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Ruth's Tank

> Date: Fri, 29 Aug 1997 09:58:56 -0400
> From: "Klein, Ruth (CAP, TIP)" <Ruth.Klein at gecapital_com>
> Subject: FW: Low pH in planted tank

> > I have a well established 10 gal. FW tank.  Several  months ago, I
> > decided I'd replace the plastic flora with live plants.

Great idea.

> > I have an anubias which seems to be ok - it's not growing, but it's
> > not
> > dying either.  I also bought a red stem plant (whose name I'll have to
> > go look up - and I forgot to bring the book) which has grown enough
> > for
> > me to make cuttings and replant.

Anubias are slow growers, no big surprises here. A "red stem
plant"....you're going to have to be more specific here.

> > What seems to be thriving are the 3 banana plants (and some Java moss
> > _covering_ a tall driftwood creation).  Two of the 3 bananas have sent
> > stems all the way to the water surface.  The leaves on these two
> > plants
> > are bright, waxy green.  The third plant has grown huge
> > red/brown/green
> > blotchy leaves.  The roots from these plants have covered the bottom
> > of
> > the tank (under the substrate).

"Banana Plants" ? I know what they are, but you seem to be describing a
dwarf lily instead. Probably a Nymphaea species.

> > Couple of questions here -
> >
> > 1)  I like to keep the tank pH around 6.5 for the tetras, but since I
> > added the plants, I'm having a hard time maintaining this level.  It
> > keeps dropping to 5 and under (off my color chart).  Nothing has
> > seemed
> > to be affected by this; I bring it back up over a couple of days and
> > some partial water changes and pH Up.  Should I be concerned?

Yes. You need to find out what is causing this. Are you injecting CO2?
What is your KH?

> > 2)  The tank lighting is a single 15w Gro-Lite fluorescent.  Do I need
> > more?  Is there a better bulb?

Probably and yes. How much light that you need depends on the types of
plants that you want to grow, whether you inject CO2, and how fast that
you want your plants to grow.
There is always a great debate about which bulb is best, but Ultra
Tri-Lux and Tritons usually get good reviews. 

> > 3)  Should I trim the floating leaves/stems from the banana plants?

That's up to you. It is generally felt that trimming the floating leaves
forces the plants to grow more submerged ones.

> > 4)  I have been using TWP water, and then adding the pH corrector and
> > the trace elements.  I have also been adding Kent plant nutrients, and
> > extra iron.  OK?  Not?  Other recommendations?

I'm drawing a blank on the TWP water. What is it? It sounds as though
you are mixing a lot of different things into your water. Do you have
more plants than you mentioned?
Are you using Carbon Dioxide? Go easy on the plant nutrients and trace
elements. I feel that most people probably over-fertilize. It is very
easy to create an algae outbreak this way.

Plants, by themselves, do not cause a ph drop. To the contrary they
should create a rise in the ph if anything. First, check those
additives, then think about your substrate.  

Good Luck, Pat Bowerman