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Re: I would like to start again

AmethystMoon at amethystmoon_98 at yahoo_com wrote:

> reposting again and wondering if a "boys" name would
> illicit an better response?
> is the aquarium plant hobby a "boys club"??
> I'm beginning to wonder...

Don't know why you would wonder that. I've seen plenty of repies from guys
to girls on this list. Just read the archives. Can't speak for others, but I
never even consider gender when posting to other listers.

> I would like some advice on planting a 29G long.
> I had some nice plant growth but things went south and
> I would like to start again.
> H2O parameters I am not sure of, I know I ahve to get
> better.
> ph 7, nitrates low .020 or .20?? not sure juts know
> they are low.

I'm not into water chemistry either. I only check 2 parameters, usually: pH
and hardness. I keep the pH at about 6.8 to 7.0 and the KH hardness between
5 to 8 degrees. That typically gives me plenty of CO2 for healthy, vigorous

> substrate...laterine, mixed size gravel and small
> patch of sand.

Sounds good, so long as the gravel is not too coarse. Anything over about 2
to 3 millimeters is probably too coarse, unless filled in with finer gravel.

> fish load...4 cory cats, 4 clown loaches, 4 rainbows,
> 1 betta

No problem there, unless the loaches and rainbows (what kind?) are huge
Plenty of room for additional fish like algae eaters (SAEs), otocinclus,
farawella or others. I keep about 8 otos, a few SAEs and a plecostomous in a
45g to help with algae, in addition to about 25 other fish.

> 110W of compact flours.

Plenty, maybe even too much for shade loving plants, but you can accomodate
those by using larger light loving plants for shade.

OK so it seems you have most of the gear you need. You don't say what
exactly "went south" with your tank before, but let's assume it's forever to
remain a mystery and start from scratch.

First off, read all you can on The Krib web site. There's more there than
you'll ever need, believe me.


After you've grown dizzy reading that, consider adding CO2 fertilization to
your tank. The amount of light you're burning just about requires it. I
would say CO2 is the most effective thing you can do. You could use either
DIY (yeast in plastic coke bottle) or compressed gas system. The latter is
more expensive to set up, but way more enjoyable since it takes very very
little effort to maintain. The former is real cheap, but you have to mix
yeast and sugar water once every week or so. After 6 months of doing DIY
myself, I began to see the bargain of a compressed air system. :) If you
haven't already, go to The Krib website and read all you can on plants and
CO2. For under $15 you can have it going by tomorrow if you go with DIY.
Your 29g is a perfect candidate for it.

The next most important thing that you can do is buy a lot of plants. I mean
A LOT. For some reason, heavily planting your tank will be much more likely
to do well. Why? I don't know exactly, but the biological processes of the
plants are beneficial to both themselves and to your fish, and the more
plants you have, the more benefit you'll get (sounds good anyway, huh).
You'll get more oxygen for the fish, more naturally removed nitrates and
ammonia, more comfort and sense of security for fish, more pleasure for you,

Finally, consider fertilizing your plants with plant suppliments. The easy
thing is to get one of the commercial supplements (Tropica Mastergrow, Leaf
Zone, Flourish, etc), or learn to mix your own PMDD (or "poor man's dosing
drops"). These will provide the "missing ingredients" that plants want to
grow well.

That's the basics. Once you get things going, you will want to consider such
details as removing carbon from your filter so as to not remove nutrients
the plants need, reducing surface turbulance to prevent CO2 loss from your
water, controlling algae by balancing nutrients, feeding sparsely, helping
the plants "out-compete" algae for nutrients, etc. Over time you'll try to
refine things aesthetically, and you will tinker with it endlessly as you
try to achieve as perfect a balance of light, plants, fish, nutrients, and
decor with your time and effort as you can, or simply for the heck of it.

Given the sparseness of your information, it is hard for me to tell if this
is helpful or even the right info, but if not you can always ask for more.

Good luck.

Dan Dixon