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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V2 #733

> - - Can I add the laterite balls even with the tank 50% full? Should I push 
> them all the way to the bottom?

Depends on how deep the gravel is.  you would like the roots to get to 
the balls.  Frankly, I wouldn't bother with them.  If you are going to be 
setting up a new tank why not go with laterite in the substrate where the 
exposed area will be millions of times what it will be with the balls.  
Usually the balls are added in desperation to an existing tank.  I have 
yet to see a testimonial on how great an improvement was realized from 
adding the balls.  This list would be the place for it to show up.
 - - Is it ok just to use the generic "GE Aquarium & Plant" fluorescent bulbs? 
> They are far cheaper...
I use them all the time.  While I have seen in print that intensity is 
more important than spectrum, this seems too controversial for most folks 
to take a postion on.  I go for cheap and use a combination of cheap GE 
aquarium bulbs (six bucks at Kmart) and regular daylite bulbs.
> - - Which "generic" shop light brands are the quietest? I've noticed that 
 > many produce a bad hum... The tank is in a bedroom, so noise is a 
definite > concern.
An earlier post suggested staying away from  those made by, I think, 
Lights of America.  In general you get what you pay for but I have 
several cheap shop lights that don't make noise.
> - - Should I use 1 or 2 
two-liter bottles for Co2?
Now this is a really good question.  I assume you are using a bell jar.  
I have one in a 40 gallon hi and it works great.  The answer is, it 
really depends on:
how much co2 you are producing
what is target pH
what is KH of water.
Even if you told me these things I couldn't give a very good answer.  
What I notice is that the co2 gets eaten rapidly and so I was refilling 
the 2 l bell jar up to 4 times a day.  Then I checked the pH and decided 
since it was lower than the hi tech tank thatt I would fill it less 
often.  The size of the bottle will mostly determine the surface area for 
gass exchange.  Would be
nice if somebody could give some guide lines as to ratio or tank area to 
bell jar area.  If the tank is too acid you can go to a smaller dia bell 
jar which will give less area for gas exchange.  If the amount of co2 
produced is the same then the extra would bubble out the bottom.

> - - Is the filter ok? I know it's probably overkill in the GPH rating, 
I am not qualified to give an opinion.  I think in general we overdo the 
filters.  Plants do a heck of a job and filter is mostly for water 
> - - Will the Trumpet Snails survive the loaches? I would think so, if they 
> stay in the substrate.
They should.  Mine do.  I find it interesting how invisible these things 
are unless you use a flash light inthe middle of the night.  You will be 
amazed at how many you end up with.
> - - Is 2 drops of Duplaplant 24 daily 
Depends on lots of things like how many plants, how fast they metabolize, 
etc.  You need a good iron test kit and use that to set the daily dose.
 - - Is 1 Plant Tabb tablet daily sufficient?
See previous comment.  If I remember correctly you use the tablets at 
watter change.  I don't use them at all anymore.
 > - - Acceptable fish load?
No comment
> - - Any suggestions for plants?
Get lots of fast growing stuff that is healthy and cheap.  
> Thanks so much for all of your help! If you want, you can e-mail me 
> privately or respond to the list. I've read virtually every page on "The 
> Krib", and have found it to help me greatly.
> Thanks,
> Subject: Apple Snails
> A couple of days ago, my brother in law gave me two apple snails to put   
> in my 20 gallon planted tank.  He said that they would do an amazing job   
> at cleaning up any algae in the tank.
> Not knowing anything about them, I gave my local fish store a call, and   
> they said that yes, the little guys would eat algae, and that no, they   
> would not eat plants.
> I would like to teach you all a new word today, its called   
> "Clear-cutting".  After about 2 hours in the tank, I discovered that   
> several plant stems were floating at the top of the tank, and one of the   
> snails was happily munching on the leaves of a brazilian sword.
> I would like to keep them in the tank, but if this is the result, I would   
> much rather keep my plants!  Does anyone out there have any experiance   
> with these snails?
> Thanks in advance
> Andy  

Andy, I liked your post.  Yep, they can clear cut as can an orange finned 
loach but thatt is another story.

Seems there are two types of apple snails.  One clear cuts, the other 
just eats dead stuff, fish food etc.  Eons ago when most aquariums had 
plants and plastic plants were yet to be invented we had an apple snail 
we called mystery snails.  I can tell the difference but can't describe 
it to the list.  At any rate, mystery snails were OK but if they die you 
can have a real bioload increase, especially in a small tank.  
I used to watch my mysttery snail form a funnel with his foot when 
surface food was available.  He would suck tthe film of the top of the 
tank and trap it in his foot and then eat it.  Very interesting animals.