Pruning and plant care advice for beginner aquascaper

Discussion in 'Plant Help' started by cdewsnip, 9 May 2009.

  1. cdewsnip

    cdewsnip Newly Registered

    Messages:
    9
    Hi,

    I have recently set up my first tank and am having trouble with getting my plants established and growing well. I have done my best to read and learn as much as possible (and choose suitable equipment) but unfortunately my plants aren't in the condition I'd like. I have the following plants in my tank:

    1. Hemianthus callitrichoides
    2. Pogostemon Helferi
    3. Blyxa Japonica Dwarf
    4. Blyxa Aubertii
    5. Anubias Barterii

    I have the Nutrafin Co2 Natural Plant System set up, and have lights on for 10 hours per day (on a timer). I do a weekly 25% water change and add plant fertilisers at the same time. I'm using ADA Amazonian Aqua Soil with plant substrate undreneath.

    The problems I have are:

    1. The Blyxa Aubertii I've put in front of the filter to hide it from view. This has resulted in the water flow breaking the top off all the leaves so they look really ratty. I'm now not sure if I should cut the leaves back and if so, how? I'm also losing a lot of the leaves as they are coming away from the base. I'd really like to hide the filter with plants but I'm not sure how if this is the problem I get?

    2. The Hemianthus callitrichoides I was hoping would grow into a nice carpet, however I've ended up with raggedy straggly growth. I think I need to prune them but I'm really not sure how to go about this? I also think perhaps I need to add more.

    3. All the plants get a bit of brown algae on them. I try to wipe this off each week but it's growing back. I've followed all the instructions for dealing with algae (no direct sunlight, lights on a timer, lots of plants etc) but with no luck. The tank is only 6 weeks old so perhaps it's still getting established.

    4. I had trouble planting the HC as it kept on coming away from the gravel. I've heard that I should be using tweezers to plant it. Is that right?

    5. I'm not entirely convinced I have put the plants in the right place and that it's all working together well. No doubt I'm comparing my tank to tanks created by people with years of experience but if anyone has any feedback on the setup I've created that'd be most appreciated. (I don't seem to be able to upload an image sorry - does anyone know how I'm best to do this? I can email these to anyone who would like to see them.)

    If anyone could give me any advice and any pruning knowledge that'd be most appreciated.

    Thanks a lot! :D
     
  2. Nick16

    Nick16 Member

    Messages:
    1,761
    Location:
    Surrey, UK
    1. turn lights down to 8 hours.
    2. how big is the tank?
    3. am i right in saying your co2 system is yeast based? if your tank is more than about 60L you should really use a pressurized system.
    4. do you dose ferts?

    a link for pruning
    http://ukaps.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=34&t=236

    look under tutorials, there is plenty for the 'newbie'
     
  3. cdewsnip

    cdewsnip Newly Registered

    Messages:
    9
    Hi Nick,

    Thanks so much for the quick reply! In response to your points:

    1. Ok, I'll turn it down to 8 hours.
    2. It's a 48L tank. It's an Interpet Fish Pod.
    3. Yes, it's yeast based. I understand that for the size of the tank I have this should be sufficient?
    4. I add in TetraPlant PlantaMin each week. Is that what you're meaning? And should I do this more often? Use something different?

    I've had a read through the pruning article and it's definitely given me some good pointers. With the Blyxa Aubertii I'm not sure what I should do about the leaves that have broken half way up due to the pressure of the filter. Should I leave them to regrow? Cut them just past the ripped area or remove those leaves completely from the roots? If I remove them completely then there'll be nothing left though.

    Thanks again!

    Cara
     
  4. Nick16

    Nick16 Member

    Messages:
    1,761
    Location:
    Surrey, UK
    dont remove all the blyxa leaves. like vallis you should pull them away from the base using a fingernnail or something. leave a few leaves. if you have correct substrate, co2 and ferts (i know you dont hence the ask for help) you should have enough new plantlets/runners quickly enough to be able to remove the poorly plants.

    1. try to alter the flow of your filter, use a spraybar, or re direct the flow, or plant away from the filter
    2. tetra plantamin in my opinion is not to great, so i would go for tropica plant nutrition + and dose daily or every other day. (1-2ml will be plenty)
    3. buy a cheap drop checker off ebay (if you havn't already!,(type in co2 drop checker, probably come from hong kong)) These measure the amount of co2 in your water and change colour depending on the amount present
    4. perhaps consider removing your co2 system and dosing with easycarbo or excel. these are sources of liquid carbon and are also an algacide. however do not just rely on this to remove algae, you should address why it is there. (normally to higher lighting and not enough co2, ferts and flow to distribute these) (try to describe what the algae looks like, colour etc) or you could get some liquid carbon and use it as a slight supplement to your current co2. adding 1ml every other day will do. Aquaessentials (one of our sponsors) do their own brand of liquid carbon at a very good price so it may be worth checking that out as well. but do not overdose on ferts and co2!

    hope this helps for now. others will come and give their help im sure!
     
  5. cdewsnip

    cdewsnip Newly Registered

    Messages:
    9
    Thanks Nick - definitely a few things to think about and try. I'd never even heard of a spray bar before!

    The algae looks a little bit like dirt on the leaves. This is a fairly close representation of what it looks like: brown20algae.jpg . I've been reading that it's common in a new tank set up so hopefully if I get everything else sorted and balanced it might go away.
     
  6. Nick16

    Nick16 Member

    Messages:
    1,761
    Location:
    Surrey, UK
    they look like amazon sowrd leaves.

    what kind of substrate do you have?
     
  7. cdewsnip

    cdewsnip Newly Registered

    Messages:
    9
    Ah sorry, they aren't photos of my actual plants, I just found an image that had algae which looked similar. I'm not sure how to upload my own photos.

    I'm using Tropica Plant substrate. Though I think I have more than the recommended 3-4 cm of aqua soil on top of it so perhaps the plant roots are getting down to it?

    Are you able to tell me how to clean the soil/gravel without disturbing the plants? Should I even be trying to do this with aqua soil?

    I've been looking at spray bars and some people seem to recommend lily pipes instead. I also haven't been able to see a spray bar for the filter I have. Any further recommendations?

    So many questions... :D

    Thanks as always.
     
  8. Nick16

    Nick16 Member

    Messages:
    1,761
    Location:
    Surrey, UK
    i take it you have an internal filter? there are some types that you can buy now with a spraybar attached. i think the new interpet one has it and not to sure about the fluval either.

    you can buy a gravel cleaner. this sucks up the crap whilst leaving the heavier particles of soil/gravel. however if you substrate is likely to cloud like mine, i only skim the top lightly and dont poke around to much. the crap shouldnt get too far down anyway.

    at least you have some good substrate, most have only plain gravel and wonder why plants arent growing. when they picture them (like swords) they are often heavy root feeders and are effectively 'starving to death'
     
  9. Nelson

    Nelson Member

    Messages:
    2,583
    Location:
    Norfolk
  10. Simon D

    Simon D Member

    Messages:
    460
    Location:
    Leicestershire
    I don't have a problem growing Echinodorus bleheri (Amazon Swords) in "only plain gravel" mine have been in the tank for over a year and are not starving to death!
    004.jpg
    ;)
     
  11. cdewsnip

    cdewsnip Newly Registered

    Messages:
    9
    Thanks for the photo upload information. Here are two photos of the tank:

    dsc00328apq.jpg
    dsc00330ccm.jpg

    Neither of them have come out too clearly but hopefully they will help. The first one shows the Blyxa Aubertii with the top of the leaves broken off. Hopefully with a spray bar this will stop breaking my plants up so much.

    I do have an internal filter - I believe it's this one http://www.ukpetsupplies.com/Details.as ... entId=589#. Does anyone know of a spray bar that would work with this?

    Nick, you're right that the substrate I have is likely to cloud the water if I disturb it too much. Is there a gravel cleaner that you recommend? Would this one do the trick: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/TETRA-TEC-GRAVEL- ... dZViewItem?

    Thanks for your advice.
     
  12. tbonedeluxe

    tbonedeluxe Newly Registered

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Chicago,Il
    you can also trim all broken and bad leaves.this will also stimulate new growth.GL :)
     
  13. CeeJay

    CeeJay Member

    Messages:
    945
    Location:
    Surrey UK
    Hi cdewsnip
    In my limited experience, I have found that HC loves CO2. I had the same problem in my new setup but as soon as I got my flow and CO2 injection rates sorted the HC is now spreading nicely and is nearly all 'joined up' :D So far it's been about 7 weeks but it's probably only been spreading for about the last 2 weeks. Obviously I've still got loads to learn (being a newbie too) but this sure is the best place to do it.

    Chris.
     

Share This Page

Facebook Page
Twitter Page
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice