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a beginner's experience
I've just setup my old DIY 45L (50x30x30cm - the 10G range I guess)
with a 5-7cm substrate composed of a lower layer of vermiculite-like
enriched soil and a 4-6cm layer of quartz gravel (3-5mm).
According to the shopkeeper's experience the fertilized soil should
last 2-3 years before exhausting depending on how much fast the plant
I filled up the tank, added a water conditioner (Tetra Aqua Safe), set
up the internal filter chambers (1L of maccheroni-like ceramic bodies,
2x1L of rock wool) turned the heater and the pump on. Light was
supposed to be provided by a single F15T4 made by Sylvania (Aquastar -
10000 K) mounted in a DIY hood with the internal painted aluminium
style. I just tried it for a few minutes and seemed ok.
After some days I got the feeling everything was doing well (I had a
few doubts my old HW could fail) and decided to buy the plants almost
all suitable for a low light environment:
- 1 Microsorum pteropus
- 1 Anubias nana
- 1 Cryptocoryne wendtii (then splitted in two plants)
- 1 Echinodorus bleheri (as above)
(BTW, temp=24C, pH=7..8, KH & GH unmeasured but known to be high, light
on for 10h)
After a week I've been experiencing the following:
- several brown areas have appeared on some leaves of the echino as
well as on two new leaves sprouting from the crypts and on an old leaf
of the anubias;
- echino sprouted some long, narrow and pale leaves with 'dark veins';
- crypts don't look that bad : no melting until now, thet only seem to
extend towards the top (perhaps to get more light?);
- anubias also look good with some new green leaves and new white roots
sprouting (it is lightly anchored near a driftwood);
- microsorum is quite quiet: only lengthened some fine roots around the
I'm thinking there might be a lack of macronutrients (N, K and P) so
I've been adding since last three days a bit of fish food to
start/improve the nitrogen cycle (I didnt want to do it first being
scared of algae) and yesterday I also buried a little fertilizing tab
for each plant. No algae is noticeable at the moment. I'd like to
experience also the DIY CO2 injection, but wish to fix possible
serious problems first. For the same reason I'm a bit cautious in
adding some more plants. If I can solve the doubts about nutrients I
think to add a hydrocotyle verticellatus that is known as hi-light
demanding to have a feedback about light level (how much should it grow
in 'normal' conds?) In fact I'm guessing the light level (and spectrum?
I couldn't find any data about that at Sylvania website) might be not
appropriate. I had a positive experience in the past with low light
demanding plant grown under a 15W std (cool white? 5000K?) tube, so I
thought I could have obtained better results with a special tube .
More, with this fixture, the water get warmed by about 1.5C during the
lighting period. What if I add another tube?
- while implanting I messed a bit the gravel and discovered several
fertile balls: could this lead to an oversupply of micronutrients?
- are the trace elements (iron and co) made unusaeble by the water conditioner?
Wow, what a poem! My apologizes for anyone got annoyed. Although I've
just joined the digest list, I already found lots of valuable info (as
well as on the Krib and on G.Booth's site) coming from well educated
and experienced people so I would appreciate very much your opinion
Thanks in advance!