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Plant nursery
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rales12
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Joined: 03 Nov 2009
Location: Wyoming

PostPosted: 2011.02.01(Tue)11:45    Post subject: Plant nursery Reply with quote

Its seeming that a 6g tank is useless for just about everything, so I'm considering using it as a plant nursery. It seems like it would be easier to propagate/split some of the plants if I didn't have to reach to the bottom of a 22" tank. Plus placing plants into a tank that are a bit bigger than a speck of green is more pleasing to my little eye, and since I highly doubt I'm going to be allowed to keep adding fish tanks to every room, I'm going to be in need of a 'distraction' project. Wink

Anyway, I have some questions.

For a tank that is going to be used only for plants, and only low-light plants at that, what are the necessities?

Its currently got sand in the bottom, but I am thinking about buying a bag of Flourite instead. My concern is... when I move a plant from this nursery into the main tank, if they go from rich substrate to plant tabs, are there going to be any negative effects on the plant?

Also, should I just place the substrate at the bottom of the tank and plant in there, or should I use individual 'cups' for each plant (likely the bottom of a plastic bottle)? Does that even matter?

Does the tank need to be cycled, or does it even need a filter at all? Does it need a heater, or is room temperature just fine?

I've got a 15w bulb, and the tank is 6g. I was growing some java fern, wisteria and had just got a small section of c. wendtii to recover when I upgraded the tank to a 20g. Everything was doing fine before, but the water was pretty tinted from the driftwood. Should I tint the water/filter the light, plan on dosing Excel, or will either even be necessary?

Will I have to perform water changes, or are top-offs OK for something like this? (We've got moderately hard water, 8.0 pH)

Those are all the questions I can think of right now... I'm sure I'll think of some more. Wink

Thanks!
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DaleJr
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Joined: 16 Feb 2010
Location: Memphis, TN

PostPosted: 2011.02.01(Tue)12:47    Post subject: Reply with quote

"what are the necessities?"
Depends on the plants you house in the nursery. Since I think you're going with Low-light / LowTech nothing is a "real necessity other than Nitrogen and light.

"Its currently got sand in the bottom. are there going to be any negative effects on the plant from rich substrate to plant tabs."
There will be die off but that's just what happens in the transplant process. However I would MIMIC your conditions so that the shock isnt that great. If you have sand in the main then put sand in the Nursery.

"Also, should I just place the substrate at the bottom of the tank and plant in there" That's what I would do.

"Does the tank need to be cycled(1), or does it even need a filter at all(2)? Does it need a heater, or is room temperature just fine(3)?"
1. No, but you might want some Amamo shimp down the road to help with algae and or Ottos.
2. It does need a filter, you can go small with this. Maybe AC50. Your going to want water circulation.
3. Depends What is "Your" room temperture? I would say a small one if you want to add the above suggested shrimp and Ottos

I would keep the wood out, not tint the water. Water changes maybe once a month (even with the above mentioned shrimp and ottos) 15-20% this is to remove EXCESS nutients that the plants did not use and prevent ALGAE.

Light seems fine.

Not crazy about the pH being 8.0 but If you could lower it to 7.5 that would be ideal.

Hope this helps
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diademhill
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Joined: 18 Apr 2007

PostPosted: 2011.02.01(Tue)12:56    Post subject: Reply with quote

With no livestock you don't need a filter.

Crypts in particular grow well in still water.
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rales12
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Joined: 03 Nov 2009
Location: Wyoming

PostPosted: 2011.02.01(Tue)13:51    Post subject: Reply with quote

So I'll save on the flourite and just do tabs in both the display tank and the nursery. Probably a silly question... but do the tabs count as a source of nitrogen? Just going to be using osmocote, frozen into an ice cube, and pressed down next to the roots.

Yes, it'll just be low light/low tech plants. Initially just c. wendtii and the little tiny leaf of water wisteria that is still surviving. Though eventually, anything that fits in the low light range could be started in there, is what I'm hoping for, except probably anubias, which I would probably add directly to their intended tank after checking for snails.

I hadn't considered algae being a problem... That is something I'll have to think on.

Our room temperature is generally between 68˚-70˚F, very few fluctuations because we just leave it set at that all year round. I probably won't opt for ottos, but is that warm enough for shrimp? And how cold is too cold for most plants? I rather doubt our house gets cold enough for this to be a concern, but its always good to be sure. Smile

I'm not crazy about changing the pH, especially considering how well the plants in the main tank are doing with it as is.

So... no livestock = no need for filter, and some plants do really well in still water. Is there any low light plants that don't do well in still water?
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unissuh
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Joined: 29 Mar 2005
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: 2011.02.01(Tue)15:33    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would go for a filter or powerhead - a small internal power filter would be perfect as they are very small, have a sponge so shrimp don't get sucked in and are dead silent. It's not only for the livestock, circulation also helps balance out the temperature across the tank and circulate O2/CO2. I think bad circulation is linked with algae problems more than we think...e.g. BGA.

rales12 wrote:
Probably a silly question... but do the tabs count as a source of nitrogen? Just going to be using osmocote, frozen into an ice cube, and pressed down next to the roots.


Yeah, that'll be fine. To be honest this will provide more nutrients than any "rich" substrate except possibly the aquasoils so I would be surprised if you have much transplant shock from substrate. In my experience transplant shock seems to be more due to light levels and water parameters than substrate too.

rales12 wrote:
Will I have to perform water changes, or are top-offs OK for something like this? (We've got moderately hard water, 8.0 pH)


Top-offs are fine, just do a 50% change every 4-6 months. Classic low tech approach.
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DaleJr
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Joined: 16 Feb 2010
Location: Memphis, TN

PostPosted: 2011.02.01(Tue)16:18    Post subject: Reply with quote

unissuh wrote:
I would go for a filter or powerhead - a small internal power filter would be perfect as they are very small It's not only for the livestock, circulation also helps balance out the temperature across the tank and circulate O2/CO2. I think bad circulation is linked with algae problems more than we think...e.g. BGA.



YEAP you want the circulation so that Algae doesn't SETTLE on the leave or the substrate.

"I hadn't considered algae being a problem... That is something I'll have to think on." It is something to ALWAYS consider in a planted tank. You can use AND SHOULD use excel from time to time. All plants need a carbon source. And since there won't be any fish bi-products in the tank you will want to dose Nitrogen.

The MAIN substance in the Seachem Root Tabs are
.28% Nitrogen
.17% Phosphate
.16% Soluble Potash
2.2% Iron
14.9% Calcium
12.2% Sulfur
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jsuereth
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Joined: 22 Aug 2010
Location: Pittsburgh, PA USA

PostPosted: 2011.02.01(Tue)17:33    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another interesting idea for dosing nitrogen is to top off the tank with water from another tank. It's a similar concept to using old tank water to water flowers around the house (awesome btw). If your other tanks are planted, the nutrient content might be too low to matter.

Also, in my experience (somewhat limited) with ultra low-tech six gallon tanks, I think you may be OK with root tabs and the occasional excel dose. I'm getting consistent plant growth and no (very little) algae. I have some RCS to help clean what might show up.

The only botch up I had was when a few plants died off after transplant, I didn't replace them and I had nutrients leak into the water column from their unused root tabs (lost a few shrimp). Based on unissuh's suggestion I planted a fast growing low-light tolerant plant in the old location and things have stabilized.
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DaleJr
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Joined: 16 Feb 2010
Location: Memphis, TN

PostPosted: 2011.02.02(Wed)9:30    Post subject: Reply with quote

a good plant to always have around is a water-sprite to absorb any extra nutrients that's just laying around.
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rales12
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Joined: 03 Nov 2009
Location: Wyoming

PostPosted: 2011.02.04(Fri)16:40    Post subject: Reply with quote

You guys have been super helpful so far. Wink I've decided to stick in beneath my 75g (so that I'm not tempted to try to put fish in it again, and because there's room to spare under there).

My plan so far:
Substrate: Inert sand with root tabs, and a thin layer of osmocote beneath that
Lighting: 15w plant bulb, 9hrs/day
Filter: Aquaclear 5-15g... its what I had on it before.
Heater: The tiny heater you get at WalMart... also what I had on it before
Livestock: Red Cherry Shrimp

Nutrient source: osmocote root tabs, Excel

Water: Infrequent changes, top offs as needed.

Plants: At first, most likely just c. wendtii, water wisteria and a tiny surviving piece of water sprite that I have floating in a bowl

Some more questions: Wink
Is 9 hours of light per day enough? I'm wondering this for my 75g too... they'll both be hooked to the same switch, and it'll be super convenient if I don't have to unplug one at a different time. I'm currently lighting the 75g from 11am until 8pm each day, so that's when this little tank would be lit as well. Any changes that I should be making?

Are there any plants besides water sprite that are low light and fast growing? Like hornwort, perhaps?

How often do I need to dose Excel? Every day, ever couple of days, once a week...?
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unissuh
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Joined: 29 Mar 2005
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: 2011.02.04(Fri)18:58    Post subject: Reply with quote

9 hours is fine - I tend to recommend anywhere from 8-12 as a benchmark (all of mine are lit for 12).

Hornwort is good, Hydrilla, most Hygrophilas, HM, Ambulia...there are probably more. Duckweed if you want to get into that, most other floating plants grow reasonably fast too.

Excel is best dosed every day if you are using it as a carbon source. Once in the water it has a rather short half life, so it's best to dose it in the morning when the lights come off since thats when the carbon is needed. I would recommend following the instructions to start off with, you can then stop/reduce/increase dosing as necessary once you get the feel of how the system works.
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