Just starting to get into planted aquariums, have a lot of questions.

Discussion in 'Aquarium Plants' started by wolfpack2293, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. wolfpack2293New MemberMember

    I've asked here before, but I've got some more advanced questions now that I've gotten started.

    Just to brief on what my aquarium setup is, I have a 20 gallon long with some java moss and amazon sword.

    Once I move my tank back to its normal stand, I'll be setting it up with a DIY CO2 injector. Also, I'm only at about 1.1 WPG at the moment. I'll be getting a stronger light, but I'll discus that later (haha get it?)


    If the picture loaded, you'll only be able to see the sword. That large structure in the back is some plastic material I'm assuming, and am curious what kind of plants I can attach to that (it was expensive and I want a forest tank eventually, so I want to keep it in there).

    With the CO2, I cannot afford a "real" system. So I would use the 2 liter bottle + yeast etc. version, but I was informed about a liquid chemical that I can use instead... What's your opinion?

    I am having trouble finding a good 24" light for my tank that would put me above 2 WPG. So I was considering using clip on LED's on the back or something. Like the CO2, I can't afford to buy a different hood with more than one socket. How should I solve my lighting problem?

    Well, the technical problems explained, I am looking for some plant types. I'd prefer hardy, low maintenance (except trimming, I am talking about fertilizers, etc) plants. So I would like 1-2 low, carpet type plants. I have my java moss already. Then I'd like one or two types of bushy plants, one of which I'm thinking is a java fern. I've got the sword already two. Then, lastly, I'm looking at a few types of long stem plants, if you get what I mean.

    Any ideas? I'm completely open to suggestions.

    Thanks in advance, sorry for the wall of text.
  2. Mer-maxWell Known MemberMember

    Java fern is good. Moneywort is a cool long stem. Lights - you could get the $20 flat glass tops for the tank at almost any fish store and then put a t-5 light on it. I did not have much luck growing with led- at all. But my tank is taller than yours. API has a co2 booster that has been good to me. I just stopped using leaf zone and started with flourish - ill let you know but leaf zone wasn't cutting it for me although I did have growth.

  3. TerraWell Known MemberMember

    The glass top Mer-max means is probably one of these:   the 30" would be for a 20 long I believe. Your tank needs a lip inside for that to rest on, won't work without one.

    I'm still a plant newbie, but I'm learning as I go with my 3 tanks and all the mistakes I've managed with them :) From what I understand, plants can only grow as good as their lowest influx of either light, co2, or fertilizers. So adding co2 to a low light tank may not do anything, since the low light is limiting them. If you do upgrade your lighting and add the DIY co2, you may need to also add fertilizers to balance it out again, otherwise nutrients may be the holding-back point.

    I upgraded my T8 single bulb 18 watt fixture to a T5HO dual bulb 48 watt fixture and my plants sort of stayed static still. I started adding some fertilizer and some of them started growing, but others just kept on withering or doing nothing. It wasn't until I added co2 just this past week that I saw them truly happy and growing like they should be, and my nitrates finally going DOWN! I realized I had too much light and not enough of the other stuff and it was making matters worse... my second tank with less light was growing the same plants better. So yeah.. find your balance :) If you are interested, I bought this light fixture here (the 24" freshwater one):   ... just don't run that bad boy more than 8-10 hours or you're gonna have algae heaven hehe.

    You asked about the liquid co2 stuff.. it's called Flourish Excel, it doses carbon, not exactly carbon dioxide. It does mostly the same thing but doesn't work for all plants and can hurt certain others from what I've read on here. The price would be way higher for that in the long run, the yeast/sugar method would be cheaper.

    Your tank is beautiful btw!

  4. wolfpack2293New MemberMember

    Thank you very much :D

    Instead of buying one, I might just make a DIY light fixture with CFL 6500k. My dad is good with tools and we could use some bonding time haha.

    Yeah I wouldn't be opposed to buying fertilizers. I wouldn't be going crazy with it or anything, I just want to be rid of all the plastic.

  5. TerraWell Known MemberMember

    I have a couple 10 watt coralife colormax cfl bulbs (the pinkish ones, not the 50/50 ones) on my 10 gallon, gives it 2 watts per gallon and everything in it grows great there.

    Actually the ozelot sword in it is growing 3x faster in that than it does in my 20 gallon with the T5HO lights and co2 and ferts.
  6. wolfpack2293New MemberMember

    Oh really, are they spiral CFL? What orientation are they, vertical or horizontal?

    I've read that the orientation makes a big difference. So I was thinking if I put 2 of the straight ones with the normal sockets, not the pins, if it would be better than horizontal spirals.
  7. TerraWell Known MemberMember

  8. wolfpack2293New MemberMember

    Ahhhh. I thought they would've been suspension lights, aiming downward. See, the hood of my 20 long is only rated for 22 watts, so I would only have about 1 WpG.

    Those are certainly nice lights though. Maybe I'll get 4 of them and just modify my hood... Oh the options.
  9. ButterflyModeratorModerator Member

    You could cover all that plastic with Java Ferns, and Java mos it would look awesome. Both are super awesome.
  10. TerraWell Known MemberMember

    If your hood says 20 watts and has the incandescent/screw-in sockets that should mean 20 watts per socket.

    Mine says 15 watts but that is for each hole. If you're a DIY type then modifying the hood would certainly be cheaper than buying a new fixture for higher wattage or flourescent tubes.
  11. wolfpack2293New MemberMember

    It's not a screw-in type, but my father has some converters or something he likes to use for his tube lights in the basement.

    So the java fern/moss will eventually stick to the plastic if I tie them on? Perfect :).

    Thanks again folks, you're such a big help.
  12. Mer-maxWell Known MemberMember

    Lights in the basement!? What we growin down there? :)))
  13. wolfpack2293New MemberMember

    Haha, if only. They're for his man-cave. Work benches, football, all that stuff that doesn't interest me, even though I'm his son. Lol
  14. TerraWell Known MemberMember

    So everyone tells me... I'm still waiting on mine to attach to something :D

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