First planted tank, no idea what I'm doing. - Page 2 - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #11 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-01-2013, 02:23 PM
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feel free to ask if you have any questions about doing a LED upgrade. Electronics are my hobby

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post #12 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-01-2013, 10:13 PM Thread Starter
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Okay, so it looks like this project of mine just got a little more urgent. I've been worried about Altair's fins since I got him, but everyone said he looked pretty healthy, and the tattered edges was probably tail biting....aaaand then just now I noticed him swim under the filter and get SUCTION CUPPED to it. I cut the power, he swam away, I turned it back on, since the heater's on the same power strip, and the idiot swims around the filter intake, flares at it a few times and then swims right back under. and gets suction cupped to it again. -_-
my little genius.
Unfortunately with this particular tank, I can't really change out the filter to use the lovely adjustable one that came with his new tank, because the old filter is wired into the tank along wit the lighting, and there's no room to stick in another one without severely limiting his room to swim. I asked my mom if she had any old stockings I could cut up to improvise a baffle on the intake (and I just want to appreciate how she doesn't even question these things anymore...) but it looks like I'll be buying everything I need to set him up in his shiny new tank sooner rather than later.
which means I probably don't have time to wait for a gap in my schedule to work on doing Infinite's awesome diy LEDs, so that'll have to wait a while, and I'll need to find some florescent or incandescent lighting that works with the tank....

I've been doing some research on plants though, I'll probably post that up in the next hour or so if bniebetta or anyone wants to peek at it, and then start pricing out what I can afford to get done over the next week.

in the meantime, not really the right forum for this, but anyone know a quick-and-dirty way to improvise a baffle that doesn't require me going to the store at 10 at night? I've got printed cotton fabric, a (frankly quite dirty) kitchen sponge, hair ties and various types of yarn.
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post #13 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-02-2013, 09:30 AM
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are you looking to baffle the output of the filter or input?

I placed a small piece of course filter foam on my output and it took the brunt force way down. the flow is still there but the turbulance is gone. My fish actually likes to chase his pellets in the current sometimes.

There are several threads here that use either a plastic water bottle or strawberry type food container to baffle the output of the filter. to baffle the intake swing by the dollar store and find a carwash sponge. make sure it is not treated with any chemicals especially anit bacterial. cut it up to create a filter that will lessen the suction strength. it can also be used to slow down the output side too


Last edited by InfiniteGlory; 04-02-2013 at 09:31 AM. Reason: typo
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post #14 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-02-2013, 04:20 PM Thread Starter
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The intake. I managed to find an old knee-high that had never been worn, and cut it up and used that to cover the intake. the flow isn't actually that strong, he doesn't ever have a problem with it until he tries to wedge himself underneath the filter...I'll try and hit the dollar store anyway in the next day or so.

I put in an order for a water testing kit and a new heater, and I found this light on amazon. It's advertised at 6500k, and it looks like it'll clip on right where the one that came with the tank would clip on, so hopefully it'll be an acceptable stopgap until I can find some time to do something fancier to either supplement it or replace it. there was another one that I actually liked better because it came with blue lights for night time lighting, but the reviews said it wasn't strong enough for plants. I'm just worried because the one I ordered is so cheap even though it's advertised for planted aquariums.

As far as plants go:
I stopped by petco to check out the plants they've got there, since my lfs is ridiculously expensive (10-15 for their smallest plants, and they've got some priced up to 50! I don't begrudge them the price, but it's a bit too steep for someone starting out) but the plant tank was a huge tangled mess and all their plants in little sleeves were going brown and didn't look healthy, so I couldn't really get a feel for what anything looked like in person.
Aside from that, I've found a few I really like online:

Egeria Densia:
Long, flowing stems with spiky leaves, supposed to be pretty easy to grow, but the only thing is the website says high light. so I don't know if the lighting I'm going to have is sufficient. If it'll work though, I'd like to use it as a background plant.

Cryptocoryne wendtii:
Everyone and their mother suggests this plant, and it's pretty. I was thinking maybe as a middle/foreground plant? The site says moderate-low light and that it's easy to grow.

Needle Leaf Ludwigia:
If the Egeria doesn't work out, I was also looking at this for a background plant; it's got thin red stems and dark green leaves, the site says moderate lighting and that it's easy to care for. I think it'd make a nice contrast with the bright green or brown crypt (depending what variety I can find)

Willow leaf hygro:
To fill in the gaps between the Ludwigia or the Egeria, the site says that this one also needs moderate to high lighting though, so again, I'm not sure. it's supposed to be easy to care for, and its muted green/bronze leaves are quite pretty.

Alternanthera reineckii:
Another high light, but this one I really really love. it's got green and red leaves that can get purplish on the undersides, and is also supposed to be quite easy to grow. unfortuneately I'm not sure if anyone around me carries it, and I don't want to order live plants just now, so all of this is just wishful thinking unless I can find time to get to one of the more distant aquarium stores on friday...

Petco also sells little baggies of bulbs? looks like they come with onion and a few others, anyone have any thoughts on those? Do they grow quickly? Are they fairly sturdy or am I likely to kill them with my noobness?

Last edited by Esahc; 04-02-2013 at 04:37 PM.
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post #15 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-03-2013, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
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Another impulse buy for me...but it's so hard to find red plants at any of my pet stores, and it was so cheap I couldn't resist.

The guy at petco didn't know what it was (apparently they don't bother learning the names of what comes in their assorted plants) but the label says red Ludwigia.

unfortunately, since it was an impulse buy, I don't have any place to put it right now but Altair's tank, and I don't know if it needs to be quarantined. I've got a 2 gallon bucket that I once used to make a plaster mold. If I scrubbed it well with hot water, would it hurt if I let it sit in there until Friday?
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post #16 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-03-2013, 06:16 PM
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quarantining the plant just assures that if there are any snails they won't be introduced into your tank unless you want them. If you don't mind snails then just plop the plant into your (Altair's) tank. The bucket will be fine with a good scrubbing.

Either way you should expect the plant to loose some of it's leaves if not all of them. Just give it time and everything will come back.

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post #17 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-04-2013, 11:30 AM Thread Starter
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okay, I went with just floating them in Altair's tank since I'm going to be movin into the larger tank anyway. Got I think all the plants I'm going to get just now...

managed to grab some Egeria, red wendtii, and water wisteria in addition to the red ludwigia,

But when I was picking over the wendtii, I got a pleasant surprise:
two tiny plants hanging on to the roots:

I've no idea what they are.
the one with the teeny leaves looks like the needle-leaf ludwigia that petsmart was selling, but the other one, I have no idea. it looks kinda like the egeria, but the leaves are thicker, darker, and narrower.
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post #18 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-04-2013, 11:34 AM
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those looks like anarcharis and java moss to me! both really easy care plants, like to float. you can tie java moss to a piece of driftwood if you want and it'll eventually start to grow on it.

eta: oh, also about the ludwiga- i have heard that a lot of plants that grow red like that need iron to stay red? if it starts changing color in a few weeks you might have to get some kind of supplement to put in the substrate.

Last edited by mushumouse; 04-04-2013 at 11:44 AM. Reason: can't spell
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post #19 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-04-2013, 11:39 AM
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i 2nd the java moss guess
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post #20 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-04-2013, 12:48 PM
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Eco-complete with root tabs, piece of cake to set up and the plants seem to love it.

For your LEDs, you're right on the money with what you've found in your research. The lights that come with the Marineland are a waste of time as far as plants are concerned. You're looking at a decent chunk of change to get something for plants that are LEDs (just dropped over $50 for a Finnex Fugeray for a 6gal and that's not even a high light fixture).

Since you're going low light and the Marineland looks to have a clear top, there's a cheap option: Zip out to your local Home Depot/Lowes/Menards and pick up a cheap desk lamp that will take a 60w incandescent bulb. Buy a 14w CFL that is at least 5000k and is ideally 6500k. You can find 14w CFLs at 6500k cheap online if your store doesn't carry them, mine doesn't. I bought a stack of them so I always have them on hand in case I need them for my planted tanks. Nice part about this set up is that you can raise and lower the desk lamp pretty easily to keep plants growing but keep algae under control. I started with the lamp about 6 inches off the water and then adjusted as needed. In my experience, this will give you enough light for the 'low light' plants you'll see listed. Could probably manage some of the moderate light plants, too.

I've also had good luck with bacopa carolingia in my low tech tanks. I have the red ludwiga, it's been temperamental for me. Now that it's settled in I'm getting lovely, red tinged leaves but I think it likes pretty high light. It will probably shed leaves while adapting to your tank, it was a mess. Watch for rotting stems when you plant it.

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