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Re: [AGA Member] Re: Aga Members List

My biggest tank is a 45 tall, it's looking pretty decent after a long bout with greenwater. Set it up first week in October with 55 watts of compact flourescent, 10,000K bulb, flourite with a few handfulls of crushed coral and river gravel, DIY yeast, and a lot of plants including a huge rubin sword. The plants have not gotten a whole lot taller due to pruning, neglect, and probably lack of light during the greenwater epidemic, but they are very nicely branched/leaved and lush now. My hardest challenge with this tank was moving it-moved it in the back seat of my Saturn, which is not very much bigger than the whole tank. The gravel, plants, some water, and a few fish were inside (landlady wanted us out early as she thought she had a new tenant, made me leave in a hurry). Getting the tank out of the car without dropping it was a bit of a challenge. To say the least. Next time I move I am selling EVERYTHING.
I also keep a 26 metaframe with a sand substrate and packed with plants, it is lit with a standard 4 foot flourescent shop light, has DIY yeast reactor, and produces nice plants. Ironically, it's now got all the greenwater problems.The last move probably stirred up the Job's plant spikes. Guess I will not be using substrate fertilizer again, not unless I buy a house. I keep all my tanks planted as much as I can, there is a lovely 10 in the dining room full of beautiful greens, the smaller tanks get the trimmings from the big tanks and the same flourite and river gravel mix. Some get more coral, or the fake flourite sold for ponds at hardware stores. My goal is all tanks planted heavily. I breed killies and bettas, the more cover the fry get the better, but I have a lot of work to do-I just set up 8 more 10's.
My favorite tank is a 20 long for growing out, it has grown out plants and fish. The spare driftwood goes in there too, and at one point there was what resembled a river bend snag of wood and plants at one end of it. The java moss and fern, as well as bolbitis and a few others, have grown around the driftwood and made it quite lush. It was totally unplanned and effortless, a bonus. There is no substrate in it so I put trimmings in clay pots with flourite behind the driftwood or hidden by rocks, I wanted to make the mulm easily removable since baby fish eat a lot, so the bottom is covered with large flat slate and other rock pieces and bare in some spots. Makes it much easier to siphon the bottom clean.
I use power filters that hang off the side, nothing special, just items from auctions and raffles at local clubs. I suppose a real canister filter might be a good investment one of these days. For fertilizer I am using Seachem's Flourish and also the Iron supplement. I am wondering if the plants are suffering from a deficiencies of iron and zinc, as some swords are yellow, and the hygro and java fern occasionally turn pale. They also seem to recover for no reason at all with no change in conditions that I can see, so I may be wrong on that. Zinc deficiency affects land plants by them turning yellow, is it necessary in aquatic plants too? Will it hurt the fish?
My favorite tricks:
Spotlight a red plant with a screw in compact flourescent (standard home use bulb). I put them in aluminum clamp lights with the clamp part removed and put it face down on the glass lid. The red plants respond well to the yellow light for some reason, getting a lot of color. Use the bulbs that are ok for enclosed fixtures, and I guess I can't totally recommend this as I am not sure it is safe, but I do it. Nothing bad has happened so far... The glass on top of my tank is double strength and my only worry is that it will somehow get broken and the light will fall in. I guess that could happen with any of my tanks/lights though.
Another thing I do is wrap a sponge filter in java moss so I don't have to look at it. A piece of driftwood strategically placed can further hide the sponge.
I learned when I called A&H supply to ask about bulbs that the 10,000K bulb my compact flourescent fixture came with is wrong for freshwater plants and switched to what I think I recall is a 6500K bulb, the color is a lot better and the greenwater has since dissipated, though that could be a coincidence. I also learned that the bulbs I like for the 10 gallon tanks are wrong, but I like them and still use them. They are half actinic blue and half standard white oceanic-probably more 10,000K. The light they produce is dim and blue, which the A&H people think makes the plants too blue and stunted, but I like the results. They are extremely vividly green. Also, they are intended to simulate light several feet below water. That means less light overall, so I made that side of the tank the foreground. The fish in that tank are all killies, and I think they appreciate the subtle "mood lighting" as they all come forward to see what food I might have rather than cowering in the back like some peoples' killies. I really like these lights and will continue to use them, but they are not recommended by the seller.
All my tanks are pretty lightly stocked except for the one with the growing out fish, and usually read a lower nitrate level than fresh tapwater, which is a little scary. :) The fish do spawn from time to time but they end up eating most of the offspring. Still, they get a few strong survivors. For serious breeding I remove the eggs or parents, the rest of the time they get to kick back in aquascaped tanks chowing down on fresh live grub... I don't have tv here, broke the antenna and decided not to replace it, so I have plenty of time and energy for working on the tanks or just watching the fish. I think it's pretty cool but others doubt my sanity. I can watch the fish for hours...
I also breed birds, but that is another chat list.
Hope this isn't too long of an email... :)
Kate B
Oly WA

June Olberding wrote:

Hi Kate and others,
I am not new member but have been mostly lurking. I live just down the road
in Tacoma. :-) I have been keeping planted tanks for about 4 years and have
accumulated quite a few by now.
Tell us a bit more about your tanks. Lights, substrate, etc. Maybe it is
time to think of easing into some ferts. I found I get less algae when I
give the plants what they need to grow better and the plants are nicer too.


Me too, Kate Breimayer in Olympia WA here.
Hello all, nice to see the list going.
Who has a good idea for getting rid of a hard crusty bright green algae
that is so hard it's difficult to scrape off glass with a brand new
razor blade? Have gone through hair algae, greenwater, and slimy green
filamentous algae, this is a new one. Other than this I finally got the
other visible algaes out of my one "big" planted tank. Am afraid to
fertilize :)
Kate B

dilvish wrote:

heh.. seems to be a lot of us lurking in the background.  I'm a new member
as well so Hello there everyone.


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