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Personal Goals

Ok, here are my goals with my planted tank.

1. Happy fish, that are active, and happy to see me each day.
2. Beautiful plants that are soothing to look at (one of my favorite past 
times, watching fish and plants)
3. Learning everything I can about the interactions of the different 
chemicals that make the above happen.
4. Not too much maintenance, or money.  (Don't have enough money to buy 
everything name brand.

I think it is pretty interesting that when I am doing things right in the 
tank, the fish are active and even breed.  This to me is a sign of a pretty 
healthy tank.  I can not stand losing any of my fish, and each day I spend 
an hour or so looking at each one and trying to make sure they are ok.  On 
the plant side, the hardest part was finding what would grow in my tanks. 
 I have one that is a gravel substrate that we fertilize with jobes sticks, 
k2so4, flourish iron, and sometimes flourish.  This tank runs 82-86 f, 
(27-30 c), 7.2ph, and we have found the only plants that like growing in 
this setup are ones with a rhizome of some sort, or a bulb.  Onion bulbs do 
great, swords do pretty good, apons of all kinds do good, if they can take 
the heat.

Now in the 55 gal tank, it is a different story.  I have a peat substrate, 
with sand on top, and most anything grows great there.  I do not add any 
fertilizer, and my ph stays about 6.8.  The plants there grow great, and 
fast.  I have Asian lilies, apons, swords, cabomba, and val all doing 
great.  Most anything I put in that tank grows, including the fish.

If anyone gets to this far down in this post, I do have a question to ask. 
 In the big tank mentioned earlier, 80 gallon, 7.2ph, 10ppm nitrates, .5 
phosphates, 5deg kh, 8 deg gh, 86 deg f, filtered with a wet dry filter, 
240 watts of light, 2 5000k daylight bulbs (GE), 2 cool white, 4 20 watt 
grow lux bulbs, fertilize with s2so4, jobes, flourish iron, and every 3 
days flourish.  That was a run on sentence if I ever saw one.  Oh well. 
 This tank is not growing like it used to.  One of our apons dropped its 
leaves and now is growing short leaves.  The old ones were 12" long each. 
 Now they are 4" long.  Some of the other plants are starting to curl on 
the edge of the leaves, and  the tips may be bent back on the leaf.  Any 
ideas?  I know I am missing something, but not sure what.  Any help would 
be appreciated.