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Substrate change
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feralgirl
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Joined: 02 Feb 2005
Location: Bristol, UK

PostPosted: 2005.05.01(Sun)14:05    Post subject: Substrate change Reply with quote

Hi everyone,
I've had a successful 10G tank going for about 5 months now and I really want to improve my planting scheme. At the moment I just have natural, fairly coarse gravel and four fairly non-descript plants (they weren't named at the lfs so I'm not sure exactly what species they are - sorry). I use Nutrafin Plant Gro on them every week with moderate results. I haven't got a CO2 system but after reading lots of stuff, it's next on my wishlist. I also have read quite a bit about substrates and think I'll probably go for an eco-complete substrate either instead of or under my current gravel before adding some more plants. That should improve things right?
So in addition to any comments anyone's got on the above, I'd also be grateful for some practical advice on the best way to get my gravel out and the new stuff in. Will the new stuff make the water too cloudy for my fish for any time? Should I mix it, layer it or change it completely? I figure my fish are going to be out of the tank for a while, what's the best way to stop them getting too stressed? Sorry, lots of questions all in one go but I'm very enthusiastic!
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anonapersona
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Joined: 06 Feb 2003
Location: Houston, Texas

PostPosted: 2005.05.01(Sun)16:54    Post subject: First things first Reply with quote

If you remove the fish, put them in a large clean new bucket with an airstone, maybe a heater, and a shot of Prime or amquel or something for the ammonia. Cover the bucket to keep it sort of dark. Now you can take your time with the tank.

I'd unplug the filter and put the media into a plastic bag to keep it damp.

Then handle the substrate however you want to. Probably a bag of Ecocomplete will be enough to fill the tank, you can add back someof the old stuff on top if you need more depth.

But, more imporant to plants is the CO2 and lights.

You didn't say what sort of lighting you have. I suggest looking at upgrading the lighitng after you get a Hagen/Nutrafin Co2 system, or make a DIY system. The Hagen thing is about $20 online, $30 in local stores. It can help the plants use the available light mroe effectively, I've read. DIY CO2 is easy if you have parts to make stuff with. If you are not handy, the Hagen thing is fool-proof.

Then, look at your lights, screw-in bulbs can be switched for the compact screw-in flourescents, $5 to $10 from Walmart or a fish store or online. Look for the ones that have several you-shaped tubes, 10 watts each, daylight spectrum. Or buy a retrofit from AHSupply.com to install in the hood you have now, after you remove the existing electirical parts of your lights.
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feralgirl
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Joined: 02 Feb 2005
Location: Bristol, UK

PostPosted: 2005.05.01(Sun)18:32    Post subject: My light Reply with quote

It's the 11W flourescent bulb that came with the tank.
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anonapersona
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Joined: 06 Feb 2003
Location: Houston, Texas

PostPosted: 2005.05.01(Sun)21:15    Post subject: Reply with quote

that is quite low wattage. you will need to either stay with low light plants or add light.

Search for some of the packages that online sellers have for low light situations, perhaps you can identify some of your plants. Odds are, however, that most of your plants will slowly decay due to low light.
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feralgirl
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Joined: 02 Feb 2005
Location: Bristol, UK

PostPosted: 2005.05.02(Mon)3:01    Post subject: Thanks! Reply with quote

OK, so I'll add more light onto the shopping list! I think I'll see what higher wattage bulbs I can get that fit the tank rather than trying to rig up my own system. I'm not a competent handyman! I read that 2W:1G is the correct ratio, does that sound about right to you? Thanks for the advice, it's all much appreciated.
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Rex Grigg
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Joined: 26 Feb 2005

PostPosted: 2005.05.02(Mon)6:39    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually the WPG rule breaks down on smaller tanks. I have had my best luck with low and mid light plants with 36 watts over a 10 gallon tank. I use the AH Supply 36 watt kit with one of their 20" enclosures and it works great.
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feralgirl
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Joined: 02 Feb 2005
Location: Bristol, UK

PostPosted: 2005.05.03(Tue)10:24    Post subject: Evil ViaAqua tanks!!! Reply with quote

Honestly, I'm so cross I could spit! I emailed theaquariumshop.co.uk because they sell all the ViaAqua stuff to ask them about higher wattage bulbs for the tank and also asked in the lfs and was told by both that there is no way to up the wattage on the ViaAqua lights. There's no way I'm attempting a bodge-job on the set up that's in the hood because me + electricity + water = bad plan!!! On the plus side, it does mean I've got an excuse to get a new tank... Very Happy I can't wait, already planning...
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