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Old 08-21-2012, 01:27 AM   #1 
Tikibirds
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Talking Giving the NPT thing a try...

I wanted to give the NPT tank thing a try but all I had was the 20 without any light or lid..just the tank. So over the course of the summer, I added something every week - the Aqueon Versa-lid, Aqueon Light strip, mopani driftwood and keep searching petco's tubs for actual aquatic plants that were not dead or dying. It's pretty sad that all I found since may were 2 small Anubias and one big amazon sword plant.
Last week I was ready to order some plants online. I tried to pick low matience/low light ones...I think the foxgloves are supposed to have med/high light but decided to give it a try...

I ordered:
2X dwarf Lilly
1X bacompa Carolina
1X Hygrophila corybosa/giant hydro
1X Pogostemon erectus
2X foxtails
1X MYRIOPHYLLUM TUBERCULATUM RED...not sure this one is gonna make it in my tank, unless its normal for the bottom part to get all squishy when planted in a new tank. I cut off that part and replanted them (they are the tiny bushy orange things in the front).

Inhabitants:
6 bettas
4 or so japanese trapdoor snails - one is an adult, the others are still small
Aqueon 10 quietflow
no idea on the water hardness but I get calcium deposits if that helps
I also added some API plant food today.
There is also some cabomba and wysteria floating in there as well.

any suggestions on care? Should I look into a better bulb? I just paud $40 for the light strip, I do not want to replace that. Are there any plant bulbs that would fit into it?




I sense an IMPOSTOR amongst my females...




I was going to remove the giant head but then I would have a big gap, so I left the head for now. The pagoda is staying.

Last edited by Tikibirds; 08-21-2012 at 01:30 AM.
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Old 08-21-2012, 09:38 AM   #2 
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Nice job...its looks great....I like the head.....

What kind of dirt did you use, what is your photoperiod...

For a light bulb-I buy the "Daylight" 6500k in the lighting department for a lot cheaper than in the aquarium section.

I never had any luck with the MYRIOPHYLLUM-It lasted about a year or two and slowly died in my NPT.

Most plants like hard water-they love those minerals...
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Old 08-21-2012, 02:04 PM   #3 
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I agree- nice tank! And I also like the giant head. =) I'd so have one of those in my tanks..

I think this will look so lovely when it's grown. Have you got to the plant-explosion stage stage yet? When the soil settles and everything just sprouts? I think that's my favourite thing about the NPT.

It's so great to see people getting into plants. I like the plants almost as much as I like the fish. Anyway, nicely done, hope to see updates!
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Old 08-22-2012, 12:36 AM   #4 
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Right now, I just have sand. I originally wasn't going to go with live plants but I decided to at the last minute plus I wasn't sure what type of dirt to get. I'm off Fri and Sat so I can totally redo the tank if need be. I just need to know what kind of dirt to get- regular potting soil like miracle grow? is there any kinds I should avoid? How deep should the soil be?

Also, do I need to be poking the soil to release gas?

Quote:
I never had any luck with the MYRIOPHYLLUM-It lasted about a year or two and slowly died in my NPT.
Awwwh. Its such a pretty plant :(

Quote:
Have you got to the plant-explosion stage stage yet? When the soil settles and everything just sprouts? I think that's my favourite thing about the NPT.
I guess it would help if I had put soil in there BEFORE the sand - but the swords which were kinda iffy looking (lovely petco) are looking much nicer and have some extra sprouts on them and the 2 water lilly's that looked almost dead have really perked up. Foxtails and anubias seem to be doing nicely. The only ones with issues are the red one and the Pogostemon erectus. Not sure if its just adjusting or dying. Same thing happens with anacharis. Does wonderful in my sisters overstocked goldfish tank but in mine it just....goes all brown.

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what is your photoperiod...
my what?
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Old 08-22-2012, 02:39 AM   #5 
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I can totally redo the tank if need be.
Well - not really. You can have a perfectly nice planted tank without it being a dirt tank (NPT) if you're prepared to feed the plants some ferts now and then. Root tabs for the root feeders (swords, crypts, lilies) and Flourish liquid for the stems. Up to you!
Quote:
I just need to know what kind of dirt to get- regular potting soil like miracle grow? is there any kinds I should avoid? How deep should the soil be?
I've noticed in my local stores a few different kinds of miracle gro - some have added water retention material or ferts - you don't want those. The soil should be as free off added anything as possible, and also sifted to removed large chunks of wood and other debris. Stay away from animal dung and especially chicken manure, according to the planted tanks stuff I've been reading.

The soil should be around 1-1.5 inches. And the sand cap half of the soil height.
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Also, do I need to be poking the soil to release gas?
Yup. Unless you get some Malaysian Trumpet Snails to do it for you. I used a skewer to give it a poke before water changes at set-up (when they need to be more frequent) for the first few weeks, then the snails arrived..

Photoperiod = how long are your lights on for?

Quote:
The only ones with issues are the red one and the Pogostemon erectus. Not sure if its just adjusting or dying. Same thing happens with anacharis. Does wonderful in my sisters overstocked goldfish tank but in mine it just....goes all brown.
Many of the red plants require higher lighting levels than say, java fern or some of the hardier green stems. There's exceptions - but generally speaking, red = needs more light. That said, it might be adjusting. =P

In my experience, anacharis is very fickle. It's sprouting in Daughter's 8-gallon under a flourescent light. It won't grow in any of my tanks at all, and tends to die rather quickly. I gave up on it, tbh. Daughter loves it and wants more of it for her tank. Perhaps it likes flourescent light, or my tanks have too low pH for it - something to research, there...

Anyway, before you disrupt all your plants and substrate, have a think about the NPT thing. Personally speaking, I love mine, and plan to do more of them - it's a fantastic experience and they look great, the fish is doing really well in it. But then I also like the sand tanks a lot, for the fact they're much easier to rearrange while I'm still learning about plant species.

Decisions, decisions!
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Old 08-22-2012, 04:44 AM   #6 
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If I can get away with just using root tabs and liquid plant food, I'm cool with that. But if its significantly better for the plants to have dirt, I can do that too. I already have a bottle of API's liquid plant food but I did not see any root tabs. However they did have liquid co2. Should I pick up a bottle of that??

I was watched this dude's video on plant melt on Youtube..so as long as there are new shoots - the plant is doing ok even if the rest is withered?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYS-0Nmos2w

do I cut off the green part and replant it and toss the rest? should I leave things be for a few weeks and then start pruning. Won't the rotting stems/leaves pollute the water? Although I do have snails in there that are supposed to eat the deacying plant matter..
Quote:
Photoperiod = how long are your lights on for?
Ooooh...It varies depending on my work schedule. SOmewhere between 8-10 hours a day. Somedays as little as 6 or as many as 20 (if I forget to shut it off or turn it on) but normally between 8-10 or 12 hours a day.

The anacharis was doing good in my 10 gallon but I kinda dropped the light into the tank and I am not really willing to buy another light strip, so I put the anacharis into her 10G goldfish tank. They did great in there but when I took some out and put them into the 20G, they went all brown and squishy. Maybe they do better in overstocked and under cleaned tanks? She only changes the water like once every 3 months if that and she has 2 goldfish in there. I may try it again, i need something that can float and is big enough to provide cover at the top of the tank.

Last edited by Tikibirds; 08-22-2012 at 04:59 AM.
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Old 08-25-2012, 12:37 AM   #7 
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Well, so far they all seem to be doing OK except the pogmowhatever. The stems were all bare except the tops so I cut the live parts off and tossed the rest. Maybe it will be OK now? The red one seems to of stopped...melting? If I put the light diagnolly, it seems to work better giving the low light plants less light and the higher light ones in the front more light
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