Bioload and plants

  • #1
So I've been doing some reading for the past week mostly because I think I might be a tad bit overstocked. My niece had brought me some tetra's that she got from a friend that didn't want them anymore and since I was looking for a larger tank to replace the 10 gallon I took them.

Orriginally I was going to get another 30 g to separate the live bearers and egg layers out but since I'm limited in funding as this is just a hobby I've been scouring CL looking for a deal. Unfortunately nothing really good in the area right now.

But I digress, My question is this how much of an impact will 13 live plants make in the bioload for my 30 gallon tank. there are 2 water lilies, 2 water onions, 5 Aponogetons possibly a six one but it just started sprouting which is odd because the other plants have been in there for a while and are fairly tall. amd the rest came from petco out of one of their tank of loose assorted plants.

the ones from there were all just a grouping of stems held together so I have no idea on what they are. the reciet just lists the sku number and not the plant. Orriginally it was only 3 bundles but I divided them up after they had grown a bit so I could place some of them in my 10g. so what's left are 3 bunches of 4 to five stems of a 8 to 10 inch stem with green leaves coming from the stems, one group of 6 stem 4 inch high stems with green and pinkish leaves and one group of a fuzzy almost pine tree like looking stems.

I tried to figure out what they are online today by comparing photos of various plants but haven't had any luck. In the morning I'll post pictures but need to find batteries for the camera first.

Also as of earlier today I added 4 more aponogeton bulbs into the tank as all of the other ones I planted really took off. Well with the exception of the first one to shoot up as It has taken a darker tint of green and doesn't seem to be healthy though it has been getting better.

I use the test strips regularly, and go to the lfs weekly to have my water checked and have not had any issues due to overstocking sd of yet and would like to keep it that way. I do a water change every five days.

I feed twice a day once in the morning and once in the evening and leave the light on for around 8 hours a day when I can but I work a swing shift so I might have to invest in a timer for the plants.

The reason I'm concerned about the bioload despite the lfs assuring me that my levels were spot on in my tank is that for the past few days I have been noting odd behavior of my fish. All the females seem to be hiding and showing signs of stress, the sole male molly seems super aggresive towards all the females (sword tail too)and is trying to mate with everyone except the cory.

I also have 4 decorations, a piece of drift wood that has nooks and crannys for the fish to hide in, a plastic log tunnel with 3 fake flowers on it. a cheap plastice walmart blue reef looking thing and a sponge bob bobber attached to some antique fishing line that I boiled. the line not the bobber.

The only things I have added in the past few weeks were more plants, every thing else has been in there for atleast a month to the innitial setup.

I'm sorry if this post seems to ramble but I was basically just trying to give out as much info as what I could about the tank in general. Mostly because I'm new at this and am not entirely sure what is relevant for my question.
  • #2
Plants don't usually put much of a dent in your bioload unless you get into a high-light, fast growth scenario. Unless you went out of your way to get expensive lights, you probably don't have high light. My best suggestion to you is to get a liquid test kit. The API master test kit is highly recommended. Test strips are innaccurate and pet store employess are unreliable. You need to know exactly what your nitrate level is and if your nitrite or ammonia > 0. If your levels are not what they should be, you change water. Even without buying the liquid test, you could just start changing lots of water and see if the fish start acting right.
Nate McFin
  • #3
I will second fishdaddy....plants won't help much in a case like this. Water changes are the key.
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
thank you for replying,

I understand that, both about the water changes and the test kit. As I stated before though I do do a water change of roughly 30 percent every five days. and the kit is on my to purchase list. But besides one small hickup in my ten gallon about a month ago which was a infection or something that I treated and lost no fish over, everything with the fish have been fine.

Back to the plant's though, Whatever lighting I have is what came with when I got the tanks, florecent on the 30 gallon and one of those hoods with the 15w120v plant lights.

Also I'm not specifically growing plants in the tanks with the purpose of easing some of the strain off the bioload. I just don't really care for how most fake plants look.

So is that in general, that plants while helpful are only just slightly so unless you get into the high light fast growth senarios.

Is there a general rule of thumb over what is considered a lightly planted to moderately or heavily planted tank. I would imagine that a heavily planted tank would have some sort of carpeting.

I've been wanting to get some sort of carpeting plant in the tank but the only options out here are petco and wallmart as the one LFS doesn't sell them.
  • #5
I got my lights online. Most petstores overcharge. If you are serious about growing plants you should do a lot of research before you spend any money. If you get high light you'll have to get a carbon source, then you'll need to fertilize, and then you get to fight algae. It can be frustrating. I have several hundred bucks invested in a 30 gallon tank. I guess I'm trying to say don't bite off more than you want to chew.
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
thanks for the reply, I'm not really looking to bite off more than I can chew at the moment. Basically I was just trying to figure out at how well planted a tank needs to be to actually make a difference in the bioload.

After I posted this I found a few articals about no tech and low tech planted tanks.

There were a couple giudes and links that pointed me to some rather interesting articals.

heres one of them

Basically they all talk about the same thing going bare bones, without c02 and using 1.5 wpg as and ideal target. the link above goes to a guide where it is mentioned and if I can find it there was another artical about it as well where someone else only ran an air stone to move water and forgone everything except for the lights and airstone not even running a filter.

Now am I going to do a tank set up like that. Nope, but I think It gives me several Ideas on what is possible in a low light planted tank and what I can aI'm for.

One main thing is though is that it would not be as efficient as a highly lighted co2 injected tank and I'm fine with that.

One thing I do need to do though especially if I am going to keep adding more plants is to start dosing my tank with some sort of liquid fert to help keep the plants healthy and while not super imparative at this point in my tank it is probably something I should do within the week.

I realize now that I didn't really phrase my question that well and that What I was trying to ask was basically too broad for a simple answer.
  • #7
Plants are wonderful for a tank. Watch for rotting leaves and cut off when needed. Rotting leaves can raise ammonia. If mr molly is being a bully, that can cause fish to act strange. I keep a filter in my planted tank. Water changes are good for plants and fish. Water changes replenish needed minerals for both. Once you can post pics we can help you id the plants and provide advice.
PS Welcome to Fishlore!

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