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Old 12-20-2012, 12:38 PM   #131 
lillyandquigly
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Is it expensive once you have an NPT growing?
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Old 12-20-2012, 12:43 PM   #132 
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I think the biggest expenses is setting it up...cost of soil, plants, snails, shrimp ect. Even more $$ if you go with a C02 injection system. Once the tank is established you can prune/propagate as needed and all of a sudden you have more plants then space to keep them.
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Old 12-20-2012, 12:43 PM   #133 
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thanks:)
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Old 12-20-2012, 12:47 PM   #134 
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there is no need to buy any of the specialty aquatic soils as you can save a ton of cash by buying organic soil from places like home depot. I purchased a 10 lbs bag of miracle gro organic soil and a 40lbs bag of play sand for $15
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:31 PM   #135 
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I could use my own soil, it's not fertilized.
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:43 PM   #136 
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IMO/E-Aquarium in general can be as expensive or as low cost that you want to make it. You can get creative and use non-aquarium items-provided that you are fairly sure that they are free of any harmful chemicals. Lots of different ways to reach the same goal IMO.

My soil based systems didn't cost all that much to setup or to maintain. I think my biggest cost was the lights-but even those didn't cost that much. I think I spent roughly $40.00 for the light strips and bulbs for my 75g and 55gal combined. I bought the shop light strips from wal mart and those cost $10.00 each and hold 2 tubes. I buy my light bulbs in the lighting dept-not the aquarium dept since all I need for plants are the correct color temp-that being..."Daylight" 6500k 40w since they are 48in tubes and 20w for the shorter tubes-The 48in cost under $8.00 for a 2 pack-a bit more for the shorter tubes...
So...$20.00 for 2 light strips and $16.00 for 4 light bulbs-total of $36.00. Then the added annual cost of $16.00 for 4 new light bulbs. Since florescent bulbs intensity is lost over time-this cause the color temp to change. The lights still work and we can see it and so can the algae-but the plants can't- to use it for energy and why you need to change the bulbs out every 12 months.

I collect my soil from my yard/pasture to use and that is free, I have used organic potting soil, top soil for the base and play sand, pool filter sand to use for the cap-but these usually are not too expensive and will go a long ways. The 50 pound bag of pool filter sand that cost under $6.00 has lasted a year or so that I used to cap several tanks. Same with the potting soil and top soil.....

I collect and use all kinds of things for my hard scape that I find around my property. Lots of different hardwoods and rocks to use for decorations and to tie moss and ferns to.

Plants for me was a one time investment-I spent about $40.00 and propagated from them. One good thing about live plants...they grow and reproduce....lol....

Then all those extra things-like heaters, thermometers and filters that can vary in cost, however, I don't use filters in all my tanks...that is the plants job on the most part-especially in my 10gal and under size tanks. Right now the only filters I have running are on the 2 big tanks-my 25gal and 20gal's don't have filters running anymore. I have them...just don't use them...lol.....

When you use nutrient rich soil-you usually don't need any ferts or injected CO2-The soil based systems are generally intended to be low tech, however, you can use higher lights, ferts and inject CO2 if that is something you wanted to invest in...Its just not needed on the most part IMO/E. I do have to add some extra Iron on occasion for my sword plants when they start to look tired-but even then it wasn't needed until the setup was near 5 years old and I made my own ferts by using the native red clay in my yard. I would dig up some clay-then roll up some clay balls-let them sit in the sun to dry-then cram them at the base of the sword plants-usually within the week the sword plant would perk and green up-usually sending out a runner or two to boot...lol....

Lots of different ways/methods to setup a tank....you are only limited by your imagination on the most part.....
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:54 PM   #137 
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thanks OFL!
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Old 12-24-2012, 05:43 PM   #138 
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I think it's safe to say my tank is crashing. Two of the new plants I got ina package from petco (bacopa and telanthera cardinalis) are dead/dying. Wisteria seems to be dead/dying too. Even the anubia has a dead leaf on it. The ludwigia/anacharis is only stuff really holdin out. I would post a picture, but my tank is perpetually merky/sandy, you would have a hard time making stuff out (another problem I wonder about).

One of the things I attribute this to is probably the wrong color lights. I thought I could get away with the petsmart colormax cfl's, but I bet they're one of the problems. So, I went out to walmart and got two 20watt 6500K CFLs. They both screw in, but I had to remove the metal piece on my hood that usually reflects the backside of the light since it was in the way. My question is, do i start a new? Or do I wait and see what happens with these new lights?

I suggest restarting b/c there is a lot of dirt on my sand from me adding in the newer plants. Either I'm just a terrible planter (which Im sure), or Im not sure, but whenever you try and plant something, its pretty hard to keep the roots down without kicking up a lot of dirt/sand. My nitrates are 0ppm, and yes i shook the tester very well. Ammonia, however, is pretty high. Even after a 30% water change a few days ago, and i have no fish in the tank, just 4 mystery snails. Its about 1.0 ppm. I attribute this to all the dying matter in my tank. I just removed the telanthera cardinalis plant, but some of the debris got around. Could the dirt on top be affecting this too?

Not really sure where I went wrong besides the lights. But i really dislike how sandy/merky my tank is too. Should I start anew, or just see how the light affects the plants now, and make some water changes/remove debris, and maybe get a floating plant finally
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Old 12-24-2012, 05:57 PM   #139 
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Dang..sorry you are having so must trouble....You might be correct in thinking it is light related...IME...the driving force behind successful plant growth...is the proper color temp light-along with proper planting of aquatic plants, photoperiod and light intensity.....

Usually the soil on top of the cap isn't a problem-I would make water changes until your water is clear, make sure the partition between the plants and light is either removed or really clean for best light penetration to plants.

You might need to start over-especially since most of the plant are dead and now that you have the correct lights. It is also important to start out with enough of the right species of plants from the get-go-otherwise the system can crash.

It not uncommon to never see the nitrate reading in heavy planted tanks-So I wouldn't go by that to tell you cycle stage/completeness. My NPT's that are going on 5 years have never had a nitrate reading and I don't expect to ever see one either.....

Good luck and keep us posted.....
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Old 12-24-2012, 08:42 PM   #140 
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I think I will start over (why would Aqueon even make lights for plants that aren't really for plants...) , great timing too since now I have to wait till Wednesday and I bet stores are out of stock of everything haha.

The water really wasn't getting any clearer when I did water changes. I did 3 overall in my week n a half span. Im not sure what would change overtime to make it clearer. Is there a chance that the play sand I bought is just not very good? I know that sounds weird, but my tank really has never been clear, even when I didnt disturb it for 3 days+, and have done water changes.
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