To fertilize or not to fertilize? (plant noob question :) ) - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-14-2013, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
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To fertilize or not to fertilize? (plant noob question :) )

Hi all,
As I posted in another thread, I received some plant cuttings recently... I love how they look in my tank but I know precious little about plants, and I am finding most of the planted tank info online somewhat confusing.

Anyhow, I currently have them in gravel (no soil), with a fluorescent light and no fertilizer. However, I have been noticing lately that the color seems a little... off. Even my moss ball has a yellowish tinge to it!
Not that they all haven't been growing - they definitely have. I've had to trim the rotala already! But in the pic, I'm pretty sure you can tell what has grown since they've been in my tank... :/

I'm pretty sure these plants are getting more than enough light (3500K, 9W fluorescent bulb, around 10 hours a day) so I'm thinking perhaps they need some kind of fertilizer. What would be your take on this? (Yes/no, what kind, how much, etc...)
Or perhaps my problem is something else entirely!

I would very much appreciate any words of wisdom! :)
Cheers!
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-15-2013, 01:27 AM
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You could dose a water column fert like seachem flourish... It will add nutrients and other things plants need to grow.

Your light should ideally be closer to 6500k... That might help a lot.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-15-2013, 09:26 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Matt! I found an extra 5800K bulb to put in... I have to say, it looks pretty nice, too. Is 5800 "close enough" or should I find something higher?

As I mentioned in my other thread, I've been having a bit of an algae problem (still not exactly sure which kind, grows in sheets all over everything like green cobwebs...). I'm just wondering, will upping the light and adding fertilizer aggravate that problem?

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-15-2013, 01:58 PM
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I recently started my first planted tank and ran into the same problem. My plants were wilting and green hairy algae growing on everything. I left my light the same, and started adding API CO2 Booster and a liquid fertilizer. Eventually my snails caught up with the algae and everything seems to be doing better. From what I read too light, and not enough nutrients is what leads to algae issues.

Good luck!
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-15-2013, 02:49 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, I stopped by the store today to get a bulb with the right color temperature. I got two, a 40w and 60w, just in case... turns out the 40w didn't work right out of the box... so I'm using the 60w until I can go back to the store and get one that works.
Also will be heading to the pet store to find some fertilizer! Hope it works.

And I have to mention that, at least just for appearance's sake, I LOVE the cooler color temperature :) It really makes the blue in Theo's fins and tail pop!

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-15-2013, 03:16 PM
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the cobweb like algae is called rhizoclonium, I have that in my uncycled snail tank. It really develops in uncycled tankwater that is generally high in ammonia and low in co2. It can be hard to remove as my snails (pond snails) won't touch it.

I went about it this way, and it has been working for me:
-use a stick to twist the algae onto and remove as much as you can.
-increase water replacements, I chose to do small water changes daily, and removing as much as I could of the leftover algae. (only for a few weeks)
-add the appropiate amount of liquid co2 daily, preferably right before the lights go on, and right after your daily water change. (plants only use co2 when there is light, in the dark they use o2 just like your fish) Never overdose co2, this will harm your fish.

This helped to keep the algae at bay for a while. Also make sure to not overfeed your fish.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-15-2013, 03:24 PM Thread Starter
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ok, good to know. I'll be getting some co2 then, too. I feed my fish around 4 pellets (omegaone) every day... and the bioload is not helped by the fact I have a rather large mystery snail in there too. Needless to say, the snail makes a MESS. So I've increased water changes to around twice a week (or until the algae starts to get out of hand). But doing smaller ones more often might not be a bad idea either. I guess the cycle I had going is probably shot already, so it won't be a big deal.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-19-2013, 06:05 PM Thread Starter
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UPDATE:
Ok, so over the last few days I have been running the tank with a 13w 6500K light, around 10 hours a day. I got some of the Seachem Flourish and put in about .5 mL. As far as the color of the plants goes, I don't see too much difference, but with the change in the light and fertilizer the algae has actually been growing much less. The rotala is still definitely growing though! I think I'm going to have to trim it again soon... and it's putting off quite a few side shoots, so it should be getting pretty bushy in the near future!
I didn't go for the cO2 when I was at the store, the seachem being a little more pricey than I'd anticipated. However, I was considering getting some of that and also root tabs.

What do you guys think?

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-19-2013, 10:51 PM
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if you are looking into root tabs check eBay for osmocote and look for the capsules. I picked up 300 for $20 shipped. So they will last me for quite a while.

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~Daniel
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