re: Problem and New Tank Advice

>From: "T. Misiak" <misiak at fsu_fsufay.edu>
>Date: Sat, 7 Oct 1995 21:24:33 -0400 (EDT)
>Subject: yet another problem 8(
>	Several weeks ago I posted about my iron overdose, algea bloom,
>green water, and a few dead fish.  Well, the angels (2) died as did few of
>the cardinals.  All six of my ottos as well as two clown plecos are doing
>fine tho.  I've done numerous water changes (it's been about 2 weeks
>since I "nuked" it with the fertilizer) and the tank is nearly see
>through now (depth wise anyways).  After a 40% water change, the tank is
>clear.  Several hours later, however, the water begins to cloud and it
>keeps getting worse as time passes.  The plants are doing ok as are the

You are probably seeing a bacterial bloom caused by the availability
of nutrients in the water. The high frequency of water changes could
be hurting rather than helping, if your tap water has high nutrient
content.  Unless the plants are dying, waiting is what I'd do.  I'd
also stay away from fertilizers for now.

>My substrate consists of about .5" of peat moss covered by about
>2.5-3" of sand.  Could something have gone wrong with the substrate
>causing the above cloudy conditions?  the tank has been set up for about
>2.5 to 3 months and it's been really clear until I added the new iron
>intensive fertilizer.

If your tank has an open bottom, you could check to see whether the
substrate is rotting.  You could also try taking a small sample of the
peat to verify that it does not smell bad.  My gut feel is that the
substrate is not the cause of the problem.

>From: Chuck Lawson <clawson at onramp_net>
>Date: Sun, 8 Oct 1995 02:00:35 -0500
>Subject: New Plant Tank Advice?
>Substrate/Heat - At this point, I've pretty much decided to try to avoid
>doing substrate heating (commercial systems too expensive, DIY wire too
>risky with my competence :-), and DIY pvc/heater systems too messy
>visually), and go with a vermiculite/loam/texblast mixture - it seems like
>(reading some of the debates in the archives) laterite pretty much requires
>substrate heating to keep it from going anerobic, and "cold floor" tanks
>would probably do better with something that doesn't compact as much.  Is
>this a fair assessment?

I won't get into the laterite vs. vermiculite war.

I will say that the amount of laterite added to a tank is so small
that even if all of it were to gather at the bottom of the tank, you'd
have a layer about 2mm thick.  I doubt this (by itself) is enough to
make the substrate go anaerobic.

>That having been said, I wandered into a local shop this afternoon, and
>found on the $1.00 closeout shelf some "Duplaflex S" substrate heating
>cables (at least I =think= that's what they are - my German's less than
>useless).  These read "100 Watt, Spezial Sicherheitskabelheizer 42 volt".  I
>got three of them (all they had), and each has around 2 meters of 2
>conducter flexible (silicon?) cable, with some sort of inline bulge at each
>end, followed by a banana plug. 

This is a great (unbelievable) deal.  You'll have to buy a transformer
and other components, but putting together a substrate heater is easy
once you have the cables.  Check out the Krib for more information.
Look for Dan Resler's DIY heating cable article.  You can replace the
wire mentioned in the article with the Dupla cable.

>Fertilization - No idea.  Something reasonably low-tech and low maintenance,
>hopefully.  My tap water comes out at a pH of around 8, with vanishingly low
>alkalinity (your average biofilter will drop it like a stone without buffer
>support).  GH unknown (I've not needed a test kit for this for years, so I
>haven't checked it yet).  I'm a reasonably large consumer of lily pond
>tablets, and have a fair amount of these around if they can be put to use...

Given all the expense you are incurring, why skimp on the fertilizer?
Dupla fertilizers work, and the fertilizer cost is a drop in the
bucket compared with the money you plan to spend on MH and CO2.

Also, I seem to be getting some conflicting messages. The Dupla
regimen (CO2 injection, fast-growing plants, MH lighting, etc.) is a
tool to get faster growth, and if you use it, you will most likely
have a high-maintenance tank.  Why then would you look for a
"low-maintenance" fertilizer?

>Plants - likewise no idea.  I've got a bunch of Anubias nana around from
>another tank that I'd planned on using, and would like to have some
>Hygrophilia and a radicans sword or two, but no preconceptions beyond that.
>I'm particularly unsure of ideas for tall plantings to take advantage of the
>height of the tank, other than something like "jungle val.".  Any
>suggestions on what might work well here?  I'm not looking for something
>challenging as much as "what will thrive" in this kind of environment.

In my experience, Jungle val is far too big.  Even the ordinary
"Italian vals" reach four feet.  Other plants that easily reach 30
inches include most of the larger sword plants, Giant hygro (H.
stricta) and rooted Watersprite.