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Newbie plant questions (long)
Exactly 2.5 months after purchasing our first-ever tank, we now have a 10g
with 7 plants (hornwort, bacopa, rotala indica, pygmy chain sword, tropica
sword, sagittaria and water sprite), and 5 fish (3 danios, 2 CAEs). I blame
these ng's for the inspiration to get plants :-). Now I can't imagine
keeping a tank without live plants. The learning curve has been steep so
far (killed 10 fish 1.5 months ago because didn't know about ammonia), but
I've just scratched the surface.
I have two categories of problems - plants and algae. Hoping some of you
experts have the patience to read all this and provide some pointers.
A. ALGAE -
The tank had a bad case of brown algae before the CAEs. This was completely
cleaned off by the CAEs. However there are 2-3 other types still around.
1. green brush-like algae on 2-3 rotala leaves.
2. long strands of algae growing on 6-8 leaves (rotala and bacopa)
3. numerous 1-2mm green spots on the glass - slowly increasing in number.
The CAEs don't seem to touch any of these.
Overall question - how do I get rid of this unsightly stuff while still
growing healthy plants?
1. Rotala - was earlier covered with brown algae, is now doing better after
the CAEs cleaned this off. Sprouting new leaves from top (pink, large) and
bottom (green, small). Also a long root 1/3rd from the top of one of the
stems. The problem here is disfigured leaves from the old algae, and algae
# 1 and 2 listed above.
2. Hornwort - seems to be growing very quickly. It hit the top of the water
and is sprouting branches and new leaves all over. No problems here except
trimming. BTW, I read that hornwort is supposed to suppress algae - is this
3. Bacopa - had nearly died off due to low light and algae (before the new
fluorescents, CAEs and CO2). The few remaining stems are sprouting lush
green leaves and copious amounts of roots. Still fragile. Has algae #2 on
4. Pygmy chain sword - earlier covered with brown algae, is now green again
thanks to CAEs. Does not seem to be doing much. Some old leaves are dying
off, but not much in terms of obvious new growth.
5. Tropica sword - Is rapidly sprouting new leaves, which is great, except
they're coming out nearly transparent and slightly torn. Too little
chlorophyll (iron deficiency??).
6. Sagittaria - Newest addition. Some old leaves dying off, no obvious new
7. Water sprite - Some old leaves dying/breaking off. Some new green growth
Overall question - how do I stimulate healthy growth and propagation without
lots of algae?
Other details -
NH4, NO2 = 0, pH=7.2-7.4 (baking soda used for buffering)
Temp = 82F (too high?)
2x15W fluorescent 5000K bulbs on 12.5 hours.
NO3 = 0-15ppm (test kit is unreliable).
O2 = 7-10ppm
Don't have phosphate, GH, KH, CO2 readings yet. The kits are expensive, but
I'll go get some tests done at the LFS soon.
Aquaclear mini filter with 2 sponges. UGF removed.
No aeration (day or night).
1.5" of 2-3mm gravel, covered with 1-2" of 1-2cm gravel. This is probably
the one thing that I'd rather not change at this point (next tank will have
a better recipe).
3 Seachem Flourish tabs deep in gravel.
10 drops of Kent micronutrient mix daily (trying to iron overdose in
response to transparent sword leaves - but no effect so far)
3 tabs of aquarium NPK tabs.