic!

    Hope that all helps.
     
  9. Simon

    Simon Member

    Messages:
    55
    Location:
    Essex
    Thanks Graeme,

    Can I achieve this carpeted look without using RO water and weekly water changes?

    I'm happy to waterchange maybe 2 weekly. My tap water has a GH of around 14 and a Ph of around 7.5

    Can you point me in the direction of C02 information with a solenoid night time shut off? I don't know how to set this up. Also if I go for the Lido and add an extra twin choke, will 4 tubes suffice for this higher light method?

    Thanks again
    Simon
     
  10. Dan Crawford

    Dan Crawford Founder Staff Member

    Messages:
    3,266
    Location:
    Daventry, Northants
    Hiya, your water is almost exactly the same as mine ie. KH 14 and PH 7.2 and i keep and have bred discus in my tap and my plants that include carpeting plants all do great so IMO there is no need for RO. I do one weekly 50% WC.
    Adding two more T5 light to a lido would be great.
    I am currently experiencing loads of problems with my solanoid so i won't reccomend it but to give you an idea of what you should be after have a look at this http://cgi.ebay.com/CO2-Regulator-Elect ... dZViewItem
    this have everything that you need built in ie. Regulator, Bubble counter and solanoid, a few others on here use this kit and will prolly recommend it this is just my experience. What you need to add to this is a UK plug adapter and a normal timer so buy an extra one when you get one for your lighting.
    I forgot to add a diffuser to the list i wrote at the biginning of this tread so grab one of those too, i think a rhinox 2000 would be good and aquaticmagic or aquaessentials sell them.
    Cheers
    Dan
     
  11. beeky

    beeky Member

    Messages:
    879
    Location:
    Chippenham, Wiltshire
    I'm a bit late here, but just a comment on Riccia. Naturally it's a floater and so adapted to high CO2 from the atmosphere. If it's submerged I would expect it to be impossible to grow unless CO2 was injected. I doubt even Excel would cut it.
     
  12. Ray

    Ray Member

    Messages:
    474
    Location:
    Switzerland
    If you water change bi weekly I think you could just dose EI at 50% to cover the bi-weekly rather than weekly changes, others will tell us for sure. Or instead of EI dose a fert such as Tropica Plant Nutrition Plus which includes Macros - I think on the label Tropica suggests "We recommended that minimum 25 % of the aquarium water is changed every second week" - which is quite doable.
    Lido is 120L with 2*24 watts. =31 gallons =1.5 Watts Per Gallon.
    That will grow crypts and java moss no problem. With CO2, T5s and good reflectors I think it could grow Riccia too, just. To be sure, if you have the cash, you could add a third tube going to 2.3 WPG which would be just nice or even 2 more putting you at 3.1WPG - that's loads of light. You don't have to use them all, you can play around with them to get the best results.

    I think all your other questions are answered above. Let us know how you get on or if you need to know more...
     
  13. Simon

    Simon Member

    Messages:
    55
    Location:
    Essex
    I think I'm begining to make sense of it all! the article I was directed to on drop checkers was excellent....thanks to the author.

    I will go for one of the Ebay valve and solenoid sets.

    How about filtration? Keep the internal "eyesore" Juwel filter? or remove it, and replace with an external filled with an open biological media.
     
  14. Dan Crawford

    Dan Crawford Founder Staff Member

    Messages:
    3,266
    Location:
    Daventry, Northants
    Hiya, the Juwel filters are very efficient but like you say they are a bit of an eyesaw so it's up to you and your budget. If it were me and money wasn't too much of an issue then i'd prolly go for a tetratec 1200 external with the standard media and some tetra bioballs if they are not included.
    To add to your list from aquatic magic buy some lilly pipes if you go the external route. I use the ones from there and they are great.
    I'm good at spending your money! :rolleyes:
     

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