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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #187

On Tue, 7 Apr 1998, Bebbetufs  wrote:

> Subject: Please help, giving up!!!
> Hi all!
> This will be a long, and sad, post! please read it anyway!!! thanks.
> Over the last six months I've had more trouble with my aquarium than ever in
> my life before :-(  and I'm at the brink of giving up alltogether.

<long sob story snipped>

Don't give up, don't break down your tank also. Instead try this

1. Remove the dead and dying plants and siphon off as much of the gunk
as possible.

2. Get a mix bunch of stem plants like Egeria, Mayaca, Cabomba
Micranthemum etc, DON'T plant them in the substrate, just let them float. 
If you can get some Malayan live bearing snails. ( I have a large bunch of
floating Micranthemum mixed with what I think is some kind of bladderwort,
some Mayaca and I think also Bacopa in a bare bottom tank without
additional fertilisation- quite nice actually) 

3. Set up a current in the tank with either canister filter, power heads
(outlet is directed/sprayed across the surface). Or better still, a large
and long air column. The object is twofold. Firstly, to bunch the plants
together in one corner and secondly to set a current throught the bunch of

4. Sit back, relax, look after your fish and let your substrate
'mature/stabilise' (this may take a few weeks in your case). Don't
fertilise in the meantime. (God knows what is 'mature', but one day you
will realise that it has been a long time since you have had any problems
with fishes and plants. Assume then that your substrate is mature) 

5. When the substrate has matured, plant with hardy root plants like
swords.  Observe them and fertilise using clay balls only when needed. 

Now for some shameless plug - my recommended setup for newbies

Use an undergravel filter plate and uplift tubes, but do not have any
pumps. You don't want to force water through the substrate. For the
sustrate have a small layer of chip charcoal topped off with the main
layer of lateritic soil. You need to have a screen of some sort on your
filter plate to prevent the sustrate from falling through. Add fertiliser
by pouring them (pre-dissolved) into the uplift tubes. Use cheap (low
phosphates)  horticulture fertilisers. 

a set up like this is extremely tolerant of neglect or fertilisation
mistakes. Note that the fertiliser have to diffuse through the substrate
to get into the water column (except for leaks around the edges) - so the
substrate buffers your mistakes. 

Cheer up. You'll get better grades you know

Richard KHOO Guan Chen
e-mail: khoogc at singnet_com.sg
snail-mail: 38-A, Lorong 23, Geylang, Singapore 388372