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Old 01-06-2013, 02:01 AM   #191 
acadialover
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I have neen doing a small water only change every three days. so far so good.
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:19 AM   #192 
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The way I trim sword plants and crypts-I pinch the dead/dieing leaves as close to the crown that I can and with some-I will pinch healthy large leaves or leaves that are shading other plants to keep them looking tidy. With the sag and vals-I pinch them about mid-way when they get too long-I have some that get over 5ft and shade lower plants-I rarely have dead/dieing leaves on the sags and vals-but if I did I would pinch them as close to the crown that I could.

In my NPT's-I don't have stem plants that uproot-you might be cleaning too much. I rarely have any death or melt with any species-but that might be due to all my plants being grown submersed and adapted to my water already. I haven't bought any new plants in well over 5 years or longer...

I usually will not have any yellowing-but I will have leaf drop on the stem plants if they don't get enough light to the lower stem area-this is expected-As long as the stem of the plant is healthy it might be light related.

Usually, on my new setups-I will need to trim plants within the first 7-10 days and this tells me that the soil is good. While you do need to make some water changes-you don't want to make too many or vacuum the substrate and disrupt the roots-especially if the tank is only stocked with a single Betta and some shrimp/snails-more water changes might be needed in the beginning with higher fish load.

Some of that mulm and rotting leaves are needed to break down in the tank. As they break down-the nutrients are then available for the plants to use-as well as this decomp creates natural CO2 for the plants-The CO2 is one of the most limited nutrients and most needed by plants for best growth.
As for the tannin released-I have not found the weak tea/yellow colored water to hinder plant growth, however, in my tanks-to look at them you wouldn't know the water was yellow due to tannins unless you had it in a clear glass.
From the outside the water should look clear but you don't want the tank to be crystal clean. This is often one of the hardest part for some hobbyist to accept-a bit untidy or dirty looking substrate-All that mulm/debris play an important role with the balance of these type of systems.

The algae, some species of algae is expect and normal in a container of water. It can be a sign of a healthy system, it can help the tank look more natural by softening edges and it provides a place for microorganisms to colonize that help the overall health of the system. With that said, the algae should also be limited, especially in a properly setup soil based system. With good plant growth and soil alive with bacteria-this should out compete the algae-but you will still have some green algae and you want that growing on the non-viewing back wall. If you have a lot of algae-especially other than green algae-the tank is not balanced and this is usually light related or due to not enough plants with good plant growth in the soil based systems.
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:36 AM   #193 
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Love your explanations. Thanks.
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:43 PM   #194 
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In my NPT's-I don't have stem plants that uproot-you might be cleaning too much.

While you do need to make some water changes-you don't want to make too many or vacuum the substrate and disrupt the roots

As for the tannin released-I have not found the weak tea/yellow colored water to hinder plant growth, however, in my tanks-to look at them you wouldn't know the water was yellow due to tannins unless you had it in a clear glass.
From the outside the water should look clear but you don't want the tank to be crystal clean. This is often one of the hardest part for some hobbyist to accept-a bit untidy or dirty looking substrate-All that mulm/debris play an important role with the balance of these type of systems.
Mostly, my problems are exclusively with stems that I made cuttings of (wisteria and narrow leaf elodea). I've isolated the cause to a combination of fat fingers and planting the cuttings near my HOB filter. Even with a baffle, it seems there's just enough water flow to cause them to occassionally pop up.

As for water changes, I never did water changes to clarify the water after I filled the tank -- I just skimmed floaters and ran the filter. I'm also fairly sure my driftwood is discoloring the water pretty heavily. I did a 5% change yesterday and afterwards, it turns out that my plants weren't as sickly yellow as I originally thought.

Can I get away with a 5% change before my Walstad book show up on Thurs or should I do another, bigger change? I'm afraid of changing the water and depleting beneficial things in it.
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Old 01-07-2013, 02:45 AM   #195 
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Hmn, my water isn't dark at all. I have done three 5 % water changes in a seek. Everyone seems to be dong fine, and except for one of my smaller bronze wendetis(sp ) melting in leaves, everyone else is dong fine. In fact one of my wisteria has grown and is now shooting out of the water..... I will attempt to upload a photo soon.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:41 AM   #196 
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I am about ready to plant my NPT and i was wondering should I cap the soil before I plant or plant first then cap?
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:02 AM   #197 
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I am about ready to plant my NPT and i was wondering should I cap the soil before I plant or plant first then cap?
I capped first then planted with about 3-5 inches of water above the cap. I hold the plants by the base and wiggle them through the sand into the soil unless, of course, the base is to remain exposed, I'll wiggle just the roots in with my fingertips. A small amount of soil may float up while doing this, but it will either settle back to the bottom or float to the top of the tank. If it floats, skim it out with your net, and if it sinks, you can remove it using a gravel vac in one hand while stirring up the unwanted debris with the other hand as to keep the sand cap in place (do not try to vacuum it directly off the top of the sand, because you'll take the sand too).

I chose to leave the sunk debris on top of my sand for now (I set this tank up Saturday) - it doesn't bother anything, but during my next water change, I plan on using the method I just described to get my cap looking nice and clean. OFL suggests only vacuuming one part of the cap at a time (mentally divide the tank floor in sections according to your tank size) so the mulm (fish poo/plant debris/uneaten food) has a chance to provide nutrients for the soil.

If you're going for a super clean look for your cap, you can plant before you cap, but be careful not to allow the weight of the plants leaves to strain the plants too much, and be careful with plants whose bases are to remain exposed to the water - you should plant these after capping. Having the extra 3-5 inches of water in the tank will prevent the plants from weighing themselves down.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:34 AM   #198 
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awesome thanks..... I am very excited to get this tank planted up. Its been sitting with just soil in it for the past 2 weeks while I prepare and plan my plant situation out. Really I am waiting for my driftwood pieces to sink on their own. 3/5 are sunk but im getting impaitent and I am going to weigh the others down with rock so I can get this party started
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:03 PM   #199 
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I have done it both ways-but I like to cap then plant best

Sagat-I have never had much luck with the elodea species in my NPT.
Another way you can plant the bare stem-is to place a large rock or item on the end and allow it to anchor itself-then remove the rock. I have to do this with some of mine in tight spots.

Once the soil mature you usually will not have any problems with the soil staying in the water column after you pull or plant. When I pull or plant-what soil goes into the water column will settle within 5min or less and you can't tell that I disturbed the soil-even with it laying on top of the sand cap with fairly strong filter running. I have to pull up at least 20-30 crypts with massive root systems at lest monthly and I will have a cloud of black to the point you can't see in the tank for about 5min. I do have to go in and brush the soil off the leaves-but the water is clear-then I will use a plastic cup with dry sand-lower it in and cover the hole I made-all while being bitten by all the Bettas...lol....still freaks me out and I jump...lol...

With some of my driftwood that I collect out in my woods-I never could get it to sink and had to tape big rocks to them. I use that black electric tape-never has caused any problems.

Light yellow tea colored water shouldn't cause too much of an issue once the tank is matured. I would make 25-50% water only changes on occasion to clear it up if needed. You can remove all the water and be fine-you want to limit the amount of mulm/debris you remove-don't over vacuum or over clean-Water only won't hurt anything-plus, with the fresh water you will add nutrient, minerals, CO2 and electrolytes that are in your tap water-plants really like this..
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:56 PM   #200 
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I have the six gallon fluval edge aquarium with halogen lights- I have heard I can replace the lights with LED. Would LED work for a natural planted tank with soil? I currently have plants with gravel with my halogen lights and they looked healthy the first nine months but look like they're dying now. I'm wondering if its contributing to my recent green algae overgrowth too.
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