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Re: Newbie intro...
> I am new to this list, but glad I found it! I currently have a 55 gallon
> tank that I am trying to keep as natural as possible while experimenting
> with sand/large gravel mixed substrate and 2 55watt (HO?) bulbs.
If you're interested in natural tanks then you really should visit
Rhonda Wilson's web site (http://naturalaquariums.com). Also you should
get and study Diana Walstad's book (Ecology of the Planted Aquarium),
and pay attention to advise handed out by moontanman. Any other natural
tank proponents, feel free to volunteer.
> I had
> previously kept 2 20-gallon tanks, but combined them into the 55-gallon, in
> the hopes that I can eventually keep discus. I currently have an Amazon
> sword (not sure exactly which type - just got it), a bunch of crypts-green,
> bronze, & red wendtii, a couple large hygrophila, one lone stalk of
> anacharis (most died off when transplanted), a few microswords, some wee
> bits of java fern (they don't like the lights at all), java moss, and some
> spiky looking grass type plants (only an inch tall) that don't seem to be
> doing well + one other odd plant that they claimed was a true aquatic at the
> pet store, but I have my doubts since I can't find a pic of it anywhere.
Some of the problems you describe could be due to lack of CO2 and other
nutrients to match your light levels. If so then they can be fixed
either by increasing CO2 and fertilizers or by reducing the light a
little and enriching
the substrate. Plain sand/gravel is not usually an adequate substrate
until after it's aged in the tank for a period of months to years.
> I was curious to know if anyone here has tried the liquid CO2 they sell
> online? Is it as effective a CO2 injection system? And also, curious on
> opinions of the best liquid plant fertilizer?
Well, neither of those qualify as part of a particularly natural
approach. Probably more people have experience with Seachem's Excel
than with Liquid CO2. Both seem to be intended for the same job.
Opinions on plant fertilizers vary. Tropica Mastergrow and Seachem's
Flourish both have proponents. PlantGro is also widely available and
it's great if your tank runs short of phosphorus.