Re:Suggestions please!!

> From: hawley at foothill_net (Brad J. Hawley)
> Date: Thu, 30 May 1996 14:42:25 -0700
> Subject: Suggestions please!!
> Hello to you all!!!  I have so far been a lurker on this list and it is
> amazing how much I have learned in the last month or two since I joined.
> I have a situation I would like some advice/suggestions on.  I have a 100
> gal tank with 3 discus, 2 corys, 3 loaches, 1 african knife fish, 1 eel, 2
> platys, 1 butterfly fish, 1 hatchet fish, and one otocinlus.  I also have 6
> live plants or so.  My filtration includes UG with 4 airstone uplift tubes
> and 2 uplift tubes with powerheads and a whisper 5000 filter that hangs on
> the back of the tank.  I have DIY CO2 injection into only one of the
> powerheads.  My light is somewhat poor. (4)  2 foot flourescents which
> include 2 full spectrum lights and 2 regular flourescents totalling only 80
> watts.  (I know this is not enough)  My fish love me and all are very happy
> and healthy.  However, my plants don't like me and I am really tired of
> seeing them barely hanging on to a thread of life.  I would like to change
> some things without spending a fortune.  According to your posts, I should
> increase my lighting.  Can I get 30 or 40 watt bulbs in 2 foot lengths?  I
> haven't been able to locate any.  Also according to your posts, I should
> probably put in another CO2 bottle for the other power head.  The problem I
> have is in elimating the UG filter.  I was wondering if I should remove it
> or what?  I'm afraid to do that for my fishes' sakes.  Should I leave just
> the Whisper 5000 as my sole filtering method and is that enough?  The box
> says it will handle 400 GPH and up to 150 gal aquarium.  If I remove the UG
> filter for the plants I will also lose my CO2 yeast dispersement into my
> powerhead.  DECISIONS, DECISIONS !  I REALLY like my FISH but I REALLY like
> my plants too.  How to combine the resources to make both happy is a dilema.
> CAn any of you make suggestions for a few changes that would make the MOST
> difference with the least cost?
> My water is moderately hard: 9 deg KH , 12 deg GH
> PH: 7.5
> Ammon: 0
> Nitrate: 0
> Nitrite: 0
> Temp: 82-83
> My UG filter gravel is relatively small.  1/8 inch diameter or so but I have
> added Tetra INITIaL sticks to plant areas to help as well as Tetra Crypto to
> fertilize them.  Tetra Florapride only seems to help the algae.  :(
> I also don't understand how you accomplish vacuuming the gravel when there
> is vermiculite / soil under your gravel.
> I do not filter carbon.  I vacuum the gravel bed every month or so and do
> H20 changes twice per week/30% each.
> If I do take out UG filter,  how often do I vacuum the gravel?
> Are the water changes I do sufficient if I have no UG filter?
> ALGAE !!!!!  HELP!!
> Thanks for any and all imput.  I appreciate you all and this list.
> Sincerely,
> Debbie Hawley   in Grass Valley California where we are above the valley fog
> but below the snow level...AHHH!
> hawley at foothill_net

Here are my $0.02 worth of advice:
1) Leave the UG filter in place but unhook it.  I am assuming you have 
2-3 inches of gravel.  If not, add some.  
2) Add a large canister filter of your choice.  
3) Get a VHO ballast (i.e., IceCap) and switch to 3 or 4 110 watt full 
spectrum bulbs. 12-15 hours of illumination.  Lack of sufficient light is 
your biggest problem.  This is not a cheap solution (i.e., total cost of 
ballast and bulbs approx. $250)
4) Add laterite to your gravel.
5) Add a supplement that contains iron but not P or N.
6) Maintain your existing water changes.  

Bob Hoffman
Huntington Beach Orchids