new plant tank woes
After reading up loads of useful info from this list and the archives, I
decided to try my hand at a planted tank and set up a 29g about 4 weeks ago.
The tank has two 4ft double-bulb shop lights on it with 4 40w vitalights
(I think 3 of them are old, 1 is new) Mind you the tank is only 30" long
so there is about a 9" overhang on either side, providing what I think is
some extra light to the lower side plants in the tank. Substrate is about
2.5"-3" of 3-4mm dark gravel with home-made Thiel laterite balls (although
I found you can also inject wet laterite into the gravel with a feeding syringe)
current tank conditions: pH=6.8-7.0, GH=2dH, KH=3dH, no measurable ammonia
or nitrites. fish= 4 zebra danios, 6 rasbora heteromorpha. Filter is an AQ300
with sponge, Biochem beads, and SeaChem phosphate remover.
Original planting was 6 apons (3 crispus, 3 stachyosporus),
2 12" E. paniculatus, 12 E. quadricostatus, some wisteria, H. poly, Bacopa
(not caroliana), 1 Crinum thianum, and a small java fern. Things aren't too
bad but the Bacopa is growing little, if any, the H. poly is really slow and
new leaves are very narrow, and the wisteria is melting (I suspect due to
salt I added to fight the ich). The swords grow new leaves every week and the
apons are taking over and flowering. I suspect the Bacopa might not like
warm water (the tank is at 82deg due to a recent ich fight). The main problem
is hair algae- it's covering every plant and the glass at amazing speeds.
The lighting is on for 12hrs straight. I find that if I wipe the algae off
the glass, it's back in one or two days. I do a 15-20% water change every
week and remove dead leaves. I'm not using any fertilizers initially so no
phosphates are being added (other than tapwater). Might I have extremely high
phosphate levels in my tap water? I was hoping the SeaChem beads would help
but it doesn't seem to be. Where is this algae coming from? People tell me
I should expect an initial algae outburst around this time in a new tank
but I'm afraid the plants will get choked (even with weekly cleanings)
I guess it's time for a phosphate test kit- any suggestions?
Note: I know about the benefits of DIY CO2 and am currently testing
a generator/reactor (not on the tank) and I'm being extra
careful since my water is really soft.
Also, if anyone is in Connecticut or Mass and has any clippings of
plants they can't sell to pet shops or were about throw them away,
I'd be more than grateful to take them off your hands- I feel silly paying
for H. poly but it seems I'm the only one in the world who can't grow the
Sorry about the long post but this list is great and you guys asked for the