Questions from a newby

Discussion in 'General Planted Tank Discussions' started by kbekl, 10 Dec 2007.

  1. kbekl

    kbekl Newly Registered

    Messages:
    6
    Right as title sujests i am a newby and really love some of the tanks i have seen so much colour and really natural feel to them, i have only been keeping fish for about 5mths.

    what can be done with a 227l in the way of plants

    i know nothing of plants at all and cant even tell the difference between a plant and a weed (found that out by asking my nan what was that nice little plant over their :oops: )

    i dont have much in the way of lighting but my larger tank seems brighter than my juwel.

    here is my tank and my plants (dont now what they are)
    PICT0009-2.jpg

    PICT0004-2.jpg
    PICT0003-1.jpg

    am looking about the site for inspiration and find heaps but it is so daunting and with some of the tanks seems like mine is miles away from even the basic one's

    suppose what i would like to know is what are the best plants for growth but will be easy to keep in check?

    would i need a co2 system to grow plants or not a necessity to start off with

    does having plants limit what fish i can have or gives me a better option for cirtain fish


    sorry for all the silly questions

    cheers karl
     
  2. Could you find out what wattage your lights are? (look on the bulbs, it should say near the end)

    Low light on your 227l would be less than 50w, medium around 100w, and high would be 150w or more.

    The plants you have at the moment look to be mostly fairly easy to keep under standard lighting, but the red stems might not make it (need high light, CO2 etc).

    The grassy ones at the back look like Vallis and the light coloured one to the right of the wood is an Aponogeton. The other green plants on the right are Java Ferns, and would do better tied to your wood or ornaments with cotton, keeping its roots out of the gravel. im not sure exactly what your stem plants are, but someone else will know.

    If you want to keep the lighting you have now, CO2 won't be needed.

    Have a look here: http://ukaps.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=532

    That is a very basic plant setup, using just mud, silver sand and water. The layer of mud (aquatic potting soil) is about 4" thick and has a thin cover of sand to stop it clouding the water. The plants can get their nutrients from the mud. The lighting here is standard Juwel bulbs too, and I don't use any other fertilisers. You might want to think about that as an easy way to grow plants well.

    Hope that helps,

    Tom
     
  3. beeky

    beeky Member

    Messages:
    879
    Location:
    Chippenham, Wiltshire
    Cryptocorynes are very good for low light tanks, as are anubias. In the new year I'm going to be breaking down a low light, non CO2 tank in preparation for a house move and you're welcome to a wad of C. wendtii. It won't be 'till the middle of January though.

    Amazon swords (Echinodorus sp.) are good as well, but they tend to get quite large and can smother other plants.

    Have you thought of yeast CO2? The nutrafin kits are good value just for the canisters, tubing and diffuser. You can replace the packets with standard yeast and sugar, although you'll have to redo the mixture every week.
     
  4. Matt Holbrook-Bull

    Matt Holbrook-Bull Founder

    Messages:
    963
    Location:
    Dorset, UK
    to echo what the others have said really :)

    java ferns, anubias, vallis (which you have at the back, the tall straight grass like plants), some crypts all do fairly ok in low light. the trick is to have lots of plants, a heavy biomass will help guard you against any algae problems.

    DIY co2 could be good providing you can keep it stable enough and be on the ball in changing bottles to keep it steady..

    what you really need to decide is whether you want to do high tech, or keep it simple.. what you choose will be driven by how much or little light you use. so its important to know exactly what you have over your tank at the moment, as already said by the others.

    some amazing results have been gained from very low light, low tech approaches, George has had some stunning competition winning results. the only difference is patience, lower light obviously takes far longer to grow, but also, problems are alot slower to appear, and therefore easier to control and identify. imagine lighting as a throttle on the system.

    keep us updated how you get on and ask as many questions as you need to :)
     
  5. kbekl

    kbekl Newly Registered

    Messages:
    6
    the tube i have is an Interpet Tropical Reflector Lamp 38w i was told this was ok for growth

    well i was looking at these bulk buys of plants on the net where you get some of everything just in case 1 or the other dont get going would these be ok for newbies ?


    how would i go about attaching the fern to the wood and does it root into the wood or arround it ?
     
  6. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi,
    For the time being I wouldn't worry about the brand of light or the model, or the spectrum. The plants adapt to just about every type or color of bulb except for probably green. Get the bulbs that you think make your tank look nice. Check out this thread by JamesC - http://www.ukaps.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=555

    What's much more important as Floricsome_Flora mentioned is how much light in terms of wattage you intend to add. This is a critical decision because beyond a certain level of lighting you will need to inject CO2. Below that level there is no need to add CO2 and therefore life is much simpler.

    From the photo it appears that you have sufficient lighting, but not too much to require CO2 injection if that's only a single 38 watt bulb with reflector.

    Yes, I'd get the bulk buy of plants you mentioned and put as many plants as possible in the tank and see what grows, and see what you like. At this stage, learning how to grow the plants properly is the top priority.

    You can tie ferns, anubias and mosses on rock or wood using common sewing thread or fishing line or just about anything. After a while they adhere to the object that you tied them to.

    There is also need to pay attention to fertilizer dosing. I reckon you'll need to dose the macro nutrients as well as the trace elements at least once a week and it may also be advisable to add Excel once or twice a week as well. Check the threads in the Aquarium Fert Dosing sub-forum and just ask if there is anything you are unclear about :D

    Cheers,
     
  7. Dan Crawford

    Dan Crawford Founder Staff Member

    Messages:
    3,266
    Location:
    Daventry, Northants
    Hi, Ceg is right about dosing somthing like Excell the only think that i would point out is that a lot of "plant collections" include vallis, Excell will melt vallis so if you plant it in your tank and it goes all mushy then this is the most likely reason. It's kind of a trade off but i would take Ceg's advice and use Excell and just leave out the vallis.

    The next point would be to learn how to plant plants, don't just stuff them in the substrate with lead weights on or rockwool all round the roots like some retailers will advise you to do. If you plants stems individually about two inches apart then you will have much better results. The distance apart depends on the size of the plants' eventual size, once you've received them or before if you know what they are going to be do some research on the eventual size and have a look at the plant in question in other peoples tanks and that will give you an idea of what it should turn out like. Google images is a good start but you are relying on other people actually calling the plant by it's correct name so some care should be taken not to be looking at the wrong plant, IMO there is much less of a chance of mistaken identity if you search for it's Latin name so i'd start off with that.

    Hope this helps.

    Dan

    Here is a link to a great thread on the upkeep of stem plants http://ukaps.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=236
     
  8. beeky

    beeky Member

    Messages:
    879
    Location:
    Chippenham, Wiltshire
    If I were you, I'd buy some aquatic soil (sold for ponds) from a garden centre and put a layer of that down of about 2 inches (5cm), and then add a little water until it's wet but not underwater. Put your plants on the soil and cover with some gravel (although silver sand from the garden centre would be better).

    I also reckon another tube would better as this would give you 1.5 watts per gallon which IMO is still low.

    Red plants really need high light and CO2, certainly I've never had success with any of them in my low tech tanks.

    Tom, what plants are in your low tech tank?
     
  9. kbekl

    kbekl Newly Registered

    Messages:
    6
    would it upset much if i was to change the substrate then ?

    i was thinking of a second light as well but space in the hood is a problem but might be able to get arround that


    i can get as much live yeast as i want for free as i use it in work whilst i bake the bread will this give me the same result ?
     
  10. You'd need to remove everything (inc fish) before changing substrates obviously, but they should be fine. If you put the fish in a bucket with the filter/aeration it will be ok.

    I found that yeast from the bakers works much faster than the dried stuff from tesco.

    Mainly swords, crypts, dwarf sags and hygro

    Tom
     
  11. beeky

    beeky Member

    Messages:
    879
    Location:
    Chippenham, Wiltshire
    You don't yet have a huge amount in your tank, so it should be fairly painless. Just be very careful when refilling so as to avoid clouding the water too much.

    Here's a very good article on DIY CO2 and yeast:

    http://www.qsl.net/w2wdx/aquaria/diyco2.html
     
  12. Ray

    Ray Member

    Messages:
    474
    Location:
    Switzerland
    For 2 months I've been dosing EasyLife CarbonPro (another brand of Excel) and growing 2 different types of Vallais without problems - they are going great guns and putting out daughter plants. Sometimes I double dose and I've seen no ill effects.
     
  13. beeky

    beeky Member

    Messages:
    879
    Location:
    Chippenham, Wiltshire
    Me too. Never double dosed but used Excel as stated on the bottle and Vallis was rampant.
     
  14. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Guys,
    I'm of the opinion that for someone new to plant growing the added complication of DIY yeast CO2 is a bit much. A small tank is bad enough but this is a 50G which means added burden of changing out bottles frequently. DIY is notorious for delivery of fluctuating pressures so the risk of algae is exacerbated.

    I feel that we should keep things simple for now by keeping the light to non CO2 levels while dosing the EasyLive Carbo or Excel., Valis compatibility notwithstanding.

    As Tom suggested, limit the light to no more than about 50 watts, learn about weekly nutrient dosing and perhaps daily or every other daily dosing of the Carbo product. The non-CO2 injection method has the added advantage of not requiring water changes so I would suggest this approach first and as kbekl grows in experience these other elements can be added.

    Cheers,
     

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