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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #1169

>From: Aquatic-Plants-Owner at actwin_com (Aquatic Plants Digest)
>To: Aquatic-Plants at actwin_com
>Subject: Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #1169
>Date: Fri, Jul 23, 1999, 11:48 AM

>containing a few cycling fish (4 zebra danios, 2 otocinclus).  The tank
>is planted with anubias var. nana, cryptocorne, java ferns, hygro.
>polysperma, and parrot feather.  
>The crypt is doing well, producing a new leaf every week or so, and the
>anubias is growing slowly but surely.   The h. polysperma, on the other
>hand, is withering like a hot-house orchid.  It is producing brownish
>patches on the old leaves, and the new leaves are yellowing, then
>falling off.  The parrot feather is not doing well either.  the feathery
>leafs are turning brown on the edges and the older leaves have fallen
>off completely.  
>I'm not sure why this is happening, as I am using diy co2 (directly into
>intake tube), they are getting 1.5w/gal of light 12 hours/day, and I am
>giving them Plant Gro fertilizer by Flora Care.  Should I be using a
>better fertilizer?  Should the fish load be increased?  Is the wattage
>too low?  and can anyone suggest any other hardy plants?  I am not used
>to this failure in plant growth; I've got a green thumb for terrestrial
>plants and a house full of lush growth.  I'd like the same in my tank.
>Thanks in advance,
Keely in B.C.

Do you know your KH (Carbonate hardness level)? Use the KH and the Ph to
test for your CO2 levels in your tank. There is a table(Ph/Kh table) in the
APD archives that will give you a good level for your plants. 20-15 mg/liter
is a good range for CO2.
Are you doing regular water changes-say 25-50% a week?
Some tougher plants will do OK without good CO2 levels. If your adding CO2
you could add another 15watt light too. The plants you have will like the
light too. 
Your Kh typically stays constant if you do regular water changes so all that
you need to do is to find what your Ph is doing.
My 10 gallon tank has the following:

Ph 6.8
Looking down the table column(Ph/Kh table) I see that my CO2 is about 26mg/l
Checking the Ph is all I have to do to make sure the plants are getting
enough CO2 to "breath".
2-15watt lights(one cool white and a triton) 11 hrs /day
DIY yeast system. I use a power head(Rio 50 turned down to half flow) and
have the output of bubbles feed into the suction side of the pump. This pump
is also on the same timer as my lights.
This turns on the CO2 during the light cycle. There's some debate over this
having it "on" 24 hours a day or just when the lights are "on" but it works
for me. I have the pump's output spray send the current with CO2 across the
lower back of the tank. I add 1/4 teaspoon of yeast to 1 cup of sugar in
about 6-7 cups of water. I change this about every 2 weeks.
A small internal Rio filter lowered to the bottom is the only filter.
The gravel is 1 bag of Flourite. I add Sera fertilizer(2 mls a week).
Fish: 2 otto cats
2 SAE's
bunch of snails
Water changes..........ah yes. These will help most everyone's plants. I do
about 50% weekly with super results. Do this to see if your plants perk up
afterwards. If they do, then it is likely the CO2 levels are causing most of
your problems. Tip: don't vacumme the gravel except perhaps some mulm on the
gravel's surface. 
The plants grow very well and the fish are very happy. Tank is clear. There
is some Green spot algae  that gets cleaned off the glass every month or
two. Tank gets a good trim once a month. 

 Use the CO2 to alter your Ph to the proper levels, not buffers. Add more
yeast to get more CO2 if you need it. Don't let you Ph get to low or it will
kill your fish. Buy the test kits till you get familiar(you'll still need to
test even then!) with the tank's needs. Buy a decent book like Aquarium
Plants Manual from Barrons that has some basic plant info and read it.
there's a Ph/Kh table in there. Test Ph at night before the lights go off
and right before they come on in the morning. A good reading might be 6.6 in
the morning hour and 7.0 in the evening. Test it now before you change
anything. See what it is  and adjust it with adding/lowering CO2. 

I believe that your Kh should be on the softer side being up in B.C. with
all the rain you folks get. Well water can be like liquid rock. Very high
Kh's in your source water will make the CO2 levels more of a challenge to
achieve. Look at the tables for more info. You may want to consider
"softening the water" some if this is the case. The source water might be
very soft and have little buffering capcity so your Ph might go all over
when adding CO2. Typically the water company adds buffers to the water if it
is very soft for corrosion control measures. Kh between 3-4 to 8-10 should
be fine. 
The fertilizer, if used right. shouldn't be the problem. I skip dosings
often in this tank with little if any effects. I just forget sometimes<G>.
Error on the lesser side if anything.
This should get you started. Plants for this tank?
Water sprites
Hygro difformis(Wisteria)
Alternanthera reineckii(red temple) is a nice red plant and Rotala
indica/rotundifolia is also good.
Should do well and are interesting for new plant people. Write back with
info on tank's Kh.

Let us know how it goes.  
Tom Barr