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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #36

> Date: Mon, 19 Jan 1998 23:53:39 -0600 (CST)
> From: Matt Kowske <xc at innocent_com>
> Subject: Light/? Problems

> The first problem I'm having is getting plants to grow.  I bought a very
> healthy looking Amazon Sword at the fish shop, brought it home, and within
> 2 days it's already starting to look sick.

You may want to start with some very easy to grow plants.  After your 
tank is established, go for some more interesting alternatives.  
Also, are you putting any aquatic fertilizers in your tank?

>   Even though, I
> don't think having a little less light should make a plant go bad that 
> quickly, or am I wrong?  I'm very new at this.  If the problem is in
> fact not enough light, does anyone have any suggestions of how I could 
> add more?

Since you have cloudy water, your light could be significantly 
reduced, especially seeing as you have a tall tank.  If you can clear 
up you tank, I suspect that you will have enough light to grow a fair 
number of plants.

>  I've got two striplights on top now and can't fit anything
> else on the top because the filter takes up space in the back.

To get more light you would probably have to either make your own fixtures, 
use high intensity bulbs (with a new ballast), or use mercury vapour 
or metal halide lighting.  Since you indicated that you want a "lush 
aquatic jungle," you may have to upgrade your lighting in the future.
> My second problem is my water is moderately cloudy.  When I first mixed 
> up the Duplarite (which is BTW, Dupla's version of laterite; I
> couldn't find any laterite around here) and added the water it was so
> cloudy and clay red I couldn't see 2 inches into the water.

I think that you did something very wrong in the way that you added 
the laterite.  I used duplarite a long time ago, when I was just 
starting out.  I suspect that if it is used correctly, you should get 
little to no cloudiness.

How wet did you get the laterite before you covered it?  It should 
not be very wet, just moist. You should not have water showing before you add 
the next level.  If you have red mucky water before you add the rest 
of the gravel, this will leach into the rest of the water.

How big is your gravel? I would think large or even medium gravel 
would also cause problems.

How did you add the water into your tank?  I put down a piece of 
plastic wrap or a bag to protect the gravel around where I am 
pouring. I then put a plate down on the plastic, and I use a hose and 
siphon water slowly onto the plate. After the water line is a few 
inches up I pour the water in a faster.  If you do this, you should 
not disturb the gravel much as all.

- Darrell