General info

Discussion in 'Freshwater Aquatic Plants' started by kyzwicker, Mar 2, 2016.

  1. kyzwicker

    kyzwicker New Member

    Whats everyone's thoughts, preferences, ideas, etc on using different
    -lighting, LED vs forescent, #watts
    -Amount of CO2
    -what plants go well with others
    -nutrients, fertilizers..
    -driftwood, rocks..
  2. Chuck

    Chuck Well-Known Member

    Big topic. I use low tech.
    Dirt, cat litter, gravel , no filter, about 2 watts per gallon. No additives, , no filter.
    Works for most plants
    That's it in a nutshell
  3. kyzwicker

    kyzwicker New Member

    I was looking around and 2 watts per gallon is hard to find for a decent price. I have 2 32w 6500k florescent bulbs in my 55 right now
  4. Mike F

    Mike F Advisory Board

    I use 2x32w shoplights with 6500k florescents on my 55's and it works well. 12hr timers. It's not the thick, luscious growth you see from tanks that use high light, co2, and dose a lot of nutrients but good enough for me. Substrate 50/50 cat litter/garden soil with a cap of whatever on it. I tried double the light but started getting a lot of algae and co2 seemed to become a limiting factor.
    Chuck and Aquaticus like this.
  5. Chuck

    Chuck Well-Known Member

    Use a second strip. I have had good luck this is easy if you have a glass lid
    with one reg warm white and one cool white bulb. Nothing fancy
    I have also built my own lid. You can get three strips in.
    Light isn't the limiting factor in most tanks , it's nutrients to the roots. You feed the roots and you will get a lot better growth with less light and no co2

    Attached Files:

  6. kyzwicker

    kyzwicker New Member

    Awesome, thanks Chuck!
  7. kyzwicker

    kyzwicker New Member

    What kind of nutrients and how do you add them?
  8. Aquaticus

    Aquaticus Administrator

    • I'd recommend Oil-Dry or Safe-T-Sorb over cat litter. Same stuff, but kilned to a higher temperature and won't fall apart over time.
    • 6500K CFLs work great. Led strip lights are easy to make. I just ordered some LED diodes and will be making some more advanced fixtures in the coming months (if I ever get my basement remodel done). Most people are using PAR now to reference their light quality instead of watts per gallon.
    • For a low tech setup, you don't need nutrient additions, as long as you are doing water changes and you are feeding fish. High tech setups with bright lights and CO2 will need nutrient additions, or you'll be growing a lot of algae. Substrate feeding for plants like swords and crypts will give better results even in a low tech setup (as Chuck was mentioning).
    • Val's and crypts don't seem to mix for me. The crypts die back.
    Chuck likes this.
  9. Chuck

    Chuck Well-Known Member

    This is where it gets fun, because every tank seems to develop differently even with the same conditions.
    I have Vals, hygroscopic and Crypts all growing together but I can't get Sagittarius to grow with Val. I alsodis agree a little on water changes. I go less but that is because my water comes out with high nitrates which I. An
    M trying to minimize with the plants. The fact that you are doing a much better job feeding the roots really eliminates the need for further supplements. I only occasionally use a squirt of fleet enema for the phosphates. The fish give off enough Co2 as long as you are not churning up the water.
    Like I said, it can get very complicated and there is no one answer. A number of people in the club have great success with plants. My methods are generally for the beginner and someone who is lazier ( like me).
    I personally started really having luck when I shut off the filter and improved my substrate from just gravel.
  10. kyzwicker

    kyzwicker New Member

    I have the substrate you're all talking about along with co2 system. Been running for about 3 weeks and everythings doing well. Just seeing what other people are doing. Thanks for the info guys
  11. followyourshadow

    followyourshadow Advisory Board Staff Member

    When we did our big planted tank we had a huge light with four banks, or substrate was a mix of dirt, clay, shells, and leaves,with a gravel top. We did water changes about every three weeks, and dosed excel and micro/macro nutrients daily. We also used root tabs for non water-column feeders.
    We are not terribly careful with that tank and it always did quite well - each ecosystem is totally different though, and it took us a solid 8 months to get it all figured out. One of the best changes i made that made a huge difference was to put a black nylon over the HOB filter and into the water, so the surface of the water was never broken - breaking the surface allows CO2 to escape.

    We kept vals, swords, anubias, tiger lillys, saggitaria, babytears, crypts, maritimes, water sprites, ozelots, and a couple more, but I've forgotten what all we had.
    Chuck likes this.

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