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teddscau
11-28-2010, 05:40 PM
Okay, so I'm not experienced at keeping plants. My plants aren't as healthy as I'd like them to be so I was thinking of buying some fertilizers. My plants seem to have almost every mineral deficiency. I've decided to buy some root fertilizer tabs and some liquid fertilizers. I was thinking of buying some from API. I'm worried about making my fish sick though. I'm definately not getting anything with copper. Here's the fish I have: mollies, male guppies, otocinclus, cardinal tetras, glass catfish, ghost shrimp, cherry shrimp, cardinal shrimp, amano shrimp, assassin snails, and pond snails.

I'm going to be getting kuhli loaches, rams, bamboo shrimp, and cories.

Here's the plants I have: moss balls, java fern, duckweed, java moss, amazon sword, cambomba, and a very pretty plant (no idea what it is, but I love it!).

I'm going to eventually get some more plants.

What fertilizers should I get? My plants are growing slowly, some are pale, some are abnormally dark green, some have a bit of yellow on their leaves, and my sword's leaves keep breaking off. My java moss and camboma are doing well though.

dbosman
11-28-2010, 06:45 PM
The simplest solution would be root tabs for the high nutrient plants, like the swords. Poke some near the stem plants as well. It's hard to over dose with root fertilizers. Jobe's fertilizer spikes for Ferns & Palms (lower phosphorus) should run less than $3.00 a package. Use 1/3 tab per plant cluster and three of the 1/3 sticks around each sword.

************************************************
For a serious plant enthusiasts $19.99 and shipping will get you all the fertilizer you need, probably for a couple of years. But... you will need high lighting and carbon.

http://www.greenleafaquariums.com/aquarium-fertilizer.html
Green Fertilizer Package
* The complete fertilizer package for aquarium plants - micro and macronutrients.
* The three major macronutrients NPK and Plantex CSM+B (micronutrients). $19.99

The next item is carbon. Either Seachem Flourish Excel, or one of the generic equivalents, or pressurized CO2.

Your next decision will be EI dosing and 50% water changes each week.
Or testing for nutrients and dosing only to replace what the plants used.

http://www.plantedtank.net
is one of the best forums for aquarium plants.

Cliff
11-28-2010, 07:39 PM
I only thing I could add to the above suggestion is to stay away from flourish Excel if when you have moss balls. Excel has a additive in it (forgot which one) which is meant to kill off algae. This same additive can also harm your moss balls.

You could add CO2 for your plants through a DIY reactor or a pressurized CO2 system

teddscau
11-28-2010, 08:15 PM
I never thought about the algae killers in some fertilizers. Thanks! Wouldn't want to kill my moss balls! Are fertilizers okay to use with invertebrates? Some of my shrimps are really expensive.


PS
What ingredients should I avoid in fertilizers?

Cliff
11-28-2010, 08:23 PM
I've never had shrimp before, but from what I've been told from other who have them, you need to be careful with adding strong ferts.

Sometimes a poor looking plant could be a result of a single type of deficiency (assuming your lighting is good enough). For example, my java fern was not looking very well 3 weeks after I got it. I did a little research on line and found pics of java fern that showed the same problems as mine. Turns out they just needed a little iron based ferts added.

You might want to look into that. No sense in adding ferts if they are not needed, IMO.

I’ll try and find the website I used and send you the link

teddscau
11-28-2010, 08:47 PM
Okay, thanks!

Cliff
11-28-2010, 08:52 PM
I don’t why I’m so shocked, Murphy’s law clearly predicts that I would not be able to find the specific website when I want to. :hmm3grin2orange: But I did find a few other that might be of assistance to you. Very similar information that helped me out.

http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/aquarium-pictures/browseimages.php?c=12&userid=&t=

http://badmanstropicalfish.com/plant_problems.html

http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/Fertilizer/nutrient-deficiency.html

teddscau
11-28-2010, 09:25 PM
Thanks! I'll have to check them out! Isn't it annoying when you've been on a website and loved it (or at least found it informative) but when you try to find it you can't? Good sites you found! I'll have to see what my plants are whining about. Better find out what the problem is before I get hornwort! What a mess they make!

teddscau
11-28-2010, 09:54 PM
My swords look kind of like this, but paler: http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/aquarium-pictures/showimage.php?i=4877&c=12

The tips on the sword's look like they are dying. It looks like what some land plants look like when they don`t have enough water. The tips are dying off and are brown with yellow areas. My plants are growing slowly too. Anyone know what mineral defficiency might be causing thisÉ

Darn! I accidentally pushed the Alt Gr on my computer! Now I can`t use proper punctuation! The question marks are now É. Stupid computer! Can`t figure out how to make it work normally again!

Fixed it! Had to shut down my computer.

dbosman
11-29-2010, 02:53 AM
Go here
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/fertilizing/62876-plant-deficiency-picture-diagram.html

Lady Hobbs
11-29-2010, 03:52 AM
Swords are iron hogs and need tabs at the roots as well as ferts in the water. Mine were looking rather lame until I started with the root tabs and I've had no die off since using them.

Lady Hobbs
11-29-2010, 03:57 AM
I only thing I could add to the above suggestion is to stay away from flourish Excel if when you have moss balls. Excel has a additive in it (forgot which one) which is meant to kill off algae. This same additive can also harm your moss balls.

You could add CO2 for your plants through a DIY reactor or a pressurized CO2 system

Killed my moss, too, and also my vals and my metor minnows. :scry:

MCHRKiller
11-29-2010, 04:39 AM
I agree, plants like swords and crypts MUST have substrate fertilization. They also do best with some column nutrients as well. Your other plants like stems, fern, anubias etc primarily get their nutrients from the water column. I personally use and suggest RootMedic ferts. They are very simple to use and have given me excellent results. If your tank is loaded in plants or more than just low tech I would go with them. RootMedic makes some of the best substrate nutrients I have ever used and the liquids are excellent. If you just have a few plants and just low light things I would just pick up a bottle of Seachem Flourish Comprehensive and some random Root Tabs. I use whatever tabs I have on hand for the 150G and it just gets Comprehensive 2X per week and the plants do fine.

Lady Hobbs
11-29-2010, 07:37 PM
Gotta get me some of those RootMedic tabs. Hadn't heard of them before.

LOVE your signature Jenn!

MCHRKiller
11-29-2010, 08:02 PM
Thanks Hobbs :11:

www.rootmedic.net if anyone is interested, he usually has some kind of crazy sale going on so you can get them on the cheap.

teddscau
11-29-2010, 08:51 PM
I looked at the diagram dbosman posted and it looks like my plants have potassium defficiency, phosphate deficiency, and maybe magnesium defficiency. Any good fertilizers for those problems?

Here's a list of fertilizers:

http://www.bigalsonline.ca/Fish_Plant-Care_Fertilizers-Additives_91137_102.html

teddscau
11-29-2010, 09:16 PM
Should I buy flourish? It includes all the minerals (except phosphate) that they are lacking.

MCHRKiller
11-29-2010, 10:38 PM
What is your lighting? Your substrate and are you dosing CO2? These things will determine if the Flourish Comp. will be sufficient. You see Flourish Comprehensive is a great general fertilizer and is awesome for low tech setups...but because you are paying for mostly water it isnt enough alone for systems with higher nutrient requirements. Thus Seachem makes additional fertilizers for specific requirements(Potassium, Nitrogen, Iron etc).

Braccus
11-29-2010, 10:43 PM
Thanks Hobbs :11:

www.rootmedic.net if anyone is interested, he usually has some kind of crazy sale going on so you can get them on the cheap.

Which would be the best choice on the dry tabs for a tank full of swords/crypts?

MCHRKiller
11-29-2010, 10:56 PM
I have used the Original Complete ferts since they came out on the market with good results, I have been using Complete Plus lately and it seems to be good as well.

teddscau
11-30-2010, 12:23 AM
I have a 90g. It has small smooth pebble gravel. I have 2 bulbs. One's for plants and one's for lighting up the fish. The fixture is pretty big and it was farely expensive. The bulbs are 6000k and are 54 watts each. I leave the light on for 12 hours.

I'm not using CO2. Before I put my aerator in all my fish were gasping for air. They still need a second air stone. No CO2 for me!

MCHRKiller
11-30-2010, 12:59 AM
With your lighting and the debth of the tank I would easily place your system into the higher end of the medium light category. With that said I think you should dose Excel to keep algae down and look into a more complete fert system than just Flourish Comp. alone.

teddscau
11-30-2010, 01:15 AM
I can't use anything that kills algae. I have moss balls. Moss balls are a type of algae. I'll try the Flourish Comp. and maybe some root tablets. What root fertilizers should I get?

MCHRKiller
11-30-2010, 02:25 AM
Id just get flourish ones, or the api with iron are alright.

dbosman
11-30-2010, 02:58 PM
I have a 90g. It has small smooth pebble gravel. I have 2 bulbs. One's for plants and one's for lighting up the fish. The fixture is pretty big and it was farely expensive. The bulbs are 6000k and are 54 watts each. I leave the light on for 12 hours.

If those are T5HO, then that qualifies as high lighting and the photo period is long. Without pressurized CO2 you might want to consider cutting back on the time or splitting it in to a couple of lighting periods.


I'm not using CO2. Before I put my aerator in all my fish were gasping for air. They still need a second air stone. No CO2 for me!

With a 90 gallon tank if your fish are gasping for air you've got too many fish or something else going on. Maybe you have all Labyrinth fish that all need to gulp air?
Is there surface agitation from your filter(s)? That helps oxygen get into the water. It also help dissipate CO2.

teddscau
11-30-2010, 09:29 PM
It's not overstocked. I have around 34 adult fish in there. They are all small. They all have plenty of room. I have 14 schooling fish. 6 glass catfish, 8 cardinal tetras. I have 6 otocinclus. The rest of the fish are mollies and male guppies. I have a bunch of baby mollies. Around 50. I'm getting rid of some soon. I don't have any labyrinth fish. I have surface agitation from my Eheim. The aerator helps a lot. My tank is quite deep. I don't think there's too much light.

Plant Man
11-30-2010, 10:07 PM
Okay, so I'm not experienced at keeping plants. My plants aren't as healthy as I'd like them to be so I was thinking of buying some fertilizers. My plants seem to have almost every mineral deficiency. I've decided to buy some root fertilizer tabs and some liquid fertilizers. I was thinking of buying some from API. I'm worried about making my fish sick though. I'm definately not getting anything with copper. Here's the fish I have: mollies, male guppies, otocinclus, cardinal tetras, glass catfish, ghost shrimp, cherry shrimp, cardinal shrimp, amano shrimp, assassin snails, and pond snails.

I'm going to be getting kuhli loaches, rams, bamboo shrimp, and cories.

Here's the plants I have: moss balls, java fern, duckweed, java moss, amazon sword, cambomba, and a very pretty plant (no idea what it is, but I love it!).

I'm going to eventually get some more plants.

What fertilizers should I get? My plants are growing slowly, some are pale, some are abnormally dark green, some have a bit of yellow on their leaves, and my sword's leaves keep breaking off. My java moss and camboma are doing well though.


If you add more plants to an already Co2 deficient environment your deficiencies will only get worse. You need to either lower your light down to critically low levels to keep the demand for what little Co2 is available as low as possible or add DIY or pressure Co2.

Light level in conjunction with total plant load controls the demand for Co2 which then controls the demand for nutrients.

Adding fertilizers to a Co2 (carbon) deficient tank is not going to help. The most important nutrient is Co2 (light is not a nutrient) followed by Nitrate, Phosphate.

Light = Co2=nutrients.

teddscau
12-01-2010, 12:52 AM
I might look into DIY CO2.

MCHRKiller
12-01-2010, 02:48 AM
DIY CO2 for a tank this size is useless. CO2 is not a *must* it is very possible to do a successful planted tank with only decent lighting and ferts. What you will run into is the possibility for algae to occure due to not running CO2...this is something you will need to accept. Fertilizer is very important especially with decent lighting...as even without artificial CO2 injection your plants will still be growing decently and needing nutrients. If you do not provide these nutrients then your algae problems will only grow worse. A 2 bulb HOT5 as you have isnt to me, enough for a 90G given its specs to push you into having to use CO2. But you will need to develop a fert plan and WC plan to help compensate for not injecting.

What model is your Eheim? You may not have enough circulation in the tank...which can also lead to excess algae.

Plant Man
12-01-2010, 05:15 PM
DIY CO2 for a tank this size is useless. CO2 is not a *must* it is very possible to do a successful planted tank with only decent lighting and ferts. What you will run into is the possibility for algae to occure due to not running CO2...this is something you will need to accept. Fertilizer is very important especially with decent lighting...as even without artificial CO2 injection your plants will still be growing decently and needing nutrients. If you do not provide these nutrients then your algae problems will only grow worse. A 2 bulb HOT5 as you have isnt to me, enough for a 90G given its specs to push you into having to use CO2. But you will need to develop a fert plan and WC plan to help compensate for not injecting.

What model is your Eheim? You may not have enough circulation in the tank...which can also lead to excess algae.


I agree with the majority of this as well. Although, DIY is possible on this size of tank, I’ve seen it done. However, it requires ALOT of work to sustain and is a massive PITA on large tanks like this.

It is more then possible to have a tank full of plants in a non Co2 injected tank. However, your always on the knifes edge of algae farming. Non-Co2 tanks full of plants can be very challenging and rewarding to pull off but they require you to live with very slowly growing plants that never really look there “best”. Not to say they don’t grow and look good just that the growth is slow and the plants don’t look great! Personally, I think Non-Co2 tanks are more suited to the very advance hobbyist. I know, most people would think the opposite. I have attempted both and clearly to me Co2 injection especially pressure systems with medium light 1-5 to 2 watts of T-5 equivalent light with a good fertilizing regime takes all the “work/worry” out of growing aquatic weeds.

I’ve spent years messing with DIY and it was a lot of fun and rewording. But, if you really would just like to have a tank that grows plants easily and with little worry of algae issues get your self set-up with a good pressure co2 system. One with a quality needle valve to reliably control flow and a solenoid to turn it on and off with your lights. You no longer need to even think about it. A 10lbs tank will last you well over a year before needing to be refilled. Just grow/clip/scape your tank and enjoy the hobby.

If you give the plants everything they need you’ll not have algae in the tank. Co2 is the most important nutrient then Nitrate then Phosphate in order of consumption. When Co2 is low and light is to high it’s like asking you plants to run a marathon on an empty stomach. They then start to pull nutrients form themselves and plants leaves suffer. BBA then begins to grow on the damaged leaves.

This is what is easily possible with pressure Co2

A tank by Tom Barr,

http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p296/TheMailman6666/cards2.jpg

MCHRKiller
12-01-2010, 05:38 PM
I dont know, I think many of my plants in the 100G look about as good as they could without injection. I have a A.crispus which itself is nearly 3ft tall and has 2 blooms. My swords and needle leaf fern have all grown like weeds and are quite large. The only plants that I cant say look their best are the anubias and then they came with some of the BBA and it hasnt gotten better nor worse. I think the key to a CO2 less fully planted tank is loading it with plants from the beginning and developing a good fertilization plan from day 1, it will instantly make it more difficult for algae to get a hold while allowing the plants to do as well as they can.

Tom Barr's tanks are beautiful, I have bought many large ferns and such from him over the last few years. I also agree it is much easier to run a large fully planted tank with pressurized injection. I would be the first in line to get a pressurized system if anywhere around my backwoods area would deal with me on refilling tanks or sell me pre-filled tanks for less than the cost of an arm or leg. :14:

teddscau
12-01-2010, 09:16 PM
I have an Eheim Professional 3. I have the largest model. I think I'll buy some fertilizers. I'm not going to have what you guys consider a "planted" tank. I'm going to just keep a couple in there. I don't like a lot of plants. The fertilizers should do the job. If I do a 25% water change each week, and a 50% once a month while fertilizing, do you think my plants would be okay? I hardly have any algae at all. Just a bit of brown algae on my rocks. My rocks are from PEI and most are made of sand. They are red and have a lot of iron. Maybe that's why my swords don't seem to be getting upset over lack of iron.
I don't think I'll get into CO2. Any tips for running a tank with few plants and without CO2? I'm on well water so the tank water should be fairly hard.

Plant Man
12-01-2010, 09:52 PM
I dont know, I think many of my plants in the 100G look about as good as they could without injection. I have a A.crispus which itself is nearly 3ft tall and has 2 blooms. My swords and needle leaf fern have all grown like weeds and are quite large. The only plants that I cant say look their best are the anubias and then they came with some of the BBA and it hasnt gotten better nor worse. I think the key to a CO2 less fully planted tank is loading it with plants from the beginning and developing a good fertilization plan from day 1, it will instantly make it more difficult for algae to get a hold while allowing the plants to do as well as they can.

Tom Barr's tanks are beautiful, I have bought many large ferns and such from him over the last few years. I also agree it is much easier to run a large fully planted tank with pressurized injection. I would be the first in line to get a pressurized system if anywhere around my backwoods area would deal with me on refilling tanks or sell me pre-filled tanks for less than the cost of an arm or leg. :14:


That sucks not having access to a refill place. I'm sorry to hear that. You know a full 10lbs Co2 canister at 3-4bps lasts like 2+ years. I spoke with a guy that has a 5lbs tank at 3bps and he gets 1.5 years out of it! Why not just have it shipped to you?

I put off pressure injection for many years, I just couldn't afford the initial costs but the wife finally let me do it and WOW what a difference! I was having some difficulty with Ludwigia Glandulosa even with 4, 2 liter bottle DIY Co2, but now it is growing much faster and no longer losing leaves at the bottom. I just started some Ludwigia Repens (a new plant for me) and it doubled in size in less then a week! Six stems turned into 12, they doubled in length in 5 days! They grew 3 ½ inches and I cut them in half and replanted just this morning. Repens is now officially the fastest growing plant that I've ever kept.

I put the lights on an 11 hour timer and the Co2 is the same only it comes on one hour ahead of the lights and goes off one hour before the lights. Drop checker is yellow with just a hint of lime to it. Every day I turned the Co2 up just a little bit, fish are fine, no gasping at the surface yet.

Pressure Co2 is not necessary I agree, but WOW does it ever help! I mean, WOW!

There is nothing in my tank that isn’t doing wonderfully. In this situation controlling growth becomes very easy, you just lower the lights or raise the lights to control growth.

High “completely stable” Co2+lots of nutrients (Estimative Index or whatever) all at a reasonable light level (1.5-2 wpg T-5), 50% or less water change once a week and the hobby boils down to clipping, trimming and aquascaping. I’m very excited right now I feel like anything is possible.

But the initial cost and understanding can be scary at first but once you have a quality regulator that has a good needle valve and solenoid it really is quite simple to rig up, plug it all in and simply forget about it! The most complicated part of it all was the understanding of EI and the units of measuring dry fertilizers.

I don’t think I could possibly ever regret taking the leap into pressure Co2. It’s just opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me.

Plant Man
12-01-2010, 10:06 PM
I have an Eheim Professional 3. I have the largest model. I think I'll buy some fertilizers. I'm not going to have what you guys consider a "planted" tank. I'm going to just keep a couple in there. I don't like a lot of plants. The fertilizers should do the job. If I do a 25% water change each week, and a 50% once a month while fertilizing, do you think my plants would be okay? I hardly have any algae at all. Just a bit of brown algae on my rocks. My rocks are from PEI and most are made of sand. They are red and have a lot of iron. Maybe that's why my swords don't seem to be getting upset over lack of iron.
I don't think I'll get into CO2. Any tips for running a tank with few plants and without CO2? I'm on well water so the tank water should be fairly hard.

Do your water changes; feed your fish “very lightly” with a flake food that has Phosphate in it if your well water has none and feed blood worms (or the like) once a week. Keep your fish load light, your lights on for less then 8 hours per day. Light level should be in the 1 to 1.5 watts per gallon (T-5 quality) range. Lighting is the hard part for you. The level of light will depend on how many inches it is from the surface of the substrate. To much and will run into Co2 deficiency and algae will destroy your hard work.

I think fertilizers will not be necessary with just a few plants and 30% well water changes.

Good luck.

MCHRKiller
12-01-2010, 10:39 PM
It has not yet become a priority to me to invest the cost of shipping a 10-20lb tank of CO2. If my plants were suffering or algae became uncontrollable, I would probably bite the bullet and order a pre-filled tank online and eat shipping costs. I do use DIY and small cartridge style pressurized setups on smaller tanks and it does make a huge difference. That I think is where plant choices come in, the plants in my large tanks are stereotypical low tech plants. But I give them medium light and ferts...they grow well and dont seem to suffer from lack of injection. It is a balancing act, but then so is maintaining a high light "high" tech system. If anything I think a medium light tank with ferts will take longer to go sour than would a high tech system. The high tech system is so dependant on lighting, co2 and dosing if you skip a week of dosing, let your CO2 run out or whatever disaster will happen sooner. I like the fact if I am going to be out of town and miss some dosing I can turn off a row of bulbs on my larger tanks and know they will look just as nice when I return.

Plant Man
12-02-2010, 12:40 AM
It has not yet become a priority to me to invest the cost of shipping a 10-20lb tank of CO2. If my plants were suffering or algae became uncontrollable, I would probably bite the bullet and order a pre-filled tank online and eat shipping costs. I do use DIY and small cartridge style pressurized setups on smaller tanks and it does make a huge difference. That I think is where plant choices come in, the plants in my large tanks are stereotypical low tech plants. But I give them medium light and ferts...they grow well and dont seem to suffer from lack of injection. It is a balancing act, but then so is maintaining a high light "high" tech system. If anything I think a medium light tank with ferts will take longer to go sour than would a high tech system. The high tech system is so dependant on lighting, co2 and dosing if you skip a week of dosing, let your CO2 run out or whatever disaster will happen sooner. I like the fact if I am going to be out of town and miss some dosing I can turn off a row of bulbs on my larger tanks and know they will look just as nice when I return.


I totally hear what your saying, all very good points for high light set-ups. But like many who run EI one doesn’t need to use “very” high light (over 3wpg) in a high tec set up. I use only 1.8 watts of T-5 light on my tank and Tom uses even less then that and his lights are 12-16inches from the waters surface for less than 10 hours a day. Keeping the lights low makes things much easier to maintain and so I follow his and others who have incredible tanks lead. High tec does not need to be high light/high maintenance. Unless you are going for an award winning tank in a short time frame, which most want to get the money shot of in less then a year. Just because you have high Co2 does not mean one has to have high light. In fact keeping the light low makes everything much easier when your Co2/nutrients are unlimited and keeps your tank off the algae knife edge that low tec tanks are so close to all the time. Not to say that one can’t create a beautiful non-Co2 enriched tank, just that it takes more skill/time. Using larger tanks can make non-Co2 tanks much easier as the water parameters change much more slowly.

Light controls Co2 consumption which controls nutrient consumption. So a lowish light (1.2-1.5wpg T-5), high Co2 set-up can be left unfertilized for long periods of time while still maintaining better growth then a low tec set-up.

Lots of extra Co2/Nutrients all being used slowly by “lower” light but higher light then a low tec would allow. Co2 injection also makes a really big difference in maintaining smaller tanks by keeping that all important nutrient from fluctuating like it otherwise would in that small tank environment.

All I’m saying is that stable Co2 injection only makes things easier in lower light set ups, which is great for people new to growing plants.

teddscau
12-05-2010, 09:47 PM
I thought I'd try API Root Tabs. Are they safe for invertebrates?