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Re: tank pictures and questions

> I have just posted some pictures of one of my three planted tanks.
> The url is:
> http://www.mikeoconnor.com/fish
> The tank is a 55 gallon tank.  It has been set up for about 8-10
> weeks.  Temp 77 deg F, PH: 6.6-6.8, Hardness 4dKH, 160 watts of light.
> substrate is 3-4 inches of flourite, no detectable
> nitrates/nitrites/amonia.  I recently added jobes spikes to the val's
> and the swords.  I am planning to start adding TMG soon.

>From your pH and KH you appear to be running CO2, correct?  If so, that
looks good.  If not, what are you adding to bring your pH down?

With no detectable nitrate you may consider adding potassium nitrate (KNO3)
to maintain about 5ppm NO3.  A good test kit here is worth it (LaMotte).
Check thekrib.com and the archives for more info.

The Jobes should help your swords, but I have to warn you, three of those
swords in a 55 will pack it once mature.  I had one in my 55 a while back,
but I removed it because it filled a third of the tank.  Beautiful plant but
more suitable in a bigger (wider) tank.

> I have a couple of questions I hope you guys could answer:
> 1.  I have some brown spots developing on my banana plants:
> http://www.mikeoconnor.com/fish/images/banana_full.jpg
> Should I be worried?

Personally I don't see anything wrong with it, at least anything to worry

> 2.  Does anyone know the scientific name of the val I bought under the
>     name "Red Torte Val":
> http://www.mikeoconnor.com/fish/redtorte.html

Sorry, no I don't.

> 3.  I have three "Red Mellon Swords":
> http://www.mikeoconnor.com/fish/melonsword.html One of them (#1)
> throws out lots of leaves, but they seem to be translucent.  Another
> (#2) grows few leaves which are slighly longer and very dark in color.
> (#3) grows very slowly, very few darker leaves.  I am suprised that
> the three plants would grow with in such drasticly different ways in
> the same tank.  Should I be translucent leaves in #1, anything I could
> be doing to get the others to grow faster?

See comments above.  Too early to judge different growth patterns.  They are
still settling in.  In at least one picture I still see emersed growth form
leaves.  Could be different light levels reaching each plant?  In time they
will probably look more similar given good growing conditions.

> 4. When I first put my pygmy chain swords in:
>    http://www.mikeoconnor.com/fish/pygmychainswords.html 
>    ...they were growing very fast and sending out lots and lots of
>    runners,
>    I started with 3 plants, and 2 months later, I must have 50.  But
>    they seemed to have stopped growing.  Not many new plants recently,
>    and they arent getting bigger.

What is your maintenance routine?  Water changes?  You have pretty good
lighting...your plants may be hungry.  Water changes can help give your
plants a fresh supply of nutrients.  I would probably start using the TMG,
starting slowly, working up to recommended levels, then maybe more if needed
based on plant health and algae levels.  I had Dwarf Sag. behave this way
once, but it produced more/better growth with increased water column

This is just my personal preference, but I would add a background, probably
just plain black laminate.  Wood paneling detracts from the natural beauty
of the plants, IMO.

Tank looks pretty good so far.  Have fun with it.

Mike Grace