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Re: [APD] Substrate
I'm sure you'll get lots of responses, so here's one. From what I see, what substrate to use it the least of your problems. 80 watts is a lot of watts over 20 gallons - at least 20-40 watts more than you want as a person starting out in the planted tank hobby. That much light makes running your tank like driving very fast - a little mistake leads to a big crash - crashing in this case meaning algae taking over the tank.
If you are really going to have 80 watts over 20 gallons, you need to go with pressurized CO2. DIY CO2 with yeast in soda bottles fluctuates over time - and combined with that amount of light, those fluctuations provide near-perfect growing conditions for algae, especially black beard algae (BBA)
What your fish store was talking about was "carbonate hardness". Carbonate Hardness, also known as KH, refers to the concentration of bicarbonate (HCO3-) and carbonate (CO3--) dissolved in water - it acts as a buffer. Basically, the KH and the pH and the CO2 interact. With a KH of 2, your water is not well buffered, and if your DIY (or pressurized) CO2 should get going a little too much, your pH could crash, which could kill your fish. KH can easily be raised with baking soda, but you will need a KH kit to measure it. I am guessing that your general hardness (GH) is low also. If that is the case, you might raise them both by using CaCO3 and MgSO4.
You'll want to start with lots and lots of fast-growing plants, like water sprite and fast growing Hygrophila species. At that light level you will need to add fertilizer for your plants. www.thekrib.com<http://www.thekrib.com/> has lots of good info, and if you search the APD archives you will find lots more tips as well as as more links to good sites. Just don't make the mistake of trying to "starve" the algae.
If you can, go for less light and pressurized CO2.
----- Original Message -----
From: Mark Swaggard<mailto:dvlhntr13 at hotmail_com>
To: aquatic-plants at actwin_com<mailto:aquatic-plants at actwin_com>
Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2005 4:49 PM
Subject: [APD] Substrate
I am buliding a 20 Gal Palnted tank next to my Desk.
It has 80watts of light (65w PC @ 6500k, 15 watts NO @ 8000k *i think)
I am going to use the DIY CO2 injection. (2L sodda bottle + sugar water +
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