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KH pH Tiger barbs....
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mlody
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Joined: 25 Jul 2003
Location: Chicago, USA

PostPosted: 2003.08.08(Fri)23:37    Post subject: KH pH Tiger barbs.... Reply with quote

Hi, recently I bought a test kit, a CO2 injector, and plant supplements for my aquarium. The reason that I bought it is because my plants are starting to die after being in the aquarium for about 3 months. I was wondering what is the problem. I have a 25 gallon tank, with 8 tiger bards, and a few bottom dwelers and a densly planted tank. I have halogen lights which give out 75 watts.my KH is 7 degrees, my GH is 14 degrees!, and my pH is 7.4. I would give anything in the world for my barbs to lay eggs and for my plants to thrive. Does anyone have any suggestions about my water conditions, barbs, and plants.
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Type-R
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Joined: 31 Jul 2003
Location: East Yorkshire, UK

PostPosted: 2003.08.10(Sun)19:20    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey mlody,

Hmmm dying plants eh? More trouble than they're worth! Wink

Right, the first thing I would say is although you do have 3WPG (Watts Per Gallon) of lighting you say you have Halogen lights. Halogens don't produce a light spectrum which is particularly favourable to plant growth, I.e not much red or blue light. Also halogens do produce an awful lot of heat which is not ideal when trying to keep stable tank conditions. Fluorecents are much more preferable (and economical).
Anyways you have what you have so we will move on.
If it isn't the lighting it could be your Nitrate, Potassium, or Iron levels which are causing you problems. You should test your Nitrate levels, ideally you want a level of around 5 - 10 ppm but anything under 25ppm will do. If your Nitrate is OK add a fertiliser which contains no Nitrate or Phosphate but which does contain Iron (Fe) and Potassium (K), just follow the instructions on the packaging. If you want to start using your Co2 kit now you should add as little as possible at first and check your pH regularly. With a KH of 7 degrees you should aim for your pH to fall to between 7.2 and 7.0. This will give you a CO2 concentration of between 13 and 21ppm respectively. A pH of 7.1 is your target but most home test kits can't measure that accurately anyway! Remember this only applies when your KH is 7 degrees, if it isn't then pH 7.1 won't give you the same concentration of CO2.

As for your Barbs they like soft slightly acidic water best and your water is hard at 14 degrees GH. I doubt that this is harmful to your Barbs but I think it unlikely that they will breed. Also if they did spawn they will eat the eggs unless you have a specific spawning tank so that you can remove them after spawning.

Hope this is useful.

Feel free to post any follow up questions. Very Happy
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mlody
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Joined: 25 Jul 2003
Location: Chicago, USA

PostPosted: 2003.08.11(Mon)9:51    Post subject: thanks! Reply with quote

thanks for the info! That helped a lot! I'm going to try the CO2 injector and soften the water up for my barbs. I have lots of plants in the aquarium, ones that cover the gravel bed very densly (like java moss) so Hopefully I will spot the egss before they get eaten. thanks again!
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kdjoergensen
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Joined: 22 Apr 2003

PostPosted: 2003.08.12(Tue)8:49    Post subject: Reply with quote

The problem you are experiencing is typical of beginning plant tanks. If I was you I would buy a flourecent light strip. Use a plant grow bulb (available at home depot). For low light plants (less than 2 watt per gallon) go with anubias, java ferns, hornwort, javamoss, and cryptocones.

Adding co2 is only going to help you if you have correct lighting. The plants basically combines the sun's rays, carbondioxide, water and nutrients (fertilizer) to photosynthesize (produce carbohydrates) and grow.

The sun's light is in this case replaced by artificial lights, but the intensity and light spectrum need to be correct. Using 1-2 light stips of the plant grow type will help. E.g. if you have a 20 gallon tank 40 watts should be used. If you have a 55 gallon tank 110 watts is best. You can do with less, but then your choice of specific low light tolorant plants becomes important. Otherwise you will find plants dying.

light is the most important factor for plant growth. additional nutrients, co2 etc will not have any effect unless you adjust the light first. It is a non-negotiable requirement. We grow plants successfully with less than 2 wpg. You can do that, but make sure you select your TYPE of plants carefully.

Water is obviously readily available. Nutrients are often provided directly by the fish (ammonium, nitrite or nitrates are all taken up by plants), or by decaying fish food (contains phosphores, iron, potassium etc).

If you have a heavily growing tank which good lighting (2-3 watts per gallon), unrestricted co2 then the addition of additional fertilizer may be required. With low light plants in a low or moderately lit aquarium the plants will consume less nutrients and thus require no supplemental fertilizer.

Co2 is the most widely discussed, and misunderstood, topic. You can not get good plant growth by simply adding co2. Co2 can enchance growth if the other factors (nutrients, light, water, etc) is present. Co2 is in aquariums injected into the water where it must be dissolved.

Co2 is released from the water if the surface is aerated, e.g. the use of air stones or powerfilters can actually reduce co2. Since powerfilters are common it is typical to add co2 to a heavily planted tank WHICH IS WELL LIT AND WHERE THE PLANTS HAVE SUFFICIENT NUTRIENTS. Co2 can thus stimulate plant growth. Note: co2 is also released from the fish through their gills and in a low light plant tank it is unlikely that you get real benefit from co2.. or in otherwords.. other factors such as - and in particular - light intensity and spectrum would affect plant growth with our without co2 added...

My recommendation is that you look into increasing the light intensity. I would recommend that you look for minimum 1.5-2 watts per gallon. You can then run your co2 and if after that you need to fertilize with potassium and micronutrients then do so. However, do not use fertilizers containing phosphores (key algae growth nutrient) or nitrogen (ammonium, nitrite, or nitrates as they are provided by the fish and declaying plant parts). If you must add phosphores then do so after testing for deficiency only.

Get the light issue solved first.. the other items are also important but comes after the first requirement: light.
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William
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Joined: 06 Feb 2003
Location: Houston, Texas

PostPosted: 2003.08.12(Tue)22:39    Post subject: Re: KH pH Tiger barbs.... Reply with quote

mlody,

Are you sure you have Halogen lights? Halogen fixtures are typically used on marine tanks, suspended over the aquarium, run in the 150 or 250 watt range and are very expensive.

Best regards,

William

mlody wrote:
I have halogen lights which give out 75 watts.

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kdjoergensen
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Joined: 22 Apr 2003

PostPosted: 2003.08.13(Wed)6:23    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unless it is a stardard 75 watt outdoor halogen incadencent lightbulb .. which would not be much help as plant light Very Happy
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mlody
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Joined: 25 Jul 2003
Location: Chicago, USA

PostPosted: 2003.08.14(Thu)2:36    Post subject: Reply with quote

yeah, its regualr outdoor halogens. I jsut bought 2 plant grown halogens with equal about 100 watts (50 each). I guess I'll have to see how good it is
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kdjoergensen
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Joined: 22 Apr 2003

PostPosted: 2003.08.14(Thu)6:28    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having worked with indoor (emerged) plant growing for 4 years now I can tell you that the incadencent bulbs (halogen, or otherwise) will not give enough light to support plant growth. I would seriously consider replacing the light fixture with a flourecent light fixture.

On a 25 gallon tank you should be able to get an 18" 20 watt bulb. Two would be better, but one will do. You can buy flourecent hoods for under $25 today and invest another $8-10 in a good plant grow light. Home depot sell so called Grow-Lux flourecent light bulbs (18") which are good for this purpose for less than $5.0.

Don't keep buying new incadecent (e.g. round/pair shaped) bulbs. Buy a flourecent light fixture/hood .. it is your only option if you want to grow plants (short of upgrading to some real expensive stuff, of course)...

Kenneth
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mlody
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Joined: 25 Jul 2003
Location: Chicago, USA

PostPosted: 2003.08.15(Fri)1:29    Post subject: Reply with quote

I changed the lighting to a 50w agro-lite plant light halogen track fixture.... I know I should use the flourecent but I don't think that 20 watts will do for my tank and the flourecent fixturees that would provide enough light for my tank are in the 100 + range. So I changed it to two philips r20 agro-lite 50w halogen bulbs that run about 8 each. Now my question is, does it matter what wattage you give into the tank, or the amount of lumens of energy that is given to the tank. The reason I ask is because these new bulbs give off light that looks like a flourecent except it is a lot dimmer then my old bulbs or even a flourecent tube.
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Type-R
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Joined: 31 Jul 2003
Location: East Yorkshire, UK

PostPosted: 2003.08.15(Fri)15:24    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mlody,
I really would suggest that you swap to fluorescent tubes, it's not that expensive to get a dual lamp system. What is the length of your tank? Are you in the you.K or you.S or other? You can get a twin 20 watt hood including tubes and ballast for $36.99 plus postage! So thats 40 watts over a 25 gallon which is 1.6 watts per gallon. This is sufficient to grow many species of green plants. The fluorescents use a lot less energy than your halogens too so you would make a saving there. Very Happy
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