fw:Re: New Plant Tank Advice

More forwarded email.


---forwarded message---->

Oct 12 01:31:00 1995

 To:         Shaji (S.)  Bhaskar                (BNR)      Dept 3X11   BNRTP
             'Aquatic-Plants-Owner at actwin_com'                 (BNR400)

 From:       'clawson at onramp_net'                              (BNR400)

 Subject:    Re: New Plant Tank Advice

 Attachment:  1) UNIX File: ORIGINAL.HEADER - 960 bytes  

>Stephen.Pushak at saudan_HAC.COM wrote:
>>Chuck Lawson <clawson at onramp_net> write:
>> The tank is a custom tank, roughly a cube 30" square.  

>My tank is very similar to yours in dimensions. The biggest problem
>is reaching in to perform planting or maintenance. The looks of the
>tank are nice; improving as I transition from the initial planting
>to varieties which will be semi-permanent.

Yup.  Even with a step-stool, it's pretty much in-up-to-the-armpits
working in this tank.  It's got a lot of potential for looks, if I
can take proper advantage of the height.  The last incarnation of this
tank was with a few hundred pounds of rock stacked up for mbuna... That
was interesting, but it's time for a change.

>> room.  I also plan to supplement this with 1 or 2 NO fluorescents, so that
>> the MH can be on 10 - 11 hrs per day, but there can still be some light to
>> enjoy the tank for a few additional hours.  I was thinking of cycling the
>> lights with a timer so that the fluorescents come on two hours and then off
>> when the MH comes on for 11, and then the MH off and the fluorescents back
>> on for another 2 hrs.  Will this additional light disrupt the plants
>> tropical light cycle too much, or will it be unnoticable compared to the MH?
>This sounds like a good idea. The deep tank will offset the intensity of
>the MH light and you can use some of the larger plants to "shade" those
>which suffer from algae in intense light. You can reduce the MH strong
>lighting period to shorter if algae becomes a problem but maintain the 12
>hr photo period with the fluorescents. I should copy this idea with my
>shallow tank.

That's certainly a potential, but I was more concerned if it'd be a problem
running the MH for 11 hours, and then 30 - 60 watts of fluorescents for
another 4 - 5 hours (half before the MH, half after) to increase viewing time.
Is that likely to put the plants off their cycle?  Or would the minimal fl.
lighting be meaningless compared to the intense MH?

>Loam = black dirt. Don't use potting soil; IMHO it's not composted
>well enough. Earth worm castings is fine and you should be able to find
>that at a garden shop. 

Hmm... Don't recall ever seeing it, but maybe I wasn't in the right place,
since I wasn't looking for it at that point.  I'll make a trip down and see
if I can find it.  Would it be labeled as Earthworm Castings?  Or are there
a bunch of cute consumer names (WurMix? :-)

>> In any event, I plan
>> to run a pair of Ebo Jaeger 150 watt heaters to keep the tank up to discus
>> temps (82oF - 84oF), so it wouldn't need to do more than provide substrate
>> circulation.

>I think you could get that temp from a single 150w heater depending upon
>how cold your room temperature is. Don't forget the 250w lights heat the
>water and room too. That temperature is a little above optimum for some
>plants so you may want to check the recommended conditions for your plants.

A single will probably work.  I tend to double up heaters and set one a few
degrees lower than the other, so that on our infrequent cold days (most days
I'm lucky to keep a tank =down= to 80) the one won't have to go on solid. Mostly
paranoia over stuck thermostats on old heaters through the years.  I figure the
MH will dump a lot of heat in, but I don't want a lot of temp swing when they
go off, thus the heaters...

>The Kelly method includes adding pond tablets under the substrate. There
>are good arguments for doing fertilization here as opposed to in vitro.
>For Fe and micro nutrients, Flourish seems to be ok but premature to make
>any long term statements.

I'll probably do the pond tablets under the substrate bit, since I have 'em
on hand, and it's getting late in the season to fertilize the lillys again.
Are there any guidelines for initial and supplemental dosages?  Or alternately,
is the Kelly method online on any of the web sites (I don't recall seeing it,
but might have easily missed it)?

>Myriophylum grows tall and looks good in a large tank. A. crispus looks
>good in the middle or foreground of a deep tank. Ludwigia & Bacopa can
>look good if long and in good light with a nice muddy bottom. The lower
>leaves of H. difformis don't look good when its tall but it might have
>been too shady where it was. Crypts which look good and are taller are
>C. retrospiralis and C. balansae but these should go in the middle
>foreground. These do fine in my tank and should suit yours. I don't know
>if I'd recommend Valisneria; it propagates very quickly in my substrate
>with the 250w lighting. With a deep tank, it's difficult when you need
>to uproot these things esp. when they get tangled with other plants.
>Maybe the giant stuff isn't as bad. With soil or vermiculite, you want
>to minimize the amount of uprooting and digging in the substrate. This
>can cloud the water and it takes a while to become crystal clear again.
>A good canister filter would help with this.

Heh.  It's rather ironic that most of the plants that sound like they'll
do well in this kind of tank are ones that I've tried and had zero luck
with over the years in half-baked setups (low lite, plain gravel substrate).
I'm =really= looking forward to being able to do some of these right.  It
sounds like Val. is definately out from most respondants.  

Thanks for the advice!

- Chuck