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RE: Aquatic Plants Digest V4 #117

 "Matt" <marius1 at gate_net>wrote Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 23:48:33
> Subject: Future tank questions.
> Hi all.  I have this 125 gallon tank sitting all set up in my
> room, flourite
> gravel, BIG Ocean Clear  canister filter, 1200 GPH Little Giant pump, lots
> of good slate and driftwood, and all I'm wanting for it is the
> lights.  I've
> figured out from past experience that even regular flourescents
> placed close
> to the tank with glass tops will get my temperature to a good 84 degrees
> (based on my 55 gallon with 4 Chroma 50s and my FLORIDA
> locale...), so metal
> halides are out of the question.

Hey Matt and ADPers!

I had this same concern in my 125g. I have a 125 with 3x175/6500k/electronic
ballasts metal halide pendants and I am really pleased with the fact that
they don't add a lot of heat to the tank.  MH pendants hanging 9-12" from
the water with an open-top tank IMHO really does not add a whole lot to the
temp of the water, maybe 1-2 degrees.  I would venture to guess that an
open-top tank would dissipate more heat than it gains from MH lamps at this
distance from the water and with adequate room air circulation.   In an
air-conditioned home the room temp will have more of an effect on the tank
temp than the lights.  If it's 80f in the room where your tank is, it's
going to be 82-83f in your tank. In the winter my tank drops to 78-79f at
night because we keep our house like a meat-locker and load up on blankets!
I have Duplaflex 500 and 150 heating cables in the substrate (Dupla
Laterite) and Duplaflex S100 heating cable in the water, this is all!

BTW, (diatribe coming, skip if you think you need to),  I am convinced
(while not a pre-requisite), substrate heating works. Why? I fertilize
heavy, feed heavy (planted discus tank), do lots of water changes, but
hardly vacuum ever, well maybe once, I lightly vacuumed 1/2 the tank last
year and the other half just last month while doing some minor re-design.  I
think my available Phosphate and Iron levels would be much higher if it were
not for the steady convection and cation exchange and element reductions
(divalent state) going on in my substrate making elements (Ammonium, K, P
Fe, Ca, Mg and other trace elements) available to plant roots.  ALL plant
root systems are prolific, nice structures, all nice color and no black
root-rot syndrome anywhere.  Maybe it's too early to tell.  NO Algae except
what was clearly induced by me and stupid...er/or learning stuff which
cleared up quickly like in 2-3 weeks.  Anything I plant develops great roots
and does well.   Would UGH also attribute to reducing allelopathic levels in
the water column also?

---------  END - UGH cables diatribe  --------------

If jumping-fish is a concern than a glass/plexi-glass cover would make the
tank retain more heat and MHs may be a problem.  IMHO open-top tank
advantages far out weigh covered tanks.  Plant aerial advantage (more
efficient use of aerial Co2->better growth->use water-column nutrients->
less for algae!) is the first that comes to mind, easier to get in/out of
and work in the tank, I think there is also a better gas-exchange
environment,  besides pure aesthetics and the cool "shimmering" effect MH
has on moving water in the tank is nice.

>  I've pretty much decided on lights from AH
> Supply in a custom hood, unless anyone has any miracle stories
> with better,
> cheaper lights, or any nightmare horror stories with the AH lights.

Also a great choice, but IMHO, go with open-top and PC pendants, you will be
glad you did on a tank this size.

> With that out of the way, there are a couple questions I'd like to run by
> gurus.  First order of business:  Siamese algae eaters.  I have
> searched 16
> LFSs in my general area, and not a single employee knew what they are.  I
> got dumb looks, and plenty of them.  I called them all with the scientific
> name, and description, and they got hold of all their suppliers, who
> informed them that I must be talking about Chinese algae eaters, and
> cheerfully volunteered to send a shipment.  I am not getting
> anywhere with a
> local search, so if anyone could point me in the direction of an online
> source for SAEs, I would be much obliged.

Mail order SAEs.....hummm....who was it that usually has them....Uncle Ned's
up in Karen's neck-of-the-woods, outside Boston, MA I think
(http://www.clubnedusa.com/clubnedconsulting/uncleneds/uncleneds.htm) and
also try DAD's Fishroom (http://www.d-vault.net/dfish/) a Canadian Landmark,
great folks (but "their Canadian-they have to be nice!") They may have
closed their mail-order business??

>Secondly, I am going
> to make this
> tank a serious go at a real plant tank,

Good, plant 75+% of the substrate surface area with fast-growers (IOW, pack
that puppy with any fast-growers you can beg, borrow, purchase etc...),then
replace/replant with plants more to your liking in 3-4 months after the tank
has settled and the usual initial algae/nutrient balance wars have been
fought and hopefully been won by the aquarist!

After initial planting wait a week or two then go with some Ottos(5-8) ,
SAEs(5-10), couple of small bristle-nose plecos(maybe 2), a couple of
farowellas (not Royal) and a couple of black sailfin mollies (whom will
pro-create like crazy if conditions are right!)  and others on the
recommendation of the list members or whatever you can get.  Don't feed the
fish for the first week or two then lightly for a couple more weeks, then
feed normally.

If you want to add Amono-shrimp wait till you are sure the tank is managing
your ammonia/nitrites output or it has "cycled" because they will not
tolerate ammonia/nitrites and general beginner mistakes like pH/Co2 swings,
chemical spewage swings.   After a month or more start adding your target
display fish. Ca/Mg is also important but this does not sound like a problem
for you.

> and I want to avoid anything that would endanger the algae-destroying
machines who will be my saviors in said  tank, however, I am in love with
the Congo Tetra.  I want the (mobile)
> centerpiece of this tank to be a big meatball of them.  Like 30
> of them.  If
> I bought them small, and kept them fed, are they likely to prey
> on the Amano
> shrimp?  I can see a danger, given that they are a relatively large fish
> when they mature.  And they do develop a relatively large mouth.  If I
> raised them on a predictable diet, would they even seek anything outside
> their food?  And are there any other nasty things that might come up with
> Congo Tetras that I should be aware of before I actually spend that much
> money on them?

Don't really know, but like any fish, if they have a readily available and
easy supply of fish food you your Caridina Japonica should be just fine.
Chances are initially you will never see them.  They are mostly
nocturnal-feeders and given lots of hiding places they should be able to
avoid most predators.  I have, well I started with about 25 Amono-shrimp and
they have gotten big, fat and are just now starting to brave the
brightly-lit areas of the tank during the tank photo-period.

> Third order of business:  Jobe's Fern Spikes.  I have
> checked all of the department stores, K-mart, Home Depot, and such for a
> thirty mile radius from my house, and I have found so many plant spikes it
> would make your heads spin.  The problem?  "For beautiful
> houseplants"  "For
> beautiful flowering plants", and THAT'S ALL THERE IS, ANYWHERE!!!!  :(  I
> asked them if they would order them for me.  No.  I furthermore
> did a search
> of all of my nearby nurseries and such for the spikes.  Nada.  I
> then asked
> them to call their suppliers and see if they could find them.  I even
> promised to buy an entire box, because they don't carry them.
> Nada, zilch,
> nothing.  Does the Jobe's company have a website?  I did a search of the
> web, and nothing.  Could anyone out there tell me where to go from here?
> Maybe someone could ship me a box, or tell me where in the
> Tampa/Sarasota/Bradenton/North Port/Port Charlotte/Venice area of
> Florida I
> could find these highly prized and coveted plant spikes?!

I think they are a seasonal thing.  Try in the Spring.  With a properly set
up substrate and tank, you should not need them till at least the Spring or
months after planting.  If you want you could start out using some
commercial plant-tank tabs like SeaChem or the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals

> Thanks in advance to anyone willing to at least read this novel, and many
> thanks to those of you who might have the information I am in such need
> of!!!  :)
My pleasure, I barely have time to read the APD so as a result I lurk too
much. I owe a big debt of gratitude to this list and it's members, so thank
you for allowing me to contribute!

> Matt
> In sunny Florida, where the tap water is liquid rock, and the
> tanks boil if
> you try to put any light on them.
> or via FTP to ftp.actwin.com in /pub/aquaria/aquatic-plants.

Tom Brennan
(In Spring-like No. VA.  Hey anybody want to go Spelunking this weekend?)